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Definitely need some advice...

stephanie1012's picture

My boyfriend and I are discussing marriage so I don't have step children yet but I'm in a situation and could use help from those of you with adult step kids.

My BF was divorced a very long time ago. He has 2 children ages 22 and 28. He has dated over the years but nothing very serious until I came along. His 22 year old is very independent and functional. We get along just fine. The 28 year old is the complete opposite. He is single, no girlfriend, no strong friendships, no hobbies. He is used to getting anything he wants from his dad and just recently moved out. He can't make a decision on his own and constantly texts his dad. Usually the texting increases when I am with his dad.

He ignores me. Acts like I am not even in the room. He will have a conversation with his dad and act like I'm not there. He will walk in the room and talk to his dad like I'm invisible. Dad doesn't think this should bother me because his son is not overtly nasty to me. He thinks it's pretty much ok that he just ignores me. I'm too sensitive. He thinks I should be fine having him over for dinner or the football game and it shouldn't bother me that he goes out of his way to ignore me. I think it's disrespectful and shouldn't be tolerated from a 28 year old man. He thinks his son will "outgrow" it.

So we are an an impasse. I've never been in a relationship like this. I don't know what's normal and what isn't. Dad does have a problem with son's behavior but he excuses it saying his son is just immature and needs to grow up. I feel like dad is just an enabler and the son will never change and I will be forced to just go along or pack it up and leave.

We've been together 18 months and the only thing we ever argue about is this issue with his son. In my opinion, the son is very jealous of our relationship and is working to drive a wedge between us. Again, my BF thinks his son is just immature and will change once he has been on his own for awhile.

Thoughts? Suggestions??

fairyo's picture

When I met my DH his children (and mine) were all grown up and living their own lives. I thought we had more in common that our kids (roughly the same ages) were in similar circumstances. Now, seven years down the line I have had to disengage from my skids because they messed up and my DH cannot see that they are adults and he still cannot face the mess ups of the past.
I would be very cautious about marrying a man who has this attitude that his adult son will 'grow out' of this behaviour- my experience is that he won't- his entitlement goes unquestioned and his ignorant behaviour towards you speaks volumes.
If I knew, when I met DH, what we were facing, I would have put down some ground rules at the very beginning. This is the very least you should do. This man (DH's son) should be supporting himself with a place of his own before you take this man on- and even so, be aware that adult skids are still capable of re-entering your life and causing chaos well after you've married. Make sure those rules and the consequences of their being broken are set in stone before you go any further.

mathfed's picture

I'm a stepfather that has been in almost exactly your situation. My wife's youngest son (19) is completely nasty to everyone around him. I've told his story before, so won't repeat it here. Needless to say, I heard excuse after excuse from my wife about his behavior, and she would get furious with me whenever I confronted him. It basically came down to our marriage almost ending before things changed. I was hanging on by my fingernails for a while, and wasn't sure I could take anymore of it. Some days, I'm still not sure. If this son ever sets foot in our house again, our marriage ends on the spot. I really can't take any more of it. My wife and I have been together for almost 4 years, and married for about 2 1/2 years. My point is that things will get worse before they get better. If your boyfriend isn't having your back with his son, he is giving his son a very strong signal that he doesn't have to respect you. That respect will be impossible to earn by yourself. Your first inclination might be to bend over backwards to demonstrate to the son how you are a good person. The son will likely see this as weakness, and treat you even worse. You will have to get hard nosed with both your boyfriend and his son, most likely, before anything will change. My guess is that your boyfriend won't want to upset his precious offspring, and the son would rather have you out of the picture so he can have Dad all to himself.

You're in for a long and painful road if you head down this path, at least from my experience.

stephanie1012's picture

Thank you both for the input. I feel like you know where I am in this situation. The son is just rude. I have no other way to explain it. It's not like he's doing drugs or his dad pays his way. But it's the other stuff. Until he was 27 he lived at home rent free. Yes, he worked and paid for his car and what he wanted to do but his dad paid for his existence. He finally moved out but his dad has done everything for him. I mean this guy couldn't even go look at a house on his own. His dad had to talk the realtor and the lawyer and the insurance company etc.. Now he's out but dad goes over 4 nights a week to "help" around the house. His father has told the son he loves me and he wants a future with me blah blah blah but he doesn't do anything to put an end to his son's disrespect. I guess because he doesn't see it as disrespect. I feel like he should stop going to the man's house and fixing his stuff until the man mans up and acts his age.

I have kids of my own who are years younger and much more mature. I have my own home. I will not be moving forward until or unless this situation changes. I guess my real question is, can the situation change? If my bf doesn't see it as disrespect am I just pissing in the wind??

mathfed's picture

What I've learned is to pay much more attention to my wife's actions than the words she says. Your boyfriend may say you are his top priority, but his behavior toward you when it comes to his son will tell you the real truth. If he expects you to go along with being treated like garbage from his son, I think you have a very serious red flag to think about. The difficulty with this will magnify big time after you get married. You will then be a permanent threat to the son. My wife's youngest son and I got along great, until my wife and I got engaged. I no longer have any relationship with him at all, and my relationship with my wife is probably permanently damaged, because of his horrible treatment of me since our engagement. Her youngest son is the elephant in the room that we don't talk about.

stephanie1012's picture

You are very much on the money. Thank you so much. What you are saying is what I am feeling so thank you for validating that I'm not being overly sensitive. I feel like I have some big decisions to make. I appreciate the input.

MurphysLaw's picture

Sorry...your “fiancé” cares more about his emotionally stunted sons feelings, than yours (the person he is supposed to be exchanging vows before God with)
You have been told exactly how he (your fiancé) feels about this topic, so, in other need to shut up about it, sit there and take it, become invisible in your “future home “ together, and when junior moves back in, and he will. Just stay out of his way, just pay for half of everything rent/mortgage, utilities, food etc and keep your mouth shut about precious.
That’s the ticket to a happy marriage with the man you’re with.

Any more questions?

Exjuliemccoy's picture

Mathfed brings up one of the basic rules when dating someone with kids - pay attention to actions, not words.

You need to think critically and vet the dynamic as a whole. Listen to that feeling in your gut that's telling you that something is wrong, because it definitely is.

Of course your bf is going to gaslight you and dismiss your complaints about his son's mistreatment of you. He wants to have it all - his enmeshed relationship with his adult son AND the benefits of having a woman in his life. Nothing about his relationship with his son is healthy or normal, which is probably why he has never remarried.

Please read up on enmeshment. You'll see that it's a very challenging dynamic to change unless one of the people involved recognizes how unhealthy it is and seeks help. Don't move in with this man. If you have, move out and tell him that you insist on couples counseling before you'll move forward with your relationship. If he refuses, he's made his choice. Also read all the posts here by a members called enuf and donewithit. Both ladies were married to men enmeshed with an adult child and offer valuable insight.

fairyo's picture

Do you have any links to articles on enmeshment? I'd really like to read up on it. I haven't heard of it before.

notasm3's picture

I met my DH when his son was in his early 20s. This son is a total worthless POS on so many levels. My DH kicked SS out for being violent towards him. DH said he might have really hurt him in self defense so he kicked him out. SS had been violent to his BM previously. He's just a waste of space.

I don't give a sh*t what SS now 32 does or wants. My DH wants to believe he is better because he now has a better woman to mooch off of. When I met DH he was living with worthless druggie hobags in drug dens - where he was regularly beaten to a pulp for being an ass. His current GF has a job, home and car. So does that make him now more worthwhile that he has a better class of woman to use?

But fortunately my DH does support me. He knows that his son is flawed.

SacrificialLamb's picture

Waiting for enuf to weigh in....this could be your future unless your SO realizes that his child is an ADULT and that you should be his partner.

Did he or did he not raise his children to treat others with respect, which includes acknowledging them when you see them? If he raised cretins that he makes excuses for, you really want to hear what you life is going to be like in the future so you can make an informed choice.

You have not even married yet. Wait until you see the fallout when that happens.

enuf's picture

Here I am. I can certainly weigh in on this. The ss you are describing is exactly what I had for a ss. I met him when he was 24-26 years, I do not remember. He did exactly what yours did, shunned me in my own home no less, would even turn his chair sideways to face only his df. I would fix food, he would put it on his plate but never touch it. I went out of my way, he did give me a xmas bday card in all the years I knew him he never put my name on it or sign it. He did it so his df could see what a great guy he was. My ex, thought he was the greatest and I was the one with problems. I was with my ex for 25 years, and in all those years we only got away on one overnight trip where ss was not calling continuously day and night, and when ex phone ran he would run to the bathroom if we were in a restaurant, or if we were having sex he would stop to chat with his ds as he did not want his ds to feel slighted.

Gosh I really tried and the resentment just built up and my self esteem fell to the floor because my ex refused to put boundaries on his behavior. The last year we were together I was taking 21 pills of medication and I believe it was because of all the stress. My ex divorced me after 25 years, he was 70 years old, why because I complained once about the time he was spending with his ds when he should have been spending it with me. They went together to do our grocery shopping, to each others drs appts, dentist appointments. If we invited ss to join us for a movie at a theater ss would try to sit between us. SS ended up moving 5 minutes from us and wanted to spend every night with his df and call all day starting at 9:00 am and every 30 minutes if he did not answer. So my ex got angry at me for complaining, after the divorce, ss moves in with his daddy and takes over what was my bedroom and all its furnishings.

I could have written your post, draw your line in the sand and let your dh choose. Otherwise you will end up like me 25 years later.

MurphysLaw's picture

What do you believe will happen to your exh son when your ex passes away?
My money is on him being institutionalized.

enuf's picture

He will become mommy's little boy as he does the same to her. Ex is wealthy, so once ss spends his inheritance he will be homeless. My ex gave him close to a couple of hundred thousand dollars to put into his retirement account, and ss gave him his word he would not touch it as it was an investment. Of course, ex would always brag to me that his ds had never lied to him. Guess what, he spent the money in two years, even though ex was paying his rent, cable, gym, groceries and his ds also had daddies credit card for emergencies, such as a new tv he needed. Mind you at the time his ds was employed. The reason he moved into ex is because he was on the verge of being homeless.

enuf's picture

One more thing, like your boyfriend, my ex was divorced from ss mother for 20 years when I met him, and had had one relationship that lasted 5 years during this time. The reason he broke it off with her is because she wanted a commitment and wanted to be married. Of course, he would not, as he was committed to his ds. I am surprised we lasted as long as we did, but then of course I never put my line in the sand. Let me tell you, in hindsight it was a nightmare. His relationship with his ds is quite sick. Your bf is conditioning you to accept the blame for his ds shunning you, he is making you the scapegoat and he is gaslighting you, that is the beginning of your nightmare should your relationship continue the way it has with his ds having priority over you.

Ispofacto's picture

If you do decide to move forward with this relationship. make sure you and your SO sit down and specifically discuss financial expectations. I would be willing to bet money that your SO is still contributing to SS's finances. SO needs to be held accountable for contributing his fair share to your household expenses: half if the two of you are living alone together, two-thirds if he allows SS to move back in. SO should also be expected to put something away towards your collective future retirement funds. You may also want to call out rules about discretionary spending and gift giving.

You do not want to end up supporting your SO while he supports his dysfunctional son.

marblefawn's picture

You are both where you will be in 15 years. Even if it changes for the better, you will still remember these early days and think he should have been a parent and intervened and he will always think his son's behavior was OK. So that means if SS does something worse, or just other annoying things, you shouldn't expect his dad to intervene. And although he is an adult, he will play havoc with your relationship more than you can ever think possible. It's just always kind of there, even when the stepkid isn't.

It's good you're asking for advice. Ask others outside of this forum because people here are pretty jaded. Happy stepparents (if they exist) don't come here.

Your decision is simple to boil down: Can you live with this? But making the decision will be hard.

I would not marry my husband again for exactly this issue. The resentment and sense of betrayal never go away. I always question if it's something I did, but I can't think of one more way to try to make it work with SD30.

enuf's picture

Marblefawn I think one of the hardest for me is to actually SEE my dh at the time debating whether to please and prioritize his ds demands or to be with me. It really hurt when he always picked his ds even in situations where I was very upset as something tramatic had happened or I was quite ill. He always put his ds wants first. One example was I had some bone removed from my foot and was sent home immediately after the surgery was done, and at the same time I developed a severe ear infection. Instead of tending to me, he has his ds over as ds wanted to spend time with him and watch a game. Those are the things that you never forget and the hurt lingers and then it turns into resentment.

Thank goodness those feelings have finally left, and I do not have to deal with those situations ever again. Ex divorced me to teach me a lesson, in the end it turned out to be a godsend, and maybe karmic justice for him as he no longer has anyone to blame but himself for the way his ds is but himself, as he kicked the scapegoat out. He always said the his ds was the "bane of his existence". Little did he know he was forecasting his future when he said that.

marblefawn's picture

I so get it. My husband left me with my actively dying dog to keep a lunch date with SD that was a hour away. I couldn't believe it. In fairness, it wasn't clear if my dog could make it to the next day or need to be euthanized that day. But I couldn't believe that he wouldn't tell her the circumstances and she wouldn't tell him to stay with me. After my husband left, two friends showed up to pay condolences and when I told them I hadn't the nerve to go alone, they took me to euthanize my dog. That was about three months after our wedding. I wondered right then what those friends thought of my choice of husbands.

About eight years later, SD's dog had to be euthanized. It was around her wedding and she couldn't have been more charming that year - she needed me to do all the tasks she didn't want to do. She boo-hooed to me about her dog for weeks and I consoled her as if there had never been bad blood between us. Six months later, she was back to ignoring me, sending holiday cards to our house addressed only to him, gifts only for him.

I disengaged a year ago from that mess. I'll never forgive him for leaving me alone to euthanize my second dog in three months. I wish I could forget it, though. It's so painful to think about it.

Merry's picture

I'm so sorry about your sweet doggy.

I came home from a doc appt., with a diagnosis of possible cancer. More tests needed. I was telling DH, scared, crying. SD calls and he leaves me crying in the kitchen to take her call. I hear him laughing and carrying on. I was so hurt. He comes back to me and tries to tell me about the damn phone call. I totally questioned my choice of husband, and DH learned exactly how I felt about taking a back seat to his daughter at any time, but especially when I needed a true partner.

Turns out it wasn't cancer, thankfully, and it took a long time for DH to claw his way back into my good graces. He admits to feeling guilty and being afraid his kids won't love him if he missteps somehow. But, DH, you're not afraid your wife won't love you when you're not there for her at a time of crisis? Hell, I left one husband and I can certainly leave another.

My DH has come a long, long way. There is hope IF both partners make the marriage their top priority.

stepmomfromhell's picture

If you're questioning now about marrying this man don't do it!!!

He has 2 adult kids which will most likely marry, and will end up with a sh*t load of grandkids in 15 years. Does this sound like what you want in your life? Do you want a dh that will have his time taken up with his grandbrats? If the answer is NO.... NOT A CHANCE IN HELL WILL I WANT HIM USING UP OUR TIME WITH SKIDS CHILDREN.

Think ahead NOW on what your future with this man could turn out to be then just jumping into a marriage, where the relationship could end up on it's ear because the skids start breeding like rabbits, and grandpa, whats to do the grandparent thing. YOU NEED TO TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR FUTURE, SEEING HE HAS ADULT BRATS!!!

MurphysLaw's picture

Nailed it sista!

My very soon to be ex SO has SS25, SS23 and SD21, she is a lesbian no babies there but have no fear his two sons are studs (barf) and have relations with many young fertile little sluts, and any drugged out little whore they bring around you would think that SO was courting them!!! All praise the future egg carrier Queen!!!
Sadly I won’t be around to watch them all crash & burn....

catsmom01's picture

Lucky you for getting out before the skids reproduce!!! It's a whole new level of ass kissing dysfunction when the grandspawn come along.

mathfed's picture

Even worse is to be verbally ripped to shreds in your own home, and have that be ok with your spouse. When my wife's youngest son was living with us, he would use rage, volume, and verbal abuse to try to get his way. In one instance, he had my wife cornered in our bedroom, screaming in her face. I got between them, told him to knock it off, and to get out of our bedroom. He left the bedroom, stopped in the kitchen, and screamed at me that he hates me, and that I'm just his mom's F'ing asshole boyfriend. He then went into his bedroom, swearing and yelling at me the whole way. My wife followed him to his room to console him. I sat down, feeling like I had just got run over by an angry train.

There were more and more issues with this son, until I finally disengaged from him completely. I don't interact with him at all anymore, and want nothing to do with him. My wife has never really had my back with him, and I have a lot of resentment about that. He is her problem to deal with. I don't even mention his name. Our relationship ends if I ever get put in that situation with him again.

Dunwiththem's picture

Please bear in mind, many kids are born on the autism scale. When they fail to launch, it isn’t always that they are selfish but that they cling to their parents as their only anchor in life. If they’ve failed to find a meaningful relationship of their own it may not be due to their not wanting it but their inability to make it happen. Sometimes the perception of rejection by these people is nothing more than an inability to connect – to socialise on an acceptable level. They cling to the person they know will not reject them.
It is incredibly hard for a new partner – who may have successful offspring of their own – to accept the burden of another’s apparent failures.
I’m not here to judge. I was myself the victim of a ruthless ‘Miniwife’ for more years than I care to remember. I do not belittle the horrendous effects of this in any way – but please, before you condemn the son or daughter, please consider the possibility of mental disorder. It is prevalent throughout the world with no regard to colour, class, race, religion or anything else and does wreek havoc on relationships – 1st, 2nd , 3rd and on.

enuf's picture

Dunwiththem I agree with you, however I have seen young adults with down syndrome behave better and with more kindness than my ss did with me. The big clue for me is when I observed him in other social settings and he did not shun anyone, however let him be with just me and his df and he shunned me every single time. His behavior was intentional. What irked me was that for 25 years every time ss walked in our door without knocking, dh would tell ss so that I could hear to"say hi to Miss Invisible", then ss would say "hey" and then ignore me and within that period of time even raise his voice to me and ex would just ignore it and when I questioned him about it ex would tell me "it never happened and it was my dark view of the world.".

stephanie1012's picture

First, I'd like to thank you all for the advice. Let me clarify that we are not engaged, I do not live with him and I have no immediate plans to do either! I own my home, have a full time job and kids of my own so there's no need to rush into anything. I am just looking ahead and wondering if it's even worth it for me to continue down this road which is why I came here to get some insight from those who have already traveled down the path.

Secondly, I do appreciate all the insight as all of this behavior is so foreign to me. I was raised to show respect and if I wouldn't allow my children to disrespect any adult, I certainly wouldn't tolerate anyone else's kid to disrespect me.

After reading all of the posts I can probably answer a few questions and give a little more detail. While the adult son was living at home, he was not paying rent. His father bought groceries and often cooked meals that the son would eat. The son has a job and a car and pays for his stuff but not actual living expenses like rent, utilities etc.. He paid his car, credit card, insurance etc... He would ignore me at his father's home whenever I was there. He would talk to his dad but not me. He doesn't have a girlfriend. He would either spend the weekend in his room or be out with friends. Whenever we did have to do things with him, I was invisible and he was obnoxious. He would be very loud and make sarcastic comments that he assumed people found funny. Behavior more familiar with a 16 year boy not a 28 year old man. It got to the point where I didn't want to be in his presence for any function bc he was toxic to me.

My boyfriend acknowledges his son has issues. He acknowledges he is rude and possibly disrespectful but we tend to disagree on that point. He has made comments to his son about his behavior towards me. My biggest issue is the lack of follow through. We all know that if we don't enforce a consequence to a negative action nothing will change. My boyfriend has no follow through. So while he may get angry with his son about his behavior towards me, the minute the son texts he responds. The minute the son asks for help he provides help. So what does the son learn? He learns he can behave anyway he wants and nothing will change.

The adult son is now out of the house. I don't know how much they talk bc I'm not with him during the week so it doesn't effect me. I don't think they are seeing each other during the week now that most of the work in the house is finished. My biggest issues are 1) when we are together, the son finds it necessary to constantly text. I see that as manipulation but my bf doesn't. 2) when I am at his house which is only on the weekends I don't want the son coming to spend hours visiting. It's not fun for me. I don't want someone around me that ignores me.

My BF has 2 other kids and both of them are perfectly fine around me. They have no issues. 0

marblefawn's picture

I think you're on the right track - you've identified the problem so you know what you're in for if you stay in the relationship. Personally, I wouldn't date a man with kids again if I were single. It's just so complicated. But it's hard at a certain age to find partners without kids. I should have hung out in the "child-free" community! Maybe if you give the relationship more time, you'll find other reasons to end it. If not, the decision will be more difficult. But there's no rush. Take your time and don't close off other options if someone interesting comes along.

sandye21's picture

Stephanie, I only wish I has been as wise as you before I married my DH. It seems to me like there were no problems with SD before we got married but maybe I was not savvy enough to truly see the issues because I had blinders on. I wanted so much for my second marriage to work that I ignored red flags that were flashing for all of the rest of the world to see.

You are not contemplating marriage but debating whether you want to continue to have a relationship with a man who downplays rudeness toward you by his son. Acknowledging that his son has issues is one step but your BF needs to go beyond acknowledgement and progress to a point where he thinks enough of you to expect his son to practice tolerance and respect toward you - or anyone else who enters his home. BF is making special allowances for his son even if it sacrifices his relationship with you. You know this is not right.

Have you observed BF's son with other people? How does he relate to them?

I put up with this behavior for decades with SD and DH but I wouldn't put up with it today.

stephanie1012's picture

Thank you for the reply. I do agree with what you said. My boyfriend knows how I feel and that our relationship is on thin ice due to this "enmeshment" with his son. I have witnessed the son with other people. He ignores people if he doesn't feel like talking to them. My bf says he's socially immature and he just doesn't know what to say or how to handle himself in certain situations. He will not say anything at all. Yes, it comes across as rude. His cousin has a bf and he has never spoken to the bf in 3 years bc he doesn't feel he has to. The bf has no value to him (my perception) so therefore he ignores him. He won't talk to me b/c as he told me.. he doesn't need to. I have no value to him. When people "cross" him, he cuts them out of his life. I truly believe my bf is afraid if he stands up to this assclown, the son will stop talking to him.

I truly appreciate the insight from everyone. I know I have some tough decisions to make. It's quite sad when I look at how this one issue can ruin everything we have. He has other kids who are normal and our relationship is perfectly fine. It's this one bad seed.

sandye21's picture

Most of us were 'socially immature' when we were in our teens but we had to outgrow it quick when we became adults. If we didn't like it "tough" - no one made excuses for us. If I had been rude my parents would have given me a piece of their mind.

It is sad this one issue is ruining your relationship but issues like this tend to migrate into other areas. If your BF is non-confrontational with his son I can guarantee you he will not defend you or support you when you really need it.

My DH ran out the door when SD was having her meltdown. He said he didn't want to be in the middle when in fact HE was the one who helped to create the situation by giving me excuses and blame I didn't deserve. There were also times when I needed his support and I was left to defend myself. The last time he did it I told him that I will defend myself but he had better support me when I do. Believe me - when a waiter starts yelling at you at the top of his lungs in a restaurant because tell him it has taken over an hour to have your meal served, and DH gets mad at you, a lot of respect goes out the window. If I had known DH was going to be like this I would have never married him.

Ask yourself why you want to spend the rest of your life with a man who will throw you under the bus and why he is willing to allow this one issue to ruin everything you have. Ask yourself if you want to spend the rest of your life with a man who places so little value on you.

catsmom01's picture

Congrats to your bf for raising a co-dependant, passive aggressive little brat instead of a man. My bf's mini wife daughter pulled this with me. We were only dating so I simply didn't go over to his house if his kids were around (and she was over 18 still pulling this crap). Then I decided I just wouldn't go to his house, period. I didn't like the environment regardless. He had fun sitting there alone when his Princess decided not to have anything to do with him if I wasn't around. A few years ago he sold his place and moved in with me. No one disrespects me in my home. She's not welcome on my property. She's not speaking to DADDY anyway, too busy punishing him.

Oh, and my bf's daughter would pull similar stunts if we were together... always texts or phone calls, make pretend drama's to try to get him to ditch me, etc. Shut that down. He can turn his phone off when you're together and maybe his adult baby will learn to handle things on his own.

depressedme's picture

My honest advise? Don’t mary him unless u sort this out first . Sometime I regret marrying my sh because of his adult mini wives. They were fine until the wedding but signs were there.

Exjuliemccoy's picture

I have seen examples of enmeshment in my own family (mother and brother), my in-laws (FIL with his daughters and granddaughters), and my neighbor (mother and son).

My older brother, an unemployed thirty-something alcoholic, moved back in with our mother after she was widowed. They had a toxic, love/hate dynamic but mom would never kick him out or hold him to any minimum standards of self sufficiency. When she died nearly twenty years later, he was left destitute.

My FIL was deeply enmeshed with his daughters, and to a lesser degree with his granddaughters. When he died, we discovered FIL was nearly flat broke. Decades of enabling and spoiling had frittered away his entire retirement. My eldest SIL, an addict in her fifties, literally cannot take care of herself. She was never taught or required to, and ended up in an adult group home after FIL died.

Then you have my neighbor, a very well educated professional woman in her fifties. Her adult son, age 31 lives with her, and probably always will as he is extremely introverted and so socially awkward that he gives people the creeps. (Son is from her first marriage; her second marriage ended in divorce a few years ago - no surprise). Mother just dotes on her son (they are BESTIES!!!) allowing him to live off her and oblivious to the fact that her son is the reason her out-of-town "sort of" BF won't commit to a more serious relationship. Sonny boy still behaves like a child, even sleeping in mommy's bed when she travels for work.

In each of these situations, we see the parent getting certain emotional needs met by their child(ren). It's not only inappropriate, but also extremely selfish as enmeshment stunts the personal growth and development of the enmeshed child. They may get older but never achieve independence or reach their full potential. It's also worth noting that in two of the three scenarios, only death ended the enmeshment. The jury is still out as far as my neighbor is concerned, but it doesn't look good.

Your SO already has a primary relationship. Even if he's willing to start therapy and develop a plan for his son's transition to adulthood, the manchild will always resent you for coming between him and his ATM. You're up against a deck stacked against you.

depletedx4's picture

To be honest, thank god he talks only to dad. By leaving you out of it you will not used or manipulated to me that's a blessing ( i wish my adult stepkids would leave me alone). i would say hi to him and just keep doing what i'm doing. take care.