10-17-2008, 12:43 PM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Near Chicago
| | Re: Considering Seperation or Divorce
I can relate to your post in many ways and as a divorced w/3 kids remarried for 7 years have been in your wife's shoes to some extent.
I think what you've described about your step-son is totally normal teen-age behavior. (mine are 18, 14, 12) Mine have lied to avoid getting in trouble & have also completely ignored me when I ask them to do something. It seems clear from what I read that this isn't about your step-son at all, it's about you and your wife feeling unsupported and unappreciated by one another.
Here's where I was at a year ago...I am also pretty laid back when it comes to parenting (probably too laid back) and my husband had many of the same frustrations you are having. I don't like conflict, confrontation and would rather pick up the glass from the living room (where they aren't supposed to have drinks) then to get into with them (don't sweat the small stuff or bad parenting...probably a little of both) whereas my husband will say something. The bad thing with this combination is that it puts him in the 'bad cop' role and as a step-dad of teens is not a very enjoyable place to be. I get that now. We had a talk about this and decided that I needed to step up as far as discipline and enforcing the rules.
Here's what I was feeling...every time he got angry when the kids acted up (usually them fighting, many times violent) he would say 'I can't take this' 'maybe I should just get an apartment somewhere' bit by bit it added up to me feeling he's going to leave at some point. This was a horrible spiral because I became depressed, disconnected from him emotionally (sex dropped off big time at this point) and I was feeling very lonely. It felt horrible because I'm a nice person, my husband and kids are my world and none of them seemed happy.
She sounds like a great person doing what she knows how. If you still see that, there is a lot of hope if you are willing to talk. I would first apologize for over-reacting with your stepson (to him and to your wife) and then have a talk with her to see how she is feeling...ask her what she imagined being married to you would be like and if you've fallen short of that. Listen to her and don't defend anything she says, just listen & see where she is at deep down. She most likely wants the same peace that you seek and the same intimate connection but feels lost.
The second thing I would recommend is talking to her about parenting roles...you can't change who she is and most of us parent like our own parents so this will probably mean compromise on both ends but there are things she can do to step up and be more firm with him...just don't expect drastic changes over night...with a teen-ager that would only backfire anyway. My approach wasn't sudden change, but it was more of letting them know that now they are older and mom's been doing this or that for years and now i'm tired and need them to help out.
Hope this helps.