I’m in a six year relationship with an alcoholic. I didn’t know he had a problem when we met. It has gotten progressively worse and he has gone to rehab and gotten sober a few times, and moved out and back in, etc. Last time he moved back in he was sober for 100 days and proposed. I said yes. That was 18 months ago and we aren’t married because he still drinks. I told him I would marry him when he was sober for an extended period of time. So, here’s the problem currently. He says he drinks because I have issues, and our relationship has not been good. We have stretches of great time, and then he goes out and binge drink and I get angry and ignore him for days. Neither of us apologizes and the cycle keeps on going. His addiction is causing the problem in this relationship.
Back to my “issue” that he claims is his reason for drinking. I have two kids, a 23 yr old daughter and a 19 yr old son. I raised them by myself for 8 years before we met. My kids are good kids, they don’t smoke, drink, do drugs or get into any kind of trouble. My daughter just got her masters degree (high honors) and my son is a 3rd semester college student with Junior standing because he has taken so many classes. My daughter lived here during college and just moved out last spring.
My boyfriend thinks he has a say in what happens in my home. He has tried to make me raise my son his way. He complains about how much support I give to my kids and he says that they get a “free ride”. I believe he is jealous of my son and the life he didn’t get to live. He was kicked out at 17 and had to work and go to school. His childhood was cut short and now he thinks everyone should be just thrown out there to sink or swim. That is not my philosophy and it wasn’t how I raised my kids before I met him and I am not compromising my beliefs to suit him. Besides that, he doesn’t support me financially and minimally contributes to the household.
What I expect of my kids is that they focus on their future. School is their priority. For my daughter, she worked a few hours a week, did track, and lived at home. She paid for her own gas, eating out and things she wanted to buy for herself. I provided a roof over her head and food to eat, much like she would have had if she had lived at college but at a much lower cost. She was focused on school so that she could have something to build her life on in the future. I am doing the same with my son, except that he isn’t working during school because he takes more classes than she did as well as doing track and volunteering with the high school track team. As far as the living arrangement goes, If I need help with something, I ask my son and he will help. He doesn’t make more work for me by leaving the kitchen or living room a mess, he keeps to himself and picks up his own space, respects the use of the bathroom by not leaving a mess in the sink or the toilet seat up. He takes care of the dogs when no one is home. I am proud of the young adults that I have raised. He will occasionally ask me to do things for him, like take a ride to the store with him to get something specific for food, or to go with him to the track meet etc. He has some social anxiety, but is maturing at his own pace and figuring things out. I appreciate this time with him and it gives me a chance to really talk with him and get to know him as a young man rather than a child. It’s amazing. I never realized how my son felt about different adult topics like politics, morality and culture.
So that’s my long winded story. Am I really doing anything wrong with how I parent?
First, it’s important to emphasize that finding help from a personal meeting with a therapist will be the best way to address an emotionally charged situation such as the one you present.
Secondly, it seems difficult to adequately respond to your question since you present no redeeming qualities regarding your boyfriend. From what you presented, one has to wonder why you are in a relationship with him let alone why he has a say in how you raise your children.
This is why developing a therapeutic relationship with a counselor who will be able to learn more about you and your relationship with your boyfriend may be vital in resolving this issue.
In the meantime, it seems that you have done a wonderful job raising this children and should continue to use the approach you have been using.