My husband of 15 years and I married when my son was six, and his daughters were 12 and 13.
I took abuse from his sister until ten years ago, at my in-laws’ 50th anniversary for 150 guests, when she played a family video including my husband’s ex.
But not my son and me. My husband did nothing about it.
His daughters stopped visiting every second weekend because they didn't want my son or me along.
My son's teenage years were difficult as he sought getting closer to my husband (his biological father didn't do much with him).
But my husband didn't see this.
My son's frustration led to anger and arguments. He moved in and out of shelters from age 15 to 19.
He’s living with us again, working, and paying his debts. I have no other family but one sister here, the rest overseas.
My husband’s older daughter decided to live with us two years ago.
She’s 28, working fulltime, earning a good salary.
I heard nothing from either daughter until she called asking for forgiveness for the past. I agreed.
I also agreed she could move in because my husband said we’ll help her pay her debts and then she’ll move out.
She’s never helped clean or picked up any mess of hers.
I was doing all the housework, cleaned her bedroom and shower while also working full time, cooking, doing dishes, etc.
When my son was the only one living with us, my husband constantly criticized his long showers, keeping his window open, and wearing shoes inside.
But now his daughter can do all that.
I told him how stressed I am that she leaves messes in the kitchen, etc. and he says I need to live with it.
I said it’s time for her to move out as she’s never saving money because she’s a compulsive buyer.
He responded that until she causes all the aggravation that my son caused, she’s not leaving. If she does, my son must also leave.
He’s now 23 and almost done with his debts, which is when he’ll consider moving out.
Neither pays for anything in the house.
I’m very depressed. He doesn't talk to my son, because he took his car during our summer vacation without his permission,
I totally agreed that my son disrespected him and shouldn't touch what doesn't belong to him.
But during the same vacation, my husband's daughter brought her boyfriend to stay here without our consent. Nothing was said.
My husband doesn’t support me when he sees how affected I am.
How should I handle this situation?
Depressed and Fed Up
Your wanting to “handle” rather than leave this unsupportive relationship, shows your determination to try to keep your marriage and home base going.
Your husband has never stood up for you.
You must now stand up for yourself, starting with not cleaning for either adult child, insisting on help with chores from your husband, or mutual agreement to hire outside help.
Encourage your son towards his independence and moving out, while showing your love and support. He needs that bond.
Then insist that your step-daughter also take responsibility for managing her life rather than taking advantage of you two.
Fight your depression – see a doctor, do more for yourself, e.g. going out with your sister, joining an interest group, focusing on fitness for your well-being.
Show your husband what an equal partnership and truly supportive family looks like.
FEEDBACK Regarding the mother who resents her own mother’s “playmate” style with her five-year-old (Nov.24):
Reader - “The child’s mother needs a reality check. (I’m 35, mother of three kids, not a grandma).
“Based on her question, she’s likely struggling with managing her own child. It reads as her own major insecurity issue.
“It's not up to Grandma to pull herself away from her granddaughter. Perhaps she sees it as giving her daughter a break.
“The parents should be telling their child that it's time to give Grandma a break so she can have some adult time.
“So what, if Grandma doesn't back up her disciplining a five-year-old?
“That's the right grandparents have earned after years of doing the hard stuff.
“They can be the ones to coddle, love and say "aw, give her a break." It's the grandparent’s ROLE.
“This mom should consider herself blessed to have a grandparent who’ll be her child's playmate and champion.”
Tip of the day:
If determined to stay in a relationship, stand up for yourself in every way possible.