Son Unsupportive of Dad’s Cohabiting

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My beau and I are both in our late 50s, with two children each. Mine are adults living on their own. He has an adult daughter who lives with her mom ( but sees her dad frequently) and a son still at home, who goes to college. His son does not get along with his mother and he moved in with his father two years ago. The problem: my beau has told his son that we are in love and plan to be married, but circumstances require that I move in before we wed. Three of the four children are OK with this and are supportive. The son, who is really the only child left at home, refuses to consider this. He says he will move out if I move in. He is angry about it. (the other three are girls, if that matters). He has been supportive of the romance, saying that his dad is “nicer” to him and “doesn’t yell as much” because he is happy with me. (My beau is a quiet, kind introvert who doesn’t yell.)This young man is 20. We want to move ahead with our plans but also want the son to be comfortable with everything and NOT move out. We both want him to remain in the home with us. Any advice would be very welcome. Thank you.

A: I have to admit I’m confused. Why is it so important for this young man to be comfortable with your choices and to continue to live with you? He’s 20! He’s in college. He’s grown up. It’s a good idea for him to get uncomfortable living at home. Otherwise, why would he ever leave?

I suspect he doesn’t like your plans because it will disrupt his life some. He’s got a good thing going in his all-male household. Forgive the stereotyping, but women generally like a neater environment. If that is true of you, he’s going to have to mind his manners, pick up his socks, and be generally more considerate if you’re around on a daily basis. Furthermore, the last time he lived with a mom, it didn’t work out so well for him. (I’d be curious about why he left his mom’s house. It’s at least possible that she was making reasonable demands on him that he didn’t like. You might want to hear her out at some point.)

I don’t think it is at all wise for you and your beau to let this overgrown kid hold your life hostage to his demands. It gives him far too much say in his father’s life and yours. You two are in your 50s. You are lucky to find each other. Don’t waste time dickering with the boy. Next time he “threatens” to leave, just say something like, “Well – that would be too bad but of course at your age that’s your choice to make,” and help him pack.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 11 Jun 2012

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2012). Son Unsupportive of Dad’s Cohabiting. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 29, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/06/11/son-unsupportive-of-dads-cohabiting/

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