Dear Annie: When I married “Joe” three years ago, I moved into his home with my preteen daughter. Joe has two older children and a teenage son. I agreed that the youngest son would stay with us during the week and live at his mother’s on the weekends. Since then, however, his teenage son has decided to stay with his mother, which is fine. However, now the older son and daughter are living with us.
Joe’s daughter has stolen my daughter’s clothes and personal belongings. She denies it, and Joe believes her, even though it was obvious that she went through my daughter’s things while we were out of the house.
His son is married with a toddler and twins on the way. He cannot keep a job, does drugs and was evicted from their apartment. His family moved in with us three months ago. His wife is due any day. She will go to her mother’s when the babies are born, but her mother doesn’t like my stepson, so he has to stay here. He refuses to get a job and expects his father to pay for everything.
Annie, this is causing a huge strain on our marriage and is affecting my health. I have tried talking to Joe, but he says, “I can’t throw my son out to live on the street.” I don’t know how much longer I can tolerate this rude young adult man who refuses to follow our house rules. Any suggestions? – Not What I Agreed To
Dear Not: We understand how difficult it is to throw your kids out when they have no means of support, but this is unfair to you and everyone else. Joe’s kids will never learn to stand on their own if they rely on Dad to pay their way through life. Tell Joe that the situation is untenable and you want him to come with you for counseling. Go alone if you must. You have some major decisions to make.