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Why do I Reject My Boyfriend's Son?

Wed, Jul 1st 2009

For the past three and a half years, I have on and off dated one man. We met online, had much in common, and began to see one another regularly on weekends. We live in different cities, so only weekend visits. I have three children, all teens. He has one son, who lives with the mother. At the beginning of our relationship, I embraced everything full-heartedly: introducing him to my children, inviting him on family outings--which included out-of-town soccer tournaments. We became serious pretty quickly. On occasion, he would bring his son to be a part of the family activities. At the time, the child was four and was pretty well-behaved. My kids were old enough to have other interests and friends over--and would often playfully include him while playing video games, or play The Memory Game with him, but would eventually run out of things to do and decide they wanted to go with friends or have time to themselves. I brought out books, puzzles, Legos and other items my children played with years before, but the little boy never seemed interested in completing a puzzle, even if I sat and helped him. I found this very different from my own kids who were very creative and enjoyed these activities. My boyfriend would then put on a DVD for his son and say it was "our" time; after all, he had come to see me and did want to spend time with me. Before long, this became the routine: bring the kid over, have my kids entertain him for a bit, surround him with different options, then stick in a DVD. For the most part he is an only child. He has a big sister who is also a teen, but is not the natural child of my boyfriend--and he never brought her over for various reasons (she was apparently a troublemaker, fought with her mother--who does not work due to a skin condition disability, had disowned her step-dad a year prior to my meeting him). I was just surprised that the child did not seem to play by himself well for being in that situation most of his life--he seemed only interested in watching DVD's. I argued with my boyfriend. I was upset that the child had no interests other than watching TV or being constantly entertained. I countered that his mother did not help him develop and that my boyfriend was not a good father. He changed his behavior and really began interacting more meaningfully with the child---reading to him/with him, enrolling him in soccer (like my kids), interacting with him more. The problem: I found myself more and more annoyed at the child before the adjustments had any effect. Also I found myself not willing to be in a relationship with this man at times, and we would break up. The child embarrassed me several times at soccer outings where other children his age were more socially interactive, creative, pleasant, and conversational. This child would say only a word or two and could not be coaxed into using imagination no matter how inviting I was and no matter how much I tried to show him and model for him. He liked throwing rocks. He through a big one at me when his dad left for coffee and I was visiting with another soccer mom. I finally told my boyfriend not to bring him over until our relationship stabilized--because we were in a roller-coaster situation sometimes...I told him I didn't want his child to get confused and to be caught in the middle...but really it was that I just can't stand the kid. When my boyfriend speaks of the future, he hints that we may get custody of child. I dread that possibility so much. Why am I like that? What is wrong with me?

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