My boyfriend for over two years and I had both been divorced for several years before getting together.
I have no children. He has two children so must have contact with the ex. She has a boyfriend whom no one likes.
My boyfriend says, “there’s nothing I can do about it.”
The ex now says she cannot handle their son, so he’s living with his father full-time. I’m also at the house full-time though I’m still paying rent on my apartment.
I’m with this man and his child 24-7 (that’s not a complaint). His ex has their daughter for her share of the time.
I’m deeply concerned about the impact of the mother’s relationship on us all. The children won’t say WHY they don’t like the mom’s boyfriend.
Their daughter said, "I can't tell Mom I don't like him" because she says her mom is mentally unstable.
Perhaps my boyfriend should try to get full custody of the children until the mom can get it together!
I’m happy to provide as stable an environment as I can with my boyfriend, for the kids.
Would it be crazy for me to suggest that we should actually live together, providing a healthy relationship example and home environment for the children?
We’re committed to each other, but haven’t had "the talk" about what our relationship may be in the future (an engagement, marriage, etc.)
I either want to be ALL IN, or I need to be out.
I’m basically raising one child as his "mother," yet his dad has said nothing about me being a "wife," too.
I feel that if we get engaged and provide that stability for the kids while Mom’s off with her boyfriend in whatever dreamland she lives, we’d all be better off. Am I wrong?
In a Hot Mess
You’re more in a hurry than in a mess.
Though I appreciate that you’re giving a lot of time and caring to your boyfriend’s son, it’s a bad idea to use a period of upheaval between kids of divorce and their mother, as a way to rush your relationship into engagement and marriage.
It doesn’t help to call their mother “the ex” and accept a young girl’s opinion that her mom is “mentally unstable.”
Since you have an apartment, and the boy likely goes to school, it’s unclear why you have to be living there 24-7.
If it’s your choice, that’s fine. But that doesn’t make it the springboard for marriage.
Your boyfriend needs to think through all that’s involved in seeking full-time custody – especially how it affects him and the children, and their mother’s likely reaction.
Two years together has developed your relationship. But two months during a big family change – for the boy, his mother, his sister, you and their father – calls for stabilizing the situation, not planning a wedding.
Meanwhile, the issue of the mother’s boyfriend needs watchful concern, not a brush-off from their father.
In a quiet talk with his son, or if needed, through taking him to counselling, it’s important to gently probe whether the children have a worrisome reason for their dislike.
Their dad also needs to cautiously explore further with his daughter what she means about her mother’s mental “instability.” It may be a typical adolescent barb, or something significant that needs to be known.
Give this situation time to settle. No need yet for you to be constantly All IN, nor for being OUT either.
FEEDBACK Regarding a mother’s account of the rupture with her adult daughters (May 10):
Reader – “The fact that both daughters completely cut her off indicates more significance to them than what she describes as "mistakenly” keeping their divorced dad’s letters to them for years.
“He was likely trying to reach out, to let them know that he loved them, or how to get in touch with him, which they absolutely deserved to know.
“This mom assumed that because she no longer loved her ex-husband, his children didn't need to love him either.
“She denied them the right to draw their own conclusions about their father. She appears utterly ignorant of the depth of suffering that caused them, even now.
“Mothers and fathers alike should know that this scenario is a very common outcome. As adults, alienated children tend to seek out the erased parent and cool or cut off their relationship with the interfering one.”
Tip of the day:
Don’t use a crisis affecting a divorced partner’s children, as the opportunity to push for marriage.