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Should DP be more involved?

(23 Posts)
holly989blue Thu 03-Mar-16 12:34:49

DP & I moved in together about 3 years ago, when my DS was 6. After all this time, would you not think DP would be somewhat involved? He and DS hardly talk. They never do anything together and one day recently when I had to go out for 6 hours and leave them alone together (this never happens normally), DP just allowed my DS to play on the Xbox for the full time, apart from making him a sandwich. When I questioned him about it, his response was just, "He wont listen to anything I say." My DS still sees his dad every 2nd weekend so I'm not expecting DP to step into his shoes. However, a bit of teamwork wouldn't go amiss. I feel like I have 2 relationships - one with DS and one with DP - but we aren't a family unit. I'm interested to hear others' views on this as I wonder what 'normal' is...if there is such a thing! Should I try and do more together as 'a family'? Will things get worse when DS reaches his teens?

MattDillonsPants Fri 04-Mar-16 06:03:28

I think this sort of set up is actually very damaging. In families where a parent shares their home with their partner and their children, the partner really needs to blend in.

That means that yes, he should be taking on a Fatherly role in your son's life and the fact that this was not established before he moved in is a problem.

Usually, in the best case scenarios, before a partner moves in, the couple will spend a lot of time with the child or children as a unit. They're not a traditional family....especially if the child's Father is still in his life...but they are a sort of a family...and that does mean learning to get on, to laugh and argue, have fun and interesting times together.

I do think it will worsen as DS hits teen years because that's a point when children begin to naturally withdraw from family activities in preparation for their own lives independent of their family.

Your DS is 9 I assume? I think you need to have a really, frank discussion with both DS AND your partner but separately. TO work out their feelings on the matter...then you all need to talk together.

Counselling would probably be good because it really does not sound like a healthy dynamic at the moment.

Days out or activities as a they ever happen?

Katenka Fri 04-Mar-16 06:27:40

It's a very difficult one.

I think a step parent has a fine line to walk. Being part of the family but not being a parent.

It depends on where you think it's coming from. Is he just not interested? Or is he still not comfortable round your ds?

Choughed Fri 04-Mar-16 06:43:42

How have you let this go on for 3 years???

annandale Fri 04-Mar-16 06:47:52

I would ask him what he thinks 'listening to what I say' would look like.

With kids, you have to put the hours in for any kind of relationship. Doesn't ahve to look like a parenting relationship but any friend would suggest things to do together, find common ground. Maybe they would both like to go to LaserQuest or the movies, or to go fishing. Rather than focusing on a parent-type 'obedience' model, how about him treating your ds like a friend? I'm sure he would do more for a colleague at work than he's doing for your ds.

MattDillonsPants Fri 04-Mar-16 08:06:17

Katenka but that's for the parent and the partner to sort out! PRIOR to them moving in.

Of course every family will be different but one needs to establish boundaries and rules before co-habitation begins. Not let it roll merrily (or otherwise) along for years.

The more I think about this OP the more irritated I am. The child has been living with a stranger for three years! HOW uncomfortable!

What would your partner do OP if your child fell? Would he comfort him?

MattDillonsPants Fri 04-Mar-16 08:07:42

OP. You wondered what "normal" was in terms of a family unit.

It's shared jokes, shared affection, shared meals and conversations. It's arguments and disagreements, apologies and discussions.

Katenka Fri 04-Mar-16 08:31:10

Katenka but that's for the parent and the partner to sort out! PRIOR to them moving in.

yes they would. But she hasn't. So she has to work out what to do now.

Why it's happening is important to figure out how to move forward.

I don't see the point in having a go at the OP over what she should have done

Fuzz01 Fri 04-Mar-16 08:46:05

If that was my DH he would of most likely played on his xbox with him. Does he struggle to connect with him?

FigMango1 Fri 04-Mar-16 08:48:16

Yanbu, it definitely seems like two separate relationships.

Why did you allow your dp to move in before establishing their relationship. ?

It must be quite awkward for your ds as well.

MattDillonsPants Fri 04-Mar-16 08:50:09

Katenka you're probably right but honestly, I do find it annoying and upsetting.

Katenka Fri 04-Mar-16 08:53:18

Katenka you're probably right but honestly, I do find it annoying and upsetting.

me too. Personal experience. Step dad that mum moved in and married quickly. Together 3 years. Married 9 months when he left.

I just want to know what the op thinks the issue is first.

In my experience (in RL with my own experience and friends) there can be loads of reasons. The dp is a dick and not interested, they are interested and have no idea where to start, the parent undermines them and always interrupts any effort made etc.

I would just like the ops take on it first.

dolkapots Fri 04-Mar-16 09:20:00

I think this sort of set up is actually very damaging.

^Indeed. I was your son OP. My SF barely even spoke to me. I used to feel jealous of my friends who had SF's that had some type of relationship with them. We were not a family unit at all, my Mum was running two families; one with her and SF and one with my sibling and I. It has left me with issues.

OP please decide if this is what you want for your DS.

LaurieLemons Fri 04-Mar-16 09:23:49

Yeah I think he should be making an effort, I can't imagine they feel awkward around each other after 3 years. What happens when you are all around together or you go out for the day? Is he still the same, does DS talk to him?

YouMakeMyDreams Fri 04-Mar-16 09:37:04

I agree you need to find out or figure out why this is.
My dh is not my children's father but knew he had arrived when ds1 first complained about his parents being mean. He very much has a relationship with all three dc. Dd being older is probably less close and tactile but he is her supporter of homework and someone she can confide in.
The boys were younger when we got together so have a closer relationship and he will play games with them, build things in the garden and spend hours on a beach in winter rock pooling. Final parenting decisions are mine but we do have to live together so things are discussed as a whole family and we do lots of things together.

I fear this could be very damaging to your dc and really does need to be addressed.

ShesGotLionsInHerHeart Fri 04-Mar-16 09:40:29

My friend was a horribly disinterested SD. His wife's kids were desperate to share hobbies, stories, play with him, etc, and he utterly ignored all of it, and lay there watching TV for, oh about 10 years.

I've no idea why he got together with someone who had children if he didn't want to be around them to that extent.

Anyway, she finally got the hump and booted him out - rightly so. They were in no way a family. And I really have the impression that her children resent her for putting them in that situation for so long, where they could only feel like an annoyance or an inconvenience.

Bellygirl Fri 04-Mar-16 09:44:56

OP I've had and still kind of have the same issue as you. It has gotten a lot better over the three years and now they are more like friends. I would really have liked him to take on a more fatherly role is my DS life as he doesn't see his dad but my DP doesn't even want to have kids of his own with me so I guess he's not the fatherly type hmm and seen as he isn't DS dad it's not really a role you can force on someone. They get on well now and he has gotten more involved but as I said, in more of a friend sort of way.

holly989blue Fri 04-Mar-16 10:47:50

Thank you for taking the time to respond. Although I feel more guilty and defensive after reading some of the comments, I am glad that you are being honest and it does help me to see others' opinions and realise that I am not being unreasonable.

Firstly, I've been asked how I could let it get to this situation and have it carry on for 3 years. I think there may be 2 reasons: I had an unusual upbringing myself. My mother has never been very maternal - no hugging or kissing, saying she loves me. She's still alive now and never makes any effort. I try to see her twice a year (her birthday and Xmas) but that's it. My parents had a violent relationship and they divorced when I was 9. I then lived with my grandmother and her sister, which I'd done every weekend before then too as my parents ran a hotel and had functions on each weekend. Also, I believe my DP has some personal issues which he/we need to address. Also, he doesn't want kids and so I wonder if he just tries to ignore mine as much as possible.

At first though, he did appear to make an effort and played with my DS, watched films with him, etc.. However, I now fear he only did this to make a good impression.

We have done things together - a holiday abroad, camping last year, walking the dog at the weekends - and I definitely need to encourage this. However, there is a part of me that thinks that deep down it's not what he wants and maybe it should come to an end. I do care about how it's affecting my DS, of course. He means more to me than anyone else and so my relationship with DP may have to end for that reason alone.

DS asked me the other day when DP was going to go back to his own house which is obviously very upsetting as it means he doesn't see him as part of our 'family' at all. DP only tends to get involved with DS is arguing with me and then DP will butt in to tell him to listen to me. So annoying!

MattDillonsPants Fri 04-Mar-16 11:03:21

flowers OP I am sorry I was abrupt. It is obvious that your upbringing has impacted your view of family life and of how it's meant to be.

BUT you should be very pleased with yourself for recognising the situation because it takes a lot of insight to see patterns forming when you have yourself been subject to them.

Are you considering ending the relationship?

ZiggyFartdust Fri 04-Mar-16 12:04:14

I don't understand how a parent can have a boyfriend living with their child who doesn't care about that child, doesn't engage with them. You say your boyfriend ignores your son and your son asks when the boyfriend is going back to his own house. He is trying to tell you that he doesn't want your boyfriend there, that he isn't happy.
If I were you I would be listening to your child, putting him first, and moving the boyfriend out. Three years of this is already three years too long.

holly989blue Fri 04-Mar-16 12:07:46

It's ok, MDP. I don't always trust my own instinct. That's why it really does help to hear the views of others. Of course I have friends but I think they'll always take my side regardless. It's good to get objective opinions from people who don't know me.

I want nothing more than a 'happy little family' but I guess it's not always possible. I had to end the relationship with my DH because of his temper, because I didn't want my DS to experience what I had experienced growing up. However, although I now have a DP who does not have a bad temper, he is the other extreme; cold and unfeeling :-(

I definitely need to talk to him tonight and if things can't change quite dramatically for the better, then I will have to end it, yes.

HaroldandMadge Fri 04-Mar-16 12:23:42

Some people grew up in houses with exactly this kind of relationship, but with their own parents (as OP said).

OP. You wondered what "normal" was in terms of a family unit. It's shared jokes, shared affection, shared meals and conversations. It's arguments and disagreements, apologies and discussions.

That sounds lovely. But not every family is like that or every parent is capable/willing to deliver that.

Nevermind 3 years - I'm still awkward around my own dad after 38 years. He's not a bad person though - just not very open or affectionate and just pretty introverted/kind of aloof. Some people are. My mum loves him to bits though. It did upset me for years, but I'm starting to accept that's just how he is.

All I'm saying is, maybe give less grief to the OP for her partner's personality, which she may not be able to change. Maybe she'll decide to leave and it would be better for her son. But it's not her fault. At least she's asking questions now about whether it's the best thing for her son. (I never got the option to ask when my dad was going because he didn't pay me much attention.)

ZiggyFartdust Fri 04-Mar-16 12:45:06

It's not her fault that he is like that. But it was her choice to move him into her sons home and keep him there.

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