I need some advice and I am not sure where to turn. I married my husband 14 months ago after dating for 2 years. He has three sons, ages 21,20 and 17, will be 18 in a month and a very manipulative ex-wife. They have been divorced 10 years and she has never remarried or even had a serious relationship. the middle son is living with us, goes to college part time and does not have a job. He had back surgery 9 months ago and has been cleared to go to work, but claims other medical ailments prevent him from getting a normal everyday job.
The problem lies in the manipulation the ex-wife does, with the help of the 20 year old son living with us. When my husband and I first married, and for the year prior to getting married, I stressed to him the importance of preparing his sons for our marriage and my moving in with him, as he had been divorced for quite some time and has his home set up as a bachelor's pad for the boys to frequent at their leisure. I also have children and in the preparation of the changes, we actually did not live together the first 4 months of our marriage, I slowly and gradually moved in with him to stay. When I did move in, I was told to set the house up as I wanted, establish house rules and he would support me. I cleaned the house, set house rules to accommodate the schedules of everyone living in the home. The biggest problem to start with was the lack of consideration of others, it was like a free for all, no boundaries whatsoever. Of course the son who lives here and the youngest son, who has a key to the house so he can come and go as he pleases, revolted. I asked my husband numerous times to have the boys sit down with the two of us, together, and talk with them, come to some understandings, let them know that no one was the enemy, we were trying to make this a home and not a brothel. This never happened, instead, the boys told him "We know this isn't you dad, this is what She wants" and he says, "Well yea, but I agree with her." I feel like that just put the monkey solely on my back and makes me the evil stepmother. We had some issues during the courtship, and in this time, I have found out that he talked badly about me to the boys, which I am sure as tainted their view as well.
Top all that with the fact that the 20 year old son who lives with us, runs and tells his mother everything that happens in our home, along with whining about how things don't go his way or "fit his needs" and she in turn feels she has the right to text and even write a letter telling us the appropriate way to run our household to accommodate her son. I have a big problem with this, and even wrote a letter back in answer to her, but I didn't mail it because my husband feels she will hurt the kids. I want to send it, I feel I have he right to defend my home, but i don't want him upset with me The mother does manipulate my husband and use the boys against him to get what she wants, but I feel the boys are old enough to understand and the divorce was long ago, she needs to be stopped. My husband refuses to do anything, or to even treat his sons as the adults they are. My ex-husband did the same with my children, only to more harsh degrees, and I did what needed to be done to keep him from using me to hurt my kids, now if he hurts them, he does it directly and has to deal with them on a personal level.
I need help in understanding what is the best thing to do, how do I get through this and not be a part of the children being hurt? I am their step mother in a technical sense, but they do not want me in the house with their father, much less as a mother figure, that has been made very clear. Please help me ti understand what to do next.......