Is he a caveman?

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Registered: 03-27-2003
Is he a caveman?
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Wed, 04-09-2003 - 12:55pm
I have been dating my boyfriend for 3 years and it has been alot of ups and downs. One of my biggest problems is that my 13 year old daughter will NOT give her opinion of him. She just says, 'no comment'. She usually does not even bring up his name. In my conversations with him, he believes the love between a husband/wife should outweigh the love between a mother/child. This has me thinking that either I am so out of touch (because I think he and my daughter should get along) or he is so old-fashioned. What do yall think?

Donna

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 1:10pm
From a theological standpoint, it is said that the bond between husband and wife, should outweigh the bond between the spouses and *their* parents. So I could see an arguement being made on that basis.

On the other hand, that statement is made because you don't choose your parents, but you do choose your spouse. In this situation, you have chosen to have kids. That's at least an 18 year responsibility. Until they are adults, my opinion is that you owe your allegiance to them, and the rest of your life has to fit around that.

I'm personally bothered whenever I hear stories of problems between parents and children, where the spouse is chosen over the welfare of the child. Even in the case where these are the biological parents, it bothers me. I think it would bother even more for a mother to choose the stepfather over her own flesh and blood.

I don't think he's old fashioned. I think he's simply being selfish and wants to come first. If they can't get along (and three years is *plenty* of time to determine that), then I think marrying him and forcing him into her life would be a majorly bad mistake.

I hope you do what is best for your child.

Brokk...

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 1:25pm
Title: Interesting...

I find it interesting that you would describe his being "so old fashion" as being a caveman. One is a characterization...be it accurate or not. The other is clearly a veiled insult. I mean...if you THINK he is "caveman", then why have you been dating him for the last three years?

More to your question, I don't think that the love of a parent and child, and the love of spouses is comparable, nor should one "outwiegh" the other. One should never have to chose, and if ever forced to chose, the person who is forcing the choice is the one who you should let go.

Now, having said that, in the most remote of ways...while praying to God that this sort of choice or comparison NEVER comes to past in my life, I see his point. A parent loves his / her child unconditionally...at least they should...even if you have to seperate yourself from them, you ALWAYS loe your child.

The love of a child for a parent is NOT unconditional, and only a deluded parent believes as much. Children at minimum out grow their parents, though ideally they come back around after the seperation that the teen years brings on. Sometimes they never do however. And indeed, sometimes children literially turn agaisnt their parents - bringing them unhappiness, and sometimes actual harm.

Your relatiohship with your spouse IDEALLY is for a lifetime, and while dynamic, and changing, and growing, IDEALLY should NOT have the "pulling away" that the parent / child relationship has. In theory, you should always be the most important person to your spouse, and vice versa. If you remain the most important person to your daughter for the entirity of her life, something went wrong. Children often WILL try to come between parents...and the spouses have to make a decision to let that happen. Your spouse should never WANT to come between a parent and their child (and if they do, then your instinct, as I assume it to be, is correct...this isn't the right person for you).

So...I guess I am saying I do agree with him, but I'd be wary as hell that he felt the need to bring this up. Do he and your daughter have a bad relationship? It sounds liek they do based on what they both have said.

I am not a mom, and I understand that this is a different situation for women / mothers versus men / fathers. But, in my mind, I'd never let my child decide for me who I was going to be in a relationship with. I wouldn't seek my child's approval or blessing anymore than I'd seek my parents. It is MY CHOICE. Your daughter will make a life for herself soon enough, and she will NOT be looking to have your total approval of who she decides to spend her life with (she might indeed seek your "blessing", but she ain't gonna let you PICK her husband...). I don't see any reason why the converse should apply.

I'd have a serious talk with her about her feelings...telling her that "no comment" is not an acceptable answer. Explain to her that she is "punishing" no one but herself (I suspect that is the problem...she enjoys the control she has over you, knowing that such a response...and her behavior in general, elicts a reaction out of you)...that if she has some sincere concerns about your BF, then she would be well served to speak to them, else he will become her step-father without you ever knowing that there was something serious going on (my guess is that there isn't...she has just decided that she doesn't like him...maybe because he ISN'T her father?).

But...don't get me wrong...I am not "taking his side". I am not sure in exactly WHAT context this discussion about spouse coming before child came up...and I like I said, I agree. But a man who feels like he is a cmpetition with a 13 year old...and feels that he has to "rule" in order to win...that HE has to come first...and makes sure you agree...again, I'd be wary of such a man. I think those "ups and downs" have been for a very, very good reason...and it might be time for you to "recognize"...

All IMHO....

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 1:32pm
Title: So....

...what happens when a deeply angry and spiteful child (certainly within the realm of possibility for a 13 year old...versus, say, a 6 year old) decides that they aren't going to get along with ANYBODY their mother chooses...that they are going to PUNISH their mom for leaving their Dad? Then what?

I disagree. Like I said in my post, I am not going to let a child...even MY child...make major life decisions for ME. At 13 she is old enough to take ownership for her OWN happiness...I am NOT responsible for it.

My job is to love, protect and provide for the child I brought into this world. As best I can, with ALL of my heart. But not to ACCOMODATE. I won't be UNHAPPY in an effort to make my child happy. It just doesn't make sense to me.

Having said that, while I disagree with your logic and premise, I do agree with your conclusion...I ain't so sure about this BF who she's had lots of "ups and downs" with...

Avatar for mamma2my3sons
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 2:07pm
Being a mother means sacrifice sometimes,your child should always come FIRST above your love life, personal life, whatever, WHOever.

You describe your relationship as having its "ups and downs". Huge red flag that your daughter will only say "no comment" in regard to her opinion of him. Don't know what shes seen or heard in the last 3 years but clearly, she is NOT enamored with him. Whether or not that is based on anything concrete that he has done or said, I don't know. However, it is enough that he is essentially saying that your love for him should be greater than your love for your child! That tells you that he is now(or will be) in competition for your affections. (Something you might expect from a 13 year old, not a grown man!)

Of course, love of a man or woman cannot be compared to the love for ones own child. There is NO comparision, they are separate and different.

To answer your question, absolutely if someone already has a child & later dates again, the best interests of the CHILD should always take precedence. No child should have to be subjected to mom or dads "love life". It is the CHILDS home first & foremost. Noone should be "moved into" (or married into) the childs territory unless they are crazy about the child as well, & the child is happy with them as well. It should be a PACKAGE DEAL all the way, until that child is 18 and moved out of the house.

When its all said and done, he is just YOUR friend & theres but 5 years left till your daughter is 18. In the meantime though daughter is watching & learning about relationships & appropriate behavior from her mothers example.

I have some experience in this arena. Being a mom, never mind a divorced mom is not always easy.

Best wishes, Barbara

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 2:08pm
Oh please.....I've been down your path....so heads up for the pit you're in it's about to be detailed for you.

Let me guess, the daughter has been "involved in the dating process".....several times. Kids don't date - they attach. She probably initially attached herself to the first 2-3 guys - and those relationships didn't work out.

So she's has stopped looking at you as a mother figure who's goal and job is protect her from inappropriate liasons, affiliations, and situations. You're simply bringing the men into your life for her review and approval - so that you can then proceed on as if a "relationship" is required/inevitable as a result of her approval. She's been used as the determining gauge by which to consider "pursuing more". That approach has been utilized over the more mature, rational, responsible, and loving approach of YOU determining this person you're dating's worth and value as an individual, and YOU determining if a relationship is possible by mutual desire based on shared values, goals, and standards so that when they're introduced to her - this child has been assured that you as a parent have ensured they're meeting standards, and that the child has no "judgemental call" to make.

Wow...you've just handed a 13 year old the dictators sceptre over your life - and she's well aware of it by now with your approach.

So her "no comment" is likely inspired by a subconscious associative reasoning #1) I don't want to upset mother who wants a boyfriend so bad 2) I have the authority to put my foot down at any point and this will stop (IF if you ceased association if she has put up a big enough fuss) #3) they have no authority over me anyway so who cares what they do.

The love between two consenting adults in a relationship and between that of parent/child is completely and totally different. I won't put a spin on what he means...I'll simply tell you how I view it.

Two adults in love are loving "conditionally". It's conditioned on benefit, return of love regarding the partner. Healthy or not being bypassed at the moment - that's the love between two adults. Admittedly, that bond and love is going to transcend the "duty" of parenthood. So it is not appropriate, right, healthy or long-term beneficial to limit your love, affection, attention, prioritization, and influence to "just your children" once they're born and ignoring, dismissing, or bypassing "the relationship with your spouse".

To me, in the standard equation - the healthy, equality based love relationship between two potential parents is what inspires the desire for children to begin with.

In the non-standard but now more typical equation....children exist and mother/dad is trying/has found a "love partner". So let's get factual and technical - leave the feelings out of it because feelings aren't facts, goals, or to be used to determine what to do in situations to get good results.

If two loving partners come together to parent the existing children - that is an extension of their love of one another, along with the individual desire to be a good parent, role model, provider, leader. So, a step child is going to impact the finances, options, abilities, and priorities of a step parent. Them believing any different simply ensures the adult relationship will fail when this inevitability results.

If two people come together and try to "exclude" all the existing parameters, issues and responsibilities that individually they have created, incurred, and become involved in.....thinking that "this partner and this relationship" is just for htem, all about them, and is not impacted or affected - that's immaturely unrealistic and illogical to presume, to conclude, or to act upon as if it were a realistic possibility or fact.

So, it sounds like that these two have little interaction, no emotional connection - that she perceives he's of no relevance to her (thus he's not in charge of providing her with anything, or benefitting her in any way, or impacting her in any capacity) and he perceives that she is an intrusion into his "preferred situation" (thus he believes he's not responsible for her, liable for her, accountable for her, or impacted by her and whenever he finds out differently - he'd likely upset).

If that is correct you've successfully manage to compartmentalize your life by prioritizing feelings and ignoring facts. Welcome to the group of unrealistic single parents!

That said, if he's not prepared and willing without regret, remorse, anger, or insecurity to parent her...you ought to drop him. Because you can't drop her - at least not till she's 18. Although right now she's controlling her life in more ways that you nkow -so that you can continue this "adult liason" without guilt.

If I can help, let me know.

ERin

quickblade14@hotmail.com

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 2:13pm
I also found your comments interesting. One was "whoever is forcing you to choose, should be the one you let go" combine with "no comment is not an acceptable answer". The way I see it, her daughter is letting the mother choose based on her own criteria, without getting involved in the least (though it could be argued that her lack of involvement is actually a negative). So the daughter is not forcing a choice, but you would have her speak her mind, in essence forcing the mother to choose. The daughter seems to be in a no win situation.

We all bring our own baggage to the table. A neighbor of ours sexually molested his daughter throughout her childhood, while her mother blindly looked the other way, then denied it ever happend when the child (now an adult) broke down and had to go to a mental institution over damage it had done to her. In a lesser vein, Rozi's mom chose the welfare of her husband over that of her daughter time after time. I'm the one left dealing with the mess and the deep emotional scars. The rift is so deep now, that Rozi has threatened to lock her parents out of her life forever. It's an on-going mess that could have been resolved decades ago with a little more balance given.

It's nice to say "it's my life, I'll make my own choices", but a child has none. They have no power, no choice. They can't leave home and live their own life. They are stuck with whatever (and whomever) you choose.

"what happens when a deeply angry and spiteful child (certainly within the realm of possibility for a 13 year old...versus, say, a 6 year old) decides that they aren't going to get along with ANYBODY their mother chooses...that they are going to PUNISH their mom for leaving their Dad? Then what?"

I'll answer your question with another question. What happens when a perverted man sexually molests their stepdaughter and scares her into never telling the mother, or else she fears being kicked out of the home, because the mother always sides with the stepfather?

Oddly enough, I hear my question popping up far more often than yours...

The answer, of course, is that a balance must be found. To balance the needs and desires of the child, against your needs as a parent. The child must have choices, or else they are just being swept along. When do you know if the child is rejecting *everyone*? After the first person? 5th? 10th? How many people go on dates and don't find anyone to settle down with for a long time of dating? Deena likes to throw out that she's been on 100's of first dates. How long does it take a child to find a new father?


"I disagree. Like I said in my post, I am not going to let a child...even MY child...make major life decisions for ME."

Can they make decisions for themselves? Do they get to choose the people who affect their life? Who sleeps in their house? Who are left alone with them for hours, or days at a time?

"At 13 she is old enough to take ownership for her OWN happiness...I am NOT responsible for it."

When she has 100% control over all aspects of her own life, then she has full ownership of her happiness. While someone else is deciding her bed time, what she eats and who her new father is... No. She does not have ownership yet. If she runs away from home, then the story changes. As long as she is living by someone else's rules, then she doesn't.

"My job is to love, protect and provide for the child I brought into this world. As best I can, with ALL of my heart. But not to ACCOMODATE. I won't be UNHAPPY in an effort to make my child happy. It just doesn't make sense to me."

I contend that compromise and balance is as important with a child, as with an adult. You can't make everyone happy all the time. However, I'm sure your mother sacrified some of her happiness, so that you could have some. Just as I'm sure you will sacrifice some of your happiness, for that of your child.

"Having said that, while I disagree with your logic and premise, I do agree with your conclusion...I ain't so sure about this BF who she's had lots of "ups and downs" with..."

Ups and downs are natural. I've had them with Rozi, you've had them with GG. However, forcing a choice on the mother over her own child? I have grave concerns about a man who would do that.

Brokk...

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Registered: 03-25-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 2:21pm
I agree that the parent needs to do what the parent decides is best. However, the parent has a responsibility to protect the child from harm. The ambiguity of "We had our ups and downs" mixed with the fact that the child will not say a word about him at least raises the possibility that something bad may have occured that mom is not aware of right now.

Now knowing how I felt about life and how I would act/feel as a parent before I became a parent were extremely different than after the fact. Nobody can explain the feeling of being a parent to the point of someone else who is not a parent being able to truly understand. I was a step parent when my daughter was born and I had no idea that I would be overcome with the feelings that I had. It is the only time someone will feel true unconditional love. Is a 13-year-old really old enough to be in control of their own happiness? If I am not involved enough with my 13-year-old to have some influence on her happiness, I did a pretty crappy job as a dad. I am sure I will disappoint my child in one way or another...I am her sole male role model and hero who she will judge all men against. Would I bring someone around her who I openly knew upset her so much for a reason I had no clue about? Heck no.

Now she is not here to live her life by her daughters rules, but she does owe it to her daughter to try to understand her position and try to shine some light on the situation and come out with the best possible result for all involved. 13 is a very confusing age...too young to know anything, too bullheaded to admit it. She feels the way she feels for a reason that mom does not know. That's scary. Mom needs to find out why her daughter doesn't like the man...if it's something regarding her feelings about missing her real father or not wanting to accept another man, that can be discussed, even with a counselor, to address those issue. If in the "ups and downs" she saw the man hurt mommy emotionally or physically...I think she has every right not to accept him into her life and mom may want to figure out for herself why she would accept being treated in such a fashion, especially in front of her daughter. If it's worse, mom needs to show her daughter that it is not right to accept something like that, and get away.

Curtis

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 2:36pm
Grrr...lost my post, and it was an excellent one. Solved all of life's problems and had promise of winning a Pulitzer. But, since I don't have time to go through all of that again, here's the cliff notes version:

I agree with Brokk that the "no comment" is more of a self-preservation tactic than anything else. If she says "I think he's a jerk, and he treats you like crap" and mom marries him anyway, I doubt its going to make for a pleasant living experience even if there's nothing truly heinous going on.

In a real-life example of this, I had a friend in high school whose parents divorced when she was very young. the mother wanted to be loved so badly that she continually brought home the worst men. The first one, my friend spoke up against, but her mom married him anyway. He turned out to be an alcoholic and psychologically abusive. After the second divorce, the mother started dating another guy my friend did not like. He convinced the mom to leave her children with their grandmother (they didn't want to change schools) and move with him to Corpus. They were married six months before she caught him cheating. She'd already sold her house and quit her job, and really damaged her relationship with her daughter who only wanted what's best for her.

13 is old enough to recognize whether or not you like someone and to know the reasons why. I definitely would not rule out my child's input in a decision that affects their life. Short of running away, the kid's got at least 5 more years that she would have to deal with this guy. I think she probably has reasons not to trust him.

Avatar for mamma2my3sons
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 2:46pm
the PARENTS created the reason the child is angry & spiteful in the first place. They chose each other, made a child & then couldn't make it work! Thats not the childs fault, if anything they should feel guilty that the child has residual emotional issues related to THEIR FAILURE. To try to then foist their new love life ie.some other person on their child is totally inappropriate & only adds insult to injury.

When you sign up for the responsibility of parenthood, sacrifice is always involved. YOURS. At least until that child is 18.

Barbara

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 3:04pm
Title: What the hell is the "candle" supposed to mean??

***"I also found your comments interesting. One was "whoever is forcing you to choose, should be the one you let go" "

I admit that when I 'said' that I was really only thinking of the BF. Like you, I got a problem with a guy who would have a woman "chose" between him and her daughter. It is my assumption that it is he that is sort of "forcing" the confrontation...not her (the daughter). She is instead taking the passive aggressive route.

"The way I see it, her daughter is letting the mother choose based on her own criteria, without getting involved in the least (though it could be argued that her lack of involvement is actually a negative)."

See...I don't think so. **I** think she is expressing her displeasure in the way she happens to know will be most effective with her mom. By expressing "no comment", her mom cannot provide a rational counter argument...because no opening salvo has been made. But...she does know this will torment her mother...thus making her "opinion" known without ever having to express it. A brilliant plan...classic passive aggressive.

"In a lesser vein, Rozi's mom chose the welfare of her husband over that of her daughter time after time. I'm the one left dealing with the mess and the deep emotional scars. The rift is so deep now, that Rozi has threatened to lock her parents out of her life forever. It's an on-going mess that could have been resolved decades ago with a little more balance given."

My heart goes out to you. Really. It was last year, in a bolt of lightning, that I realized the "mistake" I had been making in my life...starting with my mother (with whom of course I had no choice), continued with the woman who has for most of my life been my best female friend, thru TWFKAMG, "R" and "T". The women in my life...with only a few exceptions...had dysfunctional relationships with their fathers...and like you said, I had been left to deal with "the mess". GG, fortunately, had a WONDERFUL childhood relationship with her father...an amazing one. The man is a hero of mine, though he doesn't know it, for all he did for her. When I finally "got it" that weekend last year, I proposed the next day. I have been down the "angry at Daddy, now it is your turn" road...more than once. Let's hope you don't have to follow me...

"I'll answer your question with another question. What happens when a perverted man sexually molests their stepdaughter and scares her into never telling the mother, or else she fears being kicked out of the home, because the mother always sides with the stepfather?

Oddly enough, I hear my question popping up far more often than yours... "

I don't. What I hear more often is that the potential stepchild resists anyone whom the parent brings into his or her life.

The situation you describe is very unfortunate, which is which is why I said the mother should compel the daughter to share what her concerns are; so that something like that can be prevented, or stopped if it is already in progress. But no, I wouldn't turn away someone in my live that I wanted to spend my life with because of the POSSIBLITY this was the case, with no evidence. "No comment" sounds a little too SMART ASS to me to be a symptom of abuse. "I can't talk about it" or "I don't want to talk about it" or "I'm scared to talk about it" might be different. In any regard though, the original poster gave no hint that this might be the case...for all we know the man may have never been alone with the daughter. Given these unknowns, NO, I wouldn't deny myself lifestyle level happiness (versus, say a new set of golf clubs) because my kid can't express more than "no comment" about the person I chose as a life mate. Nope.

"When she has 100% control over all aspects of her own life, then she has full ownership of her happiness. While someone else is deciding her bed time, what she eats and who her new father is... No. She does not have ownership yet"

We disagree...but then you also have expressed that you have no control over whom you fall in love with. I suspect we have a basic disagreement a person having ownership of their emotions and state of mind. I think a teen...assuming that an extreme situation doesn't exist (such as abuse), decides for themselves if they are happy or not. I certainly did. I had PLENTY of reason to not be "happy" as a teen. But what would that have accomplished? Life is what you make of it. Teens DECIDE to become angst filled creatures...as an adult, part of my responsibility as a parent is to NOT follow them down the "rabbit hole"...to teach them that their pouting is NOT the way to influence the world, and that people as a rule will NOT make accommodating them a priority.

"I contend that compromise and balance is as important with a child, as with an adult. You can't make everyone happy all the time. However, I'm sure your mother sacrified some of her happiness, so that you could have some. Just as I'm sure you will sacrifice some of your happiness, for that of your child. "

While I think I understand what you are saying here...from my POV, it doesn't correlate to this situation. Life IS about balance and choices...no doubt. And, no doubt, I will make sacrifices fro my kid, just as my mom made some for me.

This is NOT the same as being UNHAPPY, so that a child can be happy. I know it is popular for people to martyr themselves for their children, and then expect something in return later from said child. I believe this is the basis for many an unhealthy relationship between parent and child...as the parent waits for their child to "return the favor". "All I did for you...or poor me...".

My mother went out of her way to make sure I didn't carry such guilt, by telling me that she NEVER did anything for me without love, desire and a clear conscious. She sacrificed...yes. But she never was unhappy for my benefit. Indeed, I would guess that she may have felt something along the lines of what I am actually looking forward to as a parent...the opportunity to have clarity in my life regarding my priorities, because now I have a "reason". So, yes, I will "sacrifice" having an additional set of golf clubs...hell, I have two already...for my child. No more Swiss watches for me...I've got more than a dozen...I now have college tuition to save for. I have been looking forward to this chapter in my life...living for the next material thing had become quite unsatisfying.

Those choices are NOT the same as passing on a life partner because your kid hasn't decided to embrace them. Remember, she hasn't expressed a concern...like "he is mean to me" or "he is abusive toward me"...which WOULD be a reason for a "no go" decision. All she has done is refused to give her mother the comfort of knowing that a relationship of some sort can be built. For my money, based on the evidence to date, the child is simply being spiteful. And, after given an opportunity to come clean, a further refusal is a choice she has made. Nope...I'm not gonna be unhappy to accommodate a child. It won't happen.

"Ups and downs are natural. I've had them with Rozi, you've had them with GG. However, forcing a choice on the mother over her own child? I have grave concerns about a man who would do that."

This part we can agree on...

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