Newlywed son and his wife having problems, want me to help

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Origami, May 5, 2016.

  1. Origami

    Origami Active Member

    My 19-year-old difficult son and his wife have been married 2 months now (she's also 19) and the honeymoon is already over. I attribute most of the trouble to the fact that my son is immature, controlling, impatient, and just not being a very good person. His wife is a very sweet young woman who has been confiding in me because she said she has nobody else to talk to about him. Her own mother is a drug addict who abandoned the family when the children were small.

    daughter in law gave my son an ultimatum the other day. She said if he doesn't have a job within one month, she will leave and either get her own apartment or go back to live with her dad. She's been working and paying all their expenses, including rent (they're still living with us), some groceries, and she just gave my son $500 to pay for his court costs. She said she loves him, but she can't keep living in his bedroom in our house if he's not going to try to get a job.

    She told me that since she gave him the deadline, he's been accusing her of being crazy, of not communicating with him, of being angry all the time. She said she doesn't want to talk to him because he's so unreasonable and hard to talk to, and she feels so confused by the things he's saying that she can't think straight. There have been several bad incidents, the latest of which happened last weekend when her younger brother was in the hospital and she wanted my son to stay with her until he was discharged. He had overdosed, and she was very upset about it. She told me she just wanted her husband to stay with her. Instead, he took off walking six miles back home (she wouldn't drive him). He apparently had money, but said he didn't want to break a $20 to pay $2 for bus fare. He also took her car keys so she had to get a ride home from her dad.

    Yesterday when she went home for lunch, he told her to leave him alone. Now he's telling her to take her clothes and leave.

    They both called me about everything this morning. I tried to be sympathetic but noncommittal. I think they should work things out, but they're both so young and I feel like I should try to help them. I hate to see them give up on their marriage already, but B is so distraught. She said she's not going to let him make her feel bad about things, and she doesn't think she's done anything wrong. She said she doesn't want to leave him, but will if it means preserving her sanity so she can keep her job. I told her to take a step back and think about doing what is right for her.

    Meanwhile, son is angry and calling her names. He said he's "done." He even cursed at her at the hospital when she wouldn't take him home. He contends that she is unreasonable and won't talk to him to work things out. Just since I started writing this, he texted me "The xxx B told you is chicken xxxx for the record. She is so xxxx manipulative it's ridiculous. I'm so sick of this."

    I can tell I'm already more invested in this than I should be, but they want me to talk to them together this evening. I have suggested that they talk to one of their counselors (they both see psychologists) together.

    I feel guilty suggesting that they call it quits, but at this point I hate to see them being miserable when it seems like their only hope for happiness would be for my son to have a major personality overhaul. However, he reminds me of a phase my own husband went through, and he got help later and is a different (better) person now. I stuck with him because I had kids already and didn't feel like I had options, but B and my son don't have that to consider.

    Just wondering if I'm wasting my time trying to help them, or should I just keep pointing them to counseling? Is this enabling? I feel like I'm getting myself into their mess.
  2. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    I do not think this is a healthy relationship. If you choose to become involved, it will blow up in your face.
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  3. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    I hate to say this, O, but the young woman really needs to go back to her dad's house and work on getting herself better. She shouldn't allow herself to be treated this way. If she were my daughter, this is what I would tell her (and I have two adult daughters, so I can envision this). I would not encourage this young woman to stay in this situation.

    If your son wants this relationship to work, he needs to do what it takes to get her back (from your description of the situation).

    This is what I would tell him: Man Up. Own it.

    It is all on him, at this point.

  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I doubt there is anything you can do. Your son is being himself and chasing her away. Is he willing to go through therapy and change?
    I may think differently but 19 is way too young in my opinion for two immature, dependent people to hold a marriage together. Honestly, if this were my kid I'd prefer a fast divorce to the inevitable grandchildren who will be brought into such a bad, unstable situation. The girl may be sweet but her home life did not mature her or ready her to be a mother.
    You have things to think about. However, you can't save this marriage unless you fund it to wife's satisfaction. Do you want to do that knowing that our help often lasts forever? That they often never get on their feet and just want more and more from us?
    It is actually your own decision. Please be good to YOU. Do what you want to fo, not what your son wants you to do. He can do this himself or perhaps he just isnt ready to be a husband.
    Take care!!
  5. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    I hope you can stress to them how important it is to get help from someone outside the family. You are putting yourself in the middle of a mine field!

    Maybe if she stayed with her dad for several weeks, they both got professional help, then maybe emotions will have settled down and they can make better decisions for their future. I hope a reliable form of birth control is being used...

    Hugs... Ksm
  6. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I pretty much agree with the others, OP. Stay out of this. I know they're young. I know you desperately want to help them, especially as it sounds like they're too young to have married.

    I moved in with my fiance/husband when I was 18. He was 20. We were very immature as well. It was a rough couple of years until my Hubs went into the military and I settled into an IT career.

    I did call my mother with questions. She commiserated with me, but beyond telling me that the more I felt like yelling, the more I should keep my mouth shut and listen, which I consider to be excellent advice, all her advice boiled down to talking things out and compromising. Years and years of my husband going to the field, peacekeeping and combat missions where I didn't know when, or IF he was coming home taught me that a lot of the stuff we were fighting about was, in actuality, complete B.S. That said, by the time we married in 81, we were pretty much grown ups, both had jobs, such as they were. Stu was driving a cab and I was running a hospital computer room on night shift.

    We survived not because our parents constantly helped us out, but because when things were desperate, a bag of groceries or a gift certificate to a local grocery chain would appear. A tank of gas would happen. Little things.

    Big thing? We were left to work things out on our own. And we DID! I cringe at HOW we worked some things out (all legal), but we always had a roof ovr our heads, food, and care for critters.

    I advise trying something like what my parents did. There;s nothing wrong with filling a gas tank here and there, or buying food. How you go about doing this depends on several factors, one of the most important being if there is any substance (including alcohol) use going on. If that is the case, anything you pick up for them, is more$$$ they can spend on drugs or booze.

    In that case, you have to physically go buy the food and bring it to them, or physically take them out shopping, assuming he won't be a jerk about it.

    Sorry to write you a novel. Hang in there and keep us posted on how you are doing. Also, a LOT of first marriages in early years don't make it; and frankly, your son is acting like an a-hole. She might do better to leave him, stay at home for a year or so,if she can, save up some money by working, and start all over.
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  7. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    As I was reading about this about her brother in the hospital I was having flashbacks to when my sister was having her first baby. My ex and I were at the hospital in Boulder, we lived in Denver - a 45 minute drive. I wanted to be there for the birth of my niece. I wanted to be there with my mom and dad and other sister. My ex came to me and said "I'm bored we're leaving" I told him no, this was my family and I wanted to stay. He said "fine, suit yourself" and he left me there. I was hurt, embarrassed and mad. My brother in laws brother was kind enough to give me ride home after my niece was born. That was the beginning of the end for me.

    My advice is to not get involved. If it were me, I would tell them both that they made an adult decision to get married now they need to act like adults and deal with the consequences of their choice.
    I will be honest and I don't mean to sound harsh but I do not see this young couple making it and that would probably be for the best.

    I appreciate the hope you have that your son may be able to turn it around like your husband did but that cannot be predicted. Also, were you and your husband living on your own or were you living with your parents? Was your husband working? I'm sure the scenarios are very different.

    I hope you will be able to have some peace in your home very soon.
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  8. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Hi Origami

    Each of them has voiced that they are looking to call it quits. Your son did so in no uncertain terms. I think I read that she has told you she is thinking of returning to her father and getting on with her life. I would call them on it. I would sit them down and help them finalize this. I would not allow my son and any wife to continue in my home if there was abuse and unresolved conflict, where each has expressed a desire to end it. I do not think this is meddling or enabling. I think it is responsible.

    At the same time, I agree with everybody else that there is no place for you to help out in their relationship. I see what I suggested above is taking control of your household, and taking responsibility for a situation in your household which has gotten out of control. If somebody got messy drunk you would take control. Why not here?

    Your son sounds like he is acting the jerk; the young woman got herself in a mess; what really is there to save, unless your son decides to do some pivot and nothing you have written indicates this is the case.
    This is true but in my mother's generation this was how it was done by most couples, who too, married at 19 or so, and learned the hard way. What has changed? I do not know.

    Your son is acting abusive.
    Under your roof this has got to stop. If she will not stop it and he will not, I believe it is your responsibility to do so. Who could advocate that she stay and work it out? I could not. If your son is done, what is there more to say or do? Has he not decided for both of them?
    The thing is--they are in your house. You know he is treating her badly. I do not see how you can stay completely out of it because to do that would be enabling your son to treat his wife badly under your roof.

    I think what I might do if it were me is to sit them down and to tell them that decisions must be made, regardless of feelings, and who is right and who is wrong. That you will not allow this to go on in your house. I think you have to take a stand for the girl. While she is under your roof, you owe her that. That is what I think.
    I agree.

    And any reconciliation, if there is one, needs to be under their own roof.
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    Last edited: May 6, 2016
  9. Origami

    Origami Active Member

    Thanks everyone for your advice. It's so helpful to have you all confirm what I was thinking and point me back the right direction. After all my angst yesterday, I had agreed to talk to them together instead of all the secretive back and forth texts and calls. Then when I got home from work, they didn't say a word about it and acted like nothing had happened! I had already decided that if they wanted to figure things out, I'd offer some general advice but not get drawn into anything deep. They left the house once to go to the store and said Bye on their way out.

    Apple, I think it will probably end up with her being back at her dad's house. She's told me more than once, "I don't deserve to be treated like this," and I think she's been setting some boundaries in her mind of what she'll put up with, and I'll encourage her to do this.

    You are so right about him "being himself," which in this case isn't a good thing. I had high hopes that him getting married would propel him to being more mature and fast-track his job search, but that hasn't happened.

    ksm-- yes, thank goodness

    She seems resourceful, as she supported herself while finishing up high school and living with a cousin. When she said she was going to tell him she was gone in a month if he didn't get a job, she said she would either move back with her dad or get her own apartment.

    You're right, Tanya, the scenario was quite different. My husband had a good job at a factory, we had an apartment rented, and we owned a car. These kids have put the cart before the horse. I feel like my son misled her in a way because he kept saying he was about to join the Army, but he hasn't been back to the recruiter in quite a while. B told me that she doesn't even think he'll ever join.

    Thank you. I'll try to keep it on the level of setting boundaries and expectations of how things will happen in my house, and not try to solve their problems for them.

    Again, thanks for the clarity. I feel like I know what I should do now.

    Son's latest self-made crisis is that his wife can't get off work to take him to traffic school next week and he doesn't have a ride. It's about a two-hour drive from here. His license is suspended so he can't drive our vehicle. There's a bus that goes out there but it takes about two hours, which he won't do. B said her dad might be able to take son to the school, so hopefully that works out. You'd think he'd at least want to be nice to some people so he could get rides to traffic school and court, but he can't even manage that for very long. I technically could take the day off work, but I told him I'm not going to.
  10. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I am so annoyed by your son. I am sorry, Origami.
    Give me a break. This is the classic, he made his bed now lie in it, situation.

    There is no f-in way I would take him to this f-in class. Good for all of you for holding firm. (Although I have broken down umpteen times in my real life, I can still hold firm in yours.)
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  11. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Good for you, O.

    You shouldn't take off work or rearrange your day to take him to traffic school.

    Neither should anyone else (though you don't have any say in what others decide to do).

    The sooner he has to take all the responsibility for his actions, instead of making them other people's problems, the sooner he will learn that his actions have consequences. For him, not for others.
  12. Origami

    Origami Active Member

    lol, then there's at least one person holding firm in my life!

    He suggested driving our van to the school, and said "nobody will know" that his license is suspended. I told him it's pretty common for police to catch people driving to traffic court/school with suspended licenses. It's amazing to me that such a seemingly intelligent young man lacks so much judgment and common sense.
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Theres a difference between IQ and EQ.
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  14. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    You are a member of our club otherwise known as, the I would not want to be a member of any club that would have me as a member. You might now want to renounce your membership. I would if I could.
  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    He can take public transportation. Its his fault he has to go to traffic court. If its a long ride, too bad.

    This was the kind of things I was actually good at. If you broke the law, I did not mske it easy. I just felt it was best for the consequences to be felt.

    I made too many oarenting mistakes to count, but I was not an en a bler andboth of my kids who were difficult at various times
    Are both independent, thriving, and dtug free. Many times when I said "no" I got off the pbonee andcried for anhour. Itsnot easy, butfir my kids it was the best thing.