You are here

Perfect if it weren't for the kids

secondtimestep's picture

My boyfriend and I have a near perfect relationship. We love each other very much and want to spend the rest of our lives together. We have never even had an argument with each other. The problem is when we get together with the kids. It's total chaos, and I find myself being extremely overwhelmed.

We have been together over a year and introduced the kids to each other 6 months ago, 2 months before the pandemic. BF has 2 kids. Boy at 13 and a special needs girl at 9. His son is gifted, although immature, and frequently tells others what to do, adult or child. This drives me insane as I believe kids need to be respectful and telling me or his dad what to do, or making fun of something I worked very hard on (for his enjoyment) is not acceptable. Nor is calling his dad names, even in jest. My BF is very easygoing and patient and doesn't see this behaviour as an issue.

My son is 8 and extemely defiant. He has been this way with me for as long as I can remember and does not like being told what to do. I'm quite strict with him and we battle quite a bit over his lack of listening. I have recognized this as an issue and both of us are in joint and individual therapy to try to rectify some of this behaviour. 

The problem is when we are all together, sometimes the boys play and get along, but others they argue like there is no tomorrow and it really bothers me. BF's son is constantly telling mine what to do and mine won't listen, so they fight. Sometimes physically. Of course my BF and I are very protective of our own children, so it's starting to cause a rift with us as well. We had a week long family vacation to a local beach and I was miserable the entire time. My son didn't listen, his son was mouthy and controlling and my poor boyfriend was trying to keep the peace all while looking after his non-verbal, non-mobile daughter. Although she doesn't cause any problems and is very sweet, taking care of her is challenging. We can't just pick up and go anywhere, we have to prepare as she is in a wheelchair and requires diapering and constant monitoring. 

The boys do have beautiful sides to them. His son can be thoughtful and empathetic and mine is very loving and wonderful with BF's daughter and will do anything for her, despite never being around special needs kids before. 

I'm at a loss as to what to do. He thinks I hate his child and I think he needs to be a dad instead of a buddy to his son. We are on the verge of breaking up forever, but I don't want to lose the love of my life knowing these boys will grow up one day and we missed out on years together. Do we get couples therapy? Do we only see each other without the kids? Do we end it and find partners who's children do get along? I'm absolutely miserable without him but being together as a family is making everyone miserable. 


tog redux's picture

Well, I'd argue that it's not perfect if he's unwilling to see his son's poor behavior and address it.  You see your son's issues, you are strict with him, and you've sought professional help - he just lets his kid run amok.

I'd say to live apart and see each other without all kids together - maybe arrange visitation that you guys don't both have your kids at the same time.  But if it's more that you are looking for, that arrangement might not be enough.

thinkthrice's picture

have an "ours" kid.  That makes it TEN times worse to escape!  Your screen name "SECONDtimestep?"

Twice is NOT the charm.

Disneyfan's picture

Get your own place( or have him move out if he moved in with you) continue to date him, but give up on the idea of being a blended family.

In the future, insist on only adult vacations.   Take your son on vacations without him and his children. 

Think long and hard about building a life with this guy.  Even if things were perfect with the boys, his daughter's disabilities will create their own set of stress-related issues. 

Exjuliemccoy's picture

Sounds like a wonderful relationship - as long as you keep it separated (The Offspring song is now playing in my head).

Not every family is capable of blending. You both have parenting challenges, and kids who need and deserve your full focus, so be that super smart couple that practices Living Apart, Together/ LAT until the kids all launch.

TheBrightSide's picture

Now that song is in MY head too.

Maxwell09's picture

Has either of you sat in the room while the boys play and supervise by commentating? An example: they're both playing legos, you/DH is also sitting in the room nearby so that whenever you can see a situation escalating you can step in and help solve the issue before they get too high conflict. So if one doesn't want to share you call them out: "BS, you should share-you don't need all of those" or someone breaks something "SS it is hurtful to break his creation, you'll need to apologize and help him fix it back". 

Kids have to be TAUGHT how to play together correctly. Your SS must get bossed around a lot because that's how he projects himself to other people. Call him out on it by saying "SS are you asking or telling? Because children don't 'tell' grownups to do anything" If you/DH consistently make him rephrase how he talks, he will eventually learn to chose his words correctly the first go around. Similarly if you/DH are always right there to walk them through conflict, eventually they will already know how to solve the issues by using their words.