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Adult DSC being treated like small children - I'm struggling

(107 Posts)
PhoneFaced Fri 04-Sep-15 10:17:02

DH has 2 children to his ex. They are now 18 and 20 years old. Both are treated like much younger children and it's starting to drive me batty.

His youngest isn't as bad but the 20 year old -

He's never had a job in his life. Wasted 3 years at college on daft courses and then after securing a place at uni, decided to 'take a year out'. Not traveling or gaining experience ... just a year 'out'. So he stays in bed until lunch time daily and spends his life on computer games. All he ever talks about is the latest computer game or the marvel movie - it's like talking to a small child constantly.

He still keeps up with weekly access meaning dad picks him up every saturday and drops him home every sunday. At 20, it all seems a bit not quite right. What really shocked me last weekend was that DH said he'd have him friday this week as there is something going on in town that he wants to take him to and the lad said "yes sure, I'll ask mum if its ok". He's 20 years old!!!!!

He has no friends, no hobbies, never goes anywhere unless he's getting ferried about by a parent - it's just tedious.

On a selfish note, I'm sick to death of having to dedicate every bloody weekend to entertaining a 20 year old man. Like I say, he's here EVERY saturday night and it's not like he's a normal 20 year old that goes out or entertains himself, he needs entertaining like a child. On top of that, DH won't go out because he's here meaning I'm literally having to wipe off every weekend. I feel like now that our kids are adults, we should have our weekends back like any normal couple but DH is still of the opinion that weekends should be dedicated soley to his kids, even though they're adults.

I mean, if it's like this now and the lad shows no signs whatsoever of growing up, developing interests or going to uni / work etc it's going to be like this for the foreseeable future, isn't it?

QuiteLikely5 Fri 04-Sep-15 10:26:39

I feel sorry for the boy! He is being babied to the point of selfishness by both parents!

He seems socially incompetent and the parents are encouraging this!

You can tell your dh why you are unhappy but chances are he won't change. Surely you can go out on Saturday nights?

Or suggest the boy visits on a week night?

Does the boy have learning difficulties?

PhoneFaced Fri 04-Sep-15 10:34:45

No learning difficulties, he's just incredibly babyish and dependent, I've never known anything like it. My 21 year old sister was extremely pampered and babied and struggles in social situations but even she went out and gained work experience and now works full time.

I do blame his parents - his mother is very socially awkward. Has also never worked a day in her life and from what the kids (and DH) say she spends a lot of her days just 'laying on the bed' confused.

She apparently encourages the kids not to go out and do stuff as she too has no friends, hobbies or interests so relies on them for social interaction.

Even when he's here DH treats him like a baby running up and downstairs with drinks and snacks for him. Jumping to attention everytime DSS calls for him (to show him yet another 'hilarious' youtube video hmm ). DH will NOT go out saturday night as it's 'unfair' to DSS.

I have suggested they just be given a key so they can come whenever and the 'weekend' thing is relaxed a bit but it got rubbished straight away.

PhoneFaced Fri 04-Sep-15 10:38:23

Another example:

Conversation between me and DH ...

ME - "of the festival is on in town next weekend, shall we go and have a night out?"
HIM - "NO! I want to take my kids to that!"

hmm for fucks sake. In a normal world his kids would be going with their mates and DH and I could go on a rare "kidult free" night out too.

MeridianB Fri 04-Sep-15 10:42:09

I agree that the problem is your DH rather than his son.

Have you talked to DH about it properly (ie not when DSS is there or when you're feeling stressed about it)?

PhoneFaced Fri 04-Sep-15 10:46:28

Yes he's far too defensive to talk to about it.
I have approached it with

"do you not worry about DSS relying so heavily on parents at his age?"
"does DSS have no friends he could go to cinema with?"
"Most of my colleagues and friends go out on a weekend now that their kids are adults, I'm kind of feeling like we miss out on all that."
"Surely we can go out and leave DSS home alone at his age?"
"Doesn't DSS get bored just playing games day after day?"
"Does DSS really want to carry on with access weekends at his age? what do the lads at college think??"

It all results in arguments. He won't have a word said against him.

HamaTime Fri 04-Sep-15 10:49:18

If you are the poster who has posted about this before (I almost hope you are, otherwise there is 2 of you) then I honestly don't see what can be done unless your DH wants to change (he doesn't!)

If you have no ambition at 20 - the age when all your friends and classmates are doing stuff, then you are unlikely to have any at 22 or 26 or 35. He probably won't go to uni next year, he probably won't get a job, he certainly won't go travelling.

I think you have been sticking this out since the kids were in their early teens, thinking 'next year will be year will be better...' and I think the only way next year is going to be better is if you make it so, by going to the festival with your pals and telling the men in your life to go fuck themselves. Sorry.

PhoneFaced Fri 04-Sep-15 10:51:37

A few months ago DSS posted an instagram photo with the caption "Night out!". I was really chuffed until I realised he'd actually gone to pub with his mother!!

Its a stark contrast when you have young people posting pics of their latest world travels, work experience, sporting events or even just night out shenanigans and then your 20 year old dss posts a pic of the front cover of his latest Playstation game.

He was talking to DH a few weeks back and when asked what he'd been upto he replied "oh I went to cinema". DH excitedly said "oh, who with?" and he replied "mum, to see the minions movie".

Another one was DH sent him a facebook message and the lad didn't reply. A few days later he sent a reply apologising saying he'd been busy. DH asked what he'd been doing and he said "well, just walking around the village - with mum and the dog".

MerdianB Fri 04-Sep-15 11:01:43

I'm not having a go at you, I promise, but want to point out that all your conversation openers on that list have something in common. They are all negatively phrased towards his son.

My guess is that however accurate and reasonable your observations are, they will be heard as attacks on his son by your DP and so he will be in defence mode before you have even finished the sentence.

Reading through them, it sounds like you're saying "DSS is a loser/weirdo/not normal" which may be how you feel but not is not constructive, nor likely to prompt any kind of open-minded response from him.

Could you approach it differently and perhaps more openly? Explain how you feel (rather than your view of DSS) and how/why you would appreciate greater flexibility at weekends. Maybe focus on positive ways to include DSS - such as a big family Sunday lunch once a fortnight but other weekends left more flexible. Ask him what he enjoys or would like to change about weekends.

Maybe he is sad/scared for his son/s but doesn't know how to help him/change things. Like many NRPs he probably feels hugely guilty for not being with them all the time so may over-compensate and show he cares by 'babying'.

Apologies if this comes across as too simplistic or covers things you have already tried.

RebootYourEngine Fri 04-Sep-15 11:12:21

My 11yr old is a bit like your dss. In that all he wants to do is sit at home and play on his games console. I worry that he will still be like this at 20, 30, 40 years old.

He goes to a couple of clubs but doesnt want to socialise. I dont know what to do.

OP if your dh wont go out, you might just need to find other people to do stuff together. Rubbish i know because its nice to do stuff as a couple. But why waste your weekends.

PhoneFaced Fri 04-Sep-15 11:17:18

You're probably right meridian but I've tried the diplomatic route and I'm now left frustrated and desperate for change. I have told him I feel like all my weekends have to be wiped to accommodate his son, I've asked for greater flexibility, I've asked for more age appropriate contact ... such as why don't youmeet him out for a drink once a week? ... Why don't you give him a key and tell him to drop in through the week? ... Why don't we do a family BBQ/Sunday dinner once a month for all the kids?

But dh won't agree to anything which might reduce access visits and he won't hand dss a key and hand the responsibility of getting here over to him as he knows full well he'd never come. Unless he's getting taxied, he won't go anywhere.

MeridianB Fri 04-Sep-15 11:28:00

Sounds grim, Phone

Does he think DSS would not bother to come at all if he was not collected? It's very sad for someone to be missing out on so much of life at that age.

I wonder what he thinks DSS will be doing in five years from now. Do you ever hear him talk about his sons to others? Is he very proud of them?

I think you may end up having more weekends doing you own thing, which is not the point, I know. Ultimately, the question for your DH is whether he is willing to compromise at all for the sake of his marriage.

MeridianB Fri 04-Sep-15 11:28:54

Sorry, just saw you already addressed the issue of him needing a pick-up. Has DH tested this?

maybebabybee Fri 04-Sep-15 11:52:25

To be fair I was never really a 'social' person when young (I'm still quite young - only 26). At 20 I never really went out (I don't drink so lots of things are off limits because of that) and the main people I hung out with were my mum and my sisters. So obviously I was a loser! And still am, as they're still my main social group really - I only have a couple of close friends.

However - I worked from the age of 18, including while I was at uni, and certainly did not expect to be ferried around or have things done for me.

I think his lack of social life is something you are being a bit unreasonable to be fussing about, as he may just not enjoy socialising and you can't make him. However, I do understand your frustration at not being able to go and do things with your DH.

iamanintrovert Fri 04-Sep-15 12:12:28

I really think that you should start going out yourself on weekends - with friends, family, kids, or even alone. Don't make a big deal about it, just quietly start to do things you want to do. Lead by example. I think that DH will start to see that this is a much more normal sort of way to spend weekends and you will feel that you are at least getting to do some of the stuff you want to do.

cappy123 Fri 04-Sep-15 12:30:24

Meridian B.


Whenever I'm unhappy with DH, DSD (who lives with us), or family dynamics in general, it takes a while to remember but I pick my moment and tell DH really simply how I'm feeling, without necessarily referring in detail to the the other stuff right there and then. "I miss you". "I'm sad". "I'm annoyed".

Notice I said that I tell him how I feel, not how I am. I believe it's possible to express that we're feeling angry, lonely etc, without being those things. We can choose to separate what we feel from who we are, which helps us to put things in perspective and be generous to ourselves and our families. I therefore also pick my moments to tell DH "I love it when you.... Thank you for... You're so good at.. etc..." to encourage him generally. (Still working on "I trust you with..."!). So DH knows my concerns as well as my love for him. You may well already do this.

Now lest that all sound like soft soap, I try not to excuse or condone poor or neglectful behaviour either. I do tell DH my concerns and wishes. More often than not things work out for the better and he'll say / do something that's required. But I don't keep picking at one aspect of DSD's behaviour, flagging it once or twice is enough usually. Plus stepchildren issues are usually parentally caused issues anyway.

Once I've raised my concerns I accept (with much difficulty at times, because I'd rather badger him) that he's free to respond how he chooses, which may be to do nothing. But I'm free too. In the past when our communication has gotten really bad I've even spent the odd night in a bnb, let space and time pass and we've picked up with each other again in a more constructive way later (and I've had the most amazing English breakfasts!).

If you want to go out at the weekend and DH won't come, why not joyfully go with your own friends or alone? Once you start changing your routine / response he's more likely to too, if he's ever going to.

Bananasinpyjamas1 Fri 04-Sep-15 13:06:43

Yep alarm bells alright! At least it's not every day... he could be living full time in bed all day!

Why don't you try a few things before you give up completely? Like for example - one weekend a month just doing your own thing - away for the weekend or out with friends. One Saturday night getting in a DVD or getting DSC out to the cinema with or without OH - even if he doesn't do it - it will show willing and give your OH the clear impression that you are not 'shutting him out' - ask DSC to bring his friends. Then the other two weekends ask OH to go out with you Sat night/day?

Of course the kid is being babyied and really needs to get out there - but try telling that to most parents when they've got into that pattern! Concentrate on what you need from OH first.

SouthAmericanCuisine Fri 04-Sep-15 14:24:14

OP I imagine it's hard to read the suggestions that you "go out alone" or "with friends" and leave your DH and his son to their weekends without you.

Of course that's not what you imagined life to be like in a relationship. You want to share those experiences with the man you married. But you can't. And I realise that by going out alone, you will have to admit to yourself that married life is not what you expected. And maybe accept that your DH isn't quite the man you thought he was.

But, if you continue to stay in, missing out on events and life because you are hoping he'll change, then it's only you who suffers. Your DH and his DS both have what they want. You don't. And unless they change, you can't have it. But you do have the choice of whether to continue to miss out, or begin to build a life of your own, away from your DHs indulgence of his DS.

Who knows? If your DH begins to see less of you, and realises that you can and will go out and enjoy life without him, then he may well decide to join you. And if he doesnt? Well, he'll be there waiting for you when you get home. He has to take the risk that one day, you may not come home, as you've found someone else to share your life with.

lunar1 Fri 04-Sep-15 16:50:48

Sadly I think your dh is using his son as an excuse. It doesn't sound like he wants to socialise with you. I think you need to put some kind of limit at least in your mind. Why should you waste your years waiting for him?

Petal02 Fri 04-Sep-15 18:08:24

i've asked for greater flexibility, or more age-appropriate contact, but DH won't do anything that might reduce contact

OP, I could have written this myself. My situation was a little easier than yours, as we only had EOW visits from DSS, but Extreme Rota Compliance, and 'younger child' practices contained til DSS went to uni. He had been so infantilised by his parents that I feared he wouldn't cope at uni, but to his credit he blossomed and has turned into a really nice young man (so there is hope)!

DSS was 11 when I met DH, and by the time he got to 18, very little has changed - we still had the exact same access arrangements, DSS clung to his dad instead of mixing with his peers and had very few social/life skills. It's as though time stood still at the point his parents separated, and he remained frozen as an 11 yr old. When he went home on at 6pm Sunday nights after access weekends, he had to have had a bath and his tea, and almost be 'ready for bed'. In fact I'm surprised we didn't send him home in his pyjamas.

I remember over-hearing DH on the phone, declining a sporting event, "I've got to arrange child care for DSS" who was 17 at this point. And the there was the wedding reception we nearly couldn't go to, as "we've got DSS (age 18) this weekend", and DH wanted to enquire if any other 'children' had been invited. We couldn't go supermarket shopping without taking DSS with us, and carting a 6ft young adult round Tesco was just plain weird.

If he hadn't gone to uni, then I fear I would be writing posts like yours, Phone.

BoboChic Fri 04-Sep-15 18:10:54

While DC are at school, keeping to a strict rota so that each parent can fulfill his/her responsibilities to their children is normal and healthy.

Petal02 Fri 04-Sep-15 18:19:37

I agree that a rota is fine for younger children, but once they get to 15/16/17+, is a strict rota really necessary, particularly if it hampers a fledgling social life, sports opportunities etc? And surely both parents (resident and non resident) are entitled to a slight flexing of routine by the time their children are that age?

FantasticButtocks Fri 04-Sep-15 18:37:07

Have you tried coming from the angle of - it is his job as dss's father to teach his son how to be a grown up man? He needs to start this ASAP, maybe on a Saturday night he could take him to the pub or something, then the next weekend he could arrange to meet him at the pub/snooker/wherever. He is doing his son a disservice by allowing this situation to continue. He needs to guide him into adulthood. If you start with the needs of the son, then maybe your needs will follow.

BoboChic Fri 04-Sep-15 19:49:48

DSS2 is 18 and has just left school and is about to start university. IMO and IME a strict schedule, in every sense of the word, is key to academic success and we did not mind staying at home most evenings and holidays in the critical period. It was a small price to pay for harmony, peace of mind and stellar results.

Yellowpansies Fri 04-Sep-15 20:10:58

Could you try to make more of, say, Friday nights to do things with your DH? If you've had a nice night out together on the Friday you might mind him spending the Saturday with DSS a bit less.

My DSS is similarly socially awkward and lacking in friends, but I would agree with the previous poster who pointed out that it's not very conductive to tell a parent that their child's a sad loser with no friends. My DH just gets defensive of i say anything that comes across like that. It is really quite hard to know how to encourage more interaction with an older teen so unless you've got practical suggestions that are realistic to help him meet people, I'd be inclined to let it drop as simply not your problem. Making contact more flexible or leaving him alone whilst you go out on a Saturday night isn't in itself going to give DSS a social life.

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