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what to do?
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what to do?

My fiance and I have lived together since 2000. He has two daughters by his ex wife, and I have two sons from my ex husband. At first, we lived alone and the kids lived with their other parents.  I obtained full custody of my two sons, the oldest is now 19 and has his own apartment so now lives outside our home. My younger son, 17, lives with us. He has Asperger's, a form of high functioning autism. most people have no idea that there is anything going on with him other than being a bit socially awkward. My fiance has never been around anyone with any sort of disability and has little patience. He seems to think that most of my son's issues are just a matter of discipline. He also thinks my son plays me. another dynamic coming into play here is that my fiance was raised in the south with a very strict upbringing, and seemingly prescribed male roles. Everything is perfectly placed in the home, everything is done a certain way...the right way. Not a very tolerant to anything or anyone different. Guys have to be tough, don't show much sensitivity or worry, etc.

I was raised very differently, in an environment where anyone could be who they are without prescribed roles. If a guy is sensitive...great! If a guy is tough, that's okay too. People's differences are celebrated, or at least tolerated. If something has to be done, it doesn't matter exactly how the process is done, as long as the project is completed. The outcome is more important than the process. As long as the house is clean and everyone is happy and healthy...it is fine. Very tolerant.

Okay...here is the typical scene EVERY day at our house:

Son goes to school till 4:30 pm. He gets home and heads right to his room. Plays video games for abut an hour to decompress from school. ( grades are great!)

Fiance gets home from work. Son comes out of his room for a snack or to socialize. Fiance watches everything son does....did he wash his hands? Did he miss th trash can when he dropped something in there? Did he shuffle his feet? Did he ....it can be anything.  (Fiance body posture...arms crossed, stern, defensive? Righteous?)  Sometimes even before son leaves room, fiance makes a comment to no-one in particular about something not being up to par ( pick from list above or make something up). Other times he waits till son leaves room and then starts in on me..am I going to take care of this????  While he may see something wrong with the way my son did something, it may be perfectly acceptable to me. So what if son made a sandwich on the counter rather than taking the whole process to the table? Yes, he may perform some daily tasks in an odd manner due to his Asperger's, but he isn't hurting anyone in the process or making a mess. He sometimes makes more noise than someone else would making a snack...a knife dropped on the counter, cabinet shut a little loud sometimes, and yes, he does sometimes shuffle his feet. his voice can be somewhat above conversational level at times as well. He is very polite...always says excuse me before speaking in certain situations, apologizes when necessary..without being asked to, etc. He is also very sensitive.

If my fiance isn't nitpicking, he leaves the room when son enters. this is so noticable, it really bothers my son. Son enters the room ( a combined living room/ dining room/kitchen area), fiance shuts off TV and leaves. Son feels uncomfortable and goes to his room, then fiance comes back to the living room and turns back on the TV. If son returns for some reason, the same events unfold.

I have spoken with both of the "boys" and am at wits end. Fiance feels like i take up for son. I probably do to a point. It is up to me to watch out for his mental well-being.  At the same time, I recognize that my son can be hard to take sometimes. Shoot...At times, I need a break from him. Caring for a special needs child/young man is taxing. I also realize that there is obviously jealousy involved on both sides.

I have spoken to my fiance about Aspergers and what this means for my son and the people in his life. I make no excuses for ill behavior that is obviously that of an average 17 yr old kid. While my son is never belligerent, he will challenge me like any other teen will. I know the differences between normal teen and Apsbergers behaviors. I have tried to explain this...even going to the point of researching articels and printing them for my fiance to read for more understanding. Nothing has worked.

I have also spoken to my son about how my fiance feels, and how he was raised so differently.  Everyone involved is feeling slighted, and I am stuck in the middle.

Our house is so divided, and I cannot live like this with  my son hiding out in his room to avoid being griped at or about, or completely shunned by a man he tried to look up to, and a man who cannot seem to find any tolerance for a kid that desperately USED to want to please him but has found he cannot. My formerly very social son has withdrawn. This is even more worrisome because he was non-communicative when he was young.

My fiance has often said he will not be considered a step parent, as to him that has a negative sound ( evil step parent stories, etc) but will try to be a friend. At the same time, regardless of whether he chooses to call himself that or not, this is the role/title he will have if we marry. He says he would be a friend to my sons, but instead has engaged in power struggles with both sons. At this point, I am seriously rethinking whether or not to stay with tis man. I love him, but cannot stand by and see my son treated this way.

Please...I need advice. How can we improve our living situation? Is there any way to help everyone get along? Am I missing something in the family dynamics? I was raised by my mother and a step-father in a huge blended family. Tolerance was key! How can I help my fiance gain tolerance, or is it something I cannot help with?

Advice please!
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10 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_f_tn
If he doesn't want to, it won't happen.  Does your fiance seem open to your suggestions?  Maybe some family counceling would help?  And some people are just more tolerant than others by nature.  I mean, look at school teachers.  Takes a lot of tolerance to teach...especially small children.  I sure couldn't do it.  Not all people could.  Some of us just aren't born with much patience or tolerence.  
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13167_tn?1327197724
It sounds like you've worked very hard to get your fiance to understand,  and accept your son and either your fiance really can't force himself to be loving and nice,  or he doesn't see any reason to try to change.

For your son with Aspergers to be so consistently respectful (although clumsy,  you can't blame him for that at all) says worlds about the boy.  He has so many struggles in his life,  and yet he manages to behave in a more mature way than your fiance.  

If I were you,  I'd lay down an ultimatum.  Things are completely different this time next month,  or we're gone.  

I really feel for your pain,  and it makes me sad to read about your sweet son's rejection.

Best wishes with your decision.

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136689_tn?1333573136
I agree with rock rose, personally i wouldn't stay with your guy cause ur son is more important especially with aspergers as you want to encourage socialization and for him not to be come withdrawn as this can take a lot of time to undo also it's obvious that your son is unhappy in the situation that he is in if he is hiding in his room,

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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you for your comments. I will think on this carefully.
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100019_tn?1335923317
I am so sorry for your situation.  My step son has Asberger's, he's 24 now, but when he was little it was autism they diagnosed.  They didn't know about Asberger's until a few years later.  When my last stepson was born his parents already knew the signs from the older boy so Eric was able to get help much sooner.  His quality of life is better than Doug's.  anyway....

The most difficult thing for you and your husband is going to be getting over the way you were both raised.  It's doens't sound like your fiance is willing to grow as a person and mature beyond where he is now.  I'm sorry, but to get up and leave the room when a teenager comes into it...doesn't that sound a little childish?  

I really think you need to think long and hard about what kind of man he is.  He doesn't sound very kind or loving.  Maybe he just can't deal with kids and doesn't know how to tell you that.  Without a lot of work he wont' be able to get past his rigid behaviour.

What a mess.

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Avatar_n_tn
I understand how difficult this must be. I expect it does have an emotional effect on your son.I experienced this at age 11yrs and went from a good child to a complete rebel. I think that everytime your partner acts this way you could try and take your son out and have a good time. Or go into his room and watch TV with your son also. You have chores to do but perhaps your son can work with  you and earn some money and then go do the the fun thing. Your partner may learn and your son won't feel that you have put your relationship before his wellbeing and that you love him. Partner and son may enjoy fishing together....who knows.
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338609_tn?1197663689
i agree with mrsockert, you need to each put aside how you were raised and deside to raise all your children in a way that you both agree on, together. it doesn't matter how you were raised in the past, only how you choose to raise your children now.
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Avatar_n_tn
i am the stepdaughter of a man just like that, yet i don't have asberger's. i am constantly picked on for stupid little things and for the last 10 years i have been shouted at, overheard conversations about me, and i've been told to "**** off" - which to an 8 year old child from a 6ft 2 man is very scary. i give up now, he cannot change his ways i just hope he doesn't treat my younger brother who's 8 like that; he is also his stepchild and constantly outshines my stepdads own kids (7,6 and 4) which obviously displeases him. my stepdad has a very demanding job, fair enough, but the fact he leaves my mum every day in the week, and 90% of weekends, with 5 kids, is another thing i can never forget. she is practically a single mum and she cannot work or get an income because of the demands of her family. i am leaving home next year but i dread to think how she'll cope.

this doesn't make sense and isn't very coherent or anything, i just needed to write a few things down and let you know there are many many men like your husband around, unfortunately.
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Avatar_n_tn
by the way i'm 18.
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Avatar_m_tn
your husband is not the kind of man you should live with he hates your son for what I have read and your son trys hard for acceptances but his stepdad doesnt even care I say you better leave him for your sons sake.
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