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Question
Posted by: Mimi | 2011-10-10

How do i handle this

I have 2 problems (linked to each other) I separated from my boyfriend (father of my baby), a year ago, when i realise the after 12 years that the relationship is going nowhere, my daughter (now 8 years), aware of the separation (but not the real reason) often make statements of " if her father was here..., why don''t we stay with dad.., she misses her dad etc"  while i have tried to make sure that their relationship is not hindered by our disagreements, it hurts me when she makes such comments as i try by all means to give her all the love, and make sure she is in contact with her dad. I don''t know how to handle this or what to say to her, on the other hand 2)i have started dating someone, who visits me from time to time but i make sure my daughter stays with my sister when he visit, mainly because its not clear where the relationship is going and secondly that i don''t want to introduce her while i am uncertain about the relationship, and now though i explained to him, my boyfriend doesn''t like the fact that he has to leave when my baby comes back, and always complains that i should tell her and i feel i am not ready and my with my daughter ''s behaviour, i don''t think it will be wise. am i unreasonable?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Its usually more important than people realize, to explain clearly to a child, in words appropriate to their age, why their parents are separating. Its too easy for them to suppose that somehow it's their fault, or that the parent who moves away now doesn't love them for some reason.
And then its natural that she will wonder if things might not have been better if dad had stayed, or just feel that she misses having him around - that's natural, and not something you should let yourself feel guilty about.
Don't get stuck on deciding what to say, rather than just talking about it with her, seeing what she thinks, and responding honestly to that.
And think about talking with her, when this feels easier, about your boyfriend, that as a grow-up woman you will have other friends, and he is no there to replace her dad. She might otherwise find out about him some time without having heard it from you, and that would be less helpful.

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Our users say:
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011-10-10

Its usually more important than people realize, to explain clearly to a child, in words appropriate to their age, why their parents are separating. Its too easy for them to suppose that somehow it's their fault, or that the parent who moves away now doesn't love them for some reason.
And then its natural that she will wonder if things might not have been better if dad had stayed, or just feel that she misses having him around - that's natural, and not something you should let yourself feel guilty about.
Don't get stuck on deciding what to say, rather than just talking about it with her, seeing what she thinks, and responding honestly to that.
And think about talking with her, when this feels easier, about your boyfriend, that as a grow-up woman you will have other friends, and he is no there to replace her dad. She might otherwise find out about him some time without having heard it from you, and that would be less helpful.

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