My boyfriend's two little ones live across the country. He hasn't seen them in well over a year. It tears him up, especially around each child's birthday. He talks to them on the phone. He sends child support payments. And he has been trying to work out some kind of visitation and have both kids stay with him, but he does not live in his own place for the kids if they did come stay. And relations with their mother have been well, bumpy since he's dating now.
I'm 22. I have no children. I feel for him and I feel his pain. But I never know what to say when he gets upset and misses his children. I've told him to let it go, that there's no use in dwelling on it, but he tells me I'm being insensitive. And he's right. I feel awful. How have you guys supported your partners when they faced custody problems early in the children's lives? I wish I could make it better but its really out of both of our hands until the details are worked out, and the timing as well.
I have a friend who makes it clear to each new girlfriend that the priorities in his life are 1. his kids, 2. his job, and 3. her. Guess why he has a new girlfriend every now and then.
BUT ... kids, especially minor kids, must be the number-one priority when you are a parent. Hard as this is for a new love interest to hear. The kids have every moral right to expect to be more important (especially when they are little) to their parent than the parent's romantic life is.
I'm not saying you are doing a bad job, you are clearly trying to support him. But only a partner who really understands and believes that their loved one's first priority must be his kids, can succeed in a relationship with someone who is a parent.
If these were your kids (and not his), you would automatically know in your heart that if it ever came to some man or the kids, your clear duty is to protect your babies no matter what it takes, even if it means sacrificing your own personal gratification. Parents do this all the time as a matter of course. If the kids were both of yours, it would be a no-brainer, you would both be totally on this page together. The trick for you, as someone who came along later than these children and has less of a natural claim on the man, is to feel that way about the kids as automatically as you would if they were yours.
Then, the words that come out of your mouth about the kids would naturally have the right tone and attitude, without even having to think about it. Saying "let it go and don't even think about it" would never even cross your mind. It would be instead, "Let's see if we can raise the money for you to go see them." Or, "There's got to be a way you can live closer to your babies."
This is a big load to have to take on at 22, and some women look for a man without kids for that reason. But if he is worth it, su ninos es mi ninos has to be your attitude.
Thank you so much. You're definitely right. He is so worth it to me and they do come first. I am going to talk to him about it in a different approach today. We had a really tough time last night, and I wasn't there for him like he needed. Thank you!
I am not in agreement with all of AnnieBrooke's post, however, I do agree with the part that you should be encouraging him more about finding a way to see his children more often.....he owes it to these children.
If he is paying child support regularly, then he has EVERY right to have visitation regardless if he was dating or not UNLESS the situation was putting the children at risk in regards to their safety and well-being. I am not sure of the reason or reasons why he doesn't have his own place, but he needs to be working on that. If the place where he is residing now can accomodate the children and is safe for the children I can't see why they can't stay with him now.
It's very understandable since you are only 22 and have no children of your own that it isn't easy to know what to say or do to help him.
Hopefully, these "details" get worked out quickly so that he can start seeing his children more often.
Right. I agree. He lives with his parents and to be honest its not a great environment...especially for the babies. But I really can't give much more on that
-in respect for him. However, every week he makes a bit more progress with the mother which is a start, she previously threatened he will never see them again about 10 months ago. As I said, it has been a long battle and I stay up with him late at night when it gets him down..and it is foreign to me, so that is why I wanted to hear the experiences others have had. But I will try to be more proactive in brainstorming ways to see them. It might bring him some hope in those dark times.
Absolutely understand that you can't divulge too much info in regards to your bf.
It's great you are going to be more supportive, but remember he does need to take the lead in figuring his situation out because these children are his responsibility. Nothing wrong with offering suggestions and being supportive but in the end this is something he must take care of.
Just allow him to cry, talk, vent, etc. about this; sometimes just being there is more needed than saying the "right" words or saying anything.
Once again....I can understand that this is "foreign" to you and maybe even a bit draining....just try to be there for him. You sound like you really care about him and you hate he is hurting.
Hang in there if he is worth it.
The dynamics of being with someone with children is not always an easy road unfortunately. I am a stepmother, so I can relate with this difficulty.
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