Vail Man-to-Man: Man reluctant to ask son to move out
Q: My wife says it is time for my 26-year-old son (from a previous marriage) to move out of the house. I know she is right but I find it very difficult to deliver the bad news. My son is actually quite successful in his field and moved back to our house for what was supposed to be a short transitional period from old apartment to new. What was going to be “a few weeks” has turned into eight months. My wife feels that I am not taking care of her by letting this continue. She wants us to have our privacy back. I guess she is right. I am just concerned about my son. Your thoughts?
A: I’m concerned about you. You’re not seeing the big picture. Because of your reluctance to do what’s necessary, no one in your house is really getting what they need. You’ll see that it’s actually all good news once you stop making it all about you.
Your wife is right. You haven’t been taking care of her. Nor have you been doing your son any favors. Sounds as if you have a little guilt built up over the years that’s keeping you from being the father and husband you need to be.
First, it’s time to take action. It’s time for the man of the house to tell his son that his stay is coming to an end. Give him a reasonable deadline and let him know it’s time for him to leave the nest. The fact that it’s difficult for you is not a good enough reason to keep the status quo. Your son needs to get back into his life and face whatever it is that’s making him want to hide out. Be his father and tell him the party’s over – in a loving way.
It’s OK to share with him that’s it’s hard for you to ask him to leave because you love him so much. You’ll be teaching him that as men, we have to make tough choices in life. But it’s in his best interest to be self-sufficient again and it’s certainly what you and your wife need. Wanting your privacy in your own home is nothing to apologize for. Whose house is it, anyway?
I don’t know what the guilt is about but it’s clear you’ve given away your power to it. That guilt has been keeping you from cherishing and protecting your wife. That guilt makes you make selfish choices, making it all about you. You see, you’ve been more focused on how uncomfortable it is for you to ask your son to leave than on thinking about what he and your wife really need. Your wife must be going crazy waiting for you to step up to the plate. You owe her, big time.
When was the last time you made a special effort to let her know how awesome, patient and beautiful she is? I mean a special effort, not the scheduled date or kiss on the way out the door. Well, after this performance, I think a little extra effort is in order.
Plan a getaway, cook dinner, take a sunset drive to the beach with a bottle of wine and some fine, aged cheeses. Sounds good! It’s your job to romance her. You’re her knight in shining armor. Now go grab your sword and act like it.
Wayne M. Levine, M.A., is a life coach and mentor for men, women, couples and families. E-mail your questions to MantoMan@BetterMen.org. Learn more about men’s groups and retreats at http://www.BetterMen.org.
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