Dealing with an Older Stepson

Written by Dennis and Barbara Rainey

stepsonQuestion: My husband and I have developed a serious conflict over how to handle his 19-year-old son (my stepson). The son recently left college and moved back home, and he now seems determined to live his own life. He doesn’t work. He doesn’t show respect to me and in fact is often hostile. Yet he expects me to provide his meals and clean his clothes. Whenever I talk to my husband about the problem, he takes the side of his son. In my mind, the son is old enough to make it on his own. The situation has become so tense that I have told my husband that he needs to make a choice of whether he wants to keep our marriage going or not. What should I do?

There are a lot of issues here. The first is their marriage covenant. When a man and a woman come together in marriage, part of the vow says, “Forsaking all others.” That means the husband and wife will give preference to one another—even in a blended family situation. Kids need to know that there is one relationship in that family that transcends all other relationships and can’t be toyed with. They need the security of knowing that this husband and this wife are still going to be committed to one another, regardless of what happens.

I’d suggest that the husband consider taking his wife away and devising a game plan for how they will deal with this issue. He may need to ask forgiveness for failing to protect her in this situation. They need to talk through the situation—perhaps the husband fears that he will lose his relationship with his son if he cracks down.

Barbara: It may be that this 19-year-old young man sees that Dad is on his side and the stepmom is not. As a couple, they really need to get together and present a united front. There have been plenty of times that Dennis and I have disagreed in handling the kids. But we’ve tried to keep our mouths shut when the kids are there and talk about it later privately. We don’t present two totally different opinions in front of the kids so that they can play off one or the other.

Dennis: The wife is right—it’s time for that young man to grow up. The husband and wife need to agree and clarify to the stepson what’s appropriate and inappropriate for how he relates to his stepmother. She needs to be protected. If he doesn’t comply with your guidelines, tell him that he will need to move into his own apartment. Even if he does comply, they all need to come to an agreement about when this young man should get a job and move out on his own.

Barbara: I’m reminded of a situation that we faced as a family years ago with a child in the neighborhood who was a bully to our children. One of my thoughts at the time was, “I wish this child didn’t live near us.” But he was there, and I knew as a Christian, I had to love that child too. I began to ask the Lord to give me love for him. So I began to miraculously give me a genuine compassion for the child because of God.

In the same way, I can see how a stepmom could wish this child wasn’t in the family. But the God of the universe can put love in our hearts for people who are unlovely. Children in blended families are going to feel like they don’t belong, and they often take it out on the stepparent. So that makes it harder for the stepparent to love in return. I would encourage this mom to try to love the son as much as possible. If she is a Christian, I encourage her to take this issue to God and pray for a genuine love for the stepson. She should get to know the stepson and see what the real needs of his heart are. That doesn’t mean that she has to go soft on him. But if the stepson and her husband see she genuinely loves and cares for the son, that will go a long way toward resolving the problem.

Copyright© 2005.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission.

Ten Ways to Support Your Wife as a Stepmom

A Stepmom’s Journey Out of Resentment.


80 Responses to “Dealing with an Older Stepson”

  • Chris says:

    zen…to me this situation is totally unacceptable. its one thing for the son to spend time with his mother but not your husband to spend time with his ex-wife. if i were you i wouldnt accept this behavior. God help you in your marriage and situation!

  • Zen says:

    I need help or advice… Are you allow your husband to hangout with his son and ex to watch football game and spend the night later on? This is a group tour for the request of the son to be together with his parents… I don’t know if I can take this situation… Do he really need to hangout with son and ex on the same time… He’s son already 18 1/2 yrs old… I knew he shouldn’t neglect about his son relationship but why he have to deal with the ex too ( mother of his son)… I mean he is already an adult not a kid anymore… Any help

  • adrotes says:

    Chris, thank you for your reply. I took it to heart. I wrote a year ago, I had moved from my Husbands home due to the dysfunctional situation. For the better part of this past year I have begged my husband to move his adult sons to the house down the street that they own and let us have a chance at a good life together as husband and wife as our Heavenly Father had intended but have been met with resistance at every pleading. In early September he moved the sons girlfriend in to which what incentive was there for that particular son to ever want to move? I just recently got to a place in counseling that I realized I needed to change my perspective off the situation, it has helped. I have become content being out of their home and can’t imagine ever how I was ok for even two years with that mental and emotional abuse and am realizing again my self worth. You see thru all this I am regaining my strength in Christ and have become content no matter my circumstance. My focus has been on the wrong thing.

    I just recently purchased my own home and have set ground rules for myself of what & who I will accept in my life and my husband and I get along better now cuz the discord has been removed from conversation and the younger son (23 yr old) last month even initiated a hug when saying good bye after a family dinner. I praise God. I just keep praying their stony hearts will be unveiled to real and lasting love, agape love.

    My husband has narcissistic tendacies or severe selfishness and as discussed in counseling the issues in our marriage and the situation are still there it’s just I have removed all sources of pleading & discontent so it just seems things are better. What I deal with now is quite often I am now content without any of them around. I’ve been enjoying my life and spending more time with my own adult daughters and my 16 yr old is happier and healthier outside all that chaos and dysfunction.

    My husband said I could move back when my youngest daughter moves out. How do I ever consider going back to a man who clearly chose his adult sons over me? The circumstance would be the same; his sons dads house. So I consider a final break in our relationship to truly be free of it all. I don’t believe for a moment that God intended a husband and wife to live separate lives and only have conjugal visits when it suited the husband. Separate lives? Yes, we don’t consult each other over vacations or weekends or late nights at the office or any family gatherings, or finances, or purchases; remember I just bought my own home and he didn’t even ask anything. I have to ask if we are doing such and such as a family to later realize he already has plans with his sons and parents. My counselor, I hear her voice in my head often, “clearly Angela, he doesn’t like you very much, so why do you accept that?” I’m working thru that. Why do I stay? Why do I accept this behavior? Is this how I envisioned marriage? And if not, then again, why do I stay and accept it this way? It is still dysfunctional and not how I envisioned marriage to be.

    To each person here, I pray you find yourself. What do you want in life? In marriage? In family? Make it happen for you. Make peace and security a priority. Find a support group. I pray you find lasting unconditional love as you have so freely given.

  • Sharon says:

    to Lisa– prayer– father God I pray for this marriage open the eyes of this husband to see on what he is doing to this marriage by ruining his son I pray protect this marriage and bless Lisa and her husband and this marriage also open the eyes of this son/stepson to see on what he is doing to this marriage give this husband dreams and visions of what he is doing and how he can save his marriage I pray all of this in JESUS name amen I am praying for you all— sharon

  • Lisa says:

    Holly’s case is most similar to mine. I have a 19 year old step son that has recently moved in with us because his mother kicked him out when she no longer received child support. My husband and his ex wife had a 2 1/2 year custody battle because of the way his ex didn’t support education, her anger, SS not going to school, step son’s disrespect towards authority and her being bipolar. We hired 6 therapists that all agreed SS would be better off with his father yet Guardian Ad Litem disagreed that he’d be better off if living conditions stayed the same. Husband’s ex does everything in her power to undermine my husband and I! SS has never been disciplined for anything. She deliberately caused SS to fail a grade in high school so she could get an extra year child support. His mother is very bitter towards me and has instructed SS to never call me mother and that I am to never discipline him.
    Moving forward, SS is VERY disrespectful towards me and my family members. I have 3 adult children that are 31, 30, and 27. When they are here or any other family member SS doesn’t come out of his room and when he does, he will not speak to them – not even a “Hello”. My husband does NOTHING to try to fix the situation. In fact, he makes excuses for SS and doesn’t talk to him about it. We have recently seen a therapist who has tried to make husband aware of how he’s hurting our marriage by not standing by me which works for a day or maybe one week but then as soon as the next episode comes into play husband will back his son again.
    Husband wants SS as a buddy yet he and I are drifting further away from each other.
    Husband is a binge drinker. I have caught him and another women texting and talking late at night when I’m in bed. That has ended.
    Husband is on SS Disability because of double hip replacement which has impacted us financially! I have a business in my home. SS is rude to my clients too.
    Husband changed beneficiary on life insurance to 2/3’s me and 1/3 SS without discussing with me. He lied to me about paying for SSs auto insurance. He told me that he may have to start paying for insurance IF SS doesn’t get a job. SS got a job and I THOUGHT that took care of it but later found a credit card statement with $700 insurance purchase made prior to that. Now SS makes insurance payment but hasn’t been enforced to pay back previous fees charged on credit card.
    Now my husband has been busy finishing a room in basement for SS to move into. I don’t think he’ll ever move out if my husband makes things so comfortable for him. He and I carefully picked out a paint color and we have painted the room last month. Now SS is moving in and wants to change the paint color to orange. I said no and now husband is mad at me for not allowing SS to have his way because he’s already told his son he could change it.
    Every day there’s a new battle around here involving SS manipulating husband. My husband’s guard is down when he consumes alcohol which makes is easier for SS to manipulate. Husband doesn’t think he has an alcohol problem because he doesn’t drink every day. The therapist and I have told him that he’s a binge drinker which is an alcoholic but a different type.
    Until my SS moved in with us in March 2015 we got along just fine. When SS visited I would shop, run errands, and do my own thing when SS visited. We moved away 4 years ago because of the way SS and his mother were ruining our marriage and made he very ill to the point I was hospitalized (stomach ulcers and other GI problems related to stress)
    Please! Is there any one else out there that has any advice for me? Therapist and I are not getting through to my husband on how he’s ruining his son AND our marriage.
    We will be married 10 years this month. I love him SO much and really want to save our marriage.
    Thank you.

  • Kate says:

    hi Rusty, my heart goes out to you for your situation. There are no easy answers and no step-by-step guidebook that I have found. Have there been any visits to counselor or mediator to help have an outside party offer guidance? Perhaps some support group, a church parenting group, could be right for you and your wife. You need to get on the same page with her, discuss and come to an agreement about how to handle and what’s right for your family.

    If you want to talk to a mentor on our site, click on the link at the top. It would be private correspondence.

    I pray that you will have both wisdom to make decisions and patience to endure. It can be a long road, but the father of the prodigal son rejoiced ultimately.

  • Rusty says:

    OK, So how do you handle a step son who does not want to live with his mom or his dad but lives with his dad’s parents because he does not like the rules at either parents house and gets what ever he wants with the grandparents. The grandparents bought him a truck (used) he uses his grandparents gas card all the time to run the roads with his friends or goes to southern IL to deer hunt. If my step son I will call him Troy does not get what he wants he will throw a tantrum like a 5 year old. He moved into his dads house several years about because of the way his dad used money to lure him over and really messed with the boys head until he figured out what his dad was doing to him. Troy expects EVERYTHING he asks for because he is used to getting everything from such an early age, now if he does not get it he will argue with everyone until he either gets it or finds a may to manipulate getting it. He makes it to where it is a hostel environment everywhere he goes, he will not ask me for anything because I always tell him he needs to show some respect to him mom as he will just hang the phone up on her if she says no on things we cannot afford then he asks his grandparents who will get it for him (like the truck). I have thought about just moving out and filing for a divorce because I cannot take it but I do love my wife and now together we have a 7 year old daughter. If my wife Troy’s mother has to drop what she is doing and drives 40 minutes to where Troy lives I do not let our daughter go because of this drama and hostel environment he starts all because he does not get what he wants. My daughter has seen this side of her half brother and kind of does the same until I get firm with her and she does back down but the way her brother is is not healthy and needs help but according to him we are the ones who needs help. What do you do in this situation?

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Danille, are you and your husband united in your decision? Was that hard on him?

  • danille says:

    I told my 25 year old stepson he had to leave by oct.1. He moved in with us after he was kicked out of college and got dui,then was arrested.
    We gave him free living and some simple rules. He got a job but consistently broke the rules. He had a party while we were away which was captured on our outside security cameras which he was aware of. I own the house and have a high visibility job as an executive. Kinda lost my limited liability policy due to his dui so know I have liability exposure. In my state the home owner is put in jail if someone leaves the house intoxicated and injures someone. I kicked him out because of the financial risk to my assets and job.i worked too darn long and hard to lose it due to his stupidity and lack of respect. Tough love it’s called. I can sleep at night with my decision.

  • Lolita says:

    Losing, I heard you, I had to deal with the same situation, unfortunately your stepson smokes weed, weed doesn’t help at all, it makes them lazy, they loose the sense of care, respect, urgency, they don’t want to do anything but smoke pot and be high. Now he is smoking in the shed, later will be inside the house, in the bathroom or in their room, it happened to us, it was a nightmare. My husband asked his son to moved out, he did, but it was a nightmare too because everyone kicked him out, we gave him another opportunity but he was worse than before, really difficult situation. If you are Christians you may want to look for counseling help, it is not an easy situation to deal with. I pray the Lord to give your husband wisdom to make the right decision and keep you and your husband’s heart through this trial.

  • Losing it says:


    Search TermSEARCH

    Your search for “I have a 21 year old stepson that has been living with us for the past 10 months because he had to leave school and his fraternity. I have been in his life since he was 1 4 months. Now that he lives with us he tells me he doesn’t like my ruls, he does the complete opposite..he also smokes a whole lot of weed. I never wanted that to be allowed.around my home but my husband allowed it. now 10 months husband told him no more. One day I caught my stepson smoking weed in our shed, completely disregarding our rules and breaking our trust. My husband wasn’t home so I got mad and I got mad. My stepson went off on me big time and when I told my husband, he didn’t do anything. What should I do. My ST moved out bc he is not ready to stop smoking. My problem is that during the 10 months of him living here, when my SD and I had a problem, my husband never had my back and usually accused my of be wrong or would comment that his son is 21. My belief is that how is he going to learn if his dad doesn’t teach him not to disrespect his wife and that too live in our house he has to follow our rules but that doesn’t happen. ” 

  • Aldo says:

    Ann and Dee, to keep the facets of your situations on a more private note, I suggest that you both click on the Talk to a mentor at the bottom left of this page. They will be happy to chat with you regarding your issues, or just to pray with you about them.

  • Ann says:

    I have a 43 year old step son living with us and my own 27 year old son . My problem is that my 43 year old is a drug addict and also has stolen a lot from myself, my children and his father over the last 9 years. He has been told to leave in the past and last April of 2014 his time was up at a shelter and he asked to come and stay with us for a couple of weeks , although I didn’t believe this I stood by my husband and agreed for 2 weeks . He is still with us , he is content because he does nothing . If he does work , maybe 3 days out of a month he will give his father some money and his father won’t say anything . My son works goes to school and is involved in karate . My sons biggest fault is that he is a slob . My husband will NEVER. Complain about his own son but DAILY complains about mine . This has been going on for over a year now and I’m about to break . I don’t feel that he is fair at all yelling at my son always shaking his head when he talks because my husband ‘doesn’t understand’ him . But yet his son it almost seems that he looks up to him in a way . Even though he won’t say it and when he is with his son he will even get cocky with me sometimes but I put him in his place . I’m not sure what to do here I pretty much make the decisions because my husband Siena renown what decisions to make but I’ll be dammed if I am going to make my 37 year old move out that is at least trying , and let his bum son live here

  • Dee says:

    I have 2 stepsons(now 27&28years old). Back in 2001, their mother commited suicide. I gave up everything to accommodate the situation. Both boys turned to drugs and alcohol. My husband, their biological father, did nothing to stop them, as a matter of fact he became their buddy (smoking and drinking with them). One day I had enough and gave my husband a piece of my mind and gave him my point of view of where this was going. I was told by my husband and his 2 sisters that “the boys are not my kids and to mind my business”. I can not see into the future but I was spot on as to where they would be in coming years. Both boys, now men, have done time in jail, the 28yr.old is a bit better off than the 27yr. old. The 27yr old has been in and out of jail now for 6 years and is in jail as of this very day, my (87yr old)grandmother just informed me that her wedding ring and anniversary ring are missing. That is what she gets for being kind enough to let him live at her house. My husband has it in his head that when he(27yr old) is released from jail that he will be coming to live with us. I don’t want him to. Any advice????

  • Aldo says:

    Esther, I suggest that you read Chris’ comment below. Not only does it make sense, but I believe it is the answer to the problems you are having with your husband and stepsons.

  • Esther says:

    Facing similar problems with step-sons. Both are much older than those mentioned here, and my husband has been supporting them off and on for many years. They usually don’t work (younger one has not had a regular job since 1999, and his older brother can’t keep any job for very long). Have tried to talk to husband regarding enabling middle-aged offspring, but he says he will support them even if it takes every penny he has. Sometimes, I think he’s married to them and not to me. Before 1999, we had a good relationship and were best friends/lovers/travelers. After his sons returned to this area in 1999, it all stopped. They were rude and disrespectful to both of us, but he can’t stop bailing them out of every situation, and not expecting them to work and be independent. One of them moves back and forth from the state where he lives almost every month, and we pay for it. He is nothing more than a moocher, and he has a history of lying. Why do some parents accept this from their grown offspring? I’m trying to understand why, but it makes no sense to me. Has anyone been to counseling, and did it make a difference? That may be my next course of action. If it doesn’t work, then I know what I’ll have to do.

  • Chris says:

    jen…i regret to hear of your situation….it seems your husband is more married to his son than to you. i would recommend firstly to be sure of your relationship with God since you cannot be sure of your relationship with your husband at this time. by logging onto or by clicking talk to a mentor above, you can begin a personal relationship with the one who designed marriage and who knows how to fix marriages. i pray that you would allow christ to take charge of your life so he can intervene in your husbands and step sons lives also in his name and for his glory amen!

  • Jen says:

    Morning my friend gave me this site.

    I dont know what to do with my stepson he is 20 years old . We have endless problems and father always takes his side. The stepson can swear,call me names, try to kill me . And when I tell his father he needs to He says no he will also go . He has chores to do , when he is on his off days. Sweep floor and wash floors. Do dishes Mon and Tues.
    He lies and steals from us all the time. I am so tired of this bull.

    I have ended up with a nerous breakdown May 2013. Tried to jump off our balcony Mon night. Cops stopped me I then took 57 sleeping tabs. Husband did nothing. I woke up Wed for the first time thinking today is Tues.
    I love my husband but cant keep up with the ….
    A person can talk till u blue in the face nothing changes, Doesnt answer me when I talk to him, sweares at me. Wont do his chores. And pays rent when it suites him.

    What can I do before I go off my head totally

  • Alfred says:

    Dear Annette, It is quite something for people to learn “how to live within their means”. Have they sold one of those cars? Well, my mandate is to give encouragement (not advice unless specifically asked for). Does this young couple have a church home? It will be good for them to meet people of faith and to consider what God’s plan is for their lives. Secondly, it may be good if you gave them a date by which they should expect to move into their own place again. You can discuss this with them, that in a few months they move into whatever they’ve found. You may need to put that in writing and stick with it!
    Dear Lord, I thank you for not saving us from troubles, but rather “helping us through these tough times”. YOU are the giver of all life, and also the Lord who will at times give second chances. May we learn through these experiences and come out stronger and wiser! I thank you for these parents that have opened their home to this young family, and pray that you give them wisdom and patience also. May all involved, reach up to You for help; and may they soon have something to thank you for. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

  • Annette says:

    My Ss is 19. He moved in at 16 when his mom met her 5th husband to be and abandoned him because the new man didn’t want kid’s. His attitude was horrible before and got worse when he moved in. We bought hI’m his first truck and. Got him through high school. He refused to go to college so he got a job working out of state making great money. His 17 year old girlfriend and him decided to get pregnant (ON PURPOSE!). First we told them to stay with us and save some money so they could get a house in a year or so. They ignored every bit of advice period.
    They buy two new cars $500.00 a month note each. Insurance $450.00 mo. Apartment $700.00 mo. Utilities ect.
    Turns out he loses his job with no warning. My husband tells them to move in here until they could get back on their feet. No, ss decides to rent to own this crap 30 year old trailer he takes ALL his savings and puts in floors walls and paints… The owner changes his mind lol and no contract so ss lost all his money. I get a call Sunday afternoon from the girlfriend Jessica “can we spend the night we don’t have heat in the trailer?”. Yes you can so they show up Sunday night at 9 pm we are all in bed thinking they changed their minds AGAIN. So, she was starting training for a job and he had to work and at 6:30 am I get woken up to babysit. They knew they needed someone, why not tell me the night before?
    Fast Forward 6 weeks things are tense josh is working again and Jessica is working days. Her friends mother is watching the baby. (I Have COPD and Emphysema ) so my energy is limited. Then Jessica changes to midnight to eight shift to be on the same schedule as her friend. Josh has leave for work at 4:30 am and she won’t be here til after 8:30. Didn’t ask if I minded watching the baby 4 months old then until she got home and then when she went to bed. I lost it…!!! I asked her what the hell was she thinking? Who was going to watch the baby those 12-14 hours? She said she didn’t want to pay for daycare because it would take most of her check. Well, yeah we told you that.
    She ends up quitting her job because I can’t watch him every day.
    Now they weren’t helping around the house didn’t even wash their own towels until I stacked them up in front of their bedroom door all dirty. I ask her to cook dinner 2 times a week and she tells me that She doesn’t like to cook so NO. They haven’t bought food or anything for the household. Yesterday we ran out of laundry soap and paper plates so I remind them they were supposed to be paying $50.00 a week to me for groceries and have been here six weeks and haven’t given us a penny. Josh tells me that they are going to just buy their own groceries because we wanted them to pay too much. They left for the day going to the fair and out to eat. Came home with three bags fromom the market. I had cleaned out the space for them in the fridge, freezer and cabinets. I asked him again are you sure that’s what you want and he said yes we just spent $70.00 on groceries but don’t worry we could use the paper plates and laundry soap they bought. Lol Really??? They used it til ours was gone that’s why we didn’t have any.
    I left this out, They Fight cuss and break stuff and he’s kicking her out or she’s leaving him almost every day. My daughter age 12 has to hear all this, then my daughter tells me “he hits Jessica”. Sure enough the punk hits her and chokes her and bloodied her nose and held her down with his hand over her mouth. I told my husband and we asked him and he first denied then with her here in the same room he said he did hold her down with his hand over her mouth because she wouldn’t listen to him. The other bruises an bloodied nose were accidents. My husband told him that no son of his was going to lay a hand on a woman and it was a lot of yelling and cussing between them. I told josh he was a coward for hurting her (she weights 100 lbs) she can’t defend herself. Plus the baby is in the room while all this is happening time and time again.
    My ss tells me that I was a sh*** mother and he wished I’d just go ahead and die now (referencing my emphysema). I kicked him out of the house and told her she had a couple days to go back to her mom’s or dad’s or whatever. Ss shows back up a couple hours later and she goes outside with him and makes up. Then they come to the front door and asks if josh apologies could he come back? My husband says yes and here we are. With nothing resolved them still refusing to pay what they agreed to pay and them saying things about me in front of my 12 year old daughter who tells me everything.
    I know this was a lot but this is my situation. What would You do?

  • Annette says:


  • Chris says:

    phil…i am glad to hear the step son is taking steps in the right direction. typical of satans tactics, when he sees himiself losing on one front he concentrates on another, in this case your marriage. i pray you can see the truth of 2 corinthians 10.1 to 4 which says our battle is not with people but with satans stategies 2 corinthians 2.11 exhots us not to be ignorant of. since jesus came for the sick, mark 2, then we shouldnt be surprised when we encounter sick people, emotionally that is. your wife has many weaknesses that she is trying to find strength for in drinking. through godly wisdom you can understand that and minister to her as your wife just as if she were in a hospital because that is how sick she really is spirtually. again, as i mentioned last time, the only way for you to help her is to be up under her weaknesses and be a pilar of strength for her. romans 15. you cant do it in your own power but only in christs. philippians 4.13. i encourage you to get with other Christian people, a Christian church and pastor so that your relationship to christ can be strengthened and thereby you can strengthen your wife and be praying for her during her time of need, being there as a pilar when she needs someone to lean on. blessings to you!

  • Phil says:

    Hello all again, I have written into this forum before, and I am having trouble with my Step Son who is 25 years old. He is into drugs and just plain lazy, his job he was working involves the hospitality industry therefore alcohol and drugs are easy to get too. During the past week I have gotten close to him and have discussed at length what this is doing to my wife and myself with regard to our marriage. He has taken it upon himself to put in an implant that will stop the urges and also go into rehab, which I dropped him off yesterday. He cannot have contact with us for 30 days.
    Now the other part is that the other week my wife, step son and myself were involved in a heated discussion and alcohol was involved more to the point of my wife was drunk, stepson did not touch any alcohol. It felt like I was being ganged up on and I felt left out of the whole situation and I am now being portrayed as the bad person, My wife now wants a divorce and I have been sleeping on the fold up bed all week. The thing is she doesn’t talk to me unless she has a few drinks. She has had a few things happen in her life that she has not talked to anyone about e.g. counsellor. Her daughter has estranged her, her mother just passed recently, she has had some things happen to her when she was very young from one of her brothers, and now she has blamed me for losing her son.
    Last night she has told me she doesn’t love me and again that was fuelled by alcohol, I told her last night that she needs to seek counselling to speak to someone regarding all the pent up emotions she has inside of her, and then lashing it out on me. She has accused me of being an abusive husband, but in my defence when I am trying to say something she straight away cuts short my sentence, this has obviously angered me and then I swear to keep her from butting in. I love my wife so much and I would do anything for her. We have only been married not even 2 years, the time that we have been together also includes my step son being at home and it seems like a revolving door with him, I’m hoping the rehab will work and he comes back a man. By that time I feel my wife and myself will have parted ways, which I am strongly hoping will not happen. Can anyone out there with a similar situation be of assistance.

  • Aldo says:

    Frustratedstepmomof4, I suggest that you read Chris’ comment below. Not only does it make sense, but I believe it is the answer to the problems being discussed on this site.

  • Frustratedstepmomof4 says:

    Thanks for your response and definitely for your understanding. I also at first concluded that he is trying to take on the role of protector but our therapist strongly disagrees. I believe this kid exhibits many of the tell-tale signs of Asbergers. He is socially unable to make friends really and he is very into routines and gets upset if plans change. Unfortunately my wife refuses to see any of this and thinks that she is a bad parent by saying no to any of them. They pretty much get whatever they want by whining and complaining. I love my wife but this lack of boundaries and private time is most likely going to end our marriage. I always told her that the kids come first, but what I meant was what was best for them. I do not feel that an almost 16 year old boy should be hanging around our bedroom until we go to sleep. I do all of the cooking and I am the one who makes lunches for school and breakfast every day, as my wife is a nurse and has to be at work by 7 am. I work 5 days a week from 9-6 and frankly, come 9 pm, I would like to be able to watch tv in bed and unwind without feeling uncomfortable having an adolescent boy see my in my shorts and t shirt for bed. My wife and I have fought over this so many times and discussed it with our therapist also. Despite even our therapist telling my wife she didn’t think he should be in our room EVERY night, he continues to and my wife spends the whole night talking to him and ignoring me. I want this marriage to work more than anything but I don’t think it has to come at the expense of MY happiness either.

  • Holly says:

    Thank you both for your replies!

    Frustratedstepmomof4, I hear you! I’m so sorry you have to deal with this! Sounds like he might be trying to take on the ‘protector’ role, for some reason. You’ll know this by other protective things he does with her. He might be trying to protect his mom or protect the family in general, either way, it needs to be reinforced that you two rule and protect the roost and she’s in good hands.

    My stepson JUST recently stopped sleeping with his dad shortly after he turned 13. He would slip in at night and sleep at the bottom of our bed and when I had to work overnight, I’d come in and find him in my side of the bed everytime. I protested because I never thought this was normal at all. He also used to hang around dad in our room when it was time to wind down and I had to remind him to go to his room because I was ready to get comfortable, which meant change into my nightie.

    Much like my bf, your wife doesn’t seem to understand your role. It seems like she is trying to protect her kids feelings only, but she needs to understand that your marriage and feelings are just as important.

    I try to remember with my bf that sometimes they struggle with the rift caused by the splitup between their child’s other parent. But that doesn’t mean that we should be mistreated and devalued! Why should we be put at a disadvantage? We deserve to be loved, respected and treated just as invaluable as the other people in their lives!

    There is NOTHING wrong with you. This situation would try ANYONE’S nerves, including hers.

    Your stepson (or any children) should not be interfering in intimate time between you and your wife. I’m referring to intimacy as any quality time, relationships need intimacy to survive.

    My bf and I still have a LOT to work on, but here’s what I did for the co-sleeping situation.

    I reminded my bf that it was very inappropriate for a growing boy with peers as old as 18 yrs old to be sleeping in bed with him. I reminded him that his son is an adolescent now and is old enough to get aroused, thus he is too old to be in bed with his father regularly. I also explained that even if he didn’t agree, an outsider might not understand why he’s sending mixed signals about the father/son relationship during puberty.

    Then I subtly reminded my stepson that a bully would make his life hell if he found out. (Only bc he was very proud of this and bragged or talked about sleeping in bed with his dad.) It eventually stopped, as far as I know.

    Now, there are some people who are completely okay with co-sleeping with a teenager, but the fact is that it is affecting YOUR marriage. YOU are the partner, not anyone else. If it’s bothering YOU, then it should be addressed. She needs to keep you happy as well.

    Good luck and many blessings to you and yours :)

  • Frustratedstepmomof4 says:

    I absolutely feel your pain. My problem is similar. My wife (yes, we are 2 women)has 4 children, ages 15 to 7. The oldest, her 15 1/2 yr. old son treats me in a similar fashion. What really has caused problems in our relationship is the nightly routine of him “racing” up the stairs at night as we lock up to go to bed for the night and jumping into my side of the bed, wanting to sleep with his mother. When he isn’t trying to get in bed with her, he sits EVERY night in the chair we have in our bedroom and won’t leave until we are ready to go to bed. I am extremely uncomfortable with this. We have zero privacy and time alone and it upsets me when I try to talk to my wife about this and she makes it seem as if there is something wrong with me. I do not think it is healthy for an almost 16 year old boy to be so “attached” to his mother. I’d also like to add that he doesn’t really have any friends and is extremely socially awkward. He is argumentative most of the time.

  • Chris says:

    holly…sorry to hear of these struggles…relationships, kids from former relationships, polital families are all challenging especially if we as humans try to participate in them without godly wisdom that the bible is so filled with. since marriage and family is Gods idea, obviously to include God through his son jesus in our lives is imperative. otherwise the happiness we are looking for could very well elude us once more. we see how the Word of God teaches that the lord has a plan for our lives including whom we marry. it behooves us to plug into that plan and exerience all of Gods perfect will for our lives. to start you can log onto or click talk to a mentor above to begin finding out what is Gods perfect plan in your live through living in a personal relationship to his son jesus. i pray you would take that step today. blessings!

  • Holly says:

    sorry if that posted twice. I see the original one now, it wasn’t showing up at first and id like to get some feedback.

  • HollyAgain says:

    This is not letting my post go through but I’ll try it again:

    I am glad this post is still going. I have the same issues. Everytime my stepson comes over I find myself googling what to do about a disrespectful stepson and father. Here’s my thing, first we are not married, but I refer to him as my stepson as opposed to my boyfriends son. I met my bf’s son on our 3rd date, so he’s been in my life for 4 years… since he was 9.

    I think it was too early bc we should have established a relationship built on respect before I had to play nice with his son but bf was adamant on me meeting him early on.

    When I first met him, he was a cool kid. He made a comment about his father having several women in his life but I took it as a joke. I should have taken that as a clue that he was trying to break us up early on.

    I often had to share dates with him and his son bc we could only see each other on the weekends and he had his son on weekends. I wasn’t against it but I should have turned tail if I had known what would come. Once we established a relationship and bf moved in, his son came over very often. Usually 3/4 weekends per month. The whole time his son came over he would be really judgmental of me.

    He would make snide comments and refuse to eat dinner that I cooked. We’re talking about a 9 year old kid. At first I thought he was just picky until he started asking at the dinner table who cooked it (and he knew that I had) and then he would push the plate away. I think that a child will do anything they can get away with, so I never really held it against him. My problem was with my bf.

    As his father and my lover, I felt that he should have corrected that behavior. On what planet is it OK to let your child blatantly insult your woman. A child can give a father many things but he cannot replace a woman or companion.

    This still happens to this day, he is 13 years old now and when I cook, he will push the food around on his plate and turn his nose up like it’s slop. I’m a good, clean cook and no one else complains about my cooking. But whatever his father throws together he will slop it up and second helpings. I think that it is a slap in the face to welcome someone into your home for 4 years and you won’t even eat what they prepare. In some countries/cultures, that is very disrespectful.

    The other part of this though is that dad always gets REALLY ugly with me, when his son is around. I can’t stand the two of them together. They bully me and I’m walking on eggshells. My friends used to tell me that he did it bc he wanted his son to go back and tell his ex-wife that he was miserable, but I don’t see why since she cheated on him. But I don’t think this is the case. I think his son just brings out the worst in him … and he likes it.

    His son would make little comments about me or our daughter and I would wait to see if dad would correct him, and he wouldn’t so I would say something and then dad would jump in about how he’s just joking and I don’t like his son. So I can’t ever say anything without him thinking Im a wicked stepmom. It is so hard to sit back and be disrespected by two people doubleteaming on you. Now I just stay out of their way. I make busy and go out and just stay away from them. When I have to be near them, I stay quiet and read a book. I don’t interact with them at all and just hold my breath until his son leaves and everything is normal again.

    I have NO space or privacy. There are no boundaries at all. If my stepson wants something that belongs to me, he will ask his dad for it. Dad will not ask me or tell him to ask me, he will just give it to him. The rules are not enforced. He can do whatever he wants and dad will buy him a video game because he cries afterwards. Yes he is 13 and he still cries to get what he wants.

    Something embarrassing happened to me the other day and I caught them smirking at each other. This hurt me bc nobody wants to think the person they are with will laugh at them when they’re down… ESPECIALLY not with another person. They can have private jokes but not at my expense.

    I’ve written alot but I haven’t written enough. I just wrote the things that are bothering me today, but they are monsters together and he treats me and our daughter like second-class citizens when his son is around. More than once I’ve caught him and his son eating in our daughters face when I came to the table…(of course daddy cooked that one). This almost made me walk out right then and there but something always makes you stay.

    When his son is not around, he can still be a jerk but not as BIG of jerk as he is when he’s trying to be ‘big man’ around his son.
    Has anyone else had this happen, when it’s not as much of the childs fault than it is your mate’s?

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