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proexpert37, Educator/Life Coach
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Going through a divorce. Ex is not speaking with me. After

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Going through a divorce. Ex is not speaking with me. After 5 months of living separately, I met someone and after another 5 months, I moved in with him. My 17 year old son is hating everything. He was withdrawn and had his misfits circle around him. He's now being mean to me because I made him move in with us. He hadn't seen his dad for months but after 9 months, I am making him live with him for 4 days (school days) and 3 days with us. He's still unhappy. I don't know what to do. He's refusing counseling, he's refusing everything.
Hello and thank You for using Just Answer. I am sorry to hear about the problems that you are having with your son. How was your relationship with your son before the divorce? How was his overall temperament as well? Are you able to talk to him at all about the situation? Does your son have a good relationship with his dad? Thank you.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
For the first 5 months after we moved out (I told him he had a choice but that I'd prefer him with me because I am more stable), he was a part of the decision making process of what we bought (new tv...etc) and he functioned fine as long as no boundaries were imposed. I let him have his girlfriend over and overnight, his friends came and went and stayed...etc. school was OK, never great.
I met my fiance and about the same time came to my "senses" about what kind of a parent I was being. No more overnight stays w/girlfriend (no need to imagine what I was saying OK to), I stopped giving him everything. He always disrespected me but I was so used to it that I no longer saw it. So, attempting to put a stop to it.
My fiance pushed him a while toward a "happy" new family. Soon to figure out that is not going to happen. We pulled back on that. My son is more mature in some ways and immature in terms of dealing with drama..etc.
The divorce - he knows I had to leave. He agrees. But, now that he is with his dad, he's having issues separating. Situation is exasperated by his dad refusing to talk to me. He is constantly put in the middle by him and sometimes (I really try not to cause I know that is not where he wants to be) by me. He's having to keep things from dad such as my fiance. He's also having issues separating such as asking me for money to buy groceries for his dad, or asking to be reimbursed for his dad's b-day gift. I was hoping by going over there, he'd figure out how nice he has it with us but it kind of backfired to "poor dad". Him and I went to a training for keeping kids first while getting ready to divorce. They gave him a paper of "rights" and we sat afterwards. He agreed I am doing everything right about this paper. For ex> "you have to right to love either or both parents without pressure". But, he is still very angry about the separation.
The usual teenage stuff is stressing him too. He's a senior so he has a lot to do...
He is not one to lash out (rarely) but he knows how to hurt me. For ex. the other night he said good night to everyone but walked right by me, not turning, a few steps later he said "good night mother". Deliberately trying to hurt me. He says he is happy for me but he doesn't want to live with my fiance and me. He says he is a great guy and a "friend material" but doesn't want him imposed on him.
Relationship with dad always has been precarious. He was and is afraid of dad and his temper. Not in a violent way but dad was in the army so he knows how to instill a fear of disapproval while I instilled "love". Seems dad was right - right about now. :(
Dad seems to also adopt a parenting method of the 'good' dad too. He's now letting his girlfriend stay overnight as long as she cooks dinner. He never allowed such a thing when we were together.
My son has a steady girlfriend who does give him support but she's only 18 and how much maturity I can expect out of that is questionable.
We sat him down and so did I separately - about not to stress about some of these things. He needs to have his eye on the big picture, we love him, we want his success, what can we do to help you...etc. each time it is back to square one.
Question 1 - My fiance says "absence makes the heart grow fonder" cut all relations. Don't pay for his school lunches, don't take him to work, cut off his cell phone...etc. until he becomes respectful. I pay for everything. His dad does nothing other than feed him. He doesn't even have a bed there. I think this is too extreme but I am tired of being so miserable too.
Question 2 - He asked for going back to his martial arts classes and punching bags. Is this enough? He refused counseling but I could 'make' him go. Should I?
Question 3 - I feel like I am choosing between my only child and my love for another man and his children. Am I choosing?
Question 4 - Likely he is jealous of these children and how much I am attached to them. What do you think?
Question 5 - Is leaving him be during the time he is with us a good idea? I want him to integrate. Mind you...his kids are gone while my son is with us so it's just the 3 of us.
Hello and thank you for being so thorough in your explanation.

Answer 1: Do not cut all relations now. When your son turns 18 and has graduated from high school, then you might try this tough love approach. If he refuses to live by the house rules, then he must find another place to live.

Answer 2: If the relationship between you and your son and is overall emotional well being are that important to you, then you should make him go to counseling. Additionally, you and your son should go to several sessions of family counseling because he seems to have several unresolved issues with you.

Answer 3: You should not have to feel like you are choosing a man and his children over your son. Your son's emotional problems have become your own. He must accept the fact that he will be part of a blended family. Life for him is very difficult. Besides the issues at home and being a senior, he is also struggling to find himself as he enters adulthood. He is fighting the feelings and actions of still being a teenager along with the responsibilities of being an adult. Then having a girlfriend is pulling him in all directions as well.

Answer 4: Your son is really hurting deep down inside because you and his dad are not together. It seems like your actions with your fiancé all happened in less than a years time. Usually, children are not introduced to a new partner until nine to twelve months of dating. Your son may feel like your partner is a complete stranger trying to take you away from him. You were all that he had left to provide for his needs and another man and his children invaded that sacred space. You can not go back and change things now though.

Answer 5: Your son should try to get to know your fiancé. It is fine to allow him to stay with you as it seems like the boundaries are too loose at his dad's house. Try to do things together...all 3 of least once a week. Your son may be very resistant at first. Maybe have his girlfriend come along as well. Then slowly see if your son will take on outings with just your fiancé. If he wants to then great! Do not force the issues though.

Nonetheless, your son needs a neutral third party to intervene like a counselor or psychologist. He is harboring too many negative feelings about many things inside himself. One day, he may have a serious breakdown or explode with immense anger if he will not release his feelings in a healthy manner and discuss the issues that are not going to disappear.

Hope this helps. Have a great day.
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