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My husband and I are a second marriage. His son is now 19 but I've known him for almost 6 years. He lives in our home and goes to school full time as well as works part time.

He and his college girlfriend of a year used to come into the house but treated my husband and I like peers, often using disrespectful tones which we do not approve of. After having been in our house a couple of times alone and having sex in our home which we did not approve of we had a talk with our son about rules and respect.

We indicated that they were welcome in the house but that she needed to be out by 10. He later told me that he had talked to her and she planned to come in and talk to us and apologize. This never happened.

It's been almost 8 months ago. Son sometimes spends the night with her in her dorm which we can't do much about. Now they do not ever come into the house together and he doesn't talk to me much any more. He has to be reminded to do chores, eats and runs and doesn't engage with the rest of the family much. They hang out in her car on the side of the road in front of our house and don't come in.

I hate that this relationship is awkward and I am concerned about him bonding with a partner that can't even come in and say hello or talk to us respectfully. It seems like they were pushing the limits for just long enough that the NO was a big annoyance to them. Also, there are two younger siblings in the home. This is a poor example for them.

I am at a loss as to how to repair this relationship with the son now. I don't want to push them together by expressing my dislike of her and this whole situation to him, however, I fear this will be the result of trying to explain how his dad and I feel. I don't like this girl and I don't like that they can't come in and participate, which you would think they would do if they were serious about this relationship long-term.

  • Can you edit this to add paragraph breaks, etc? Right now it is just a long wall of text, which makes it hard to read. Also, what's the question here? What, specifically, do you want help with? – Becuzz Mar 1 '18 at 20:37
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    "which you would think they would do if they were serious about this relationship long-term" Why would you think that, given that you obviously dislike her? Or do you think they didn't notice? – user7953 Mar 2 '18 at 6:47
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I am at a loss as to how to repair this relationship with the son now. I don't want to push them together by expressing my dislike of her and this whole situation to him, however, I fear this will be the result of trying to explain how his dad and I feel. I don't like this girl and I don't like that they can't come in and participate...

I don't usually answer questions in this manner, but it seems from your post that you're only looking at this from one perspective. You don't like the girl. You don't want the relationship to continue. You want to repair your relationship with your stepson.

Have you thought about accepting this girl, warts and all? Because that might be your only option. If your stepson loves her enough to, say, ask her to marry him, or to, say, have a baby with her, you're between Scylla and Charybdis with this thought pattern. You will lose your step son and your grandchildren by alienating the two of them.

The best way to love your step-son is to accept the person he loves, even if you think she's far from ideal. Try inviting her over for dinner and being really accepting of her.

I'm not sure I've said anything that @Kai Qing hasn't already said better than I have. But I've been there. My now married son had a 3.5-year relationship with someone who I thought was bad for him. As a mother, it was a very delicate thing to let him know what I thought, but to also let him know that I loved him, would support him, and would love anyone he chose to love. I never let on to this girl, who was often a guest in my home, what I felt, though the thought of them together was painful. It was only in retrospect that my son could see how bad a choice she would have been.*

If that thought is awful to you, I can understand it. The good side of this is that he's only 19 and will probably move on from this relationship. The bad part is that at 19, you don't really have too much control over him any more. At some uncomfortable point, your relationship needs to change from a parent-child one to an adult-adult one. That's difficult for many if not most parents, but it's best.

*It's not that I never interfered, but only did so when it was absolutely necessary. This young woman was beautiful and charming, but also capricious and self-centered, and broke up with my son three times, causing him a lot of pain, only to ask him back three times. After the third time, I had a private conversation with the her. I asked her if she was sure this time, and she answered yes. We talked about why she loved my son, and what had changed since the last break up. But I was polite and respectful, and spoke to her as I would to my own daughter. I did tell her, though, that if she broke up with him again, I would do everything in my power as a mother to keep them apart. She said it would never come to that, but that she understood. Sure enough, she broke up with him again, and I kept my promise.

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From the perspective of someone who has been on the far end of this situation, I would say follow the advice of other posters and be as welcoming as you can to both of them. If their relationship is strong enough to progress into something permanent, you don't want to be involved in a war with your future daughter-in-law. If their relationship falls off the grid, you don't want to be in the situation that your son avoids you in order to avoid "I told you so", and you certainly don't want him to feel that your antagonism "broke up" his relationship.

My boyfriend's mother disliked me quite a bit. She often would make disparaging remarks concerning my religion or my age. It bothered me at the time, and it bothered my boyfriend as well. To escape her criticism and the anger her remarks generated, he moved in with me and spent as little time as possible at their home. As soon as he graduated, we moved out of state, in part to escape her complaints that he didn't visit as often as she wanted.

Thirty year later, he and I have been married for 25 years, and our relationship with his parents is very positive. I don't know if her opinion of me has changed, certainly she never criticizes me to my face or in front of my husband, but it honestly doesn't matter to me. We don't live in the same state or have any friends in common, so her opinion doesn't affect me. She is always gracious and friendly when we come together in social situations, and that is good enough for me.

So, to sum up, be as gracious and welcoming as you can, keep the door open, keep your opinions about the girl to yourself (if you gossip about her to relatives or friends it is likely to get back to him) and just let time take care of the situation, one way or the other.

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I don't think I can personally relate but I'd take a stab at some general opinion on the matter -

Consider the concept of a celebrity publicly apologizing. You know it's fake. They're just doing it to prevent their careers from tanking.

Given that simple concept, are you sure an apology from this girl would have any effect on you?

As for the relationship. Well, you kind of set it up to be awkward. Kind of like dropping the N word at a party. You can't undo it so the next best thing is to outlive it and try your best to make your actions show that what you said doesn't necessarily define you as the elephant in the room.

Fundamentally, he's a teenager. They both are. If it wasn't that confrontation that made things seem distant it could have been another thing. It might be entirely in your own mind that this relationship is causing him to distance himself from the rest of the family. Any relationship, good or bad, can and probably will do that.

My own non-relating, never been there, opinion is that you should do what you can to show your son you love him, be supportive, ask how things are with this girl, etc. All in a positive tone and not like a detective trying to piece a mystery together. I personally wouldn't address the original confrontation thing, lack of apology, or whatever and just try to outlive the strange moment that seems to have deviated things.

I hope it works out though. I'll be there some day with my kids no doubt.

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    "Given that simple concept, are you sure an apology from this girl would have any effect on you?" What a well phrased and appropriate question! Remember, though, that it has been a long time, and brewing/stewing. +1 for this thoughtful answer. – anongoodnurse Mar 2 '18 at 2:41
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Some thoughts that could help you.

The central issue about this situation is you don't like the girl. You mentioned disrespectful tones which is inacceptable. Did that happen often? Did anything else happen?
Were heated discussions before these tones or did they come for no reason?

Are they adult in your location? Then could the rules be too strict?
If they are legal to have sex, where should they have, why not at home?
This may be clear to you - but not to them at all.

As you don't like the girl, what sense would be in coming and pretending to be an idyll? Would you really be able to play this game?
For what exactly did she plan to apologise? It's senseless to make her say I'm expected to say sorry for I-don't-know-what, ok sorry for you don't like me,

Son sometimes spends the night with her in her dorm which we can't do much about.

Why would you do anything about that, apart from the fact you dislike her?

It seems like they were pushing the limits for just long enough that the NO was a big annoyance to them.

What limits do you talk about exactly? Can they understand the need for those limits? Not all limits that parents set are really meaningful.
If they feel she (or both) is unwanted at your home, why would your son take her home again? Why would she want to be there?

Also, there are two younger siblings in the home. This is a poor example for them.

Big siblings don't want to be the good example all time. They also don't want to change their live or love to be a good example. Please forget this argument in solving this issue.
Identify the real problem you have with this girl. If it's hard to spot, there is a chance that your denial is an example for the younger ones to better not bring their partner home too. Then the good example thing has backfired.

I assume your son is an adult with 19 years. Then try to treat him like an adult. That means explain to him, don't expect to follow whatever he is told. Parents want their children to become critical, but only if parents are not involved. This is hard to fulfill.
Talk to them, start with your son. Tell him what you don't like about this relationship. Have reasons and arguments. Make it concrete. You will need more than what I read between the lines here, which is basically he should break up with her and everything is fine.

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    Would the hidden downvoter explain the downvote? Or even make it better? – puck Mar 5 '18 at 5:14
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I completely get where you're coming from. My step son is the same.

Our house - our rules. I let the girlfriend stay over once a week - I invite her for dinner once a week but that's enough. Anymore and they treat the place like a hotel. There's got to be rules and boundaries.

You can't change the fact that he is with her - so welcome her for his sake.....but on terms that suit everyone.

I work all week and dong want some random girl laying around my house expecting to be waited on.

Not happening. Not fair and not right.

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