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Frustration Level Increasing with SD's Inconsistency

Overit2018's picture

So I've posted before about how SD was being wishy-washy about going to the main college campus in our area, about 1.5 hours away. We took her to the open house last Friday where she immediately chickened out and complained that she "wasn't sure about her major and it was too hard to register." I immediately freaked out and got pissed off, and DH assured me she will be gone by August no matter what. 

Yesterday she announced to us that she plans to...drum roll... "enroll in some more classes locally and get a studio apartment because the classes are cheaper than the main campus." When asked why she doesn't want to go to the campus and live in the dorms, she really could not give a concrete answer and almost made it sound like she didn't want to be there at all, even in the future. WHY?!?!?!?

This "woman" who will be 19 on Sunday moved all the way here and has lived with us for almost a year FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF GOING TO THAT SCHOOL. Now suddenly she's decided to stay in town, take a few more classes, work, and be miserable? She TOLD us both she was not happy just working, classes, and going home yet now she's decided to throw the stress of paying for an apartment into the mix? It literally makes ZERO sense to me. Honestly, it seems to me she should just go back home to Mommy. This was a failed experiment but no one wants to admit it.

Don't get me wrong, I am glad she at least realizes she needs to get out but I know how she operates: She will want to spend weekends with us (NOPE) and then when the proverbial sh!t hits the fan of having money problems, she will come running to daddeee for help. I told DH this is all pointless and he said he will continue to try and "nudge" her to the campus but I just don't know one minute to the next with this "woman" and what her goals are. None of it makes any sense whatsoever and frankly, it's pissing me off. At this point she might as well fly home and start from scratch there. At least she'd have her friends and her beloved BM. Why us? Why me? Why when you're unhappy? GO HOME!!

hereiam's picture

Well, she may be almost 19 but she doesn't sound very mature and didn't you say she has some anxiety issues? So, it makes sense that she is hesitant about staying in the dorm. It would be a great experience for her but nobody can MAKE her do it.

Has she not made ANY friends at school or work?

Overit2018's picture

You just raised a key point: Friends. She made one friend last semester on campus but as soon as classes ended they stopped talking to each other. This semester she's only taking online courses (again, why is she here??) but she has made a couple of friends at work. The problem is they're all drinking age and she isn't and some of them have kids so they aren't really her age. She NEEDS FRIENDS HER AGE and in the same mindset. What kills me is she knows she needs friends. Even BM told her she cannot be friends with just DH and I. Yet she just won't go to college on campus. I totally understand anxiety but you also need to overcome those things in order to grow.

For whatever reason, it feels like she'd just prefer to remain stagnant. Not on my dime or my watch. She can do that at home with BM.

tog redux's picture

OP - just be glad the kid is out of your house come August. Make clear to DH that you are not on board for her spending weekends at your home or subsidizing her housing.

Then let the rest go. Why do you care if she has friends, or how old they are or where she goes to college? Just let her do what she wants in that area, it's not your place (or even DH's, now that she's an adult) to tell her how to live her life. If she wants to remain stagnant, she can do so, as long as it doesn't happen in your living room.

Overit2018's picture

True. I am trying to think positive. Her saying to us voluntarily that she's moving out is a BIG first step.  And you're right-I don't really care about her silly or not-so-smart life choice, except that I don't want it to come back to bite us. For example, if she's having a problem paying rent or makes no friends and gets "lonely", I don't want her crawling back to us in a few months after she moves out. Her being back home with BM would eliminate that possibility from my mind completely. 

I don't care how old her friends are. The other poster asked if she had friends and I replied they're older and therefore she barely spends much time with them, if any, outside of work. So really, currently, she has no social life and no real friends.

She can live her life and waste her best years however she chooses, but my gut tells me she's choosing this route because it's the easy way and because she'll still be somewhat close to us as her "fall back plan." That's my main frustration. On the upside, at least if she rents an apartment she won't try to spend every college break for a month or more at a time at our house because she'll have her own! LOL

tog redux's picture

You can't control her choices - all you can do is make it abundantly clear that you do not support her moving back under any circumstances.

STaround's picture

Loans are not generally enough to pay for that, unless a parent guarantees the debt.  Sorry if I have missed it, but I dont see how she is supposed to afford it.  Many community college students do live at home to save money.  

Overit2018's picture

BM co-signed with her for her original financial aid, so I would think she'd continue to do so for the dorm portion of the tuition but I could be wrong...(I admit, it's definitely expensive!) I do know a lot of CC students live at home to save, but when she's got an almost full-time job and spends it all on new shoes and fast food every week, it kind of causes me some concern that she thinks she'll be able to pay rent and other bills on her own. It's her prerogative to do so, but like others said, it's my prerogative to enforce the rule that she won't be able to back peddle her way back into our home once she makes that decision... 

Her mind could change again (it's already changed 2-3 times before this new "plan") so I guess we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

STaround's picture

Dad needs to try to work it out, but pushing it all on the other parent is not right, imho.

The mom co-signed on the assumption that the kid would be living with her dad and that is his contribution.  Now you dont want him to make any contribution?  I would be furoius if my EX had the money or housing space and refused to contribute anything.  You say this kid has not done anything wrong, you just dont want her there?

Overit2018's picture

No. I don't want her here. I never did. It was never up to me. BM decided that it was "too tough on her" to be back in her home state and assumed that her coming here would do her some good. DH and BM agreed to let her live here without my input which infuriated me but that is a longer, other story. 

We contribute plenty: she currently has free room and board, use of the washer & dryer, internet, cable, etc. She has a job but pays us nothing so I'd say we've been contributing plenty. BM cosigned because it would allow SD to get financial aid for her student loans. While we might have the space, no one is to assume we have the money to support a fully grown adult woman who is capable of holding a job on her own.

hereiam's picture

She is a 19 year old college student, with a part time job, not a 30 year old woman with a career, there is a difference.

Do you really resent her using your washer and dryer? Your cable and internet? I know this has been an adjustment for you, and it sucks that it was decided without your input, but that is on your husband.

It is also on your husband to teach her life skills. Is anybody giving this girl any guidance? She might need a little more than most and, again, that is on your husband and BM.

Overit2018's picture

I don't resent her for those reasons, my point is that we are contributing already (in response to the other poster) by providing her with all of these things free of charge, including no rent. I agree that the responsibility falls on DH and BM to teach her and give her guidance. My frustration, like a lot of other step parents on this forum, is that neither parent seems to be doing that and I feel like if I don't speak up, she'll end up making bad choices and end up back in our house after she "attempts to launch." 

sandye21's picture

You have written that you not only have problem with SD who demonstrated that she has no desire to launch, you have also expressed dissatisfaction that you were not in the loop when decisions were made regarding someone sharing your home.  I fully understand.  You have honestly stated that SD is a nice person instead of deceptively exaggerating her 'flaws'.  this is truly admirable.

You were placed in circumstances which were shoved upon you without any regard for your right to decide who resides in your home and your right to live in what you consider your sanctuary.  I've had the experience of having DH's relatives 'visit' without prior notice.  I've had the experience of SD dumping her animals off, including an untrained puppy, who ruined a beautiful carpet and my shoes, without prior notice.  And I can tell you, it wouldn't have mattered HOW nice they were, I felt as if I had been invaded.  Not only did my DH expect me to just adjust when he made an arbitrary decision without consulting me, but then I was expected to be the one to 'accommodate' them;  Prepare the guest bedroom, cook for them, clean up after them, be the sweet 'hostess' while DH sat there 'entertaining' them.

Not once did I get, "Gee!  I'm sorry for dumping this on you" or "Thanks for all of your hard work."  Just wondering if DH or BM has ever apologized for not including you in THEIR decision to place SD in your home or thank you for what you have done for SD?

The 'deal' that DH and BM came up with was that SD would be living in your home and going to college.  It appears neither one of them communicated much with SD as far as HER expectations or given you much say in anything.  I would be pizzed - and frustrated too.  To you tell you that should be more patient with all of them is an added insult.

You are wanting SD to leave when her semester is up.  You have a right to ask this.  It is only a consequence of not being included in 'decisions' in the first place.  By the way, if DH pulled that today he would have one h*ll of a time accommodating his relatives while I take an unexpected vacation

Overit2018's picture

Thank you. Yes, it definitely sucks and yes, I am frustrated and pi**ed as I think I have a right to be. No one asked me how I felt about it, and no one has ever said I am sorry I threw this in your lap since it happened, so of course, my frustration only grows by the day. I agree! I definitely have a right to ask what her next move its, and I have a right to refuse that OUR money goes toward supporting HER choices. This is HER choice. She can handle it on her own. When I was that age and made mistakes with money, my dad would just say "So what are you going to do about it?" and have me figure things out on my own. I don't think that's too much to ask. She's perfectly mentally and physically capable of handling her own money. She just needs to be aware that if she fails, we are not her magical safety net.



jam's picture

I don't blame you for being INFURIATED. I would be too! You were excluded from any input about a decision that affected YOUR enviorment.


Overit2018's picture

Thank you! Yes, it definitely affects my personal environment and well-being (but I'm the bad guy...sigh). I hate picking up her crap-her mail, her empty snack containers, soda cans, paperwork for school, shoes, clothes, etc... everywhere I go I am constantly throwing stuff away or moving it out of my way. After only having her around every other weekend for years (sometimes we'd even skip weekends because back home she had friends) and now having her in my face all day every day because she has no life, it can be really infuriating to be sure.

mapitout's picture

She may need help in mapping out a viable plan. Sometimes people are not able to put it together because the order of operations is scattered. Maybe writing out a plan of action and going over it with her will give her a guide that is launch positive where both she and you are concerned. 

Overit2018's picture

DH and I had a brief conversation with her yesterday when she told us her plans. We really encouraged her to live on campus, mostly because we are worried she will miss out experiencing real college life, and she'll have to deal with the pressure and stress of paying rent and bills, working, and going to school all at once if she stays in this area. She said she's registering to take classes for the main campus online so if she changes her mind before then transferring won't be a big deal. I told her that was smart, but we didn't press much after that.

DH said he's going to keep having conversations with her and hope that she will reconsider and maybe she will change her mind. But I agree-having something written out might help her better see what it's like to live 100% on her own without the support of a college "paying" for her room and board. I don't think she's really seeing the entire picture right now especially in terms of cost and stress. Which is why I am worried she won't make it & will end up either trying to move back in with us (Not happening) or end up going back to her home state with her mom (preferable - but that's just me talking).

notarelative's picture

She said she's registering to take classes for the main campus online so if she changes her mind before then transferring won't be a big deal. 

I'm not sure that registering for an online course guarantees you a seat in the classroom course. Classroom courses usually have a finite number of seats and if they are full, they are full.

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

Stick the August 2019 permanent launch date. Get your sh!t together to leave if she is not 100% out and Daddykins is footing her bills.

Mountains's picture

Has your DH thought of sitting with her and developing a budget of what it would cost to live on campus vs off?  Maybe she would benefit from having the cost laid out, sources of income (financial aid, working, etc), to see the bigger picture.  Since it sounds like she doesn’t have to budget her money now, this exercise might be a good step in developing some critical life skills.  There could also be the opportunity to make it clear that the fall back position is going back to BM’s.  

Overit2018's picture

Excellent advice. I think I am going to ask DH to sit down with me first and we can draw out a budget, showing the average cost of apartment plus bills. Then, we can present that to SD so she has something physical to look at instead of just envisioning this stuff all in her head. Afterward, if she still has her heart set on it, then she needs to realize and fully understand that once she signs a lease, that's it and she will either be 100% responsible for all bills and rent, or she'll be heading back home to mommy.

Mountains's picture

I used this approach with my own DD before she left for college - we went over it, how much she would be receiving each month, and how she was responsible for paying her bills and managing her money.  When she moved out of the dorms into an apartment later, she made up the budget, monitored the expenses for three months, then we adjusted her budget to account for any unforeseen expenses (utilities were a little higher than expected for example).  We also made it clear she had 4 years to graduate and get a job that she could support herself with - our home was not an option.  

Good luck!  I know this is tough but with some good mentoring by your DH and guidance, this might be a good first step towards her future.

Overit2018's picture

Thank you Smile I agree, this is a good thing IF DH will stand his ground and understand that she is now an adult and must stick to her responsibilities. Enabling her by letting her come back home every time things aren't to her liking will not only be to her detriment it'll also be to the detriment of our marriage. He is going to have to toughen up with her and not let her whine her way back into our home if this is what she ends up choosing to do. That's my main worry. He is not doing her any favors if he caves, so it needs to be made clear that this is the final launch and that's it. We have a few months to go so anything can change between now and then. Hoping for the best!

Overit2018's picture

Oh I WANT her to move out. In fact I NEED her to move out. If I had my way she'd already be out! I just don't want to hear it when things get tough and she thinks she can move back in!

elkclan's picture

If she takes the apartment then she has a place to live full time. If she takes the dorm, she's back with you when school is out. She's almost certainly aware of your hostility toward her, so this is her way of having a safe space. 

It's also not uncommon for kids to get parental support in terms of rent and tuition and if you can afford it, it might be better to provide some subsidy to this kid. You are hoping she will fail out of her responsibilities and move back to BM. But if she's already enrolled in school there its more likely that she'd move back with you. Think of the support as an investment in your sanity. 


GrabitAndGo's picture

" investment in your sanity."  This what I tell myself when I buy wine by the case.  

Overit2018's picture

I'm definitely not hostile to her, but I know that she has told BM and DH both that she can tell I am getting sick of her, which is definitely true. It probably shows in my body language and my facial expressions from time to time.

DH and I are looking at homes to buy and she always sees us on the computer browsing houses and we're constantly talking about it, so she knows we're planning to move by the end of the summer or the end of the year at the latest. I think she's just in the middle: she's not ready to go to campus but she knows she needs to move out of our house so at least she's aware. 

If she runs into a snag, I'll consider letting DH help her if it allows her to stay in whatever apartment she chooses. But I will also expect BM to contribute to that as well since it was her brilliant idea to ship SD off to us in the first place. And yes, it's certainly an investment in my sanity to be sure! I won't let him pay her rent for her, but maybe we can help her a bit here and there with a car insurance payment now and then.. That'd probably be my limit. 

elkclan's picture

You don't have to be shouty to be hostile - that's why there's a phrase called 'passive aggressive'. What kind of money would you expect to be paying toward your biokids when they're in this stage of life? If any then her getting about half that amount wouldn't be unreasonable - depending on relative incomes of the two parents. 

I'm fully expecting my steps to live me with at some point during their early adulthood - simply because of the way the housing market is where we live. And yes, I do expect to get annoyed! :-) 

fourbrats's picture

anxiety issues? Oldest DD (now 20) started college at 18. She is an anxious perfectionist. She was Valedictorian and basically had no fun in high school because her need to be perfect took over. She was woefully unprepared for college and miserable. Now she works full time, has an apartment, a boyfriend and is getting ready to start courses in something she loves at the local community college. We did as mentioned above and helped her make a plan. I understand her because I am also a Type A perfectionist and will get in my own way at times. 

I would also have her dad lay out some other options beyond traditional college. DD is entering a culinary program. Middle DD is at a technical high school and will graduate with her cosmetology license. DS has gone the traditional route mostly because I didn't know any better which also assisted in oldest DD's initial college failure. I thought traditional was best. I have since changed my stance. 

Overit2018's picture

Yes, she certainly has anxiety issues especially when it comes to being social. I think the campus visit overwhelmed her and now she's got it in her head that she can't handle it all of a sudden when initially she was really excited about college and campus life. I agree the traditional route is not always the best route and personally, for me, I realized college was a waste of my time and money so I dropped out after 2 years at University. BM is a stickler for her to stay in college while I think DH and I are more flexible. Ultimately it is up to her, but even if she moves out and takes these remaining core classes she'll be forced to make a decision at that point. This local community college only allows for 2 years or 4 semesters of basic classes and then she will either need to transfer to this college or move somewhere else.