The joy and excitement of a new relationship can quickly spiral downward in stress and sadness when your child and boyfriend are not making a smooth transition to a potential new family life together. It is not always easy to objectively look at what may be causing the clash--to decide whether the situation is one that can be solved over time with patience and love, or if ending the relationship is the only viable solution.
Exploring the Root of the Problem
On the surface, it may seem as simple as the fact that your child misbehaves in the presence of your boyfriend, or your boyfriend just doesn't know your child well enough to fully appreciate her yet. Perhaps you figure that it will get better over time, somehow. Although this may be the case, it is important to try to see through the eyes of these two people you love so much. Your child has no control over the adult you've brought into her world, and her behavior may be a reflection of fears regarding the unknown future. Your boyfriend may love you but have little interest in being a parent, and therefore may resent your child's presence. Talking to your child and your boyfriend separately and honestly may help reach the base of the personality conflict.
Reaffirm Your Love
Because your child may have already experienced your divorce or the death of their other parent, the thought of yet another change may be terrifying, and she may feel that she is losing you to this new boyfriend. Talk with your child, allow her to express her concerns without being judged, assure her that your love for her will not change, and confirm these promises by spending one on one quality time with her. Over time, gradually re-introduce your boyfriend into your child's life, and you may be pleasantly surprised that they both may take to each other better when your child feels secure enough to respect your feelings by not interfering in your relationship.
Moving forward in a life together should be a mutual journey, accepting of lifelong responsibilities such as raising your child from a previous relationship. If your boyfriend has undoubtedly stated that he does not foresee children in his future--or at least not your child--the relationship is unlikely to last, and you may be creating stress in both yours and your child's life, with no positive result to look forward to. If your boyfriend wants, and truly strives, to build a good relationship with your child, be patient and encourage them to spend some time together. Blended families do not bond overnight, and the love between a future stepparent and child may not come as quickly as it sometimes does for two adults. Seeking support from online discussion forums, such as divorcesource.com, can provide insight and advice from others who have been through similar situations and can offer wisdom through your family's adjustment period.
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