Dear Annie: Boyfriend enables irresponsible son
Dear Annie: I’ve been dating “Grant” for a few months, though we have known each other for 20-plus years. He has two kids, ages 25 and 21, and I feel that they run all over him. Their mother died about five years ago. She and Grant had been divorced for a few years before that. His youngest son, “John,” lives with him, and Grant got the boy a job at his company. I feel that he needs to stop treating the kid as if he were 15.
Grant buys John beer, cigarettes and anything he needs. He even pays his cellphone bill. Grant says he tells John that he has to pay a certain amount per week, but half the time he doesn’t get it. John throws temper tantrums if he doesn’t get his way, and Grant always gives in.
We just got a place together, and John came with us. John says he has no intention of leaving. I don’t want to live like this because he does nothing around the house to help. He doesn’t want to help prepare food, and he doesn’t want to clean up after himself. I feel that his dad needs to let him make his own decisions and pay his own way as far as his personal bills go, but I feel I’m fighting a losing battle. What to do? Thanks for any advice you can give me. — Frustrated at Home
Dear Frustrated at Home: Your problem is Grant, not his 21-year-old son. Seeing as Grant insists on treating John like a boy and allows him to run all over you, it is time to put your foot down. Tell Grant that either his adult son helps with the household chores and acts responsibly — rules to be enforced by Grant — or you will move out. You don’t have a choice at this point. It is good that your relationship is in its early stages.
Dear Annie: I dealt with a lot of trauma in my life, bottled it all up and smiled my way through the pain. We often believe that we are the only ones suffering from mental trauma of some kind or another. The truth is that if we step back and look at the big picture, we can begin to understand that we are not alone. Just because my husband never hit me doesn’t erase the fact that I was abused. When a friend persuaded me to tell her what was wrong, she guided me in the right direction, and I got out of that situation (more than 25 years ago) and into a wonderful marriage. Therapy helped me to recognize my situation and accept that I can live a happy life. To anyone reading this who’s going through hard times: Give therapy a chance, and don’t be afraid to walk away and try again if you find that your counselor is not a good fit. — Stronger and Happier
Dear Stronger and Happier: Therapy really is a wonderful thing, and I think everyone could benefit from it. Thank you for sharing your story of hope and triumph after trauma.
“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.