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Need Some Advice with My Boyfriend Regarding My Son....

Hi Ladies, I am turning to you again for your advice since you have always been there to help me out..... I have only been in one relationship since my divorce that was final in May of 06'. My son was 7mos old when my divorce was final. He and I dated for about a year and then we went our seperate ways. I am now in a real relationship after being single for over 2 years and he is living with my son and I. My son is now 3 1/2 years old. My son adores him as well as I, BUT there are some issues....

Ok.....I have tried to get my boyfriend to understand that he has to earn being able to discipline my child (in a way by getting him to pick up his toys, etc.) He sees how stressed I get and just wants to help me. My ex-husband is just a one day a week Dad and only takes my son Saturday when he gets out of work until Sunday at 5 p.m. My son is crazy about his father, and there are some Saturday's that he doesn't want to go, he is a big time mommy's boy and just wants to stay home with me.

The other problem is that my boyfriend expects to be able to adopt my son when we get married. (We have not yet gotten engaged but have talked about getting married next July). I have explained to him that there is no way that he can adopt my son because he already has a father and the only way that he could ever adopt my son is if my ex signed over all of his rights, and that will never happen. He already has a Daddy (not a great one, but he does have one..) So he will have to accept the role of being a "Step-Dad". There is only one home that my son Michael will be able to experience a real family life and that is with me. My boyrfriend's fear is that someday my son will look at him and say "You're not my father!" Well, in reality, he never will be, but he will play the real role of a father, he will be able to do things with him that his real father will never have time to. My son is very loving and very appreciative, but who knows how he will be when he is a teen ager.

The biggest part of all of this is that he is trying to put his foot down that my ex doesn't get any extra time with my son above what is in our divorce decree (Sat - Sun). On the holidays or if he has a day off from work. I told him that he doesn't have a choice when it comes to me giving my ex extra time with our son. My ex lives with his parents (he moved right in with another girl, they had a child and he left her too, so with all of the money he has to pay out, he can't afford a place of his own, and also not being able to manage his own money doesn't help either..... By the way he is 36). So, with my ex living there, my son "owns" 2 women. Me and Grandma. He is head over heels crazy about Grandma. So, even though he is over there with his father, he is actually attached to his grandma's hip. So with that said, my BF expects me to take my son away from his grandparents too since he doesn't want him at all involved with my ex-inlaws. But still doesn't understand that he doens't have a choice. I am still very close with my mother in law. We have been very close for over 10 years. He just thinks that he can just cancel them out, but to help with day care, his grandparents pick him up at 1pm on Thursday and Friday for a couple of hours until I go and pick my son up...

This has been the only fight that we have (other than me still having my married last name which I kept for my sons sake, that would change when and if I got married again.....)

So ladies, I know that I typed all over the place here, but this is where I desperately need your advice. He insists that he knows how the system works but in fact doesn't. He feels that I can just take my ex back to court "because I feel like it" and take all of his money... No, it doens't work that way. Now I need to lean on you for the best advice ever.

Every other aspect of our relationship is great.. This will just end up being the reason why we don't work. And when we bicker about this he has thrown in a number of times "This is why I don't date single moms!" God that makes me feel sooooo good!! So if we can't get passed this, then I will have to end it and pack up his things and show him the door. I have spoken to my mom about all of this and even she has told me that he needs to suck it up because he doesn't have a say in what happens between Michael and his Dad or when he sees him or his grandparents... And she is right. I just cannot get this through to him... Please help...

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What can I do next?

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Hi - I am a single Mom too. My kids come first and while I would love to restrict my ex's time I have to do what is right for the kids. It is important for them to have a relationship with the father even if it is minimal. I personally find it more important for my son then for my daughter. I think it is wonderful that the child has a loving grandmother that helps you. This BF seems pretty selfish and ignorant of the system. I say beware he will probably beome more unreasonable with his own children. Show him the door..... If you can't resolve these issues things will probably not get better.

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This man is way too demanding and overbearing. If he is like this now imagine what he will become if you got married. Show him the door. Which will not be an easy job because he sounds very spoiled and used to getting his own way. But for the safety of your son get rid of him. I can see him dictating you and your son's lives once he has full power. He is a red flag and dangerous.

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As I read your post I got the feeling your boyfriend is controlling (is he insecure in himself?). He has no stake in the child except he is in a relationship with you. Does that mean down the line he can dictate your car, where and when you can leave, the clothes you wear... ok, I'm over the top, but you don't know....
Your boyfriend is trying to find his position in this relationship, and he going about it the wrong way. The child's father and grandparents are part of the package. If HE can't live with it, (which it sounds like he can't) then you are better off without him. And why is he wanting to cut the father and grandparents out? Competition for the "father" title? He has an issue with single moms. Does he feel he has to "be the father" because he's in a relationship with the mom? The issues of "not my father" from the child will be there at some point. No way to get around that. If handled well, it shouldn't be there often.

Yes, BF will have to have some discipline authority. He's living in the household. The degree has to be spelled out, because you don't know his decline style. Does it match yours?

Good luck. Hope the relationship works out.

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I've been in your situation before and let me tell ya.... you have to put your foot down or get out of the relationship.

The guy I dated at the time was wanting my kids to call him daddy after just a few weeks...was insisting he was going to adopt them after we got married (I had no plans to marry him at that point, it had only been a few weeks), he also wanted me to have nothing to do with my former in-laws, who had been part of my life for over 6 years at that point. I wasn't willing to walk away from them and their relationship with me and my kids.
I also wasn't willing to allow him to rule over my kids and what they did, especially with their bio-dad. He had basically nothing to do with them anyway,. however, I felt he was still their father at that point.
I broke it off with the guy and I am so thankful I did.

My husband and I have been together for almost 12 years now, married for 9 of them. He never asked me to stop the relationship with my former in-laws and he always went there with me for dinner, holidays, ect. He also took the kids to see them when I was at work and couldn't do it. He also never tried to come between the kids and their bio-dad (not that he had anything to do with them).

Point is...my in-laws are still part of my life. They treat me as their own daughter and my husband is their son-in-law.
My husband adopted my kids a few years ago and he needed references to do so...my father-in-law was kind enough to be one of those references. It just about knocked the judge out of his seat when he read it. He had never had a grandparent ask for a step parent to be allowed to adopt their grandchildren. My father-in-law gave my husband an incredible reference and the papers were signed immediately because of it.
My ex still has nothing to do with the kids, even though we told him he is allowed to talk to them and see them if he is in town....he chooses not to.

Anyway.... the point is...there are guys out there who are willing to be (step)fathers without stepping on the toes of the bio-parent. There are those out there who are willing to be part of extended (former-in-laws) family.

If a man isn't willing to let you be the mother you need to be, and willing to let your child be part of a family they belong in, then he isn't worth you being with.
What are you willing to sacrifice for him? Are you willing to sacrifice your mother-in-law? your son?
In the end they will be the ones getting hurt if you continue to allow your boyfriend to try to control the relationships you have.

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L., I have heard these situations before and I am not a counselor in marriages, but what I can say that if he can't accept that you have relationships with in-laws and they help out and you mustn't break and ruin relationships between your son and others, then he's not going to be an understandable person in other issues and I hate to see you get into a marriage with a man who wasn't and won't be understandable and accepting. If you two have talked and he's not willing to accept then you may have to call it quits and let him go. Your concerns about your child and his relationships and your relationships and allowing the father to spend time with his son is VERY important to the father and son, is great for you as a mother and you are great about that!! Kudos for you Mom. Your BF wanting to be a dad so soon, scares me because that is a great responsibility and usually men who want to be the "dad" in the child's life because there is no father around and they want the child to have a male role model in their lives which they were lacking. This BF of yours, does he want to be a dad so he can boss and rule over your son and when you marry him, he thinks he can tell you what you must do and what you have to do because he's the boss at that point? He is trying to do that already and he can't get you to change your mind because he can't have it it his way, let him go and let him see that relationships are very important to you and your son and if he can't accept....just be careful that if he says okay and accepts now because after marriage he may go back to his old ways and boss you and your son and "cut" relationships right after. Watch out, please! I have seen too m;any of that changes after marriages in my friends' lives regarding to other issues, it's ridiculous!! He's NOT the only man hout there...there are good men out there who are accpetable and understandable and like women who are not easily changed, but "stick to their guns". :) Let us know how it went, please.

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I hate to rain on your parade because I have been in the same situation where a bf wanted to control the times my only son spent with his father and paternal grandparents but you are stuck with a manipulative control freak. I dont see any way around this issue as he clearly does not look to be the one willing to make compromises. If you back down and give in to his tirades you will be the one who loses the wonderful family support you already have in your son's grandparents. IT is not a situation that will go away if you get married and will only get worse. From experience I can tell you that even though it will hurt you are better off with out this jerk. You are a strong lady - you will be able to get through this but for your own piece of mind do not allow this man to "own" you or your son.

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I am seeing so many red flags popping up reading your post. Your BF sounds controlling, wanted to take control of your son's life when he really has zero say in any of it. It will only get worse if you marry him. And it is perfectly normal that one day your son will say, "you're not my father"--and he will be right! The fact that you are living with this man and he has the gall to say to you:"this is why I don't date single moms" should be sending off your emergency alert signal. Because, hello, he is not dating you he is LIVING WITH YOU!! Your son needs to be your top priority, but how can he be when you are trying to manage a controlling live in love interest? I know I sound harsh, but you need to get out of this relationship and realize that your son deserves better than this, you deserve better than this. This guy seems to have a bit of an entitlement complex--entitled to adopt your son, entitled to discipline him, entitled to dictate custody arrangements. If you think that you can change this about him or it will get better if you marry him you are WRONG. One of the biggest universal mistakes we as women make is thinking we can change a man. The only person you can change is you. Please listen to these warning signals and take care of yourself and your son.

And please, whatever you do, do not get pregnant by this new guy!!

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Okay first off. I've been through this before.

Your boyfriend is a control freak but he is so convincing and charming that you can't see it. Number one...he is ONLY your boyfriend. He has no say in how and what you do with YOUR child. He is trying to get you and your son isolated from everyone else. If you marry him, things will get WORSE not better.(Especially if you two have a child together!!)

Trust me, I know. I almost married the biggest control freak and manipulator out there. He was loving,kind, and accepted my children and played the best step-father role...until I found him 2 years later and three weeks before the wedding on the kitchen floor on top of my 13 year old son screaming and threatening to punch him in the face if he didn't listen to him. I had to make a choice...let our daughter grow up without a father or stay and have my son living in fear. Needless to say, my son is safe.

Your son has a father and a great support group within the family. Do you really want this guy to ruin that? I pray you don't.Please listen to your mother. I wish I had listened to mine.

The only way to get past this in this relationship is if you give in and compromise your beliefs and let him take control...please don't do that.


P.S. Your boyfriend is right about one thing, you can take your ex back to court for more support and get a better visitation order every 6 months.

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Hi - I am a single Mom too. My kids come first and while I would love to restrict my ex's time I have to do what is right for the kids. It is important for them to have a relationship with the father even if it is minimal. I personally find it more important for my son then for my daughter. I think it is wonderful that the child has a loving grandmother that helps you. This BF seems pretty selfish and ignorant of the system. I say beware he will probably beome more unreasonable with his own children. Show him the door..... If you can't resolve these issues things will probably not get better.

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I tend to think your boyfriend means well but is totally out of reality in terms of cutting out your childs father and family. He doesn't seem to get that as a "Step Dad, he can still build a special relationship with your son.
In terms of disciplining your son: If your boyfriend is living with you, and his idea of disciplining are on the same page as yours, why not allow it? It's a family unity and there will be times when you aren't around when he'll be with your son...he needs to be able to keep your child safe and teach him right from wrong as he is growing up. And yes, there will come a time when your son gets angry with him and say's, "Your not my Dad, don't tell me what do."...it's a given. Your boyfriend will need to learn how to deal with it properly as well and I don't think this guy will.

However, I tend to think since your boyfriend feels so strongly about "not dating single Moms" and having the title of "Dad", he in fact allowed himself to be in a position he doesn't want to be in thinking he can change it and will go through life, your marrage with him being unhappy and blaming you for his frustrations with it all.
My advice to you is, let this man go. Do not marry him.

You need a Man who can except the situation that comes with you...One who is mature enough to find his place in it all and become part of the family unity. One who can love your son and be a great "Step Dad". One who can respect your sons Dad, and his realationship with his extended family and your relationship as well with them. You need a guy who's on the same page with you.

It's hard to let go, but in the long run, you and your son will be better off.

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I am in no way in our situation but as a mother and a woman I am going to give my two cents. First, I think you have to put your son first. Like you said, he has a father and he has grandparent and there is NO REASON why those should just disapper b/c of a new BF. Theres no reason why this man in your life can't be a step father and do all that you both want him to do, but when it comes down to it - he IS a step fatehr. No offense to him but he needs to know his place and you need to keep control of your son. If this new BF can't understand his place and then tries underhanded tacting like his comments about dating single moms, then I think it IS a deal breaker...your son is the single most important "thing" in your life - if you two can't agree on how to handle that, then I cant' see HOW a relationship is going to work forever. Its not fair to your son to try to take daddy out of the picture and its not fair to you to have someone try to control something they shouldn't be in control of.

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Ok, there is only one thing I disagree with in this whole story, and thats the discipline part. Why should he earn it. Your son isnt a teenager now, he's only 3. If you keep you BF quiet all the time when it comes to discipline your son will pick up on that and it may backfire.

As for everything else, there is only one word to describe it. Ultimatum! He has no right to decide how else anything works when it comes to your sons father, grandparents, or even money. If you dont set the record straight now, this will be a thorn on your back for the rest of your relationship.

You need to compromise with him. Give him the disciplining part, and let him be part of the decision making when your child is home. But tell him all your demands now! and tell him that you dont want to talk about it anymore if he doesnt like it then he is free to leave.

I know it seems harsh but you need to nip this in the bud because it will never go away. Dont waste anymore time with someone you may not see a future with. This is bad for your son. I know he's a good guy but if you think that something like this will end your relationship if it doesnt stop then stop it first before the damage is done.

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Hi L.,

What a horrible situation to be in! I wish there were more I could do, but here is a big hug for you.

Now for the BF: he is right, your son will say "you're not my father" to him once. My step-father appeared in my life when I was 4, he raised me way more than my father ever did, yet I said that to him. Your BF shouldn't take it personally, all children say it to their step-parents at some point, and it has no more meaning than the "I hate you Mom/Dad" that children also say. You can tell him that. :-)

This being said, and to the more important point, your post raised a big red flag to me, which is why I wanted to give you my two cents, even though I am in a very different situation from yours. I may be off because all I see is your story, but here is what makes me worried:

As far as I know without being a lawyer, you are absolutely right. You cannot change visitation rights without agreement from both parties or something that justifies it changing, and your BF in your life definitely doesn't qualify. Also, he cannot adopt your son without your ex revoking his rights.

But I'm really worried about your BF. First he seems to want to control things about something that isn't in his authority at all, i.e. the relationship between your son and his paternal family. Then he doesn't seem to want to accept reality the way it is, rather wants to change it to his liking. And third he doesn't seem to respect you: he obviously doesn't respect the fact that you told him this is how it is, that you kept your married name for your son, and wants to be the one making the decisions. He also doesn't accept his place, which as a step-parent is, granted, somewhat awkward (you have to defer to the parent for a long time, the parent is the one deciding on the way to raise the child, and you need to support the parent even when you disagree).

Is it the only area where he is controlling in that fashion, or are there other areas where he does it too, maybe in smaller ways, like ignoring (or not even asking) where you want to go when you guys go out, which restaurant or type of food you want, etc.? If this is the case, kick him out today! He's controlling, and it'll only get worse when you are married, because he'll feel that he now owns you. Even otherwise, I would tell him goodbye unless he completely and permanently stops his behavior, because it is plain unacceptable, and you and you only are the decision-maker for everything regarding your son.

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Your boyfriend abandoned his own child and now wants to adopt yours??? Do you really want a controlling person who abandoned his own family to have such control over you & your child? It sounds like it is time to show him the door. End it now while you can..... other wise, you & your son will be under his thumb for the rest of your lives. Do you really want that for your child? End the relationship this very minute.

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Hi L.,
About four years ago I was in a similar situation to yours. After I divorced, I met a man about two years later and he moved in with my son and I. The difference is that he had kids as well. All this to say, although it's great that your BF loves your son he really has no say as to when tiyr son sees his paternal family. The court made that decision and if you're okay with it then that's the end of discussion. Although your son's dad may not be the best in the world, he is still his dad and he has every right to see his son. Additionally, so do the grandparents. In fact, I am surprised that your BF doesn't want to take some advantage of the little "alone time" you guys have together.

The only thing I can say is that if this is the only problem in your relationship then you can definitely resolve it. It's not even his problem. As with many families the step-dad is more of a father figure than the biological father. Kids have enough love for everyone, and it's not cool to compete for their love. On the other hand he kind of sounds like a control freak. Again, this is from an objective point-of-view and please don't take offense. I know you love this man and he helps you, but keep your head clear and make sure you don't fall from one bad relationsip to another.

Your mom is right, the law is the law and he needs to suck it up. He can't interfere with something that happened before he came along. He needs to leave that part of your life to you.

Good Luck

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Hi L.,

I have not only dealt with some of your issues as someone divorced from her children's mother and remarried, but I am also an attorney who used to handle family law issues.

It sounds like you already know that your boyfriend cannot determine what type of relationship your son has with his father, nor can he cut the father out of your son's life. It sounds like you have already communicated that to your boyfriend. So now what? If your boyfriend loves you and your son enough and truly wants to be with both of you, then it will be up to him to accept the realities of the situation. Have you told him that that is the bottom line? If not, what is stopping you? If yes, what is his response?

I was struck by the comment "This is why I don't date single mothers." Really???? He is not only dating you, he is living with you and contemplating marrying you! He cannot very well say that he did not know you were a single mother when he started dating you. How old is he? Realistically, he ought to know that as he gets older, he has less chance of meeting someone that does not already have children of her own.

I was very upfront with my husband when I started dating him. I told him the good the bad and the ugly, and told him that this type of situation is not for everyone and that I would understand and have no hard feelings if he were to decide it was not for him. I also told him that we all needed for him to be honest with himself about that before marrying me or anyone else who had children. There are definitely tough moments, Father's Day is hard for him, because in the divorce settlement, my ex has them on Father's Day (pretty standard in most divorce settlements). The bottom line though is that he knew before he signed on what the deal was and he signed on anyway...

So, getting back to your situation....based on what you have written, it does not look as though there is any way around you sitting him down and telling him that if he cannot deal with the situation as it is that the two of you will need to go your separate ways. The ball will then be in his court. If he chooses to walk away, it will be his loss. Yes, you will hurt for a while and then you will heal, and if this relationship does not work out, then someday, somewhere at the right time, you will meet the right person for you. I truly do believe there is someone for everyone out there.

Who knows? Maybe your boyfriend, when forced to make the choice will come around. One word of caution, however: if he does agree to accept the situation and if you do get married, you might think of all three of you attending family counseling. From experience I can tell you there will still be some adjustments to make...

Good Luck!


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I would think twice before proceeding into marriage wih this man. Until he understands how things will work, DO NOT take the next step. He needs to understand that you are the mother. Your son is too important. Don't make a mistake you will regret. if your boyfriend can't accept and respect the way you want to raise your son and the people you want in his life, then it won't work between the two of you. Unfortunately, you can't change people. If he doesn't respect your position as the mother and therefore primary decision maker in regards to your son, get out before it is too late. There is a reason why there are so many failed marriages. Some people just don't fit together. This man sounds as if he does not respect your postition. Maybe that isn't true. It may be that he just hasn't accepted the way things will have to be. Whatever the case, take some time to think and talk about the situation. If his attitude doesn't change, move on. You need to do what is best for your son.

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First, just like your bf saying "this is why I do't date single moms" your son will probably, at some point, say you're not my father. It isn't something your son will mean, it is just a last resort effort to make it hurt a bit more. Him adopting him won't change that he isn't the father in your son's mind, I could possibly just make him resent your bf more for taking his daddy from him.
I think everything you're saying is right on. Your son has gone through a lot, I'm sure & to take his dad/dad's family away is only going to male a situation worse. Next time your bf says this is why he doesn't date single women, say, well you chose to this time & this is what comes along with it: a woman who loves you insanely, a good family & a little boy who loves & looks up to you. If he wantsnto be seen as the dad, that has to do more with actions than a document. My husdand had "two dads" & he calls them both dad, he spent most of his childhood with his steppdad & he stepped up to the plate enough that my husband saw him as a father.
As far as the discipline goes, I know it is hard to let someone else discipline your son, but if you are talking abt marrying this Man, then he is going to have to start disciplining him at some point. Better for him to start bit by bit now so you can see how he does it (& tweak his technique if need be) then to have your son go through the transition of marriage AND all of a sudden He also starts disciplining.a
Best of luck!

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You need to make it clear.. that your ex is your son's father. While he wasn't there for you when you had your son.. he is trying and his grandparents seem like nice people.. you can't just walk away from that. I would fear problems later on if you have another child by you BF... how will he then feel about your 1st son. Will he love your second more since it's his. There needs to be an understanding where he fits in. He needs to realize that he will be the step dad.. and someday he will be dad to other children you have. But he should love them all. Good luck.. but think before you get married and make sure he loves your son.. but he doesn't need DAD in his name to love your son. My friends kids call there step dad.. uncle so and so.. since they needed to call him something and uncle seemed to work best. Tell him to understand.. or wish him well... and look for someone else. Don't leave the grandparents out.. they seem like they love your son.


I was in the same situation as you are in right now 13 yrs ago when my now husband came into my life and my children were 4 and 2 yrs old.

My ex was just a 'babysitter' in my eyes (seeing the kids every other weekend - if that) - and my now husband had the same fears that he'd never be a 'father' to them.

now 13 yrs later - my kids are teens - and although we've had our trying times - moreso between my daughter and my husband - (only because she idolized her father and didn't respect my husband to be a 'father figure' in her life)... I'm happy to report that my kids call my husband "daddy" (on their own they've called him this) and also have a relationship with their father - whom they also call "daddy". (much to my ex's disgust that my kids call someone else "daddy" ..but as I've told my kids and my ex - ANYONE CAN BE A FATHER..IT TAKES A SPECIAL MAN TO BE A DADDY)...My ex eventually saw that my husband is the one that is there every day and he's not - he may still not like the fact that the kids call him "daddy" but that's HIS issue.. Not mine - my husband's or my kids.

Your BF should be happy that he's met someone that wants to be with him and that he's got the bonus package of having your son in his life as well!! None of us can tell what the future holds for us - and yes the whole "you're not my daddy/father" will come out of their mouth at one time or another - just as a "dig" and out of spite. My daughter has done it to my husband on more than one occasion - and it has hurt him - though he also tells her that while he's NOT her birth father - he is a "father" to her nontheless - and he demands respect just as much as I demand it.

I would tell him just to do his best to be a good role model for your son - and to love him as if he was his own - that in itself should make him feel more of a father than if he "planted the seed" himself!

Good Luck!

hi L.,
congratulations, you're a great Mom! you have shown that your Son comes first. please be very careful who you choose to share yours & your son's life with. I can only tell you from my experience, this is NOT an easy situation. I'm the step-Mom. the child is 10.5 yo now. he's been with my husband & I for 9years! wow! All the way,till 2yrs ago, I was the primary Mom till I had my own son. She was there,but he only saw her about 10-12 days in the month. Never on weekends. My husband & I took him to his 1st day of school from PreK to 3rd grade, she took him this year!
But let me tell you, as absent as she may be,she IS MOM! We have a different set of rules at home than at her place. but kids adapt. I've never wanted to be his MOM, but I have always required that he be respectful to me & my family (who accept him as my own)!
We can only control what he does when he's with us. I have come to welcome the days he is not, it lets us enjoy our little family in different ways. I do feel a bit sad that I dont have as much time with him because the baby takes sooo much of my time, but they love each other!
there's just way too much stuff I could write but you have gotten lots of ideas & advice here. contact me if you'd like.
God Bless, & hope you can make a decision soon, because the longer you wait, the MORE it will affect your son. Good Luck!

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you and your boyfriend will never get past this. He wants to be the one and only in your lives. Getting rid of the Grandparents tells me the he is also insecure. (They are the link to the ex)
As for your son ever telling him "your not my dad", it will probably happen.
If he already tells you that he doesn't get involved with single moms, he's telling you that he cannot handle the fact that you have a past, nor will he want to face the future knowing that Dad will always be in the picture.
In the end, you'll do what is best for you and your son.

you have gotten so much advice. All I can add is I am proud of you just for being a wonderful mom. Every relationship has trying times the only think I can add is stick to what you have said DO NOT ALLOW ANYONE TO CONTROL YOU. Once you start no turning back. Gods blessings with you relationship.

Wow. This is a pretty big issue. Couple of things...
1. You are correct about the adoption issue. If your ex has a relationship w/ your son then adoption is not an option. This does not prohibit your BF from being a "father" to your son. If he cares for him, loves him, disciplines him when needed and helps to provide for him, then he is a parent to your son. There is room for more than two parents in a child's heart. My father has two parents and consequently two step-parents, all of whom are STILL very involved with all of the resulting children.

2. If you want your BF to accept your child as his w/o the "paperwork", why are you making him earn the ability to discipline your son? Will his teacher need to do the same? Do you allow your ex and his mother to discipline? Really, this is one you should let go, as long as you are okay with his discipline method.

3. Regardless of the legal status, your son will pull the "you're not my father" thing one day. It's up to you BOTH to lay the foundation for the structure of your family.

Here's my concern for you, what role does the father play in your son's life? It sounds supplementary, which is fine, but be aware that your BF may be looking to provide consistency and stability for your son, which is a good thing. You cannot take away your ex's rights to his son, but you can be realistic about what he has to "add" to your son's life. Weekend dads are fine, but when it comes to making decisions and providing guidance, think about whether or not your ex is capable of doing so. It doesn't sound like he's made good decisions in his lifetime.

It sounds like your BF is looking to create a nuclear family (the three of you) and that just isn't going to exist. Sit down with him in a calm and non-accusatory way and lay-out the parameters. He IS the acting father in your son's daily life and that needs to be acknowledged. Let him know that your son's grandparents should not be penalized for their son's mistakes and have a right to time with their grandson. If he is looking to start "new", then make it clear to your ex that the time he is allocated is what he gets. Make sure to invite him to things your son may get involved in, but you have no obligation to go out of your way for him. Keep the focus on your son. If your BF can't agree to the parameters of your extended family, then it's his loss!

HI L.,

I'd like to state that first: your BF needs to understand that your son's father and grandparents will be in the picture for as long as they choose to be a part of his life (from the sounds of it, it will def. be for the long run). You NEED to make this clear and not be afraid of the consequences. If he leaves, then he is not the one for you and your son(it's a package deal and if he can't handle it, move on). It will only get worse as your son gets older and hears you and your BF fighting over him having to leave to see his father and grandparents.
Second: I'd like to let you know my opinion on the whole FATHER title. A Father is who made the child, a DAD is a title earned.... Just my personal opinion. For instance: we were a family of 4 biological kids and 3 foster kids when my FATHER left. My DAD came into the picture when I was 14. He is the BEST DAD ever. He took care of all of us and we still had our FATHER, but guess what, we did EVERYTHING with mom and dad. He is the one who meet my boyfriends, who went to my graduation, who meet my son before my mom(they have been divorced for several yrs now and my son only knows him as grandpa)and who gave me away on my wedding day(my FATHER didn't earn that right). He held us when our grandmother passed and wiped our tears whenever we felt pain. THAT IS A DAD. If your BF is so worried about this whole title thing, he needs to earn the love to earn the title.
Think long and hard about what you feel will be right in the end. You seem to already know, but not ready to move with your decision.
I wish you the best of luck.

As a step mom of a 12 yr old girl, tell you BF that the most important thing to focus on is his relationship with your son. My stepdaughter has been with us full time since 5yr old. Her mom has not been the person there for her EVERY day. remind him that someday, your son will be old enough to form his own opinion of his dad. If your BF builds a strong relationship now, someday your son will look to him more than his "real" dad because your BF has been there every day for the little things. Just my two-cents! My step-daughter loves her mom but has made it clear to me that she sees me as her everyday mom. We are closer than she will ever be with her mom because we see each other every day and being a weekend parent, you don't have that connection. Especially when your son starts to play sports/do school activities. If you BF takes on the dad role for that stuff, your son will make the connection someday who was there and who wasnt.

Hey L.,

I say Mother knows best. Your boyfriend needs to know his place and for now that is as your boyfriend and nothing more. I am confused on why he even feel at this point he has a say on what goes on between your son and his dad. I think it is wonderful that your ex is in his son's life and that his grandparents are also very involved. I was divorced when my son was 19 months old and remarried a wonderful man who my son does call dad (he is now 24) and that is because his biological dad never cared to see him or to be a part of his life (neither did his family). So my husband has really been the only father my son has known. However there are drawback and your boyfriend needs to realize this. Without their dad in the picture as they grow there will be issues of abandonment, self esteem issues, trust issues, I can go on and on only because my son has struggled with these most of his life. Even though he has a wonderful dad in his life who he adores there is always that small piece of him that is missing. So tell your boyfriend to suck it up as mom said and if he truly loves you and your son he will swallow his pride and stop trying to put a wedge in between your son and his biological dad. He should realize that dating and possibly marrying a women with a child from another man is always going to have some difficulties and if he can't handle it then he should walk away now. DO NOT LET HIM WIN ON THIS IT WILL HURT YOUR SON!!! I don't mean to sound cynical but this guy sounds very controlling and you may want to think things though before getting married. Just my opinion. You sound like you are a great mom who already knows the answer to your questions. It is not your responsibility to make your boyfriend understand where you are coming from. I would simply say it is not up for discussion and you will make the decisions on your son's well being. Good luck!!

The part that got my attention was that he wants your son to be separated from his grandparents. This doesn't make any sense unless your child is being neglected while in their care. If your boyfriend does not understand the importance of family and what it means to YOU (and your son), then is he going to be the right addition to your family? From what you said, he isn't getting it. Is he trying to isolate you from your ex's family because he is feeling insecure? Perhaps he thinks your constant contact will lead to a reunion with your ex? At any rate, please seek couples therapy if you want to work through this. If this is the only issue, it could work, if you're both ready to put in the work (no matter whose issue it is)
Good luck!


I hate to say this but I wouldn't marry him unless he accepts these things and I worry that he will act supportive before you get married just to pull the "I am your husband" card afterwards. While your ex sounds like he can be a jerk, the fact remains he does still take his son every Saturday. When my dad bailed, he completely bailed unless it was convenient for him. Also, it sounds like your son is very lucky in regards to his grandma. There is no way I would allow that to be ruined for either your son or his grandma. Believe it or not, it sounds like your situation isn't as bad as it could be.

I was reading your post and flags were going up all over the place. I honestly think you are going to have trouble with your boyfriend about this and even moreso should he become your husband. It's funny the power the little piece of paper can give some husbands, at least in their minds.

If it doesn't work out with your boyfriend, I would like to suggest though that you hold off on the "moving in" until there is at least an official engagement. I am NOT judging you. It sounds like you are doing a wonderful job as mom and that you really have your son's best interest in mind. The fact that you realize you can't take these things way from your son because your boyfriend wants you to speaks volumes. My concern is the confusion your son may feel. He may begin to think that it's his fault that these men end up leaving and I know you don't want that. I just honestly don't feel your boyfriend has your son's best interests in mind.

I'm not sure if you'll find my advice helpful but all I can do is share my experience. I have two stepsons now 11 & almost 14yrs old (When I married they were 3 & 6). I now have a 14month old son. To start, this can definitely work out but everyone needs to do some deep searching. It is a lot more work on a marriage when you have additional family involved. Your boyfriend will have to think long and hard about having your son, your ex husband and inlaws in his life for the rest of his life. It's all a package. For your son's sake everyone needs to work together. When my husband asked me to marry him I knew I wanted him. I knew I loved the kids ( Even though that "your not my mom" was inevitable). The big question was could I stand the boys mom being in my life forever. Marriage is forever. For me I knew it would be hard but I decided to do it. Some days are a lot harder for others but I just think how hard it must be on the boys to have to go to two separate houses with different rules and different everything. I sacrifice myself for them. It's not such a big price for me to be a little uncomfortable or aggrivated so they can have peace and happiness.
When my husband and I first got married the boys mom wouldn't talk to me or look at me. My husband tried doing everything for them by himself. We have the boys a week and then they are with their mom for a week. It was silly. He would be struggling and racing around getting clothes and making lunches etc. I would be sitting on the couch with nothing to do. I was home at 2pm but couldn't get them from school. We would have to pay for a sitter. I finally just said we got married and they are my stepsons. We are supposed to work together as a family and not be divided. Just as an adult they may need to be repremanded by me. They are children and need guidance. The first year was the hardest. Then my husband started to let go of the reins. The boys mom at the time wasn't really involved with them. We ended up having them a lot on her week also. I definitely got from the older one that your not my mommy. I just said no I'm not, but I am your stepmom and you will respect me and listen. That was the end of that. The little one wanted to call me mommy. We just explained he has a mommy and that would hurt her feelings but that I love him just the same. Now I think it's been 7 years. Each year has gotten better. The boys love their little brother. We actually celebrated one of the boys birthday at their mom's house. She remarried and also has two stepchildren. For the kids we've learned to get along. I've been totally involved in the decisions with the kids and helped raise them. I guess that's my point to what I read. You are going to need to let your boyfriend be apart of you and your sons lives. He will need to help raise and discipline him. You will be a whole family. You don't want to be a half. Your boyfriend will also need to understand that your son has a father and other Grandparents. That for your son's sake he will need to be nice to. You should not get married unless you both know that you can handle both of those things. I am an example that it is possible if you work hard at it. It's not in the ordinary but it is possible. You just have to stand strong. Good Luck!

A good man doesn't demand that a son be cut off from his father and a father from his son. While it's nice that he loves your son and would like to be his father, you had your son with your husband and then got divorced. Most divorced dads do not give up their paternal rights after a few years when their ex wife remarries.
Your boyfriend is wrong if he thinks an adoption is going to cause your son not to say "You're not my dad." He will know it's not his original dad and will hate him for taking away his real dad. Teens will hate you no matter what, I promise.
He thinks you can take your ex back to court and take his money? Ummm, does he realize that if your ex did relinquish his parental rights, there would be no more money, no more child support because he would not be required in any way to pay for a child that isn't his anymore.
Your boyfriend is being unreasonable. He thinks that his wishes should come above yours, your son's and your ex's (and ex's family). Do you really want to spend your life with someone like that?

I'm sorry but he may be a great guy but he needs to understand your baby always comes first. If he really loves you he will understand. If he doesn't understand then maybe he need time to figure out what he really wants. And you need to suck it up too. Get your courage back. Look at your son and remember what you are fighting for. Then lay it on the line. Tell him how it is and say "This is how it must be, If you really love me understand that or I can show you to the door."


If you have already considered it, Leave him. You are not attached to him enough to give him 100% in a marriage. Marriage is not 50-50, it's 100-100.

>>So if we can't get passed this, then I will have to end it >>and pack up his things and show him the door.

Be very careful who you date. He's taken the time to date a single mom, (in spite of what he has said), expects a lot of inappropriate action from your marriage (adoption, curtailing Dad's visits, etc.), and doesn't seem to do more than change you and your son to his (meaning property).

Of course I am only going by what you have put here. People are weird. You think you know them, and they wind up surprising you at turns like this.

I do know if you don't agree on everything before you marry, that important issues like this would only break down and dissolve anything else you might have.

And after reading you would leave him if this doesn't change, it sounds as if you are not of the mind that marriage is final and you work things out.

You can't make him (want to) work things out. You can get yourself into one heck of a mess that may wind up being more than you ever bargained for.

Be careful.

PS: Please let me know how this turns out.

WOW!!! Let me start by saying I see major flashing red lights. I would not even entertain the idea of marriage at this point because if you think this is a problem now it will only get 100 times worse after you marry. The only person that will be majorly hurt if you cut off your son's time with his Grandma is him. As a mother who obviously adores her son why would you do that. Grandparents are sooooo important in a child's life. I hate to say it but your son's relationship with his Grandmother is more important than his relationship with YOUR BOYFRIEND. Even if you marry this guy his Grandmother will always think of his needs first and I have a feeling your boyfriend has a control/insecurity issue which will affect his "parenting of your child". It sounds like he's afraid your son will like his father more than he likes him. I'm not even talking about your son's relationship with his father because your EX sound very immature and self induldged!!! There will come a day your Ex will reach out and want more time with your son so right now only worry about his relationship with his Grandma. She sounds like a very loving person!!! Good luck and please do not be blinded by love!!! Be very selective of who has influence over your son. Your job over anything is to protect and provide a loving, safe environment for that precious little boy. One last thought I would be worried that if you marry your boyfriend and have another child with him that he would treat your son very different because he is not HIS. Why else would he be so insistant on adopting your son---because he wants him to be HIS. Sorry about being so forth right. So many times children get dragged through a lot of "stuff" because of bad decisions adults in their lives make that affect them!!!!

It sounds like your boyfriend is jealous of your ex and wants to secure his place in your heart and home.

Regardless of how the system works, what you need to make clear is how important it is to you to maintain a good relationship with your ex for yourself and your son. The time will probably come when your son says "You can't tell me what to do, you're not my dad", even adoption would not prevent that from happening.

It sounds like what needs to happen is that the two of you need to sit down with a neutral party. A lawyer, a counsellor, an ombutsperson, a pastor, whomever you trust to help you find your way through this. Your BF needs to have some choices, simply telling him he cannot be involved in any way is only going to make matters worse. Find someone who can help you find some common ground.

Hi L.
What a wonderful problem to have!!! Two grown men adoring your son!!
How about agreeing to let your son call your boyfriend what he likes?
Here's my story. Different yet similar.
We had a foster daughter come into our home. She was placed for 10 days by the court. She was reviewed every 10 days, so we always only had her for the 10 days, but she stayed for almost 2 years. Everyone was welcome to come visit. Some did often, some not so often.
After a while she called us mama, and daddy. She called her real father "Da" Mom didn't come often enough for me to notice. We did not discuss this with her.
She left -- long story-- but since it was a local girl, I would see her in the grocery store etc. She would run over she would help me. She is now married with children and she still calls me mama, her real mother died, and she called her "that 'her name' lady" Her dad has lived with several women who she called by their first name. Today I am the only one she calls mom.
By the way she left our home at 3, and never lived here after that. Although I did since her but only occasionally.
My advice is to relax, see if he will agree, and let the situation become natural for your son. If adoption is never going to be an option and your boyfriend is determined to make it the only option then parting may be in the best interest of everyone, and I say the sooner the better. Is he betting you are going to choose him over your son who can't care for himself?
God bless you as you determine what is best for you and your young son.
K. -- SAHM married 38 years -- adult children --37, 33 and twins 18, and then there were the foster kids.

I am also divorced and now remarried, and I would say that the number one issue we have is dealing with the issues of step-parenting and ex-husbadnds, so I totally sympathize--it is not easy. I divorced when my daughter was 2 and she is 7 now. My ex-husband sees her once a week on weekends and I am still close to his mother. It has been very important for me to keep those relationships with her father and grandmother, and for my daughter to see me spending time with them. I think it really helps and makes her feel she could talk about anything she's doing without having to censor herself. That said, being a step parent takes a lot of compromise, and it's been hard. We can't move away from my ex-husband, we can't do all we would on weekends because of pick-ups from her dad's house. So it is hard. I used a book I would highly recommend: Helping Your Kids Cope with Divorce the Sandcastles Way. Good advice for how to handle different situations. I would also suggest counseling with your boyfriend, if he is open to it. I think you may need help in trying to get him to understand his role--saying he wants to adopt your child is a big red flag to me. Your son's "other" family is a real family even if he spends less time there. WOrrying that your child will one day say he's not his father. . .one day he'll be a teenager and, even if he loves your boyfriend, he'll test it out. That's what kids do. Anyway, I don't know if I've helped but I would say my new husband and I deal with effects of the divorce(which was really friendly)all the time, so you have to be able to communicate about it and your boyfriend has to accept the situation or it really won't work. And again, I totally sympathize as I know how wonderful it is to find love again after a divorce. . .good luck.

L., first of all, please look at the good side of your boy friend. He wants to show you committment !! He is prepared to take fully fledged responsibility for your son. That is a sign of how much you mean to him and how badly he wants to be in your life...and also, he sees being with you as a permananent arrangement ( Unlike your ex who walked out on you).

I know it seems hurtful when he says, 'this is why i don't date single mom's'...but he feels hurt when he feels either left out or like its beyond his control and its something he can never change. I know its mean of him... but its only human to feel that way when you love someone that much and want to be entierly involved.

If i were you, i would talk to him... i mean really really sit down and talk to him and explain exactly why its not going to work out that way. Tell him, your son has a right to be his real fathers son ( dead beat dad or not) and that he does'nt need to be his legal dad to express the concern and love he has for him. Don't loose your boy friend over this L.....work it out...because he has a good heart by the looks of it and thats not easy to come by !!


I expect that you will get tons of responses to your request and hopefully something in you will click when you hear what it is you're looking for or hear the thing that rings truest to your heart.

The only thing I'd like to leave you with is that you and the person you marry (besides loving each other) should share core values and be mindful and respectful of one another. If these things aren't in play, then the road ahead is likely to worsen over time and may eventually be taken out on your son.

I agree with you, the relationship between your son and his father is very important but the role of a step-father is also important, if not MORE important since he's the one who's going to be a part of your son's day-to-day life. Maybe, this is the point you should stress and if you can't see eye to eye on this, then maybe it's not meant to be.

To me, family is everything, and here your son gets to not only be a part of the standard 2 families (mom's and dad's) but of 3 families (assuming your BF's family would accept and treat him as part of the family - ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT IF YOU PLAN ON HAVING MORE CHILDREN!)

Your situation is not an easy one; good luck finding your way.

I don't think your bf can handle your life (meaning you and your son and everything that is involved) and having a child together will make things worse, I have seen it sooo many times. I think you and your son would be better off waiting to find the guy who will love him like his own but understand his fathers role and be there for you and willing to have a new baby together. They are out there, really! My best friend has 2 kids and has found a very nice man to love all three of them. I know this does not make me an expert but I really feel that you should move on. From what you have explained about your bf, he can't handle it, he is in denial, and he will flip out the day your son DOES yell back at him that he is not his dad, and it will get ugly. I feel for you my dear. I know it is scary to be on your own with a child and you want the best for your son...that is why you should join some on-line dating services and get looking for a nice single man (maybe a single dad) and you can both have that in common. Parents without partners (PWP) has local chapters. My mom took me when I was your son's age to playgroups so she could meet other single parents and while she did not meet her husband for many years (through a personal ad) we had many nice adventures with PWP. Best of luck.

Hello L. P:

Thank you for sharing your personal story with us. It appears to me that some self-reflection would greatly assist you at this time. Doing an internal inventory of how you perceive yourself (this includes your worth), your relationships with others, including men, may be the place to focus on in order to address what is manifesting externally.

I wish you and everyone involved the best and highest outcome!

Holistic Healthcare Practitioner

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