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Ask Eleanor
Ask Eleanor, Therapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1517
Experience:  Marriage & Family Therapist with 20 Years Experience
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Hi, I have an difficult issue with my boyfriends adult children.

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Hi, I have an difficult issue with my boyfriends adult children. My boyfiriend and I met four years ago after we were both divorced. We are both 51 and we do not live together, but we want to and I am the one who will not budge. My boyfriends sons 21 years old and 25 years old live at home, do not work, play video games all day, watch TV and smoke weed. Neither one of them finished high school. Both are lazy and feel that their dad owes them everything and to top it off they are rude and disrespectful. The younger son now has a baby with his 20 year old girlfriend and has moved her into the house without asking and she has no form of income either. The 25 year old son dropped out of school when he was a freshman and he has an extreem weight (obesity) issue and I also feel he has emotional and social growth problems. I used to go to my boyfriends home, but recently stopped because I just cant take their behaviour and my anger is being directed towards boyfriend who is a very passive, loving kind man. I just want him to stand up for what he wants and not let them run his life. I feel like they have hi hostage. His children call me derogatory names and say that I am an evil miss do gooder when I stand up for their father requests. I offered to teach them to cook so they dont live on frozen pizza's and burritos. I offered to help them get back into and finish school, and also offered to help them find jobs, but I just end up being the bad person because I dont think its ok to sit around and smoke weed. Its really hard because their mother is a heavy pot smoker and they see how she lives and they dont want to change. My delima is how can I stay in a relationship with this man when his children were raised so differently then how I raised mine. I would never ask him to exclude them from his life because I know he loves them, but they do not respect me for who I am and they dont respect their father. I know that is something he has to work on with them, but what I am trying to figure out is how can I be part of his life and not subject myself to their problems.

Hello, I am a Marriage and Family Therapist in practice for 20 years and have worked with many couples with similar issues. You are very wise to have not moved in with your boyfriend. The only way you can have a relationship with this man and not be subjected to the problems of his children and his dysfunctional relationship with them is to draw firm boundaries for yourself. You will never be able to change them or the dynamics with their father, and if you get sucked into trying to help them it will only result in major stress for you. I would tell your boyfriend that while you care for him and would like to live together, you will not and cannot live with him and his children under these circumstance. If he wants to live with you while continuing to support his children in his home, that is his choice which you may or may not accept. If this is acceptable to you, you must make clear to him that he will have to arrange to see them outside of your home. This is not at all an unreasonable position as these are grown children, well, at least chronologically. It is not only okay, it is very healthy to be able to say no to this situation and draw boundaries to take care of yourself. I hope this is helpful; let me know if you have additional questions. Take care, Eleanor

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