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Anyone else out of synch with their spouse and wishing they did have an empty nest?

captjacksprrw's picture

This may be a little long ... I feel a little guilty but recently have had some very heated arguments with my wife.  Not all is my adult stepson (28) living at home but it seems to present an issue for me.  Maybve others have been there and have some comments or pointers.  Let me give background:

  • My wife and I are very much in love and have been married 7 years.  I met my stepsons at 13 and 18.  I cannot claim anything bad.  Generally these are great young men.  Our youngest gave us a grandson and an amazing daughter in law.  He has launched well, is a great dad and husband and they live in the same county so not too far.  Our oldest is 28 and still lives at home.  He does pay some rent and does not drink/smoke or party 
  • Our oldest is now 28.  He has a BS degree and is quite intelligent.  He is very dogmatic and self centered but can be quite caring.  However, he bounces between pouty/angry and thoughtful at the drop of a hat.  Yes, after he graduated college he did nothing but game for over a year.  However, he now works full time and has a good work ethic. 
  • We also have an adult special needs (my sister in law).  She is developmentally 10-12 (actually is 53) and is sweet but very much like a pre-teen and she has a palsey, balance issues, etc. 


This is where I feel a little guilty.  I'll list pros and cons so to speak but lately came to realize that I have always wanted to see the boys launch and then have an empty nest and they can visit and we could do some outings here and there.  My wife is a but more OK that he has not launched.  We are working with a counselor and thuogh we used to be great communicators, home life is becomming an issue for me.  We got married and just after, sis needed to move in as my really cool mother in law passed.  As a result of that and the SSx2 we never got to have that honeymoon phase.  Now let me say that until the last 4 years, both SS did very little to help around the house, dirtied many dishes, etc.  I love my wife very much but she completely let them slide on helping out and they spoke to her very disrepectfully (not cursing but in my day I would have woken across the room).  Youngest married and moved out about 4 years ago. 

These are both the good and bad that really bug me with our live in SS:

  • Good that he pays rent and is working
  • Good that when he is not in his pouty/angry mood that he is a caring guy
  • Bad that although he pays rent, his room literally looks like a trash dump (fast food trash, plates/bowls, clothes, etc all piled high.  Last time he cleaned it took 6 large sized trash bags
  • Bad in that he still tends to at least twice a week texting what's for dinner.  Can you bring me something ?
  • Bad in that he packs the washer and leaves his clothes in the dryer as long as we let it sit
  • This just bugs me so maybe I'm thin skinned but he also will ask to go to the store, etc. but he wants one of us to drive all the time
  • Bad in that he is still in the he is always right and knows everything state.  In fact, the other day he commented things would work so much better if everyone just did it his way
  • I think that the dynamic which causes frustration/anger for me is that my wife and I very rarely have true alone time, it is hard to discuss household management, etc. without ears always being near.  Also, I feel as if my wife expects me to treat him as an equal partner since he pays some rent. I am not wired that way.  We are supposed to be the married couple; this is our home and we love our kids and want them happy and healthy but it is not a cooperative.  I strongly desire for us to exerience an empty nest (exception is sis, she cannot live on her own). I feel a little on the outside; would do anything I can for the kids but am seeing the rest of my years as having two children at home and my wife over functioning for her son who is off limits for me to say anything to or set house rules.  I love my wife but am now stuck in a groundhog day



betsyhope's picture

This is familiar to me, as my 27 y o SD recently asked to live with us, with her two small boys. My HB wanted them to but I said no. She has always been disrespectful and now she is in debt and not working. Huge backlash to me for saying no and standing my ground, but I do not feel guilty. Nor should you!

He would eventually be happier, iif he were on his own, as a 28 y o should be. You are enabling bad behavior on his part, and independence is his gateway to a happier life. 

Wanitng the empty nest with your wife is normal and heathy. For everyone’s sake, I would still strive toward that. Best of luck!

Gimlet's picture

Much of the joy of launching kids is seeing them turn into self-sufficient adults and getting to enjoy an adult relationship with them.

Your older SS sounds like a teen.  Part of being a loving parent is pushing your child to do what is best for their growth and development, even when is makes them.(and you) uncomfortable.  Hell, especially when it does.

Your SS needs to find his feet and establish himself as an adult and your wife needs to push him to do that.  He will always be able to come and visit, and she can enjoy that time with him, but it really is time for him to go and for your wife to stop enabling him.  It isn't healthy.

advice.only2's picture

Have you and your spouse sat down with SS28 and given him a timeline of when he needs to be out and living in his own place?

Also technically you will never be empty nesters as you have the adult SIL with special needs.

captjacksprrw's picture

No .. we have discussed but I cannot get her to commit to us having that talk with him.  True with the SIL but I would consider that empty nest just the same.  At least she cannot help it due to her disabilities.  Sure, she can drive you batty some days but I suppose it doesn't so much bother me bacause she cannot fully function on her own.

tog redux's picture

Why is he still living there if he has a full-time job? My guess is he has some anxiety/depression and his mother needs to give him the final shove out of the nest. I don't think it's strange at all that you want that to happen. 

captjacksprrw's picture

Yes, I agree.  Not that I don't have plenty of my own issues and quirks but he definitely has anger issues and we have considered he may be bipolar.  We even encouraged him to try coulseling but that was met with anger.

Lollybobs's picture

Sounds as if you really need to get your wife to commit to the Launching Talk with SS. For crying out loud he's nearly 30...he should be out on his own by now.

It might help if you and your wife could arrange regular date nights as well, just so you're out of the house and spending time together away from prying ears. If SIL needs a babysitter, make use of SS whilst he's still there Smile

CLove's picture

Perhaps your SS has emotional issues, but I think its definitely time for him to get his own place - tell DW that his self esteem will climb higher if he starts doing more for himself, and um, what about hiring a lady to convince him that he needs to launch? LOL. Maybe rent the movie and you guys can all watch it together!!!! (its with mathew mccaunaghy, who is still enjoying all the comforts of home like mom doing his laundry, and a full refrigerator, and when he brings women over the parents sabotague his nooky eforts, but he doesnt know that they are hiringa  hottie to seduce him into launching. Its sort of en point here...)

Get that woman out of the house on a dinner date, or rent a hotel room, and while rubbing her feet with a glass of champagne in her hand, tell her SS28 will be given 4-5 months to find his own place, its going to help him grow as a person. Period, no negotiating.