How would you handle this? Teenage son doesn't want me to date.

I'd especially appreciate help from women who have been there before, but open to all suggestions/thoughts. Kids dad and I have been broken up for several years. I introduced my kids to a man I was getting to know over a year, and it did not go well. My son turned his back and wouldn't engage with him. Didn't even give it a chance. I introduced him as a friend because that's what we are. We were hoping to turn our friendship into a relationship as we've grown very close, but this has changed everything. Even though I introduced him as a friend, my son knows that I speak to him often and spend time with him a lot. I was hoping that I'd be able to start bringing him around the house because we don't have much opportunity to see each other in person. (Dad doesn't pick the kids up regularly so I don't get much free time) My son has stated that he doesn't care what I do on my free time, but does NOT want any men around him and his brothers. I want to respect my son's feelings, but at the same time, I really care for this man and want to be able to have a serious relationship with him. I don't see how I can do that when my kids are such a huge part of my life. I don't know how I can keep them separate for too long.
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Quite honestly, it won’t work in the long run that way… you can’t let your child rule your life, that’s unhealthy. Have you tried having a transparent conversation with him? Or sending him to therapy?

@Chloe Yup, I definitely don't want him making these decisions. I risk seeming insensitive if I just force him to deal with it. I've tried quite a few times to have an open conversation with him about it and he just shuts down in true teenage fashion. He says he's tired of talking about it now... even though he never really gave me more than that he will never accept any man I date. I don't really want to put him in therapy for this alone, but I may consider eventually. He did it when his dad and I split and I don't think he really opened up completely to her.

My mom brought her boyfriend around before they were serious. I didn’t like him and still don’t. She met him ten-ish years ago now and I was right to be weary of him unfortunately. At the end of the day you are allowed to be happy but you need to try finding another adult who can help your child understand this. That person is usually a therapist.

I remember after my parents divorce my mum was dating. I didn't like one of the men at all, but it wasn't my decision you know? I was a young teenager then. I could understand if you had been bringing a man around and he wasn't nice to your kids, but to not engage or allow you to have a chance at being happy again is a problem. Does he want you alone forever? What's the real reason he doesn't want you to date? Therapist is probably the best bet. There's an underlying reason for sure, like he feels protective of you, or that he will lose control or power in his life. But my opinion is you cannot base your dating decisions on your teenager.

I am assuming your children are old enough to stay at home by themselves during daytime at least occasionally, so you can hang out at his place during the day (weekends, free days etc), or have him over at yours if your kids are at friends or doing sports. It is reasonable not to bring someone who is just a “friend” to your home around your kids. If you two get to know each other better and decide to get into a committed relationship then you will need to explain to your children that this man will be part of your life, but not a guy who just hangs around as a “friend”. Plus if they are teenagers they will probably move out in a couple of years to go to university or live on their own, so the situation will be different. But I wouldn’t force the presence of a man in the house until the youngest is 18. After that, they are free to move out if they don’t like your living arrangements.

I was in the same exact spot 8 years ago as you are now. It wasn't easy. At all. My son was 12 at the time I met my now husband. He hated the guy to the point that he locked himself in the room. It took a lot of patience and conversations. And a lot of time spent with them two as my son grew up. He's now 17 and stood in my wedding and couldn't ask for a better man to be a stepfather to him. Everyone situation and circumstances are different, but we managed to get through it, and now this boy can't stop going to my mother in laws house. It def takes time. If you ever need someone to talk to, please don't be afraid to reach out. I'm always here ❤️

@Gillian I'll definitely consider a therapist at some point if it gets bad. Right now, even as a therapist myself, I'd rather find a way to get my son to know why he's feeling this way without seeking professional help. I don't see it as a bad thing, but I would rather work it out at home first. I'm sorry that your mama is not in a great relationship. 😔

@May If I were to guess, I'd say it has to do with his dad. Dad has been really upset that I've moved on, and I don't really know what conversations he's had with the kids. I also think maybe he may feel like someone would come in and try to be man of the house? I've explained to him multiple times that I'm not trying to replace his father AT ALL and that I really just enjoy my friend's company. I had really hoped that my kids would get to experience a man treating me this well...their father was abusive towards me physically and emotionally....and now their dad tries to deny it and acts like a victim....I think all that is messing with my son's head as well.

Incognito my son did the same exact thing. Said the same things and thought exactly how your son is or possibly thinking.

@Lucia They can and we can. The issue is that my kids are my everything, and I am a very transparent person. I need to know why my son feels this way. The man is my best friend and we are very close. We know each other very well. My view of dating is a little different maybe from most. When I do decide to be in a relationship, it's like a lifetime commitment for me. So we are closer right now than some people who are in an official relationship are tbh. Moms bring other people/"friends" around their home all the time. So I don't really see it as a problem for me to have brought him around. He's a very important part of my life right now. I have a good decade before all my kids will be out. I definitely don't want to be running around like a teenager trying to hide a relationship from their parents for that long 😩😩

@Magen Thank you...I appreciate you sharing. I'm being sensitive to him for now and haven't had brought my friend back over. I'm hoping to have another conversation with him soon where we come up with an agreement about what he'd be comfortable with. I dont want him to run me but I also don't want him to think I don't care about his feelings.

Exactly. It wasn't an easy process. But what i did find very helpful, is finding something they both love to do. Example if they both love basketball, have them do things they both have in common and hopefully it sparks a conversation on said common ground. (I hope that makes sense) the main issue I had with my son and now husband is my son not only thought I was replacing his dad but that new man wouldnt do anything with him he's always worked. So he didn't understand why they couldn't go play basketball or something. The more they hung out one on one and actually talking, it got easier. But I also think ,because my husband is 10 years younger than me he understands teenagers alot more. But it took alot of work and I shed a lot of tears. But watching him stand at my wedding was the biggest blessing ever. I'm always here love ❤️

@Magen Wow, I'm glad you didn't give up and were able to see the benefits of the work you put in! And good for both of them for putting in the effort too. ❤️

Never give up. Someone is always worth it ❤️

I mean as a therapist yourself I don’t understand why you wouldn’t get him help from someone else. Even if you have the same conversation as another therapist would you’re his mother and you’re aware of the dynamic influence in that. Get him help sorting his feelings. It’s inappropriate for him to think he can dictate any portion of your dating life. That can come out in negative patterns within his own future relationships as well. (Which as a therapist you should also understand).

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@Jess Using therapy in a situation like this is really a concept exclusive to some cultures. I'm not a big fan of it. Though, I'm okay with it, I am choosing not to utilize it as a first step. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. As a culture, we've utilized therapy as a way to sort out our feelings. Therapy uses a medical model. There are a lot of contradictions in the field of mental health that I understand as an insider, and I don't wish to put my son in that. If a child is on Medicaid and receives therapy paid for by that Medicaid, they are entered into a database that can be accessed by any other providers and by CPS. In order to bill Medicaid for services, a therapist must enter a diagnosis, even if the child is just "sorting out their feelings." Now that diagnosis can be used in court, could be used at any point in that child's life as evidence that they have "mental illness." I've been in the field of social work for 15 years & these things happen.

@Jess Not everyone thinks the same way. This is not an emotional emergency. It's a family matter that doesn't "require" therapy. Therapy could be a helpful tool as a back up or if actual relational communication doesn't work out. Which, by the way, has been used for many years before therapy became available. Even if he has to talk to another family member, it can be worked out without a mental health professional. We don't all have the same mindset in regards to therapy and that is OKAY! We are not doing wrong by our children by trying to work it out in home first.

Therapy willl not always ne the first answer. You have to watch what you say to a therapist before you have cps called. Do what helps you . And after you have used all resources and nothing helps then try therapy as a last resort.

Your son seems to have said he will never allow “a man” (not just this specific man) in the house with his siblings. So I assume he doesn’t have something personal against your friend. The problem could be that, being the oldest son and not having a father figure in the house, he felt responsible to keep his siblings and mother safe and that is what he is trying to do. Your family has its balance and he is not ready to risk it by letting a man in. He might have already be disappointed in the past by his own father . Although not optimal, I think considering he is a teenage boy his position is quite understandable. As he grows up and becomes more mature and gets more life experience he might change his mind.

@Lucia I think this right here sounds about right. I was thinking the same thing, and I'm hoping to introduce this in conversation with him. I want to help him navigate and figure out how to dig deeper than just that surface level feeling. Thanks...that really validates one of my theories. You might really be onto something.

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