Honest Living: High Hopes, Low Hopes
My boyfriend’s sons have moved in with us, and to be honest, it’s very difficult. They are 20 and 22, which puts them at odd ages anyway. They’re lost in an undefined space between manhood and childhood, not quite either and so unable to fully act in one manner or another. The trouble is that they want to claim their independence but haven’t the financial means to do so. So I’m living with two boys who are out of sorts and, more importantly, out of their comfort zone.
The entire time my boyfriend and I have been dating, his kids have somehow seemed a separate part of our lives. He’s pretty close to them, but most of the time he’s spent with them has been without me. For instance, we’ve never gone to dinner together or just generally spent time getting to know one another. And now, we’re thrown into a living situation that feels not unlike strangers in a communal home.
The older son has, I know, never liked me. He’s a tough nut to crack without throwing obstacles into the mix, often weary of strangers and distrustful of people until they prove themselves. I’ve tried time and again to prove myself, always being very kind toward him and supportive of his band. Yet I know he’s always regarded me as a crack in his family's armor, as the lone person who isn’t related and thus sticks out like a sore thumb.
Not so long ago, he introduced his dad to his girlfriend at one of the band’s performances. I was standing right next to his dad, but he completely ignored me. In other words, he never even acknowledged me to his girlfriend. As a consequence, I’ve never spoken to her – which isn’t too hard to believe, given that I’ve rarely even spoken to him – and she, too, is now dismissive of me.
The boys have only been with us for a week, and I can’t tell you how many times in those seven days I’ve wanted to throw up my hands and yell, “I quit!” They aren’t happy here, and I feel like an alien in my own home. This is largely because communication is still stifled, at best. I don’t know how to get through to this kid, who refutes me at every turn.
Not only is the situation itself arduous, but I’m completely out of my league here. I do not have children, so it’s hard for me to relate to them. On top of that is the fact these boys are completely unlike those I’ve always known (which isn’t necessarily bad, just unfamiliar). I grew up in a family where the men fixed cars, drank beer, and had dirt under their fingernails. They worked in barns and garages, could do plumbing and electrical work with no effort, and drove pick-up trucks.
My boyfriend’s sons, however, are clearly of another generation. They know nothing about cars, sit routinely on computers and Facebook, and cannot fix anything around the house. So, in essence, two barriers exist between us:
- They discount me because I’m not family
- I don’t know what to say to them because it feels like they’re from another planet.
Right now, I’m in a sort of tug-of-war with these kids. I give them free access to our home in the hopes they’ll feel more comfortable, and they take over with their stuff lying in the living room, their friends coming over unexpectedly, and their dominance of the bathrooms. I try to be understanding and ask after them, and they smirk at my obvious stupidity. At this point, all I can do is wait and see what happens. But truthfully, my hopes aren’t very high.