New Relationship - Jealous(28 Posts)
I thought I'd ask for your opinion on this tricky situation. Firstly I'm a man in a relatively new relationship (near 4 months).
The relationship is a good one, very loving and supportive. My girlfriend has three children from previous relationship (10,12, and 14) who are great. I also see my little girl at the weekends and days after school (although the children haven't met). All her children accept me and have said they like it when I'm around and also see that their mum is loved and happy.
Just of late though, the youngest of 10 has stated that she's a little jealous despite her having a lot of her mums attention. She's started to kick off at the slightest thing (total meltdown because the heating wasnt on yesterday). She also tries to join in when her mum and I have a hug (like when I walk through the door).
I kind of 'get' where she's at but my question is how best can I support her mum in managing the jealousy and perhaps insecurity of her youngest?
Her youngest and I do chat and we get on really well (as I do with her two other boys); I've also (without interfering) been able to de-escalate her meltdowns when she has said it was ok to talk. My girlfriend called me the child whisperer after lol.
What do you guys think?
It's simple. It's a new relationship and very early days for you to be spending time at her home. When you say 'when I walk through the door' it sounds as if you are living there. I would say the child hasn't had time to adjust to your presence.
Many lone parents don't introduce the dc so early. Its difficult. I am a lone parent and when I was in a new relationship he used to call after the children went to bed and then I would kick him out at about 11pm and did that for a long time.
I would be very sensitive about your behaviour around the dc eg not too much kissing and fussing and hugging around them.
How much time do you spend at your GF's?
Im glad I'm on the right track. I dont live there and stay only occasionally. I've also suggested that we not be too 'huggy' should the children be about and agreed on that. I've also returned to only being there when the children are in bed (unless we have an outing at the weekend when I'm not with my own daughter).
It is a question of balance isn't it? 🙂
It's too soon. Just that really, back off a little, not lots.
I waited 6 months before I really met the kids, stayed for tea, 12 months before sleeping over when they were there.
Also was a bit careful about being too huggy with partner.
But basically, this is all still really new, you and partner are still in loved up what can go wrong stage with each other, but the kids are the most important thing. Too soon!
Wow! Not even four months and you were staying over while they are there? Way too soon. Why did you rush it?
Thanks for the really practical suggestions - it's easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of it all I guess and hindsight is a wonderful thing. I'm keen to make sure the kids are ok and not unwittingly sabotage something really special
My DD was a bit like that sometimes, as was my DH's youngest DD (and still is sometimes!) I think the main thing is not to be too physical in front of them, as that's the thing that seems to provoke most jealousy - eg hugging or sitting closely on the couch. DSD will still sometimes squeeze herself between us (she's 15 now, and bigger than me!) but it's fine, she's still her daddy's baby, and DH and I can have a cuddle later. Some verbal reassurance is good too, to confirm how special they are to you.
I also think it's fine to introduce you to the kids early on - and as a single mum of 3 including teens would imagine it would have been hard to do otherwise without outright lying to the kids. DH met mine after a few weeks, and I met his after 2 or 3 months - the relationship seemed like it would be serious and I'm of the view that you can't really know how a relationship would go with someone who's a parent until you've seen them with their children.
I don't think 4 months is necessarily "far too soon" it depends on many factors, you can't just say outright that it's "too soon"
I don't think 4 months is too soon. I met four of my mum's boyfriends and was absolutely fine with it. I was a needy kid, and struggled with the divorce etc, but that part was fine. They were all really nice to me and were probably only around at weekends.
I also think it's fine to introduce you to the kids early on - and as a single mum of 3 including teens would imagine it would have been hard to do otherwise without outright lying to the kids.
Why would you need to lie to avoid introducing a new boyfriend early on?
I think there's a difference between someone coming in and being part of a 'family' rather than just 2 people sorting out a relationship and where its going. Not saying the OP has done it wrong - just that I feel anyway that 4 months in seems to be quite a new point in the relationship and to be a bit wary of getting too involved with the family side.
In my case, it was waiting 6 months because it was all v new to the kids their parents being divorced (amicably) and switching between houses etc - I didn't want to clod hop in and also wanted to make sure myself that I wanted to take this on - and it wasn't just a needy DH desperate for someone to take over the 'mum' role - which wasn't going to happen. The kids know I existed, that their dad was going out with me, had met me but we took it slowly with them.
The OPs situations sounds much more settled but I don't thinks its a bad idea to hold onto that 4 months together isn't long!
I don't think it's too soon to be staying over, but it is too soon to be spending a lot of your 'courting' time with the children around, especially hugging etc. Keep that time with the kids really short and allow plenty of time for her to have her kids on her own and try and keep to the background a bit for a while. That way you will show the kids that you respect their mums relationship with them.
My DPs youngest daughter, my DSD was around the same age and very jealous but also very insecure when we first met. She'd seen a few other GFs come and go and didn't know whether to invest in her fathers new relationship.
Why would you need to lie to avoid introducing a new boyfriend early on? - because your kids will be curious and want to meet them if they're aware you have a new GF/BF.
because your kids will be curious and want to meet them if they're aware you have a new GF/BF.
Well some kids might. But even if they do, thats where you as an adult and parent who has a bit more life experience says "yes it would be nice for you to meet him/her, but i would like to make sure he is a really special person before bringing him into your lives and its too soon to know yet." Or do your kids' whims dictate such massive life changes?
i would like to make sure he is a really special person before bringing him into your lives is one way of doing things. But I think it's equally valid to introduce someone after a month or two, as a new GF/BF having explained to your kids that you'd like them to meet them, but that it's still early days in the relationship. You're not saying "here's your new stepdad", you're introducing a new important friend of yours who're they're likely to meet at least in passing - eg if he's round in the evening, picks you up to go out somewhere, etc.
you're introducing a new important friend of yours who're they're likely to meet at least in passing - eg if he's round in the evening, picks you up to go out somewhere, etc.
Thats disingenuous. It isnt a new important friend. It is a new love interest who has the potential to become a new parental figure that could be living in their home. Call it what it is. Kids arent stupid. If you are introducing them as a new friend then you are choosing to lie to your DC, yet still opting for an early introduction
The difference in views just magnifies the fact that this is always a tricky situation with no real set answers. I think the holding back of or reducing open displays of affection is probably the best idea. The boys are great but her daughter is probably finding it more difficult. Sensitivity and communication are the order of the day it seems.
I wasn't suggesting that you didn't make it clear the new friend was a BF/GF (unless your kids are very young), just that initially they are not a new step parent. A BF/GF is just a type of friend, which your DC meet because they're a part of your life. Children cope with teachers who take a new class at the end of the year, nanies and childminders who move on, and other friends of yours who may be playing football with them one day and then head off for a new job in the States the next. They can cope perfectly well with meeting mum's new BF and accepting him as "mum's new BF", nothing more nothing less. If you decide to move in together, that's a whole different issue and you'd discuss it further with your DC but that would usually be a lot further down the line.
Yes, OP, just don't be too physically affectionate in front of her I think. And allow her to cuddle up to her mum when she feels like it, even if she does suddenly feel the need for it every time you're around.
Agree with Pp's, it is quite soon. Just take it slow
Also just out interest, do you see it as a problem when she tried to join in your cuddles? Because my DSS is 6 years old and any time DH and I hug when he is around, he will join in. EVERY time. But I think it's lovely. I have a great relationship with him and don't see it as jealousy, I see it as him feeling a part of our family unit - he sees it as us 3 against the world. I know he will grow out of wanting to cuddle as he gets older so I'm making the most of it! Maybe try looking at it that way? You can have your one-on-one cuddles after the kids are in bed! What's wrong with her wanting to join in?
There was no problem with joining the cuddle in fact it was really cute and it was encouraged by both of us however I could tell there was more to it. It was just one of the signs that perhaps all might not be 100% in her world and I wanted to get some ideas and perspectives as all three come as part of the package and I care about getting it right.
As far as her cuddles with her mum are concerned, I'd never dream of becoming between them or pushing in.
Good advice all round
OP from your PoV, I think it's quite important that you finds out what kind of parent your g/f is, and whether you are compatible, before you get too deeply involved in the relationship.
The only way to do this is to share time with her while she is parenting and that means you spending some day to day time with her DD.
But, you and your g/f might want to consider a different approach to the situation you are experiencing. Rather than trying to avoid behaviour that your g/f DD finds difficult to cope with, why not help her DD develop coping strategies to manage her uncomfortable feelings?
We are all very quick as adults to protect DCs from certain feelings - yet, they need the skills to cope with those feelings as adults.
Jealously is a natural and healthy emotion to experience. It's likely that your g/f DD would feel jealous whether you'd been together a week or 10 years. The role of a parent, imo, is to help a DC identify, articulate and manage their reaction to that feeling - not change the DCs environment so they never feel it.
There are lots of resources online to help parents teach their DCs about emotions - and your g/f could ask her DDs School if they recommend a particular model or programme that they use in class.
I don't think it's too soon either. I introduced my DP to my DCs quite soon as it just happened naturally. We could have waited but TBH, waiting until your relationship is really serious then introducing them, only to find they don't get on, is a recipe for disaster. Making sure that everyone likes each other (or realising that they don't) is an important factor in new partnerships.
I've been with my DP 3 years, he spends half his time here and half at his house with his DCs. My ds (11) is quite cuddly and often barges in our cuddles, jokingly proclaiming "MY mummy" and DP will retaliate "no, she's MY mummy!". They make a joke of it and ds knows he is very loved and gets on really well with DP, so I don't think it's anything to worry about. DD (9) will also sneak in between us when we hug and she leaps on DP when he comes in the door.
Remember that even when mum and dad are still together, DCs get jealous and have stronger bonds with one or the other, wanting only that parent to deal with them and barging in on cuddles between them or with other siblings.
As with a first marriage, if the DCs know they are loved and secure they will be fine. If they like the new partner, then keep it in perspective, be affectionate to each other and make sure they know that they can't get in between you and literally split you up, that you are a strong couple, then they will know that your partnership is solid and they can rely on you. They have already lived through a break up, knowing that this new set up can't be rocked by a mis-timed hug is important.
I can't add anymore than has been discussed.
But I did want to say how lovely, kind and genuine you sound OP.
I hope all works out well for you.
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