Anybody else's SO acting like a dad to his niece/nephew?

posted 2 years ago in Relationships
Post # 46
Member
2223 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

I don’t think you can label your SO’s behavior as “enabling.” His sister has a problem, and she’s not going to just straighten up because your SO steps down as faux parent. The only one who will suffer is his nephew. You say you don’t want to raise someone else’s child; then this man is not for you. Even if he were to step down now, it’s likely that something would happen in the future that would prompt him stepping up again.

Your SO is a package deal. He’s part of his family, including his nephew. If you want to keep your relationship, I would invest more time in getting to know the nephew, and learning to be a supportive part of his life. Also, the idea that your SO would not be able to keep an active role in his nephew’s life and raise children with you in the future is ridiculous. People have multiple children all of the time, and they raise all of the children, and are able to manage their time to ensure that they’re all loved and taken care of.

Post # 47
Member
263 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2018

I can share my experience with my husband’s family. We currently have an adolescent niece living with us part time. On the one hand, I understand some of your concerns – I had them too. On the other, I agree with other posters that this isn’t the right guy for you.

My family’s culture is very independent, although still very close, while my husband’s family is not. Different family members are always living with each other, share childcare, etc (which could have its perks if we have kids!) I knew that taking a bigger role with family members was a possibility when we got married. In the end I obviously decided I’m fine with it, and I love my husband even more when I see his love for his nieces and nephews. I do maintain some strict boundaries with adult family members who are difficult… but they are adults. I think it’s so different from helping kids. 

Post # 48
Member
8 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: July 2017

I can kind of understand both sides. 1 it’s great that he’s willing to be there and help out because the mom can’t/won’t, but at the same time, that’s not his job.

Post # 49
Member
228 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2018

View original reply
nicole1121 :  that’s not true… hello, the nephew wins as well. & honestly maybe your SO likes helping out his neph, meaning he wins as well…. yooou only “lose” bc you don’t like it. 

Plus… i mean, you guys arent married. Im not really sure how much of a sayyyy you actually have. *shrugs*

Post # 50
Member
11349 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

View original reply
nicole1121 :  

Ok, Bee.  The truth is, you want this child to go poof!, so you can have your bf all to yourself and not feel as if you’re in second place.  As you see it, the best way to make that happen is for the SIL to have a miraculous awakening of some sort and magically turn into June Cleaver.  Understandable. Many people would feel resentful in your situation.

Where your plan falls apart is in the reality that you just cannot make someone change.  I’ve no doubt that your bf and the rest of the family have had numerous discussions with SIL, which have gone, exactly nowhere.

Most of your postings are efforts to get us to understand that SIL SHOULDN’T DO THIS STUFF. Ok, yeah, you’re right.  We get it.  She shouldn’t.  

There is just one teeny little flaw in your reasoning—she does do it.  And she will continue to be exactly who she is. That’s not  to suggest that people can’t change.  They can, but seldom do.  If your SIL bottoms out and decides she’s ready for a different kind of life, it will be on her timetable, not yours.  Your bf can talk to her till the cows come home.  It won’t matter.  

The venom you have toward the SIL is palpable.  By your own admission, the little nephew has become a symbol of the relationship between your bf and the SIL. And, it’s a relationship that you truly despise.

You keep trying to get him to understand. Understand that SIL is horrible and should be raising her own child.  He knows this, Bee.

Your bf has taken the highest of high roads here. Rather than wear himself out futilely nagging the SIL, he has stepped up and made himself available to the little boy as a stable male role model and care-taker.  There is nothing remotely enabling about that.  

The fact that the SIL may get some benefit out of your bf’s involvement—completely irrelevant. That’s mere collateral fall out.  Stop fixating on that.  You’re jealous of a woman whose life is an uncontrolled dumpster fire.

You keep trying to make this all about the SIL, but it’s not.  It’s all about the nephew.

And, that’s another problem. You don’t like the child either.  That doesn’t make you a terrible person.  Just acknowledge it to yourself.  Lots of people are not fond of young children.  Rest assured, the little boy is excruciatingly aware of how you feel about him.  Young kids are masters at reading the Big People, they have to be, it’s part of their survival instinct.

You feel like you would be happy with your bf if there was no nephew in the way. Fine.  You’re allowed to feel that way.  However, there is a very large spanner in the spokes:  the kid is staying.

When there is a child involved, the grownups are required by basic human decency to put the best interest of the child first.

If you don’t want a kid in your life, you don’t want a kid in your life.  Unfortunately, your bf has a kid in his life who will be there for many years.  You are desperately unhappy and rageful. What that tells me is that you and your bf, at the deepest core levels, are simply not compatible.

Post # 51
Member
11349 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

View original reply
nicole1121 :  

But what’s wrong with slowly integrating her into these parenting responsibilities?

Bee, how would you go about doing that?  What would it look like?

Post # 52
Member
4 posts
Wannabee
  • Wedding: May 2015

I would think he would be a big part of both your lives if your SO stays with you. I was with my husband for years before we were married. We were very much in love and had a great life rhythm. Then, come to find out, my little sister (13) needed a home. If he hadn’t wanted to help me raise her, I would have left him to do it on my own. That little boy is lucky to have the Uncle he has, and he will probably never just be his “uncle”. Your concerns are valid – they probably will be the reality, but they are also selfish. You can have a loving family with your SO and he can be an influence in his nephew’s life. They’re only mutually exclusive if you make them such. If it’s not what you want, then talk to your SO and be prepared to end it.

Post # 53
Member
2000 posts
Buzzing bee

Didn’t read all the replies. Darling Husband and I have nieces and a nephew we are very involved with. I’ve bitched about their parents on WB before. I get mad st their parents, but never at the kids. Yes, it would be great if they would act like adults, get their shit together and be good parents. Unfortunately that’s not reality. If someone continuously shows you that they don’t want to be a good parent, believe them! Take the reigns yourself and do what you can for this child. Separate the parents from your nephew. Helping your nephew doesn’t mean the sister wins. your SIL is a hot mess and a shit mom…she’s obviously not ‘winning’ anything and it is not your job (nor will you be successful) to try and change her. 

 

Biggest advice I can give is to separate your thinking. Do what’s best for the child (regardless of any downstream ‘wins’ you think that gives your SIL). 

 

And BTW- you can totally have your own family one day with your nephew also present. Your kids will grow up with their cousin and your nephew gets to be part of a functional family. Win/win. 

Post # 54
Member
826 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

Bee, can you find space in your heart to love this child?

If you can open your heart to loving your SO’s nephew, everything will shift. You’ll begin to see him as an innocent victim of circumstance, and you’ll see the beauty in your SO’s willingness to step into this child’s life. If you are open to the possibility, loving this child could open your heart, teach you greater compassion, and deepen your relationship to your SO. This child is not an obstacle to your plans; this child is a gift.

On the other hand, it’s OK if you don’t want to, or can’t. But if you can’t love your SO’s nephew, I think you need to move on from this relationship.

Post # 55
Member
263 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2018

View original reply
italianbride0508 :  I agree with everything you said.

It’s really hard (impossible?) to change adults, but you CAN help, shape and positively influence the child. That’s my and my husband’s motivation for stepping in and helping his teenage nieces and nephews. It’s not their fault that their parents are the way they are.

Post # 56
Member
1124 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 1983

Everyone seems to focus on care of the nephew. I predict care of the grandmother will become by far the bigger problem, demanding more time, more energy, more concern, more money.

And, of course, there’s nothing to say SO won’t volunteer to take in more extended family members and assume responsibility for them.

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