Jump to content

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?


  • Please log in to reply
89 replies to this topic

#1 paula1

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.

Wdyt?

Edited by paula1, 26 February 2013 - 09:06 PM.


#2 paula1

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.

#3 amaza

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.

#4 Sentient Puddle

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.

#5 paula1

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.


#6 librablonde

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.

#7 paula1

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.


#8 MrsSmith247

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?

#9 paula1

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.

#10 BeYOUtiful

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.

#11 paula1

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!



#12 Mishu

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  biggrin.gif

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.

#13 Mpjp is feral

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.


#14 kpingitquiet

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.

#15 paula1

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.





#16 ellebelle

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.

#17 Oriental lily

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.

#18 Tikiboo16

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.

#19 paula1

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!

#20 Maple Leaf

Posted 25 February 2013 - 09:29 AM

How is he with his own daughter?

Does he have little interest in her as well?


#21 Mishu

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  biggrin.gif

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.



#22 paula1

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.

#23 paula1

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.


#24 Escapin

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.

#25 YodaTheWrinkledOne

Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:33 AM

QUOTE (paula1 @ 25/02/2013, 07:18 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
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.

Wdyt?

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)




1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users

 

What you need to know about ovulation tests

Most people who are trying to get pregnant know that the best time to conceive is in the few days after ovulation.

Surviving a miscarriage at sea

A cruise with your family is among the most absurd settings for a miscarriage, but it is certainly not the worst.

Mum of three denied tubal ligation because she's 'too young'

A 22-year-old woman who is pregnant with her third child has had her requests for a tubal ligation denied because doctors believe she is too young.

Slapped cheek syndrome a danger for pregnant women

When a pregnant woman is infected, the likelihood that her foetus will be infected is about 50 per cent.

The signs and symptoms of ovulation

If you're hoping to conceive, one of the most important things you need to know about is ovulation.

We all know 'mum guilt' - but what about 'dad guilt'?

I remember the first time I felt mum guilt, within days of having my first child. The feeling was so intense I rang my own mum to debrief, hoping she'd tell me I wouldn't feel this way very often.

Kristen Bell urges mums to be their own superhero

When it comes to motherhood, actress Kristen Bell is her own superhero and she thinks other mums should be too.

Pram review: GB Pockit travel stroller

In a world of ever-shrinking gadgets, it's no surprise prams are getting smaller. We put the record-holding GB Pockit through its paces.

The beautiful Bombol Bouncer is back

The gorgeous Bombol Bouncer is back - and boasts two chic new colours to boot.

Gadgets and accessories for wine lovers

Looking for a gift for the wine lover in your life - or just something for yourself?

Free ticket offer

Pinky Mckay joins us again at the Essential Baby & Toddler Show presented by Blackmores with her expert baby settling advice. Register now for your free ticket.

The adventure doesn't have to stop: here's how to travel with baby

The best part about our outdoor adventures? It makes my husband and I better parents, since we're happier while adventuring.

Woman crashes car to save mum and baby's life

A good samaritan saved a mother and baby from being seriously injured by crashing her own car into theirs.

Should you tell your boss about your postnatal depression?

Returning to work after having a baby can be daunting, and when you're experiencing postnatal depression or anxiety it can seem even more overwhelming.

TV noise can slow toddler word learning, study finds

Background noise from the radio or TV might be making it harder for your toddler to learn learn new words.

Teresa Palmer on her molar pregnancy and 'unsexy' conception

Teresa Palmer is basking in pregnancy glow as she awaits the arrival of her new baby.

 
Advertisement
 

Top 5 Articles

Advertisement
 
 
 

What's hot on EB

For the festival lover in all of us

Pre-book & Save 50%. Get your tickets now for Kidtopia Festival. 7-9 October 2016 Parramatta Park, Sydney.

Why drinking water can be deadly for babies

H2O is one of the necessities of life, but for babies a seemingly harmless amount of water can be fatal.

5 ways having a baby is different when you have older children

So much parenting advice is geared towards having your first baby, but what's it like having a baby when you already have children?

You can now make your own plush Falkor

Fans of The NeverEnding Story – of which there are certainly plenty – went crazy for these plush Falkors when they first went on sale last year.

Baby steps

10 things that will actually happen after having a baby

I thought I had prepared myself for motherhood. Then my baby girl arrived and knocked everything flat.

Having a baby: expectations vs reality

People love to warn you about what to expect when having a baby, but they can be way off when it comes to the reality.

Are we having fun yet? Thinking positively as a parent

Motherhood is wonderful ... except when it sucks.

The adorable smile of a baby seeing his mum clearly for the first time

There is no doubt seeing their child smile for the first time is an unforgettable moment for parents everywhere.

When breastfeeding doesn't go with the flow

Breast is best, except when it's not. And in our case, it most definitely wasn't.

'If you don't vaccinate your kids you're a bloody idiot'

The photos are heartbreaking and almost too difficult to look at, but Kayley Burke is begging other parents to take notice.

Why pregnant women should eat chocolate

In news that will make expectant mums jump for joy - and reach for a block of Cadbury - scientists have revealed chocolate could provide health benefits during pregnancy.

The baby born with an incredible head of hair

If you're in any way challenged in the follicle department, prepare to feel a jolt of envy - at a two-month-old baby.

The push for Medicare to fund lactation consultants

While meeting with a lactation consultant can make an enormous difference to a new mother, it's not a service that is available through the public health system.

Parents, this is how to cut grapes to avoid choking

One mum has learnt a harrowing lesson about the best way to cut grapes to make it safe for toddlers and little kids to eat.

Three truths about C-section mums

Lately I've been thinking about the caesarean stories and the brave women who birth their children with strength and beauty.

Help! My baby will only sleep in my arms

It's stressful to be the one who is holding your baby most of the day, but it's even more stressful to wonder, 'am I doing something wrong? Or am I creating bad habits?'

 

Free ticket offer

Essential Baby & Toddler Show - Sydney

The Essential Baby & Toddler Show, presented by Blackmores, will be held in Sydney on 23-25 September. Register for your free ticket now to save $20!

 
Advertisement
 
 
Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.