First counseling session - Validation!!
I was so very fortunate to find a therapist that specializes in stepfamilies AND "Failure to Launch" kids (20 years experience)!!! Bazinga! I had my first session yesterday afternoon. I went alone because I wanted to feel her out to see if she would be a good match plus I wanted to give her the history of SS23 and SD19 (they still live with us). I laid it all out to the therapist.
SS23 - dropped out of school in 9th grade; has only worked 5 months his whole life; obviously doesn't pay rent, utilities, etc; DH pays him to mow the lawn, etc; smokes pot in the house; threatens suicide at least once a year; been put in 2 week long hospital stays at least 4 times for suicide threats; etc, etc, etc.
SS19 - graduated high school; works 20 hours a week; doesn't pay rent, utilities, etc; doesn't help with household chores; got a dog even though DH said no (we've had the dog for 2 years now); smokes pot in the house; runs an electric heater in her bedroom because she is too lazy to put wood in the wood stove (and doesn't pay for the electricity to run said heater!)etc, etc, etc.
After sharing many stories about the stepkids and DH's enabling parenting style she looks at me and says "How the hell have you stayed as long as you have!? You are living in an asinine situation!" She told me I wasn't crazy or selfish for wanting the kids to be held responsible and for wanting to get them self sufficient enough to move out of the house. Awesome to hear all this from a qualified 3rd party!!!
I told her that last week I had had enough and told DH that I needed to see progress with the stepkids getting self sufficient or I would be moving out. She said I needed to get DH an appointment with her so she can talk to him alone. She wants to see if he is willing to make some changes for the sake of our marriage. She then flat out told me that if he doesn't agree to therapy and letting her help us make some plans to move the kids toward self sufficiency then I need to move out as that would shake him up enough to maybe do something about the situation. She said she has dealt with hundreds and hundreds of stepfamilies in this situation and many of the times having a stepmom move out is what finally got the Dad to see his enabling ways because then he had to deal with the stepkids all on his own. She said 80% of the time that brought the Dad to his senses as he was having to deal with all the bullshit on his own and it enabled him to make the choice of living in chaos with stepkids or living in a peaceful loving home without stepkids with his wife.
I am prepared to move out if I have to.
So, the question is - how do I smoothly get DH to agree to see her without triggering his defense mechanisms? The therapist is so down to earth and very witty. This is the kind of person that DH would be friends with if he met her at work. I know DH will really like her if I can just get his butt in the door. And then - let progress begin! Any suggestion?