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His children are getting a free ride

A reader is concerned at how much her widower fiancé indulges his sons.


I have known my widower fiancé for 18 months. I have been living with him in his home, together with his three teenage sons for six months.

I get on well with them, possibly because I leave disciplining and house rules, which apply to them, to their father.

I am concerned for the degree to which he indulges his sons. They can have whatever they ask for and receive over-generous pocket money. An attempt, I think, to make up for the loss of their mother who died in tragic circumstances. None of them are saving up for anything, they don’t have to.

I fear they are buying friendships from boys at school, especially the eldest who finds it harder than his brothers to make friends. I do know he hands out gifts, possibly money. I believe their father is unaware of the situation. Should I break my rule and tell him?


Congratulations on establishing a good relationship with your fiancé’s sons. The strict discipline you have imposed on yourself to achieve this however has come with a cost. Although it is working, it negates important areas of communication with their father, who may welcome your support, and would probably not appreciate you keeping something important from him, which he may find out later.

The panel believes you should discuss this problem with him. It is difficult because relationship patterns are at risk.

Broach the subject of money regarding the boys casually. He may know about the situation, and you may choose not to interfere. If he does not, then a tactful approach is called for, making it clear that any decisions are up to him.

The amount the boys receive may come up in discussions. If not then leave it. Tackle one problem at a time.

As his wife you are entitled to have an opinion, which shows your concern for their welfare, and the importance of them learning to save and plan for the future.

Counselling could be valuable for support and help in how to approach your fiancé now and later.

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Relationships Australia (SA) appoints panels of general practitioners, medical specialists, lawyers, therapeutic and financial counsellors to discuss each letter before the appropriate professional answers it.

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