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QUESTION: My Boyfriend Will Refer to My Kids as ‘Ours’ When It’s Just Us But Tells Other People They’re Just ‘Mine’: Advice?
“I have a problem and really could use some advice from other moms. I have three kids. They are all from a previous relationship, and their father is no longer in the picture.
I have been dating my boyfriend, a different guy, for about two years, and we have been talking about him moving in and us being a happy family. A year ago, he told me that he wanted to be their father figure, and he has really stepped up. He helps with homework, takes them to practices, is with us every holiday, tucks them in, and reads them a story at bedtime. He even helps with anything they may need if I ask him to.
The issue is, he will tell his family and his friends that my kids are not his kids. Like he only wants to claim them when we are alone, and I don’t know how to feel about it. It kind of hurts my feelings in a way. But he is so amazing to them when it’s just us. What do you take from the situation?”
The following top answers have been selected by a moderator from hundreds of responses to the original question.
“I take it your boyfriend is being a very upstanding stepparent who understands his place as a role model/father figure as he is not their biological parent. He is also not married to you and is respectful of those boundaries. Reality for stepparents is if you two don’t work out or biological father decides he wants a relationship with his children he will have to take a back seat…
…He understands he has no legal right or claim to them but at home still loves and treats them as his own. Stepparenting is very hard. You love children you didn’t make or have a claim to whom can be ripped away from you at any moment. I think until he has a legal right to them he is doing the right thing.”
“They aren’t his kids. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t love them or care about them.”
“The real question is HOW does your boyfriend treat the kids around other people?”
“Some of these comments are a little ridiculous…. they aren’t his kids. You aren’t married, doesn’t even sound like you are engaged. Be glad that he helps you and TREATS them as his own. Have you asked him why he feels like he needs to clarify this or told him how it makes you feel?? I feel like he deserves that much.”
“What changes around other people? Maybe it’s a little bit of a touchy subject for him. As a STEPparent, I don’t see anything wrong with this. They are not his kids. You’re not married to him, and I’m assuming your children know or WILL know, that he isn’t their real dad. If he isn’t completely disowning them around others, or treating them badly in front of others I don’t see the issue. There’s nothing to hide & no shame in it at all.”
“You guys are dating… there is no commitment at this time. They are not his kids. But it is great he is stepping up to such a big responsibility. Also, his family might be worried about what he is getting into…. and he shuts them down by speaking the truth.”
“I always struggled with calling my stepdaughter my daughter as I didn’t want to take away from her mother’s rights to use that term, she only has one mother, as I know how I would feel having someone else claim my children as theirs. I also didn’t like the term stepchildren because I feel like it has a negative connotation in our society. So I came across a term that I use which is “bonus child”…
… It isn’t dishonest, it respects her biological mother’s right to solely claim her daughter as hers and allows me to convey that I feel grateful and blessed to be able to have this child I did not birth in my life. Maybe he feels that he doesn’t want to be dishonest or doesn’t know what he should call them. You should discuss with him and hear him out. From your description, he obviously loves them and wants to care for them.”
“I would say this is not okay. My oldest daughter’s bio father never has seen her. My husband now came into her life when she was 2. He has always treated her equally to our other 2 we have had together since we met. He has even said to other people, that not anyone will ever tell them that she is not his…
… He has raised her, fathered her in every way and I am beyond thankful for it. It never even crosses my mind that she is not his daughter. She is a different race from him as well. I say you to talk to him about it and ask his reasoning for saying that to other people. Something sounds off to me as if he is scared or worried about what other people will think.”
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