Dating a part time Dad, please help - FamilyEducation
Dating a part time Dad, please help
01/01/2008 at 21:41 PM

I began dating a part time father about 5 months ago. This is the first time I've dated someone with a child. His son is 9 and stays between the mother's, the grandparents (my boyfriend's parents) and the father's (my boyfriend). My boyfriend and his son's mother dated breifly 10 years ago and were never married.

I have recently been allowed by the mother to be around the child, the first time being Thanksgiving. Since then, I've spent time with my boyfriend and his son, but never staying over night.  The child is a bit shy, but definetly likes me a lot. He warmed up to me instantly.

The problem is, when I'm told, "no you can't stay over tonight", or "I have to cancel plans because I'm keeping my son tonight" I get filled with an emotion that I have a hard time describing. It's somewhere between jealousy and resenment, I guess. But when I have this feeling, it's immediately haulted by the fact that it's a child I'm feeling this way towards. I feel like my emotions are null and void because I'm an adult capable of dealing with things, and he is a child, still growing and developing. 

How do I deal with this feeling? I love the father very much, and I really enjoy spending time with his son. I am ready to take the relationship forward and move in with my boyfriend, but I know this isn't a reality, because I'm not sure about the effect it would have on his son. My boyfriend is very apprehensive about me staying overnight anytime in the near future, because he'd have to clear it with the mother and he's worried how it may affect the child.

Where are the lines drawn? What is an acceptable time length to date a part time dad before you move in together? Is it too much of a risk that my boyfriend and I may eventually breakup? How do I balance my own needs with those of the childs?  Would it really be so bad for the child to see what a healthy functioning adult relationship looks like? Any advice on this matter would be greatly appreciated.

Nothing to you but it seems like if the father would stay with one person then no problem would be created like this. See what most poeple doesn't realize is that it doesn't affect the parents it affects the child right? If the mother is okay with u seeing the child then maybe spend more time with him more so that way you don't feel the way u do. I know it is hard to not say anything to ur boyfriend about spending time together but.. maybe just get a little more info on his background. I mean if he wants to spend time with his child Nobady should interact with that. Because look at this world 78% if that steps up to the plate and takes responsibility for thier child. I don't want to seem like i'm trying to throw you out the picture but u really shouldn't be so mad if he spends time with his child. If he only has a part time job then were is all of his spear time going to besides spending it with his child?


Is Dad afraid of commitment? Why would the father have to get permission from the mother. If Dad has court ordered time with his son, it is Dad’s time and the mother should not dictate what he does or who he does it with. Unless there is something specifically written in the parenting plan stating that the father needs permission from the mother as to who the child is around, I would say that it is Dad’s decision. If Dad does not have a parenting plan, shame on him. It is in his best interest to have this in place.

If there is a parenting plan in place , and restrictive language is not contained in it, I would say Dad is using this as a way to slow things down. Does Dad have say as to who can be around his son while at the mothers? I don’t have that right with my ex, and I have custody, and sole decision making.

You are obviously in love with this man, and ready to move forward. Dad needs to act like a man, and make a decision. This tap dancing around to appease the mother works for no one, but the mother. On the other hand if Dad is using this as a way to slow things down , he needs to quit playing games and just come out and be honest.


Those of you who are familiar with me know what I'm going to say.  The chaos that is generated in children's minds when people are having sexual relations without a commitment is detrimental to the psychological well-being of the children.  And anybody who says "we're committed, but we just aren't married" is delusional.  I absolutely applaud your boyfriend.  He values his son's perception of appropriate sexual behavior, although he thinks it is ok as long as his son doesn't see it.  (Read krein's message to see if finding out the reality will just be something to get through.)  If you need someone to relieve your sexual tension, find somebody who doesn't have a child.  Apart from that-- the pursuit of happiness, which is guaranteed in the constitution, does not translate to sexual activity.  You're not entitled.   Grow up.


Those of you who are familiar with me know what I'm going to say. The chaos that is generated in children's minds when people are having sexual relations without a commitment is detrimental to the psychological well-being of the children.

I couldn’t disagree with you more Gail. A paper filed in the county records department has nothing to do with how the child will develop psychologically. With half of all marriages ending in divorce I would say that the term “sanctity of marriage” is an oxymoron. Children need to know they are loved, and will always be taken care of. A child coming from a home where the parents were never married is no different than a child coming from a home with married parents.

And anybody who says "we're committed, but we just aren't married" is delusional.

Anybody who says “we are committed because we are married” is delusional. The institution of marriage guarantees nothing. It is the people in the marriage who make it or break it. How can you be so nearsighted as to think that marriage will change the heart of a person? How many marriages are shams? How many are for convenience, or to gain citizenship? Does the fact that these people marry somehow change them after they say their vows?

I absolutely applaud your boyfriend. He values his son's perception of appropriate sexual behavior, although he thinks it is ok as long as his son doesn't see it. Shocking! someone with Christian values applauding deceit and hypocrisy.

(Read krein's message to see if finding out the reality will just be something to get through.) If you need someone to relieve your sexual tension, find somebody who doesn't have a child. Apart from that-- the pursuit of happiness, which is guaranteed in the constitution, does not translate to sexual activity. You're not entitled. Grow up.


If you need to relieve your sexual tension you have the right as a citizen to do so within the guidelines of the law. The bill of rights does translate in to the area of sexual relations. In 1967 the US Supreme Court overturned the anti-miscegenation laws of Virginia. These laws said persons of opposite races could not marry, cohabitate, or have sexual relations. As long as you are willing, and so is the father, you have a right to do as you please within the guidelines of the law.

I thought it was very responsible of you to come and ask these questions to get advice on this sensitive subject. It is obvious that you know what you want, but you are not willing to pursue it if that means hurting the relationship between the father and child. Despite what has been said, I think that is a very grown up thing to do.



to Singl Dad

You always do a good job of articulating your beliefs.  Thanks!


--just one thing that occurred to me.  How about people who say "we are married because we are committed."  Slightly less delusional?


Singledad, I could not have put it better myself.
Whether we like it or not, this is the 21st Century. Children are more adaptable and resilient to conditions than they are often given credit for. I feel the boyfriend is just playing you along and giving you excuses because of his fear of commitment. You seem to be very caring about this child's future happiness, but try to think of your own too.
Marriage does not necessarily mean commitment. All it is is a piece of paper. Real commitment comes from the heart. I make no apologies to any devoted Christians out there who advocate marriage as the be all and end all of relationships. 


thanks SnglDad. There is a clause in the custody agreement that states no over-night visitors. As far as the mother goes, i know in the last few years things have been good between the parents. There is a very delicate balance between my boyfriend, the mother and the grand parents, all of whom are involved in raising the boy. I know previous to the last new years, things were very rocky.

A Parenting plan? I'm not quite sure what that is...  I know that last time that things were deciced pertaining to visitation and such was at least 4 years ago. Maybe it's time to update those rules?

I appreciate your insight as to the slowing things down theory. He has just started a new job which requires 2 months of extensive training, and he's just moved into a new condo where he is still getting all the necessary furnishings. So  i know he feels ovewhelemed.

I'm about to turn 26 and I think my nesting instincts are really kicking in. I've got this fantasy where I stay the night at his place and I wake up real early in the morning so the boys (boyfriend and son) can wake up to the smell of bacon and pancakes. And we all eat breakfast together then spend the day at the park playing and laughing.  Maybe this fantasy will have to wait.

I don't believe Dad has any say as to who the mother brings around the son, but the same "no overnight visitors" rule applies.

I guess I just eat these feelings I talked about in the original post for the time being. Let things settle in over the next 2-3 months and re evaluate then.


 Parenting plan, or custody agreemnet, I believe they are the same. That aside, you are right, Dad needs to petition the court for modification of the agreement. This agreement is constrictive, and unrealistic for a young parent wishing to move on with his life. You can still say goodnight and be back early in the am to plan a day starting with breakfast. I know its not the same and requires more on your part, but maybe until Dad gets things in order this would be a good alternative.


I have been reading your response to some different posts and really like what you have to say. I ask yhe following inviting any one with ideas to make suggestions or comments, but hope to hear from you your thoughts as I respect your opinions greatly. Please help me with this you guys. I have been all over the web and can't find anything about this. My 12 year old son has always had a hard time sleeping in his own bed. For about the past year though he finally started sleeping through the night in his bed. Recently though he is asking me to stay with him until he falls asleep. When he wakes up in the middle of the night he comes into my room. Usually I am so knocked out I dont even wake up but when I do wake up and tell him to go back to his bed he begs me to let him stay in mine. It's embarassing even to write this. I know he is WAY too old to still be having to deal with this and I take responsibility in not sticking with keeping him in his bed. The thing is he doesn't like to be alone at all. He won't go play video games in his room watch TV in his room go out and ride his bike without a friend, nothing! He is really athletic so he stays pretty busy most of the time but when we r at home together he stays glued to me! I just don't know what to do!!! If any of you have ever experienced anything like this or have suggestions on how I should handle it could you please take a minute to write back? Oh ya! Also, I am a single mom, so I know he worries alot some one might break in or whatever but we lock the doors have an alarm system and live in a great neighborhood so that makes no sense to me.


I'd put a mat on the floor for if he wakes in the night, and let him sleep on that.  It gives the security of the same room, and keeps boundaries in place. 


Ya, been there, done that. Slowly moving it further away from my bed. Then he is in my ear all night saying "please mom can I come up there"? This is going to sound horrible but I have to be honest, I am losing patience! Being a single mom and working all day as I am is exhausting as it is. I do everything I can think of to provide a safe loving home and environment for my son. I just don't know what else to do. He has slept on the couch in the past, which was a reasonable compromise because at least he wasnt coming into my room all night, but I hate to go back to that when he has been doing so well the past year.


Being a single parent is tough on the sleep schedule. I went through a similar situation with my kids when their mom first left home. This was simply separation anxiety and the need to feel that someone is there for them. I have an open door policy. I always tell my kids I am available 24/7 if they need me. This worked wonders. They did wake me several times at all hours of the night. I would show no frustration, and even though I wanted to crawl back in to bed, I would listen to what they had to say. Most the time they wanted to talk to Mom, so I would sit down and write whatever they had to say and send a note to Mom. I knew this helped them get something off their chest that was weighing on them. If you are recently separated this may have something to do with this. The open door policy was a way of letting them know I was always available to them. Kids seem to need us the most when we are unattainable. If they know we are always available, it may decrease that anxiety

Next angle. My oldest had the worst time falling asleep after we moved. He hates being the last one to fall asleep in the house. The house is quiet and dark, and it freaks him out a bit. I wanted their room to be a place they love to be. I allowed them to buy posters to hang up, put their beds where they wanted them, and even pick out new sheets. I just wanted them to feel they had a part in decorating their room and making it theirs. I also would go in their rooms and do things in there with them. I think this made them more at home in their room’s. We would do legos, or lay on the floor and color, whatever they wanted to do. I was surprised how fast things changed around once we did all this. It sounds to me that your son is just lonely at night and needs to feel that you are available to him. There is nothing to be embarrassed about, this is common. I would let him know that as well. Almost forgot, a nightlight, or flashlight to see the way, and a fan for background noise to mask sounds that may be keeping him awake. I hope this helps. Good Luck


 Is a dog an option? This would give him some company at night, and also make him feel more secure knowing that if there were an intruder the dog barking would wake you up. Just another thought.


Progress in any area sometimes includes a step or two backward, it can be a temporary set-back which is necessary to further progress.  Did you check on meds, etc.