My husband and I have been married for three months and we have five boys between us. He sold his home and moved into mine (my kids are school-domiciled with me). He is struggling to feel like this is his home. He feels unsettled about my teenage sons and feels this is creating a barrier to him feeling ‘home’ and relaxed. The relationship is rather neutral – they all do their own thing and don’t really interact much. My husband doesn’t engage the boys and they don’t engage him. There is no disrespect or misbehavior – they are typical teenage boys and good kids overall. I’m not sure how to help get him in a good place. It seems to bother him to live in a home with people he has no interaction with but he doesn’t really attempt to make it more than it is. Or says he is ok with no relationship. Then turns around and says ‘its not home’. His kids are the youngest of the 5 (10 & 12) and its also odd for me but not anything I didn’t expect. The tension is increasing and I’m not sure what the best course is. I suggested we buy a new home but he says he’s not sure its the physical place. I feel like telling him to put his big boy pants on but am trying to be more empathetic and keep things in perspective. help….
A:Your blended family isn’t blending and your husband is acting like it is new information that maybe, as one of the adults in the mix, he has to take a lead in moving things along. I’m guessing that some important conversations didn’t happen when you two were deciding to tie the knot. Either that, or the reality of it all didn’t penetrate. There’s some important and difficult work ahead for you all. Done well, everyone will benefit from a new sense of family.
Your collective kids are going to be “home” for awhile yet. The issues can’t be avoided without there being a blowup or blowout at some point. If you two want this relationship to last, it’s long past time to talk about (and commit to) befriending the older kids and parenting the younger ones – together.
“Home” doesn’t happen by magic. “Home” is a function of the heart. It takes time and energy and, yes, love.
I strongly suggest that you two get into couples therapy. If you could have sorted this out on your own, you would have done so already. You need help dealing with the realities of your new family. You need a safe place to talk out expectations, disappointments, and what you are going to do now.
I wish you well.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 4 Nov 2013
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2013). No Sense of “Home”. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 27, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/11/04/no-sense-of-home/