Dear Annie: My husband’s parents divorced 25 years ago, and both remarried people who had children from previous marriages. All of the siblings are self-supporting with the exception of one stepbrother, “Rick,” who is now 26. My in-laws pay for Rick’s apartment and all of his expenses because he can’t seem to hold a job and they don’t want him living with them.
My husband thinks he has the right to demand that his mother and her husband stop giving Rick money. I disagree. How they spend their money is up to them. My husband says it isn’t really their money. It’s family money, and they should not be using his inheritance to support a lazy stepbrother. He doesn’t understand why he’s worked so hard all these years when Rick doesn’t have to. He told me he sees no reason to maintain a relationship with his mother if he’s not going to get anything out of it. I couldn’t believe my ears. He said he didn’t mean it the way it sounded.
I told him his parents don’t owe him an inheritance and that I hoped my own parents would spend every last dime before they died. My husband and I earn a good income. I am amazed that I married such a selfish man. I’ve never seen this side of him before, and I don’t like it at all. – Floored
Dear Floored: We don’t believe your husband is selfish so much as he is hurt and resentful. In your husband’s eyes, supporting Rick means Mom loves Rick more. Talk to him about those feelings, and see if you can help him understand that his parents did him an enormous favor by teaching him to be self-reliant, and that Rick will suffer in the long run. You also could remind him that, as the stepmother, his mom probably has less say over the matter than he realizes. We hope he can forgive her and move past this.