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My Husband Does Not Seem to Like My Son

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From the U.S.: My second husband does not seem to like my son. My son is 16. We have been married 7 years. We have 2 sons together a 1 and 6 year old. He doesn’t say much to my son. He does not say many negative things to him, but he constantly complains to me. He complains over simple issues like he drank all the soda.

It is always something. It does not seem my son can do anything right in his eyes. I have told him several times I don’t like how negative he is about him, but he just says I like him and I am not negative about him. The constant complaining makes me so miserable. When my son is with his father everything runs smooth at home but as soon as my son gets home it starts.

I can see how differently he feels about my son compared to our sons. It is really hard for me. I have a friend that tells me that even though my husband does not say negative things to him that my son feels the difference. I am sure he does. I have thought about leaving several times but then I worry about how a divorce would effect my other kids. Or is the negativity unhealthy for all of us.

My Husband Does Not Seem to Like My Son

Answered by on -


For some people, the existence of the child from a former relationship is a constant reminder that their partner once had another lover and another life. They would like to erase that past but can’t due to the presence of the child. On a more primitive level, male animals often won’t accept the offspring of other males and drive them out of the herd in an instinctive effort to only pass on their own bloodline.

People can and do get past that primitive behavior and open their hearts and minds to children who are not their own biological kids. All this is a long way around to saying that I think that the problem here is that your husband hasn’t adopted your son. He may not be aware of it, but his behavior seems to show that he’s trying to drive him from the herd. Of course your son knows it and is hurt by it.

Your husband needs help understanding the need for an “adoption” to take place. I’m not talking about a legal adoption. Your son does have an involved biological dad. But there is room for the boy to have two men in his life who care about him, teach him, and help him develop into all he can be.

Rather than be angry at your husband, try to have a conversation with him about what it is that gets in his way of being a positive role model and caring adult in your son’s life. Is there something you or your ex is doing that is an obstacle? Has he really thought about his role as being important to the boy’s self-esteem and growth? Has he embraced the fact that the boy is related to him by blood in that he is his sons’ brother?

If that conversation becomes too difficult, I hope you will try some couples counseling before you visit a lawyer. This is not an uncommon problem. It can usually be addressed so that all relationships in the family improve.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

My Husband Does Not Seem to Like My Son

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). My Husband Does Not Seem to Like My Son. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 7, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 7 Jul 2015)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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