Adult SS is going to be the end of my marriage

askosroseAugust 27, 2009

I'm new to this forum, and mostly need to vent. I married my husband 10 yrs ago. He moved here from another country, while his son (9 at the time)stayed with his mother. My husband maintained a relationship with his son...called once a week, visits at Christmas and over the summer. Stepson never called his dad, and when my husband did call, his stepson rarely talked..was too busy watching tv or playing on the computer. Stepson would come over the summer, be sad when he had to go back, but as soon as he was home, he lost touch.

Fast forward to two years ago. Out of the blue, stepson tells me via facebook, he wants to move in with us. I was floored, but we'd gotten along well, so I was happy to hear it. I did all the paperwork to get him here. Stepson indicated he wanted to go to college. Fine. Moved in with us last June. For the first six months, he lazed around, didn't work, didn't look into schools. I felt bad for him, because he gave me a sob story about how his stepfather was so mean to him and made him feel unwanted.

Well, it's now been 15 months and stepson still doesn't work. We found out he failed the last three years of school and has not shown any interest in doing his GED and go to college. He doesn't drive...we finally forced him to get his permit in February after having the manual for 8 months. Ontario law says he has to have a permit for 8 months before taking the road test, so we have drive him everywhere (we live in the country). He did finally get a job in a donut shop, and was let go a month later.

My husband, who is VERY strict with our other kids (I have one from a previous marriage, and we have two together). He's always on their case about doing chores and helping out. My husband was laid off six months ago, and his son has not even offered to pay food and rent. He literally sits in his room all day, playing on his laptop. The only thing he does in a day, is walk the dog. That's it! My husband keeps telling me he'll handle him, but handling him mean making excuses and defending him. This is so opposite of what anyone would have expected from my husband.

His son has stolen treats that were the kids, he lied and let his brothers take the blame for it (I actually went through his backpack because I knew he was lying and found all the wrappers). I strongly suspect he stole money from my kids, as they both came to me in tears the same week saying they had money gone missing. When I try to help nicely, he says he'll change, when I yell, he rolls his eyes.

I just want him gone. Send him back to his mother so she can deal with him. I have three kids I need to raise and I wasn't counting on raising a 21 yr old who acts 6. I'm seriously thinking of ending my marriage over this.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Have you expressed this to your dh?

At 21 nobody should be sitting around all day doing nothing! If he wants to live in your home tell him he needs to work at least part-time and be working on his GED and getting into college. If he decides against school I would make him work full-time and pay rent (he would need to get used to living off minimum wage if he wants no education)!

I would ask your husband what kind of example this is setting for your other children. Drop out of school and lounge around the house all day?

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 7:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

None of this is acceptable in my book, but the lying and STEALING are deal breakers. No way would I allow a person actually living in my house steal from the other occupants. And the very idea that he would steal from his younger siblings, well what does your husband think he is saying to you guys? In addition to there being someone who cannot be trusted, that kind of thing means "I think nothing of you, and you mean nothing to me."

Throw the bum out for goodness sake (send him back home). Do you need hubby's permission to live your life, raise and protect your children, and run your household the way you see fit? Do you need his permission not to be subjected and not to subject your children to this any longer? What are you waiting for? His approval??? Or is venting (no doubt you constantly complain to hubby) all you want to do? But, what does it have to do with your marriage? Has hubby threatened divorce if son can't stay? Throw him out and if hubby wants to fight about it then yes, throw him out too. They can travel back together.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 10:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well, I think when it comes down to it, if I force my ss out of the house, my husband will somehow blame me for it. I was hoping that my husband would finally have enough, and send him back on his own. He's threatened many times, but then his son cries, so his dad feels badly for him. My husband uses the excuse that he wasn't present full time, so his son's mother is to blame for how he turned out. Now my husband feels it's his responsibility to fix him somehow.

I'm really caught between a rock and a hard place. If my husband somehow blames me for losing his son (because sending him back would mean that), our marriage can't survive. I have three other kids (13, 9 and 4) that love both parents, and a split would mean a lot of upheaval for them. It's not as black and white as I'd like it.

I'm stunned, frankly. My husband served in the military. He loathes laziness. He talks about how he whipped cousins into shape and how their parents thanked him. Yet he's in total denial when it comes to his own son.

It's just a bad situation. Thanks for the input, as I do agree with you all. It's just not as cut and dry as it should be.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 8:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

For me, i would take my 3 kids as priority. Its an ultimatum in this case. He's an adult 21 who is stealing and mentally harming all the other children. Tell your husband
1. He must get a job in 10 days and pay 400 $ rent or get out.
2. He steals or lies one more time . - He's out
You must sit your husband down and tell him the line is drawn and you dont care how many tears roll down his eyes. He's not a child. He's an adult.
Heck, i think i would tell him he's out by the end of the month and its not your fault. Its his fault for his behaviour. Slacking around, no job, no school. He's LEECHING OFF OF YOU GUYS!
Tell your husband he is not responsible to fix him The damage is doen. BUt hey, he was in military. Why dont you tell your dh to enlist him. It will give him structure, maybe fix his laziness. give him a purpose. Tell your husband to get him to join the military!!!
What about that idea? He's out of the house, but at the same time its positive for him as a man.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 8:45AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The country my husband and his son come from, used to have mandatory military service. Unfortunately, they stopped that a few years ago. If you enlist it's full time, and because he's an adult, no one can force him to enlist. His mother certainly wouldn't. I can't even see him making it there. They'd likely lose patience and throw him out. He's the slowest moving human I've ever seen. I've dubbed him 'the sloth'.

I agree he's leeching. My husband and I do see a therapist together, who specializes in blended families. Unfortunately, she has stated that my stepson is a victim. Because his mother did everything for him growing up, he's almost been abused in a sense. He doesn't know how to be an adult, and she's said that if my husband sends him back, it'll go back to the way it was, and he'll never learn to be independent and responsible. Now my husband has guilt over that. My sense is, he wants to send him back. It would relieve quite a financial and emotional burden. On the other hand, he feels guilty for "abandoning" him once, and doesn't want the guilt of doing that again.

I have to be honest. I don't care if he goes back and ends up helpless, as long we're not the ones having to deal with it. When he decided to move here, I figured at his age, he'd move here, stay here a year, tops, and then he'd be on his own doing his own thing. I had NO clue that his plan in life, was to live as a freeloader as long as possible.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 9:07AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

he is 21, time to grow up. My nephew is also very lazy so i believe you about laying around all day long.

he could be told that if he doesn't work and go to school he must leave and be on his own, like rent his own apartment by a certain day or move back home or go to army or somehting. I feel for you, sounds awful. I don't know what to advice. he is not a minor anymore, so he should make a decision by a certain day. sorry you have to deal with it.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 9:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"I have to be honest. I don't care if he goes back and ends up helpless, as long we're not the ones having to deal with it."

You don't care, but his father and mother likely do... and deep down I'm sure you don't want the kid being helpless either. But something definitely DOES need to be done about the situation. Unfortunately, you're not going to be the one who can change it... even if you "sit your husband down" and attempt to tell him the way things are gonna be with his son. You can try it, but no guarantees it's going to work... and definitely no guarantees it's going to help your marriage or your husband's feelings of guilt and responsibility for his son.

But nonetheless something has got to change, this situation can't continue as-is, that seems to be something everyone can agree on here. The question is how to go about making the changes. Especially from your limited position... but presuming your husband is amenable to working with you to come up with solutions, there are some things you can try.

I think we all know that the black-or-white "sink or swim" approach is usually not effective... especially on kids that have not been raised that way previously (and even on many of those kids too), and can also lead to even more guilt on the bio-parents' part after all is said and done. But even if it's not "meted out" like a punishment, there does need to be a system of consequences/rewards to urge SS toward more toward independence.

Basically if it's all payoffs to be a freeloader and no payoffs to go out and become more independent... most kids ---heck, most people in general--- opt for the easier way out. There are plenty of adults who would also prefer to just be taken care of, so it's going to be a temptation for most people unless/until circumstances deter it. Generally this means there being more of a motivation to get out and work than to stay at home. Find the source of that motivation: it can be anything from grandiose needs for power or recognition to wanting to get laid to something as simple as getting to use a laptop.

But there's also the matter of the less-than-great economy. And with not even a GED and no real job history, SS isn't exactly going to be at the top of anyone's hire list. It's a very real possibility that he won't be able to find a job anytime soon. But he should still have to work... even if it is around the house... and even if his daily job is looking for jobs or building his job skills in some way.

For there to be any real, constructive, healthy change in the situation that your SS can actually feel some positive feelings about and your husband can be guilt-free about, the new arrangement has to be explained to SS in very fair, clear and pragmatic terms with plenty of advance notice. His father should explain to him that SS is no different than anyone else in this world who wants certain things in life: he's got to work for them. "We want to eat, so we work. We want to be taken seriously as productive members of society, so we work. We want a nice tv to watch or a computer to use, so we work. If you want a hot girl, you need a good job. If you want to live on your own with no rules, you have to earn yourself enough to pay rent. This isn't a punishment I'm giving you, this is just reality." And it needs to be explained that even if SS can't find a job outside the house at this point in time, he needs to be doing A LOT more household tasks to hold up his end of the household. He needs to be looking for jobs. And only after evidence is shown that he is doing all these things should he be permitted full access to the computer. Even this doesn't have to be put to him like he's a toddler... simply: "plenty of people waste too much time dinking around on the computer, it's not just you.... But as your parent who sees that there are things you MUST do first, for your own good and your own long-term happiness, I am going to help you do them. And that means I can't in good conscience sit and watch you waste all this time on the computer, so I'm only going to let you use it for an hour a day until I see evidence that you are working to hold up your end of the household and are looking to make yourself a more independent person."

There's nothing belittling or unfair about Dad saying that to his son. It's simply placing son on the same yardstick every other person is on, and doing his part to help his son measure up. There are clear, real-world reasons for it, the steps are outlined and explained clearly and fairly, and that is good parenting. As opposed to outright calling him lazy, kicking him to the curb and leaving a mess for someone else (presumably mom) to clean up.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 10:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you for your reply. I guess I sound like one of those stereo typical stepmothers. I'm very hurt by my stepson. I did everything for him...treated him like my own kid. I was the one responsible for all his immigration papers. He and his father allowed me to run around doing all the leg work. All my stepson had to do was get a physical, a police clearance record and fill in some info I didn't know. Well, his mother got his police record, his grandmother arranged and took him to the doctor, and he came back with the papers blank. I should have known then.

He gave us the impression he wanted to go to film school and gave no indication that he'd failed school. He also never told us he never bothered getting his license. I feel he ran away from responsibility over there, thinking his sob story would allow for him to avoid it here, and clearly, he was right.

Then, he stole, he lied, he shows no remorse. We've had no fewer than five sit downs where we explained life and expectations and each time he rolled his eyes and continued on. We said he'd be doing his own laundry. Last time I saw him do it, was roughly two months ago, and I know he doesn't own 60 pairs of clean underwear. His father still has to tell him to shower, or he goes a good week and a half before he does.

Nothing works with him. We cut him off the internet, but as soon as we're gone, he figures out a way back on. He likes making fan movies and has convinced my 9 yr old that George Lucas will discover them on youtube. He writes songs (if you can call them that) with my 9 yr old and says they're going to sell them on a website. He's living as a child would and nothing gets through to him. The money he makes is wasted with daily trips to the general store, where he buys pocketsful of candies and chocolates. I can't imagine what the store owner thinks.

I'm just at a loss. Nothing gets through to him. He enjoys being looked after. He's lost one job and has been on two separate interviews where they don't call back. His attitude is quite apparent when he walks in...he doesn't want to be there. So I'm really at a loss as to how he can be forced into working, when he knows he won't be sent back or thrown out. As long as he's in his room, even without the laptop (that was a recent purchase), he's fine and happy.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 11:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't think you sound unreasonable at all... and the situation you're in is a tough one. It must be tough to watch not only as a stepmother but I'm sure his father has a very difficult time watching his son waste his life away too. Passivity is probably the hardest thing to fight, and it does need to be fought, for SS's sake.

I just think the focus needs to be on how to help SS grow up. Even though the stealing & bad attitude are bad & obnoxious behhaviors, the primary long-term approach should be how to steer him in the right direction. Everybody can be motivated somehow... the trick is finding the things that motivate SS in particular. Even apparently lazy, totally ambitionless people are motivated by something... even if it's nothing more than comfort. Someone like that needs to realize that comfort itself needs to be worked for. And the key is to reframe it so that making him work (in some form or the other) isn't a punishment ---thus feeding into his already-existing aversion to work even more--- but that it's a means to an end of the REWARD of comfort and relaxation. You earn the right to relax; the relaxation is the sweet fruit of your labor. This is what he needs to understand, and to learn to see in a positive light. That's really the only way the situation will improve long-term and in a way everyone can feel good about.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 12:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

he needs psychological help, take him to thepary, this is not normal.

also i do not undertand how dad did not know that he dropped out of school. didn't he ask to see some school stuff, graduation pictures, diploma etc?

    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 1:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My husband had been asking for transcripts, and stepson kept conveniently forgetting them. Found out they were stuffed in his suitcase for a year. I kept asking my husband how he was getting school work done, because every time I talked to him, he was running of with friends, making these ridiculous fan movies. He passed all the "fun" courses like music, art, etc. He just failed the academic ones *eye roll* Technically, I believe he passed, but only just, and not enough to get into a university.

I agree he needs therapy, but he doesn't talk. Literally. You ask him questions and he just sits there and stares or rolls his eyes. Very frustrating. Plus, he lies, so he'll make himself out to be this victim. I believed for years that his stepfather was some monster, but after a year of living with him, I can totally see why his stepfather did as he did (cutting him off the internet, insisting he buy clothes for himself, etc.).

    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 1:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Stop making it so cushy for him.

Require him to pay rent and mimic the real world at home.

As far as the showers and stuff, I really have no idea what to say. When I was in the military there were quite a few people like that. It seems to be something learned quite young and I don't know if it is something that can be taught when they are older. People actually got paperwork and in a lot of trouble for not showering, despite being told multiple times to do so.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 2:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If your husband is not backing you up now, he never will. To solve this problem you will probably have to leave or make him leave, depending on whose home it is. If you give him an ultimatum be prepared to do what you have to do. You will find out how much he loves you. I had to give mine an ultimatum and he chose me. Good luck.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 2:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I knew people who didn't shower. i dated a guy who had a sister..the whole family had to shove her in the bathtub and lock the door from outside and she was not allowed to get out until she washed. It would take hours of her screaming and banging the door until she finally would do it. she was like 20 at that time. it is often a sign of depression, no desire for grooming.

on the topic of schooling, can't he go to vocational school or community college or somehting?

    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 2:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I'm with everyone else here...make him pay rent, do chores or get out! Mostly, make him get out. I doubt it will break your marriage as your husband is aware that his son is a deadbeat even if he doesn't say it out loud. He might be unhappy with you for a while but that beats having a 21 year old leech around draining you dry and making YOU miserable.

Hate to say it but it's you and your sanity or this grown man. Kick him out.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 10:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

how have you been and how is your family, didn't see you here for awhile?

    Bookmark   August 29, 2009 at 9:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think one of the best things about a fast food job is that the child will find out very quickly this is not the way to go.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2009 at 10:01AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

askerose one of the themes I see running through your post is that your SS is being seen as a victim - by himself, by his father, and perhaps by you. Even your therapist has called the SS a victim. If the therapist is qualified, she certainly would have heard of the drama triangle. People move through the roles of Persecutor, Rescuer and Victim in the course of a dysfunctional relationship, sometimes changing roles in a matter of minutes. You yourself might alternate between feeling you need to rescue your SS and feeling you're a victim of his behavior, and finally feeling that he deserves whatever he gets.

The escape from the Drama Triangles lies in recognizing how your family plays each of the roles, having awareness of how the roles color your view of the situation, and stepping back to draw appropriate boundaries. The ultimate goal is to get out of the drama triangle completely.

I don't have a solution for you, but it seems to me that kicking the son out will merely transfer the persecutor/victim role that your SS is playing from him to his father, giving his father ammunition to further persecute you.

Your job isn't to rescue the son, nor is it his father's job. Your job is to be clear in your own mind what your limits and boundaries are and state them in a way that those around you understand.

My best to you, I know it's not easy.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Drama Triangle

    Bookmark   August 29, 2009 at 7:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

He rolls his eyes and doesn't answer questions..mmmm...THis adult is leeching off of both of you. He doesn't need counciling. He needs a swift dose of reality. I think he claims abuse from Stepdad because they took action over at the other house and he found his escape route through you guys.
Its time for him to move on. My stepnephew was EXACTLY like this. He was a pathological liar! My dh through him out. This kid stated he went to school and worked part time. So my dear dh called his so called job, they said they never heard of this person. Then he phoned the school...not registered!!! He phoned up his brother (ie kids dad) and told him he is kicking him out. It was an ugly scene but it had to be done. His father showed up and removed him and another uncle came with a pick up truck to take what he had. Brotherinlaw's exwife reluctantly took him in for a while ...then kicked him out after one he just now goes hopping from one friend to another....
Sorry but your case is not complicated to me. Its cut and dry. Set boundaries and if he doesnt' abide, its out. Make it clear. But if your husband doesnt conquer then you have a big problem.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2009 at 12:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sorry I haven't replied, but I decided to take my kids to my sister's for a few days, to get away from my stepson and even my husband.

My stepson has been trying to get a job at the place my almost 14 yr old works at part time, making $5 an hour. Well, they hired him today. So he thinks his ticket has come. He only has to work 8am until 1pm, 5 times a week. This way he can say he has a job, he can sleep until 7:30am, gets out of walking the dog in the morning and still has the rest of the day to play on his laptop, because the place he works is literally 5 minutes away.

I told my husband this isn't acceptable. With the $200 my husband is going to start making his son pay per month, that means stepson will be making $300 a month. How is he supposed to get a car, gas and insurance, not to mention, saving up to get his own place? I finally said what I've wanted to say for months...that stepson needs to go back home.

Although my husband knows it's true, he just can't commit to saying "yes, he is going back". He said his ex is calling their son on the weekend (they haven't spoken since he moved here, which is weird all on its own). I explained that she doesn't want him back, so she's going to say how proud she is he got a job and say how horrible we are for wanting him to leave.

I just really hope my husband doesn't back down, because if he does, he really will end up losing me, and to some extent, his other kids.

Thanks everyone for your advice, opinions and support.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2009 at 2:35PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Post Partum Depression Because of Step-Grandmother?
I have a 5 year old boy and a 4 month old girl. I was...
how much child support do you pay?
Hi everyone. I have been a non-custodial stepmom for...
will the real mom please stand up!
I'm all confused. My kids bio-mom abandoned us with...
Choosing Cats over Friends
Sorry, I'm posting this here because I don't know where...
Marrying Widower with Adult Children
Somebody help me, please! I am about to marry a widower...
Sponsored Products
Black Ceramic Lamp: 38 in. Black Table Lamp 26697
Home Depot
WAC Lighting | Svelte dwelLED 22in Bath Light
$248.50 | YLighting
Baxton Studio Everdon Dark Brown Modern End Table
Slatted Wood Side Table
$139.99 | zulily
Vanity Side Splashes: Swanstone Counter Tops 22 in. W Solid Surface Sidesplash
$36.95 | Home Depot
Campania International Fiona Winged Dragon Garden Statue - S-462 - NATURAL
$194.99 | Hayneedle
Upton Home Prentice Glass-top End Table
Ardor Office Chair in Black
$89.00 | LexMod
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™