Venting over stepson

Community Leader
Registered: 09-25-2003
Venting over stepson
Fri, 02-28-2014 - 8:21am

My stepson is 18, now, a senior in highschool.  The latest event is that he did not get accepted into the college that dd is going to.  My husband, initially told me that he did not get accepted, but he only informed me of this AFTER I told him that my son (who I am estranged with) did not get into this college, AND it took him two days to tell me.  Now, that a week has gone by, dh told me that my stepson DID get accepted into the college, but he is choosing to not go to it, because it's not the right fit.  

DH has "protected" his son from me since the start of the marriage.  He has always played favorites with his son.  I acknowledged this fact, as did dd.  I even explained to him that it is normal, as I told him that I will never love his son the way that I love my own.  DH refuses to admit this, stating and restating that he treats all of the children equally.  That is SO not true, but, hey, some people just want to fool themselves.  Whenevrer something "goes wrong," dh always gives his son the benefit of the doubt, but he always assumes the worst with my children.  It's almost comical.

I believe that dh has A) divorce guilt, and the deeper issue is B) hurt over being adopted.  With the divorce guilt, dh wants to be the favored parent.  He built ds a band room where he houses equipment for ds's band, including the drum set that dss's mother purchased "but has no room in her house for" (which is a passive aggressive move if I have ever heard of one.)  Anyways, it took two years of my asking, and then demanding, that dss ASK me to set up band practices, since I don't want to hear the drums being played when I have work to do AND when I can schedule being out of the house.  He used to just start playing his electric guitar (with loud amp) and drums ANY time he wanted, with no regard for me.  That is just one example of the disrespect he has for me.  Then, I believe that dh is desparate to have attached family and that he has never known unconditional love from his family.  He is such a good man, calling his parents every weekend, paying off their mortgage, paying their dental bills, etc., but I truly believe that his parents have guilted him, over the years, into thinking that he owes them.  That is not true, unconditional love, and I don't think he has ever known what UL really is or means.

And, so, I am "holding my breath" for dss to go off to college.  When my children lived with us, they were expected to do multiple chores every single day.  DH does NOT make dss do A chore every day.  No, dh does the chore for him, and expects me to do more chores.  When my children lived with us, dh enforced this rule with dss, but now that my children are gone, dh does not.  There are times when I am walking on eggshells with dss at our home.  Aaaaaahhhhh....six more months, and he will be gone to college.  There will be fewer eggshells, fewer uncomfortable moments....I hope.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Fri, 02-28-2014 - 10:38am

I would say that it seems to be pretty common to have this kind of double standard in a marriage where both people have kids from previous marriages.  My 2nd DH (now ex) and I had DDs who are one yr apart in age, with mine being the oldest.  I'll give you 2 examples:  when they were young teens, he just decided on his own to get them cell phones.  He told them if they went over the minutes and didn't have the money to pay, he would take the phone--of course all this was done w/o consulting me.  So his DD went so far over the minutes, it probably cost us $2000 in all--a lot of it I didn't find out about because the bill was in his name.  Of course he never shut off her phone completely or made her pay.  Then when both of them started driving, we decided that they would have to contribute to insurance cause it was too expensive.  My Dd paid every month but later I found out that even though he told his DD to pay, if she didn't pay, he didn't do anything.  You can see why we're divorced--but this isn't even the main reason.  He had a lot of issues.

I think that you can't blame your DSS, which it sounds like you are doing, for his father indulging him, though.  If his dad doesn't make him do chores, is that the kids' fault?  I mean what kid wouldn't take advantage of that?  I do think, though, that if dad doesn't make the kid do chores, then you should not be made to pick up the slack--your DH can do all the extra work.  And does DSS live with you all the time?  I know that a lot of dads who don't see their kids often will not make their kids do chores cause they treat the kid like a guest instead of part of the family.  It seems as though you don't like your DSS since you can't wait for him to go to college.  I'm not really blaming you on that because to be honest, I didn't really like my DSS either--she was just so different from me and never really interacted, but I tried my best to treat her the same as my kids and in fact got into some arguments w/ her dad when I thought he was treating her too harshly.  She actually wrote me a letter after she moved out saying that I was the only one who would stand up for her & she was sorry for all the trouble she caused.  But I'm thinking if one of your own kids wanted to play an instrument, would you be more supportive?  I know that you can't have a band w/ loud music playing when you are trying to sleep or work, but do you think if you were more interested in his music he might be more cooperative with you instead of just looking at him as a nuisance and you have to leave the house every time he practices?  My son plays the piano, which I know is not as loud as a band, but I enjoy hearing him play and learn new songs since I play the piano as well.  Do you know if the kid is even any good?  If you are basically putting down his big interest here (if that is one) and always complaining about him, then is it any wonder that you don't have a good relationship with him?

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Fri, 02-28-2014 - 1:46pm
Hello again! I only have a second, but just wanted to make sure you saw the header on top of the board that MSMW will be moving to the Marriage board. We will have our own section over there and I will still be the CL. I don't want to lose anyone! Serenity
Community Leader
Registered: 09-25-2003
Mon, 03-03-2014 - 8:44am

Thanks for your response.  Yes, second marriages are hard with a "blended family."  Yes, I support dss's music, and yes, he is good.  But have you ever heard a full drum set and electric guitar with amp in your home?  Even dss wears noise-reducing headphones when he practices because it is so loud.  You can feel the vibrations of the drums throughout the house.  And are you kidding?!  His mother bought the drum set, but "doesn't have room" in her house for them.  Hah!  I was the one to be supportive to allow the drumset in MY house.

I dislike dss's lack of respect for me.  It's a history of passive aggressive angst to try to bully me.  For example, I take tests for work which, if I get less than 90% passing two times in a row, I can be fired.  I specifically told him I needed 1 hour of silence for my test.  What does he do?!  He proceeds to play the drums.  Since it was a timed test, I couldn't go downstairs and yell at him.  I failed the test...the first one ever...which goes on my employment record.  :(  DSS (not so dear) did that on purpose.  :(  So i punished him with no playing for a week. I told him if he ever did that again, that all of his musical equipment would be donated to charity, and guess what?!  He has never pulled that behavior on me again.  I once saw on his facebook page that his friend posted, "don't ever listen to your stepmom.  You have to teach her who is boss."  No way-no siree, that is not happening in MY house!  He soon responded, "you don't know my stepmom."  Yes, I think, in the longrun, dss will realize that I was the one to teach him how to respect an elder.  In some ways, I feel like I am teaching him the respect-lesson more than his own parents, who let him get away with "murder."  :(