A lazy stepson grows older
I haven't been on Step Talk for a while and today, I began reading the forums, found encouragement to soldier on. Below is a brief update of my situation:
SS19 got accepted into a well-known college, where he is studying electrical engineering. He is smart, academically speaking, but lazy in every other possible way. Because of the current COVID situation, he telecommuted to college last semester (up until then, it had been real commuting, living at home and taking the train to school), which meant that he was laying on his bed for 23.5 hours a day, whether sleeping, playing video games or sometimes being in an online class, and only coming out to use the bathroom or to eat something.
He will not look for a job and DW does not insist that he does. She is quite content with the way her son is, never objects to it. He won't contribute to his college tuition. Current excuse for that is the COVID situation, but he likely would not have to work anyway. He did get generous grants toward college costs. He was supposed to get an internship, but that is not happening with the current situation.
One note about work and COVID: my wife has a pre-existing medical condition and perhaps it is better - for her, not him - that he doesn't work outside of the home, where he could bring back the virus. However, when it was recently suggested that he work at the local ShopRite, he made a spitting noise and said "ShopRite?" (As in, "Me? Work a menial job?) He briefly had a job in a local restaurant three years ago, however when it was suggested that he return there the next summer, he said, "I'm not going to have some boss telling me what to do."
All of this is acceptable to DW. Whenever I told her that it's summer and he's just laying around, DW said, "He says he's looking for a job." With DW, everything is in the present moment; there is no follow-up. DW does not look back over the months and acknowledge that SS19 has not found a job. He says he's looking for a job, so he's trying. To her, this is as good as if he had been working the whole time. The other version of this is "The school says he's going to get an internship in the spring." This is sufficient to satisfy DW about whether or not SS19 is working.
I am not contributing financially to SS19's college tuition. This is the result of having read StepMonster several years ago and the Step Parent's Manifesto, which in part states: "I refuse to watch over a child for whom I can set no rules or boundaries." Back then, that had to do with disengaging. Now it extends to not being involved in his education in any way. However, since he is not working, and some of the grants may not be available this year, DW is taking up the financial slack, which means that, when push comes to shove, that is first and if she can't contribute to household expenses, I will have to pay for all of it, with zero contribution from her, which means, in effect, that I am helping to pay for SS19's school.
DW will never draw the line with SS19. For example, by saying that we don't have enough money and you're not working either, so you'll just have to go to a local, cheaper, community college. (That would probably light a fire under him, because he does like the college he's going to - but not to worry, this will never happen.) The upside, if there is any is that he will get a job upon graduation. (The school boast of 95% of graduates entering a well-paying job at graduation. Of course, there is always that other 5%.) My fear for the future is that he may never launch, or not until 30.