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My Boyfriend Puts His Child Before Me – 3 Relationship Experts Share Exactly What To Do

by Anita Gadhia-Smith – PsyD, LCSW-C, LICSW, Ashley Davene – Relationship Counselor, Amy Sherman – M.A., LMHC

My Boyfriend Puts His Child Before Me

“You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.”

~ Brené Brown

Brené Brown You are Worthy of Love and Belonging Quote
Anita Gadhia-Smith

When he puts his child before you, you need to remember that the child was there first. 

The biological imperative and deep ties between a parent and child supersede any subsequent relationships. While there needs to be a balance, and you also need to feel that you are a priority, you should not try to compete with a child.

These are two completely separate relationships and there is enough love to go around for both.

When it comes down to a matter of time spent between the two, you need to have flexibility and maturity around the priorities of a parent child relationship. Your boyfriend and you should negotiate your own time together and prioritize that as well.

You may also have issues of jealousy towards the mother of the child. 

This is something that cannot be overcome, unless you improve your self-worth and strengthen your relationship with your boyfriend. Thus, it is more important to build your own relationship constructively than to try to intervene on relationships that were there before you entered into a relationship.

Anita Gadhia-Smith, PsyD, LCSW-C, LICSW – www.drgadhiasmith.com

Ashley Davene

Many women face this issue when dating a single parent and to be honest a business can be the equivalent to a man’s child and not have the same emotional complexities but have the same amount of need for nurturing, time and care. 

Sometimes you will have to take the backseat in moments so they can focus on properly nurturing their babies either literal or figurative, and sometimes that’s ok. 

There has to be a healthy balance. 

You have to be full and aware and mature enough yourself to realize that sometimes a child is just that, a child. They are needy in moments and as parents that’s our job. We can only handle the blows of adult life when we’ve been properly loved and nourished and made to feel secure as children. 

As adults, we should be far less needy, if we were nurtured correctly, we should have secure attachment and not feel overtly needy, clingy or jealous. 

If you are feeling this type of jealousy stemming from codependency or the fear that you will lose them or that their kids need to ‘learn the hard way’ etc. that is your cue to turn inward and do some work yourself to heal your old wounds and re-write new healthy stories around love. 

Consider working with a Spiritual Counselor or Therapist, etc. to talk through things and learn to develop a secure attachment. 

When you are in a more mature loving understanding whole place you will not be as bothered. 

This is also true when you have developed healthy interests and relationships of your own, whether it’s with your own kids, or your own business, relationships with friends and family, etc. We should all have things and people in our lives besides our partners that we give our time and attention to.

That can also be out of balance on your partner’s end. 

Sometimes when a man is carrying the guilt of the divorce, they will try to overcompensate with not setting any boundaries or rules or putting the children’s needs first in every situation, regardless of validity or even when it’s unhealthy. 

Relationships are about compromise after all but they can bring such good joy and decadence to our lives that it can be worth it. 

Find the balance within, be whole within yourself, be patient. 

Try to take an active interest in their ‘babies’ life slowly at first, show up, listen, support them. But don’t be afraid to put yourself first as well and if the balance is unhealthy communicate that with your partner. 

Ashley Davene, Relationship Counselor – www.ashley-davene.com

Amy Sherman

If you are dating someone with children, you need to be cognizant of a few things.  

After all, your partner has a responsibility to his children, who are emotionally vulnerable and are already adjusting to living their lives differently than before the divorce.

Understand that not only must he nurture the new relationship with you, but he must maintain his relationship with his kids and you never want him to choose between you and them. 

If you feel left out, burdened or jealous of his attention, you may want to seek counseling to help work through this challenge.  Children are sensitive.  When they pick up on your feelings, it will create emotional pain and insecurity than no child deserves.

Also, if you consider his children as baggage, then you should never date anyone with children.  

Children deserve better than to be considered an annoyance to put up with.  Instead, take your time to get to know his kids.  Since you are entering their lives as a stranger, you want to find some common areas that would make them feel more comfortable and safer.  

You are not there to replace mom and you want the transition to be smooth if the situation becomes serious.

Even older, grown children need a transition period to accept a new partner in their life. 

Talk to them, acknowledge their feelings and their allegiance to their father. Don’t “push” yourself on them. 

Remember that his children will always be his children and that your place in the scheme of things needs to be based on trust, sincerity and honesty, which takes time but is worth the effort.

Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com

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