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My teenage son responsible for the end of my relationship...really?!?!?!

(36 Posts)
StellaBrillante Sun 19-Oct-14 20:29:36

For the second time in less than a week, DP has mentioned moving out. His relationship with my 15 yo DS has become incredibly strained and I can see how he's fed up but what does this say about DP's commitment to me/ our relationship?

DS has become unbelievably lazy, moody, among other things. However, he doesn't shout, very rarely answers back, doesn't drink, smoke or gets himself into trouble. In fact, he hasn't had a single homework or behaviour detention at school for as far as I can remember and his grades are generally below his potential (minimum effort all around) but above most of his peers.

Yes, it has become increasingly difficult to come home and see things thrown around or to open the freezer to find out that he's consumed 4 tubs of ice-cream without any thought to whether anyone else may want some. And some of his actions are preventing us from wanting to do nice things for him and with him. But I am shocked by how badly DP is suddenly handling the situation.

So tonight, after a lovely day spent having cups of coffee and sitting on the sofa together, cracking on with our respective pieces of work, DP suddenly got angry with DS for being lazy and the "I think I need to find somewhere else to live" came up again. I said to DP that all I ask is that the he contact the wedding planner and let her know about cancelling it. To which he replied that if he was to do, that would be it. What on earth?!?! Does he genuinely expect me to live with the regular threat of him moving out?

Thoughts and experiences, please... I am starting to think that I was better off when I was on my own. This is all a bit too volatile for me.

Aussiemum78 Sun 19-Oct-14 20:35:22

I'd send him on his way.

If he can't cope with a normal teenager he will destroy your relationship with your son. Does he try and discipline him or tell you how to?

I have a "friend" who is hyper critical of her very normal teenaged step son. Nitpicks over normal teenage behaviour, makes out he is the worlds worst kid. It is hideous to watch, and I feel so sorry for this kid.

StellaBrillante Sun 19-Oct-14 20:49:59

hi Aussiemum78, DS has been testing and difficult at times. However, as an only child, I sometimes have to do a reality check so that I keep my expectations in check.

DP does tell DS off. I don't have a problem with it as they are valid points. Just like I stepped in on a couple of occasions when I thought DP was being unfair.

The irony in all of this is that although DP sees his younger two regularly, he's failed to raise his two older children. So when I asked what they were like when they were teenagers, his response was "I don't know, I wasn't around".

This is crazy. DP did put himself out there for DS and he would have given him the world but now he just sees DS as this utterly ungrateful and lazy boy. To some extent, DS has given him reasons to feel that way as he's lied, repeatedly failed to do basic things when asked and not shown much appreciation for the nice things that we've done for him.

Nevertheless, I never though that a teenage boy who is hardly terrorising / vandalising the neighbourhood, doesn't get himself into trouble at school and who's getting by pretty ok at grammar school would break up a relationship!

I feel numb. I should be focusing on my uni assignment or simply enjoying my time off before another stormy week at work. Instead, I feel let down, disappointed and hurt.

StellaBrillante Sun 19-Oct-14 20:53:21

May I also add the although DS has become this lazy version of his former self, he's already held three jobs including working weekends at a cafe and waking up at 6am to do newspaper delivery. Plus he got an A* GCSE in Italian when he was 11 and it is only recently that, much to my despair, he decided to give up club rugby and spend his weekends mostly in bed.

Hassled Sun 19-Oct-14 21:00:44

I think in terms of Teenage Hell you've got off very lightly - your DP should be counting his blessings rather than issuing unpleasant "I'm off" threats.

My DH struggled with my older DCs' (his stepchildren) behaviour when they were teenagers - parents are always going to be naturally more forgiving, I think, and DH was out of his depth and struggled to cope with how mean they could be to me. But a decent, committed man sticks it out and continues to try to see the good in the child.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee Sun 19-Oct-14 21:05:53

You are describing a normal teenager
This is my DS to a tea
He is punishing you because he wants you to side with him against your DS
He thinks if he threatens to leave you you will be so scared that you don't want him to leave that you will do what he wants
I know teenagers can be challenging but yours sounds a delight
He is probably giving up because of your partner as he didn't see the point
No matter what he does is wrong so why bother
Please back your son he needs you

StellaBrillante Sun 19-Oct-14 21:11:42

Thank you for your kind words, Hassied.

I actually mentioned one of DP's friends the other day, when we were talking about our current home environment etc. It was meant to be a hint but perhaps he chose to ignore it: the guy just married his new partner and together they have either 3 or 4 children, all of whom live with them, including his 16 year old son. They may all be absolute angels but I couldn't help thinking that they are solid enough to believe in their future together, despite the challenges imposed by a modern-family set up. We have one 15 year old boy.

I wonder what he's going to be like when his two boys reach the teenage years - they are 12 and 8 and the little one answers back all the time...

StellaBrillante Sun 19-Oct-14 21:18:12

wakeupandsmellthecoffee worry not, I've got a job to do and it's one that I've always been 100% committed to.

I've said to DP that if he feels that it's that easy for him to turn his back on our relationship then it wasn't meant to be. I also asked him to be kind enough to write to the wedding planner to let her know, to which he replied that if he was to do that there would be no turning back. Turning back from what if he's talking about moving out??? I've just left him to it in and have been cracking on with my uni assignment. DS is fine and there's no chance that I am going to let the rest of my life fall apart. If he wants to leave, it will break my heart but I am hardly going to stop him. It's crazy though, earlier today he was showing me his emails to the jeweller and the design of our wedding rings.

Phew! shock

lunar1 Sun 19-Oct-14 21:20:02

Your son isn't responsible if your relationship ends, your dp is. I wouldn't want my children to live with someone who couldn't tolerate normal childrens behaviour.

AdoraBell Sun 19-Oct-14 21:27:38

Yes, he does expect you to live with the threat of him leaving. Or you and your son could behave perfectly, by his standard, every minute of every day so that he doesn't need to threaten hmm

DS sounds like a 15 yr old and DP sounds like an over grown 12 yr old.

Tell DP to sling his hook.

ScrambledEggAndToast Sun 19-Oct-14 21:30:07

My "D"P ended things last week and cited my 11 year old son. This was even after them getting on fabulously etc. I can totally sympathise OP but if he was completely committed to the long haul then he would take the rough with the smooth. That's what I have decided WRT my ex.

BranchingOut Sun 19-Oct-14 21:31:30

He is going to look a right nelly in a few years time when your son is a lovely eighteen year old, just heading out into the world. hmm

WakeyCakey45 Sun 19-Oct-14 21:35:28

Is it your DS, or the way in which you parent your DS, that is putting strain on your relationship?

All teens push boundaries, and for those of us who parent them, we know that it's about "picking your battles", and we choose which battles to fight.

But if you and your DP have very different parenting values, and he feels disregarded and taken for granted, then it's easy for that to spill out as resentment of your DS, rather than directed at you.

StellaBrillante Sun 19-Oct-14 21:55:30

WakeyCakey45 Yes, I do 'pick my battles' but although I am far from being a perfect parent, I like to think that I am strict but also fair. I don't let DS get away with things and I've always expected him to be a team player - it's the fact that he's so reluctant to live up to that that seems to create most of the conflict. It's simple things such as "please put the chicken in the oven so that it's ready when we get back from work" and he forgets because he's busy on the laptop.

I doubt DP feels disregarded as we both have similar views on how things should work and how DP should behave in terms of being a part of the family. However, he's resentful of the nice things that he gave to DS only to see them thrown around - I did warn him that I had stopped buying expensive items for DS as he refused to look after them properly (the £80 Jack Wills hoody that ended up in the sports bag with the rugby boots, for example). And we both work hard to have a nice home environment, DP in particular goes out of his way when it comes to feeding our little family. Therefore, it's hard when DS has to be constantly nagged to wash up his dishes, put his things away or help out at dinner time.

I see why DP is frustrated and disappointed but I still don't see how this could possible break up a strong relationship? My point at the start was that although DS isn't perfect, I suspect that he's a rather mild teenager and unlikely to create enough friction to break up a solid, stable relationship.

StellaBrillante Sun 19-Oct-14 22:00:26

ScrambledEggAndToast I am sorry to hear it sad

That's just how I see it and why I cited the friend with the 3/4 children, to see if DP would get real and see that if he was truly committed, he wouldn't even be considering moving out. confused

Hassled Sun 19-Oct-14 22:33:09

I think you're right and I'm sorry. Your DS isn't going to be responsible if things do end - his inability to have empathy and patience will be responsible.

WakeyCakey45 Sun 19-Oct-14 23:08:36

I see why DP is frustrated and disappointed but I still don't see how this could possible break up a strong relationship?

I see it differently; if it is significant enough to threaten a strong relationship, then maybe there's something you're missing?
The impact of what you consider to be minor irritations are obviously significantly greater on your DP, and perhaps your DP feels that the only way to communicate that to you is by highlighting that it could be a deal breaker for him?
If you minimise the very behaviour that causes your DP the most frustration and stress, then he probably feels unheard and devalued.

The fact that you say that you have expectations as to how he should behave as part of the family, which he is aware of, suggests it isn't an equal partnership. confused

olgaga Sun 19-Oct-14 23:17:33

I think your DP sounds like a man who thinks he's got his feet firmly under the table.

At best he lacks understanding, atenvy worst he is a cruel, horrible piece of work.

You are seriously thinking of marrying this man? Think again.

olgaga Sun 19-Oct-14 23:19:29

I've no idea how that envy appeared in my last post! Trywineinstead!

robotroy Tue 21-Oct-14 11:02:58

That's emotional blackmail OP, it's not very nice at all, very narcissistic and controlling, not a mature way to handle an issue. I have seen someone live under this type of constant threat and in the end she was just agreeing to anything, it was very controlling and took her years to recover from. It's a bit of a red flag if he's doing this and you're not even married.

I think you need to get DP in a calm moment away from DS and where you won't be disturbed to talk this through in a sensible manner.

Point out to him you are confused by his threats to end your relationship followed shortly be excitement over the rings, organisation etc. Explain to him if he doesn't mean it he shouldn't say it because it's hurtful and confusing. Explain if he does mean it that you and DS are a package, and so if he feels he can't live with DS then he really should end it until at least DS is 18. It's DS's home, and much as he might be bothersome sometimes he has a right to expectation to be treated decently in it and feel unconditional love there even if sometimes he does need a kick up the bum as all kids do.

If he doesn't mean it then he needs to learn to channel his feelings more maturely, and be specific as to what he expressly has a problem with, which of these you will discipline on, or what he would like to see. Honestly if he can't live with for example a stinky room and milk permanently all over the kitchen counter he can't live with a teenager and so again, perhaps you might decide he really isn't for you just now.

But honestly if this is your happily ever after relationship he can wait for 3 years living elsewhere until DS presumably spreads his wings? If not, it's really not your happily ever after relationship!

Whatever happens be clear he can't keep placing this threat on you. Especially, I really hope he doesn't do this in earshot of your son? It's not acceptable to emotionally blackmail like that, so be clear if he feels the need to do it again he needs to take a deep breath and verbalise the real problem like a adult, or you will go and pack his things for him. It's his behaviour which is ending your relationship, not your son. Be clear about that and put the responsibility where it belongs. As you say it's not a child's responsibility, it's the adult's behaviour which is not proportional to normal child behaviour.

LeftHandedMouse Tue 21-Oct-14 11:36:02

I can understand where your DP is coming from, being in a similar situation. Much as I've tried to make DP understand how different it is parenting dsc from your own kids she doesn't get it.

Although the clearing dishes might seem like something really not worth bothering about its a trigger. Your DP is probably not quite certain what his role with yiur DS is, it's not dad so what is it? Because he feels he does stuff for your Ds, and probably gets on well with him most of the time, the fact Ds won't lift a finger will really grate on DP.

I'm not explaining it very well, but trying to keep it short. There will be lots of little things that perhaps even subconsciously DP is picking up and storing away and it just takes these little things to trip off an over reaction.

It's very easy when you feel like that to over react. You do need to explain to him the effect his immediate responses have on you all, and that a more adult response would be to explain what it is he's not happy about, rather than the incident in particular.

Ask him if he feels he's trying his best to do what's right and if he feels that goes unappreciated by you and thrown back in his face by Ds?

StellaBrillante Mon 27-Oct-14 21:34:27

So...a week has gone by since I started this thread and there are lots of points here which I totally agree with. Things such as buying a jar of Nutella and finding it empty (in the cupboard) after two days drives me up the wall, for example. And as those things start to add up, I can totally see where DP is coming from. However, I still disagree with his threat. If we didn't have the same views on parenting or if I tried to justify DS' shortcomings, then I would understand him feeling that he's got no other option but to walk away from the situation.

This weekend we have DP's two boys over. Once again, I looked up half-term activities it spectacularly wrong! I was at the library all day writing assignments and I've just finished a 7 day stint at work. But I was still keen to do something different with them so I looked up a few ideas and passed them on to DP for approval. It was only a spooky walk around the park, with actors dressed up and telling a scary story, and in all fairness most children were of a younger age. However, even DP's 8 year old wasn't interested. I looked around and from the teenagers to the little ones, they all seem to be enjoying it in their all way, but DP's boys were just bored. Last time I got us tickets for an 'old school' circus performance and while the other children seemed to have having a great time, they didn't know what to make of it. Now, I am feeling like a stranger in my own house as they sit on the sofa to do what they do best: watch television, and I am up in my room. Well, their dog seems to like me so he's keeping me company at the moment. hmm brew

LeftHandedMouse Tue 28-Oct-14 12:01:59

Oh kids that age have that special way of cutting off their noses to spite their faces and can keep a mump on despite the temptation to enjoy themselves.

Did they think this was your idea?

Maybe make sure their dad is the one who breaks the news of an impending outing, and if they look remotely interested try being negative about it and see if their enthusiasm picks up?

Not because you want to statt a fight, but if tey do go out in a more positive mood and you go along as well and visibly enjoy yourself you can have that positive mood when you get home and even dare suggest doing something fun again.

StellaBrillante Tue 28-Oct-14 13:34:18

From what I can see, it's simply that they don't seem to enjoy anything that doesn't involve visual / electronic stimulation. Not sure... They seem excited about the zombie laser even tonight (something else that I found out about - it's not about the credit, just trying to show that I'm engaged and trying my best to ensure that they have a good time when they come down) the meantime, DP has had a go at DS over some dirt on the floor and told me, for the second time, that he is not coming away with us at the weekend to visit my best friend. The three of us are supposed to be going together but as DP puts it, if he goes he will get annoyed with DS but won't be able to 'take himself out of the situation'. Therefore, I am no longer going to the laser game as the atmosphere between us isn't great, so I am 'taking myself out of the situation'. I am not one to retaliate like this but the thing with the weekend really hurt. Plus does he really think that his existence is perfect?!?! It's easy to think the world of your children when you are not there, repeating the same thing every day. One thing is to have them for two days every other week, then the plates left on the table and the water on the bathroom floor isn't as annoying but every day? And he's got two older children who are 21 but conveniently, he wasn't there at all during their teenage years. DS isn't perfect and some things are beyond my comprehension, especially seeing that way that I've tried to bring him up. However, DP is behaving like a guy who's got no real sense of the day to day of being a parent.

springlamb Tue 28-Oct-14 13:47:12

I would release him back into the wild OP. I hope your finances are not too entwined.

Even if he could work with your DS on the basis that in a few years your DS will be off to university and absent much of the time, you have issues with his younger children that are likely to cause friction in the future beyond your DS leaving home. Depending on their ages you could be looking at a decade or more of friction.

Write to the wedding planner yourself, allow DP to move out and continue with what sounds like the good job you're doing with your DS.

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