I'm a 38-year-old gay male, and my partner is 54. He has two sons, 29 and 31. The 29-year-old lives in the same city as we do. My problem is that I hate his kids. They are disrespectful not only to him but to me as well. Neither of them have ever had a job, and they are always getting into trouble. Whenever I try to talk about it with him he blows up and tells me to stay out of it; it's none of my business. When they are affecting our home, our personal life, as well as our social life it becomes my business. Am I wrong for feeling this way? What do I do?
~ Fed Up
"I hate his kids"
Dear Fed Up,
To recap your question - you are saying that your partner's children are jobless heathens who have no manners and this affects your home and social life? And when you attempt to share these insights with their father (your partner) he blows up and doesn't want to hear it? Based on how you are communicating this question to me, with emphasis on what louses his children are, I can imagine it IS difficult for him to hear your concerns. I suspect he shuts down at the "I hate your children" part - and, while you may not use those words with him, my guess is that it's fairly transparent.
Of course you have every right to be concerned about the effects of his children on your home and social life. Chances are, the more you can keep your communication centered around THAT and not about his kids, the more likely he is to hear you. My suggestion would be for you to keep your focus just on that - not on the character assaults on his children (disrespectful, unemployed, always in trouble) that seem to flow more easily for you. How he chooses to relate to his children is his prerogative. How the children influence your home environment is absolutely your right to express concern about. How he LETS your home and social life be affected is the issue - not so much his children's behavior. What he tolerates and how he does or does not respond, is more likely the issue. Your best bet is to keep your focus on the dynamic between your partner and you and leave his children out of it to the greatest extent possible!
Michele O'Mara, LCSW