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Ask Jen Helant Your Own Question

Jen Helant
Jen Helant, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1363
Experience:  I have a degree in psychology and worked with many couples. I am happily married and have been for 10 years.
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13 year old stepson is asked to clean his room or he cant

Customer Question

13 year old stepson is asked to clean his room or he can't have friends over. Has been living with us as a family for 5 months. Next thing we know he's loading his things into his mother's vehicle and is out the drive. No warning, no nothing, just gone. This was last week. Refuses to tell his father anything, just ignores him for the most part. His paternal grandmother comes to visit for the weekend, so 13 year old does come over on Saturday to spend several hours with her and his father. I'm out of town, but when I come home I ask how did it go. Father said, "he had very little to do with me."

Sunday is my husband's birthday. We go for a wonderful drive, equally enjoyable dinner out, return home after a great time, which included little teasing 'sexual' actions over the day, and was even 'encouraged' to have a couple more drinks before heading home.

Get home and I'm ready to continue with the much needed intimacy (which has been lacking in our relationship) and instead, my husband tells me, "I'm going to go get (insert son's name) now. He called and wants to come over to wish me a Happy Birthday. Will only take 20-minutes, or so."

I was not a happy camper because.. I wasn't asked about this change in plans. Just told it was going to happen. End of discussion.

Now I am angry and husband says I'm out of line.

He says I shouldn't have let that bother me and I believe he should have respected not only myself and where this evening was going, but 'us' and explained to his son that he had other plans.

Your thoughts? :)
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Jen Helant replied 3 years ago.

I am sorry that this happened to you. I can understand both sides of the story. I believe the problem is not what happened, but the way it was handled.

In your defense his son has been difficult and has gave some trouble recently. He also visited and gave little attention to his father. You had plans with your husband to enjoy him on his birthday and was in the middle of a good time, so it can definitely hurt and be disappointing.

However, in your husbands defense it is his son and despite the differences his son wanted to wish him a Happy Birthday. He wanted to give him this opportunity because he felt he is his father and was most likely very happy that his son wanted to do that.

See I have mixed feelings on this because I can see both sides of the story. I just think it may have been handled wrong. Since it is his birthday there may be many people that could have wanted to say "happy birthday", so it is difficult to push people away at this time. Sometimes you want to be alone, but a family member in general may want to stop by as a nice gesture, so we can't just push them away. It would be rude on our part and we need to understand they are doing a nice gesture. However, if we have plans then we need to cut it short and then them know " Thank you", but we need to go in a nice way of course.

It was nice of his son to want to see him if of course he wasn't doing it out of spite. If it were a regular day then I would say the father definitely needs to put the son in this place and let him know he has plans especially since he has been difficult, but on his birthday I would leave it more opened for him to decide what he thinks is best in the moment. Like I said I think he did handle it wrong. He should have spoke to you about it and said "Honey my son wants to come over and wish me a happy birthday" I think this is really nice of him and I know we are in the middle of something, but do you think it would be okay if I go get him and we can continue where we left off later". You could have even went with him enjoyed a little then continued on where you both left off later.

I think this would have worked everything out smoothly because he would have first been asking your opinion and if you objected the two of you could have spoke about it and came to a conclusion together. However, you may have not had a problem with it and would have saw the son and been alone later. In whatever the decision was you both could have handled and spoke about it together as a couple.

He just got up and left and said your plans weren't going to happen and end of discussion that you are out of line. I think this part was uncalled for. You both have good points and the final decision would really be based on the particular couple involved, since opinions would vary depending the couple. But this is something the both of you could have communicated about. I think the problem here is not the action itself, but how he handled it. He could have been more considerate to you and spoke about it with you and not at you.
Expert:  Jen Helant replied 3 years ago.
I noticed that you have not rated my answer yet. If you plan to rate me anything less than positive than please let me know, so I can help further. We can continue working together until you are satisfied.

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