Need help breaking free from addiction?
1-888-993-3112
Call 24/7 for treatment options. Ad Info & Options

Why Do I Reject My Boyfriend's Son?

Question:

For the past three and a half years, I have on and off dated one man. We met online, had much in common, and began to see one another regularly on weekends. We live in different cities, so only weekend visits. I have three children, all teens. He has one son, who lives with the mother. At the beginning of our relationship, I embraced everything full-heartedly: introducing him to my children, inviting him on family outings–which included out-of-town soccer tournaments. We became serious pretty quickly. On occasion, he would bring his son to be a part of the family activities. At the time, the child was four and was pretty well-behaved. My kids were old enough to have other interests and friends over–and would often playfully include him while playing video games, or play The Memory Game with him, but would eventually run out of things to do and decide they wanted to go with friends or have time to themselves. I brought out books, puzzles, Legos and other items my children played with years before, but the little boy never seemed interested in completing a puzzle, even if I sat and helped him. I found this very different from my own kids who were very creative and enjoyed these activities. My boyfriend would then put on a DVD for his son and say it was “our” time; after all, he had come to see me and did want to spend time with me. Before long, this became the routine: bring the kid over, have my kids entertain him for a bit, surround him with different options, then stick in a DVD. For the most part he is an only child. He has a big sister who is also a teen, but is not the natural child of my boyfriend–and he never brought her over for various reasons (she was apparently a troublemaker, fought with her mother–who does not work due to a skin condition disability, had disowned her step-dad a year prior to my meeting him). I was just surprised that the child did not seem to play by himself well for being in that situation most of his life–he seemed only interested in watching DVD’s. I argued with my boyfriend. I was upset that the child had no interests other than watching TV or being constantly entertained. I countered that his mother did not help him develop and that my boyfriend was not a good father. He changed his behavior and really began interacting more meaningfully with the child—reading to him/with him, enrolling him in soccer (like my kids), interacting with him more. The problem: I found myself more and more annoyed at the child before the adjustments had any effect. Also I found myself not willing to be in a relationship with this man at times, and we would break up. The child embarrassed me several times at soccer outings where other children his age were more socially interactive, creative, pleasant, and conversational. This child would say only a word or two and could not be coaxed into using imagination no matter how inviting I was and no matter how much I tried to show him and model for him. He liked throwing rocks. He through a big one at me when his dad left for coffee and I was visiting with another soccer mom. I finally told my boyfriend not to bring him over until our relationship stabilized–because we were in a roller-coaster situation sometimes…I told him I didn’t want his child to get confused and to be caught in the middle…but really it was that I just can’t stand the kid. When my boyfriend speaks of the future, he hints that we may get custody of child. I dread that possibility so much. Why am I like that? What is wrong with me?

This Disclaimer applies to the Answer Below
  • Dr. Schwartz responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
  • Dr. Schwartz intends his responses to provide general educational information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
  • Questions submitted to this column are not guaranteed to receive responses.
  • No correspondence takes place.
  • No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by Dr. Schwartz to people submitting questions.
  • Dr. Schwartz, Mental Help Net and CenterSite, LLC make no warranties, express or implied, about the information presented in this column. Dr. Schwartz and Mental Help Net disclaim any and all merchantability or warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or liability in connection with the use or misuse of this service.
  • Always consult with your psychotherapist, physician, or psychiatrist first before changing any aspect of your treatment regimen. Do not stop your medication or change the dose of your medication without first consulting with your physician.
Answer:

You seem to believe that there is something wrong with you for not wanting your boyfriend’s son around. Give what you have described of his behavior, that is very understandable. From what you describe, you have done a really nice job raising your sons. They are athletic, social, considerate of others (they included this little boy with them) and they are self sufficient, able to look after their own entertainment. On the other hand, this boy may have some problems and that feels burdensome to you at this point in your life. That is natural.

Clearly, the boyfriend and his son are part of the same package. You appear to have correctly assessed that fact and know what that could mean. However, you feel guilty about your not liking the boy. After all, aren’t females supposed to love all children??? The answer is: no, not at all. In fact, I congratulate you for your honesty with yourself and your emotions.

Instead of fighting against your feelings and thought, listen to them and take them seriously. What I mean is that you seem to be telling yourself that this is not the right relationship for you. Well, I think you are right, at least that is my opinion.

Best of Luck

More "Ask Dr. Schwartz" View Columnists

Comments
  • Anonymous-1

    I agree in part with Dr. Schwartz's response however, I'd like to ask if you ever considered that the young child may be autistic, when I read your comments concerning the non social interaction, the yes/no answers, throwing stones and watching DVD's it occurred to me that these trates are very similar to autism. Particularly the social withdrawrl, non creativeness and less imagination as well as the visual stimuli from visual concepts such as movies.

    Perhaps the child has never received an evaluation or an assessment to diagnose any possible delays. It's just a thought, please remember that no two children are alike and whilst your boys are creative & sporty, it does not mean that every child behaves in the same manner. Each and every child is unique in their own way and have a basic right to be! The diversity between people is what challenges us all

    Good luck, hope that you'll give this young boy another chance and that he will provide an opportunity for you to do so.

  • Jessica

    I hope you are out of that relationship by now, not just for your sake but for this child. He is obviously unhappy and lacking in self-confidence, and a hostile stepmom judging his behavior at every turn would only have compounded the damage already done by his parents. You can't force yourself to like someone, and kids won't be fooled if you try and fake it, so the only thing to do is cut loose before any further damage can be done.

  • astroscorpio

    I don't agree with that answer at all.. Is it necessary for all children to be social? who decides it? your social conditioning? some blossom later in life.. This is not about a relation of two adults where you can just say its allright and incompatible.. It not about whether a women should like children or not.. its about wrong judgment of people for that child.. not all children are equal and neither all children grow in the same way.. some are th logical types while some are creative and moody.. if the women got embarrassed in social situation due to the boy, it was her ego who wanted the child to conform to what she believed as the perfect behavior of the child and obviously the child didn't conform her inhibitions which made her angry.. I agree she should leave the relationship if she cannot handle the child, but blaming the child for it is really foolish.. What the child needs is lots of love and understanding..

  • Anonymous-2

    It is good that you have recognized your limitations. If the child has other underlying issues that have yet to be diagnosed this will only compound what you are already feeling. I am in a similar situation and have known for some time now that I am not cut out for this.

    As much as I have tried to make things work there are elements to this type of situation that makes it impossible because my hands are tied with my boyfriends son.

    I would offer you the advice to cut your ties now before you invest years of your life only to end up unhappy and miserable. It is no good for all that are involved.

  • ellobo73

    I am in a simialr situation. i am a father of a 3 year old daughter, were going through a divorce with her mother - going on 2 years. I made the "mistake" of having another child with a new woman. we met 90 days after the wife left, and a month after we met she was pregnant withour now 18 month old son. when we first met she was so nice to my little girl, bought her shoes, gifts, cupcakes, all of her favorite things, my daughter loved her right away - i thought for her seeing her daddy happy and having the dynamics of a woman / male relationship was great for her as her mom had developed some serious mental issues - hence the divorce. currently my girrfriend of over 2 years now, mother of my son is rejecting my daughter of 3 almost 4 - she goes to hug her and she just clams up - doesnt move, and once through a window i saw her push my daughter away when she was huggin her, my daughter innocently sying to her - No - im jujst trying to hug you " its been hard, there was a time long ago when while she was 3 months prego withour son, my daughter would call her momma - i didnt do anythign about it and one night she left after an argument with me- left my daughter crying for her - calling her momma when she left, i had to ask her to wait until my daughter fell asleep for her to leave. but now present day im worried that she will keep disprespectin gmy daughter - she talks of our son as if he is gods gift to man - hes terrible - his terrible 2s are going to be HELL in comparison to my daughters, but she fights with me that i spoil my daughter too much, that i dont discipline her enough - then she tried to discipline her one day by spamkng her hand - but she doesnt do the positive re enforcement after - so my kid has no clue what she did wrong or why she was punished ? ive thought often of leaving the relationship - but our son is involved now and he and his sister have developed a relationship. she threatens me to take our son away, that she wont split 50/50 with me cuz im not a good father - and yet she has lived with me rent free for 2 years only paid 60 bucks once when i didnt have enough for rent, I buy about 75% of the groceries, i pay allthe billsminus her cell phone and her car payment and insurance - she quit her job and my sister gave her a job at her clinic - without even applying - i feel she is takign advantage of us - givine me parenting advice when she is a first time parent herself and is just using me and my famly for personla gain and neglecting my daughter - as I said to her today i dont ask much of you at all ever, but please just treat my daughter the same way you see your brother who is 21 years old and enlisted in the Marines does when he sees her at her parents house, on the days my daughter and i accompany her to her parents church - ( not our religion either but were reverant ) . long story short I would suggest you just step back and re evaluate yourself - its not the kid that is doing anytnign wrong, IDK if your religious or not but its likeley that at age 4 he has not even commited his first SIN - so think about what your saying, and get back to the person you were who encouraged that he try other things, puzzles, reading, sign language. when my divorce hit my daughter stopped talking - she went silent - and it took about one year of early speech development and sign language befire she began to speak again - but she did learn to speak again -

Close

Call the Helpline Toll-FREE

To Get Treatment Options Now.

1-888-993-3112 100% Confidential

Get Help For You or a Loved One Here...

Click Here for More Info.

Close

Call The Toll-FREE Helpline 24/7 To Get Treatment Options Now.

100% Confidential
Get Treatment Options From Your Phone... Tap to Expand