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Disengaging in a permanent way

dc3843's picture

Hello all, I just discovered this forum in an effort to try and overcome some marital problems im having due to to my step children and disagreements with my wife. 

ive been a step parent for about 9 years now, the boys were 8 and 16 when I came along, now 17 and 25. Almost from day one these kids were a problem for me. From drug and alcohol usage for the older one, to bad grades, lying and disrespect from the younger one. It's been years of this type of behavior, to the point where I had to send the older one to rehab a few years ago (he's still using after coming home) to the younger one now being 17 and using drugs and alcohol on several occasions. I'm a pretty strict parent. I expect good grades and my house rules to be followed. This includes no drugs and booze underage. No one has ever listened. The older one I threatened to kick out on several occasions, nothing ever stopped him. Mom would always save him and blame me, telling me I get too angry, I yell too much and she doesn't want her children feeling bad about themselves. I've tried to disengage several times through the years, always to receive a guilt trip from my wife about how this isn't parenting and I'm not being mature. So I always came back, always to be made a fool of again. The most recent incident involved the youngest son and a suitcase full of empties he stashed in a field. The suitcase he "stole" from my house had my name and number on the bag tags. I wanted him punished, and car, that we pay for and insure, taken away and sold. Wife decided that taking away computer games for two weeks and nothing else was punishment enough. So, I've moved out. I moved to another city for a job, and I have told my wife I want nothing to do with her kids ever again. They're not welcome in my presence. Like many of you I've read on here, I feel a bit bad about this, because I'm supposed to be the man and set an example. But I don't know how else I'm supposed to do so when I'm ignored and disrespected and even my wife won't see my side about it. So it's causing some marital issues and I don't know how to handle things. We just don't agree on discipline and right now these fools do whatever they want with no consequences and i no longer want to be a part of it. My wife of course loves her children above all else. Is my marriage over? How can we overcome not only these problems but me refusing to live in the house as they still live there? 

skatermom's picture

Maybe your wife needed you to be gone so she can finally see what value you actually bring to the table.

Evil3's picture

You don't have a step-kid problem, but rather a DW problem. She has coddled her kids and is a shit parent. She has put them above you, because she doesn't seem to care about what you're going through in your own home. She'd rather infantilize her kids and let them get away with murder.

I went through living with forever-to-launch disney parented SKs too. My SD didn't launch until she was 25 and my SS was looking like he'd never launch. He was a major pot head and my DH would never come down on SS and our house stunk to high heaven of pot. I had DD that I didn't want raised in pot stench and DH didn't want that either, but couldn't seem to bring himself to discipline his adult babies.

I finally had to buy a place and move and invite DH to come or not so that I wouldn't have to continue living with SS28.

Over the years any sign of maturity or independence and DH would literally sabotage it to keep his "babies" living with him forever. I had to have a full nuclear meltdown and have one foot out the door before my DH would get it through his thick head that I will not live with his babies forever.

I can't say if your marriage is in trouble or not, but if you've already moved away and your DW is still not "getting" what you're saying, then it doesn't look like there's much hope. I was lucky, because my DH got what I was saying and made immediate changes. He faltered a few times and each time I'd remind him, because I would not go back to being treated like an interloper in my own house and marriage and I would not be relegated to a lower position than kids. I was the woman of the house and I was 50% of the adult partnership in the house and if DH truly thought that giving me my much deserved promotion would cause him to lose his brats, then I'd have no choice but to move on.

Do not acquiese and allow those boys to move back in with you. You'll never get them out, because your DW wants to live with them forever. She wants a husband who will just stand there and take it.

Are you and your DW working on a reunification plan? If she wants you back, give her conditions such as, sons cannot live with you and marital counselling with a counsellor who has education and training in blended family issues.

Exjuliemccoy's picture

Your wife is the problem, her kids are the symptom. They may have some genetic predisposition to instability, but she is an enabler and a shite parent.

Unless she takes steps (therapy, addiction counseling, Al Anon) to fix herself, there is little hope for a healthy relationship with her. I'm sorry for your pain. Addiction causes a lot of collateral damage.

ESMOD's picture

I agree that you have a DW problem as well.. however, your response is pretty nuclear for the crime of sneaking some beer while your DW's is perhaps a little lax.

I could see taking the car privilege away for a time.. perhaps requiring him to go through a program like VASAP.  

I don't know 100% of the younger kid's history.. but while he shouldn't be handled with kid gloves.. there doesn't seem to be much compassion in the way you want him treated at this point.

I fear you are setting up an ultimatum and that in the end your DW will either choose her children.. or resent you for making her choose.

dc3843's picture

I don't disagree that my responses are nuclear,  but they come from 9 years of this type of behavior going unchecked most of the time. I didn't move out because of this incident, this incident actually happened a month after I moved out. But I expected more consequences than what were given, and the fact that they weren't given has left me feeling hopeless that things will ever change. 

ESMOD's picture

I can understand that.  Having someone in your family with addiction issues can be very draining... in a variety of ways.  have you and your DW tried counseling for your own relationship?

dc3843's picture

First, what's a DW? Lol. Second, we attended counseling for 5 years. Nothing really changed. I set very real consequences for her son when he came back from rehab that if he failed a drug test, he would be kicked out of the house.  I gave him tests monthly, probably about 7-8, he failed every single one of them except one, because he had his brother pee in the cup for him (first time I didn't watch him take it). I would try and enforce the rules, wife would step in and say he begged her to stay and promised he would quit. So I was forced to eat my words. All of this has killed any ability I have to care about anything that happens to these kids, and it's killed part of my relationship with my wife. We fight constantly, I've turned to friends for advice and help, even an ex girlfriend, and of course she's pissed about that and very untrusting.  I'm not sure how to recover from this if at all possible. Every time I bring up how mad and hurt I am about all this, even though it's happened in some cases years ago, she tells me she's never going to be able to make me happy and never will get out from under all of my hatred for her kids or the things they've done. My argument is that she hasn't even tried to, because nothing has changed with any of this. It just feels to me she's always looking for blame me for my behavior but everyone else gets a pass. And then she cries uncontrollably and that's my fault too. I'm exhausted and nearing the end of my rope. 

MissTexas's picture

accept the fact she's the problem.

Maybe you mentioned it in your original  post, but I cannot see it right now, are you  her second husband, or have there been multiples. If there have been, it's a sure bet the others went through exactly what you're experiencing.

Raise your right arm as high as it will stretch toward the ceiling, bend it quickly and pat yourself on the back and say, "Good job!"

dc3843's picture

I'm her second husband, but between her first husband, who is the oldest ones father, and me, there was a boyfriend for 10 years that is the youngest ones father. 

MissTexas's picture


Your wife is the problem here, and her kids are symptomatic. Their enmeshment and dysfunction existed LONG before you arrived on the scene. I guess she wants a man who will check his balls in at her testicle lock box upon entering the home. Not a way to run a successful marriage!

I'd say good riddance and welcome a new beginning. Nothing is worth the hell you've been through and will continue to endure at the hands of this wife and her "kids."

Siemprematahari's picture

You've done all that you could, heck you even did counseling to no avail. You did a healthy thing by moving out. Now you can reflect on your life away from all the dysfunction and see that you did the best you could and its time to move on. You can't continue doing the same things over and over again expecting a different result.

Take care of you OP and think of starting a new beginning and living your best life without all this toxic mess that you've been living with, with no change.

SpunSugar's picture

I love hearing about people on here taking action to rescue their own dignity and their lives.  

Rags's picture

So, quit tolerating and solve the problem.  Your DW is the problem. Take it out of her hands. When SS-17 pulls his drug and alcohol shit... call the police on him and let him suffer official consequences.   Take the car that you own and put it in a locked storage unit. Do not tell DW or SS-17 where it is.  If they report it stolen let the police know that  you have the vehicle in secure storage and explain to them that you will not provide a car for a drug and alcohol abusing minor nor jeopardize public safety by letting him out on the roads in a vehicle that you own.  You can't steal your own car.

And yes, your marriage is over. In fact, I would say you never really had a marriage with this child worshiping, crime enabling womb donor.  You are gone. Stay gone.  Engage a killer attorney and provide them with all of the gory history of BM and her spawn enabling crap so it can be applied in court if necessary.  Enjoy your life with she and her shallow and polluted gene pool out of your life.  

If you stay married to her your life will never be free of her toxic crotch droppings.

Take care of you.

CLove's picture

I think that you are seeing the writing on the wall.

Your marriage is over. And although you gave this woman 9 plus years of your life and energy and support, it seems that she doesnt appreciate it and now its too late.

Im glad to see a story where someone isnt just venting - but that you have taken action.

Now on to a better life and fresh start. Get a lawyer ASAP.