RelationshipsMarriageMy Grown Stepson is Ruining My Marriage


My Grown Stepson is Ruining My Marriage

Moving into a new family can be scary and challenging. As a stepparent, you can bring a positive outcome to your new family. But you have to be prepared for the challenges that your new family members will present, especially your stepson or daughter. It is rare for a stepkid to readily accept their new stepparent. You as a step-parent may find yourself in a situation where you feel unsure about their reactions.

If your stepkids are children and refuse to accept you while throwing tantrums, it is solvable. It is also understandable because they are children, they need heart-to-heart talk with their biological parents and you will see the change slowly. But if your stepson who is a functional adult refuses to respect you and continuously sabotages your marriage. It crosses a limit and needs to be put an end to as soon as you can.

Why Your Stepson Might Ruin Your Marriage?

Why your stepson might ruin your marriage

Replacing your favorite parent with a new person is difficult to comprehend. It can take some time to accept such a situation. Having a step-parent can be amazing or can be devastating. People deal with this issue in different ways. It can have a negative effect on a stepkid. Some distance themselves from their family others try to ruin their step-parents’ marriage.

The reason your stepson might try to ruin your marriage is they feel distrustful and abandoned. It is a very complicated thing to understand why your parent chooses a new person over your ex-parent. They might grow hatred for you because they believe this new person is the main problem.

If the time between their parent leaving your arrival is short, they assume their former parent may have betrayed your ex-parent and lash out against you. They started to build hatred towards you as they cannot find any other reasons. If their former parent took a long time before remarrying, the kids will see a drastic change in their former parent’s behavior. Like every human being your stepson deserves to have feelings that could be positive or negative. But it is up to you how you want your stepson to treat you.

7 Ways to Cope with Grown Stepson

1. Find the Reason Behind His Behavior

Before complaining about your stepson’s behavior try to find out why he is acting that way, what is triggering him, and whether is it personal or not. If his behavior does not have any solid reasons behind it, you can be at ease knowing that your behavior is not causing it. No matter the age, he could be 8 or 28 but still find difficulty accepting a new parent. For him, holidays will be different from now on. It is a hard situation to accept for anyone. Mainly a stepson behaves in this way because they believe they are losing their only biological parents but it could be intentional.

Find the reason behind his behavior

2. Talk to Him

When you figure out the reason behind his misbehaving, you need to talk to him. You need to remind him that he is an adult now and his actions have consequences. You need to make sure he understands that you will not tolerate his disrespect and he needs to change his tone while talking to his parents. Try encouraging him to solve his issues with you like a grown adult. You need to bring attention to your stepson’s behavior.

They can believe that what they are feeling and how they are reacting is valid. It is your duty to put them in their position. The more you tolerate their harmful behavior the more they will disrespect you. Try correcting them right away. It is difficult to communicate in a healthy way when you are angry. But you must teach your stepson that their actions have consequences.

Talk to him

3. Don’t Take it Personally

Just because your stepson is acting unfairly does not mean it is your fault. Sometimes kids that grew up in utmost care tend to act in ill-manner. They act in this way because they are frustrated with the present situation and feel no one is listening to them or caring for them. If you feel stressed in your new marriage think about how much it affects your stepson. But it is not an excuse for rude behavior.

As a grown man, he needs to take accountability for his behavior and find a healthy way to release his stress. It is not your responsibility to teach your stepson manners and responsibility.

Dont take it personally

4. Ask for Your Partner’s Help

If you are a new step-parent it is better to give your partner and the stepson alone time so that he can handle the matter in their way. Accepting change is painful and difficult. If you think that you can discipline him about his behavior, it would cause some new problems. Only your partner can change your stepson’s perspective of you. You can also get advice from your stepson’s biological grandparents too!

Ask for your partners help

5. Be Yourself

It is not your job to fix your stepson. You did not ask for this responsibility.  The only thing you can offer is to be a bonus parent. The more you will try to fix your stepson the harder he will make the situation. That is why you should stay in your lane and show appreciation and support from a distance.

Be yourself

6. Walk Away

Sometimes walking away is the best option in dealing with a grown stepson. You have to understand that he is an adult and he is supposed to understand the situation. If he is refusing to accept you and ignoring you then you do not have any way to reach him. He is not cooperating with you. Family members are supposed to respect and understand each other no matter what.

It is not your duty to build a bond with your spouse’s children, they also need to approach you and give you that chance. If he can see your effort and continuously criticizes you to his friend’s parents, you cannot wait for your whole life for his appreciation.

Walk away

7. Work as a Team

Being a step-parent is stressful. You might often find yourself in a position where you will be clueless about how to solve an issue. To make this marriage work you need your partner’s full support. You need to make sure you both are on the same team. It is more likely that your stepson will only consider his present parent’s decision.

Your partner should not encourage your stepson’s behavior or shrug it off. Your partner needs to take this situation seriously. Your partner can sit with their son and explain the whole situation and ask him not to continue his behavior. This will make a difference.

Work as a team

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7 Ways Building a Bond with Your Adult Stepson

You and your adult stepson can create a beautiful and strong bond over time. It is not entirely impossible to fix your relationship with each other. Here are some ideas on how you can build a bond with your adult stepson.

7 ways building a bond with your adult stepson

1. Not Replacing the Biological Parent

Adjusting to a new parent can cause complicated emotions. If your stepson lost his mother, he may feel betrayed and find a difficult time to be with you. Or if his parents are divorced it can also be a very painful situation to accept. You can talk to him about this sensitive matter.

You should reassure him that nobody can replace his biological parents. He should get an idea about how having a stepparent is an addition to his family, not a subtraction. You need to understand that it is not possible to accept a new person immediately. Reassure him that he can take as much time as he needs but he should never feel threatened.

2. Empathize with Him

You cannot always identify your stepson as a bad person, try to consider that he may have some reasons behind it. It could be personal or something else. If they are being hurtful towards you, tell them that you hear him and understand where he is coming from.  Then you can focus on the main issue and calmly talk to him about his rude demeanor and consequences.

You also have to make sure that you and your partner are on the same page, otherwise, it would not work and can be something worse. When you know you and your partner agree with each other, inform your stepson about it. So that he can behave himself because his biological parent will not allow it. You should inform him of what is expected from him.

3. Establishing Healthy Boundaries

There is no way you can ignore conflict with your stepson. So it is your responsibility to apply healthy boundaries so that both of your opinion matters. They are a complete person who has their own thoughts like you. It is not possible that they will act the way you want. You need to establish a rule that focuses on safety and respect.

Healthy boundaries do not mean a list of rules; they hold greater value than that. It is an explanation of how you treat each other. You also need to be clear about setting emotional boundaries such as which topic you want to avoid discussing.

4. Spend Quality Time

It is a great way to know someone when you are spending your time with them. You can grow an attachment with someone in this way if you give it a chance. If you’re creating a bond with your adult stepson fails at first you can give them some space to adjust with new his new life and slowly make an effort to spend time with him. You cannot rush when building something from scratch. It is a slow and lengthy process that takes time, energy, and strategy.

Most of the stepparents only make an effort to contact their stepchildren over the phone. You can plan a long drive with your stepson or try new skills together. You can also buy tickets for his favorite sports team and go to a game. Any sports lover cannot resist the chance to explain the game rules to their buddy. In this way, you can get to know him better and it could be the way for him to open up about himself to you.

5. Celebrate their Achievements

It may be hard for you to connect with your stepson who does not like you. You can make an effort by celebrating his birthday, sports games, and good grades. Just because you came later in his life, that does not mean you should distance yourself from him. Some people are difficult to handle. If he is participating in a talent show you should show up, having him see that you are there for him. This will make him consider his actions towards you. Find small ways to consistently show him appreciation.

You can ease him up by saying “You can always talk to me, I am always here for you” or “You can ask me any question”. It is up to you and your stepson how much support he needs. Just be friendly and be there for encouragement.

6. Have an Honest Communication

If your stepson is causing your marital problems, there could be a reason that he might feel threatened. There is a possibility that he thinks you will take his former parents from him or ruin his parent’s relationship with him. It is a natural thought for any stepchild. One time they are the favorite person in their parent’s life then suddenly it changes because of a step-parent.

You should talk to him about this matter and that you are not here to take his parents away from him, nothing can change the bond between him and his former parents. You can also have to make him understand that you are not a threat. He is an adult so he will understand what you mean and hopefully try to fix his bond with you.

7. Talk to a Therapist

Sometimes you can only seek professional help. You need to understand that a loved one’s death or parents’ divorce greatly impacts a child’s life. An emotional scar can be caused because of this emotional trauma. They can feel lost, anxious, confused, or angry. Even an adult can feel all this. He can be emotionally sensitive and overwhelmed. This type of person needs to talk to someone so that they can feel understood and relieved.

This is a complicated emotion, so you can do everything right but still fall short. If you feel that you tried everything but still he is distant from you, you can both agree to go see a therapist. You both need to be in the same team and put in the same effort otherwise it will not work and would be a waste of time and money.

Ponder the Situation

Ponder the situation

When you have the tag of step-parent, it becomes difficult to fix the situation or live your life. Your life is now part of your partner’s life. Their decision or opinion can break or tie your marriage with your partner. Every person is different from each other. Sometimes the situation can make you feel like you and your kids will get hurt in the process. It is not wise to hang on to a relationship where you have no support and no surety that things will get better.

You should think carefully and make connections about your stepson’s behavior. If you feel like your partner is not helping you and shrug off your stepson’s rude remark you can conclude where it will end. There is a certain time when a stepson will try to physically or verbally abuse his step-parent’s children. This is a dangerous situation. You cannot save a marriage or relationship on your own. Before making any decision seek professional help.


1. Can a stepchild cause divorce?

Stepkids often become the reason for their former parent’s divorce. It would be wrong to say that they are the only reason divorce occurs. It is because blended families face some challenges that scar the second marriage.

2. Does the spouse or child come first?

In the vows, it is said that your spouse comes first. You need to analyze the problem and then blame the person who is at fault without blindly supporting one person.

3. What stepmother should never do?

Stepmother should never overstep their boundaries, ignore their stepkids’ rude remarks, and tolerate any type of toxic behavior.

Final Thoughts

Being a step-parents can be challenging or can be exciting. Your experience as a step-parent might be different from your expectations. At some point, you will likely feel lonely, jealous, resentful, confused, or inadequate. It can stress you out to the point that you lose your sanity and become oversensitive. You should never tolerate more than what you deserve.

Just because being a step-parent is challenging does not mean your adult stepson will belittle or ignore your existence. He should not be a problem in your marriage. You should avoid disciplining him at first but make sure he knows your role in this household. If things get out of your hands, you can seek professional help and choose mental peace.

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Andrew C. Smith, an expert in couples and family psychology, brings years of experience in enhancing family dynamics and parent-child relationships. With a private practice background, Andrew is now a valued writer at Merge Family, sharing insights on communication and more

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