Your Dilemmas: My boyfriend is being awful to my three-year-old son

In her weekly column, JOAN LONG, a Bishopstown psychologist and psychotherapist, answers readers’ queries
Your Dilemmas: My boyfriend is being awful to my three-year-old son

"I am worried now for my little boy as I am afraid he is being hurt and damaged by my boyfriend’s neglect of him."

Dear Joan,

Can you please tell me what I should do? My boyfriend is being awful to my three-year-old son. He is not his father but we have been together two years. He was really good to him at first, better than I was, if I am honest. We talked about him legally adopting him.

My son’s father was a one night stand and he knows about our child, but I take care of him full time. It is his loss, to be honest.

I am doing a BA degree, I love my child dearly, I love our home and I love my boyfriend.

But in the last few months my boyfriend has changed a lot. He is not interested in my son much any more. Before, as soon as he came in the door from work he would pick him up, play with him and throw him in the air until my little fella nearly puked with excitement. But this has all stopped. He acknowledges him with a grunt and I see my little tot look away with a very hurt face. He is heartbroken.

I have spoken to my boyfriend many times about this but at this stage, if I mention it he gets cross and asks me what do I expect from him after a long day’s work. He gives me excuses as to why he doesn’t take him out for spins in his car anymore. As I write this it is dawning on me that it is like he is ashamed of him.

I do not believe one could just stop loving a beautiful little boy so easily and so suddenly.

I am worried now for my little boy as I am afraid he is being hurt and damaged by my boyfriend’s neglect of him. I am also worried about our relationship as this is causing a lot of pressure and tension. My boyfriend has started going out again at weekends with his old friends.

Dear reader,

The first thing that stands out for me here if, I am totally honest, is “my” baby and “my” boyfriend. I do not get a sense of a family unit!

I do not hear you say “our” baby or “us”, as one describe a family. I don’t know if you realise what I am saying, but basically I do not read this like it is coming from a young woman who has been feeling part of a loving, connected family unit.

You describe a very loving and caring bond and relationship between the two of them. But obviously something has happened that has brought about a change in this man. You say he wanted to officially adopt your son, so it sounds to me that something has happened for your boyfriend to change his feelings towards him.

It must be something very upsetting for this young man. However, it is the child I am most concerned about as this is very confusing for him, of course he cannot understand what is happening. This is damaging for your child.

You need to act immediately and ask your boyfriend directly what is going on and what has brought about this change. You cannot wait to deal with this as your small child will become more damaged the longer this goes on.

Talk to your boyfriend because your relationship is also being damaged, but your son is my first concern.

More in this section

Sponsored Content