You are here

How to set boundaries when your SO won't

step23boys's picture

My 18yo SS lives with us full time, has basically dropped out of college, doesn't work, and does nothing but sleep all day and party/play Xbox all night. He'll sneak friends into our house when we're asleep, and I'll come down in the morning to find a stranger on my couch. I've told DH that I don't feel safe in this environment, and he basically tells me that I should look at it like we're helping keep these kids safe by not making them drive home drunk (or some such convoluted crap). He basically thinks his kid is not doing anything wrong, as long as he's not drinking/smoking pot in the house. I find cigarette butts/roaches in our driveway, though, and when DH points it out to SS he just walks past them and ignores him. (All his kids are like this, we just only have one of them living with us at the moment.)

Since DH doesn't enforce anything, SS does whatever he wants and basically ignores me when I tell him if I don't like a certain behavior, etc. So my question is, short of calling the police when there are people in my house or flat-out leaving this f-ed up dysfunctional family, are any other boundaries I can set? I already don't do anything for SS and don't give him money, etc. I basically try to avoid him whenever possible. But that's neither here nor there, since it's DH who's the problem. What are some successful boundaries people have set that have gotten SO's to come around? Do I stop paying for half of the bills and say I'm only going to pay for a third of them, since I think SS should be held accountable for something? Do I withhold sex until DH puts his foot down with SS? (Kidding. Kind of.) But seriously, what are some good strategies that you've found get the point across without being manipulative?

Or, more realistically, how did you come to terms with the fact that your SO will never change?

HungryEyes's picture

I wouldn't withhold anything. I would put my foot down and say 'This is my house too and these are the rules. If he doesn't follow them - he can find somewhere else to live.' Frankly, your husband is enabling him. He's a big part of the problem. He should be your partner in this and have the same boundaries you are seeking. If not - see SweetPeas plan and get your own house and have a relationship apart from living together. I could not deal with this type of behavior and enabling from your husband. He should have more standards for his kid. If you're not in school, you work. Period. Dot. He's 18 now. Time to grow up.

step23boys's picture

Can you point me in the direction of SweetPea's plan? I have a feeling if I put my foot down my DH will still do nothing. So it will be up to me to leave; he'll never kick his kid out.

HungryEyes's picture

She has a blog here. http://www.steptalk.org/blog/42450

After being disrespected for so many years - sweetpea bought a house and moved her kids and herself to it. Now she's 'dating' her husband while he deals with his own stepkid crap. It doesn't affect her lovely new home or her children. She's very happy and we are all very happy for her.

Aniki's picture

I'd be tempted to buy an airhorn and sound it in the ear of the SS whenever a stranger is on the couch and ask him who the heck that is.

hereiam's picture

Your husband should have enough respect for you and your home together to listen to your concerns and set some boundaries for his son, as well as formulate a plan to get him the hell out.

I just could not live like this and thank God, my DH and I agreed a long time ago that no other adult live with us. Granted, my SD23 never did live with us so he didn't have to kick her out. Now she has 2 kids, and I have never wanted kids, so I certainly don't want to have to live with someones else's.

I do not like living with other people and my SD is a total, lazy slob who lets her kids do whatever they want. I would end up being such a bitch, that nobody would want to live with me. That's just the truth.

step23boys's picture

Maybe that's the answer: I need to be such a bitch that he'll want to move out Smile Seriously, though, DH has no plan to get him out. All he tells him is that he should go to school. DH has threatened in the past that SS will need to get a job and pay rent if he doesn't go to school, but of course, that was an empty threat. The only thing that might help is that SS's financial aid money will be running out soon, and once he has no more money, I'm hoping DH won't give him any more. Or will at least get irritated having to pull out his wallet every few minutes for his lazy kid. We'll see...

HungryEyes's picture

He took financial aid but isn't going to school? He's going to have to pay that back and if and when he does get a job - they'll take money from him until he does.

step23boys's picture

Unfortunately, this is financial aid from last semester that he just got recently. I think the college is so impacted that they are just getting their act together now. DH thinks SS is going to turn around and pay for spring classes with it. HA! But yes, if he gets any more financial aid and does not go to school, they will come after him. The sooner the better I say.

step23boys's picture

Yes, but she's even worse than DH. She lets them do whatever they want AND cleans up after them, cooks for them, makes excuses for them, gives them money, you name it. I swear she'd probably still wipe their asses for them if they'd let her.

Plus, she doesn't see education as that important, so she's not trying to steer him in that direction. My younger SS is living with her currently, and he's been kicked out of every HS around. If he doesn't feel like getting up for school, she just lets him sleep. It's no wonder the SS are the way they are...

hereiam's picture

Well, if this one is not going to go to school anyway, he might as well live at BM's.

I always say that BM encouraged SD to be co-dependent, so BM can be the one SD is dependent on.

step23boys's picture

Believe me I HOPE and PRAY that he goes back there! DH had full custody so he lived with us for years and both SS only left because I left DH and said I wasn't coming back until things changed. He kicked the kids out and I thought things were great, until he let SS18 move back in because our house is closer to the college. Now that he's a dropout, he should move back to BM's.
Oh, but DH thinks he still might go back to school, so he should stay with us! How do you reason with someone who is in such denial??

step23boys's picture

I guess we can take comfort in the fact that we're not alone in this insanity Wink Has anything helped you that you could suggest?

step23boys's picture

I was hoping I'd be able to get through to DH and use the police as only a last resort. But it looks like the last resort is here...

misSTEP's picture

Maybe have a sit down with your DH when you are both in a mellow mood and explain the importance to you of a husband making his wife feel safe.

It is the son he is defensive about and has an issue with. But at the VERY LEAST he can set boundaries of OTHER kids being there!

Rags's picture

Fortunately my bride and I have been a team in life and in raising the Skid .... for the most part.

When we misaligned is when we had tension. Rather than tolerate the tension I developed the “Step up and get it (the parenting and disciplining of the Skid) done before I have to or bite your tongue until we can discuss it in private.” There is little grey in my world. If a kid’s behavior is reasonable and tolerable then I have little to say regarding improving it. However, if a kid’s behavior is unreasonable and intolerable I deal with it nearly immediately. My mate has a choice. Deal with it herself or get out of my way.

I would suggest you adopt the same philosophy with your DH and your drug addled idiot SS.

Tell them both what the rules are and what the consequences will be if they violate the rules. For your Skid the rules are focused on what YOU determine to be acceptable behavior. Anything that falls outside of the rules as YOU define them results in consequences.

For your DH there is only one rule. “Deal with it before I have to or STFU while I deal with and if I have to deal with it SS will suffer misery and pain like he can’t even imagine and if you so much as crack your lips open while I am dealing with HIS bullshit you will suffer unimaginable pain too. Step up, be by partner and a parent or get the fuck … Out…. Of…. My…. Way!!!!!”

No discussion, invoke the rules, when necessary bring the pain. I would start with having the police frog march SS out of the house in cuffs the next time he brings drugs or drink in the house. If his friends show up without YOUR notification and approval they go out in cuffs immediately. If DH won’t parent then you bring the pain.

Immediately I would put a key code lock on all exterior doors in the home. Assign a code to each individual. If SS shoves his head up his ass change his code. If Dh shares his code with SS delete DH's code. You are the keeper of the codes and access to the home. It is winter time, freezing his ass off in the back yard will send SS a very clear message and waiting for you to get home to let him in will send DH a very clear message.

Call your locksmith!!!

Pretty simple.