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my wife and son arent speaking - awful atmosphere - help somebody !!

(94 Posts)
dadinthemiddle Tue 23-Aug-11 19:22:05

First - bit of background - have put this on Dadsnet but hardly any replies so I thought might get a womans perspective and more replies on here. I believe if I'm being a prat you lot will tell me apparantly!!

My adult son 22 lives with my wife and I and we have had arguments aplenty on the usual probs with stepparent/stepchild. My wife only met me when son was 18 so no mother/child type bond there obviously which probably doesnt help.

My son lives in absolute chaos in his room and as a result is always losing/breaking things etc and we have both kinda given up on him being tidy and kind of resigned ourselves to 'as long as the mess is behind your bedroom door' iyswim. He works full time.

He recently sent my wife a stroppy text saying she was breaking his things !! and called her pathetic and childish. He wont withdraw allegations or apologise so she wont now speak to him. Any ideas. I have bollocked him btw.

nokissymum Tue 23-Aug-11 19:26:42

Have you sat down with him and asked exactly why he thinks your wife may have broken his things, probably when things are a bit calm, and also why he thinks she is being childish, it sounds like something went on between them and you many not have the full story yet.

thisisyesterday Tue 23-Aug-11 19:27:23

well, if my son spoke to me like that I would tell him to either tidy his room or I'd do it for him.
and if he didn't, and things got broken then that was just tough luck regardless of who does it.

and I think the same should go in this situation to be honest. breakages are part and parcel of living in a pigsty (i should know blush)

this comes with a disclaimer that I am not part of a step-family. so do feel free to tell me to fuck off! grin


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LeBJOF Tue 23-Aug-11 19:32:27

I agree with MJ. Why is he still living there if he's working anyway?

kangers Tue 23-Aug-11 19:36:05

Why is she having a go at your wife- is it because she is the one trying to tidy up/ get him to tidy up?

I think as he is your son you should take control of this- get him to sort out his room and explain exactly what he thinks your wife has broken. He should not speak to her like that- its basic respect. You should also ask him if he resents her (if it seems appropriate). He should apologise and toe the line.

hester Tue 23-Aug-11 19:38:02

I think it's a situation designed for conflict, to be honest. Does your son need to live with you?

kangers Tue 23-Aug-11 19:41:49

Understand why he lives with you in current climate. Agree with this is yesterday that there may be much more to this than you realise. But bottom line, your son, you need to tell him to be tidier- you must support your wife. (unless something much worse that your wife has done that you don't yet know about)

dadinthemiddle Tue 23-Aug-11 20:00:57

well they usually get on ok to well though we all or they have had bust-ups in the past when things have come to a head. Usually I admit about my sons slovenliness or me taking sides/over defending him. But they are usually sorted out and everyone has their say and peace reigns. But on this occasion no such luck. my wifes stance is that it is her house (well ours jointly) aswell as her home and living at home at that age is a privelidge not a right and if thats how he feels about her he should move out. She is basically saying that my son has just simply started saying Hiya to her even on the evening of the day it happened as if nothing had happened and she is not prepared to just brush it under carpet like that and start making small talk with someone who has made false (and I am 100% sure the breakages are down to my sons bad husbandry rather than my wifes mischief) allegations against her and cast her under suspicion in her own home and attempted to threaten her relationship with me (if i had believed him iyswim) and also called her detrimental names - childish immature and out of order were in the text - for these mystery crimes. She basically wants an apology and retraction before normal service resumes. As I say I have given my son a 'how dare you' and 'who do you think you are' style bollocking and told him he lives in a shithole of his own making and not acceptable to blame her etc. But wifey not accepting thats enough - wants apology and retraction. My head hurts - you ladies are good with the old headache tablets handy usually arent you !!!!???? I dont want to throw my son out on the street and I wont do that but I cant physically make him retract or apologise. My wife says if she just forgot about it and started speaking normally etc then she/we are condoning his treatment of her and giving message he has got away with it so will do it again. My son wasnt drunk or anything btw it was sent in the morning as he left for work.

hester Tue 23-Aug-11 20:09:51

OK, so they are both being intractable and you are stuck in the middle. What a horrible situation for you - full sympathies.

Does your wife want your ds to leave home? Or is she happy for him to stay so long as he understands the ground rules? Does your ds have at least some affection and respect for your wife? It seems to me the first question is whether the protagonists actually want the situation to improve. If they don't, it seems to me that all you can do is hold a line while asking your ds to move out as soon as he can.

If they do want to live in harmony, then maybe you can find somebody to help mediate a discussion? Someone in the wider family, or Relate family counselling? Because if you try to take that role it will get infused with all sorts of other agendas (who you love most etc).

kangers Tue 23-Aug-11 20:17:17

Dead simple- your son needs to apologise for his language and implications that she broke something (without any proof). If he can't won't do this then she is right and he should move out. Tell him- show him this. I am sure he has some of your reasonableness and will agree he done wrong.

HattiFattner Tue 23-Aug-11 20:19:15

I think Id side with your wife. ANd sugget to your son that either he apologise and clean up his act or he finds his own place to live. Make sure its his decision. send him a text/ email with link to to aid his thinking. Ultimately he is not living in a hotel and your wife is not staff. He is not a child, he is a grown adult with an income. He's hardly going to be "on the streets" - he may find life a little more challenging, but thats good for him.

Then he can be as stubborn as he likes, and move out. Or he can realise that hes onto a good thing, apologise and start acting his age. You are not helping him be an adult by allowing him to get away with this sort of behaviour.

I would stress however that the decision must be his. Give him until the end of the week.

thisisyesterday Tue 23-Aug-11 20:22:05

i kind of agree with your wife to be honest.
your son is an adult. not a child. if he has no respect for her then why should he live in the house?

he is living in your house and it's absolutely unacceptable for him to speak to your wife like that and get away with it.

you know i am totally against forced apologies. it doesn't help.
however I also agree that brushing it under the carpet and pretending it hasn't happened is also not a great idea.

i would be tempted to call a family meeting (i hate that term, but you know what i mean).... let everyone air their grievances. You may well find that faced with your wife being upset and being put on the spot that your son apologises anyway.

if that isn't possible then i'd definitely agree with hester that some kind of mediation would be a good idea.

dadinthemiddle Tue 23-Aug-11 20:30:06

Yes Hester my wife would love my son to leave home and makes no bones about that - that she looks forward to when its just me and her and she sys thats very natural for her to feel like that and is no way personal against my son. She doesnt ever say that to or in front of my son btw - she is a very polite and caring person and wouldnt make anyone feel uncomfortable. She thinks I should be more pro-active in getting him on road to independence rather than just sitting back and waiting till he decides he's ready. My wife is a very upfront person and thats why i cant believe she would orchestrate this situation as a means to an end. In fact my son I could - I'm ashamed to say out of the two of them - imagine doing this. He seems stuck in that teenage mode tbh - the denials of doing absolutely anything (even if he's alone in the house when misdeed occured) however obvious it is that its him. Then he always if denial isnt an option or doesnt work he will blame anybody and everything else around him for why he has done something wrong or not done something he should have. But he is basically a good kid notwithstanding above 'It wasnt me' residue teenage behaviour.

dadinthemiddle Tue 23-Aug-11 20:42:11

Oh and just an update - my son is now insisting on walking into a room whenever my wife is present and saying Hiya - knowing obviously it will be met by silence. I cant decide if my wifes ignoring his greeting or my sons 'taking the moral high ground' iyswim by always being the one who speaks is annoying me the most. Really any headche pills 'mums' ? could really do with some. !

kangers Tue 23-Aug-11 20:46:10

As thisisyesterday suggests have a family meeting, get it all out in the open and do it now. He is taking the piss big time and being a tosser. This no talking is not making any difference to him at all. Sit down and tell him to take responsbility for his language and apologise- NOW- what are you waiting for??


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TheMagnificentBathykolpian Tue 23-Aug-11 20:55:58

He's not taking the moral highground. He's saying 'hiya' to annoy her. I promise you that.

He needs to apologise.

But if there's no reason for him to - he doesn't care, or he doesn't face having to move into a bedsit! - then this will just carry on.

I think your son needs to move out.

And your wife obviously needs to respect that he is your son and you will always love him and he will always be in your lives - just not always in your home! grin

ristretto Tue 23-Aug-11 20:56:37

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hester Tue 23-Aug-11 20:56:39

I know it can be hard for young people to move out of the parental home, but this isn't going to work, is it? Your wife and your ds don't want to live together and - let's face it - it is hard enough to live with people you do want to be with.

Have the three of you agreed a plan for when/how he will leave? And ground rules for in the meantime? If not, do you think it could help?

EvenLessNarkyPuffin Tue 23-Aug-11 21:01:02

'he is basically a good kid'

Er, no, he's not. He's 22 years old. He works full time. He's not a child.

Does he pay rent? Contribute to bills etc?

As for treating her like this it is 100% down to you for allowing it. If DH were not my DCs father I would never allow an adult DC to throw out comments like that and expect my partner to shrug it off without so much as an apology. For fucks sake, he's not some moody 14 year old. He's an adult male treating her like this in her home.

nenevomito Tue 23-Aug-11 21:05:18

If he can manage "Hiya" he can manage "I'm sorry for blaming you for stuff being broken when I'm a slob."

To be honest, a 22 year old who lives in a shit pit of their own making is my stuff of nightmares and if it was my DC, I'd at least be able to tell them to tidy it up or look for their own place.

She's in the position where she gets to live wth a 22 year old who lives in a shit pit and his father, who won't tell him to get his act together and clean his room like a decent human being.

Then, to top that off, he gets away with being rude to her, blaming her for stuff being broken when its his own fault (see above for shit pit comments) and then not being decent enough to apologise.

Yeah, if I was her, I'd be pissed off too.

Get him to apologise. Get him to tidy his room. He's 22, not 2!!

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