My Partner’s Son or My Daughter!

Dear Hillie:

After 7 years on my own, I asked my partner to move in with me. He walked away from his marriage with nothing as he wanted to give everything to his wife and 18 year old son to make sure they were set for the future. The problem is his son and ex don’t get on now and she has asked that he move in with us. We only have a 2-bed house and my daughter (who is 22 and renting 60 miles away from home due to her job) comes home every other weekend. Bearing in mind that it was ‘our home’ for 7 years and it is ‘her bedroom’, I feel reluctant to give her room and her ‘home’ away. This week, we found out that his son has been smoking weed and my partner is beside himself. He wants to look after him and is putting pressure on me to let him move in. I love him and his son very much, but it’s tearing me apart. Do I help my partner and stepson and tell my daughter she no longer has a room at home? We cannot afford to move, we are both worried about the stability of our jobs and we can’t ask his ex for any of the settlement back. I know she is dealing with a lot as a single mother but it angers me that she has taken everything and now expects us to house him. I worked extremely hard to pay the mortgage and get my daughter through university and she worked extremely hard to better her life; now I feel that I am punishing her for being successful and giving everything, including her home to someone else. What should I do?

Hillie says:

This is a tricky situation and you have my sympathy; your decision is going to be tough. Having thought long and hard about your predicament I’m not sure you are going to like my reply.

Your partner left his wife and 18 year old son and gave them everything to be with you. You gave him a home and took him and his baggage on for better or for worse. Your daughter is a credit to you and is on the right track and making her own way in life but your stepson needs help and your partner is desperately reaching out to you for your assistance.

You love your partner and I think in this situation it is up to you to explain the problem to your daughter and ask her to understand and support you and your partner. She could still come home every other weekend and either stay in your sitting room on a temporary bed or it could be the perfect time for your stepson to spend a weekend back with his mother.

You can’t really blame the wife as although she was ‘given everything financially’, she lost her husband and is struggling on her own to cope with an unhappy mixed-up teenager whose unhappiness is probably caused at least in part by the break-up. Maybe having some distance between them for a while could help calm things down, especially if they seek professional counselling help via their doctor with the aim of the young man eventually returning home to his mother.