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Rafael M.T.Therapist
Rafael M.T.Therapist, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 3189
Experience:  MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
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I am a single mom of 2 boys. 16 and 11. My boyfriend is 30

Resolved Question:

I am a single mom of 2 boys. 16 and 11. My boyfriend is 30 and has no children. Not much experience in relationships and definately not with parenting. Im sure he is learning, but my concern lies in wondering how long I should give him to switch into family mentality and considering this his family. There is still segregation of the roles and it has been 8 months. He has participated in activities for the kids such as games and birthday parties and halloween but I just dont feel like he is picking up the family way of thinking and the integration needed. I love him, my kids accept him in our life, but im not looking for seperation of thinking. How long do I wait?
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Rafael M.T.Therapist replied 8 months ago.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you. (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I am very sorry to know about this very frustrating and concerning situation.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Would you please join the chat for us to dialogue about it?

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You have been dating for 8 months, then this is still a young relationship, but a core serious issue here is his apparent inability and/or unwillingness to work on developing these skills and taking this parental-family role. You said he has been presenting improvements but not very significant and that's why you feel so concerned about it, right?

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Only you know for how long you feel comfortable with and are willing to wait for him to work on this. It is a process, but it seems concerning since if he has a good relationship with you and with your kids but keeps having a hard time playing this new essential role, then it is obvious he needs extra support to work on it.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Thank you for joining the chat.

Customer:

That is correct. I know he is still in learning phase, but for instance, this weekend my son has an all weekend robotics competition. As his biological father is not very dependable to be there, I always make sure I am there. Always. And my boyfriend has participated, been to long competitions, but when I spoke of my concern that he did not want to be there with me this weekend, he deemed it a difference in opinion in that he doesn't think he needs to be there for the whole thing. And I know it is not super exciting to sit through hours and hours at a robotics competition, but it is my son and I always support him. Is that unrealistic for me to expect him to feel the same? I asked him if he would if they were his own kids. I didn't get much response. Just frustration.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I can see you online now. Good!

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I am sorry to know about this episode. This is a very good example of your dilemma here.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

If he happened to be only a regular friend or a boyfriend with no commitment to play a serious role in your lives, than his reaction would be totally fine, but it seems that you are in a committed relationship and your expectations are very different about what you need to do to make it work around your family.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Each of you, as different individuals have unique opinions for sure, that's normal and fine, but in this case it is not about opinions abut about you being compatible, caring and supportive with each other, and it is obvious this is very important for you, since it is about your children, and you need and expect your partner to play this active parental role being there with you, while he shows not much interest, at least to the point of you feeling comfortable and supported enough.

Customer:

Is it reasonable to be concerned that he is not ready for what an instant family entails? It's all new to him, so I know he can't be expected to have the correct answers on the spot every time, but this particular concern has come up within me more than once. It is also new to me to be part of a relationship that is like this. I've had one major relationship since thier father and it was with someone who also had children, so he stepped into the role and knew exactly how to act and what to do. I feel like maybe it's not fair of me to expect it to be progressing quicker than it is.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Sure it is, if he is not mature enough for that, of if his personality and life style do not embrace this reality, then it would be unrealistic to expect that he would be able to effectively and willingly play these roles.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Everything you said makes perfect sense, since it matches reality

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You could find young people with no children who would willing,y and effectively take this role without a problem, because of their maturity level, personality, an core expectations in life, besides of the level of affection and commitment they feel in the relationship.

Customer:

Ok. Earlier you said that 8 months in is still fairly new. Admittedly, most of my relationships are both feet in and nothing slow about it really. Also, they have entailed living together. We do not live together, he just purchased his first home and this entire scenario is very new for me. Is 8 months not very long? We have been attached at the hip for the most part since day one

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

What could be enough for one person, could not work for the other, because of these multiple differences in your personal realities, experiences, needs an expectations.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Pushing a person who doe snot spontaneously feel the need and desire to play this essential role in your lives would not help. You could motivate him, and promote his awareness and understanding of what you need and expect from him, but is he does not share the same feelings and is willing to do it because he wants to , then it would not work.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

The best both of you can do is to be fully open and honest and share what you feel, fear, expect and were willing to offer and do about it, how you could support each other and work as a team if you both truly feel ready and want do make this work, otherwise it would be better to take more time and then see if any significant change develops, and if not , you would have to reassess what you are willing to afford or not in this relationship.

Customer:

Thank you

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You're very welcome. Thank you for trusting me.

Customer:

I honestly feel like he wants to be whatever it is that is needed. He just takes longer than I'd like to get there.

Customer:

I just have a hard time gambling when my children are involved.

Customer:

I want guaranteed future, and that's not possible.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Then please set a realistic boundary/limit that could work for you and see if he is able to meet your need and expectation.

Customer:

That is pretty much my only option other than sever the relationship based on what hasn't happened yet.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I think so.

Customer:

ok. Thank you

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

it seems worthy to try, and only time will show you if t works for both of you.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You're welcome. Thank you for your trust.

Customer:

yes. I'm not super patient on the time thing. I tend to want results and answers before making moves, which isn't realistic. I have difficulty discerning between what is a realistic concern and what is me stressing out about things that could mean nothing and don't have to be considered a sign of the future.

Customer:

I have a "on-guard" and "never be taken for a fool" syndrome. A "I should have been more aware and I would have seen that coming" phobia

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

This is tough because you do not have full control of it, you can only make sure you play a heal;thy, responsible and proactive role here, doing your best while hoping he could do the same, and well enough for you to make this work together as a team, as a family. It's obvious time is necessary, and a lot of open dialogue between you.

Customer:

Agreed.

Customer:

Things that are obvious to me, that are a given to me, often have to be explained to him. And sometimes he gets it, but can't relate it, and others he doesn't get it. It is difficult to relate in the way I need when he is inexperienced as a parent. And specifically when he does not have the automatic bond of biology with them.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I do always tell people to be realistic and not to self-sabotage, and that;'s why I understand what you mean, since may times people would use, abuse , neglect and manipulate us because of their own personal issues, and deficiencies, and if we are not careful we could tolerate and even enable it. In this case it could be only about differences in your priorities and core expectations what creates this distance and tough time between you. Only you from your direct experience could know and find out about it, from his words, but specially from his actions.

Customer:

Well, at least I know I'm not crazy or unrealistic.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Absolutely,

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You are very realistic and need to be fully aware of your situation, its challenges and needs, in order to proactively work on it as much as possible, then time will show you how well it works for each of you.

Customer:

Agreed. Thank you for your time

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You're welcome. Feel free to contact me for further support. Take care

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

(remember to rate the session, Thanks).

Rafael M.T.Therapist, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 3189
Experience: MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
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