Need advice - FamilyEducation
Need advice
06/09/2008 at 13:13 PM

Hello. I came across this Board and thought it might be a good place for advice from people in similar situations. I've been in a relationship with a guy for 4 years. He's never been married and has no kids. I'm a single Mom of an 8 year old boy. My boyfriend is detached and distant when it comes to my son. There's little to no interaction even though I've talked to him about it numerous times. He is like a stranger in some ways to my son. I have kept thinking this will change over time but it hasn't. I've read so many different opinions on stepfamilies and step parent roles. Some say your expectations have to be pretty low - they're not going to bond the way they would with a bio parent. That in reality, many step parents are detached and this is  how it is. Are my expectations for a relationship unrealistic? I never use to think so but lately I've been discouraged to hear that they might be. My son is now starting to say that he does not like my boyfriend. That he's boring and never talks. I've tried planning fun activities many times. My boyfriend attends or comes along, but does not talk/interact and honestly it makes the whole thing less fun for me and my son. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Ouch! That's a tough one, but my philosophy is that my kids ALWAYS come matter what. If things haven't improved by now, they probably never will.

Your boyfriend will never love your son the way you do. My boyfriend is the most wonderful man in the world; he is kind hearted, responsible, open minded and tolerant. BUT he does not love my 8 year old boy the way I do. Be careful to solicit advice from your boyfriend in decision making when it comes to your son and maybe you can select activities that your boyfriend loves and he will be more likely to get excited. People just love as much as they can, he may not be a real emotional guy. You have to decide if he is right for you and your little boy, but don't wait too long. Even if your boyfriend is not super loving (my step-dad never was)he is still the father figure to your boy. If you discover later that you need more, it will hurt for you boy to lose this man.

That is helpful - thank you. Would you say your husband loves your son to some degree? Or are there ways in which he demonstrates that he cares about him? Honestly, I don't know that I can say yes to those questions for my situation. You're right - my bf isn't a real emotional guy. But I would think he could do more in terms of talking to him when my son asks him a question or tells him something exciting. His typical response to my son is one word like "oh". That's the extent of it. As a result, I don't end up spending much time w/ my bf because the majority of my free time is with my son and my bf isn't really interested in the types of activities we do together. Thanks again.

Yes, actually he does show affection and he also teaches my son things. He does not love thim the way I do, but he definitely takes time to talk with him and spend time. I only wanted to say that step-parents have to be pretty dynamic people to love and accept step-children the way they would their own. Your bf sounds pretty cool with his affection. Is he affectionate with you? If you don't think this guy is right for you and your little boy, make a decison and end it now. Don't wait too long...

To me, this guy doesn't sound like a good father-figure at all. I'm sorry you invested 4 yrs w/ this man, and you still haven't seen a change in him. You said you spoke to your BF about his relationship w/ your son. What does he say? Does he seem to care at all? What is his stance as far as a relationship w/ you? Do you guys plan on getting married? It sounds like your son is trying to bond w/ this man, but your BF is showing no interest towards him. How do you think this makes your son feel? Have you spoken to your son about this in more detail? Yes, you have your own life, but you also have a responsibility to your son. You need to set priorities for yourself, and make a decision based on these priorities. Your son is only 8 yrs old. If I were in your shoes, I'd put his best interests first. I hope this helps.

wow, i am in the same predicament as son is six, and i know many step parents who treat their step kids as if they were their own. ive seen amazing bonds. it makes me very sad, and i contemplate leaving the relationship often because of it.

my husband loves my eight year old hes raised since she was 4 and to be honest i think he loves her because he met her when she was so little. Honestly its hard to get close to a older child.

This is not good for your child in any way!!!!! Find someone who loves him and will meaningfully interrelate with him or stay single and give him the attention he deserves. Good luck!!!

I have a 14 yr old girl and my husband has been around her since she was 3 yr old and he and I have 2 other girls 9 and 5. If a step parent does not show much affection after 4 yrs they may not,it's hard for a man to change his ways. Talk to him and let him know how important this is to you and put your foot down and say maybe they go out for a guy night once a month or something to creat a good relationship. Otherwise it will only get worse in the teen years. I have been with my husband for 10 Yrs and I'm almost to the point of having to choose my 14 yr old over him. They are not speaking right now for sake of argument.Good luck with your situation and always put your boy first.

Don't forget, your son is learning how to have relationships with his future wife and children based on what he is seeing now. He needs a healthy example, and only you can decide if it is indeed healthy. Put your son first, you won't regret it.