Can't understand his way of thinking?

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anonymous user
Registered: 12-31-1969
Can't understand his way of thinking?
Fri, 10-12-2012 - 9:27am


I am in 2nd marraige. We both have a son.  His son moved out at 14 and went to his mum after we confronted him about money going missing from my house.  We moved into hubby's house, original plan was to move a wall to make to similar size rooms for the boys, however as hubby's son had moved out we didn't go ahead with this.  Move on 5 years and hubbys son moved back in with us this April.  He has the smallest room.

He has a little half sister and his mum spoils her whilst he got very little.  He does have history of selling belongings and theft but my hubby always saw it as his son being left out.  

About 3 years ago we decorated the small bedroom as a room for his son.  New bed and completely re painted, new curtains new bedding.  Since he moved back in we have bought new wardrobe and shelves.  

We have just redecorated my sons room, the last in the house, apart from a quick lick of paint when we moved in.  He had a new wardrobe a year or so ago as he had hubby's old massive wardrobe which was too big really.

My hubby has a little problem every time I want to do something for my son.  

This may route from my attitude early on in the relationship when I got upset because hubby announced he was giving his son spending money for a trip with his mates dad (who we suspected of dealing drugs) and his mates to holland.  I told him I he should have discussed it with me 1st (joint finances).  I will admit that early on I didn't agree with spending money for trips like this or new clothes for parties, particularly when we only saw him near christmas or when he wanted something.  

I had quite alot of counselling and amended my attitude and built a good relationship with stepson.  I haven't made an issue about anything my hubby feels is right for his son for approx 2 years now.  However his attitude has not changed.  

When I told him my Son had asked if we were decorating his room his reply was 'hope you told him to take a running jump'.  I argued that every room in the house had been done to a high standard and his not.  That his ceiling was the only one not to be skimmed and we had painted it quite dull colours where the rest of the house was light and airy.  He agreed we could decorate.  I wanted to knock a cupboard out and put built in drawers as we had in our room, he objected to this ... I agreed on this one as he said he had spent quite a bit some years ago putting new doors on this cupboard.  

We had a massive row when I replaced the wardrobe the other year because he might have wanted it for his sons room ... he was staying with us at the time ... I said he could have it for his sons room and I would find another but had got the impression his son didn't want it .... once I agreed to pay for it from my sons savings the argument was resolved.  Before we decorated and after an argument it was agreed a small double bed would replace the old ‘cheap’ single I had bought in my old house.  Now when it has come to actually buying the bed hubby has turned round and said he disagrees with my justification for buying him a bigger bed…. I told him he had already agreed and although he may be happy to go back on his word I was not going to do that with my son.  He said it wasn’t fair on his son because he couldn’t fit one in his room.  I asked if he was going to apply the same philosophy to the driving lessons he was thinking of getting his son for Christmas.  He wouldn’t answer that question !!! Anyway it was left at I will not go back on my word to my son.

The bed arrived yesterday and today hubby is texting me saying thanks because he now has to justify to his son why my son has a bigger bed !!!!!

I told him we don’t have to justify anything to his son and if it was a problem I am quite happy to talk to him.  He said it would turn them against each other.  I said I didn’t think so otherwise my son would have spat his dummy when his son was allowed to sign up to college 1 day a week and come and go as he pleases when we wouldn’t tolerate that from my son.

I am seriously weary of having to justify everything I want to do for my son because he begrudges it financially and because his son isn’t getting it !!!

Any opinions please …….



iVillage Member
Registered: 08-02-2012
Tue, 10-23-2012 - 7:18am


Well that seemed to post ok so here's an update.

DSS does have alot of problems.  He basically has had no guidance or parenting from the age of 14.  His mother always appeared to allow him to do what he wanted in order to keep him on side and this resulted in alot of frustration and heartbreak for DH and myself.  When she finally kicked him out for good and he moved in with us we agreed it was our opportunity to give him 100% love and support and guide him down a better path in life.

Unfortunately this hasn't happened because it now appears that DH is unable to be direct with him when it is necessary.  He allows him to walk all over him and never confronts the situation.  I have come to a point now where I feel it is time something was done, however it is very apparent that all I will get is resistance, so I am forced to live in a household where a 19 year old comes and goes as he pleases and dis-respects everyone in the house.  

We have no budget left for groceries until the end of the month.  I suggested to DH that we limit the intake of crisps and biscuits for the rest of the month.  He immediately suggested that my DS was the problem.  When I pointed out that last week 8 packets of crisps and almost a full packet of biscuits were consumed within 2 days while my DS was at his dads he decided he would complain that my DS has 2 slices of ham in a sandwich and takes 6 biscuits at a time upstairs.  We had a new carpet fitted up the stairs approx 3 weeks ago.  We told both kids 'no more food upstairs' including crisps and biscuits.  Since then I have found pastry crumbs on DSS bedroom floor, cake and banana skins in the bin.  DH has said nothing to him.  My DS has not taken food upstairs since, however DH insists he has and we should set some rules and sit them both down.  I am unhappy about this because the rules are already in place but there is only one person breaking them.....

He says he can't single his DS out ....... I find this ridiculous considering he is the only one running up the phone bill, going out at night sitting round a bondfire somewhere and coming home covered in mud, not being in for tea and then eating all the crisps and biscuits, not brushing his teeth for over a week when I made the effort to take time out of work to take him to the dentist for a gum infection because after almost a week DH still hadn't contacted the dentist. 

It feels like you want to complain about my DS then your DS is also getting it.  My DS is 16, in full time education, does not drink, smoke or stay out late.  His only faults are he is a little laid back, although does all his homework and achieves good grades.  He is considerate and caring,  He bought DH a box of thorntons toffee at the weekend, out of his own money, to say thank you for decorating his bedroom.  The main complaint DH had was that he stays up later than us sometimes and disburbs him when he gets up to brush his teeth, so now I ask DS to brush his teeth before we go up and although I have to keep on top of him with this he does it without argument when I ask. 

It's almost like DH wants to lash out at my DS because his DS isn't 'a good boy'....

Anyway I could be here all day if I go on... I am just sooooo tired and fed up of feeling sad all the time.


iVillage Member
Registered: 08-02-2012
Tue, 10-23-2012 - 6:41am

Hi there

Thanks for all your replies and I have put alot of thought into the advice you have given.

I will update in a minute but have had problems posting so will post this and then update.


iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
Mon, 10-15-2012 - 8:28am
Hi Expect--
WELCOME :smileyhappy:

Not sure how much I can add to discussion, but I agree:

---yes, we all have more unconditional love/acceptance of our own kids---it's just human nature.
---YES, separate accounts is what keeps ME sane re: ALLLLLLLLLLLL the $$$$$ my SO has spent on his kids that I would NOT be (at all!!) happy about , if it were *our* money. I can honestly say----if he were spending *our* money this way---we would no longer be together.

(so, without separate accounts, I'm not sure how much other advice I can offer)....except this:

The UNDERLYING REASONS why everyone says/does what they are saying/doing in your situation:

First and foremost (and, this is sad, but I believe it's God's honest TRUTH):
Your DH is so adamant re: these things re: his son, because he's afraid of "losing" his contact/positive relationship with son (again)---like he did when son was 14 and "moved back" with mom. THIS, I think, is one of the HUGEST reasons *we* as divorced parents/adults do NOT stand firm in (many) things with our kids that we SHOULD, and...probably WOULD, ...IF we were in in-tact marriage/family where "running to other parent" and shutting us out would NOT be an option for kids............................I think it is one of the (in reality) largest dis-services we do to our kids, as divorced parents,.......AND, I have been just as guilty as anyone else. I think it's human nature, ----JUST AS it's human nature for kid (esp teen) to "run" to the parent who's most "agreeing" with what they (kid) want at the time----

ALSO---I think important to look at SS19 and HIS *reasons* for how he's acting----I think all of the comparisons re: your son's things (bed, room, ...whatever) are HIS attempt to receive love from dad-----it might seem odd, but I think alot of kids are jealous of their parent's SK's who actually *get* to live with their dad and have a relationship with *their* dad when they dont----or, even when they do live together,----kind of like a mindset of: "hey, he's MY dad---he should be treating ME better than you---you're not his son---you're just (step mom's)'s son...."

So, I think, on some level----those two are playing out the "I love you/no you dont--not enough" discussion INSTEAD with discussion re: what who is buying for who and is it bigger/better/whatever ---------------------------------and so all of this "tit for tat" stuff is *really* about deeper stuff-----------------

If there was a good way to address the deeper stuff, you probably wouldnt have these more superficial issues................................(but good luck with that one... ugh)

Some sort of family counselor, or parenting workshop might get a third party giving all of you some practical advice re: ways to handle all of this...............

One other thought re:
We have talked about having separate accounts, during arguments, before but to be honest the only reason I haven't gone ahead is because if feels like the road to the end. It would make too easy for me to walk away.

If your DH is at all willing to try separate accounts----I'd HIGHLY recommend just doing it.
You say you're afraid doing so will make it easier for you to walk away from marriage---however, if separate accounts actually DOES facilitate you being able to "let go" what he spends on SS/etc---you'll have less anger/*need* to "walk away" from marriage--KWIM?--
ALSO--if your situation is so miserable "walking away" is looking so good to you-------------------maybe you should think more about the entire situation?---( wanting to continue subjecting yourself to "bad" situation?)

(although, to be honest, it's seeming like now your "arguments" are going beyond just $$----re: feeling like "DSS feeling like he has the right to complain and DH backing him up !!!", etc)

Others should have more/better advice for you, too--
Keep us posted!

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-10-2003
Sun, 10-14-2012 - 3:09pm

DSS is 19 and he is concerned with the size of the bed he has in his fathers house? He is practically an adult and should concern himself with his future and make plans to  move out and support himself. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-13-2010
Sat, 10-13-2012 - 12:08pm

You know it, Serenity! 

  I think the problem in so many second marriages is that we have that unconditional love for our own children that we don't have for other children.  With stepchildren, we can see more clearly who they are and can be more objective.  I think the love we have for our own children clouds that sometimes.  That's the one thing I miss about my ex (probably the ONLY thing) is that we agreed on helping our children all across the board because our love for them is the same.  Recently the ex paid off DD25's credit card after I had only helped her set up a payment plan with the collection agency.  He continually helps our DDs out financially which makes me look like s*** and feel like s***. Dh however, continues to remind me that their father  was the breadwinner and made the big money, so he should continue that role, since it wasn't mine in our marriage.  (He's been unemployed for 5 years, but married a woman who makes good money, so he's still able to help them unlike me.)

  You always give good advice, Serenity and have so much to offer others.  I couldn't have gotten through my first year of my second marriage without you, Laurena, Music, and Deedle and the others.   

The one thing i can strongly tell others when there are children involved is SEPARATE BANK ACCOUNTS!  Keep finances separate with the agreement that you can do for your own children how you see fit (within reason, of course) and the agreement that the other spouse will stay out of it.  I know I should have held my ground on this one, but I didn't because dh said we wouldn't be married if we weren't "partners" and that included a joint checking account. 

At any rate, just keep talking and try to find common ground and fairness between children.  I know this can't always be done, but you have to keep trying.  With dh and I, our kids were raised totally differently and have completely different genes (mine college graduates with jobs; his mental and addiction issues), so basically all our fights have been about kids and what we do to help them financially. (I still have a DD25 and a DD21 who are needing some assistance with school and HIS DS19 lives with us with no job, not in school, no license or car due to his drug use.)  We had hoped to save money once we joined homes and finances, but so far, due to children and what each of us has chosen to do to help, it hasn't happened and because of our 3 younger children PLUS my older 2 DDs will probably have weddings within the next 2-3 years, I don't see being able to.  It's disheartening, but that's the way it goes I guess when you marry someone who has almost as many kids as you do.  And our kids are 19, 21, 25, 27, 28, 29, and 30.  sigh

Good luck and know support and hugs are here for you!

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Fri, 10-12-2012 - 12:37pm

For what it is worth, your troubles are common, and even more so when finances are joint. 

I wish I had more advice for you, as our kids were already older and the gap between our two youngest didn't really lend to much comparison.  The only time it comes up for us Christmas, and only if the kids will be opening presents together.

My general thoughts are fair does not always mean equal on a daily basis.  Fair may be that this year, your DS needed a bed.  Next year, your DSS might need something else.  But impossible for every little thing to be equal all of the time.  This is a good lesson to teach both of the boys.  Life is not fair. 

Now, as far as you and your DH, it sounds like there is still some work to do.  It is good you have learned to let go of some stuff, and it is good you are communicating, but clearly more discussion needs to take place so this doesn't keep happening.  Even after they move out, unfortunately things will continue to come up. 

Startingover can chime in on that one!!

In all honesty, this is why a lot of us here keep separate accounts.  It doesn't solve all problems, but it does eliminate resentments around much of the smaller stuff. 

Would your DH be open to re-opening this discussion to find a way that works for both of you?  Because that is really the key here.  This "tit for tat" thing is going to keep wearing on your M. 

How old are the boys?