'My step-son's a selfish layabout. I've told my wife he goes, or I do'
When you shack up with someone who has children, you’re gaining more than a new relationship. But what happens if you butt heads with their brood?
This week, we hear from a reader who can’t stand his wife’s ‘lazy, selfish’ adult son. So much so, that’s he’s given her an ultimatum: either the son moves out or he does.
It is a recipe for disaster? Read the advice below.
Before you go, check out last week’s dilemma, where a husband was using his lovechild to justify his ongoing affair.
I found love late in life six years ago, when I fell for the barmaid at our local golf club. She already had a teenage son, who seemed nice enough on the rare occasions I saw him.
When we married two years ago, I moved into her place as she didn’t want to disrupt the boy’s schooling. That was when I realised what a lazy, selfish layabout he is, though things were bearable while he was still in education.
This summer he left school and now stays in bed till lunchtime most days. He has no plans to go to university or work, and rather than contribute financially, my wife actually still gives him pocket money.
He brings his friends home at all hours and plays music that wakes us up. Believe it or not, she will actually make him and his friends egg and chips at three in the morning, so they all think she’s the mum of the century. I’ve tried telling her she spoils him, but her view is that he’s only young and enjoying himself while he has no responsibilities.
Our sex life has fizzled to nothing as I’ve started sleeping in a separate room, so I’m not disturbed when she gets up to cook for him.
I don’t want to give up on my marriage so soon, but I’ve reached the point where either he goes, or I do.
You may disapprove of how your wife treats her son, but trying to lay down the law is likely to unite them against you. After all, they were a unit before you came along and probably have a very strong bond. Perhaps as a single parent she centred her life around him, without realising this was encouraging him to be selfish.
Nevertheless, this is your home too, and as you are presumably sharing the expenses, you’re entitled to expect certain rights.
Your stepson won’t live to your rules just because you married his mum, so try instead to gain his friendship and respect. Take him out for a drink and encourage him to talk about his view of the world. He may be so wrapped up in himself that he doesn’t realise what a pain he’s being, so now is your opportunity to clear up a few things in a non-judgemental way. He’s more likely to try to please a friend than an enemy.
Believe it or not, he’s probably scared of the responsibilities of growing up, so encourage him to look online for ways to get that first job. Point out the plusses of work, like friends, independence and money.
Don’t turn this into a competition for your wife’s affection but do explain to her how the present set-up is harming your marriage. Move back into the bedroom and put renewed effort into your relationship; sulking in the spare room will only make things worse.
Remember that your stepson will eventually leave home. You’ve waited a long time to find love; do you really want to give up on it so soon?
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