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To think DH holds unfair expectations regarding my behaviour towards his son?

(37 Posts)
SnotBagMaterial Tue 05-Jan-16 11:00:13

DH's son is 20 years old. DH thinks I make no effort with him but I'm unsure as to what is a fair expectation really. For one thing he's very difficult to talk to but I do try and make conversation - thing is the lad does nothing all week, he has no hobbies and no job, doesn't go out with friends or anything so his conversation is very limited. Dh thinks I should tell him I like his shirt etc but isn't that a bit "forced"? dH also thinks I should offer him drinks and crisps etc when he's around but I think that is very infantising for a 20 year old man!! He still visits for access visits every weekend and I feel like DH wants me to baby him like he does but I just can't. I don't baby my own (younger) kids so I'm not going to pamper a 20 year old. DH runs up and downstairs with drinks and sandwiches and crisps etc for him and I feel it unfair that he expects me to behave the same.
On top of all this I find myself becomming more and more distanced from him. He's very pretentious and recently I asked him if he fancied a FREE holiday to Greece with us. He started ranting on about how Greece's economy is destroyed and it's an unsafe country because they're all poor and desperate and it's all their own fault that their economy has collapsed because they're all so lazy and didn't work hard enough - this coming from a man who has never worked a day in his life!! And it's not that he's turned the holiday down because of his age, when we suggested somewhere more to his liking he was all up for it!
On top of this, he will not pay for a passport so as well as paying for his flights, accommodation and good whilst he's on holiday we're also having to renew his passport for him!! I'm just finding it harder and harder to connect with him and DH is piling the pressure on telling me I need to make more effort, tell him I like his clothes and keep offering him crisps and drinks! He's 20 years old!!
AIBU or should I be making more effort?

19lottie82 Tue 05-Jan-16 11:10:04

I don't know Do You make ANY effort at all? The odd compliment / small talk / offering of a snack isn't going to hurt?

TBH it doesn't sound like you like him much. Do you?

20 is still pretty young maybe you should cut him some slack, but that's impossible to say as I have no idea how much you actually interact with the lad in the first place.

RidersOnTheStorm Tue 05-Jan-16 11:10:12

It's a DH problem. His son had grown up but he hasn't noticed yet. Tell him.

19lottie82 Tue 05-Jan-16 11:11:35

Maybe the guy is depressed, if he has no friends / hobbies and never leaves the house?

If he doesn't have a job, and your DH wants him to go on a family holiday, surely it seems obvious he can't pay for his own passport?

Krampus Tue 05-Jan-16 11:15:43


Who runs up and downstais with crisps and drinks for any child! Unless they aren't mobile of course. He should be coming downstairs and joining in with conversation, making his own food and drink, joining in with family meal prep, or taking a turn offering drinks to others.

In your situation I would be gasping incredulously at my husband asking when his son ever offered me a drink. He is doing him no favours at all.

Leelu6 Tue 05-Jan-16 11:18:35

YANBU, OP. It sounds like your DP doesn't want to face that his son is an adult with no direction in life and wants you to help maintain the charade.

Your DP should be encouraging his son to get a further education/apprenticeship/job, not running around after him. Why would his son learn to stand up on his own two feet when he's getting royal treatment at home and free holidays?!

And why shouldn't the son renew his passport? Even if his dad pays the fee, it would be a good experience for the son to sort out the application form, the photos etc and complete the process himself. I applied for my own passport after the age of 18, I think most people do.

SnotBagMaterial Tue 05-Jan-16 11:26:27

It's alright saying he hasn't got a job so can't be expected to pay for a passport for 1) he isn't even trying to get a job and 2) his lack of employment doesn't seem to stop him buying new shoes, computer games and gadgets every week.

SleepIsForNinnies Tue 05-Jan-16 11:26:43

I can understand your frustration completely. My stepchild is a little younger but still very much a child, so the world the conversation revolves around them. It's hard being a stepmum - there is just no rulebook or role models to help us work out how to treat our partner's kids.

If there is anything at all that you and stepson both enjoy (film/food/song/the cat/whatever) just have brief conversation about that evey now and then. And gently tell your DH that he's babying his son and treating him like a visitor, not a family member. If the rest of you want to go to Greece, he can always stay at home!

Arfarfanarf Tue 05-Jan-16 11:33:21

so which of the things he asks of you does your husband do for your children? How many sandwiches does he run up to their rooms? Is he always asking them if they want a drink? Does he think up complements daily for them? If not, why not?

Re his son, the small talk/little kindnesses I think is fair enough. It makes a person feel noticed. That's a good thing. So yes, saying he looks nice if he does, noticing if he's made an effort, these are all good things.

waiting on him. pffft. If his dad wants to provide room service that's his lookout. A 20 yr old man can come and fetch his own bloody sandwich.

The holiday, well, yes, perhaps his hypocrisy should be pointed out to him. Someone who won't look for work has no business commenting on the work ethic of others. And if he has any money which it sounds like he does, then even a token contribution to his expenses would be fair.

Birdsgottafly Tue 05-Jan-16 11:36:29

Are you a name changing poster whose been posting about this issue for a while now?

Mari50 Tue 05-Jan-16 11:37:36

Step parenting is a nightmare, treat the boy how you'd treat your own and then there can't be any comments from your DH. But from your post you don't sound like you like this lad very much. Doesn't sound like a nice set up for any of you.

EveryLittleThing Tue 05-Jan-16 11:42:36

Don't know the circumstances but it sounds like DH is feeling guilty about something and is trying to better things but going about it the wrong way. You sound resentful. No one is being open about how they feel or why they are behaving the way they do. Perhaps you all just need to sit down and talk. Clear the air and set some expectations for the way forward. Families can be so complicated at times! flowers

DoreenLethal Tue 05-Jan-16 11:49:01

But from your post you don't sound like you like this lad very much

No it sounds as if she does otherwise why have the conversation about coming to Greece?

OP - my OH's daughter came home from uni over Christmas and he still made her milk and crackers. I despair. I just leave them to it and get on with stuff, I chat when she deems herself in conversation mode.

GreenishMe Tue 05-Jan-16 11:50:54

I'm a bit on the fence with this tbh...

I agree with Lottie that the boy sounds a bit depressed...perhaps that's why your DH is so anxious about him.

I think your DH naturally wants your stepson to feel welcome - from what you've told us it doesn't feel as though he really is? Maybe that's why he shuts himself away upstairs rather than come down for his own drinks and snacks.

I don't think you should be pampering or waiting on him at all but I think what your DH really wants is simply for his son to feel welcome and comfortable when he visits.

There just seems to be a lack of understanding on both sides - not unfixable though.

TheHouseOnTheLane Tue 05-Jan-16 11:51:04

Tell DH that rather than running up and down with crisps, the young man should be allowed to help himself! Does he not do that at all OP?

angelos02 Tue 05-Jan-16 11:55:33

I don't think your DH is doing his son any favours by babying him. How is the son able to afford shoes, computer games and gadgets if he is not working? Surely any money he receives in JSA goes towards his 'keep'?

BlueMoonRising Tue 05-Jan-16 11:57:37

IMO his dad should not be still treating him like he is 12, and a 20yo should be working or in college, or making steps to do one or the other.

I can see why it would be difficult to relate to a 20 year old that still seems to behave like a child. Why should you be expected to make all the effort - this is an adult FFS!

If you need to make an effort, it's not with fake compliments and crisps. It's with finding some common ground, some shared interest and developing a relationship based on that. Maybe the holiday will help with that.

GreenishMe Tue 05-Jan-16 11:59:21

Sooner or later everything on MN comes round to what somebody gets in benefits sad

ouryve Tue 05-Jan-16 12:02:25

Hey, I don't run up and down stairs with crisps for my own 12 year old. He's perfectly capable of foraging for his own crap.

By the time he's 20, I'd hope that he'd be offering me the occasional sandwich.

redskirt3 Tue 05-Jan-16 12:02:51

Lol, I wouldn't run drinks and crisps up stairs for my 8yo OR my 2yo!!!!

Iggi999 Tue 05-Jan-16 12:05:23

My dm runs around getting me snacks when I'm home and I'm in my 40s blush

00100001 Tue 05-Jan-16 12:06:04

Wheee does he get his money from for these new things? confused

Viviennemary Tue 05-Jan-16 12:10:34

I've not got any experience of being a stepmother. But I don't think you can quite treat a twenty year old as if he were you own son. That is tell him to go and get a job or enrol on a college course or else. (not that it would always work but you could at least say it.) I don't agree with waiting hand and foot on any young people so I agree with you there.

BabyGanoush Tue 05-Jan-16 12:12:15

Well, you don't like him, but maybe you could try to hide it a bit more for the sake of your DP?

If my son at 20 had no job, no hobby and no friends sad I would be very grateful for anyone being a bit kind to him tbh, even by just offering him a cup of tea, engaging him in conversation etc.

small things that humans do to make life a bit more tolerable all round

TracyBarlow Tue 05-Jan-16 12:12:48

You've posted about this before, no?

'Access' visits at age 20? I'm afraid that's where the problems start. He's an adult and is being treated like a toddler.

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