Family Feud or Dear Abby?

Dirty Laundry?

Thursday, February 16, 2012 by RedneckDude | Discussion: Everything Else

OK, guys, I have a question. One which seems simple to me, but I would like some other viewpoints on it.

My son came to live with my current wife and I when he was 14. My wife can't have kids, so she was elated to have one in the home.

However, he didn't stay long. He wanted to go back to the people who raised him, my brother and his wife. I saw this coming. I knew he would be homesick for the only parents he ever knew.  He threatened suicide and I didn't want to risk whether or not he was serious, so he went back to his "parents". He has always been somewhat of a problem child.  This hurt my wife badly, she took it as rejection and now can't stand my son.


FFWD to present day. My son is now 17. He wants to come spend the weekend. My wife hates the idea and constantly reminds me of how much she detests him.


He is my son, after all, and she hurts me by acting the way she does.


My question:

Do I allow my wife to ban my child from coming here?

Is it right for her to say hurtful things to me about my son when I already know how she feels?

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Reply #1 Thursday, February 16, 2012 2:01 PM

I've not been married but it does sound like your wife is possibley doing what she feels is correct, trying to protect you.  Yes she has her own feelings and probably should choose here words carefully when the discussions about your son come up. 

You may need some time to reflect on what your son's motives are for the visit.  You also can not ignore that even though it is only three years that he has matured some.

What if anything are you brother and his wife saying?

Reply #2 Thursday, February 16, 2012 2:02 PM

Jim ....... I have no experience with this. I have no kids. Only thing I can suggest is getting them together and talking it out. Best of luck to you guy. Wish i could be of more help.

Reply #3 Thursday, February 16, 2012 2:04 PM

They don't know what my wife is saying. They are divorced.

Reply #4 Thursday, February 16, 2012 2:22 PM

My partners daughter decided she wanted to see her when it was convenient for her. Things eventually changed for the worse and my partner hasn't seen her kid for three years now. Essentially she's been told the door is open, all she has to do is step through. For reasons not worth divulging, I no longer like my partners kid, but, I would in no way prevent my partner from having a relationship with her. I have no right to do such a thing, even though, as Philly has pointed out, I'd really only be doing it to protect my partner if I did do that. Just because I don't like it, it doesn't mean I forgo tolerance, or fail to see a bigger picture.

Reply #5 Thursday, February 16, 2012 2:31 PM

I wish my wife felt that way Starcandy. Thanks.

Reply #6 Thursday, February 16, 2012 2:46 PM

My advice--just for consideration--not telling you what to do...

You need to have an adult commitment to your wife--and to have a relationship with your son, he is going to have to have one too--with you and with your wife. That means he should be able to accept talking honestly with either of you (not just "both") and not just about how he feels but about the damage he does by his actions.  If he can't do that, then meet him in a coffee shop or spend time in some neutral place with him if he just needs to talk.

There can be no "sides" in a family and everyone has to work for everyone else's good--not demand that others be sacrificed for their good.  If someone can't do this, then they're more a tenant than a family member.

I think your wife's actions are essentially saying, "I can't handle the stress and it hurts me--please don't put me at risk again.".  If your son can't be an adult (and he already broke trust before) then you put all of your relationships at risk bringing him back with no willing boundaries--meaning he has to really accept them too.

Let your son know you love him but that you won't sacrifice another family member if he can't work out his own responsibilities in his own life first.

I have a son who did the same thing and I sent him away with enough money to make it for half a year.  Then I kept the door locked.  It took two years for him to get to the point where he started to understand that to be welcome, he had to change for us--not us for him. Now we get on great--but it was a nightmare getting there.  His behavior really impacted my wife, myself and his two younger brothers and years later we are still dealing with the after effects. 

My middle son lived out of state and entered a fast relationship with someone who was not very responsible (they're much better now).  He announced one day, "I'm coming back and we'll stay with you for a month or so until I find work"...he has a new baby and two step-children.  I told him, "No".  It would have not worked--the same stress your wife seems worried over was an issue with his situation.

His wife (they are actually just getting marries) only spoke polite hello's to me for the first two months but when she saw we were on her side she started being more open and honest.  A month back she told me she was intimidated by me at first but decided she liked the fact that I was always up front with her and she knew exactly what I meant.  We get on great now and she calls me "Dad".  Go figure.

It isn't easy--and it can seem hopeless when you are in it.  All you can do is the best you are able and know how--and what you think is best for everyone.  The rest is on them.  They can get mad or they can make it better--their choice and not your responsibility or place to make it for them.

Sorry you have to be in the midst of this--I know its no fun.

I think Philly has a fair perspective on this but just because a couple of years have passed is no guarantee of "he's matured".  It has to be demonstrated.  I don't believe in "absolutes" here.  A couple of years after my son moved out, his whole world fell apart and I went and got him.  I let him stay three months with us to hget a job and get back on his feet and told him it was zero-tolerance...if he told someone he was "going to kill himself", if he stole anything or screamed obscenities or flew into rages he'd be out the first time it happened.  I specifically made sure he knew, "Here's what you can't do while you're here--no matter what's going on in your life."

As a last note, if your son is hurt by not having freedom to stay--explain to him that his relationship with you is a given but that he's going to have to create one with your wife himself if he expects one with her.  That's up to him--not you.


Reply #7 Thursday, February 16, 2012 2:52 PM

The only thing your son is guilty of currently, is offending your wife. And he didn't leave to hurt her personally. She shouldn't feel that way. But, easy for me to say. Isn't it?   {Dreams of happily ever after were in her eyes.}    What he has done in the past, if not with you it does not apply. Just remember to be aware. He needs an anchor. Sounds like he's blowing around, looking for a home, wherever the wind takes him. You will need a firm grip on him. [you know what I mean.] When you will say no, it's no. In the long run he will thank-you. They really still don't know what will burn their little fingers.  

On the flip side he's seventeen. Getting up there. Hasn't been in contact with you much.. so that come hell or high water bond isn't that strong. Some fancy instincts are gonna have to come out. So pick your fights. And don't sweat the small stuff and never give up on him. So many have I bet.

You must be so torn apart. My heart goes out to you and your family...  

In my humble opinion fight for him and yourself.  She never been a mom.  It could be complex. But, she'll come around I believe. Tell her about the 'GRANDKIDS' coming. Christmas's celebrated. Big effort, Big reward. 


Raising children is a blessing but seldom easy. Until they are all grown up with kids of their own. Then they understand. Take Care.

Tip: having a pet gives him a best friend. Yours will do if you have.

Reply #8 Thursday, February 16, 2012 2:54 PM

Good points Sinperium...I'll read it again.

I'm tired of turmoil. I'm tired of fighting. I just want us all to be happy and get along with each other.


Maybe I should just tell him that my wife still has issues and until it's settled, maybe best he gives her time.  I dunno.


I just feel like she shouldn't keep telling me she hates my kid. I know it already. Don't keep reminding me.


Thanks for input.

Reply #9 Thursday, February 16, 2012 2:58 PM

I have two dogs, love them to death. Thanks Irokoness.

Reply #10 Thursday, February 16, 2012 3:01 PM

This is a tough nut! I have three kids from a previous marriage and no matter how they have behaved in the past or what hurt they have thrown our way, my husband would never ask me to choose between them and him. He makes concessions that I won't even make for them. On the other hand, he has a son who has taken severe advantage of me and caused me great pain, but he is my husbands son and I have had to be adult enough to put my feelings aside and accept him into "our" home for the sake of his father. You only have one Mother and Father. Mine are both gone but I would give anything to have them back. Perhaps your wife should re-evaluate her personal feelings and try to make some compromises for the sake of family.

Reply #11 Thursday, February 16, 2012 3:01 PM

P.S.  I got my a dog while he was still home for this very reason and is everyone's favorite family member.  My wife saw a bumper sticker one day that said, "God help me be half the man my dog thinks I am."  I said, "Heck--God help me be half the man my dog is--loyal, unbiased, committed to his family and selfless".


Yep--regarding the above--nobody in a family has a right to demand someone take sides.  You just do what's right...always.

Reply #12 Thursday, February 16, 2012 3:25 PM

I guess I should mention that due to my ex wife's background, that I was unaware of, my two sons were taken from us at infancy.

I was fortunate enough to arrange for each son to be raised by a brother. So I had an "uncle Jim" type relationship with them until they hit their teens, at which time they were told my true relation.


 So, I guess I would like to have a second chance at a parental relationship, on good terms, with my sons.


I have that with the 19 year old.

Reply #13 Thursday, February 16, 2012 3:29 PM

Perhaps your wife should re-evaluate her personal feelings and try to make some compromises for the sake of family.


Yeah, I can't seem to get her to see that.

Reply #14 Thursday, February 16, 2012 4:45 PM

JMO, Jim, but "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."  You're going to have to wait for her to come around, IF she ever comes around, or you're going to have to contemplate living with her being pissed at you, for the rest of your life or divorcing her.  If she can hold a grudge against a 14-year-old for 3 years, and not forgive him when he's now emerging into adulthood and wants contact with his real dad...she'll be able to make your life totally miserable for a long time if you cross her.  (I know this, as I'm this type of woman).

Is there any chance you could spend a weekend in a motel with your son some place, so he could re-connect with you, but not in your home in your wife's presence?  Would your wife be cool with that sort of idea?

Reply #15 Thursday, February 16, 2012 7:01 PM

Jim....your wife comes first.

Offspring share a surname and some DNA with you but you didn't CHOOSE DID choose your wife.

When [if] your son matures he'll understand it's his responsibility to approach/mend bridges with your wife if he wants to continue a relationship with you.

Of course.... I'm no Doctor Phil [he'd just have you all on telly so you could publicly beat the crap out of each other for ratings] and I don't have kids....

Reply #16 Thursday, February 16, 2012 7:06 PM


I'm tired of turmoil. I'm tired of fighting. I just want us all to be happy and get along with each other.


Jim, I hope things work out for you and your family, eventually. It seems like such a sad state of affairs. 

Reply #17 Thursday, February 16, 2012 7:15 PM

I'm tired of turmoil. I'm tired of fighting. I just want us all to be happy and get along with each other.

At the time my old man turned up his toes my two sisters went into permanent meltdown with each other.... they pretty much have never spoken to each other. [we're talking years here].

Families.....aka....'shit happens'.

I'm just the poor sod in the middle....but as Ned Kelly said just before he was hung...."Such is life".

Reply #18 Thursday, February 16, 2012 7:18 PM SHOULD be 'hanged' ....'hung' is what is done to a painting .... Spell checker...

Reply #19 Thursday, February 16, 2012 8:50 PM

Jim we talked before on the phone and if you still have my number please feel free to call me or PM me and I will give it to you.

I have read several different replies and many were different but spoken very well. Not saying that you have done one single thing wrong but none of us know the entire story between your son and wife. Not all but a lot of what was said is based on things that sadly have happened to our fine community members over their lives. I could get into a story but will pass and only say I haven't talked to my son since he was 36 and is now 41. Does it hurt sometimes, yes but one learns to live with things. What really hurts everyday is my wife's passing two and a half years ago but again you learn to live with things and do the best you can.

What I really want to add is if you love your wife remember she is the one you are going to be with for the rest of your life and you have that love everyday. It can sometimes be impossible to change a persons feelings. As mentioned above about spending a weekend I think that may be to much to start with.I'm hoping that if you told your wife you were taking your son to lunch, dinner, whereever for a couple hours she would understand that it is your son. ask her what it would take from him for her to at least accept him into your home for awhile. If you can get an answer and talk to it with your son maybe he will understand. There is always a chance this could work out but it's not going to happen in a week. He may be 17 now but believe me he hasn't grown up yet. If he has grown up enough by some chance he will understand what you are trying to tell him about the situation and what he did in the past to cause it. If he understands he caused it he may also be able to say the correct things and make it better over time. Everyone that has said something has feelings for what you are going through. Thing is there are no real answers as most situations are different. So all we can do is throw things out there for you to think about that may help you.

This may not sound real nice but until you get to know your son you have no idea if he has something up his sleeve so to speak. Your wife is your wife and someone you have everyday so please remember that. Really think you need one on one time with your son so you can understand where this is going. To help that understanding it would be wonderful for him to understand your wife's feelings and wanting to correct them with her. Sorry I got so long winded here as my own loneiness gets in my way sometimes. That last sentence was to let you know I had lost my son but wasn't lonely however when my wife wasn't here I became totally alone. Think about that. My heart hurts for you my friend.

Reply #20 Thursday, February 16, 2012 11:59 PM

You have children, you marry a wife.  Until children really grow and experience family of their own, they can't rightly value their parent's relationship.  Children see their own interests in all things as first importance.

I agree with mostly everything DaveBox has said above here.

I made my child leave (at 18) and wouldn't let him come back--but I went and got him when he didn't expect my help too.  There isn't any cookie cutter solution--that's why it's so important to make sure that the decisions you make are ones that represent truths you really believe in.

As to having him in your home--two people have to decide that not one--let your son know that.


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