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Really need some advice...

jelly035's picture

So I posted on here a year ago and got some good advice.  Things have changed somewhat but could really use some help.  I am in the unique situation that I got married later in life for the first time (at 49) to someone with sole custody of his son.  The son was 14 at the time (the step mother has since passed away).  When we got married I sold my single person condo and moved into his house in the suburbs with his son.  We have now been married 3 years and half of this time he was unemployed.  During that time I supported all of us on my salary.  it his his house and I am not on the deed (I did ask at some point but he wouldn't add me).  I pretty much kept him from losing his house while he was not working.  During this time I undertook major debt which I am just barly getting out of 6 months later.   I make very good money and have always been financially independent.  My husband has found a good job in the past 6 months and his son has gone away to college with the $ left to him by his mother.  That money paid for his entire first year of school/tuitition/room/board.    My real problem is that my step son doesn't work.  I have worked since I was 15 and have always had my own money.  In his sophmore year I told my husband I really think he needed to work during the summers to make his own money.  Every summer was a new excuse for not working.  He would, however, find the time to game morning/noon/night.  Last summer I insisted he work to make money for college.  He managed to work about 20 hours a week delivering pizza's.  He came home for a 5 week break over the holidays where, again, I asked for him to get some type of job to make some money.  He picked up a few shifts deliverying pizza.   Then he was supposed to get a 10 hour a week job during his 2nd semester.  Nothing (or I am still hearing excused on this one).  I see summer coming, this kid coming back home and again, doing nothing.  My husband claims he gives no money to him but I know his personal credit card is very high (likely from his son's purchases/Amazon, etc).  We have kept one joint account and seperate credit cards.  I pay 800 a month for both of their health insurance and give my husband part of the mortage as well as pay for all the groceries, vacations (of which there have been many very nice ones on me), resturants, etc.  I make more money than my husband and I am honestly OK footing a bit more of the burden.  But what I see happening is my future being diminished by this son not working and starting to contribute to anything.  I used to go on 2 vacations a year, now we can only afford to go on them if I pay for it.  I honestly wouldn't begrudge any of this if I saw any effort on his son's part to work and my husband pushing him harder in this area.    When I ask my husband about it he always has either an excuse or he gets angry at me.  Am I being unreasonable?  Financially I have taken a beating since getting married. I have credit card debt that I never had and my lifestyle is greatly different. I feel like I sould be at the point in my life where I am planning a future with my husband and I don't see ever being able to get ahead.  How can this be when I have worked since I was 15?  

on the upside the stepson does very well in school with an engineering background.  I just don't see any work ethic at all and I don't see my husband even caring how this affects me at all.  I see him moving back home (and my husband has offered!) post school to pay off student debt. 

I could really use some advice. I have had several very serious conversations with my husband about this and I see nothing changing.  I feel like I am being played for a fool by these 2 and that I may be better off leaving... I think I was very naive and didn't think out getting married at the time to someone with a child when I didn't have one.  

thanks in advance for any advice.


Siemprematahari's picture

In my opinion you were much better off remaining single and simply dating him. Instead of being in a better financial position with your H, you are now in debt and have incurred more because of your H and his son. I'm not sure how you want to proceed but do you want to continue living this way? You're not getting any younger and your H seems to be more of a burden than anything else. 

You could do bad all by yourself. I say really do some soul searching and figure out if you want to remain in this marriage. Please remember your future and your retirement years as you reflect on this relationship. 

Merry's picture

So how does your DH think his son will survive after college if he gets an engineering job? Those generally come with long hours and significant work. Good pay, rewarding, all that, but he has to be ready for it.

I'd suggest DH get an understanding of his son's goals and then help him get a plan together to meet them. What? He hasn't thought about his future? Well, it's time. If his goal is to play video games and have Daddy take care of him, he's nicely on his way. If he expects to hold an adult job and be independent, he's got to get on the fast track to what that actually entails.

Kids don't launch because they hit a magic age or receive a college degree. They launch when they have some capacity to live independently and when the parents have made that an expectation.

ESMOD's picture

First, you both need to have separate finances.  Your DH should be paying his son's expenses and an equitable amount of his own expenses.  beyond that each person's disposable income is each person's .  

Second,  Your DH needs to be on a plan where he is repaying you for the money you spent supporting him and his son for 1.5 years.

Third.. You may need to see if your DH will go to a financial counselor to see how you will both be preparing for retirement and other financial goals.

Fourth.. while I do see the merit in the boy working.. that may/may not be a hill to die on if it isn't directly impacting you.  just because you think it is the better course for him.. not every child is expected to.. and this is a parenting decision for his father.  If there are resources from his mom to cover his schooling etc.. then that shouldn't impact you.

ndc's picture

You are clearly being taken advantage of financially.  After you bailed your H out on the mortgage when he wasn't working, he has a lot of nerve not putting you on the deed when you asked or repaying your contributions.  I would spend less time worrying about the lazy SS and more time worrying about why your husband is willing to accept your financial help, not pull his own weight, let you pay for insurance, vacations, etc., but not put you on the deed to the house.   If his concern is that the equity in the house is far more than your contributions, well, he can add you as a tenant in common for a stated percentage that can be less than 50%.  Or he can repay you.  You should not be in a lesser financial position for having married this man.  

FWIW, it is possible for kids who haven't worked in high school and college, particularly those with valuable degrees (engineering), to graduate, get a good job and be self supporting.  You can deal with the SS wanting to move back in when the time comes - it's still a few years away and he may not want to be anywhere near you guys once he graduates, or the job he finds may not be in your area.  I would let H know that you don't intend to live with adult children, but it wouldn't be a HTDO *yet.*

sandye21's picture

I hope you realize that if you stay with this man you will be his financial security blanket for the rest of your marriage.  Every time he needs money he will depend on you.  Even if the kid doesn't live with you, you will be footing the bill every time SS comes over.  Your DH doesn't make enough now to be contributing to a decent retirement so when the time comes you will supplementing him with YOUR retirement.  Everything you are complaining about now will be magnified in 10 years BUT it will be harder to get out from under this leech of a DH.  The longer you are married to him the more you will have to pay whether you stay with him or not.  The good news is you have only been married for 3 years.  Get out from under this unfair burden now.

No, I am not a clairvoyant!  I was where you are 29 years ago.  I was too stupid and too desperate for the '"IMAGE" of being do what was in my best interests.

jelly035's picture

you guys are all AMAZING>  wow. did I come to the right site!  just amazing advice and so much to think about.  A few of the comment hit me right between the eyes because I have been feeling this for some time now.  Particularly that what is going on now will be magnified 10 times going foward toward retirement. The SS is only part of the issue.  I realized that the SS learned his behavior from his BM who apparently never worked either.  Apparently my DH supported her while she was alive with the SS.  I remember my DH telling me once that SS was in daycare and he had to pick him up...I asked WHY was he in daycare when BM was unemployed???? no answer.  So now I am seeing a pattern here and it isnt' very good...I got married only because my father had died suddenly and my mothers Dementia had us put her in a home at the same I lost my entire family at once and reaching out to have that "marriage" secruity felt right at the time...funny, all my friends felt that DH was taking advantage of me by pushing marriage in my vulnerable state..guess I should have listened....:(  I think everyone is right.  The SS is really just a smaller piece of this.  


Penny19's picture

My situation was similar to yours except the budget was much smaller and there were 3 kids. I put everyone on my insurance and supported everyone. My DH was self-employed so that income was spotty or not at all, even though he worked very hard. I know the feeling of being sucked down the drain financially while you are fantasizing about the things you would be doing if you were still single and financially independent. BUT at least I am on the deed to the house which I see as a major red flag in your case. The kids are gone but now there are grandkids. I know my DH is dying to spend money on them but we just don't have it to spend so think about that in your future.....grandkids! 

Before too much more time passes, I'd get my own place again. You didn't say you are head over heals in love with this man so you can choose to sever the relationship or continue it as an independent woman. If you need a therapist to lean on while you get through this, I'd surely find one.