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Going to explode if I don't rant about my mother's boyfriend

(26 Posts)
GeorginaA Sun 13-Mar-05 09:55:59

Seriously thought about changing my name for this and then thought, bugger it ... why should I?

Some background: my mum started going out with this man about 2 years ago. I have no issues with her seeing him, they're in a quite serious relationship but no plans to marry (it wouldn't bother me if they did). I'm perfectly well aware that no man would be "perfect", that she has blossomed since she has started going out with him, that he's obviously done a lot of good. I actually quite like him, although I find his abbraisive sense of humour (the sort where to make yourself look good you have to be putting someone else down in the guise of a joke) quite hard to deal with.

Sorry, now I've got that out of the way hopefully this will be in context.

Yesterday's visit. 2 events pissed me off and made me SO angry I actually had to leave the room.

First event: Mum's boyfriend offered to take ds1 out for a walk up the garden (mum has a long thin garden which is quite a long distance from the back of the house) and to see the fish in her pond. Ds1 very excited at this prospect and I say yes. They seem gone a very long while - look out the window to see if I could spot them, I can't. Mum shrugs it off as "maybe they've gone for a walk in the fields behind the house" and I'm a bit cross that he wouldn't have checked with me first. Dh picks up on the vibe and offers to go out and check. He's gone a long time.

Eventually mum's boyfriend and ds1 return. Ds1 has soaked himself because apparently he needed a wee but wasn't very good at aiming (he's 3, ffs!). Apparently, they went for a long walk around the village and to the caravan site where ds1 needed a wee, so he helped him go between two caravans! Fortunately, I was able to leave the room to clean ds1 up before venting.

Maybe I'm overreacting, but I just feel this was HIGHLY inappropriate. We've known this man for only 2 years, we have no idea of his previous history other than what he has told us. He takes my son away on an outing *without telling us where they were going* and then helps him go to the toilet (the distance they were at that point and ds1's ability to hold on would have meant they could have easily got back to the house on time). I'm trying to teach my son about trusted adults and private bits and all the rest - but when it boils down to it, I just don't trust this man with my son. Not that he's given me any reason to doubt, I'm just being overcautious - but at the end of the day, he is not family and we have not known him that long. I haven't voiced this to either him or my mum - I don't want to hurt them. But also am annoyed that it wouldn't even cross my mum's mind that it would be an issue.

I'm so glad I have a supportive dh, because when asked why he'd bothered to try and find them (he couldn't and came back in a while after they did) he'd said quite abruptly "because I didn't know where my son was." (okay, that doesn't sound impressive - but the tone of voice was unmistakeable and my dh is normally a very quietly spoken man who is so laidback and easy going...)

The second incident was a comment about me breastfeeding ds2. Ds2 is 10 months old. I'm absolutely thrilled we're still breastfeeding - ds1 gave up around 8 months and I was gutted. I have no idea how long I'll keep going, I confess I haven't really thought about it. I have some vague ideas of "after 12 months would be nice as then I can go straight to cows milk". With ds1 I'd hoped to get to 2 years for the immunity side of things (I'm asthmatic and lots of allergies, and I'd like to spare them that if it's at all in my power)... I admit to having personal squeemishness about still feeding at 3/4 but fully appreciate my views may well change as I get closer!

Anyway, I wasn't feeding at the time in front of him, ds2 had had his feed earlier while they'd been out. Out of the blue he said "are you still slapping that mammary gland in his face?" in a jokey way. I came back with a "well, you know the world average weaning age is around 4 years of age" - rather foolishly, as then it sparked a discussion including my mother of how freaky and disgusting feeding an older child like that is, including some very racist remarks and jokes about Africa which I won't repeat here.

Through all of this I just wanted to scream "FUCK OFF it's none of your bloody business what I decide is the best way to feed my son!" But I kept my cool to keep the peace.

Thing is, it would REALLY upset my mum if there was ANY sign that her boyfriend wasn't accepted (there's already been issues elsewhere in the family because he's so much older than her) - and would cause a serious rift in our relationship. I'm really at a loss as to how to deal with the situation in total, to be honest. Am I blowing it out of all proportion?

suzywong Sun 13-Mar-05 10:25:02

I would have done the screaming F off, I'm afraid. Simple as that.

What a total arse

Freckle Sun 13-Mar-05 10:29:42

I would be tempted to respond to anything you find offensive by simply saying, "I'm sorry, but I find that comment offensive."

You don't have to be aggressive about it, but it is clearly bothering you a lot and therefore it is probably better out in the open. Otherwise you are going to stew about it and, when you do eventually explode, the fall-out will be far greater than if you've let him know previously that you're not happy with his comments/actions.

Blackduck Sun 13-Mar-05 10:30:45

Quiet word with you mum to point out you don't appreciate having your parenting etc. discussed in public by this man?

Next time he makes such a remark say, with a sweet smile 'why do you want to know?'

GeorginaA Sun 13-Mar-05 10:36:02

suzywong: tempting, but I know the MO - same as my late father's... "oh, but I was only joking/teasing" - done in joke format it's very hard to come back against in any way that doesn't advertise the fact that's a sore spot that can safely be "teased" about later...

freckle: you're right, I do have to say something or it's just going to get worse.

blackduck: problem is I just know it'll get passed on with a "don't know why you bother, she never listens" (according to my mother, I don't take constructive criticism well... mainly because she never packages it constructively, but that's a whole other issue...) And to stop every comment on my parenting would mean not an awful lot of speech...!!

GeorginaA Sun 13-Mar-05 10:37:01

PS ... like the sweet smile idea though, may well try that

Blackduck Sun 13-Mar-05 10:41:12

If he says I was only joking/teasing then respond with a 'oh, I must have had a sense of humour bypass then, because I don't find that particularly amusing'.

I think you need, somehow, to make it plain, these issues aren't up for discussion. Change the subject, say 'Oh that's just a boring subject', or go selectively deaf?

Have to admit I'd be in the F**k off camp, but I know it isn't helpful and usually ends up with everyone thinking you've completely lost it...

GeorginaA Sun 13-Mar-05 10:46:29

Yeah, if it was a passing stranger rather than someone who has a huge impact on my life (like it or not) then I'd be in the fuck off camp too.

I think part of the problem is that I've always had such positive feedback about breastfeeding before (ds1 I really struggled with with little support from health visitor/midwives but fed until 8 months) with lots of "well dones" or at least polite ignoring from people around me, that it's thrown me for the loop a bit.

Any thoughts on the first issue?

Socci Sun 13-Mar-05 10:59:04

Message withdrawn

Freckle Sun 13-Mar-05 11:00:53

If he asks to take your son anywhere in future, ensure that it is absolutely clear that he may only take him there and that, if he decides to go somewhere else, then he needs to check with you first. Tbh, if you have any doubts about him (whether with reason or not), I would be tempted to avoid letting him take him anywhere at all.

Have you spoken to your son about what happened before? Does he confirm that it was just a wee?

pixiefish Sun 13-Mar-05 11:07:15

I can understand how you feel about him taking ds1 for a walk but this man is from a different generation to us. He's from a more 'carefree' time and probably thought nothing of what he did. He also maybe feels close to you and your family- maybe a little grandfatherly.

Please don't think I'm defending what he did- I'm just trying to look at it from another angle. Like you I would be going mental but try to see it from his way of living. When he was younger the age was a lot more 'innocent'. Maybe in future your dh should make an excuse to go with them for a walk or something- to avoid any situations rather than getting upset and upsetting your mother.

As for the bfing one then I'm afraid that i'd have told him very nicely that it had fu@k all to do with him

GeorginaA Sun 13-Mar-05 11:19:31

Yes, pixiefish - that's the angle I'm sure it is, but at the same time am wary of not being wary, if that makes sense?! I don't want my son to suffer just out of me being too 'polite' to make a fuss, but neither to I want to get caught up in the nation's current obsession with a paedophile around every corner. How do you find a balance?!

We did check with my son that it was just a wee, and in the past we have tried to make excuses and made sure one of us accompanied with him, but it's getting harder to do. At what point do you end up damaging a grandmother's relationship with her grandchildren because you wouldn't trust your children to go over and stay alone because you couldn't be certain she'd never leave them alone with him? I thought the trip up the garden would be safe because we could see the garden from the house at all times, and even where we couldn't, other houses would be able to.

I'm probably tying myself in knots completely unnecessarily.

Freckle Sun 13-Mar-05 11:23:17

Does this man have children/grandchildren of his own? Not sure why this should make a difference, but I think that, if he has, he was probably acting as he does/did with them.

I can understand why you want to be able to trust this person, but your son's safety is your responsibility and, if you have any doubts, then you have to do whatever is necessary.

GeorginaA Sun 13-Mar-05 11:24:27

He is divorced and his children disowned him and we don't really know why - another thing to add to the "wary" list, really.

lockets Sun 13-Mar-05 11:26:09

Message withdrawn

Freckle Sun 13-Mar-05 11:29:10

Go with your gut feeling. It's too important to be lost under feelings of "not wanting to rock the boat" or "oh I'm being overly cautious", etc.

I once witnessed my MIL's friend punch DS1 (when he was 4) and, when MIL realised that I had seen, she made excuses for him. I knew then that I couldn't trust her to put my children before her friend and, to this day, he has never set foot in my house. Nothing has ever been said, but she knows.

princesspeahead Sun 13-Mar-05 11:32:43

Georgina, I'm a great believer in following your instincts. If your instincts are that you feel a little uncomfortable around him - then follow your instincts and don't allow him to be with your son alone. At least until your son is older, you know the man better, and your son is more able to tell you what goes on. And what is interesting is that is isn't just your instincts that have been raised - it appears to be your dh's too. Go with them. It may be that he will never do anything inappropriate, but you don't owe the man anything apart from common courtesy.

With regards to his comments - I would challenge him on this. I would have said "Slapping my mammaries in his face? Slapping my mammaries? What on earth kind of description of breastfeeding is that?". By repeating stupid comments several times you really underline how stupid they are and will make him feel embarrassed and idiotic. Even if you do it in a slightly joky way. You will also make your mother notice the stupidity without having to either point it out to her, or make a big deal of it. It is a useful technique - repeat and then ask them to justify. Try it next time!

princesspeahead Sun 13-Mar-05 11:35:40

I didn't see your post about the man's children when I posted. I don't think people disown their parents unless they have done something REALLY bad. God knows my dad was a pretty crappy dad, a strange bloke, and I've never really liked him and see/speak to him only 3 or 4 times a year - but I haven't disowned him!!! That would ring serious alarm bells with me...

keep him away from your ds. as I say, you owe him nothing.

noddyholder Sun 13-Mar-05 11:39:43

agree with pph this is your son and if your instincts are trlling you something go with them.It is strange that his kids don't see him at all Is it all of them?Also to even make the mammaries comment is crossing a line IMO my step dad would never talk to me like that and if he did I would think it more than strange

Socci Sun 13-Mar-05 11:49:09

Message withdrawn

GeorginaA Sun 13-Mar-05 12:04:05

The thing is, I don't not like him. I just find his sense of humour difficult to deal with.

I do really think he's been fantastic for my mum, and I don't want to wreck that either.

Am relieved that people think I'm not overreacting, though.

princesspeahead Sun 13-Mar-05 12:09:22

He may well be fantastic with your mum, but you don't have to like or trust him! I wouldn't confront your mum with it, I'd just keep your ds out of his way, pick him up on inappropriate comments when he makes them etc. It wouldn't be a bad thing for him to get the vibe that you are pleased your mum is happy, but you don't think much of him yourself IMO. Then hopefully he will stay out of your way a bit.
Good luck!!

BubblesDeVere Sun 13-Mar-05 12:28:06

GeorginaA, I'm glad your still happy with breastfeeding ds2, unfortunately I wasn't able to feed either of my two.

I totally agree with how you felt when he took your son for a walk without telling you, I would go ballistic if a member of the family took dd1 or dd2 out without asking first.

As for that comment about breastfeeding, I would have been tempted to say something along the lines of 'yes, and if you make comments like that again, I will be slapping my hand in your face'. Who on earth does he think he is?

NomDePlume Sun 13-Mar-05 18:46:22

G, I think you had every right to be concerned on both issues.

As you know, I have the sort of relationship that is very much all or nothing with my Mum. One that requires constant badgering on my part or we'd completely slip off her radar. So I can completely sympathise with it not being so easy just to have a word with your mum about it, as she'd likely just shrug it off.

MB (Mum's boyfriend) had no right to assume it was ok to just wander off with DS1, regardless of any possible dodgy history . I'm not entirely sure of the best way to get the message across in this case, I'm one for crazed hysteria but that doesn't always get the desired result. Sometimes the low-voice-with-obvious-tension-icily-polite approach gets the message across in a far more effective manner. Shouting and bawling fuck off just tends to re-inforce the other person's opinion of total over-reaction. I wish I had better advice. PPH and those who've said similar are right - go with your instincts.

The breastfeeding thing is so totally ridiculous it's almost laughable, YKWIM. He was soooooo out of line to make that comment, jokey or not, it felt like a nasty, sneaky jibe.

He's a moron. I wish I could make it better. You know where I am for whatever, whenever. x

pinotgrigio Sun 13-Mar-05 19:32:54

G, I get the impression that you just don't trust him at all - what else makes you wary of him?

Personally, I don't care what anybody thinks of me as long as I believe I'm doing the best for DD. If people think I'm over the top then tough. Her welfare is more important than other peoples opinions, and I'm completely non-negotiable, even with DH.

If he asks to take DS out again offer to go with them. To your mum it will (hopefully) look like a friendly gesture. If you're worried that it makes you look over-protective, then don't be. Your peace of mind and DS's safety is more important than other peoples opinions.

If you are really worried about him is there any way you could get his background checked? Sex offenders register?

Re the b/f comment, he's ignorant and vulgar. I would have been embarrassed and angry if that comment had been directed at me. I would probably either leave the room (not flouncing) or pointedly not respond to the comment.

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