Ask Ellie: It’s time for rude stepson, boyfriend to leave

Advice columnist EllieDear Ellie: My husband and I are both in our 60s, retired, and married for many years with seven adult children between us.

His youngest (mid-20s, employed full-time) was living with us when the pandemic hit.

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He’s the only stepchild of mine who has never warmed up to me. He’s dismissive of me (and his father) and can be overtly rude.

He chose to self-quarantine with his relatively new boyfriend, who then moved in with us, too! He has made little effort to get to know us.

Both were temporarily laid off, and living nocturnally with noisy midnight feasts.

Despite receiving government financial assistance, my husband bought their groceries and alcohol (they’ve never offered to help out, and they only clean up after themselves from eating).

Their interpretation of social distancing is far looser than ours. Our other children have been very cautious and only do curb-side visits.

Both my husband and I are caring for aging parents (all mid-90s!) in their own homes. We’re terrified about exposing them to COVID-19.

Each time my stepson pushes for “more” relaxation of the lockdown (parties in the yard, haircuts, etc.), we’ve asked him to wait, and explained why.

He then becomes rude, threatening and disrespectful to my husband.

I feel that if he wants to live like an adult making his own choices, he should move out into his own place, which he can afford.

It’s causing great stress in our marriage and I don’t know how much more I can take. It’s also beginning to affect my physical and mental health. I feel unsafe in my own home, always wiping down everything, yet have no say.

Is it wrong to feel that we, as the true adults in the home, have a right to only move into Phase 2 at our comfort level?

What rights do these young adults have, making decisions that could be risky for others who are more vulnerable in our bubble?

They’ve been able to get out for walks and runs, have backyard visits to their other sets of parents, go for drives.

We’re just pleading with them to stay home as much as possible.

I know that I’ll have to re-emerge into this new world, but feel that, given resurgences in the States that have opened too quickly, I’d rather wait this out a little bit longer.

I believe that my husband and I should have the right to make that decision in our own home.

Who Should Rule Our Home?

These are not kids, but they’re acting like spoiled teenagers avoiding any responsibilities.

They’re old enough to care for, and can afford, a home which they can rent together.

Your stepson’s been rude and thoughtless, taken advantage of his father and your joint hospitality to both him and a boyfriend you two hardly knew.

They’ve demonstrated no gratitude, offered no help, and argued against your efforts to protect your elderly parents.

Whatever kept your stepson distant from you in the past, you’ve accommodated him long enough during the unusual demands of a pandemic.

His father also needs to tell his son, kindly but firmly, that it’s clear that he is ready for a great deal more say in how he lives.

And the natural and logical way for that to happen is by moving to his own home.

No other choice, no further indulgence, no more needless strain on your marriage during a time that’s stressful enough when aged parents’ lives need protection.

Dear Ellie: Me and my partner are in our 30s, deeply in love. We’re planning to have a family together, but we wish to test the waters through a foursome with another couple.

We think it’d be fun just doing it once.

We’re wondering whether this will or won’t cost us our relationship. We don’t want to lose each other.

Curious and Cautious

There are some areas of life in which, when you take risks, the result can go several ways.

Here, you could satisfy your curiosity in one go, or risk your relationship repeatedly, and/or ruin it.

Testing waters can mean judging others’ opinions and feelings before taking an action.

So, try this simple test: 1. Ask yourself how you’ll feel if your partner enjoys the foursome so much that she wants to repeat it. 2. Ask your beloved her thoughts and feelings, if she finds you enjoying yourself immensely during this encounter.

Then weigh the “fun” vs. risk.

Ellie’s tip of the day

When healthy young adults overtake their parents’ home and choices, it’s time to insist they move out.

Send relationship questions to ellie@thestar.ca.

Follow @ellieadvice.

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