Are men and women really that different? We often find ourselves on opposing sides of most issues and we tend to see things very differently. We all go through similar things in our lives but look for answers in different places. This column is where we see how men & women view things. He Say/ She Say offers answers to your life questions from both the male and the female perspective. Sometimes they will be similar; other times waaay off. All answers are written separately. Chime in and tell us what you think.
Dear He Say She Say
I have a 6 yr old son with a man I broke up with a little over 3 years ago. We have gotten along fine for the most part and we came to an amicable agreement on child support without the intervention of the courts. However, I have recently become involved with another man and we are pretty serious. About 5 months ago I made the decision to introduce my son to him and when his father (my ex) found out, he nearly blew off the roof. Since then he has almost done a 180. We usually have a very open line of communication regarding our child but he has become hard to reach and dismissive.
I have a pretty good feeling it’s all about my new relationship but I am not sure how to approach him. This is really tearing me apart because I want my son to have a good relationship with his father and of course I need him to pull his weight money wise but I’d also like to live my life. I have not taken issue with people he dates as long as they are good to my child so why should he have an issue with who I date?- C. Thomas-Chicago, IL.
A man with a baby mother almost always believes he can get back at her in some form or fashion. He thinks to himself, even if he doesn’t overtly attempt it, that he can always sleep with you under the right circumstances. They always see you as belonging to them and truth to say there is an indelible link between the two of you.
He’s seen you date before but he probably sees many of these guys as transient. “They just temporary.” But now that you have introduced him to your child, a sure sign that you’re really serious, all bets are off. Now your new man is marking his territory and is a figure in your child’s life. Your ex is now officially threatened with someone taking what’s “his” and if your new man can take you, will your child find favor with the new dude as well?
This is not an issue you can dodge or tip-toe around, but it’s also not an issue that you can broach with belligerence. Send the child with your mama and talk to your ex. Reassure him that while he can’t get at it anymore (if that’s the case) your son will always know who his father is. You should also outline what leeway your new dude has in disciplining your child. Children will test boundaries and it’s certain that your ex don’t want no dude putting hands on his son. One last thing. This can be a very emotional conversation. He may try to use that emotion to get back at you and you may fall for that vulnerability. DO NOT LET HIM BEAT!! It will derail the entire conversation and put you right back in that holding pattern. Be civil. Be cordial. Not easy. Good luck.
You are absolutely right, your ex has a problem with the fact you are not only dating but in a serious relationship. In his mind however it will never be over because you are the mother of his child. Some men are territorial and honestly believe once you are theirs you will always be. Even though the two of you have broken up his reality may be that as long as you are single the option to “dip back” is always there, now you’ve taken away his option.
Also, your ex sounds like a good guy (recent behavior excluded). Having another man around his son may not sit well with him. Did you two ever discuss how the situation would be handled if and when you all began separate significant relationships? Did you come to an agreement on how and when the child would be introduced to the “newcomers”. You say the two of you have an open line of communication but it doesn’t seem like you discussed this side of single parenting. I know in theory who you date is none of your ex’s business. In reality however, men don’t really need a reason to be childish or petty.
Let’s consider two things. I’m assuming there was some degree of love in the relationship so seeing you with another man is probably hard for him. Two, he’s not there to experience every joy of watching his son grow up and now you’ve invited another man into the child’s life, someone who may be around on a more regular basis than he. He may feel threatened by what this new man’s role will be with his son.
I suggest a face to face conversation with your ex. No telephones, texting or chatting. Sit down and talk to him like you are used to. Don’t lead the conversation, but ask open ended questions so he fills in the blanks. Give him a chance to express his feelings and see what you get. Don’t allow him to steer the conversation in the direction of your personal life. Of course he has the right to know what type of man is around his child but beyond that, anything else is your business.
He’s making his child suffer by being a deadbeat. It’s always good when a couple can come to agreeable terms concerning child support. However, understand that the longer you allow his behavior to continue the more comfortable he will become. If your communication falls on deaf ears you may have to take him to court. The mention of legal can take this situation from bad to worse.
This is all about your son, not the two of you. You may have to go the extra mile if your ex doesn’t concede. Remember everything you do is for your child. Good luck and stay strong.
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