Is this jealousy?(31 Posts)
my OH and I do not live together and he has one DS. Me and DSS get on great and he really likes me being around, however, I think he doesn't actually see himself as a child, he goes to bed the same time as his parents,(also shares the same bed but that's another story) the only child-child interaction he has is at school otherwise he is surrounded by adults and my OH always askes his DS "permission" before anything happens i.e. is it ok if we have X Y Z for tea to which DS will say no I want something else then doesn't eat it, is it ok if X comes over tonight (me), do you mind if we call in and see X tonight etc etc you get the gist.
So my OH never really mentions me when I am not around, and as far as DSS is concerned I only ever see my OH when DSS is there - he thinks I have popped over once or twice to see my OH when DSS hasn't been there but that's about it.
So anyway it all came to a head one night last week - my OH tries to have his DS as much as he can, he has him once in the week (over night), every evening for 3 hours and then once on the weekend over night or twice on the weekend depending on what the EXW is doing.
So one night this week the EXW wanted to go out and wanted my OH to have his DS overnight. My OH said im sorry I have arranged to go out with X that night (me) so she then had to arrange for a babysitter to have him - DSS then came on the phone to ask why he couldn't go to his dads and my OH said because I am going out with X. DSS got really upset but said ok dad that's fine but was crying.
OH felt really guilty and usually cancels whatever plans he has made to accommodate DS so that he doesn't have to go with the babysitter but this time those plans couldn't be rearranged. So the next morning DS was on the phone bright and early asking what time my OH would be there to pick him up (we were on our way home at that point) and then subsequently rang every 10 minutes crying and wanting to know why he wasn't there to pick him up yet - we had other plans that morning but they then got cancelled so OH could rush back and be with DS.
DS then gave his dad a big speech about how hes not spending enough time with him which obviously made my OH feel very guilty as he spends as much time as he possibly can with him.
SO that evening DSS went home to his mum and told her that he wouldn't be having the usual nights with his dad that week because he wouldn't be there as he was going out with me! That wasn't at all true - we haven't made any plans at all and certainly OH hasn't mentioned anything about going out with me again in the near future.
So OH's exw got on the phone asking why on earth he was cancelling his allocated evenings to be with me and obviously OH denied this. He then spoke to his DS and asked why he said that and DS replied well I thought you would want to go out with X again so I wont bother coming over....
Now if this was a regular occurrence I could understand his point of view but it was ONE evening and it wasn't on the evening that he usually has him anyway it was only because the EXW wanted to go out. In all the time we have been together OH has always cancelled our plans to accommodate DS if the exw has plans to save him having to be with a babysitter so personally I think DSS is acting very unreasonable.
So - from my point of view (and shoot me down if you will) I think DSS is becoming jealous and sees himself as one of the adults and thinks that whenever I'm around he should be around and any going out plans should include him because that's what's happened up to now.
its very difficult approaching this subject with my OH because any suggestion that DSS is purposely playing up I get slammed and an argument starts so I'd rather have some other points of view before I go back in and have this conversation.
I don't have my own children so its very difficult for me to see it from another perspective but I feel that this should be nipped in the bud and somehow DSS needs to know that its ok for his dad to spend time with other people now and again....
How old is your DSS moving? My DSC are still very young and DP and I live together so I can't really help. But didn't want to read and run and it does sound like you're right that discussions needs to take place - between young DP, and separately between your DP, his ex and DSS.
It sounds like your DP is a great dad and doing a good job by his DS, but that some balance could help and a realisation that your relationship doesn't automatically take a back seat.
Things would have to change if you did ever plan to live together so if this is on the cards there are things you can discuss ahead of time to prioritise your DP's time with his DS, alongside your relationship so everyone feels as secure as possible.
Hopefully someone else will come along to help with more practical suggestions.
Thanks - he is 8 but he acts way older than this! probably because he has so much adult interaction and doesn't spend any time playing with other children except for in school...
I just feel that unless something is said now the situation will become worse but what to actually say I don't know.
movingon There seem to be a lot of challenges in your relationship and it sounds like it's very early on - how long have you been together?
Your DP deferring to his DS and giving his DS the responsibility of making decisions for the family is not great -not only can it leave the DC feeling insecure, but it places you firmly at the bottom of your DP's priority list.
There is nothing inherently wrong with your DP choosing to parent in this way, but it may not be compatible with a relationship/marriage with a long-term, equal partner.
I think this gives you the opportunity to think carefully about the role you would like to play in your DPs life long-term, and discuss with him whether he can ofer that, or whether the compromises he would ask you to make to accomodate his DS are too great for you.
Good advice Pretty, as always. OP, it's not great that you say every time you want to discuss this sort of thing it turns into an argument. But your heart is in the right place, sounds like your DPs will be too if he's able to make a few changes to the dynamic and make everyone close to him feel valuable and wanted.
Perhaps if you haven't been together that long and (no idea) if this is his first relationship since he and ex split, and/or he was on his own for a long time, he's struggling with how to balance being a dad with being a partner and that leads to him being defensive. Which is obviously not good. But if you can find out why there might be room for change.
I often read on here about the risks of young DC feeling like they have too much power and control - in your case it's clearly the case - it's scary for them and doesn't bode well for sensible negotiations between parents and children. But your DP is the only one who can change this and you'll need to find out if he's willing to.
He's 8. That's very young. Many only children (i.e. no siblings) only have adult company at school at that age - not sure what you are trying to point out there.
I don't think the boy is playing up. It seems a strange set up if I'm reading it correctly - your BF sees his DS every night for 3 hours? My kids would have found that very disruptive at that age - no time for other activities, time with mum, reading, playing quietly in room etc.
Like so many of these threads, the issue is with your BF not with the boy. This all seems to hinge on one "strop" and your disapproval of the boy's behaviour. (and the strop is understandable, if not justifiable, if he's never left with a babysitter).
Pretty has some good advice. There is nothing inherently wrong with your DP choosing to parent in this way, but it may not be compatible with a relationship/marriage with a long-term, equal partner. There is something wrong for YOU, if DP never wants a partner then fine. But he has to grow up himself if he does!
And so... there are regular arranged nights but ExW wanted an exceptional night - you couldn't make it - she tells DS (why was he even involved at that stage?). You haven't changed any existing times - which if it is 3 hours every evening and one night a week, sounds like at least 70% of the kids 'at home' time - and there is an issue?!
Sounds like both that kids parents are not being grown ups and are fuelling their sons emotions. Kids like knowing what they can expect - a regular arrangement.
He's little. His world has just changed. He is used to seeing his Dad every night for 3 hours and having overnights with him and that's changed. He's reacting to the change, that's all, he's not "purposely playing up".
He is used to seeing his Dad every night for 3 hours and having overnights with him and that's changed
As i read it, that isn't what happened. The Mum asked for the dad to have additional time and the Dad said no, because he was seeing the OP instead. No suggestion that the usual 3 hours was cancelled, just that the Dad said no to an extra night because the Mum wanted to go out somewhere.
It's not unusual for a separated couple to agree "right of first refusal" - that is, if one parent is unable to care for the DC when it has been agreed they will do so, then the other parent is asked if they can care for the child instead. What may have happened is that both the Mum, and the DC, have become accustomed to Dad saying "yes" in those circumstances, and the DC, and possibly the Mum, were taken aback when he said "no".
In this case, it's quite possible that an 8 year DC has had his nose put out of joint because the parent who is always available to him has something else on.
I remember the first time my DD couldnt get hold of her Dad by phone when she called him - he ALWAYS answered the phone to her when she called no matter what time, or what he was doing. If she called, he answered. Then, one day, when she was a little bit older than the DC in the OP, he didn't. She was really cross with him - it was the first time she'd expererienced being anything other than his top priority. She got over it, though!
ok to answer some questions then he has been split from his exw for 3 years and I came on the scene last year although I was introduced slowly as a friend at first and again in DSS eyes my OH only saw me when DSS was around.
When they first split OH would see his DS on two prearranged evenings a week where he would stay over - he didn't see him on the other evenings and that routine seemed to work well, its only this past year that DS has demanded more and more time with his dad and OH has accommodated that by dropping everything and going to collect him. So two pre arranged evenings turned into "ring me when you are bored and I will come get you" so that's turned into every evening.
He doesn't like being at home with his mum for various reasons and he just wants to spend as much time with his dad as he can - he doesn't do reading or have quiet time he just sits on his computer from the minute he gets in from school to the minute his mum decides to go to bed so I think hes just really bored as his mum doesn't interact with him whereas his dad does.
If I come over for the evening DSS involves himself with our conversation and insists I explain everything he doesn't understand in detail - I am not saying there is anything wrong with that whatsoever as he is inquisitive, but it seems I cannot have an adult conversation with OH because DSS feels he has a right to be involved also - is that normal? again I don't know I have never had my own children and my nieces/nephews have never got involved in adult conversation as they aren't interested. if OH needs to discuss something about DSS with me he cant as DSS refuses to leave the room to let us talk.
We have had many of our plans get cancelled due to DSS wanting to see his dad - I have never complained about this although OH could see that I was disappointed but I have never once even so much as suggested that he put me before DS and I would not expect him to but now I am wondering how we can carry on like this - for example me and OH have arranged to go xmas shopping one night next week, (not on an evening that he has DS for the night) if DSS decides he wants to see his dad that evening then OH will have to say no and explain why - I can see that DSS will have another crying episode and either OH will collect him or he may stand firm, I just don't know.
OllyJolly - I think perhaps I came across incorrectly - what I was trying to say is that DSS shows no interest in going to friends houses after school or interacting with other children he just seems to want to be around adults the whole time - I don't remember wanting to be around adults out of choice when I was 8 I wanted to go playing with my friends or doing kids things not sitting with adults.
As others have pointed out he is struggling to keep both of us happy but our relationship is starting to suffer because of this but OH always responds with "I will do whatever I have to do to keep DS happy"
I know all of this probably sounds like I have a real problem with DSS - I don't - its not HIS fault hes like this but I need to say something to OH without it escalating into a row and making it seem like I don't like how much time hes spending with DSS when that's not the case!
As others have pointed out he is struggling to keep both of us happy but our relationship is starting to suffer because of this but OH always responds with "I will do whatever I have to do to keep DS happy"
Your DP is making it clear where you stand in his life, OP - are you willing to accept that the quality and time you spend with your DP will inevitably dictated by his DS?
This isn't the only way that parents date and establish new relationships. Many men and women manage to place equal priority on their DC and their partner. If that is what you want, then it is not an unreasonable expectation, but you may not get it from your current DP, who has made it clear through his words and actions that you will never be equal in his life.
OP it doesn't come across to me that you have a problem with the DSS at all, and after all the kid seems to prefer being with you both than his mum. But both your OH and ExW seem to be allowing the child to feel that his Dad has to be there for him 24/7 - what about work? I presume the child has come to terms with his Dad going to work, and is not 'harmed' in any way from having to accept that limit. So accepting that his Dad may also be out some evenings with his partner is also something that I'm sure DSS would be OK with if his parents show that is normal and OK.
The problem you have is that the parents are not being parents, not showing him the way, and what is your future going to be if you have now time together? My own DSCs were given similar and half of them are finding it difficult to transition into adulthood now, as DP and their mum act like their friends.
You don't sound compatible right now. Your dp parents in a way that isn't working for you right now. If he changes his parenting for you and dss realises it is for you then things could get very difficult.
I have to wonder though, why do you need to have grown up conversations when dss is there? What about when he goes to his mums or to bed.
OK - so to go back to your OP question. "Is this jealousy?" I'd say no. If you think that then you are projecting the problems in this relationship on to an 8 year old boy.
Your OH has to recognise he's the parent and set the boundaries. Part of this is agreeing proper access and contact. It isn't usual for a child not to want to be with a parent; your OH should be exploring why his DS doesn't want to spend time at his mum's. If it's shared care, then it has to be properly shared with both parents working together.
You have choices too, if this guy doesn't have space in his life for you then that's a pretty clear message. Don't allow yourself to become the villain of the piece. But his first responsibility is to his son; that doesn't mean doing everything his son wants.
You are looking at this as two equal individuals vying for the affection of one person. As I see it, it's your OH that is causing the problem, and he has to sort it out.
Well one of the reasons DSS doesn't want to be with his mum is because she doesn't spend any time with him, she is constantly going out because she spends all her spare time with her new partner and if shes not with him shes on the phone to him and DSS doesn't like it.
Well generally OH will discuss things like what has happened that day with DS, for example "he was upset earlier because....." conversations cant happen when he goes to bed because he refuses to go to bed before my OH and they sleep in the same bed so his bedtime has always been the same bedtime as OH.
OH has tried speaking to his exw with regards to her spending more time with DSS but she always denies it and says she spends lots of time with him - she has an answer for everything and you cant argue with people like that. Other than going round and physically taking her phone off her and sitting her down next to DSS there isn't much he can do with regards to her spending time with him.
I think someone hit the nail on the head earlier - DSS has never been told "no" and he has got used to it so I cant blame him for it.
I agree with Olly and for what it's worth my dc would often like to be involved in conversations and it is my job to decide which ones are appropriate for them & which ones aren't. I often tell them it has nothing to do with them! (they are nose) or just don't discuss certain things in front of them.
Seriously, OP, you can't know that unless you are there. Again, I think you are blaming someone else - this time, the boy's mother- for your OH's inability to parent his son. He's 8. He should be able to go to bed on his own at an appropriate time. It's for your OH to make that happen when he's in the OH's care.
Your OH might be the more fun parent, but he still has to manage and parent his son. You're not helping by finding excuses for him.
If she is really that poor a parent, then your OH should be having the son live with him full time. But I'm sure she isn't - I'd bet there will be a mixture of judgement, hearsay and exaggeration. (not saying from you, but from the DS and the OH).
Why does he sleep in the same bed as your OH? Is there no other bed for him to sleep in?
I would take what DSS says about his mum with a pinch of salt, tbh. In my experience, children often say things like that about the other parent!
well yeah I don't know for certain but like you said - I hear things from DSS and from mutual friends of hers.
He sleeps in the same bed as OH because he refuses to sleep in his own bed - he does have his own bed in his own room but he wont go in there he says he's scared that someone is going to come and get him in the night (no idea why he thinks this, nothing has ever happened to him) so OH gives in and lets him sleep in with him..
I think generally my OH wants to do whatever he can to keep DS coming back to him as daft as that sounds I think he's worried that because hes the NRP that he cant just see him whenever he likes and if DS said he doesn't want to see his dad then he wont see him so I guess hes trying to keep him "on side"
Not making excuses for him just trying to work out why he does what he does with DS.
So he's a Disney dad?
The bed time thing is beyond ridiculous. Does he sleep in his mother's bed when her boyfriend is there? What sort of time is he staying up until?
Young children need enough sleep to reach their full potential.
The butting in to adult conversations is nothing to do with being an only child it's a boundary issue.
If this is how he wants to (not)parent his child, all you can do is decide if you can put up with it.
Do you ever want children of your own? If so where do you see them fitting into this dynamic?
Why does dss think his dad only sees you when he's there? Sorry lots of questions, not necessarily to answer here but maybe things to think about?
He's a Disney dad. He's letting an 8 year old dictate his own adult life. That's beyond unhealthy.
Firm boundaries need to be in place including bed times.
I've been through this to a certain extent with my dp always deferring to dsd about things and I pulled him up on it and reminded him that she was a child, I am his partner and there were two other children to consider when deciding things like what we all eat, where we go etc. He's got better but as I have kids of my own and treat them as kids it was becoming an issue with two different ways of parenting.
Either way, i don't want my life run by a child, either my own or someone else's.
I think you are absolutely right. He is jealous in a confuse way. That's because so far, his dad has given him his undivided attention and this is unsettling what he is used to. It is understandable. If his dad in the past always showed to be accommodating, and that was to his DS joy, he must now be confused.
It is great that you get along though and this needs to be encouraged. Your OH really needs to tackle the situation though as otherwise, he is risking upsetting everyone.
Hopefully it is just a phase and once he is reassured that his dad is not ditching him for you and gradually adjust, all will be fine.
I think you would be better off looking for a partner elsewhere, stay with him and this will be he pattern for the future...get out now before it's too late!
Sorry to be so blunt...but there you go!
ok so to answer some more questions - his mums boyfriend doesn't stay over she stays at his therefore the problem of him being in his own bed doesn't bother her. He does tend to stay up late, depends what is happening - if his mum has her friends over for the evening it can be anything up to midnight. He is often up until midnight on a Saturday evening (if OH doesn't have him over).
I lost it a little bit with OH last night as we discussed going on holiday next year so I asked would I therefore have to book a separate room?? he said no you can have the kids bed.. to which I said absolutely no way in this world would I be sleeping in a childs bed whilst DSS sleeps in the double bed with OH! cant believe he thought that was acceptable to be honest!
I then asked the question of how on earth are we ever going to live together/get married/have children if DSS thinks hes going to be sleeping with OH for the rest of his child life??! he just responded with it will sort itself out and that at some point DS will want to be in his own bed... cant see that myself but there we are.
I did manage to have a proper conversation after losing it with him over the holiday last night and OH has said he will stop asking DS permission for everything from now on - he spoke to him this morning and DS asked what was happening that evening and OH said X is coming over for tea and we are having pizza - no asking this time! its a start I suppose...
I don't think this man is your partner. Nor do I see the child as your step son. I see an unhealthy relationship between those two, and you accepting crumbs of what you consider a relationship.
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