Mom Seeking Relationship Advice

Updated on April 08, 2013
R.Y. asks from Columbus, OH
23 answers

Ok, this is a very hard topic for me to open up about, so before I go on, I please ask for no negative comments here!!! Ok I was engaged to my fiancé for 10 years, we had one child together our 11 year old son. He has no other children with anyone else and I have no children with anyone else. Sadly my fiancé passed away almost 3 years ago. So after awhile of my heartache of losing the only man I thought I would ever love, I decided I was going to start dating again. I had met a man, which is my boyfriend and he is a great guy, kind, caring, etc. so I waited a long time before introducing my son and him to each other. So they met, and things seemed to be going good. Until one day my son heard him and I arguing, and my son got involved in the argument saying to my boyfriend he better be nice to me, this happened a few times. My son thought he was doing right by protecting me. Then one day my boyfriend and I had a huge argument, my son was so upset over it, he called my boyfriend a name!!! Not any curse word names or or anything like that. It was a word my son heard off a TV show. But ever since this happened my boyfriend has not been so nice to my son, when I say not nice to him, I do not mean he hits him because he has never done that, I feel he is being mean because now he barely speaks to my son, doesn't do anything with him anymore, and it is taring me apart. I feel I neglect my son when I spend time with my boyfriend and I feel like I neglect my boyfriend when I spend time with my son. I have tried so many times to talk to my boyfriend about my son's past and why he defended me, and it just causes more arguments for us!!! I talked to my son about his actions and ever since I did that my son has not got involved in a argument since!!! Now this name incident happened almost a year ago, and my childish boyfriend still is upset with my son about it!!! So after many many times of trying to talk to my boyfriend I gave him a time frame and said if things do not start improving between him and my son then I was going to leave him, because my son comes first!!! But I really would hate to see that happen, because my boyfriend is a good guy. I don't ask him to be a dad to my son, because my son has one, his dad is not here alive anymore though. I ask him to just be a friend to my son at least. My boyfriend says he cannot help how he feels about my son now after the name he called him!!! He said would start being different to my son if he sees improvement in regards to my son acting so disrespectful to him... My son misses his dad, and really don't want me to be with anyone else, which I understand how my son feels. But in the end I want my son and I happy!!! But I cannot seem to get my boyfriend and my son together so my boyfriend can see my sons attitude is much better!!! So my next step in trying to fix the situation is counseling, clearly all 3 of us need it!!! So when I do this counseling should I have all 3 of us in the room together or should I have my son and my boyfriend go in together to see if they can establish some communication and understanding?? It breaks my heart to see these 2 got along so great at first, and now I cannot get my son and boyfriend to talk much at all!!! Of course I will choose my son over my boyfriend. But before I just give up, I really want to try and see if we can get back what we all had!!! Any advice would help!!! Please no negative comments, I am a great mother to my son!!! My son is my whole world, I just want to see it get better, thank you!!! Sorry for the really long book!!! **** I want to add that my boyfriend and I have been going through counseling ourselves, we haven't brought my son into the counseling yet**** I agree that how my boyfriend is acting is childish as well!!!! I do appreciate these comments but let me make this clear, WE DID NOT FIGHT IN FRONT OF MY SON!!!! The arguments took place in another part of the house all together!!!! As my story states my son heard us!!!!! And as for a rebound boyfriend, NO my boyfriend is not a rebound guy!!!! I met my boyfriend a year after my fiancé died!!!! And we did not even talk on the phone until like a month after we were introduced!!!! My boyfriend does not have kids, and my boyfriend is a only child *** I never said I was a perfect mom and I never said I was right for fighting with my son in the house, I know me arguing was wrong, and nowhere in my statements did I say counceling has not helped my boyfriend and I. And I have told my child that none of the arguments were regarding him and my son knows none of it was his fault!!!! And about my fiancé passing it was more than a shock!!! IT WAS WORSE, he passed away in our bedroom while I was at work ( heart condition) 60 minuets with a counselor to cover my past, present and future does not give alot of time on my topics, that was why I asked for advice

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Thank you everyone for all of your input, I have lots of advise to help me out now

More Answers



answers from Redding on

I'm sorry about the loss of your fiance.

It's just my opinion, but I think you and your boyfriend should take a break from each other for a while. Seriously. I know that everyone argues once in a while, and I could be reading more into it, but it seems like you two argue A LOT. Of course your son is going to be protective of you. He's not a baby anymore. He may be wondering why you are with someone that argues with you. I don't think your son should go to counseling with just your boyfriend. I think your son should be in counseling to help him deal with the loss of his father and his feelings about you being involved in a new relationship. He should have a private and safe place to talk about how he truly feels.

Also, what kind of "good" man holds a grudge against a kid for a year?
Is he REALLY marriage material?
Your boyfriend may be good in some ways for YOU, but is he father material? It doesn't sound like it.

You need a man who has a desire in his heart to be a father figure to his son. He needs to be a good example of how a man treats a woman and children because these are very formative years for your son.

My husband was abusive and I divorced him. I've been single for 15 years.
I haven't found anyone that could be the example I want for my son. Now, I've had him around plenty of really, really good family men so he sees what a good husband and father is like.
I haven't found the right person and I don't believe in trying to cram a square peg into a round hole. It's not going to fit no matter how hard you try.

Having no man is better than having the wrong man.
Take it from me.

I have raised an amazing son. He'll be 18 in June. He'll make an incredible husband and father someday because he knows how to treat women.
And, he is VERY protective of me.

Your son will be grown before you know it.
I, personally, wouldn't waste a day on arguing or trying to save a strained relationship, but that's just me.

Just my opinion and no offense intended.

15 moms found this helpful


answers from Cumberland on

A man's primary job is to "lead and protect" and your little boy has already internalized this very important lesson that he will implement as a man-good for him. The BF is the antithesis and is sore because he was "outed" by a child who has finer innate qualities than he could even dream of developing-ouch. My advice is to cut your losses and find a guy who doesn't opt for the drama and is man enough to treat you like a lady-which does not include screaming and throwing a scene-especially in ear shot of a small child. He ....will....not.....change! You could sooner move a mountain one teaspoon at a time than get the lug to make an effort. I guaranty, that after you continue to play the role of his mother, and pour all your heart and soul and resources into counseling, that he will drop you like a bad habit-so not worth the effort. Just being realistic-all the best!

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Renee, I'm very sorry about your fiance. I'm sure it was a terrible shock.

Now, about this current relationship. I'm sorry, but you are in the wrong in regards to your son. HE is your number one priority and you are relegating him to last. This man you are dating is not good boyfriend material and certainly not good substitute father material. ANY man who you bring around has the job of substitute dad BECAUSE you are dating him. It's a far different relationship from him being a friend, and your son KNOWS it.

You should not be arguing with this man with your son in the house. If you two can't get along any better than this anyway, you shouldn't be dating him. You excuse this away by saying he was in a different part of the house. Renee, your son's not stupid. He knows exactly what goes on under his roof. I have to wonder why you have put up with this man holding a grudge against your son for a year. You are enabling his childishness, Renee, by allowing this.

You and your boyfriend have already been in counseling and it has not helped. I would get counseling for your son privately and then YOU should join him when the counselor feels that HE is ready.

If your boyfriend lives with you, you need to tell him to move out. He has not heard the message that life with YOU is a package deal with a child. He needs to either "man up" or you need to dump him.

Renee, you said you don't want negative comments. I'm sorry, but not all is rosy here and your child is the big loser in your relationship with this man. You are in the wrong to have this situation and you need to fix it. I'm sorry if you feel this is negative, but just hearing "oh, it's all going to be okay" is not what your son needs. You say your son is your whole world. From the looks of it, the boyfriend is really your whole world and you are trying to fit your son into this new world with the boyfriend, along with all the yelling and the screaming. This is so inappropriate.

Your life is supposed to be primarily about your son's needs, not yours. You can have boyfriends, but don't bring them around your son. When you find a man who will not be childish, as you have called your boyfriend, who WANTS to be with your son, not just you, THEN your son will be better able to deal with having a substitute father. Don't for one moment think that your boyfriends don't have that title. They do. The point is whether they are good at it, or whether they stink at it. Your current boyfriend stinks at it.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

If a grown man can't get over being called a name by a child then he doesn't sound like someone who should be a part of your son's life, or yours. As a matter of fact he sounds like a child himself.
Be glad you are learning this about him now so you can move on and find someone who loves and understands children, and doesn't need "counseling" to be a man.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

I am about to be divorced. I know it will be difficult to find a man who lives up to parenting or even befriending my three kids, so I am fully prepared to be single for a loooooooooong time. Maybe forever. If I do meet someone, first and foremost, they have to be worthy of my kids, and they have to be a good example for my kids, and they need to be loving and honorable to "earn" their place in our family. ONce they do, they'll be a full authority figure and dad. But again-the qualifications would be TOUGH!

Anyone holding a grudge against my child for so long (or even for a short time) over something so small would not be up to the job. Not even close.

It may be hard for you to give up a boyfriend you love. But he does NOT sound like good father material for your son. Whoever you choose will be your son's primary role model and dad since his has passed away. Unfortunately, this guy is not good enough for your son in my opinion. He will continue to hurt and ignore your son whenever he feels like it.

Also all of this arguing, no matter where it is taking place is a not the sign of a good relationship. I dated my kid's dad for 4 years before marrying him and we neve fought like that. Even now we don't-he's just a cheater so we're divorcing.

Things do not get BETTER after marriage. Ever. They get worse. Your boyfriend is immature and he always will be. I would ease away from this relationship. You can do better.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Your boyfriend is NOT a good man if he is holding a grudge against a 10 year old boy for defending his mother.
He sounds like a whiner."Waaaahhh...I'm not going to be nice until HE'S nice....WAaaahhh".
Ick, he'd be OUTTA here.
Your poor son.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

So sorry to hear about the death of your fiancé and your sons father.

I am having a very hard time understanding why you would consider counseling for this. You should not have to try so hard to make this work. It also concerns me that you have these blowup aurguments with your boyfriend. In 17 years of marriage I don't think my husband and I ever had a fight like that.
This man is not your husband. I think you need to let him go. Holding a grudge for over a year against your child is just not right and extremely immature. Sorry, but this relationship is just not working anymore. Move on. There are other nice guys out there. Also, I do not see this as "giving up" when you decide to move on. You have given this ample time to work out. Don't waste your life. You will never be able to get these years back with your son and truthfully he is almost grown and then it won't matter who you are with.
Best of luck.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

So sorry for your loss Mama. Please continue to get counseling for yourself and kick this guy to the curb. He might be a decent guy like you say but he does not love you and your son enough to put his feelings aside and get over his anger at your son. He sounds very immature and you and your son deserve someone who knows how to handle conflict like an adult and who is able to be compassionate for a boy who lost his dad. You are the only parent your son has so please do right by him and settle for nothing but a man who has his sh#t together. Your son does not need to be around someone who has mental problems. It will only harm your son in the longrun. He has been through enough and so have you. You can do this Mama. Get in Mama Bear mode and protect your son from this chaos and pain.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

If your son is truly #1, you'll find another man.
I'm nor saying making a blended family doesn't require some work and possibly some counseling.
But, fundamentally, it shouldn't be this hard this soon.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I suggest that your relationship with your boyfriend is the cause of this. Couples should not fight in front of their children. The fact that the two of you continue to fight indicates that you and he do not have a good relationship. Fighting is damaging to the children's emotional well being. Your son's reaction is justifiable. I'm glad that you want to put him first.

Yes, you are a part of the problem with the relationship. You, yelled and screamed too. That is one reason I suggest that the two adults need to be in counseling. Do no involve your son at this point. He is NOT a part of the problem. The problem is your relationship with your boyfriend and his immaturity in relating with your son.

I suggest that you and your boyfriend split until you can get your relationship back on track or find that it's not a workable relationship. Get couples counseling to learn how to resolve your differences without a fight. And.....when you do see a fight coming; it happens to all of us; learn ways to take it out of the awareness of your son.

Tell your son that you understand and even appreciate his efforts to protect you. Then tell him he should not have to be in that position and that you're going to work on your relationship with your SO by living separately for awhile.

I suggest it's imperative that you provide a break between your SO and your son. Your SO is acting in an immature way and your son should not have to be involved with him while he's holding a grudge. Make your son's happiness your primary focus.

What your son did is reasonable. I am proud of him. It would've been much better if he'd not been involved but since you involved him his reaction is normal. Do not try to teach him a different way of reacting. Accept what happened as the responsibility of the adults and do not blame your son.

Later: I just discovered that you have also asked the question about paranoid personality disorder. I know, based on professional education and experience that if you choose to stay with this man, you will be sacrificing your son. Whatever is causing your boyfriend to act this way, it is a serious illness and will require you to spend most of your time dealing with him, his immaturity and his paranoia. You cannot change your boyfriend. He cannot change himself. He needs massive psychiatric help which is expensive and time consuming. You will not be able to provide a safe and secure place for your son because you will never know what is going to happen next with your boyfriend.

I understand loving him. I understand wanting to stand beside him. You first made a son with a loving father. You owe it to your son and his father to first take care of your son. Your boyfriend is unable to love your son. He's shown that he is unable to even accept your son as a child. He expects more from your son than he expects from himself, behavior wise.

Please put your son first. He needs a safe and secure and full of love home in which to mature and become an adult. He needs to first be a child who does not have to protect his mother. He needs to not have to worry about you and your safety. He needs to know that your boyfriend, whoever it will be, will be loving and kind to both of you.

You have been asking your son to make allowances for your boyfriend. That is so very unfair to both you and your son. You are not responsible for your boyfriend and his mental health. You are responsible for your son and his mental health. You are responsible for providing positive experiences for him so that he will grow up to be a caring and responsible adult.

It's one thing to stay with the father of a child when he's an inadequate and abusive father. It's an entirely different thing to stay with a boyfriend when he's an inadequate and abusive father. A father and son will always have a relationship even if it's an unhealthy one. Your son does not benefit from a relationship with a man who is paranoid and immature. It may be worth working on a relationship with a son's father. There is nothing to be gained from working on a relationship with a boyfriend. Your son doesn't need a relationship with your boyfriend like he would with his father. Protect your son, now!

7 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Something very similar happened to me AFTER I made the mistake of marrying the man. The wedding was great, the honeymoon was nice, the next two years were nothing but misery. He had two kids I had one, they were 13, 14, and 15. His son was the oldest and could do no wrong, his daughter was the youngest and the tallest and overweight and could do no right. But instead of correcting his own child (daughter), he took things out on my son.

He finally crossed the last line and I packed up and left.

Put your son first and move on. Wait as long as you have to. Go out a date a few people....have fun, get to know people before getting serious...BE friends before getting serious...get to know him inside and out...BECAUSE..Mr. Right is still out there. Don't stay with Mr. Wrong. The last thing you need after all you have been through is to make the worst mistake of your life and be torn between your child and a man.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

You really hit the nail on the head when you said your boyfriend is acting childish....

Kids will say and do impulsive things..... your boyfriend needs to man up and quit carrying a grudge.

Do you really want a relationship where you have to guard your words in fear of him doing the same thing to you?

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Ditch the boyfriend, he is acting like a boy.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I'm so sorry for your loss and I know you must be lonely, so I don't fault you for wanting to make it work w/your boyfriend but...

I agree with Laura...and you already acknowledged that your boyfriend was being childish.

You are all your son has. He's trying to step up, but the "alpha males" are clashing. You need to make it clear to ANY man in your life that your son comes first (if that's how you feel) and be ready to cut him loose if he can't understand that.

Whether you like it or not, any man that comes into your life WILL serve as a role model of sorts to your son, even if you're not "asking him to be the dad". I would recommend you choose your relationships VERY wisely. If the person would not serve as the kind of man you'd like your son to become, WALK AWAY. The relationships your son sees his beloved mother in will set the groundwork for his approach to his own. It's hard to know that your whole life is on display and is teaching very clear, very serious and lasting messages to your son, but it's the truth.

If it becomes clear in counseling that BF is not good father material, I pray you have the strength to leave, for the sake of the long-term health of your son.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Hi Renee,

First, bravo to you for recognizing that this issue warrants counseling. But here's the deal-- before you bring your son in together, I'd go with your boyfriend, just the two of you, first.

Because I think you need to make sure you are both sure of moving forward with each other before making this something that you involve your son in. Very kindly meant, Renee-- your boyfriend sounds like he is a nice guy, but maybe he may not be cut out for being a stepparent. It takes guts of steel to successfully stepparent a child, esp. one from a broken home or equally difficult, one whose own parent is deceased. I understand very much that this man has moments when he makes you happy, and I think you understand that for the past few years, your son and you have been a tight unit.

Of course, this new man in your life is causing your son's life to shake like an earthquake. Being the kid in all of this, he really needs this problem of you and your boyfriend's relationship to NOT BE ABOUT HIM. I stress this deeply because I was told as a teen that I was responsible for my mom and her 3rd husband's divorce. It is a TERRIBLE burden to put on a child and what's more, it is a lie. It's the adults who decide what *they* are willing to do to nurture and grow a relationship, or not.

Please know, too, that I am not saying you are doing this, but by dragging your son into counseling before you and your boyfriend go for couple's counseling, he will perceive himself as part of the problem because that's how it's being presented to him. Even if you don't say it, it will seem to your son that he is being perceived as the 'problem' and as a hindrance to your happiness. So be very careful and receive good guidance from the counselor before bringing him into a therapeutic situation. I would even suggest you and he going alone, so he can develop a relationship with the counselor, before bringing all three of you together in that way. If he's open to it, he might talk to the counselor privately as well. This would give the counselor the best insight possible.

It may be that your son is dead set against your being with someone else and having another authority figure, or it may be that your boyfriend has actually offended your son. It's clear that your son has offended your boyfriend. As I said before, stepparents have to be made of sterner, stronger stuff and holding a grudge over a year toward an upset child is something to be concerned about. Parenting doesn't become any easier as children mature. My concern is that, if two bad names are going to make your boyfriend act in a cool way, what will the teen years hold? Developmentally, they are supposed to be expressing their individuality and asserting their own thoughts, opinions. The fact that he's expecting the child to make the improvements and extend the olive branch-- the less mature person is supposed to change-- does raise some red flags for me.

So, meant kindly-- that is my advice. Start with you and boyfriend in counseling and move slowly from there. Personally, Renee, having been a kid who was subjected to multiple marriages and who is now healed and happily married at present, I would suggest that your nice guy can still be a nice guy but might not be great 'boyfriend to a single mom' material. And I think you'll have to explore that on your own, through the counseling. Best wishes.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I think it may be time to cut him loose. You and your son deserve better.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

A grown man should not be holding a grudge against a child for calling him a name during an argument that took place over a year ago.
If he can't act like a man, he needs to go away and come back when he's ready to act like an adult.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

I'm concerned that this relationship is so volatile that you are arguing in front of your son and then having a big blow up. What happens when your son is not there? I think to support your son and demonstrate to your son that he comes first, you will not tolerate a man being mean to him. Just because you have been dating him for a while doesn't mean it is a lifetime commitment (with your son having to prove himself, tolerance of fighting and the necessity for counseling with a boyfriend). I think you and your son deserve a more peaceful life.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Reno on

Might be a bit harsh here but I gotta wonder....Why on earth are you still with a "man" that is treating your child like he doesn't exist? Is that ok with you, for someone to treat your son badly? For a year??????? Is bf more important or is your son?

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

What your son did was the most normal thing any child his age would do with the new partner of a parent. First of all after the death of his father he probably felt like it was indeed his role to protect you. There is NOTHING wrong with that notion - sure it is not his place to get involved in your relationship, sure he shouldn't get in the mix when you are arguing... but if you think about it: what a great young man you are raising for him to feel and stand up for his mother to be treated with respect.
Also many children will be harsh on a parent's new partner as a way to test their sincerity. If your BF cannot deal with a child testing their boundaries or relationships... he probably should not date someone who has a kid.

You should have never argued in front (or earshot) of him in the first place - it was wrong to put him in this position - but what is done is done... any grown man who cannot get over being called names by a 10 year old needs to grow up. Seriously it's been a year and you are still dealing with this? Is your boyfriend a teenager?
I would say he must have quite a bit going for him for you to not have ditched him when this started. If he agrees to counseling, by all means go....if anything you may realize that this guy isn't worth the effort. A counselor will tell you how you will meet, most likely they will meet with both of you initially and then schedule additional individual and family sessions as needed.
Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

You might be ready to date but your son is not ready for you to date.
He sees himself as the man of the house.
And what boy doesn't want to defend his mother?

First - when the adults argue - make it clear the argument is NOT about your child and he has nothing to worry about.
It's just the adults having a loud discussion.
If your son tries to jump in, take a breath and calmly tell him that this isn't any of his business and he needs to stay out of it.
I've had to do the same thing with my son when he was young when my husband (his Dad) and I argued.

Second - your boyfriend is an adult (or at least he should be) and he should not be holding a grudge against your son.
Really - that tendency right there sounds like it could be a red flag and I'd have to question whether he's really a good match to become a part of the family.
Your son has to come first before any boyfriend.

Third - in any relationship, even the most harmonious, there WILL be times when there are disagreements, arguments, spats, etc.
There are rules of engagement - how to fight fair so to speak - no name calling, no screaming, no saying anything to hurt the other (you ARE suppose to make up again and the sun will come out when the little storm has passed).
Your son is young and is learning from you how these things work.
You (and what ever partner you end up with) need a good method of conflict resolution and a little anger management might help.

I'd consider this current boyfriend to be the rebound guy.
You've know this guy less than 3 years are you are in counseling.
You are not married to him - he is disposable.
A good relationship should not be such hard work.
Dump him and take awhile before you get into another relationship.
It's better to be alone than to be wishing you were.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I think your boyfriend doesn't have children. He may have never been around kids either. I do think that making his actions dependent on how a pre-teen acts makes him look like a pre-teen himself. He needs to learn how to empathize and sympathize with a child who lost his father at a very young age.

I do think that counseling will help your child but I would make sure that kiddo has his own counseling sessions and then he meet with you and the boyfriend for at least a while. He may have his own issues he needs to work through so he can feel better about the boyfriend.

In reality I would not spend this much effort on this one guy. I'd date him and spend time with him but he would find himself on the back burner a bit more. I might not even talk to him every day. If you are living together that of course won't work but if you maintain your own home with your child you need to make sure that you take several evenings per week where you and son are home alone, you can also get a babysitter and go out on dates with boyfriend alone. Then do, maybe once every other week, a family outing type activity.

This will give each of them some alone time with you and then limit them spending so much time with each other.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Your boyfriend is the adult here, he needs to move past this issue that a 10 year old called him a name. If he loves you and cares about you then he will try to improve this situation, and maybe you need to explain that to him in private. Maybe you need to give him the ultimatum that if he can't fix this then you have to let him go because your son comes first. The two of them need to talk and try to work past this. Since your boyfriend is the adult, it is up to him to make the effort. Your son was acting out of anger and fear and his love for his mother, it is a completely normal reaction and your BF needs to understand this.

You say you and your BF are going to counseling, I wonder if you've discussed this issue with the counselor and what they might advise? (a professional opinion might be the best). I think your boyfriend needs the help more than your son, if he can't get on the same page as you then maybe it would do more harm than good to have your BF and son together in counseling, you never know what might come up that your son isn't ready to hear out of your boyfriends mouth.

As far as your fiancé, I'm very sorry for your loss, that is such a difficult situation for you and your son.

1 mom found this helpful
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