Need advise about vacation

worried sick mother

Active Member
We have planned a very big family vacation for many years now. My son was originally invited to go but would never make a commitment, this is all before we knew much about his drug use. My husband (his stepdad) was fine with it. We have had our plane tickets for over a year but we didn't get my son one and my plan was if he decided to go to get him one at the last minute. Since my son is home from rehab I invited him again to go and my husband has had a cow! He says he doesn't deserve to go that he's been on vacation at rehab, he says he needs to get a job not be running off on a vacation and he even said that I expect him to foot the bill for him. He makes way more money than I do. My husband didn't speak to me for a week. My son had said he probably shouldn't go because he needs to find a job to pay his bills but now he has decided he doesn't want to miss this opportunity. It's not a vacation a family takes normally, once in a lifetime kind of vacation.
I had posted that my son had phone calls with someone I knew sold heroin well it turns out I was wrong, that's not who the calls were to. I just saw my son for the first time last night , he stayed here at my house. He looks like a completely different person, he looks so good. He acts like his old self, he's very pleasant and appears to be very dedicated to sobriety. He's gone to meetings and is setting up to get his next Vivitrol injection. He says he doesn't crave it at all and wants to get his life straightened out. I'm aware that he could be conning me! He said he would like to go to sober living but that his girlfriend can't make it financially without him. He feels obligated to her, she could go live with her mother but their house is very dirty with animal feces everywhere.
I went to see my psychiatrist (that I recently started seeing due to my son) today and I was telling her about my problem with my son and husband. I feel stuck in the middle. I don't want to tell my son he can't go when he was invited from the beginning. Anyway, my psychiatrist said that if he wasn't allowed to go now since he was invited from the beginning it would be almost like he was being punished for going to rehab and that wouldn't be supportive. She said my husband sounds angry and that anger has no place, not to enable but be supportive.
It boils down to that my husband just doesn't want to be around him and thinks it will ruin his vacation. I would actually enjoy mine more because I would know he is safe and I think it would be an opportunity for him to bond with us. The fact that he even wants to be around us is a BIG deal. I know a lot of people on here have problems with their children wanting to live with them but we have the opposite problem that he didn't want to be near us in the past and definitely never live with us. We are going for 10 days and I even suggested to my husband that he only go for 5 days and that way everyone would be happy but he won't hear of it. I just don't know what to do, I agree with my husband in a way but I just feel we could come up with a solution instead of being so unreasonable. I have to act fast, I sure don't want to tell my son that my husband feels this way and I haven't told my husband that my son said he was going either. I'm stuck!!! Any advice???


Well-Known Member
That is so hard, WSM!

If it were me, I think I would have to side with hubby, though. It sounds as if he has had a lot to deal with, with his step-son, and maybe needs this time away from everything.

And son does need to concentrate on getting a job, anyway.

Can you tell son that your plans are already set and it is too late to change/add anything?


Well-Known Member
I think your husband deserves a sane vacation. Your son will go on vacations with his own family one day. My own philosophy, which I'm sure not everyone agrees with, is your minor kids have to come first. After that I feel it is healthier if the spouse comes first. I don't much like most advice from therapists. I go to therapists who teach coping skills and guide me to make my own decisions. The psychiatrist is preaching to you and using his own ideas. Not like he gets how much your husband has put up with regarding your son.

in my opinion your son doesn't need praise for going to rehab. Hes an adult and rehab was for himself and on your dime. I don't think he should go on vacation and be unable to pay for himself either. I don't see it as a punishment, after all he has done, to take a peaceful vacation with your husband only.

In short, unless I didn't love my husband, if this were me, I'd leave son home and don't allow son to put you in the middle. You have put him first all your life. Isn't it time, after all you've done for him to put yourself and your marriage first? Time for Son to put YOU first and not cause strife in marriage.

Good luck, no matter what you decide.
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Well-Known Member
Any advice???
It sounds like your son is handling things well.

This is my take: There needs to be clear communication with the three of you. And husband needs to talk directly to son about his feelings, not put you in the middle.

If husband had agreed from the beginning that son be a part of the getaway, husband needs to take responsibility for his change of heart and work it out with son. At the same time son needs to hear his stepfather's concerns about him and to understand why.

This is part of a functioning family, that stuff not be harbored, hidden away, so that it festers. I do not know if you checked with husband before renewing the invitation to son, again.

On the other hand I think that because son did not commit for a long time to the getaway, it is on him, if he is unable to go.

In the end it all comes down to clear and open communication and taking responsibility for one's part.

Sometimes, I will even go across town to speak to M, who I live with, to ask him if it is OK that my son spend the night!! I have worried if my son feels hurt, jealous or resentful (because my relationship with him far precedes that with M) but I put that aside.

My son in his heart knows why I go to these lengths to involve M in all decisions that affect him. Because my son has created havoc for the both of us, and my son has and continues to triangulate. That is the problem you are involved in right now. The question is, how to clean it up.

Clear communication and the sense by all that they are respected in decision making, and as part of a family is more important than any trip. This does not mean that your husband is not responsible for his own feelings, too, if they are not reasonable. He needs to hear that from you, if he is putting you in a spot that is difficult for you, caught between son and husband. He needs to hear how hard that is for you.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
WSM it is a hard spot I know.

I have a son from my first marriage and we had a lot of problems in the beginning with my current husband and he was a good kid and my husband is a good guy; it was just adjusting. So I know that YUCCY feeling that you are not being loyal to your son.

But I agree with the other advice. You and your husband deserve the vacation. Your son will be long gone someday with his new life and your life will be with your husband. Our son together has caused us so much grief and really tested our marriage and now that he is older, I have readjusted my priorities.

Your son knows you love him. Don't see this as a punishment. It isn't. It's much deserved parent time!

I just saw Copa's post and she is SO right but I was taking the easy way out which is what I tend to do.


Well-Known Member
You and your husband deserve the vacation.
I agree with this.

It boils down to this:

Husband, I wish I had asked you before (and should have asked you) if you had objections to my reinstating the invitation to son.

Listen to what he has to say. If he maintains his ill feelings, I would honor his wishes. I would also encourage him to speak to son directly about his feelings towards son. I would leave it at that.

To son (if husband says no go): Son, I am proud of you, your progress and your attitude. My preference is that husband and I go ourselves on the trip. I would not say, husband does not want you to go. Because that would be perpetuating triangulation.


Well-Known Member
Ugh this sounds very difficult. I think Copa gave you great advice and I agree whole heartedly. It is not good for you to be in the middle of this.

worried sick mother

Active Member
Thanks for all the replies, I love that idea of talking to my husband but he won't even listen, he says there's nothing to talk about. My other children are going on this trip too . We have been on many vacations without my son. I just feel so bad about it because we only went on 2 very small vacations when my son was growing up. He is 10 years older than his siblings and I had 3 in diapers at once so vacations were kind of out the question.
I didn't check with my husband before I ask my son, I didn't know there was any problem with him going. I know this has been a lot for my husband to deal with but he doesn't really deal with my son, he just sees how it effects me and just thinks it's crazy that I get so upset and can't function. He says if his children ever do the things my son has done then he will completely write them off , I pray he never has to eat those words especially since their my children too. I have to admit that I've thought the same thing about other people's situation with their children but when it comes to your own it's a whole different scenario. My husband probably won't talk to my son himself, he'll say he has nothing to say to him and he doesn't seem to care how it effects me. I'll definitely try all of your suggestions and I appreciate each one so much.


Well-Known Member
Your son can go on vacations of his own. He can get a job and travel. A lot of kids don't travel until they are grown. My husbandtraveled everywhere young after he joined the Air Force at seventeen. I didn't travel much as a kid either. Your son is one of many kids who wait until later for vacations,

If your husband won't talk to your son, then that is how he is. You can't change him. Most of us wish we had that power...haha...none of us do. Husbands, like our children, deal the way they deal and we deal the way we deal. Many men are not good talkers. My husband is not, like yours. I wish he were different sometimes, but I love him anyway, even if my magic wand won't work on him ;)

Can you go on a short vacation with this son at a later time? Just you and him?

My husband is a step and we have two kids. My older kids are far more trying than the kids we raised together. At times my oldest was disrespectful to me. It hurt my husband more than me that he did this and he wasn't too fond of this particular child(still isn't) and probably would not have wanted to go on vacation with him and I have to admit that my son probably deserved that sort of feeling from him since my husband loved me. My oldest also gave him a very hard time.

Your husband loves you. He doesn't like to see how your son worries you. Or how disrespectful he is. I wouldn't be upset with my husband if he didn't want to bring along an adult kid. He probably wouldn't relax much if son did come.

But this is about me. All answers reflect us.

In the end, many of us stated our opinions. The final decision is yours. We will all support you regardless. Good luck :)
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If focused on a single leaf you won't see the tree
I have to agree with SWOT and few others. YOU and your husband should go alone. I really feel our Difficult Child's put so much stress on our marriages and other relationships that we have neglected, put aside, too many fires burning at the same time, etc.

YOU have to take care of your husband and your relationship and marriage first.

Explain to son, you are proud of him for his rehab and progress. You and husband need some time away to recharge your batteries and just breathe and relax. However, should he continue with his progress, get a job, etc, that you and him can take a mini trip, long week-end somewhere.

This way, he has something to work towards and look forward to.


Well-Known Member
I just feel so bad about it because we only went on 2 very small vacations when my son was growing up.
I want to whine here. I never went on one vacation as a child, except for when I was a girl scout, which I loved and adored. I never had a dog or a cat (and I love them.)

The moral of the story: As soon as I could (on my own) I did travel when I could, where ever and whenever I wanted. And when I could have pets, I did. Now, I have a house full.

My belief is that I could remedy whatever perceived deficit I had. If things have to wait, they become even more delicious when savored.

You are not responsible to make everything right in your grown son's life. That he had a loving mother is well-enough of a gift. No need for guilt, either. Everything that does not kill us has the potential to make us stronger. I believe that, although I have wondered if I would be able to survive some very difficult experiences.

Let it go.


Well-Known Member
I get what you are feeling, the fact that the other kids are going makes it doubly hard. I would hate to be in the situation that you are in. I k ow I would resent my husband if I was in your place. I guess I would love to be able to spend a vacation with all our kids, my son, my step daughter, and our two granddaughters that we adopted. I guess I am always the one who tries to make things work out for everyone, and one person just doesn't have that much control. Ksm

worried sick mother

Active Member
I didn't go on a vacation at all as a child either , my single mother couldn't afford it. My son has had plenty, that's not what I was saying at all. I just feel bad because we didn't go on family vacations when he was growing up , his younger siblings were too hard to take anywhere. We have taken his siblings on many vacations without my son , he was always invited but chose not to go or couldn't.
I tried to tell my son today that because we have waited so late that he can't take the same flight as us and that the plane ticket was going to cost a fortune and maybe it would be better for him if I used some of that money to help him pay some bills and he said I'll figure my bills out mom I really want to go spend time with you guys. Now how on earth do I tell him he can't go? I still haven't tried to talk to my husband about it, I absolutely dread it. I wish my husband would have told me before I ask him again.


Well-Known Member
I am being blunt here. I think you making it harder for your son and for yourself, by not being direct:
I tried to tell my son today that because we have waited so late that he can't take the same flight as us and that the plane ticket was going to cost a fortune
I really want to go spend time with you guys.
Tell him, I want that too. But it cannot be on this trip. We waited to long to make arrangements, and it got too complicated.
I wish my husband would have told me before I ask him again.
I do not think it is your husband's fault. He could say, why did you not check with me first?


Well-Known Member
worried sick mother, I am not sure I understand what you are looking for. It seems as if you feel responsible for your son's feelings, as if you did something to hurt him or you are responsible for his hurt.

And that this responsibility for past sins, can somehow or will somehow be compensated by including your son on this vacation.

There is never equity between children. That is because each child is an individual--different personalities, ages, behaviors, and yes, relationships with each parent.

There is no causal relationship between how much a parent does for a child, and the well-being and/or success of that child as an adult. Because at the end of the day, the child's own personality and decisions determine everything.

Whether or not your son went on vacations, better or worse vacations, or goes on this vacation, he is still responsible for making his own life what it is.

You extended many offers to include him. He refused, until the very end. He is responsible for that, not you. If he has been a source of stress and discord in the family, he is responsible for any lingering ill effects. Not totally, but partially. It may be that you and your husband, how you handle things between yourselves, have some responsibility too.

You cannot be responsible to make everything right. No one person can be. You are choosing to take all of this on yourself; there must be a pay off. What is it?

worried sick mother

Active Member
He actually didn't refuse till the very end, he had said he was going before we got the tickets but he was completely not dependable and I was afraid to go ahead and get a plane ticket that he wouldn't go, my husband knew that. That's why I didn't ask my husband before asking him again. You're right I have taken it all on myself, I feel like I got my son back right now and I haven't had that in a long time. It may not last and I suppose I'm frightened of that. I just thought it would be good for our whole family, his siblings want him to go.
I just talked to my husband about it and explained how stressed I am over this situation. I told him that I just couldn't tell him and that I would like for him to tell my son himself and he told me no that it's on me. I don't even want to go now. I know my son is an adult and has made very bad choices but he seems to be trying and this is such a big vacation that even if he was married , I would want him to go, he could maybe pay himself. We will not ever be going on a vacation like this again.


Well-Known Member
I feel like I got my son back right now and I haven't had that in a long time. It may not last and I suppose I'm frightened of that.
Having your son back to stay is not (or should not be) contingent on his coming on the trip.
I would want him to go
It sounds more like you want your son to let you off the hook about the vacation, without having to tell him, No, so that you are out of the problem. Son is not making it so easy. Nor is husband.

You have two choices that I can see.

Son, voted with his feet. He did not confirm soon enough to make this feasible. He is wanting you to pull out all of the stops, to make this possible for him, when really, his choices all along have been for himself.

If you tell son he can go, you are putting husband in a difficult spot because you did not give him a chance to voice his feelings. And you are putting yourself in a difficult spot acting against your husband's wishes.

To me, all it should take is to tell son: It is not going to work for you to go on this trip this time. We waited too long and I cannot make it work.

You want your husband to be OK with son coming, when he is not.

You want your husband to tell son, No, when it was not his decision to renew the invitation and it is against his wishes anyway.

Sometimes it is the right thing to confront a situation even though (especially so) if somebody may be hurt. Because the longer it goes on, the worse it may get.

Sometimes difficult things happen no matter what we do to prevent them. As an earlier poster said, sometimes it is choosing the least worst of outcomes. (Insane, I think, said that.)

I think you will grow if you bite the bullet and decide.


Well-Known Member
I would want him to go, he could maybe pay himself.
The thing is, is that your husband seems to not want him to go. So it is really between you and your husband. And to a way lesser degree, about your son.

You seem to want your husband to overcome his ill feelings about your son's going on the vacation.

This would be another option: To speak to your husband and to ask him if there was some way that he could see clear to son's going. (For a shorter time; staying in a different hotel; something like that.)

worried sick mother

Active Member
You're right I do want my husband to overcome his ill feelings towards my son and not wanting him to go. I also feel put in the middle, I always have been with them. I had actually suggested my son only go half the time because I like to come up with solutions that are best for everyone but my husband wouldn't hear of that either. He says my son just wants a free vacation, I told my husband that my son has sure passed up many free vacations if that's all he wants. My husband already didn't speak to my for a week over this and now it'll be another week. I love my husband but it's his way or no way about everything, there's no compromise.
My husband always wanted to ground my son for way too long over minor little things, my son was a very good kid even through the teenage years. He always said that he would do the same with his own children but he absolutely doesn't. He never sticks to it with them. I sure didn't mean to turn this into my marriage counseling session. Blended families are just so tough anyway then add a son with drug problem to the picture and it's a whole new level of tough.
My husband doesn't have much sympathy for others and I probably have too much. He would never give someone on the side of the road money, he says they need to get a job and I would turn around to go back to give them money, I just think you don't know their situation. I just pray we can work this out for the best for everyone. I appreciate everyone's advice even though some was hard to swallow. I don't have any friends or anyone to talk with that's been in these sticky situations with adult drug addict children.