Kelsey - posted on 07/23/2013 ( no moms have responded yet )
I have been living with my boyfriend for 8 years now. He has 2 sons, ages 15 and 18. They were 7 and 10 when I met them and they both lived with their Mother in another state. My bf and I have been through many hardships as a result of our relationship, including his very expensive divorce which dragged on for 7 years. Just to thwart any unpleasant responses, I am not a homewrecker, his ex-wife was physically and emotionally abusive towards him and they were separated when we met.
The boys would visit us every summer for 3 months at a time. I bonded with them initially and because my bf worked days and I worked nights, I spent the majority of the time at home caring for them. We played games, watched movies, had a pretty comfortable schedule for our days. I did everything for these boys, treated them as my own. I endured daily occurrences of their mom badmouthing me to them on the phone and even calling me out when I tried to adhere to a schedule of chores and activities. I was only trying to make things more of a routine because I would often get frustrated by having to ask them to shower, brush teeth, wash hair, etc. These things were not normal for them, they had no good habits at home with their mom. Their teeth were atrocious and they smelled. As if that wasn't bad enough, the older boy wet his bed every night and was not expected to clean the sheets or his clothes. He had many occasions of being sent home from school because of his lack of hygiene, to the point that the school would even send him home with a change of clothes. I worked very hard to change these bad habits while they stayed with us, which was very difficult considering they would leave again for 9 months and I would again need to instill the changes that were expected at our house when they visited.
Two years ago during a summer visit, the older boy broke down to his dad and told him of the abuse he was enduring at the hand of his mom. She had always been an emotional abuser, bipolar as I understand, but her abuse had now turned physical on the eldest son, being that he was like his dad in many ways and she hated him for that. He presented bruises during every visit but had previously told us that he fell off his bike, ran into a door,etc. When he finally came out with the truth, it was corroborated by the younger boy who had witnessed it. We contacted CPS during a visit the year before because we were concerned about the bruises and we found out that CPS had been called by his school on more than 1 occasion because of bruises. So this summer 2 years ago was the last straw, when the eldest told us of the situation and begged us not to send him back there to his mom, we held him and began an exhausting custody battle. The mom flew out and showed up at our doorstep with the police at 5am to collect her kids. That happened to be the day they were supposed to fly back home, so with police involved we allowed the youngest to return with her, but refused to let her near the older son. Long story short, we were awarded custody based on her abuse and he has lived with us since then.
Since he has lived with us, the bedwetting stopped completely, he showers every day and he has recently graduated high school. Even though I abbreviated his progress, I assure you it has been a very stressful couple of years. Every night helping him get through homework, dealing with constant lies, etc. But we made it through. We took him for neuropsychological testing about 8 months ago because we had always known there was something not quite right about him, we just couldn't afford to get testing done previously. It was determined that he has Asperger's Syndrome, which is a high functioning form of Autism. It basically means that he has very few friends or social interaction, keeps to himself, acts a little strange, becomes obsessed with toys, food and video games and has very little drive to do anything but be sedentary. My bf and I have learned a lot about Asperger's since then and are finding ways to handle it. We are all seeing a therapist regularly and go to support groups. It has been a relief to finally understand what we are dealing with and to learn new ways of coping.
However, these last few months have been tougher than most, which says a lot considering the things we've gone through. I am a strong determined woman and I was raised very differently than these kids were. I was taught about morals and work ethic, get things done,etc. As a result of this I can be controlling and will be especially when I know something needs to be handled and right now I live with 2 men that are very good at procrastinating. It's extremely frustrating to feel like I am the only one in our house that can do anything. I cook every meal, clean everything constantly, make all appointments, and I am a full time nursing student with a very busy schedule. We have been trying to get our son to be more comfortable outside of the house, get a job, become an adult. Because of his recent diagnosis, he and his dad now seem to use it as an excuse to not do a thing. "He's not ready" is what I hear all the time. I don't believe that Asperger's should now be a reason to hold him back, I think it should make his drive and determination stronger. I am starting to believe that I am the only one who feels that way. I helped him do his resume and post it online, encouraged him to apply for jobs, go out with friends. He doesn't even have a drivers license and just doesn't really seem to care about anything but youtube and video games. I am trying very hard to be supportive, but lately it seems as though his dad and I are arguing much more often, simply because of my feeling like our son needs a push and both of them feeling like he needs some time to grow up. His emotional age right now is about 15, which has come very far considering when he moved in with us at 16 he acted like he was 8.
I am really at my wit's end with this situation. I love them both very much and cannot imagine my life without them. The frustration has been building in me and I feel like I am losing control. If I take issue with something, I deal with it on my own, but when I try to talk to my bf about my frustrations, I am made out to be the bad one, as if I'm expecting too much. I'm at the point that if this boy doesn't get off his a** and start looking towards a future, then I feel like I have no choice but to remove myself from the situation. I do not have any children of my own, but I had always wanted a child. I was married for 10 years previously and went through several miscarriages. I wanted a child when I met my bf, but he had had a vasectomy. We talked many times about reversing it and trying, but after so many years of some really bad situations with his kids, I've reached the point where I am jaded and I feel like kids are just too much trouble. That breaks my heart and I know there is nothing I can do to change how I feel now, though I know in my heart I will always regret not having a child of my own and I may have resentment towards my bf and his son because of it. I could really use some advice from someone in a similar step-parent situation. Thanks.