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Frustrated with lack of gratitude. SS19

DealyO's picture

Hello, I'm hoping for advice on how to "let it go".

My stepson was raised by his father from age 3-12 with virtually no help or visits with mom. He was a selfless father, in my opinion.

I know that my entry into their lives when he was 12 was a great upheaval, and I don't blame SS for being unhappy with it. I did my best, but there were tensions with SS's eating disorder, and we just didn't speak the same love language. At all.

Now that he's 18, he's out of the house and spending all free time with mother, who was essentially absent for the last 6 years I've been around. She was neglectful when he was an infant, never paid child support, generally sucky. I understand why he wants to have a relationship with her despite her considerable shortcomings. I don't care about them spending time together despite the fact that I think that mother genuinely does not deserve the pleasure of having an adult relationship with a kid she didn't raise.

What I DO *hate* is that my SS has not spent any time with his dad since he left the house the night he graduated high school. He's good for advice and money and a car, but when it comes to holidays and weekends, mom gets his time. This infuriates me. My husband deserves SO much better. Franly, so does my stepson. He is transitioning from female to male, and his mother refuses to call him by his chosen name.  (Yes, he has been to therapy, yes we have been fully supportive, and regardless of how you feel about transitioning kids it is a fact that disrespecting it is an excellent way to get your kid to commit suicide.)

I'd love to tell this boy how neglectful and utterly uninterested she was as a parent, but I know that will cause damage. I want to force him to see how MUCH his father has done for him over the years. I am SO ANGRY.

My husband doesn't seem to be hurt, simply saying "he'll figure it out". So why does this bother my so much? It's taking everything I have not to "educate" this stepson of mine about how to act like a decent human being.

Please help. I don't want this to strain my relationship with my husband. 


Gimlet's picture

I understand the desire to defend your husband, because you love him and feel he's been wronged.

But it sounds like he's being pragmatic about this and you should follow his lead.  Your anger won't do anything except upset you and cause strife with the person you're trying to defend.  Either SS will come around or he won't, but the fact that your DH isn't chasing him or trying to buy his love is a good sign.

Try to let it go and focus on the life you and DH have together and don't let your SS and his BM rent space in your head for free.


tog redux's picture

I agree with your husband - let him figure it out. Of course he's hoping he can have a relationship with the mother who abandoned him his whole life, that's how it works for most people when they have a missing or abusive parent. 

Your DH shouldn't put up with any abuse or disrespect from him, though. 

futurobrillante99's picture

The only (excellent) advice I can give you is to love your husband and manage the relationship you have with your husband. You can't manage a relationship between two other people. You can't MAKE your SS be grateful. You can't teach him what his parents have failed to teach him. It's not your job and your husband hasn't asked you to intervene.

You are taking this way too personally and the direct path to happiness for you is to let it go and let father and son handle their own relationship as long as YOUR money and YOUR time aren't involved. If you are asked to pay for something or spend time preparing something for an ingrate, you can say NO. However, if your husband isn't bothered by being ignored or wasting his time and money on his ungrateful son, LET HIM and go on about your day.

In this case, you are creating your own unhappiness by having feelings about a relationship that is between two other people.


justmakingthebest's picture

I would be hurt too, for myself and my husband. 

You guys were there. You did the sport practices, the vacations, the groceries and food. You tended the young broken hearts, encouraged him in school, you were the parents. Now what, just nothing? His behavior is hurtful.

I agree that he will figure it out in time. However, if BM is anything like BM1 here, she is trying to say that she wanted to be there but your DH and you wouldn't let her. That she was always his mom and always tried to put him first. She may even have an email or 2 to show him where you and DH told her no at some point.

Your SS is 18. I personally see nothing wrong with telling him that his dismissal of DH and you hurts very much. That it would mean the world to you guys if he made time with you for holidays and special occasions a priority as well. 

Siemprematahari's picture

It bothers you so much because your H did so much for his son and now he's MIA because he's busy playing catch up with his BM. Do not take this on OP. You and H should never take this personal. This is all about him possibly trying to connect with his mother and all the "lost" time. You both have no control over it and should let it go. Like your H said, he'll eventually figure it out and hopefully realize what's what. 

You both did so much for him so be grateful you were able to provide that for him. You and H do your thing and live your best lives!