Ex-wife sleeps with 13 year old son in the same bed

I don’t know what more to say…

I just found this out over thanksgiving weekend. She is the custodial parent. He asks and she allows it.
Apparently, it happens with some regularity. I’m at a loss as how to handle this.


Can you discuss anything with her? Without getting into an altercation? I’d be interested to hear her explanation.

Why does your son ask to sleep with his mother?

Oh no!

I remember my daughter between the ages of 13 and 15 needing to sleep in my bed following the trauma of her father’s death. Finally when she was 15 my "eeeuuuwww’ kicked in big time and I just said “no more”.

I think you need to find out from both your ex-wife and your son why this request is being made and granted. And it needs to be handled very tactfully and carefully, not sure how you will get this done. A very tricky situation, for sure.

Of course I don’t know the situation. But something you might want to research is “covert incest” or “emotional incest.” I hope it’s nothing like this, but something to be aware of. It could just be a simple lack of boundaries, but it could be something worse.

Are you able to speak with your son about it? May be explaining that most guys his age just don’t do this anymore. If it’s not too difficult to convince him to not want to do that, that would cause the least amount of drama. Do you believe there is worse stuff going on? Keep us updated.

I can discuss some very simple things with her without incident, but anything implying poor parenting or shining any light on her faults is not possible.

Why does he ask?..He has been in her clutches too long is the answer. He wouldn’t give me a response…I don’t think he knows or could explain it anyway.

What explaination could possibly justify this? If I was the custodial parent of a 13 year old girl, and this was happening… Puhleeeze.

I have 13 year old sons. I can understand the boy’s desire to have the comfort of his mother, particularly after the emotional wringer of a divorce, it is understandable and may not be anything but innocent at this point, but it is not appropriate. He can’t appreciate the force of what is coming, but those who do need to let him know that he needs to sleep in his own bed.

Stay calm. Studiously avoid rash judgement. The situation is probably entirely innocent at this point, and at any rate will be difficult to address if your ex and your son cannot at least maintain the pretense of total innocence. Don’t forget that: Whatever the case, they need to be able to save face with you in order to stop. Act as if anything inappropriate is beyond your imagining.

Talk to your son and his mother, probably separately. Tell them that it has been a relief to you how they have helped each other through the divorce, because you knew that would be difficult. Then tell them that unfortunately the sleeping together needs to stop. They can consult any counselor they want about it, but they’ll get the same answer: It is unwise for them to sleep on the train track of your son’s sexual maturity as if that train is not coming. It will come, it will come without warning, it will probably come with a head of steam your son will have had absolutely no way to anticipate from his past experience. The track needs to be clear, for your son’s sake. He needs to be in his own bed, and I think some day he will wake from that bed and thank you for handling this on his behalf, even if it was over his objections at the time.

OK…yah…That I can kind of see. Same sex though…following a trauma.

I’m seriously thinking of calling CPS on this.

Here is how this info came to light. I’m not into lengthy posts which is why I didn’t include the backstory at first, but I suppose it it important.

I have 2 sons ages 15 and 13. We’ll call them “Andy” (15) and "Sean (13).
Their mother and I have been divorced for 8 years. I re-married 6 years ago and we have 2 daughters. I see my sons every Wednesday and every other weekend.

So…they come out to the car last Friday and my younger son walks out with his head hanging low and moping around. Gets in. I ask whats wrong. Mumbles ‘nothing’. I let it slide… Later I ask Andy whats wrong with Sean, and he tells me that Sean hates coming to my house, he misses mom, feels only at home there, is homesick…bla bla bla. It has been 8 YEARS. It dawns on me that he might be affected by the “Helsinki Syndrome” or something like that. In other words…she has him so wrapped up and messed up at this point that he can’t even bear to be apart from her for a couple of days to be WITH HIS FATHER. Then Andy tells me about the co-sleeping. My jaw drops. I ask a couple of follow up questions as politely as I can. Sean has other issues. Plenty of other issues. Suufice to say he is not exactly ‘thriving’ under her care. Andy is doing OK.

Please do something.

I do not know if there is anything bad or not in it, so proceed with caution, but not blindly.

He is too young to understand things that are proper or not.

Women do molest children. Often in more subtle ways, but it does happen. Our society tends to think it does not, but it does. And it can be very devastating.

Please definitely try to do something - keep an open mind that it could be innocent but also keep an eye that their could be other dangers.

God bless.

You are absolutely right, but you also have to avoid putting them on the defensive. Don’t be driven off the matter, but make it clear that your son’s approaching manhood make this beyond discussion. In spite of whatever good intentions they have, this needs to stop. Again: Not a counselor in the world will fail to back up your position. Express faith in their good faith, but draw the line where common sense requires it to be drawn.

If your son is forced to give his reasons, he may have to admit feelings that feel profoundly and incredibly shameful to him. Don’t even go there. Stay on the island that says there are innocent reasons to want this, but that wisdom and elementary knowledge of the physical process of adolescence absolutely forbids it.

I wouldn’t blame this on the divorce or your wife, though. Children go through adolescence without knowing what is going on with them, and they’re pulled apart by an inner process that they have no control over and a comforting past that they don’t want to leave, and sometimes they want things that are a bad idea. Don’t judge your son for having impulses with a power beyond his comprehension. If your wife drags her heels, remember that she has never been through a man’s adolescence, either. It is very different with girls, and she may be having trouble appreciating what your son has ahead of him.

Could it be incest already? Yes. I think it would be an excellent idea to make sure your son has an opportunity to talk with a counselor about this topic, for that reason. If the situation is innocent, a counselor could also help assure him that whatever adolescent feelings he’s going through do not make him a monster of some kind. It would be a good idea to convince your wife that some sessions are in order so that your son will have a discreet person (read: not a parent) to help him sort out the feelings that his is going through. After all, the divorce means he doesn’t have you around to bring this stuff up with in the same way as if you and his mom were in a life of total agreement, and for your wife’s sake you’d like the son to have a neutral party to talk to. Again: Prudence would be on your side, even from the most secular perspective.

God bless you and you kind words.

You are wise. Thank you. Normally I could agree 100%, but he has other problems (or at least eyebrow raisers) and has for the 8 years we have been divorced. She is messing him up. In no way do I blame him.

If that is what it takes to stop the situation, yes. Try to avoid it, though, and don’t even threaten it unless you have to. You don’t want your family backed into a corner, and you do not want to be the bad guy. The truth, whatever it is, is going to come out easier if it is not driven underground.

Still, this is getting into problems of professional magnitude; the stakes are high. You wouldn’t be wrong to consult with a professional about the best way to proceed. They may have methods to suggest and telling questions to ask that none of us would know to ask, let alone know how to ask.

Your wife may need to realize, for instance, that this situation might be taken very differently by the son who is farther along in his maturity. There are two boys to look out for, and damage being risked that can be of a lasting kind. Still, the situation may be diffused with the least damage if you can just get your wife and sons into a family counselor, even if it is without you.


The less fuss the better for sure.

As a side note…My wife is not the problem. She’s great. It is my ex-wife.

Nothing can justify it. I just wondered if you could get more information. Did your son volunteer this - that he asks and she allows him to? This is very disturbing.

For this reason seeing a counsellor is of greatest importance for this son.

I agree this is a really legit reason for co-sleeping, it just probably went on too long. I did the same thing for a few days after a really traumatic incident and my parents agreed I needed to be near my mom. But I was the one who said I needed to get back in the routine of sleeping alone and not get into a habit of doing it. And I felt bad for “kicking” my dad out of his room, though I’m sure he did not see it that way.

To the OP, yes this needs to be addressed ASAP. I hope it is just the issue of not being able to break the habit. But if it has been going on for 8 years, I have to wonder if there is another issue behind it. Praying for the best!

It sounds wise to also speak to a good lawyer.

Ooops. Sorry about that!

Well, I am very lucky in that regard!

My wife’s whole family are lawyers…no shortage of help there! And I get the ‘friends and family discount’. I try not to bother them with my former life though…



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