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Girlfriend with son

JBUK's picture

I guess the reason for this post is to get someone else's opinon on whether it is me or the situation which is wrong.

I met a girl 3 years ago who (at the time) had a 14 year old son. He will be 17 in a couple of months.  When I met her she had lived in her own house for the last 10 years.  For the first couple of years of her son's life she was living back with her mother.  Her mother and her have and continue to be the "parents" to her son.  I am not included in any of that side of things.

When the son was born she had moved back in with her parents.  6 weeks after the birth the father/husband died and my opinion is that my girlfriend and her mother then focussed all of their grief and lives upon the new baby and since then he has been treated like a baby having everything done for him.

After knowing each other for approximately 1 year I moved in with my girlfriend and her son.  Things appeared okay at the beginning but over time I just felt "shredded" by the way things were in the house.  I recently moved out.  We are still talking and I think there is hope that we will "sort things out" and get back together properly.  We will see how that works out.  The situation in her house does not appear to have changed since I left.

The situation in the house was/is still as follows.  The house is very untidy and rarely gets cleaned.  Dishes pile up in the kitchen until there is nothing left in the cupboard and then my girlfriend decides to wash up.  There are no rules in the house and no routines.  The dining table and dining room are used as a junk yard and people eat with food on their laps because the dining room cannot be used. My girlfriemd's son's bedroom is a complete and utter pig-sty.  He has been told to keep it tidy but rather than make sure he does it she cleans it for him when she cannot bear it any more.  It is clear what he learns from that.

I was never used to living in a house which is complete chaos.  When I moved in I told my grilfriend that there needed to be some rules and routine put in place so that cleaning was done on a regular basis.  She agreed and a spreadsheet was prepared for her son so that he was aware of his jobs and when they needed to be done. (he never did anything in the house previously).  My girlfriends mother things I am a control freak because the jobs were put onto a spreadsheet.  The idea was that it was like a school timetable so it was easy for him to understand. The other jobs were agreed between my girlfriend and I so that everyone had things to do to keep the place in order.  Generally this lasted for a couple of weeks with me doing my bit but everything else decending into chaos again.  If her son did not do his jobs then there was never any consequence, despite my protestations.  She says he is a good lad and so she does not want to stress him.  In reality there is no discipline in the house.  He has a set bedtime but she needs to get out of bed pretty well every night to tell him to turn off his computer and go to bed well after that time. His room is full of cups and glasses when there was a rule put in place that only one was allowed in there at a time to avoid clutter.  The fact he breaks that rule means little as she appears not to see the cups most of the time.  When she is allerted to the fact she just tells him to bring then downstairs but rarely makes him wash them.

My girlfriend regularly complains that she feels I am not committing to the relationship.  I feel I do not want to commit when the house is a tip, there are no rules or routine, she is not acting like a parent and as it is her house she changes things all of the time and I feel I have little or no say.  I feel he is not my son and so it is not my place to discipline him.

I feel that the son is completely spolit and will never leave home (why should he?)  I am not prepared to live in her house with her making the decisions and I am not prepared to accept the two of them moving into my place carrying over all of the existing problems into my home.

In September 2019 her son started college and so started leaving the house earlier in the morning and getting home later in the evening.  My girlfriend felt sorry for him and so took all of his jobs away from him and does them herself.  I said he should do something at the weekend but that was not happening when I was there.  He told his "2nd parent" (Grandmother) that he was going to bed early because he was so tired.  She then decided it was fair he did no jobs in the house along with his mother. In reality since starting college he did this once.  He spends all evening from when he gets home playing computer games in his bedroom and needs to be told to go to bed after his bed time.  My statements that if he can play computer games for hours on end every night he could take some time out to dry the dishes etc has only met with resistance and me being portrayed as a bad person.

My advice to anyone else would be to cut their losses and leave.  Maybe I should take some of my own medicine?

I would be interested in an opinion from someone who is not involved and can look at things objectively.


Kes's picture

Always nice to welcome a new UK member.  I think you did right in moving out.  Who could live happily in such utter chaos as you describe?  Your girlfriend and her mother are doing her son absolutely no favours in turning him into a big, helpless cuckoo who is "protected" from doing even simple jobs around the house.   I imagine he will live with his mother for the rest of his sad life.  Your girlfriend is enabling her son and so is his grandmother.  Whether it is due to his father dying, is really irrelevant, so many years later.   There is nothing in your tale or your views on the situation that I would take issue with.  You're out - I'd stay out if I were you.  

JBUK's picture

Kes,  Thanks for the reply.  I have said for a long time that he needs to grow up and part of this is teaching him some life skills.  I do not see that is strange.  My actions over the last couple of years have not gone down well with my girlfriend's extended family even though I have little or no contact with them.  They even got to the point of not including my name on Christmas cards etc, despite the fact my name was included on the ones sent to them.

tog redux's picture

Your girlfriend is clearly messy too, and you must have seen that when you dated right? IMO, you can't go into a relationship with spreadsheets trying to change the two other people who live there to suit you. There will inevitably be conflict. 

Find a woman who keeps her house in a manner that's acceptable to you. Neat people have a hard time with messy people and vice versa. 

JBUK's picture

Tog, Yes I saw things were messy etc when we dated but she said on several occasions that she wanted to change things.  Her choice not mine.  The spreadsheet was done so that her son had something to refer to for the jobs he was to do and when he should do them.  If that was not done then I believe he would never do anything without being remonded continually. Even with the spreadsheet he still needs to be reminded  Instead of reminding him his mother has tended to just do the jobs for him.  The spreadsheet was put together by my girlfriend and I together so it was like a school timetable which he is familiar with.  Making it as simple as possible for him.

Disneyfan's picture

You're wrong for moving into someone else's home and trying to change how everyone behaves.  There's nothing wrong with not wanting to live like a pig.  However,  taking issue with WHO actually cleans the pigpen, screams control freak.  As long as the house is being  cleaned and you are not the one  cleaning up behind the slobs, it shouldn't matter.

JBUK's picture

Disneyfan, Thanks for the reply.  I guess you are right.  I should never have moved in.  I am also not prepared to allow the chaos to be carried over into my home.  When I did first move in I was the one who took the initiative to start cleaning dishes etc as no-one else did.  I thought it was fair that if 3 people share a house and make a mess that 3 should also clean up.  I was the ONLY one doing it.  Otherwise the house was NOT being cleaned at all.  It is not possible to live in a house and only clear your own mess when other people's mess is in the way of everything else.  The issue is not just about the mess.  It goes much deeper.

tog redux's picture

I'm not a neat freak, and DH is messier than I am. I knew that coming into the marriage. He will clean, but on his terms, not mine, and I can't live that way, so I do the cleaning. He does other stuff outside and renovations etc. 

I can't demand he live by my standards when I knew his going in. I hear that she said she wanted to change but actions mean more than words. 

JBUK's picture

Seems to be the focus has moved to purely things being messy.  There is a further issue of parenting in this or rather the lack of it if you read the initial post.  Thanks everyone for your comments.

ESMOD's picture

It's really not just the "messy" aspect of it.. that is just one of the symptoms.

1.  Your GF has flaws.  She is not an effective parent.

2.  She was likely raised to be messy by HER mother.. and she is passing this lack of care on to her son.

The boy is spoiled by his mother and grandmother.  That is not entirely his fault is it?  I mean, kids will do what they are allowed to do.  They won't magically understand how to clean their room.. say please/thank you.. etc.. without being taught.

Unfortunately, when you entered the picture, the die was pretty much cast.  Your GF is a slob and a lazy parent (aided by grandma).  Her kid is a product of her raising.  She showed you who they were.. and you thought you could "fix" them.

Men see a problem and look for solutions.  There were your spreadsheets which you meant as a help.  Unfortunately, no one else was in agreement that there was even a problem to begin with and even if they did.. had no idea how it could be fixed and what healthy looked like.

Moving out was the right choice.... I think you would be happier meeting someone that more closely matched your living standards.. because even if her son moves out.. I think her lack of organization would never be resolved and be a constant point of friction for you.

JBUK's picture

Thanks ESMOD.  The issues people have raised here are what I thought I is nice to have an external opinion on things.

tog redux's picture

It's similar to the cleaning issue - you can't come in and change someone's parenting style after 17 years. If she saw a problem with it, she would have changed it herself.  And a 17 yo for sure isn't going to listen to a new stepparent. 

justmakingthebest's picture

Sometimes, even though you love someone you just are compatible in living together. It sounds like this was the case. You can't change people. If she is messy she will always be. It sounds like you dodged a bullet in not getting married. It sounds like it is just time to move on.

Harry's picture

change GF or her DS.  It's up to you to decide if you cab live that way.  That will tell you your answer.  It's never going to change. It may get worst.  

Harry's picture

change GF or her DS.  It's up to you to decide if you cab live that way.  That will tell you your answer.  It's never going to change. It may get worst.  

JBUK's picture

Thanks Petronella.  I do not see life being just a dating situation.  What does that achieve longer term?  The more comments come back the more I feel that I am not the a-hole I thought I was in this situation.  I know fault is never all on one side but I have never experienced anything like this before and was starting to think that maybe it was me rather than the situation.

Mandy45's picture

Sound like you moved in with my dh ex lol. Some women are just not homemakers. Even if her son isnt doing anything your GF should still be able to keep on top of things. Yeah the son room might be a mess that normal for a teenager. But why the rest of the house a mess?? I work I look after a lazy 17 year old sd and a husband and 3 cats the house work is always done. Usually with no help from anyone. But i will still kick everyone up the ass. Get sd to clean her room get dh to help where it needed. There no excuse for things to get out of hand. It take 20 to 30 mins a day just to do basic housework like wash the dishes throw in a wash of clothes. A quick vacuum and tidy. Throw out rubbish etc Keep things in reasonable shape. But unfortunate for some women it all too much. You end up living in a tip. Dh ex is one of these women and I have seen other women like this where living in a clean house just doesnt seem to matter to them. 

JBUK's picture

I am pleased to see that I am not the troublemaker I thought I was.  I did speak with my now ex recently and she said she has realised that things need to change with her and she also has realised how much I did in the house and how much she misses that.  Her son has become more of a problem for her since I moved out.  He makes more mess and is even lazier than before.  I managed to accept that it is best for me to step back from her problem and leave her to sort it out.  I told her that even if we got back together her house and her son are still her problem and I refuse to move into her house ever.

I accept the situation for what it was although I see the bad effect it had on me making me a very negative person and very unhappy in myself.  I will fix that.  The worst part about it is that I really tried to fix things and wanted to help to make a clean and tidy home for everyone so that we could all live in a nice place.  However through my "nagging" my girlfriend to step up to the mark she became upset.....her son told his grandmother I had upset her again......grandmother called my girlfirend.......and I am the bad person for upsetting everyone........when all I wanted to to improve things for everyone.  Lesson learned.