Wedding 911

Motivation Issues?

My boyfriend and I are getting married in less than 6 months. Our wedding is booked and paid for, and we're almost done planning the reception. Everything wedding-wise is going perfectly (so far). 

I need some nonabrasive suggestions on how to get my boyfriend to finally tell his son that he's planning on asking me to marry him. I know that sounds entirely backwards, but without going into a TON of back story, in order to actually make our wedding plans work, all the planning has had to be done before the actual engagement. Anyway. My boyfriend is older than I am. I'm 30 and he's 42. We have two kids each. I have an 8yr old and a 2yr old. He has a 19yr old and a 15yr old. The 19, 8, and 2 year olds aren't going to be an issue when it comes to the proposal and wedding. 

The issue is his 15 year old. He doesn't like my kids being around, even for a short period of time. He doesn't care for anyone to take his dad's attention away from him, and he's said as much. I feel that, with this kind of an attitude, his son is going to need a lot of time to adjust to even the thought of having a combined family (we don't live together). I've brought it up several times that the son needs to know and needs the time, and my boyfriend just kind of seems to brush it off with a, "it'll be fine". But I don't think so. Any suggestions on how to try and motivate my boyfriend to have this talk with his son, sooner rather than later? I just have a bad feeling that if he waits to tell him right before the proposal, that we'll end up with a lot of problems, including resentment towards me and my kids for "taking his dad away".

Re: Motivation Issues?

  • doeydodoeydo Southwestern Ontario member
    Seventh Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    My boyfriend and I are getting married in less than 6 months. Our wedding is booked and paid for, and we're almost done planning the reception. Everything wedding-wise is going perfectly (so far). 

    I need some nonabrasive suggestions on how to get my boyfriend to finally tell his son that he's planning on asking me to marry him. I know that sounds entirely backwards, but without going into a TON of back story, in order to actually make our wedding plans work, all the planning has had to be done before the actual engagement. Anyway. My boyfriend is older than I am. I'm 30 and he's 42. We have two kids each. I have an 8yr old and a 2yr old. He has a 19yr old and a 15yr old. The 19, 8, and 2 year olds aren't going to be an issue when it comes to the proposal and wedding. 

    The issue is his 15 year old. He doesn't like my kids being around, even for a short period of time. He doesn't care for anyone to take his dad's attention away from him, and he's said as much. I feel that, with this kind of an attitude, his son is going to need a lot of time to adjust to even the thought of having a combined family (we don't live together). I've brought it up several times that the son needs to know and needs the time, and my boyfriend just kind of seems to brush it off with a, "it'll be fine". But I don't think so. Any suggestions on how to try and motivate my boyfriend to have this talk with his son, sooner rather than later? I just have a bad feeling that if he waits to tell him right before the proposal, that we'll end up with a lot of problems, including resentment towards me and my kids for "taking his dad away".
    Um, I don't even know what to say.
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    OliveOilsMompeachy13
  • JaxInBlueJaxInBlue member
    Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 1000 Comments Name Dropper
    edited October 2014
    I spent about 10 years in a blended family that wasn't well-blended: it was announced Dad and Step-Mom were engaged, moving in together and her kids were coming, too (she was the full-time custodial parent).  Because there was no consideration for the kids, or the effect the transition would have on us, it did not go well and ultimately, tensions about how the kids were reared and treated contributed to the end of that marriage.  You do not want to be in this situation.

    I think it's a big mistake for you to discount your stepson's emotional issues with your relationship.  They won't magically disappear when you are formally engaged, and they certainly won't dissipate easily when you are all living together.  I honestly believe that the best thing you could do now for your future family is invest in a few sessions with a family therapist, someone who could work with all of you to help your family come together in a process that is respectful of everyone and their individual stakes.   A therapist would be able to help you develop family norms and expectations and could help you and your FI establish your strategies for parenting.

    Finally, a therapist might be able to work with your future step-son individually for a period time, to help him identify why he feels it necessary to be the primary recipient of his father's attention, and help him articulate what he would want to feel that he still has a special relationship with his dad (maybe a commitment to make some special activity them only, or an agreement that he and dad continue to make Wednesday nights their night to watch TV/play video games, etc. while you do something else with your kids).

    In the short term, though, I think your FI starts with "Mrstohismr and I have decided to get married in March.  I know that will make you unhappy and I'd like to understand why.  We're going to all go to talk to someone about what we can do as we all become a new family, but until then, I think Tuesday nights should be guys' nights.  We can go out to dinner and you can let me know what's on your mind.  We'll be doing more with Mrstohismr and her kids, too, and I hope you will try and give everyone a chance.  But Tuesdays will be just us."  I don't think you make this about forcing acceptance, or trying to win him over to the side of "this is great!"  You both need to meet him where he is, and use your actions and your willingness to hear his side as evidence that he's got a stake in the family too.

    ETA: I would also be sure that you and FI are exploring contingency plans for the wedding.  I would not want to bring myself or my kids into a situation where someone was antagonistic about our presence.  I would be willing to postpone the wedding until we knew if we could actually, peacefully blend our families.
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    OliveOilsMommego2708
  • falsarafalsara Northside of Chicago member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Third Anniversary First Answer
    JaxInBlue said:


    In the short term, though, I think your FI starts with "Mrstohismr and I have decided to get married in March.  I know that will make you unhappy and I'd like to understand why.  We're going to all go to talk to someone about what we can do as we all become a new family, but until then, I think Tuesday nights should be guys' nights.  We can go out to dinner and you can let me know what's on your mind.  We'll be doing more with Mrstohismr and her kids, too, and I hope you will try and give everyone a chance.  But Tuesdays will be just us."  I don't think you make this about forcing acceptance, or trying to win him over to the side of "this is great!"  You both need to meet him where he is, and use your actions and your willingness to hear his side as evidence that he's got a stake in the family too.

    ^^^^ This especially^^^^


    You all need to get on the same page.  I suggest JaxInBlue's wording for right now, as in TOMMOROW.  All four of the children need to be told that you are getting married so that they have time to process.  Then you both should sit down with the 15 year old and talk about him having dad time specifically.  And I think OP it would be a good idea to implement the one night a week thing with your children as well, considering their ages.

    Also the idea of a family therapist is top notch advice.  With so many moving parts you all need to sit down with a person who will be able to guide the conversation in a way that lets everyone's thoughts and opinions be heard.

    I also would not expect his kids to suddenly become best friends with your kids.  There is a substantial age gap here and they will have very few things in common.  Also I would not expect the 15 year old to suddenly become a babysitter, not saying you would OP, but maybe that is something that the kid is thinkng.  Maybe he's afraid that he will be expected to watch them all the time and stuff like that.

                                               

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  • Jells2dot0Jells2dot0 Cowtown mod
    Moderator Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    I was in a similar situation. DH has 2 kids who were pre teens when we met. I do not have any children. Because we knew the new marriage would be tough on the older daughter, we held off of getting engaged and married until she was out of high school and on her own. There would have been too much emotion and turmoil otherwise. So, we did what was best for her.

    I think you should not have planned anything before speaking with the kids. But, since you did, I do recommend sitting with them ASAP and working on any issues with a therapist. @falsara was right on with that!

     







    OliveOilsMom
  • Please, go see a family therapist now.  What you got already was sound advice.  I just want to bring up one other aspect and that is that you already have everything planned.  And 6 months away is not that long.  I'm putting myself in that child's shoes and I'm telling you right now that what you've done by already planning everything is basically a huge punch in the face, so no matter what you do now, you're going to have problems.  Because now when you tell him, you aren't "asking" him how he feels about the two of you possibly getting engaged, you're TELLING him "This is has already happened (because despite your creative semantics, you are actually engaged - you planned a wedding together, you're engaged), we planned everything behind your back, I'm going to "ask" you how you feel, but really it doesn't matter at this point since everything is already done."  That's just a really horrible thing to do to a kid.  How would you feel if your FI, found a new job out of state and bought a house without consulting you about it first and then he just shows up one day to say this is happening?  I would imagine pretty shitty - and you're an adult who is presumably equipped with the emotional maturity to handle that, something this kid doesn't quite have.

    But other than that, my only advice would be to postpone the wedding until your FI is also equipped with the emotional maturity to realize that he needs to parent first, plan a wedding second.
    OliveOilsMom
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Since you have planned an entire wedding knowing full well that you and your SO are going to get married then, congrats, you are engaged.

    You FI needs to figure out how so speak to his son.  Don't you think that the 15 year old will still be pissed when he finds out that not only are you two getting engaged but that the entire wedding has already been planned before he even knew about your engagement?

  • Wow.  So, first, you are engaged.  You're planning a wedding, so you're engaged regardless of whether the words "will you marry me" were uttered or a ring was given.

    Second, I cannot imagine the 15 year old having a positive reaction to you all planning all this without telling him about it.  He is obviously already not happy with the situation, and 15 year olds in general tend to have more attitude than little kids or adults, so I just see him using this as ammo against you.  (I.e., "You're planning a whole new life and leaving me out of it!")

    Finally, the other ladies have good advice as to how to handle this.  Please take it!




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    OliveOilsMom
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    Sessions with a family counselor should start ASAP.  You are combining households and this young man doesn't even know!  Your FI may think he is protecting his son, but he is far off.  His son will feel betrayed by his father that he couldn't even handle this new information. 

    If this 15 year old cannot handle your kids, how will this work out?  I would feel uncomfortable in my own home knowing the 15 yr old is there and he doesn't like having my kids around.  I would feel on edge to make sure nothing happens between the 3 of them. 

    Jax had a great idea by keeping father & son day set in stone each week.

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