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Need help with 23-year old stepson

JStepmom's picture

I am a stepmom with a 23-year old stepson. I married his Dad 7 years ago. My stepson was spoiled, and his Dad spoiled him with material things and rarely set rules and if he did, he rarely enforced them. When my to-be husband and I started to have serious relationship, we sought counseling on how to deal with Kyle, and I thought we could work things out and get married. In the beginning, it seemed we could work together. We managed to work together on my stepson’s tantrums and whining.
My stepson has never gotten along with his biological mother (who ironically has a Ph.D in psychology and teaches child psychology. As my stepson entered his teen years, we had problems with unsupervised parties, stolen alcohol, and my stepson was suspended 6 months for buying and storing pot on school grounds. We have spent a lot of money on family counseling. It has not been easy over the years, and dealing with my stepson has caused a bad strain on our marriage. There were times when I wanted to leave.
Well, now, my stepson is 23 years old and in college. There were problems with my stepson’s irresponsibility. He was irresponsible with his car (violation tickets, he loaned the car to a friend and the friend got into an accident) and with the money my husband gave him for expenses (Constant $25 bank fees for each overdraft on a debit card). My husband kept on paying for the tickets and the bank fees. It took a lot of effort and time on my part to get my husband to put my stepson on a budget).
My husband and I moved out California. My husband got a great job offer and I had been laid-off from my job, so there was no reason to stay where we were living. Shortly after we moved out here, my stepson demanded to move-out to California. He said he was coming out here no matter what. He said he would move in with friends if we wouldn’t take him in to live with us. Behind my back, my husband told my stepson “to pack-up and get ready to leave, but if (my name) objects, the plans are going to change.”. I was so angry at my husband because he made me look like the bad guy, but I knew my husband wanted his son out here, so I gave in, and my husband gave my stepson the money to drive out to us.
After my stepson came to live with us, problems began. His driver’s license had been suspended because of his unpaid tickets. He was stopped by the police for a noisy muffler, and the police confiscated and impounded his car because he was driving with a suspended license. My stepson was leaving rotten food and dirty dishes in the apartment above the garage. We had a calm conversation and told him to stop. He promised to stop, but while I was in the apartment over the garage where he was staying (I was looking for spare silverware), I found that he was hiding dirty dishes in the cupboards. He had a job working at a retail store. We finally told him he had to move-out if he did it again. He lived with us for 5 months free rent and board, and saved-up enough money to share an apartment with friends. Before he moved-out, he left dirty dishes in the apartment. He also invited a friend to stay overnight without talking to us first (the rule has always been he needed to talk to us before inviting friends to stay over). When my husband went to talk to him, my stepson started yelling at my husband about how he was grown-up and didn’t have to follow any rules.
After my stepson left, my husband and I were cleaning up the apartment, and we found lots of empty wine bottles (of wine that my husband and I had purchased). I rarely drink and so, I did not take notice of the wine supply. My husband obviously did not notice. My stepson had been drinking up our wine.
Well, now, my stepson has lost his retail job. He said he quit because the manager wanted him to unethically charge customers for service contracts even if the customer didn’t want a contract. My stepson did find a part-time job, but is unable to pay his rent of $550/month. We are now paying for his rent and his tuition to go to community college. My stepson will have to go to a private college, instead of a state college, to finish his Bachelor’s degree because of California’s budget crisis (there is no money for transfer students). I am extremely worried about our finances. I have been so worried and depressed for many months. I have been struggling to find a job, and I have found a part-time job that does not pay well. I have tried talking to my husband, but he is very defensive about his stepson. Sometimes, he gets angry and accuses me of being the bad guy when I bring up issues with his stepson, and I end up feeling worse.