My adult stepchildren are respectful towards me, but they don’t respect me. They make their mom feel like they are respecting her when in reality they are simply manipulating her. I have watched it for 13 years now.
She spoils her kids (normal) but also enables their behavior. Her kids don’t respect my decisions unless they get the nod from her. In general while raising the kids this was not an issue for me. Now that they are adults and I expect to see them using adult thought-processes and being at least a bit self-aware, and I don’t see it…at all…it weighs on me heavily.
My push to get her 29 year old son out of the house is an example. While she will side with me in words and agree that he has overstayed his welcome and needs to move on, only to completely side with him as soon as she sees he isn’t happy with the idea. Me? I simply don’t give a fuck anymore. It has gotten to the point where I am really frustrated and am getting angry and animated every time we broach the subject.
A recent example is that I spoke directly to her oldest son about moving out. My wife came home just at the end of our conversation and was hounding both of us about what we were talking about. If she was to find out that I gave her son an ultimatum, she would have given me the cold shoulder for a week. I had to go so far as to threaten him, that if he told his mom about our conversation I would actively try to make his life hell.