DS dislikes boyfriend, what should I do?(32 Posts)
Bit of background.
I'm a working single parent to 2 boys, ages 7 and 11, both conceived by donor sperm, so no father has ever been around. I've had negligible social life since DS1 was born, which has been fine with me - I was happy to spend all my free time doing stuff with my kids. The day trips out etc started to dwindle a couple of years ago, as all they want to do is watch and play football, so that's how we spend our time. All good.
Nearly a year ago I met someone, and we get in brilliantly, both of us see a future together. I have tried to take it slowly with the kids, gradually introducing the idea of me having a boyfriend.
The DCs met him a few months ago. It started as just the odd meeting here and there - both boys play football so he comes to watch their matches (used to be a coach himself) - and he has joined us on a couple of days out. In the last few weeks he has stayed over twice. The rest of the time he just comes over 3 evenings a week while the DCs are asleep, and we sometimes have a day off work and spend the day together while the DCs are at school. They know about all this, but obviously on those occasions they don't see him.
DS2 likes him, but DS1 doesn't. He can't give a clear reason, just says there's something about him he dislikes, but says he thinks he tries too hard to be friendly, doesn't like the fact that he's quite jolly and jokey, and doesn't want him around.
DS1 is being really stroppy at the moment, about everything, and every argument ends with him telling me he'll never be happy while I'm still with my boyfriend. Homework, bedtime, getting ready for school etc - every single mini conflict ends with him ranting and crying about how I've ruined his life by having a boyfriend.
Friends and family have advised me that I shouldn't pander to this, that I should carry on with my relationship, and that DS1 will just have to adjust. But I feel so guilty, and worry that maybe I really am ruining his life.
Oh I think he sounds very jealous I feel really sorry for both ds and you! What a tricky situation to be in. Sorry no real advice to give but maybe spend some quality time with him on his own so he's knows dp isn't 'taking' you away? I dont think its about pandering to his needs as such just making him feel secure, when I was younger I hated change.
Unless you are preparing to take a vow of chastity until both ds have left home then you are entitled to a life too apart from being a dm. Ask your son how things could be improved with bf and ask bf to take it on board. Maybe him trying so hard to befriend him is too full on for ds? As long as ds is polite to bf there is no rush to create an immediate relationship between them is there?
I think your boy is worried rather than anything else.
You should tell him that he will always be your top priority but that you have a life aside from being a mum and you enjoy spending time with your boyfriend.
Tell your son his thoughts and opinions do matter to but on this occasion you feel like they might be affected by his personal fears rather than to do with your BF being a distasteful character.
I would also cool things between them for a while too.
Maybe not go to the football matches with your BF.
Perhaps see if they don't spend time together if your DS is still upset? As he shouldn't be if he doesn't have to see him
There have been plenty of occasions when DS hasn't seen him at all for a couple of weeks, and he still maintains that everything bad in his life is because of my involvement with boyfriend.
I've tried to constantly reassure him that nothing will change how much I love him, he'll always be my priority etc. I've also explained that our domestic arrangements won't change for the foreseeable future. If we ever did move in together it wouldn't be for many years. I still do a lot of things with just the kids, most of the time it's only the 3 of us (and DS1 is usually glued to his phone anyway!)
I just feel that after nearly a year I would like to be able to have my boyfriend stay over now and then, maybe once a fortnight, but I'm scared to broach the subject because I know DS1 will start screaming at me.
I've asked DS how things could be improved, and he says by me never seeing boyfriend again. And I can't think what "advice" I should give to my boyfriend about his interaction with DS. He usually sees him for maybe 10 minutes a week, and they chat about the football match he's just played as we walk to the car. Nothing more.
I'm at a loss
That's difficult. Really tricky. Would reassuring your DS you won't be moving in together help?
May not be popular but id keep your son and boyfriends interactions to a bare minimum and ignore the hysterics. Why should he rule your love life? I expect he wouldn't like any man you got together with.
I think he's jealous too
Everything is a disaster because of your bf? Yeah right
He is going to have to get over it
Why should you be alone for the rest of your life because he doesnt want you to be with anyone?
I'd advise your boyfriend not to bother interacting with DS1 at all and maybe concentrate his attentions on DS2.
Your eldest is at a time in his life where puberty isn't too far away, hormones are all over the place, he has had you all to himself for 11 years and doesn't want that to change. He's acting up because he doesn't know how else to tell you he is jealous and doesn't want to share your affections. He's going to have to get used to the idea.
What is your boyfriends take on the situation?He sounds pretty tolerant from the info you have given.
What a difficult situation for you It must be so worrying.
I think your son is having a lot of big feelings right now and struggling to make sense of them. It can be hard to focus on our children's feelings when they are being unreasonable, but feelings rarely have anything to do with reason!
My advice would be to acknowledge with your son how hard he is finding this and allow him to express it to you without getting offended/trying to find a solution/telling him why he shouldn't feel that way.
That does not mean that you give up your DP!! But his feelings are there and they need to be expressed to an empathetic ear..."you are finding this soo hard..." "you really don't want me to have this boyfriend" "you really don't like that about him...". The you can move onto 'wondering'..."I wonder why you feel like that, maybe it's...". Even if you don't get to the answer, your curiosity will make him feel connected to you.
Anything he thinks or feels is OK, what he does is another matter. He has a right to his feelings and you have a right to continue your relationship.
Listening isn't fixing.
I hope things get better OP.
My boyfriend is amazingly tolerant, not putting any pressure on at all, says he'll be as present or absent as I want him to be. His kids are much older - late teens and pretty independent - so he has plenty of free time and can fit in with my schedule.
Whilst I'd like to see my boyfriend more than I do, that's not the main issue. The thing that bothers me most is that DS and I are rowing every day, because the usual minor niggles (go and clean your teeth, time to turn the Xbox off etc) are turning into full blown fights about how much he hates my boyfriend and how he will run away or kill himself if we continue to see eachother.
Thank you everyone, some really helpful posts. I think maybe I need to try and focus less on "fixing" the situation , and more on trying to calmly let it evolve. It's hard though.
He's 11. Going through puberty.if it wasn't yr boyfriend it would be something else to complain about...keep calm and keep them apart.and check with school he's not being bullied or there are other problems
Gosh that is quite an extreme reaction - threatening to kill himself? Maybe he could do with speaking to a counsellor / someone at school about how he is feeling? Is something else going on?
Maybe you need to cut him off when he brings up your DP, he is allowed to moan about brushing teeth/ making bed etc but as soon as he starts on about your partner, put your hand in the air and say 'that isn't up for discussion' and end the interaction, just walk away. You are the adult, the parent, you are entitled to make decisions without consulting him.
Is there a school counselling service he could use?
You could do with explaining to him, that not having a specific reason for not liking your BF doesn't help.
Like if you don't like a friend of his and tell him not to hang out with them, with no reason, that wouldn't be right.
I'd say just like when he does a test at school, answers and explanations are required for what he says.
You're entitled to a love life, so don't give in. I think I remember you posting about this last year. And I bet if your BF interacted with DS2 more, he'd get jealous.
"Rowing" is a strange word to use to describe your interactions with an 11-year-old. Don't get drawn on other issues. You are an adult; he is a child. You are in charge.
I think you need to see your boyfriend away from your DC. They don't need to know what you do when they are at school.
Friends and family have advised me that I shouldn't pander to this, that I should carry on with my relationship, and that DS1 will just have to adjust.
I would agree with this and maybe look for a youth or family counsellor to help him work out why he feels as he does and why he reacts as he does.
Ranting, crying, sulking, nasty verbal attacks, refusing to do his share of chores, threatening suicide.
If he learns now that this behaviour gets the results he wants then he could grow into exactly the kind of emotionally abusive man that are written about on here so often.
Get your son straight in to see a family therapist or counsellor. Find one who he likes and can open up to. He needs help to unpick why he is reacting so strongly.
In the meantime - given the strength of his reaction - then stop inviting your boyfriend over when he's there.
11 years old means a lot of stresses anyway. Leaving primary school and starting senior and all that. So it might be that there are other things worrying him and your boyfriend is getting the blame.
But it also might be that after his whole life spent with you single, he was unprepared for the reality of you being in a relationship. He might feel very insecure about what that means for your own relationship with each other.
I agree with counselling and this may well be related to not having a father in his life combined with puberty. He may have some feelings about his paternity that he doesn't understand? and clearly this BF makes him feel threatened so I agree to keep them apart. Kids sometimes have irrational anger and anxiety about things they don't understand and take it out on the person closest to them - you.
Reassuring your son that nothing will change is both unhelpful and untrue. Things will change and already have.
You chose to have two children without a father so your DS have no concept of what a DF is or how having an adult male in the house works. DS1 may well have taken the role of 'man of the house' your 'rowing' may evidence this.
Some family and individual therapy may be useful and in the mean time your BF needs to take a step back.
Penfold is right. Life does change and children have to learnt to adapt to that. Anxiety and insecurity can make us want to keep things as they are and never change.
Oh my goodness my 11 year old boy is so hormonal he literally rapidly cycles through anger and sadness a million times a day at the moment!
Fortunately he is also highly emotionally intelligent so usually ends most anger crying about how his hormones are everywhere and it's hard to control his feelings at the moment!
How much of it is just down to his life stage and having had you to himself for his whole life?
Is he generally a good talker? My 11 year old is and so is my 7 year old girl and we would be able to sort something like this with a few conversations but my 10 year old girl and 7 year old boy are really bad talkers and would take more effort to really get to the bottom of exactly what was bothering them.
I think that's key though, you need to get him to be more specific about what exactly is upsetting him - is he worried about having a step dad, moving in, feeling jealous, just doesn't particularly get on with him, doesn't want you to have any boyfriend etc because it is quite a big thing to ask you to get rid of your boyfriend on a vague 'He tries to hard'?
This is a tough one, at 8 years old my mum got a bf and there was nothing obviously wrong with him but my instincts told me he was someone to be worried about, and my instincts were spot on, another 15 years with him as my step father followed and he was a very negative influence on my life in various ways and my relationship with my mother was irreparably damaged because she put me through it. He might be onto something that he may not be able to communicate, or it might be that he has fears that could be reassured and actually it would be fine with him as a stepfather. I think you temporarily need to put the breaks on the relationship really until you resolve this with your children, you need to show them that they come first. I think you need to get advice from a family therapist about all this. It is strange that they are so into football and he is a coach and yet they don't get on. Ultimately they all have to like each other for you to be able to move forward in your relationship, otherwise you might lose your relationship with your children. I feel for yoi, this is tough. I think you need outside help to deal with it and find a way forward.
Offred is right. This is a very difficult stage for any boy so there was going to be issues anyway. I think you have introduced dp in a very good way to the dc and have handled things very well. I feel your ds has found a chink in your armour. He knows your weak spot now and it gives him great scope for going against you in things. So when he doesn't want to come off screens he turns it back on you by making a big fuss and you are left floundering. Remember if it wasn't dp it could be something else. Try and stay on topic saying lm sorry you feel like that but could you please come off that in 10 mins. Try to not show vulnerability as you are desperate for them to get on.
Aside from this has he ever questioned his own background and is their some reading or support group you could access that would help you and him if he has questions now he is becoming a teenager. That might be adding to his anger with dp.
Think the football time should be kept sacred as that seems to be a strong bond ye had.
It's not easy but don't panic it's a difficult stage no matter what.
Could it be that he doesnt know him very well and the fact he doesnt see him for weeks at a time then goes on day trip then hes gone again is rarther unsettling for him.
I would actaully have a set day for him to come over. Then your ds will know thats the day hes there. Do something nice. Film game..
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