Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Boyfriend Isn’t Ready To Be My Kid’s Stepdad”

I’ve been dating my boyfriend for six months and it’s pretty clear to both of us that we are in love, highly compatible, and enjoy each other’s companionship. Even though it’s only been a short time we can both see a possibility of a long term relationship — marriage, moving across the country together, etc. He’s 23 and a mechanical engineer with a masters, so he is very focused and dedicated, and when he makes a final decision after much analysis he sticks to it. I’m 23, as well, with one year till I graduate from college. I already have a job lined up, and have accomplished many things already such as owning/operating my own store, and purchasing my first home. I was in a relationship for four years before this one and learned what it means to be a girlfriend or wife, and what I ultimately want out of a life partner.

Here is the issue: I have a six year old son. While I have had the time to mature and accept parenthood, my current boyfriend doesn’t know if he’d want to take responsibility for another person’s child (the biological father is highly involved in my son’s life). My boyfriend has many goals and didn’t plan on having children till his mid to late 30s. He doesn’t want to give up his current lifestyle, and he is worried about future responsibilities, such as paying for a child’s college tuition. Also, he said that if he became a father he wants to be able to go to every game and coach every team, and he knows he couldn’t and doesn’t want to do that at this point in his life.

So, what can and should I do? Do I give him a time limit to make a decision? How long? What could I do to make him more comfortable and realize that a child doesn’t end your ability to have goals? — Mother Load


Before you “give him a time limit to make a decision,” you need to be very clear about what you’re asking him to make a decision about. Is it whether he wants to marry you eventually? If so, when? Are you asking him to decide whether to have biological children with you? Again: if so, when? Or, do you want him to decide if he can handle the responsibility of being a stepdad one day. If it’s the latter, which I suspect it is, it sounds like you definitely need to have some heart-to-heart discussions about what, exactly, those responsibilities would be.

From the way your boyfriend describes things, step-parenthood sounds an awful lot like being a regular parenthood, from coaching sports teams to paying for college tuition. It can be these things, of course, but if your child’s father is “highly involved” in your son’s life, then your boyfriend could very well be over-stepping some boundaries by assuming all these responsibilities. Of course, if you have full custody of your son and you marry your boyfriend eventually, then parenthood will become a major focus of his life. Hell, even if you share custody with your ex, your boyfriend will take on a role of parent in some aspect or other. There will be sacrifices and adjustments, but they wouldn’t be the same as if he were raising the child as his own.

You need to sit down and explain these things to him. Tell him, as frankly and honestly as you can, what life will be life if you two were to move in together and/or eventually marry. Don’t just tell him — show him, too. If you’re so serious as a couple that you’re discussing long-term plans, then begin incorporating him more and more into the life you share with your son so he gets a better sense of what that life is like. If you are on some sort of plan to give your son siblings in the near future, then obviously, this is also something you need to discuss with your boyfriend.

It may very well be that you’re compatible in most ways, but if he can’t handle the idea of being a step-father — the reality of being a step-rather, not his fantasy of coaching the kid’s every game — or you want to have more children in the near future and he isn’t ready for that kind of commitment, then you lack compatibility in a very important aspect of your lives, and this relationship likely won’t work out in the long-run. When do you need to figure this stuff out? What’s the “time limit” on these decisions? Well, only you can say for sure. If having more children is a huge pressing concern, then obviously, you need to make some decisions earlier than later. But if, at 23, you recognize that time is a little bit of a luxury at this point, I’d take things slowly and enjoy where you are right now. It sounds like you’ve been on such a fast track in your life — you’ve made some wonderful accomplishments at a young age. But sometimes the biggest accomplishment of all is learning to slow down, enjoy yourself, and really soak up the lessons life gives you before moving on to the next challenge or project.

What are the lessons in your life right now? What can you and your boyfriend teach each other in this stage of your relationship? Take a deep breath, exhale slowly, and let the answers come in their own time instead of forcing them to develop.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter.

89 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Jess June 8, 2011, 8:07 am

    If the father is heavily involved in the kids life, is moving the child across the country really an option? I would think definitely not.

    Since you mentioned that was one of things you’ve discussed I’m assuming that it is one of the guys goals- to live and work somewhere else in the country. And that’s NOT possible when you take into account custody agreements and the fathers and son’s well being. Unless the father would move too? That just doesn’t seem realistic.

    Personally I believe that the decision when and if to have a family is a huge part of compatibility, and you two are not compatible in this department, as he doesn’t want a family right now, and you already have one.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom June 8, 2011, 9:33 am

      You definitely can’t just take a child and move across the country without the other biological parents permission. We know a couple who tried to do this when the husband accepted a job in another state. The wife had two sons from a previous marriage and her exhusband wouldn’t agree to her taking the kids out of state. She and her current husband had to choose between staying with the sons and giving up the job or taking the job and leaving the sons behind. They chose to take the job and leave the sons behind. I can’t imagine how that felt to the sons.

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      • avatar

        MissDre June 8, 2011, 10:38 am

        There is no way I could EVER leave my children!!! Even if I had to work at McDonald’s to earn a living, I’d stay with my babies.

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      • landygirl

        Landy June 8, 2011, 11:29 am

        Agreed, it is always saddening when a parent chooses an SO over their children.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom June 8, 2011, 1:12 pm

        I wouldn’t either. There is no way I would ever leave my kids.

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      • avatar

        Skybird June 8, 2011, 3:27 pm

        I would NEVER leave my son – he is my LIFE. Even if something happened between me and my husband and we divorced, I’d stay near my ex so my son could see his father whenever the father could. Consequently, if I fell in love with someone else, I’d make it clear that me and my son are a unit. You love me, you love my son. If you don’t love my son, or aren’t ready to be a father, you don’t get me too, because my son will ALWAYS come first. It’s not just about my duty to my son, it’s the commitment I made when deciding to get pregnant in the first place. I was ready to put me aside to focus on someone else, and bring that someone else into the world, and to make sure that this someone else is a happy, well-adjusted individual who knows he is wanted, loved, and first in my life.

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      • avatar

        lemongrass July 24, 2013, 2:42 pm

        I could never leave my child either. I can’t imagine being away from him overnight! To choose a job and SO over living with my children…. No.

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  • avatar

    JennyTalia June 8, 2011, 8:49 am

    I am gearing up to meet my boyfriend’s 6 year old daughter (I’m 24 with no kids). He only has shared custody of her, so I see myself just being a supplement in her life. She already has a mother and I do not feel like I need to take over her responsibilities. I will have my own children someday and can do all my real mommy things then. With the bf’s daughter, I just want to be there to support her (and him) and be another adult that she can trust.

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    • avatar

      Flake June 8, 2011, 10:14 am

      Step-mom or real mom should mean the same thing.

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      • avatar

        BoomChakaLaka June 8, 2011, 10:44 am

        I disagree. Children know who their real mom is and will probably always have preference for their real mom. A step mom should definitely be there for support, but has to know her place, which is not exactly the mom, but not a friend either. It is a really delicate situation, but the right attitude can make for a successful relationship.

        Disclaimer: I don’t have experience with this, I’ve just seen this acted out in way too many movies. Step-Mom with Julia Roberts/Susan Sarandon anyone?

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      • avatar

        Flake June 8, 2011, 11:34 am

        Yes, but to an adult there should not be a difference. Your partner’s kid should be treated as your own. Would you want your BF to consider your child another person’s kid? What would that mean? ”Oh, I don’t care if he does his homework, his real father and mother should take care of it” or ‘I don’t care that I think he is being bullied at school, he has real parents who should worry about that”.
        Children do know who their parents are. But they also know when they are not wanted. Kids learn best by example. You show them love and respect, and in most cases, they will respond with the same thing. They will react differently to parents and step-parents, but it doesn’t mean that the step-parents should care less or enforce the step-parent stereotype.

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      • avatar

        kali June 8, 2011, 11:17 pm

        Depends on the bio parents AND the age of the kids. More than likely, the step parent should allow the bio parents to do the actual work of parenting and be there for backup or support as needed, especially if the child is more than about 2 years old.

        I know I would not be happy if my girls’ stepmom tried to parent them. First of all, they’re too old to listen to her, but it’s not her place. And they would tell her so.

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      • avatar

        ele4phant June 8, 2011, 11:25 am

        While a step-mom (or step-dad) should love and support the child as though it were her own, when it comes to parenting responsibilities, if the biological mother (or father) is still heavily involved in the child’s life, the step parent should always defer to the real parent. If the parent is not involved, in that instance, it would be okay for the step-mom to step up and take on more.

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      • avatar

        evanscr05 June 8, 2011, 11:26 am

        I disagree, though I would add that it depends on the situation. I have had a step mother since I was 13 years old (going on 28 now), but my relationship with her has always been more of friend versus parent. I have two parents, both of whom I’m very close to. I adore my step mother, she’s amazing to my father, she’s always been there for my brother and I, but she’ll never be more to me than a friend. My fiance, however, has not been close to his father since he was 3 years old. His technical step father has been in his life since he was 6 and is the man he calls Dad.

        To be a step parent is tough. You have to be willing to deal with another person’s child when you really have no authority over them. You have to be willing to deal with the stress of another parent in the mix. You also have to be willing to step up to the plate if it calls for it. It is not a decision to take lightly. In this scenario,I believe the LW should let her boyfriend go. He’s not ready, nor should he have to be, and putting that kind of pressure on someone who’s not sure yet will not only be detrimental to their relationship, but to the children. I know this because my mom remarried at one point without careful consideration, and then it imploded and I had to deal with the implications of another, more complicated, divorce. I still have wounds. She should do herself, her children, and her boyfriend a favor and not pursue this relationship any longer. It’s not fair to anyone but her.

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      • avatar

        evanscr05 June 8, 2011, 11:32 am

        I’ll add one more thing. If it lines up like she wants, and the boyfriend feels ready for this kind of commitment, then the LW NEEDS to have a conversation with just her child to discuss how they feel about it. One reason I’ve never had hard feelings toward my step mother is because my dad always talked to us about their relationship. In fact, he asked us before he asked her if it was okay to marry her. My mom, on the other hand, threw this man into our lives with no consideration for how it make us, the kids, feel and we hated him for the longest time. If the kid is not 100% okay with it, you need to reconsider, or at least slow down the pace until they are comfortable, too.

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      • avatar

        someone July 13, 2012, 11:53 am

        And you are the reason people don’t like to date single parents. Did you ever apologize to them for being such a bitch?”

        They don’t need your permission. The parents are marrying someone else, not you.

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      • avatar

        Flake June 8, 2011, 11:42 am

        You have as much authority as you insist on. I have a step-mother too, although I got her when I was 25 :). I consider her feelings and opinions as much as my real mother’s (although I do tend to forget her B-day, really don’t know why that is….)

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      • avatar

        evanscr05 June 8, 2011, 2:09 pm

        Not really, especially when the kids are younger, or teenagers. There’s a whole lot of “You’re not my real mom/dad!” being said to your face. It’s a tight rope you have to walk with discipline because you can’t overstep your spouse, or the child’s other parent. So if the kid won’t listen to you, and you’re concerned about upsetting the biological parents, how much authority do you really have?

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      • avatar

        Flake June 8, 2011, 2:45 pm

        If every parent or step-parent, or any other person dealing with children gave up so easily we would really be in trouble. The thing with kids is, that while they can be mean, you really can’t take these things personally. Kids need some else to establish boundaries for them. They will try to push them as much as they can, but it is up to an adult to explain and show l them when they are going too far. When my ex’s daughter (she was around 10 at the time) would say that to me I simply told her that I was not trying to be her mommy, I was just telling her what she should do right then and there. I told her that since her mom or dad weren’t there at that moment she could either listen to me and continue to have fun, or we will stop and go home, because I was responsible for her. You do need the support of the other parent, however.

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      • avatar

        ele4phant June 8, 2011, 4:57 pm

        Look, I think what you and everyone else are trying to say is essentially the same. Yes, of course you should embrace your step-child fully. Yes, boundaries should be established and you should be given leeway to enforce rules – it is your home after all, and you are the grown-up. But at the end of the day, you still do not get to step on the mother’s toes or try to take over her role. Of course, your spouse (and ideally the child’s other parent), should all be supportive of your presence and role in the child’s life, because while you may not be the “mom” you still have joined the family.

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    • avatar

      Flake June 8, 2011, 12:29 pm

      I hope your step-daughter doesn’t read this comment.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph June 8, 2011, 12:38 pm

        Its a hard line. If the biological parent is present then you can only cause tension by trying to be too much of a “real” parent. Definitely you shouldn’t enter the situation thinking that you can replace the biological parent. But on the other hand, its hurtful to differentiate real mommy or step mommy the way you are. If you have kids later and you treat them differently or love them more because they’re you’re real kids, you will seriously screw up your poor step daughter.

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  • BriarRose

    BriarRose June 8, 2011, 8:59 am

    I truly feel that when there’s a child to take into consideration, a relationship needs to move a bit slower than it would otherwise. That can be disappointing and frustrating at times, because plenty of people would no doubt be considering moving in together after 6 months, but that’s simply a luxury you don’t have. And that is what being a parent is all about. Sacrifice, being mature when you don’t want to be, and keeping your child’s best interests in mind.

    My boyfriend did not meet my daughter until we had been dating for 6 months. That first 6 months is the honeymoon period anyway-I felt the same way, that I could see marrying him and making a life together. But I couldn’t get swept up in that, because I had my daughter to think about.

    Yes, it would be painful for everyone if you introduced your boyfriend to your son and it didn’t work out. But obviously your relationship with his father didn’t work out, so he’s aware that adults don’t always stay together. Until you three start “talking the talk” and actually see what it would be like, it’s hard for anyone to make informed decisions. Maybe your boyfriend will feel more comfortable than he ever thought possible. Maybe he won’t. Maybe something will seem off to you. You just don’t know, until you actually do it.

    Slowly start (if you haven’t already) introducing him into your son’s life. A great first meeting is when the child is attending a party or get together with friends-much less pressure on everyone. Take your son and a few of his friends to Chuck E Cheese or the park, and have your boyfriend meet you there. Have your boyfriend come over for dinner. Go minature golfing. Don’t make all the visits fun outings, because that’s not how life is. Your boyfriend needs to see how fun it can be, and how not fun it can be. Everyone in this situation needs time to see what it would be like. Like Wendy said, you’re 23. Yes you’re probably a lot different than many 23 year olds, but time is in fact on your side. Heck, I’m 30 and still taking things slowly because that’s what is best for my daughter, and my boyfriend and I. It’s been such a joy to watch them get to know each other, and me to see my boyfriend in a completely different light.

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    • avatar

      Bethany June 8, 2011, 9:09 am

      Great response!!

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    • Firegirl32

      Firegirl32 June 8, 2011, 10:02 am

      Same boat here! Me? It took 6 months before my bf met my (then) 5 yr old son. We took things VERY slow. He never spent a night at my place when my son was home. He would come over for dinner, we would do things on the weekends. (And my ex husband is very involved in my sons life.) Two and a half years in, my son loves my bf and vice versa. My bf doesn’t have children. We are both old enough that my son is the only child we will have. We are making the big next step this summer – we will be moving to his house this month and getting married later this summer. My son is over the moon thrilled to have another person that loves him in his life. (his words, not mine!) I think the key is to take things slow, let them develop a relationship at their own pace. Let them be friends before you make them be family. But that’s just my two cents. Good Luck LW!

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    • avatar

      Anne (I Go To 11) June 8, 2011, 10:32 am

      I think 6 months must be a common benchmark, because that’s when I decided to have my now-husband meet my daughter. I wanted to be sure that a) our relationship was going somewhere and b) he was someone I felt comfortable having around her. I’m glad I did it that way; it gave them time to get adjusted to each other (she was almost 4 when they met), and now they have a wonderful relationship (she calls him “Daddy””, which was her choice!).

      Also, LW, the whole “I’ll want to be at every team practice, blah blah blah” line is him making excuses. Not wanting to give up his current lifestyle? How is he going to react when he graduates and starts working and his current lifestyle is shifting then? Seriously, it sounds like he’s putting the cart before the horse here. Why is he so concerned with all that stuff now? It’s not like he’ll be solely responsible for sending your son to college. Tell him to calm down; while big issues like college, etc., are important, your son’s only 6 and there’s plenty of time to work out those details still.

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      • avatar

        spaceboy761 June 8, 2011, 10:39 am

        “It’s not like he’ll be solely responsible for sending your son to college. Tell him to calm down; while big issues like college, etc., are important, your son’s only 6 and there’s plenty of time to work out those details still.”

        Eh… not really. Any kind of financial plan to send a kid to college should be well on the road by now. If we’re talking about contributing money, that has to be hashed out ASAP. I don’t think that the boyfriend is being unreasonable here.

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      • avatar

        kate June 8, 2011, 10:43 am

        I agree. College savings has to start early. It’s something I would be worried about.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph June 8, 2011, 10:47 am

        “Also, LW, the whole “I’ll want to be at every team practice, blah blah blah” line is him making excuses.”

        So agree with this. Nobody can make it to every team practice, coach every game, be at every event. This guy has completely unrealistic expectations for his future. I think the reality of life (messy, disorganized, busy as it is) will really shock this guy.

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      • avatar

        jena June 8, 2011, 11:28 am

        No, I think this is his way of saying “i don’t want to do this (with you/right now/etc)”

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      • avatar

        Miss Mary M June 8, 2011, 12:54 pm

        Me, too. I’m not sure what the LW is giving this guy time to decide. He’s told her he doesn’t want the responsibility of parenthood right now. He’s told her that he wants to focus on his goals and save having children for later, and he’s told her that he doesn’t want his “lifestyle” to change (read: he’s not ready to give up the ability to make decisions, travel, go out, etc., without considering children). There’s nothing wrong with any of that. But it sounds like his mind is pretty made up.

        I don’t think these two are compatible, long term. They’re at different stages in their lives. And, based on his at best ambivalent attitude about raising her son, I absolutely don’t think she should even consider moving across the country to be with the BF.

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      • avatar

        justpeachy June 8, 2011, 3:30 pm

        She’s calling it “time to decide”, but it really means “time to hang out with fall for me more, hopefully fall for my child, and change his mind”.

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      • avatar

        ltc309 June 8, 2011, 11:26 am

        He’s only 23! He doesn’t want to deal with children & that’s perfectly fine. He is making excuses but what he really needs to do is be honest with himself & the LW. He should’ve never gotten involved with someone that has a kid if he doesn’t want to deal with any for a long time.

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  • JK

    Jessika June 8, 2011, 9:00 am

    I dont get people that would date and start a serious relationship with someone with a kid if they’re not prepared to take it on.
    When I was single I knew I couldn’t imagine being a stepmom, so I would never have dreamed of dating a dad.
    I know not all realtionships have to be serious or lead to marriage, but i find it really unfair for kids to have to meet suitor after suitor and not having a stable presence (ok , the dad is present here, but the mom has already had atleast one other serious relationship, apart from this one. If there is one thing children need in their lives it’s stability, the possibility to form relationships with people (that don’t “disappear” on them later). I know that if I ever divorce I’ll wait until I’m completely certain about someone before I introduce him to my daughters!
    Rereading, I see that the bf is only 23, it’s totally acceptable if he’s not ready to be stepdad, I only hope that if it is the case he realizes it. A fb “friend” last year married a guy with a daughter, a few months later posted.. “pregnant!!!! I’m finally going to be a real mommy not just a stepmom!”, I could only imagine the hurt of her stepdaughter if she ever read that, not to mention the attitude the poor thing must put up with when at her dad’s house!

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    • avatar

      ltc309 June 8, 2011, 10:48 am

      Wow…that’s terrible! I hope the girl never read the post. Completely unnecessary.

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    • avatar

      SpaceySteph June 8, 2011, 11:40 am

      Ugh I worry so much for that girl. A friend of mine growing up had her mom remarry when we were in middle school to a much younger man (stepdad was like 12 or 13 years younger than her mother). A few years later they had twins who became the center of their lives. The poor girl was neglected. She struggled in school (probably from the drama at home) and her mother would say all the time to mine things like “Oh Molly can’t come with us to Disney World because she got a C on a test so we’re just taking the boys,” or “Oh Molly stayed home to babysit because she needs to study.”
      She finally got out of there by going to a college far away and never looked back. Thats so tough though, to be treated like Cinderella because you’re not his *real* kid.

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  • avatar

    PFG-SCR June 8, 2011, 9:17 am

    “…my current boyfriend doesn’t know if he’d want to take responsibility for another person’s child (the biological father is highly involved in my son’s life).”

    Your boyfriend has only been dating you for six months, but we don’t know how much time he’s spent with your son. Some single parents wait a period of time before introducing their child(ren) to someone that they are dating, so I’m going to assume that you’ve done that, too. Since you state that your son’s biological father is highly involved, your boyfriend may not have spent a lot of time with your son at this point since your son may be with his father a lot.

    My thought is if he’s been dating you and sees a possible future with you, he recognizes that it includes your son. He may not be ready now, but that’s because you’ve only been dating six months, and he’s likely not developed much of a “parent like” relationship with your son yet. Plus, at 23 without kids of his own, he probably doesn’t know how to be a parent, and there is the added element of your son’s biological father who is very involved in your son’s life, and your boyfriend may not know what role to take in order to not overstep his boundaries.

    You had to learn at a young age to be a parent, and parenting is a lot of work. I don’t think your boyfriend being unsure of what he wants his level of involvement to be after this relatively short period of time is a red flag that he won’t ever. Just because he loves you, it doesn’t mean that he will instantly love your child at the same time – he needs time to feel that way about your son.

    Step-parents have different roles in their step-childrens’ lives, and so it’s up to those involved to decide how they will be defined. If you truly feel that there is a future with your boyfriend, I’d continue with the relationship and work to have your boyfriend and son become more involved with one another. Let it develop naturally, just as your relationship with your boyfriend has developed. However, if he decides that he is certain (no longer unsure as he is now, but truly certain) that he is not willing to be a step-parent, then you need to decide what course of action to take with your relationship.

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  • avatar

    Flake June 8, 2011, 9:35 am

    You say in your letter that you have matured and come to understand what parenthood is about. Then you know that your son (at least at this point, as much as you may not want to lose this great guy) must come first. Kids are extremely good at reading people, and knowing when they are not exactly loved. I think it would hurt your son immensely to meet this new person who loves his mom, but only tolerates him. It’s great that his biological father is very involved in his life, but it will not matter if the man you choose to be with sees your son as a distraction, or someone he has to deal with because he wants to be with you. Kids are very good at distinguishing real love from anything else. Your BF may not have to be ‘a full-time father’ to your son, but he has to genuinely like him and enjoy spending time with him. Anything less will leave your son feeling like he is a bother.
    You have to explain this to your BF. You have to clearly say what will be expected of him (for example spending one hour of quality time with a kid every day (checking homework, playing soccer, reading)). You have to tell him that he has to really care for the kid and has to want to get to know him and to spend time with him. However, if your BF makes it clear that he cannot commit to that, it may be best to put this relationship on hold. You are only 23. There will be other guys that will enjoy all aspects of being with you AND your son.

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  • avatar

    spaceboy761 June 8, 2011, 9:44 am

    A six-month relationship typically isn’t ready for ultimatums involving marriage or kids, so the LW is probably jumping the gun here. If she does lay down the law, she’d better be prepared for him to walk since it’s unlikely that he’ll be ready to make a lifelong commitment to a child and relationship that didn’t exist six months ago. It’s asking a lot.

    I understand that having a child doesn’t automatically destroy your dreams, but that’s a very hard sell to a 23-year old that just invested about $200K in his education and hasn’t really even started his career yet. If I were to make DearWendyBook.com odds on this guy sticking around if faced with an ultimatum, I would open the line at 40-1.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom June 8, 2011, 10:01 am

      Agreed!

      Ultimatums don’t usually work in any relationship anyway. Add in that you don’t know at the six month mark whether any relationship will work or last. How could he possibly know at this point whether he will want to marry her or become a step father to her son.

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    • BriarRose

      BriarRose June 8, 2011, 11:24 am

      Ultimatums are bad no matter what, but ridiculous if a chid is involved. I would never want to think that a man was my child’s step-father because he “had” to be. Developing feelings for another person’s child takes time, if it happens at all. That is not something that can be forced. Nor should it be. It would probably be more sensible for her to tell her boyfriend she’d like to continue dating him and sees a future with him, but that her and her son are a package deal. If the boyfriend wants to stick around to see what happens, then she knows he’s there because he wants to be.

      Oh, and what parent is ever at EVERY event? Surely if the child’s father is as involved as the LW says, he must have visitation rights. So during the time the son is with the dad, the step-father and mother will likely not be attending things.

      I think the boyfriend is to be commended for realizing just how serious it is to be a parent, but also needs to be given an opportunity to see what it’s actually like. This is something to be figured out as time goes by.

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      • avatar

        BeenThere March 29, 2017, 12:04 pm

        Actually most custody agreements make it clear that both parents are to be allowed to attend events for the child-school events, sporting events, etc-regardless of whose “time” it is…

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  • fast eddie

    fast eddie June 8, 2011, 8:46 am

    LOAD is the operative word in this letter, and with all her other accomplishments this one isn’t in her lap. If he’s not into being a parent it would shred the relationship. That said, if he chooses to take on the role the rewards are monumental but so are the sacrifices. Be it love or lust the relationship between them is secondary to the child’s needs and she needs to shift the focus her wants to that.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom June 8, 2011, 9:37 am

      You’re so right. You have to both accept and want that child as part of the relationship or it will never work. Step parenting relationships are much more difficult than bioligcal relationships, especially when the child has a close relationship and loyalty to the biological parent that the step parent might seem to be replacing. Children are tough on marriage and you have to be commited to both the child and the marriage to make it work.

      When she had a child that child became her priority and until he is grown she has to limit herself to relationships that work with that child.

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  • Kate B.

    Kate B June 8, 2011, 10:32 am

    I have to say that I have never dated a man with a child; it just never happened, and I don’t know how I would handle it. I probably couldn’t do it seriously because I don’t want children, and if things got serious I’d become some kind of parental figure to the child. A parent needs to be there 150% for their child, and that means I would come second, which is how it should be if you have children.

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  • avatar

    kerrycontrary June 8, 2011, 10:41 am

    This is really tough! There’s no easy solution, but I just wanted to give props to the LW for being a teen mom, going to college, and overall being so successful!!

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  • avatar

    ltc309 June 8, 2011, 10:45 am

    Before I say my piece I want to note that your boyfriend is 23 yrs old & although he may have matured in his career, that doesn’t mean he’s ready to play house. You already matured because you have been a mother for some time, but it’s difficult for people who’ve never had children & don’t intend to have them for a while to get into “parent mode.” I know I wouldn’t do that (I am also 23) & that’s ok! For you & him…That just means you two are in diff. places & probably aren’t meant to be together…
    All that aside, please inform your boyfriend that as long as your son’s dad is fully involved in his life, there’s really not much responsibility he needs to tack on…
    & please be careful about who you put in your child’s life. No judgment, but your main focus should be your son and how his life will be affected. If you get serious with a man that wants nothing to do with your child, then you need to kick his ass out the door, regardless of how much “you care about him,” because all that’s going to do is hurt your child. I’m not sure how exactly you are, but I’ve witnessed, first hand, (my brother’s mom) women that choose their boyfriends over their children & that is really awful.
    My brother enlisted in the army, left to Iraq for two years, & upon his return his mom had a new bf. She told my brother, “You need to find somewhere else to stay because my new bf is paying half the rent & he turned your room into his office & doesn’t want anyone staying here.” (Let me just add that was my brother’s home before this guy even came into the picture, he grew up there!!)
    So, HOPEFULLY you’re not that type of woman because it is really damaging to your child. I say, have a talk with your boyfriend about what YOU need from him if he wants to stay from you. Whatever he responds, take it seriously, & please have your son’s best interest in mind, not your boyfriend’s. There are plenty of other men out there.

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    • avatar

      kate June 8, 2011, 10:52 am

      I feel bad for your brother.

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        ltc309 June 8, 2011, 11:00 am

        tell me about it. that’s only a snippet of a lifetime of disappointments he’s undergone with his mother & her endless roster of men. she’s had more men than I’ve taken showers…

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    • avatar

      Flake June 8, 2011, 11:13 am

      I really don’t agree that just because her son’s biological father is involved in kid’s life, she has to downplay the responsibility of being a parent to her BF. Does she have primary custody of her son? Is it 50/50 with the father? Does he see his father only on weekends, or every other weekend? I am assuming (if they continue the relationship) they are going to live together at some point in the near future. What is she going to do then? Send the kid to his room when she is watching TV with her BF? If they stay together, the BF will have to spend a lot of time with a kid, one way or another. It will not matter if BF is tired after work, if he is sick or just in a bad mood, he will have to see the kid EVERY day. And it is really not fun being forced to spend time with a little kid you don’t really like. Kids tend to try your patience and to push boundaries. I understand she likes her BF, and he does sound like a great guy, but he just may not be ready or willing to commit his time and energy and attention to ‘another person’s’ child.

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        ltc309 June 8, 2011, 11:18 am

        You’re absolutely right. Maybe I didn’t specify exactly WHAT responsibilities, because in her letter she reference things such as paying for college & going to the child’s sporting events.
        If the father is fully involved in the child’s life, then the LW’s bf’s responsibilities would not involve paying for his college & going to his sporting events. But I did state that no one should be forced into a relationship where there’s a child if they don’t genuinely care for the child & I believe the LW’s bf doesn’t particularly care for this child or any. But yes, you’re right, he is going to have to take a backseat in this relationship especially if they move in together. That’s why I emphasized the LW should think about her child’s best interest, NOT her bf’s.

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        Flake June 8, 2011, 11:52 am

        I say this because I am a new parent. I have a 18 month old boy. And I love him to death, and cannot imagine my life any other way, but man, he needs so much love and care and patience, that sometimes I’m surprised that I am actually capable of that. I know that a 6 year old is a bit more independent, but his parents are still his whole world. He is just starting to deal with school and peer pressure and all those other things. He will need as much love and support as possible. He will definitely appreciate another grown-up to look up to and to count on.

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      jena June 8, 2011, 11:24 am

      Downplaying responsibility is manipulative and lying. This kid is 6, not 16. Right now, that boyfriend is a part-time dad.

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  • avatar

    BoomChakaLaka June 8, 2011, 11:03 am

    I honestly would never give ultimatums, especially not 6 months into the relationship. Just because he’s a 23 year old engineer, doesn’t mean he has even 1/4 as much maturity as you do as a 23 year old mom, business owner, home owner, and soon-to-be graduate (CONGRATS BTW!). There is absolutely nothing wrong with him not wanting to be a parent now, goodness he’s 23! I’m 25 and I can’t even stand the thought. I know I want to be a mom one day in the future, just like your bf, but for now, our priorities are different.

    Be happy that he is being honest with you and isn’t feeding you sweet nothings which only materialize into false promises. DO let him know that you can see a future with him and make it clear that it will involve your son. But before you do anything, I would definitely want you to understand first what that future looks like. If the biological father is so involved, how is that dynamic going to be managed? The kid, of course, can have multiple father figures, but truthfully, he can only have one dad. That is something that will require input from all parties: the child, biological dad and the boyfriend.

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  • avatar

    jena June 8, 2011, 11:22 am

    “I don’t know if I want to take care of another man’s child” = I don’t want to take care of your kid. He is telling you plain and clear who he is.

    Move on, unfortunately. It’s only been six months.

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    • avatar

      Flake June 8, 2011, 11:37 am

      Agreed.

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  • avatar

    mf June 8, 2011, 11:34 am

    The good news is that your current boyfriend sounds like a stand-up guy. He’s been honest with you and clearly takes fatherhood very seriously, which would make him a great husband and parent in the long run.

    I totally understand why he doesn’t want kids right now (I’m 25 and feel the same way). Maybe you guys can agree on a timeline that he’s comfortable with. And you’re already a pro at this parenting thing, so he’d be lucky to have a wife/girlfriend who can show him the ropes. All in all, he sounds like the kind of guy worth waiting for, even if he’s not quite ready to be a parent.

    But that’s just my two cents. You’re only one that can make that call.

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    • avatar

      Flake June 8, 2011, 11:39 am

      But she already has a kid. Is the BF going to pretend that her son is not there? They can agree on a timeline to have MORE kids, but they definitely already have one.

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  • avatar

    Flake June 8, 2011, 11:47 am

    To me this whole thing reminds of people that don’t want to be called grand-parents. It doesn’t matter what you call it, the fact is your child has had a child, and that makes YOU a grand-parent (in this case a step-father).
    If the LW’s BF chooses to stay with her, he will be a parent. How well will he do, depends only on him and the effort he choose to put into taking care, even if only part-time, of a 6 year old boy.

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  • avatar

    BroGoddess June 8, 2011, 12:19 pm

    We don’t really know how much time the bf has
    spent with the son or how he feels about him.
    I have a friend with four awesome kids ages 3-11.
    She was dating a guy who told her he didn’t really want
    kids because of the responsibility (he has nieces/nephews,so he understands). But recently he spent some time with the kids and saw how he’d fit into the family. Now he says he is reconsidering his earlier statement. LW’s boyfriend may need something similar to understand what his role might be.

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  • avatar

    niki June 8, 2011, 12:23 pm

    This may not be a very popular response, but if you have a child you have a responsibility to be very careful when choosing who you date. If this man has no interest in being a possible step-father to your child, then you should NOT be dating him. Your child is your first priority. Just imagine the heartbreak your child feels when someone they have come to love and trust is suddenly gone. I grew up with a father who had a revolvong door of girlfriends and it broke my heart whenever the girlfriend was gone. What I’m trying to say is that it is your job to make sure the men you date are up to the responsibility of being a parent. It may not seem fair, and of course you don’t want to pressure someone you have just begun to date, but you need to make sure that the person you date understands that you have a child and that the child is part of the package.

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  • avatar

    Jubietta June 8, 2011, 1:05 pm

    Looking at this from the kiddo’s point of view…LW=Mom, a very special person to me, Dad=Dad, a very special person to me, Mom’s BF/Stepdad=another relationship of Mom’s that I somehow have to learn to deal with. The role of BF/Stepdad and step-kid, even in the best of cases, is a bridged relationship unless both the kiddo and the man want a direct relationship, the bio-parents allow a direct relationship to happen, and some bonding occurs between the kiddo and the step. My greater concern is the upcoming move. If custody decrees prevent the child from moving with the LW, but the boyfriend makes the move, the odds down at Wendy’sBook are going to be 10,000,000:1 that the son learns that Mom’s boyfriend is more important than he is. Been there, took years of therapy to get through the anger…most of the anger.

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  • avatar

    demoiselle June 8, 2011, 1:08 pm

    It sounds like he’s saying he doesn’t want to be a parent for another 15 years. That’ll be too late for your current child. I’m guessing he’s really not going to be ready for a long time, and since your top priority is to your kid, you need to either keep it casual and keep him out of your kid’s life, or else break up with him and find someone who is ready to both commit and be a (step)father now…

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  • avatar

    AKchic June 8, 2011, 1:18 pm

    Your child has a father. Your boyfriend of 6 months is NOT it.

    I have been married twice. I have four kids. My oldest by a guy I knew for a month when I was 15, my 2nd by my 1st husband, my 3rd by my 2nd husband (who is still adopting my two older boys even though we divorced), and my 4th by my current SO.

    A boyfriend or husband, no matter how long term, is NOT a replacement for a father. It isn’t up to you to allow them to decide. Honestly, it isn’t even up to them if the real father is in the picture. What the males in your life need to decide on is this:
    Can they handle having a child in the picture at all. Can they handle being 2nd tamale to a child. Can they handle having another male (the father of your child) being around, being a big part of your life? Can he be friendly with the father of your child? Can he be a friend to your child? If he cannot answer yes to all of those questions then he needs to move on and so do you. It isn’t fair to either of you to try to make a relationship work when he isn’t willing to have one with your child and the child’s father.

    My 2nd husband is a BIG part of my life even though we are divorced and he lives across country from me. He comes up at least once every 12-18 months. He stays in my house during that time (he has his own room), drives my vehicle, etc. It saves him money and gives him more time with the boys. I am leaving once every 12-18 months to fly across country to either take the boys to see him or to pick them up, and am gone for 2-3 days total. An insecure person would be freaking out about the possibilities of cheating. (One has freaked out over it and didn’t even want us communicating by phone – he was dropped in less than a month)
    My ex and I talk daily about the kids by email. We are on the phone at least every other day (he works nights as a paramedic and is in school, so communications can be difficult). There is Skype video chats at least 2x a week with the kids. We share a bank account for the kids so we can handle child support and emergency money issues fast, he has access to my amazon and borders accounts so he can access my wish lists for the kids (great at birthdays and Christmas), etc. I make more than him and I voluntarily stopped him from paying my child support so he could afford to get the kids presents. When he accidentally sent the presents to the wrong address, I bought new ones in his place (luckily, the gifts got shipped back to him so he could resend). When I bought bikes this year, I made them from the both of us. As a gift to him, I paid for him to fly up here for the kids’ spring break to visit instead of buying a newer vehicle. When there are emergencies up here, he is the first one to put money in the joint account to help out, in case I need it. His parents are the first ones to call in case we need anything (they live in NJ too). I’m lucky to have a good divorced relationship in this case. My 1st divorce isn’t so lucky.

    You need to think about these things when you consider a relationship with another male. Your child comes first, and by extension, the child’s relationships.

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    • avatar

      β-G-Blocker June 8, 2011, 1:33 pm

      “…I have four kids. My oldest by a guy I knew for a month when I was 15, my 2nd by my 1st husband, my 3rd by my 2nd husband (who is still adopting my two older boys even though we divorced), and my 4th by my current SO…”

      Holy fertility, woman!

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        AKchic June 8, 2011, 4:23 pm

        Yeah… and we were told I would never have kids (I had surgery when I was a month old and they accidentally hit my uterus). If the doc hadn’t died in the mid 90s, I’d so smack him!

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      SpaceySteph June 8, 2011, 1:59 pm

      Wow your divorce sounds like the most amicable one I’ve ever heard of. I appliaud you for doing what is necessary to give your kids stability and a father.
      Great advice on what the LW’s boyfriends/future husbands needs to do to integrate into her son’s life.

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      • avatar

        Flake June 8, 2011, 2:10 pm

        What stability? (Sorry, couldn’t help it…)

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        AKchic June 8, 2011, 4:19 pm

        *laugh* I can understand your sentiment. Looking at it from the outside, it’s totally understandable to think that too. I’m used to the questions, comments, etc from people, so please, feel free to ask about things. It may help others figure out their own situations. In this particular situation, I don’t mind opening up about things so people can learn from it.

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      • katie

        Katie June 8, 2011, 8:32 pm

        oh there is stability, trust me. my parent’s divorce is a very similar one. money is not an issue, there is never a “dad has to pay for that” or “mom used up the money I gave her” or whatever. my dad stays at my house when he visits, in a different room. we all go out to dinner together. we do things togther. we take vacations together. presents are from both parents. it gives stability because it still feels like your mom and dad are one unit, making decisions together and physically being together sometimes. i wish that more people who divorced had this attitude for their kids. it made it so much easier. i know people who are products of horrible divorces, and their lives just aren’t as good.

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        AKchic June 8, 2011, 10:12 pm

        Katie – I think what Flake meant was the fact that I am admittedly under 30 (I’ll be 28 in August), with two divorces under my belt and had my first kid at 16. That lends a vision of instability. At first glance it certainly shows commitment issues, a spontaneous personality, a lack of responsibility (I did get pregnant with the third at 19, during my 1st divorce), and poor decision-making skills.
        A lot of it was naivity, bad luck, and poor timing. I don’t make excuses for what I’ve done, and I’ve explained my 1st disastrous marriage enough that I am more than happy to compare it to my second marriage and divorce as a positive ended relationship. We are both very honest about why our relationship ended – he asked for a divorce because we married young (he was 21 and I was 20) and he wanted to have a bit of fun. We stayed divorced because I found out he had slept with my sister while we were married (my one and only rule in any relationship is “don’t touch my sisters”) and risked us both with STDs. Luckily, neither of us got any, but I just couldn’t trust him the same way again. Thanks to my sister’s big mouth, my entire family knows about it too – but they understand and still welcome him to all family functions when he is in state.

        In any case, don’t judge Flake’s skepticism and cynicism too harshly. From the outside, in my particular situation, it is hard to NOT be that way when looking at it.

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      • katie

        Katie June 9, 2011, 12:19 am

        oh i wasn’t judging at all- i just wanted to add to what a wonderful divorce situation can do from the perspective of the kids in it. they are so so rare, and im happy to see that here are other kids out there who are having a little better life during a divorce then most do

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      • avatar

        Steph June 9, 2011, 7:44 am

        Wow, you seem to be doing a whole lot of judging. Give people the benefit of the doubt when you only see a paragraph of their lives online. It’s very easy to judge situations that you aren’t in and haven’t been in, and that’s not helpful or productive.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark June 8, 2011, 1:53 pm

    I, for one, think the 23 year old should be applauded for his honesty. Or at least his attempt at it. (Some of you may be right, some of his excuses, may just be excuses…That said, these excuses reveal the truth. He DOES NOT think he is ready to be a parental figure.) That is actually a VERY mature attitude. Frankly, there is NOTHING wrong with that, either. How many of us at 23 would have been stoked about suddenly becoming the step parent of a 6 year old?

    Moreover, the LW is completely rushing things here. Six months is really just that.

    Also, yeah, I want to echo what others have said about moving across the country. Really? You totally luck out in the sense that you have an ex who genuinely not only wants to remain involved in his child’s life, but also sincerely makes a real effort to do so… Even so you just want to uproot everything and move clear across country to live out some fantasy with a guy you’ve barely known six months? That really is just so incredibly selfish. You are putting your needs wayyyyyyy ahead of not only the father’s but also the child’s! Put bluntly, you simply do NOT sound nearly as mature as you claim to be.

    This is why you should really make sure you are ready to have a child before you actually do so. That this most obvious statement on the planet seems to difficult for you straight people to comprehend is…well…simply pathetic to me. Having a child too young means that you may have to give up on some of your dreams because you have other responsibilities… Your fantasies of life with this new guy may very well one of those things you have to give up. Sorry. But that’s life. And moreover, that’s the life you created for yourself.

    Also…there is also another possibility nagging in the back of my mind. What if the 23 year old isn’t nearly so sold on the LW as she thinks he is. This whole “I am not ready to be a dad idea” could simply be a misguided and understandably immature (remember, the guy is ONLY 23) attempt at letting her down easy…

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      β-G-Blocker June 8, 2011, 2:15 pm

      Agree, however I’m not sold on the idea that dude balking on putting the relationship on the fast-track to daddy-land is misguided or immature.

      If anything, it spells cautious and mature.

      On a slightly unrelated note, girl (LW) that’s a LOT of pressure to put on yourself, your future and this young-man.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark June 8, 2011, 2:23 pm

        Read my post again. I don’t think it’s immature of him to feel that way either. I was only saying at the end that he might simply be saying so in an immature attempt to letting her down easy… Using it as an excuse to break up with somebody when it is not the REAL reason you want to break up with them would be kind of immature.

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    • avatar

      ebstarr July 24, 2013, 3:16 pm

      Uhhh, yeah. Everything BGM says*, ESPECIALLY that the dude sounds smart and mature for knowing what he is and is not ready for, and that you (LW) need to be taking him exactly at his word for the good of your child, as well as for your own good and your boyfriend’s own good.

      Also, is it even legal to move a kid away from his father, if that’s what “moving across the country together” means? I would think the father would hella fight that in custody court. Whether or not it’s legal, it sounds very wrong to me.

      *Has hell frozen over? 🙂

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  • avatar

    mirage14 June 8, 2011, 2:02 pm

    LW, your boyfriend’s relationship with your son will be just as important as his relationship with you. You have to make sure that this will be a long term relationship before your boyfriend and son begin to interact on a daily and significant level. Your boyfriend is perfectly in the right to express his concerns and fears, and you should have a serious discussion about your life goals and how he will fit into your family and vice versa.

    It isn’t clear if your boyfriend has spent alot of time with your son, or has even met him, but I suggest introducing them very slowly and carefully, making sure that this is going to be a lasting relationship. Your son is at an age where he knows his parents aren’t together, and may see your boyfriend as intruder, or taking your time away from him.

    As someone who gained a step-father at a young age – I was 5 when he married my mom – I was fully aware that my mommy and daddy didn’t live together, but that I was getting a new family member. My mom made sure that I didn’t feel neglected, my step-dad made time for us to do things together just us two, and my dad made sure that I didn’t feel like I was betraying him for liking my stepdad. My mom invited my step-dad into my life very slowly, having him to our apartment for dinner, and doing things on my “turf” so to speak, so that I felt comfortable in my surroundings.

    My dad, many years ago now, had a serious girlfriend (he’s single now), and he introduced us at a local pizza place he took me to alot when I visited. Again it was an environment t hat I felt comfortable with, and that eased the situation. On the flip side, he brought her on a family-only vacation later that year, and I really had a bad reaction to it because that vacation was something I did with my dad and his side of the family, it was a special time for us, and it hurt me to have someone taking away my dad’s time on our vacation together.

    While mentally you are years older, because you have a child, your boyfriend is only 23 and for many people, especially guys, becoming a parent is a terrifying thought on its own at that age, and taking on a step-parenting role is just as stressful. I disagree with everyone that’s saying your boyfriend wouldn’t be financially responsible for college etc, since your son’s father is in the picture. If you two marry, your finances will merge, and if he’s not putting in his own money into your son’s college tuition, but you are, thats a drain on your personal financial situation, and therefore he may have to step in and contribute more money towards a mortgage, bills, etc.

    I ended up with the best step-dad I could ask for, an amazing step-family, and I got a little brother out of the deal. I am fortunate that my step-dad and my dad have always been courteous and generous with each other, and that my all three of my parents have been able to parent me as one unit.

    But everything wasn’t always happiness and sunshine, when I was in 1st or 2nd grade, I started to get made fun of because I had 3 parents, and it really made me have some anger issues with my step-dad. But once I realized I got the best situation anyone could have asked for, I ignored what other people were saying around me, and really embraced having a step-family, who I became extremely close with over the years.

    Ultimately, you have put your son first – if you believe this relationship isn’t going to work long term, than it is not worth putting your son through meeting someone, getting to know them, accepting them into his life, and then having that person leave. Of course this could happen even if you got married to your boyfriend, but you have to have a long term outlook with him to make it work for your son.

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    XanderTaylor June 8, 2011, 3:14 pm

    Speaking from my own experience only – my 24 year old daughter has a 7 year old child and a 24 year old boyfriend of 2 years – baby daddy not in the picture. I believe it is very difficult to be a 23 year old person and start to raise a 6 year old. If it was a baby that, in my opinion, would be different. Or if it was his own child that would be different. I have seen 1st hand how difficult it is for my daughter’s boyfriend & how difficult it is for my grand child as well. While there are always exceptions, it is my belief that there are very few 23 year old men that are mature enough to take on helping to raise a 6 year old. From your letter it seems your boyfriend has already told you he is not ready at this age/stage to be a dad. I would believe him. I wish every day my daughter was with a mature 30 year old that was emotionally & finacially capable of rasing a family.

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  • avatar

    Leyahn June 8, 2011, 6:18 pm

    6 months
    180 days
    Not enough time to make major decision with someone.

    If you like him – then date him. If, in a year or two, you are still together, then worry about step daddy issues.

    In the meantime, don’t let your child form a bond with him. When, and only when, your BF is willing to make a commitment to you and your child, should you consider letting your child get to know that person. Children don’t need to meet everyone you date – even if you are “in love”.

    At 23, with a child, and your life experiences, you are way ahead of the curve. Most 23 years old have not experienced life as you have and far more immature. You need to realize that no matter how much you “love” this new boyfriend, you have more life experience that he does. Nota Bena: falling in love in 6 months, to me, is an indication that you are still very young also.

    Go slowly
    Protect your child
    Don’t force your BF to be a stepdad if he is not ready
    Don’t force a stepdad on your son

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  • avatar

    emjay June 8, 2011, 6:52 pm

    Has anyone taking into consideration the age of this couple. At 23 I was not concernd with having kids. (Three yrs later and that’s a different story 🙂 ) but all the guys I know/knew at 23 only wanted kids if they thought their girlfriends were gonna leave them. I think this is just a lot for this guy to process in a short amount of time. 6 months really isn’t a lot of time for someone who had his life mapped out to turn around and be quick to dropped everything he is working for on a relationship he is not quite 100% sure will work out. I think the letter writer needs to sit down and have some serious talks with this BF and find out what the deal is. And maybe she is jumping ahead of herself, and he is starting to get second thoughts. Not everyone is ready to take on a responsibility of raising a child, especially for someone else’s child. And I do see both sides of the coin cause my brother is in the process of adopting his wife’s 3 yr old son. He was ready for parenthood at the time but still there were some reservations about it at first. And it is natural to have thoughts like these, especially if you have primary custody, because the child will be with you most of the time. I think you just need to slow it down, and let the relationship get stronger, and let it all happen when it will, instead of trying to keep everything on a run-away train.

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  • avatar

    AKchic June 8, 2011, 8:17 pm

    Just a note:

    It takes 9 months to MAKE a kid for a reason: To give people time to process the idea of becoming a parent. 6 months into a relationship isn’t enough time for the relationship, let alone a stepparent relationship. ‘Nuff said there.

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  • avatar

    lawyrgrl June 13, 2011, 12:48 pm

    Please do not try to convince this man to become a parent. He clearly does not want to and trying to twist his arm may give you the satisfaction of being with him temporarily BUT, trust me on this, if he stays with you he will end up resenting you more than you can possibly imagine once the reality of the situation sets in.

    I am a step-parent and I can tell you that it is HARD. As in incredibly difficult day in and day out. And I am 45 years old and genuinely love these children more than I thought was possible. However, it still amazes me how a child can be wonderful one minute and impossible the next. My commitment to my fiance is rock solid – he is truly the love of my life – but even I wonder sometimes what the hell I have gotten myself into.

    If someone has been forced in anyway to become a step-parent it is a recipe for disaster. The sacrifices are limitless and the rewards are nearly non-existent. Only a person who truly wants to be there, and truly wants to be part of the child(ren)’s life is going to last.

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    Wonderdog February 8, 2012, 5:36 am

    I hope that you can understand why he is – at minimum – “reluctant” to take on the responsibility of being your kid’s stepdad. Unless he is head-over-heels in love with you, and absolutely sure that everything will work out, it doesn’t make sense to become involved in something that complicated.

    Also, in some states he can become liable for child support if the actual father isn’t around and he “acts as” the father. Thats a huge risk given that its always possible for the relationship to go wrong and that he can never end the obligation.

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    Dane July 24, 2013, 2:05 pm

    I think they should sit down and have a talk, the LW’s. they should both let each other feel about their expectations from one another in the relationship. I’m 26 I’m currently dating a single mom, and yeah it is difficult to deal with a child who isn’t yours, especially not having any of your own. We have our personal issues between each other sometimes. But they should take things slow, I mean they’ve only been together for six months. I’ve been dating this single mom for about 8 months and things are OK, but Kinda slow because she works full time and I work part-time and go to schoo.l full-time. So sometimes we have arguments because we don’t get a whole lot of time together. It’s kinda hard being a busy young man chasing a career while working and making time for her and her child.

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    Dane July 24, 2013, 2:17 pm

    We don’t live together by the way. We are currently going through a situation because I have a lot goin on in my life right now(school, work, family issues…etc). So It’s a little hard because we are in two different stages in life ourselves. I love her and her son, he’s a great kid. But at the same time her future is already set, raising her son and finding someone to that will be willing to help, and mine is just beginning. I love her and want to be with her, but I feel in the near future I won’t have the time or patience that she and her child may need from me.

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      Jedi August 23, 2014, 11:59 pm

      Trust your gut on it. You can love her and her son without being the “man” in her life. You are 23, and trust me, things change as you get older. A lot of people who marry young in their 20s divorce in their 30s, and their lives are messes. Don’t be one of them. If it feels wrong now, if there is doubt, then you owe it to YOU to let her go find the man she needs who will welcome her life circumstance with open arms. There are guys who will do that. You can also be her friend, her confidante, and to tell you the truth, you can probably be closer to her as a friend than even her future husband. Wives hide things from their husbands (and vice versa) because there are stakes involved. When you’re someone’s friend, they usually spill their guts to you. So when she marries a guy and she needs a friend to talk with, you can be there to help her. Trust me brother, there is no deeper love for a woman than being her friend, confidante, and trusted alley in life. You don’t need marriage to make that happen, and you can let her go find the guy she needs to raise her son.

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    Jedi August 23, 2014, 11:54 pm

    I am pushing 40 and have dated several single mothers in my life. “Dating” a single mother is usually quite enjoyable, they are for the most part just as loving and good people as anyone else. However, there is a fine line between “dating” and something more. As soon as the relationship proceeds to “commitment” level, that’s when reality sets in – you are not dating a woman, you are auditioning for the role of “father,” regardless of the woman telling you from the beginning “I’m not looking for a daddy for my child, he has one.” BS. Yes you are, because as soon as you’re committed, you will assume the same responsibilities as a biological father would. You will supervise the child, pick the child up from school, PAY $$$ to support the child, and everything else. You will do all this and more, yet will never quite feel like “part of the family.” You may very well feel like an outsider in your own home that you are paying the mortgage and everything else on (especially if your wife doesn’t much or not at all). After doing all that, after spending all that money, after all the sweat and tears, guess what? You still don’t matter, and I guarantee you that you will come between the mother and her child. This happens even in full biological families. In step-families, the biological link between mother and child will supersede your preferences. If you are the biological father, you can put your foot down. Try putting your foot down in the family when the kid isn’t yours. Good luck. Much more difficult. This is why the word “mangina” was invented. You are paying bills, assuming all the sacrifice, yet have no true authority, and no legal authority over the child. The child’s father will always be the child’s father, no matter what that relationship is like. You will always be some guy off the street. And when the mother also turns against you, even for a brief minute, you will wonder why you ever, in a million years, signed those marriage papers. The resentment will be impalpable. On the other hand, if you truly have an angel of a wife, a wonderful understanding self-adapted mature person who actually can empathize with the plight of what it might be like to be a stepfather, then you and the “family” have a chance at success. In my experience though, getting a Mom to understand what it’s like for you, single man, to consider step-fathering her child, is virtually impossible. Most of them just don’t get it. Why not? Because they are much too self-centered in their own lives with their kid(s). Unfortunately, they see you more as a “role” in the family, something to complete things. But it shouldn’t be this way. You should have a rock solid relationship with your woman before the consideration of kids comes into the picture. Too often with single mothers though, they are so DESPERATE to get a man into the house, that you are automatically positioned in the “role” of “man of the house” or “father” without hardly knowing it. Insecure women who are divorced after a number of years of marriage, especially if the man ended it, want to get married NOW. It’s called “getting back at the husband who left them,” and having you provide $$$ for her kid(s). So unless you and the mother are on EXCELLENT terms, and I mean tight as can be, trusting, everything disclosed, madly in love and in bliss, and can talk about ANYTHING and talk OFTEN about relationship dynamics, stay away from dating and getting serious about a single mother (or father). You will feel like an outsider, your self-esteem will plummet, and you’ll be wondering why you’re settling for being treated this way. You will also likely go broke, especially if the single mother or father is in need of “rescue” by you. It is just not worth it. I’m not meaning to poo-poo single mothers and fathers, I’m just saying that far too often, they are single mothers and fathers for a damn good reason. Ask yourself, was their “ex” really the horrible person they are saying they are? Or, maybe there is a very good reason their ex left them. As soon as you’ve figured out that reason, run. Don’t walk, run. Love them, befriend them forever, but don’t sign any papers.

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    BeenThere March 29, 2017, 12:22 pm

    I read a good ways through the comments, but admittedly not all of them. Reading the letter you wrote, I’m sure the 2 of you feel intensely, but I don’t think you are on the same page or very compatible.

    Cross Country moves, not ready for kids until mid to late 30’s (which btw women’s fertility takes a decline after age 35, so I definitely question if he truly wants kids at all if that is his game plan), doesn’t want to give up his lifestyle, worrying about the responsibilities of you having a kid…this is not really something that demonstrates the same level of maturity as you being a single mom who owns a house and juggled college and and and (you are very successful, congrats!!) . Becoming an engineer is no easy task and very impressive, but doesn’t necessarily relate to maturity. He seems very goal oriented and is no doubt a great catch, but maybe not EXACTLY what your family needs.

    I also don’t advise introducing him to your son so he can get a feel for it. He has clearly communicated that he is not at all sure. Do you really want to introduce them and then him realize that he doesn’t want that life? And then any ties your son may have established would more than likely be severed.

    There are men out there who want and are ready for a family. When I started dating after my divorce, my bff advised me that a man I date shouldn’t be willing to “deal” with my child…he should be excited about her.

    Such men exist. I found one 😉 you can too. Just wait and be patient and don’t compromise your requirements on what the man for you should be. Be clear about what you expect from a man in regards to how he should be with you and with your son and and don’t settle for less. Wait for the right man before you take the bait and give things a try. I’ve found it to be a good strategy.

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