This blog we’re sticking with the theme of helping men to understand what’s important to the other males in their partner’s life. Following on from our So, you want to date my daughter? this time we’re getting to know the sons. We’ve asked some grown-up men what it was like when their mother’s brought home a new man. Needless to say, we heard tales of their concerns, emotional reactions and the inevitable anxiety over territory and boundaries.
“I was unsure if my mother’s new boyfriend automatically became my new dad”
When my mother introduced me to her new boyfriend I was ten. I could see how they seemed to get on well together, but it took me ages to ‘fit in’ with the change. I didn’t know what our relationship was supposed to be – or even if we were supposed to have one. My mother told me often that Mark wasn’t there to replace anyone, but I think I needed to hear it from him, then I would have let my guard down quicker.
James, London. New man introduced aged 10.
“Why doesn’t he have his own family?”
I remember my primary thought being about why this man who appeared to be so much fun, didn’t have his own family and children already. I was in my early twenties at the time so not exactly a child, but I still didn’t really have any (good) context for a single guy in his late forties, so I was probably suspicious. Knowing more about his relationship background would have helped. I know that’s a personal thing to expect from someone, but hey – dating my mother is pretty personal.
Sam, Manhattan. New man introduced aged 22.
“Practically, how is this going to work?”
My mother was (still is) a very busy woman who ran her own company and who just about had enough time for us. I couldn’t see where there was room for us children and a new partner. Everything had always been so routine and so seeing those routines broken for someone else did feel unfair at times. Ironically though, my stepdad became someone to go to if my mother wasn’t around, so we got an extra person rather than losing anything.
Michael, London. New man introduced aged 14.
“Intentions, clearly state your intentions”
I just wanted to know what he was doing and how long he intended to do it for. At that point my time was measured in before my parents separated and after my parents separated. I was trying to fit him on this timeline somewhere and so I actually came out and asked him. He was extremely honest with me, and told me he wanted to be around for a while but that sometimes things change, so he couldn’t promise. It was enough for me at the time. I don’t think a mother’s new boyfriend should do any promising at all in the beginning – even if it’s a trip to the park, don’t promise it.
Heaver, New York. New man introduced aged 9.
“She’s old enough to do what she likes, just don’t tell me how hot she is”
I have to say this, whilst you may think my mother is the best thing since sliced bread, you have to remember that she is the woman that used to feed me my sliced bread. Be respectful of me by showing me you love her, but not telling me details.
Simon, London. New man introduced aged 30.
Although speaking from maturity now, the overriding need for the sons appeared to be communication. Unsurprisingly, it was all about them, but children worlds are a lot smaller and more direct than adults can be. A mother and her young son’s lives are often heavily entwined, so its important to take the time and respect for him, he deserves it as much as she does.