Post # 1
Ok, I’m not engaged yet, but it’s coming. We have a very good relationship except this one nagging issue and I’m not sure what to do. He lives with his family as of now (we’re moving in together this July), his mom is a single parent and he has two younger brothers who are a lot younger then him, they are 15 and 10. I hate to say this because I know he loves his mom, but she’s just not a *good* mom. My SO got in a car accident when he was 16 and didn’t have insurence and she made him quite highschool and get a job to pay for it. Now I know that he shouldn’t have been driving w/o insurence but he was 16! He has his GED and is almost completed with college now, but I just can’t get over that, how could a mother do that?!? My SO takes his brothers to every doctors apt, school function, hair cut, clothes shopping, parent teachers conference, etc. He is the ONLY one to go to their school functions, his brother is wrestling this year and his mom has not been to a single ONE of his matches. His mom has never been to a parent teachers conference, but my SO goes to every single one of them.
When we started dating I knew that he was close with them, but I couldn’t imagine that he was practically raising them! That’s where the problem comes into play, I love that he’s close to them, and if it was a normal sibling relationship it would be amazing, but it’s not normal. We are in a semi long distance relationship (1.5 hour away) and we only get to see each other on weekends. I have tremendous guilt about him moving in with me because he won’t be able to see his brothers every day, and he won’t be able to play the *parent* roll anymore, it just won’t be possible to raise them like he has been raising them. He says he doesn’t have a problem moving, and that it’s the next step and the best thing for our relationship and I know that he wants his own family, but he does put his brothers first every once in awhile. Like this weekend I really need help on friday and I asked him if he could possible take work friday night off to come help me. He ended up getting it off, but tonight he just told me that he has to take his brothers to school that morning as well as take his brother to set up for the wrestling meet tomm and won’t be able to help me anymore. His brother only told him about this today, and my SO automatically has to take him because he’s the only one. Which means he won’t get to see me on friday at all and I have to find someone else to help me (to be fair this is the first time that he has ever bailed on me in our 9 month relationship). Just today he also added his brother onto his cell phone plan and is now paying an extra $70 a month for his brother to have a phone. I’m sorry I don’t want to have to budget for an extra $70 a month out of OUR budget when we move in together for his brother.
Sorry this is so long, and I know most of it’s just a rant, but what should I do about this situation? I’ve mentioned it a few times, but morally I don’t feel like I can say you have to pick me over your brothers, but I’m tired of feeling like I’m dating a single dad. Advice please!
Post # 3
That is tough, because it does sound like he is practically raising them. But imagine how hard it will be for those boys to go from having their brother around to love and support them, to him not being around as much.
I think you really need to compromise in this situation… I wouldnt give him any ultimatums about picking you instead of them and as you said – it is the first time he has put them ahead of you.
The reality is when he lives so far away from them he is only going to get to see them on special occasions so I am sure everything will work itself out to a nice balance.
Post # 4
You’ve already said that his brothers have a bad mother. Do you think that putting restrictions on the parenting they get from their older brother would be the right thing to do? These boys need all the support they can get from him.
He’s entitled to spend his money any way he wants right now, and if he thinks his brother needs a phone to be able to communicate ( with him as well as others) it is his decison to make. So he comes into the engagement/ marriage with $70 less per month. Is that a deal breaker?
If he has only had to cancel on you once in 9 months, I don’t see that his older brother role is interfering with your relationship very much. I suggest you don’t force the issue as you may not like the choice he makes if push comes to shove.
Instead be proud of the man he is and support him in supporting his brothers to grow up to be the same kind of men.
Post # 5
what an amazing man you are involved with, to be that responsible and caring for his siblings is a good thing and although i understand you also need him and he is forced to choose try to remind yourself his brothers are on a cusp of either being good young men or not and your mans influence is a factor in that – he must be torn between you and his brothers because he obviously loves all of you
you have been together only 9mths so there is still a lot to balance out and there will be frustration but hopefully you will both compromise – maybe a reminder to the brothers to speakup sooner so nothing is left to short notice
Post # 6
He is like a parent to them, so however dysfuntcional the reasoning behind it may be, you have to accept him and his brothers as if you were marrying someone with biological children. And that means that sometimes the kids’ needs come before yours.
As far as budgeting for the phone, it is something small that he can do to make his brother’s life better, since it sounds like his mom is not up to the task. Maybe you can talk about it and suggest the brother get a part time job by x date to pay for half of the phone (or the whole phone) or whatever you think is fair. that way there are some rules and bondaries in place…
it’s not an easy situation, but you have to look at it like he is the responsible adult in his brothers’ lives and you need to support that.
Post # 7
I would get over this if i were you…. stat. because essentially you ARE dating a single dad. I realize that they are his brothers, but he seems to be the olny one taking care of them.
Post # 9
I agree with what everybody has said, as far as him canceling it was just really fresh and I was frustrated about it and I believe I over reacted with that a bit. I do think I need to have a conversation with him about if he could please ask his brothers if they have any school activities that they need with ahead of time so he has a little bit more notice, but the kid is 15, overall he’s really a great kid and he’s normally really good.
As far as the cell phone, my SO is going to grad school next semester so he really doesn’t have a lot of extra cash around. $70 isn’t a deal breaker by any means, but it does affect our budget a little more then it would other people for the time being. I never had a problem with my SO getting his brother a cell phone, I had a problem with it being a droid that reaquired such an expensive plan. If it was just a regular phone it wouldn’t have been an issue at all. We talked a little more about it and he told me that his brother was going to pay half for it, and I’m completely fine with that. I do think he needs a phone.
I guess that leaves me still kind of stuck though, 99% of the time I LOVE that he’s a great responsible male figue in their lives. Not only is it a lot better for his brothers, it shows me that he is more then capable of stepping up to the plate, and eventually I know he will be a good dad because of it. I never meant for it to come across that I was making an ultimatium with him about his brothers (I would never do that). I still just feel so guilty about him moving with me away from his brothers, and I know it’s not just me, he’s moving for grad school too, but how can I feel right taking that away from his brothers. I know it really bothers him too at times. The rare times that he has gotten a little too drunk he has broke down and cryed that he’s worried about them. I’m so torn, I love my SO, I want to be with him. I know he wants to be with me too, but being with me means being away from his brothers. His brothers are really good kids now, they are really nice, respectful, and just all around good people, but how will they be without any supervision?
Post # 10
Agree with all the bee’s above. You are dating a single dad. I think the best way to deal, is with compassion and sensitivity. if you think you and your man are in it for the long haul, then help him raise these boys as best you can. You already sound very thoughtful in your relationship, but you man can;t put his life on hold either. Don’t feel guilty, compromise, and be understanding when things don’t go as planned. They never do with kids!
Chin up, it sounds like you are both great people, and these boys are lucky to have you both on thier team. You won’t fix mom, so focus on creating a healthy environment for your relationship, and the boys. It likely won’t be easy, but it sounds like you have the right frame of mind to help it work for everyone!