Welcome or Figure it Out?

DawnSmithJuly 11, 2013

Hi. This is a helpful forum, so I will post my next dilema!

My fiance will be going to a sober living home shortly, for 90 days. It is about 75 minutes from my home and his 5 yr old son's home. (we live in the same city)

My fiance will get 1-2 passes and also day passes during this time. He has little to no money, so when he is able to be away from the sober housing, he will most likely stay with me.

I know (from past behavior) that he will expect to use my home as a landing pad to spend time with his son, expecting also that his son can spend the night. I need to tell him this cannot be the case/expectation.

My reasons are: I cannot absorb the expense (food, entertainment, utilities, batteries for the Wii remote that gets way over-played), he has not established any boundries or discipline with his son so it is not a harmonious time, his son drives my children crazy with his lack of manners and discipline and uncontrolled behavior.

So: how to I let my finance know my home is not a revolving door for him to use at his will and that any time he spends with his son needs to be away from my home? At this point I feel I can't be 100% honest about the above concerns because finance is blind to it all. He needs to focus on this recovery and quality time with his son at this point, but I can't disrupt the happiness I currently have in my home with my children. That is not fair to them - or me!

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Say something like, "I'm sorry, but I just can not afford for you and your son to hang out at my place. It costs too much in food, entertainment, etc for me right now. And I can not handle having so many kids in one place at one time, it's just too stressful for me."

Eventually, you will need to have a talk to him about his lax parenting, but I understand wanting to wait on that until he's finished with his recovery.

Did fiance live with you before he went into treatment? Where did he live before he met you? Part of his recovery is learning to stand on his own two feet, and Joe needs to figure out how to spend time with his son without depending on you and your resources.

Not to dog your fiance, but I would consider holding off on the marriage for a while. While I'm sure he has plenty of good qualities, it sounds like has some serious issues he needs to sort out before you get hitched. He's an alcoholic, sounds like he doesn't have a job, and is a poor parent. I'd be reconsidering the entire relationship ... think about giving it at least another year before getting married at least.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 4:15PM
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He and his son did live in my home for a few months. It did not go well and we mutually decided he needed to get his own place. He is self-employed and works really hard and makes very good money... when he works! Unfortunately, he spent all he had this spring on alcohol and living expenses and now treatment costs. He gave up his apartment when he went into treatment and will get a different one once he returns from the sober living home. Yes, the actual marriage is on hold until all ducks are in a row and we can live under one roof in harmony - he is well aware of that part. I am in no rush and would be fine waiting until all 3 children are gone and in college - 13 years from now!! :)

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 4:32PM
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I think your life with him will be one big roller coaster ride all the time, different issues at different times. You say your children are happy, were they happy the few months he and his son lived with you???

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 4:46PM
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I agree on the rollercoaster point. The part I haven't figured out yet is will that rollercoaster be fun & exciting with new adventures and smiles, or a drama coaster? Time will tell on that & I certainly won't live a life of drama.

When he lived with me it was good with he, myself, and my 2 children. When his son entered the mix, it was not happy for anyone. He knew and saw this but made no attempt to work on his parenting.

We have since attended a few community ed classes on parenting and I purchased a few books recommended from those classes. He said he will read them when he gets home. I hope he does and then I will give them all to his son's mother to read!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 4:57PM
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He will tell you anything he thinks you want to hear to get a roof over his head. And giving books like that to the son's mother is really going to go over big.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 7:37PM
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Oh boy, I really hope I am not being that blind! He is a good person, I trust and respect him in numerous ways. Is there something u read I am missing or are you speaking from experience, please share, I have an open mind and love can certainly be blind.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 7:43PM
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I am very sorry you are going through this...I don't know this man, only you know him. Do what your gut tells you. My view comes from life's experience, with children/teens, from my sisters and their kids and husbands. From friends, especially those who want someone so bad they won't keep a clear mind.

My sister's husband was an alcoholic, went to rehab and he never quit drinking. She went to Alnon and they told her she was enabling him by helping him.

They will promise anything you want to hear to get what they want. Before he went to rehab did he promise he would quit drinking? Has he made promises about being a better parent and has not done so. Tell him what has been advise in here that you can't afford food, entertainment, etc. and that you can't deal with the pressure see what he says. See how he reacts. It will be better to tell him no now than after allowing him to move in and needing to kick him out.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 10:38PM
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Very good points, thank you! I have 3 very close family members that are alcoholics (including my mom, who has been sober for 34 years) and the other 2 for many years also. I personally don't drink at all, so it is hard for me to understand the diease. I will be starting Alanon next month. I guess my best route is to be 100% honest and take things very slow with eyes wide open. Thanks everyone!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 8:34AM
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I agree with whatever everyone else is saying, tread carefully here, especially before you take the big step of marriage. But I want to touch on something no one else has mentioned and that's this little 5 year old boy. It seems like you are somewhat blaming him for all the chaos. I'm not bashing you here, and I don't blame you for looking out for your own children first, but please take his feelings into consideration too. It's not his fault if he has two clueless parents. If you do end up having a future with this guy after his treatment is over, his son needs to be part of that future or you shouldn't pursue a relationship. Good luck to you and to your fiance' in his treatment.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 12:16PM
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Alcoholism is not a disease in spite of what the doctors tell you. It is an addiction and although it's difficult, it can be stopped unlike cancer or diabetes. You may have inherited a tendency to become an alcoholic so it is smart of you not to drink. I have been close to my sis 98% of our lives. I think she is lacking in something like endorphins which help make you happy or increase the feeling of fun. She has an addictive personality. She is addicted to coffee, booze, cigarettes and I think these substances works for her in that respect.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 1:43PM
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Karen, I can see how that may sound and to a degree, I agree with you. Some of the boys behavior is directly related/due to how his parents let him get away with so much & have such loose boundries. However; there are numerous things he does that are in his control 100% and even at 5 yrs old, he knows better. He displays the correct behaviors with his grandparents and at pre-school, he knows right from wrong and chooses the wrong when under my roof.
A few years ago, I would have coddled this boy and placed all responsibility on his parents. Since then, I have read the book "Love & Logic" and that has opened my eyes to new and better parenting techniques.
If you have ever seen the "when I was a kid" saying on facebook, twitter, and such....you might have an idea of what I mean by this: Back in the 70s and prior, maybe even the 80s, kids played outside from a.m. to dusk. We didn't have electronics, we used our imaginations. We respected others and all adults were authority figures. We never thought twice about NOT answering an adult when spoken to. We said please and thank you without hesitation and it was genuine. We tied our shoes at an early age because velcro didn't exist. We did chores w/o getting paid for them. Candy was something you got at Halloween or bought with the quarter the Uncle Tom pulled from his ear and gave you.
Kids need to learn responsibility and independence and this starts at a very young age and you build on it. I attend activities for my kids now at 9 and 11 years old and I can point out the helicopter parents, the no rules parents, the coddling parents, etc. Now, I am FAR from perfect and my kids are not perfect. I struggle with parenting on a daily basis. What I do take credit for is having an open mind and knowing that there are resources available to us and I take action when things go haywire.
Sorry long winded, I have no tolerance for chewing with your mouth open (he has been told 100's!! of times), ignoring questions, facial scralls that are disrespectful, specifically standing next to someone and farting, NEVER saying please or thank you, walking into a bedroom/bathroom when the door is closed, and pulling up my dress in the back on purpose.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 1:30PM
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I have no tolerance for bad behavior either, Dawn, but I have even less tolerance for a parent that ALLOWS this bad behavior to continue.

When the boy stands next to you and farts, what does his dad do? When he pulls your dress up in the back, what does his dad do? See what I'm getting at here? What does DAD do about his bad behavior?

You say the boy behaves just fine when he's at pre-school or at his grandparents, that's because I bet there are consequences and punishments at pre-school and at the grandparents.

I don't think the problem is that he's choosing the wrong when he's with you. While I'm sure he understands right from wrong, at five years old he still lacks the maturity to control himself. At this age someone still has to make him mind. Granted, that is not your job, it's the parent's job to make sure he listens to you. Same as if your child was at school and the teacher said your child misbehaved you'd make sure your child listened to the teacher and behaved, right?

Well, your BF needs to make sure his son listens and behaves when he's around you.

I hope that you are taking things a little bit slower with this guy, have you had a chance to tell him that he can't expect to use your home as a place to spend visits with his son?

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 2:04PM
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Some child development education might be in order here. Picking battles is wise too. Sounds like you like to be in control of things, which also may draw you in to an alcoholic relationship. I think Alanon is a good, crucial move for you.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 2:19PM
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I disagree. My examples are blantent acts of disrespect and unacceptable behavior for a 5 year old hands down. He knows exactly what he is doing. He goes out of his way to do these things when Dad is preoccupied or not in our near presence. Dad tells him to stop, and yes, he needs to step that up and place some consequences on the behavior.
I am not a control freak whatsoever! I control myself and guide my children. I have utter respect for those that have respect, integrity, honor, and self-worth. I don't understand when those are not in play, no matter the age! We underestimate children, how did you act at 5 - 7 - 9, compare that to times of today... do you see a difference?
Alanon I agree with and will begin that this fall. In the meantime, I have joined an online Alanon support until I have that evening free to go to the actual meetings.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 3:14PM
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I'm curious as to why you would get involved with an alcoholic who has an out-of-control child (not child's fault). Why not find a man who doesn't need to change drastically before marrying him?

Do you want to deal with an alcoholic for the forseeable future? And wait until the 5-year old becomes a surly, belligerent teenager who lives with you!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 7:17PM
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You might want to check out ACOA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) in addition to/instead of Alanon.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 12:48AM
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Dawn, I totally get what you're saying. I was that type of parent too. I didn't tolerate disrespect, bad manners, etc. as many parents seem to these days. It's really awful these days, I see so much disrespect from kids. That said, since you are the type of parent who has high expectations for kids' behavior, I feel that this situation might be too much for you. When I remarried, our kids were late teens/early 20's. I remember thinking that I could not get in a relationship with someone with young kids. My husband's kids grew up with a different set of rules and were not very respectful but I could deal with it because they were on their way out. We still have enough problems because of their adult behavior but at least I didn't have to deal with it as far as raising them. You might want to carefully think this thru, maybe wait a few years at least. You will have your hands full with your own kids.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 6:06AM
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Thank you everyone for your thoughts and advice. I will take it all to heart.

I am in this relationship because I truly with all my heart love my fiance. He has a bazillion good qualities and so does his son. Things are no chaos or hectic all the time when we are all together and I am sure all my posts make it sound worse than it actually is.

He needs to tighten the strings and maybe I need to let loose a bit too. My ex-husband is a Marine and he has always been very strict/loving with our kids. I see the benefits in that regularly and I have adopted techniques from him that have improved our quality of life.

Maybe I need to use my voice more and communicate better to my finance. He is a first time parent with a 5 year old and was never together with the mom. I should cut him some slack for lack of knowledge. Mom's talk and learn from other mom's and Dad's not as much.

At the end of the day, I do love them both and want them in my life and so do my children. Brings me back to the Serenity Pray - a very good way to live. Thanks Again!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 9:47AM
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Needing to be in control is not the same thing as being a control freak.

Good luck to you.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 2:38AM
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