Suzanne Styles gives advice to a single mom who feels her new relationship is suffering because her partner doesn’t accept her child as part of the family.
I am a single mom to the most beautiful five year-old girl and have been divorced for the last three years. I have met someone and we have been living together for the past year.
Recently though I have been feeling neglected, my emotional needs are not being met, and I feel rejected on a physical and sexual level too. I always seem to be last on his priority list.
I have picked up that he is not very fond of my daughter, and thinks that she is a spoilt brat
He does not want to take on the role of a male figure in her life, as he doesn't want to 'replace' her father. He does not show any interest in her but is quick to scold her for something that he feels she is not doing right.
The other day she drew a picture of just her and me, even though he is living with us. Maybe it is best to be single until my daughter is out of school? I do not want to cause any damage or make her feel insecure when it comes to men and relationships.
It is never easy being a single parent, and mothers always bear the brunt of the guilt for this incomplete family unit.
Firstly it’s important to remember that our children are experts in the art of manipulating their parents to their own advantage; this is how they learn what the boundaries of life are, and this is how they grow, and often we are blinded to this.
Drawing a picture of the two of you shows that she’s very confident of her position in your life and I don’t believe that you have anything to be concerned about there.
Does your partner know what his role in your life is?
Getting to your partner though, do you love him, you haven’t mentioned this in your letter, but let’s say you do?
Does he know what his role in your life is: have you both sat down and discussed at length where you are going and whose role is whose?
Ask yourself if your feelings of emotional and physical neglect coincided with your feelings that your partner doesn’t like your daughter very much? Think about this for a moment, is he sending you a subtle message around a highly volatile subject - your daughter, and then take stock?
You are sharing your life, and your daughter's too with a man who may feel rudderless and lacking direction as he doesn’t have a clear understanding of his position in your life, never mind in hers.
All too often we women sacrifice our own lives for our children, and we forfeit years of happiness only for our children to leave home and find their own path.
It is essential that you do not replace your need for love, significance and security in a loving relationship, with your relationship with your daughter.
It’s not healthy and it is not how it is meant to be, men and women are supposed to fulfill these roles for each other
Women often take the children route as it is safer, it detours potential conflict and allows us to play it safe. But what it prevents is our potential happiness and our personal growth.
Make some time to be alone with your partner
Take some time out with your partner the next time your daughter is with her dad. Go away to a neutral location for the weekend, or the day, and make it special.
Sit down together and discuss with your partner how you feel, where you are in your relationship and where you would like you to both be.
A man needs to feel that he is the most important person in your ‘love life’
Help him to realise that he is significant in your life, that there is security in your relationship and then start talking about both of your roles in your relationship.
Men want to take a big issue and make it small, they are the fixers, and women want to take a small thing and make it seem big, they are the gatherers, the homemakers.
Remember though, you are both one hundred percent responsible for your relationship - all aspects of it. Decide on your roles, the boundaries and inputs and regain the passion and love you obviously felt in the beginning.