NP's son refusing to accept new situation

(75 Posts)
herbertina Mon 09-Sep-13 21:49:15

I am new to MN so please bear with me.

I have been with my boyfriend for 18 months. Our relationship began whilst he was still with his wife (but very unhappily married) but he left his wife very shortly afterwards. His wife and his son (12) took it badly (unsurprisingly), although both knew that the marriage was really bad - his ex though thought it was capable of being saved. I am significantly younger than my partner so this has been a source of ridicule for ex and son - and I suspect meant that they thought/think he would have epiphany and return home. His son remains focused on reuniting his parents - meaning my bf's time with him is focused on pacifying him and to a certain extent denying my existence (his son is often v nasty to him). The problem is that our relationship has stalled (from my perspective) because, although we are very close and happy, he has a separate life. Result being I cannot move on with my life and having gone through difficult times, then separation and with new relationship I need that to happen. I cant expect him to do anything but put his son's interests first but what do I do?

Also, he first met my DD (8) and ds (6) about 9 months ago and their relationship with him has developed really well - we do lots of nice things together (which creates guilt for me). I have a good relationship with my ex and they see him often - so all good in that respect.

Sorry for ramble - any thoughts much appreciated.

herbertina Mon 09-Sep-13 22:33:07

No not an innocent bystander but someone who wants to resolve a very tricky situation in the most sensitive and thoughtful way possible. Cant change hat has gone before or how things are presently. I wanted advice on how best to approach this new situation. that's all

Fairylea Mon 09-Sep-13 22:33:08

What Walter said. If the relationship was wrong then it would have been absolutely fine to end it, have a break and then begin a relationship with a new person. That's the morally right thing to do. No one is perfect but having an affair especially when dc are involved and then expecting them to play happy families is absolutely bonkers.

The problem is that at 12 you don't have the maturity to rationalise what has happened. Having a family break up is hard on children. He's angry and to him its more than justified. He doesn't have to think about how unhappy his parent's marriage may or may not have been. He just knows that its all gone badly wrong. He probably still hopes that his dad will come back. I can't see that changing any time soon.

Who knows, maybe he will come around with time, but I don't think you can expect to do anything to change it now. This is something that your partner needs to work on.

mignonette Mon 09-Sep-13 22:38:33

Walter that rather flippant 'analysis' may not be the truth. I can vouch for the fact that a one sided version of events can do more damage than the truth. And not all former partners give respect nor deserve it. You just cannot assume that the Partner is 'more' in the wrong.

I have been through enough parental step/parental break ups to know now how un black and white these things are and to not make assumptions about 'who' is the wrong 'un. So easy and facile to blame the partner here.

herbertina Mon 09-Sep-13 22:40:35

Why the wife is the victim without knowing any of the facts? I sense that if I'd posted that I was in a desperately unhappy relationship with a cruel, vindictive and controlling husband and embarked on a relationship with a very kind man but didn't know what to go the responses might be different

mignonette Mon 09-Sep-13 22:41:15

And making cutting nasty comments about the partner or the OP isn't exactly showing your caring is it? The OP is asking for advice. If you all have so much compassion for this poor 12 year old, why not show it by offering constructive advice which might go some way towards helping him rather than bitchy 'serves you right' sneers just to make you feel self servingly vindicated?

herbertina Mon 09-Sep-13 22:44:58

@ KNACO I agree.

To spell it out: I'm thinking of the perspective of a child who probably neither has the maturity nor the inclination to see this as a grey area.

Nobody is a victim here except him. How said that OP feels pushed out?

Well, no. What's sad is that this poor child is in total turmoil and OP is moaning that things aren't going smoothly enough for her liking.

Shit happens. Moreso when you've created the shit storm by your own actions.

Like I said: consequences.

It's not a contest about whose seen the most break-ups, btw.

herbertina Mon 09-Sep-13 22:47:30

thank you M. Not good experience on MN

pictish Mon 09-Sep-13 22:47:39

I don't think there's any resolving to be done in this situation. It will take time, and probably lots of it.

I don't think you're the wicked witch of the west or anything, but I do think you're unrealistically expecting adult emotions and logic from a child, and looking for ideas that will wrap this all up neatly into something that makes your life easier.
That's not gonna happen. He may come round in time. One would hope so, because there's no sense in hanging onto bad feeling...but right now, he's a kid that has seen his dad make a choice, and it wasn't him and his mum, but you.
And really...to him...who the fuck are you?

That's what you're dealing with. Time is your friend.

mignonette Mon 09-Sep-13 22:52:51

No, the desire to make snippy comments is winning over any compassion for this little boy.

The OP asked for advice not a morality play.

Herbert, Yes, time is your friend. You have to understand that he is traumatised, angry and thinking magically nut equally he is capable of understanding the basic rules of politeness when in your home. Make it clear to him that he doesn't have to like you but you expect him to not be rude. he can understand that and actually the more boundaries in place, the better. When your life has fallen in, the more structured you can keep things, the better. And be really careful to ensure your children take a back seat with your DP when his son is over. That'll help mitigate any jealousy. That was the bit I had to be really careful with.

Beamur Mon 09-Sep-13 22:53:01

My thoughts FWIW - this situation needs time and sensitivity to bring round.
Your boyfriend needs to avoid the 'Disney' route of pacifying parenting, and to step up and parent his child kindly and effectively. As you say, what has happened, has happened and whilst you may all be sorry for the collateral damage, you still have to go on with your lives.
I'd keep out of meeting his son for the time being, the son is far too hurt and raw to be able to deal with you rationally. But I wouldn't leave that as an open ended timescale either - there is a balance to be struck between putting the kids first but not making a martyr out of yourself either.
From my experience of teens (I have 2 teen stepchildren) you're about to hit the most turbulent and hormonal years too, which may make this even harder - sorry!
In my own relationship, I've been a supportive and I hope kind step parent, but it can be a rather thankless role at times, I do a lot of the invisible stuff (clean clothes, food in cupboards etc) but children don't see those aspects of life until they're older, so it can feel as if you have little gratitude - but kids can pick up on SP's who are mean or unwelcoming and I'd hate for my step kids to reflect back on their childhood and feel that.

herbertina Mon 09-Sep-13 22:54:39

OP is not moaning. OP is asking for advice. To be clear. OP has children of her own. OP understands the difficulties of divorce. OP talks to her DS and DS most nights about the complexities of separation. OP does not feel sorry for herself at all.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Mon 09-Sep-13 22:59:08

herbertina you're getting a bit of a roasting here, with some excellent advice thrown in, well done for hanging in. This book might be helpful for you.

I'm not a sm, but anyone who settles with ds2 will be.

EldritchCleavage Mon 09-Sep-13 23:01:23

Erm, this may not end well. Have a quick look at Relationships and you will see how emotive and divisive a topic this is.

As to your question, if your new partner is committed to helping his son through this (as I hope he is) then you are very much in a holding pattern while that happens. You have to wait, and see NP when you can.

He can help his son by making gently but firmly clear there will be no reconciliation-kinder than letting the child hope, really. I feel very much for that boy.

herbertina Mon 09-Sep-13 23:01:33

Thank you M. You have helped.

Beamur Mon 09-Sep-13 23:04:06

herbertina - you've obviously made the transition with your own relationship with your ex to parent your kids separately and I assume it's going well from how you describe it - do you think your current partner should be doing anything differently?

BOF Mon 09-Sep-13 23:07:06

There is a rather horrible tendency on MN for a few posters to take the moral high ground by showing 'compassion' for the people being posted about, while conspicuously failing to extend anything like the same courtesy to the OP asking advice. Frankly, it makes that compassion look like merely a hook to hang the urge to be unpleasant to other posters on.

There's a way to give advice to somebody you feel is in the wrong without going all Lord Of The Flies on their ass.

Beamur Mon 09-Sep-13 23:10:23

My DSD had a really tough time understanding why her parents were still married but DP had a girlfriend (i.e. me) and Mum was also seeing someone else. She never played up or behaved badly, but would constantly bring up the subject of their marriage, or what anniversaries meant and another tactic was to bring their wedding photo to the dinner table! DP and DSS found it impossible to engage with her (she was only 7 or 8) about this and usually just pretended she hadn't said anything so I usually ended up talking to her about it, which was awkward for me - but at the time, I thought this was all about her just not understanding what was going on. I suggested to DP that he and his wife really needed to get on with their divorce as their daughter was very confused. Funnily enough, once they divorced and it was clear that no reconciliation was ever going to happen, these questions and conversations stopped happening. So, I guess I'm saying I agree with Eldrich - it has to be clear that there is no going back to how things were.

That's the beauty of free speech isn't it?

You can what you want without needing the approval of others!

She's doing herself no favours by acting the victim here, talking about needing to move in with her bf etc.

She helped her children make the transaction yet doesn't seem to want to extend the same courtesy to bf.

It's selfish and won't do any of them any good.

In time this child may come around but he may not. Trying to 'help' or move things along will make matters worse.

EldritchCleavage Mon 09-Sep-13 23:26:58

Don't think OP is 'acting the victim' and that kind of comment just inflames rather than helps.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Mon 09-Sep-13 23:42:32

OP is very much not "acting the victim", but there's a difficult situation that she wants to address. Am on ipad so cannot c&p, but her original issue was that her dp has a separate life with his ds, what should she do? And to that, I'd say, find a separate life of your own. A hobby, a club... something that makes you unavailable when dp sees his ds, at least some of the time.

But have your own life, separate from them.

HavantGuard Mon 09-Sep-13 23:43:25

He's 12. He knows his father left. He knows his mother wanted him to stay. He knows his father left to be with you. He can't help but hate you. It's so much easier to direct his anger at you than at the father he loves. He'll have seen his mother crying, he no longer sees his father everyday, his father is acting as a family with you and your children. His life changed overnight and he sees you as the cause.

It's also worth remembering that you only know be side of the story. You say he was unhappily married. It may well be that the first his wife knew about that was him packing his bags!

theyoniwayisnorthwards Mon 09-Sep-13 23:53:44

I wouldn't count on time healing this rift. I have not seen my Dad's (OW) girlfriend since I was 21 although I see plenty of him and they have been 'out' as a couple for about 5 years. The idea of her coming to a family event, being in my home or meeting my children is ridiculous to me. I am now 31.

Prepare to be permanently excluded from his family life, because it happens.

purpleroses Tue 10-Sep-13 07:45:28

My DSC are all on good terms with their stepdad- who came into their lives in much the same way you did (he had an affair with my dp's now-Ex-wife) So it can work out.
I met them some time later but had a very negative reaction from DP's 11yo DS at first. I get on fine with him now (3years on) but early on he would have nothing to do with me. DP gave him time to get used to things but didn't allow outright rudeness. His DS was not allowed to dictate when I came round and had to sit down for meals with me. He gradually got used to me and gave up the protest. Though I don't think his mum had any problem with me so wasn't fueling his protest - something that may make it harder for you. Everything your DP can do to ease his relationship with his ex may help.

I'd also advise that when you're first spending time with DSS that your DP tries not to be too involved with your DCs. Ours have not always found it easy to see their parent being close to other children.

If your DP wants a future with a proper relationship with both you and his DS in it, he does need to start to integrate it. I can't see how you can really make a future together if he won't.

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