My 22-Year-Old Son Threatens to Leave the House and Go Live With My Ex-Husband Unless I Buy Him a Car

My son is Michael. He had just turned 22 last month, and I thought we had passed the turbulent teenage years. Little did I know, a storm was brewing right under my nose.

While I was preparing lunch in the kitchen, Michael stormed in, his face twisted with frustration.

“Mom, we need to talk,” he said, his tone unusually serious.

I turned to him and said, “Sure, what’s on your mind, honey?”

He leaned against the counter, arms folded, “I need a car.”

I paused, taken aback. “A car? What happened to your part-time job? You were saving up for one.”

Michael let out an exasperated sigh. “I know, but it’s taking forever to save up, and I really need it now.”

I frowned, wiping my hands on a kitchen towel. “Michael, cars are expensive. You know that. Besides, you have a job, you can save up a bit more and—”

Impatient, he cut me off, “No, Mom, I can’t wait anymore. All my friends have cars, and I’m tired of depending on you for rides or taking the bus. I need my freedom.”

I felt frustrated, saying “Michael, I understand, but we can’t just afford to buy you a car out of the blue. It’s not that simple.”

He clenched his jaw, his eyes narrowing, “Well, maybe I’ll just go live with Dad then. He’ll buy me a car.”

His words hit me like a ton of bricks.

David, my ex-husband, always tried to buy Michael’s affection instead of being a responsible parent. I couldn’t believe Michael would even suggest such a thing.

“Michael, you can’t just threaten to leave because you’re not getting what you want,” I said, trying to keep my voice calm.

“Why not? Dad would be happy to have me. He always spoils me,” he retorted, his tone defiant.

I took a deep breath, trying to gather my thoughts, “This isn’t about your dad. It’s about responsibility. You’re an adult now, and part of being an adult is making responsible decisions.”

He rolled his eyes, “Yeah, responsible decisions like being the only one among my friends without a car.”

Though our conversation ended there, the tension lingered in the air. I couldn’t shake off the feeling of disappointment and worry.

The following days were filled with silent treatments and tension between Michael and me. Every time I tried to bring up the topic, it ended in arguments.

One evening, we sat down for dinner, and I decided to try again.

“Michael, can we talk about the car situation again?” I asked, cautiously.

He sighed, poking at his food, “What’s there to talk about, Mom? You still won’t buy me one.”

“It’s not just about buying you a car, Michael. It’s about the way you’re handling this whole situation,” I said, trying to keep my voice steady.

He looked up, his expression defensive, “What do you mean?”

“I mean, threatening to leave if you don’t get what you want is not how adults handle things. It’s not fair to manipulate me like that,” I explained, feeling a mix of frustration and sadness.

He shrugged, “I’m just tired of waiting. Dad would understand.”

“Dad isn’t here, Michael. And buying you a car won’t solve everything. What about the expenses that come with it? Insurance, maintenance…” I trailed off, hoping he would understand.

He remained silent for a moment before pushing his plate away, “Forget it, Mom. You’ll never understand.”

As he left the table, I couldn’t help but feel a pang of guilt, wondering if I was being too harsh or if I was failing as a parent somehow.

Days turned into weeks, and the tension in the house only seemed to escalate. Michael became more distant, spending most of his time out with friends or locked up in his room.

One Saturday morning, I found a note on the kitchen counter:

“Mom, I’m going to stay with Dad for a while. I can’t stand being here anymore. Maybe he’ll understand me better.”

My heart sank as I read the words. I knew this day might come, but I never thought it would happen like this.

I immediately dialed Michael’s number, but it went straight to voicemail. Panic started to rise within me as I tried to think of where David lived now. We hadn’t been in touch for years after the divorce.

After some frantic searching, I managed to find David’s number and dialed it, hoping he would pick up.

“Hello?” David’s voice sounded surprised on the other end.

“David, it’s me, Sarah. I… I need to know if Michael is with you,” I blurted out, trying to keep my voice steady despite the rising panic.

There was a moment of silence before he responded.

“Sarah, what’s going on? Michael isn’t here.”

My heart sank even further, “He left a note saying he’s coming to stay with you. He’s upset because I won’t buy him a car.”

David let out a frustrated sigh, “I had a feeling something like this might happen. Look, I’ll try to talk to him if he shows up, but he can’t just run away from his problems.”

I thanked him before hanging up. Days passed without any word from Michael. I tried calling and texting him, but he didn’t respond. I couldn’t focus on anything, constantly worrying about him.

Then, one evening, there was a knock on the door. My heart leaped into my throat as I rushed to answer it. It was Michael, looking tired and defeated, with a duffle bag slung over his shoulder.

“Mom, can we talk?” he asked, his voice sounding small.

Relief washed over me as I pulled him into a hug, “Of course, come in.”

We sat down in the living room, and Michael began to speak, his voice shaky, “I’m sorry, Mom. I was being stupid.” I squeezed his hand gently, “It’s okay, Michael. I’m just glad you’re back.”

He looked down, avoiding my gaze, “I realize now that running away wasn’t the solution. Dad didn’t even have a clue what I was talking about when I arrived.” I nodded, feeling a mix of sadness and relief, “I’m just glad you’re safe. But we really need to talk about what happened.”

Additionally, we talked. We talked about responsibility, about communication, about the challenges of adulthood. It wasn’t an easy conversation, but it was a necessary one. In the end, Michael understood that getting a car wasn’t just about fulfilling a desire for freedom; it came with responsibilities. And I understood that communication was key, even when things got tough.

Since then, we worked on rebuilding our relationship, stronger than before, knowing that challenges would come, but we would face them together.


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