What are your expectations of your partner's relationship with your kids? Update
If you don't live together and may not for many years?
, Feb 25 2013 07:18 AM
89 replies to this topic
Posted 25 February 2013 - 07:18 AM
I've been with my partner for over 2 years now.
I have two kids aged 6 and 8 and there still is no real bond/connection between them and my partner.
They seem to like him and enjoy having him around but they don't really see him very often.
He says he likes them but it seems like a strained effort when he interacts with them or maybe like he doesnt know how to interact ...although he has a daughter. He's of course pleasant to them etc. but it's obvious to me that there is no sincere interest.
I'm not planning on living with him as its totally impractical as his child goes to another school and we're in different areas. This would only happen when our kids are older if it were to happen.
If we are not going to live together would this be something that would concern you? I sometimes expect more as I'd like my boys to have a positive relationship with my partner regardless of whether we live together or not.
Edited by paula1, 26 February 2013 - 09:06 PM.
Posted 25 February 2013 - 07:19 AM
Also I didn't introduce him to my sons for about 4 months so it wasn't until then that I noticed this.
Posted 25 February 2013 - 07:30 AM
My partner and I have been together 2 years and don't live together. We do intend to very soon though.
However, he is brilliant with my children. If he wasn't I wouldn't be with him. My DS1 and he had a bit of a strained/forced relationship to start with and it was difficult to see. He wasn't unkind to DS1 but it was obvious that he was much more relaxed around DS2 and DS2 was much more comfortable with him from the very beginning. I wondered if they would ever really get where they are without the forced kindness and knew that I would end the relationship if they couldn't. It was too hard to watch them interact in that way. Luckily a chat to DS1 made him relax a bit around DP and their relationship has grown in leaps and bounds. DP is still probably closer to DS2 but DS1 and DP are quite relaxed now and the friendliness between them is natural. Love has blossomed between DP and DS1 and 2 and it's lovely that they have another male figure in their lives to look up to and rely on.
Your DP may not feel comfortable because he isn't around as much? My DP only got more comfortable with my children in the past year because he has been around them and their activities much more. At first I kept him away from the children because I didn't want to cause confusion for the children and didn't want to have DP around constantly without being sure he was who I wanted to build my life with.
You have posted this before haven't you? A few times? You seem hung up on it a bit. My advice is that if you aren't comfortable with the way he is interacting with the children you may need to have a chat to him? Sorry if I have the wrong person but your username and story is familiar.
Posted 25 February 2013 - 07:32 AM
I also remember you posting this before, or someone with a near identical story. If it was me it would be an absolute deal breaker for me - if after a few years your partner was not really connecting on any level with my children.
Posted 25 February 2013 - 07:36 AM
Yes amaza i have mentioned this before.
It's a hard situation because he's actually a great guy, he has many of the qualities that I want in a man but this one missing thing is a big deal.
It's not that he's doing anything wrong by them or me.
Posted 25 February 2013 - 07:50 AM
Honestly? If my DP didn't love my kids and wasn't patient, kind and genuinely interested in them then it'd be a deal breaker for me. Instantly.
Posted 25 February 2013 - 08:00 AM
I just wonder how realistic this is, to find a partner who has an amazing relationship with my children. I've never been in a situation like this.
Posted 25 February 2013 - 08:16 AM
The relationship wouldn't necessarily be amazing from the get-go, but you would assume that after 2 years there would be some level of connection past just being pleasant.
If he hasn't made an effort to foster a relationship with your kids thus far, you'd have to wonder if he ever will. Does he want to be a part of your family or just your boyfriend?
Posted 25 February 2013 - 08:27 AM
He does want to be a part of my family. He gets invited to all of my family events etc.
I just get the impression that he's clueless in regards to my kids.
I've spoken to him about this numerous times and he's very well aware of how I feel.
I think a genuine interest to be a part of my boys lives is either there or it's not.
Posted 25 February 2013 - 08:33 AM
You introduced them after only 4mths? Wow, no way I would be doing that with my child/children.
I think you need to speak with him about it. It is not easy being a step parent, maybe he is treading carefully/slowly.
2yrs in a blended family situation is not a long time, especially for kids after having been through parents separating/divorce.
Posted 25 February 2013 - 08:41 AM
I only introduced him as a friend and we went to a park. There's NO WAY he would be staying the night this early with my boys in the house!
Posted 25 February 2013 - 08:42 AM
My DH and I have been together for 4 1/2 years and he treats DS (who is almost 7) as his own. We have lived together for 2 years now, and I would say that it took him a while to 'find his feet' so to speak with regard to DS - he was always interested in him, but moreso he needed time to get the swing of being a parent (DH has no children of his own). Now, he helps me with DS's homework, disciplinary matters, schooling, sports, medical issues, you name it. He took DS to hospital once when DS's hernia flared up and I was working interstate. He takes him to the park, fishing (of his own accord, I don't have to ask) and they play together - the tickling/wrestling matches that go on in this house
DH geniunely loves my DS and DS adores him. I am extremely fortunate that I found such a great man. His family have been incredibly welcoming of DS since day one. DS is treated the same as all the other grandchildren at Christmas, Easter etc.
Would I have married him if he had not been so great with DS? If you had asked me before I met DH, I probably would have said yes, that I wouldn't have expected a step-parent to love my child, just to treat him well and care for him. Now, having experienced what a wonderful father figure DH is to DS, I don't think I would want to shortchange DS is any way. I think kids sense when people are genuinely interested and love them. DS is so utterly confident in DH's love for him, I know that anything less than that would not have been good enough.
It took time to get to this point, but I knew from the start that we would get there, that it was only a matter of time. I think you need to critically evaluate your relationship and decide what is more important - the relationship you have with a partner (which is fine, our lives can't be about our children, eventually they will grow up and lead their own lives) or the relationship you all have as a family unit.
Posted 25 February 2013 - 08:43 AM
I wonder how many of the replies here are from people who have no experience in a) being single with children and b) having a new partner being a part of those children's lives.
It is so complex, and so individual. We've had a councelling over this - with a couple of different councellors, and one of my besties is a family therapist with a special interest in belnded family issues.
I'd suggest some councelling so you can get your head around what you expect, what is realistic, what is OK, and what is not. This is going to differ family to family and situation to situation.
My family therapist friend says that her base line is that you can expect
nothing more than a trusted 'babysitter' type relationship between a step parent and chlld (expect - not to say that more than that is not possible etc). She also believes that to demand that your partner 'loves' your kids is unrealistic. It your case your bf isn't your kids step parent - so maybe HE is confused about what role heshould play in your kids lives. And what you expect etc.
We are married, with a child of our own, the girls Dad is very much their other parent (as opposed to having an absent father) etc so our situation is totally different from yours, so no point in sharing the details of our expereince...but I think yuo need to sort this out in your own heads before you decide whether something is ok or not - and you may need help doing that.
Edited by meplainjanebrain, 25 February 2013 - 08:44 AM.
Posted 25 February 2013 - 08:49 AM
My stepdad was a confirmed bachelor in his early 40s when he and mom started dating. I met him within the first year and he was amazing from day-1, though hesitant about being a stepdad. He loved kids but had zero experience with tiny ones (I was nearly 3 when they first dated). They dated for 4 years, not living together, before both were fully prepared for instant-family-just-add-water. He has always been just as much a father to me as my real dad. He and mom have now been married over 25 years.
I also had a stepmother who never liked me, played favorites hardcore with my eventual half-sister, and treated me like something between a nuisance and a servant. It's soul-destroying. She and dad split up, thankfully, when I was 13. I have no doubts her treatment of me was a large factor, though it took lots of years and long-term scars for that to sink in for dad and it took awhile for he and I to repair our own relationship.
Two extremes, but that's my perspective as a kid of re-partnered parents.
Posted 25 February 2013 - 08:54 AM
Thanks guys, mpjb you're so right, this is complex and I hear many people saying that if their partner doesn't adore their child then it's not good enough etc. but I personally don't think this is realistic.
Mishu, I also feel that I don't want to shortchange my boys as they are worthy of more. They have a father that they see regularly so I don't expect him to be a father.
It's really a hard situation because he's not in the relationship for my kids. Kids will grow up one day but I want them to have fond memories of their childhood and this includes mummy's partner. I don't want them to get to adulthood and not have a relationship with my partner or not really have much to do with him.
Posted 25 February 2013 - 09:02 AM
I have felt like an obligation to my step-mother for the 30 years I have known her. She has always been pleasant enough but showed little interest in my sister and I - probably enough to keep my Father happy. My sister has felt the same.
As a stepmother myself, I appreciate the difficulties and nuances of the situation.
I would say if you have no intention of moving in together in the immediate future just keep seeing each other without the kids being around and see how things fly.
Posted 25 February 2013 - 09:09 AM
I think you and your kids are a package deal.
Different when they become adults though.
Op I think it comes down to your expectations of this relationship. If you want a friend and someone you can socialize and be intimate physically with then this situation sounds fine.
Or in other words a 'friends with benefits'
If you want a deeper more committed relationship that you can your fears snd hopes for the future with, someone you know will be there for you and you kids through thick and thin. Someone who can help raise your children with their help and advice. A male role model.
Then yes I think he needs to have an even BETTER interaction with the children than he haves even with you.
They need to connect.
Because blended families are hard. But even harder if someone within the reationship as no emotional investment in members of that family.
Posted 25 February 2013 - 09:16 AM
I agree with MePlainJaneBrain... It's a lot to expect a partner to really genuinely love your children the way you do. That's not to say that it can't happen... but in my experience, it isn't a common thing. It's equally unfair to expect your child to love your partner the way they would love a parent... but we are a lot more forgiving if a child doesn't display a lot of affection to a partner, than the other way around. I think you need to set your expectations at a realistic point and work on integrating your partner more into your family life.
Posted 25 February 2013 - 09:26 AM
If he is coming to my family events and is involved with me, I have an expectation that there will be a relationship with my boys and a genuine interest in them. Otherwise what is he?
I'm certainly not interested in a friend with benefits!
Posted 25 February 2013 - 09:29 AM
How is he with his own daughter?
Does he have little interest in her as well?
Posted 25 February 2013 - 09:35 AM
OP, my situation is a little different, in that my ex (DS's father) has little interest in him. I cannot, for the life of me, understand why but there it is. So DH has really become the father figure for DS. In fact, at dinner the other night, DS and DH were chatting and DS said to DH (unprompted by either of us) "You're my real dad". DH has always been clear to acknowledge my ex's role in DS's life, that DS has his first dad (my ex) and that he (my DH) is his second dad. But kids are smart. DS knows who is more interested in him, takes time to do things with him, and doesn't see him as a nuisance. The love he has for DH is genuine, we hear from his teachers and other parents about how much DS talks about DH. The presents he made for father's day last year were for DH, and when I asked DS if he wanted to see his dad or call him, he said he didn't.
So, for me, having that real love for my DS is important. I wanted DS to have a real father. Ironically, I had to divorce his dad and marry DH for that to happen. DH even comments that his role in this life was to raise DS.
I was also a step-mother to my ex's children from his first marriage, so I have experience from that perspective. It can be hard, but I didn't try to force things. At the start, I was probably more fond of ex's children than anything else, but I was also clear to them that I wasn't their mum, I was just Mishu. It was difficult at times, and draining. But I grew to love them though not in the same intense way I love DS. But I still see my DSS (who is now 15) and who still comes over to my family's christmas dinner. DSS even drops in to see my parents with his mates every now and then
My mother also remarried when I was 18/19 so I have had a step-dad for just over half my life. He has been very welcoming and caring, though the relationship between him and my sister is very strained. I care and love him, but I see him with objective adult eyes and he has his flaws. Whereas I see mum with a daughter's eys - I see her flaws and issues but I love her deeply anyway. My feelings about being a step-child are different to how my sister experienced things. And these issues can stay with you in life.
Blended families are hard. There is no right or wrong way of going about it. I have had a bit of experience from all different perspectives, which is why I know I am so blessed with the relationship between DH and DS. You can't expect it to happen, but if that it what you desire, and the person who you are with has different expectations, then you need to weigh things up. You need to decide how important it is to you - and is being without your partner less appealing than having him in your life but not interacting with your children in a manner than you wish.
Posted 25 February 2013 - 09:38 AM
He's ok with his own daughter. A bit clueless with discipline and can get easily frustrated.
Gives in to her as its easier but now he's paying the price as her behaviour is a bit of a problem.
He plays with her and throws her around etc but not with my boys.
It just seems like its an effort for him to interact with them and doesn't seem to know what to say which is hard to watch.
Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:04 AM
I can sense that my boys want more from him. Just some if the things that he says to them makes him sound really clueless.
My son is 8 and he asks him the same questions "what's your fave subject at school" I think they should be a bit beyond that by now. My boys like hi 5's and a bit of mucking around etc.
It is a big issue for me as I don't feel that we could go forward even living apart.
The thought of all of us going away makes me anxious, even going on a day trip in the same car would make me tense. As he really is clueless with my boys and It's a turn off to see it.
I do love my partner but he doesn't spend that much time with all of us as a group. So it's easy to sweep this issue under the rug but it will always be there.
Edited by paula1, 25 February 2013 - 10:13 AM.
Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:21 AM
Maybe he could take each of your kids individually for a day and do something fun to give him a chance to develop a relationship. You say that the idea of a day trip is stressful - maybe your anxiety about it is a bit obvious and your partner is trying to not overstep any boundaries.
Or you could ask your kids to write down (assuming they are old enough!) something that they would like him to START doing, something they would like him to STOP doing, and something that he does now that they would like him to KEEP doing. Might be a bit artificial but also might start to get the communication going?
Good luck OP, sounds like you're in a tricky situation.
Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:33 AM
If we are not going to live together would this be something that would concern you? I sometimes expect more as I'd like my boys to have a positive relationship with my partner regardless of whether we live together or not.
Yes. I would like my partner to be positively engaged with my kids, to take an active interest in what they are doing and to keep on tops of what's going on in their lives. If this isn't happening after 2 years, I would be seeing a big red flag flapping furiously.
If you haven't done much together with the kids, start doing that, even if you start off small - an afternoon at the beach, going out for lunch and a movie, etc. Once they start sharing some experiences together, maybe your partner will start to be more engaged with your kids.
Do you do much with your partner's daughter? Do you all do stuff together? (you, you boys, your partner and his daughter)
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