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Boyfriend Criticizing My Parenting


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My boyfriend and I are both mid-30s and have been dating for a year. I have two kids and an ex-husband and he has never had kids or been married. 
 

He met my kids 6 months into dating and for the next 6 months only hung out with them 3 times. I didn’t invite him over very often because when I did, I would be playing with the toddler and instead of playing with us, he would sit on the couch looking bored. Once he got impatient with the toddler because he was jumping in the same puddle too long (literally 5 minutes) and he just left and went home in the middle of a walk. 
 

He’s actually a great guy I love very much, he just doesn’t have any kids and is limited by that. I can’t expect someone without kids to understand the things a parent does and enjoys. My older son used to love jumping in puddles and now just plays video games by himself, so I really love it when the little one finds so much innocent joy in something like jumping in puddles and my boyfriend just gets annoyed. 
 

Recently I started inviting him over more. He then saw the kids three times in the same week, was playing with them, interacting, not getting impatient/bored, they got along great. It was like we were playing house and everything seemed perfect for one week. Then a few days later he sent me links to two articles: “The Benefits of an Early Bedtime for Children” and “How to Get Your Child Out of Your Bed”. Yes, my toddler sleeps in bed with me.
 

I got defensive and angry as many people do when their parenting is being critiqued/directed. Especially by someone who has no experience parenting and has met my kids less than ten times. I don’t feel like he has any right to tell me (or suggest through article links) how to parent. I replied in kind, in lengthy texts about the situation and how I understood the importance of early bedtimes and bedtime routines and I have raised my kids with strict bed times and routines but it was all thrown off by covid and my older son doing online school for the last year. We still do consistent bed times and the same routine every night, it just starts a little later than it did before covid and they sleep in later so they aren’t missing any sleep. 
 

His reply was very short and said “I thought you’d find the articles interesting. My bad.” 
 

We were in a really good place before these articles. I don’t want to overreact but I’m bubbling with anger, to the point I don’t want to see him on our usual date night coming up. And he has already dismissed it and is over it. I already said everything I wanted to. I want to let go and move on but I’m not sure how. I just feel angry and attacked. 

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Are you sure you want to continue this relationship? If you want to continue then unfortunately this is how things are going to be. Your boyfriend doesn't really seem like a "kid person". I assume that's why he didn't have any of his own? If he doesn't want kids and doesn't really like kids, this is going to be a big problem. You'll always have your kids and obviously they are bothering your boyfriend in some way because he's sending you these articles. It's actually very rude that he just left abruptly just because your toddler was jumping in a puddle. I understand kids can be tiring but I actually really like kids and want some of my own. I love visiting my best friend who has small children and spending time with them. If a toddler was jumping in a puddle I'd think it was cute. I'm sure you could have a nice relationship just you and your boyfriend, but the problem is you come with the children and that will never change. Therefore I don't think the situation will ever change unfortunately.

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26 minutes ago, OTW said:

been dating for a year. I have two kids and an ex-husband and he has never had kids or been married. 

HE understands nothing about parenting, so he should say nothing!

Criticism is not needed, but I've heard many times, this happens.

And you do not 'need to explain yourself' to him.

He has no understanding since he has no kids of his own to deal with... he needs to learn respect & to stay out of stuff like this.

Maybe is time to say bye to this one? As he does not seem too keen on what he's involved with 😞 .

Edited by SooSad33
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22 minutes ago, OTW said:

 he has never had kids or been married. 
 

. Once he got impatient with the toddler because he was jumping in the same puddle too long and he just left and went home in the middle of a walk. 

Sorry this happened. Unfortunately it may be time to reflect how compatible you are.

How is your co-parenting relationship with thier father?

This man is never going to embrace your kids. Don't try to make him.

The articles were passive aggressive and condescending.

Think long and hard if you even want this guy around your kids.

He may be a great guy, but there's no future here.

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Was he criticizing your parenting or trying in an awkward way of being helpful?  You said yourself that he was more engaged with the children.

The whole he has never had kids or been a parent so he cannot say anything is silly.  There was a time when you had never been a parent or had a child but then comes a baby and you are those things all at once.  He is in your life and by association in your children's lives as well.  He has a steep learning curve here don't you think?  Did he overstep?  Yes he did, was he saying you are not a good parent?  I don't think so and you will never know if you just kick him to the curb at the first trouble like this. 

Many men simply do not have maternal instincts and an instant connection with children, they build that with time.  I am sure we all have a story of a man we have known in our lives that was not good with his own children at first but learned how to over time.

There are boundary talks in all relationships so why don't you have one with him about how you raise your children and how his suggestions hurt your feelings.  This time please do it in person, not through text messages.  If he apologizes and seems sincere then see how things go.  If he is condescending and judgmental then consider it a bad sign and think about ending it. 

 Lost

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9 minutes ago, lostandhurt said:

Was he criticizing your parenting or trying in an awkward way of being helpful?  You said yourself that he was more engaged with the children.

The whole he has never had kids or been a parent so he cannot say anything is silly.  There was a time when you had never been a parent or had a child but then comes a baby and you are those things all at once.  He is in your life and by association in your children's lives as well.  He has a steep learning curve here don't you think?  Did he overstep?  Yes he did, was he saying you are not a good parent?  I don't think so and you will never know if you just kick him to the curb at the first trouble like this. 

Many men simply do not have maternal instincts and an instant connection with children, they build that with time.  I am sure we all have a story of a man we have known in our lives that was not good with his own children at first but learned how to over time.

There are boundary talks in all relationships so why don't you have one with him about how you raise your children and how his suggestions hurt your feelings.  This time please do it in person, not through text messages.  If he apologizes and seems sincere then see how things go.  If he is condescending and judgmental then consider it a bad sign and think about ending it. 

 Lost

But some people actually just don't like children and that won't change. If he got annoyed so much just by a toddler jumping in a puddle that he just stormed off. Isn't that a sign that children annoy him just by their mere presence?

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32 minutes ago, lostandhurt said:

Was he criticizing your parenting or trying in an awkward way of being helpful?  You said yourself that he was more engaged with the children.

The whole he has never had kids or been a parent so he cannot say anything is silly.  There was a time when you had never been a parent or had a child but then comes a baby and you are those things all at once.  He is in your life and by association in your children's lives as well.  He has a steep learning curve here don't you think?  Did he overstep?  Yes he did, was he saying you are not a good parent?  I don't think so and you will never know if you just kick him to the curb at the first trouble like this. 

Many men simply do not have maternal instincts and an instant connection with children, they build that with time.  I am sure we all have a story of a man we have known in our lives that was not good with his own children at first but learned how to over time.

There are boundary talks in all relationships so why don't you have one with him about how you raise your children and how his suggestions hurt your feelings.  This time please do it in person, not through text messages.  If he apologizes and seems sincere then see how things go.  If he is condescending and judgmental then consider it a bad sign and think about ending it. 

 Lost

I agree with all of this. Just because a person doesn’t have children does not mean that their advice or suggestions are automatically redundant or have no merit. I can understand it can sting or feel uncomfortable to have someone tell you about parenting tips and tricks, but did you actually read the articles? Did you bother asking him what in the article he found interesting or helpful? He sounds awkward with children and, yes, rude even to walk off as he did, but he was improving with time and took the initiative to look into things. And perhaps he was considering the challenge of sharing a bed with you when your toddler is in it too. I’m certain that would make him feel uncomfortable. 

I have a toddler, but there was a time I wasn’t a parent and I took care of other people’s children for a living. I always respected their rules and parenting systems, but they always asked for my input and weren’t afraid to hear a different perspective despite the fact I was childless at the time. Your boyfriend’s articles came unsolicited, but don’t throw out the baby with the bath water (so to speak) simply because it came from someone without kids, as the person who wrote the articles probably does have kids and may have some valid points.

If you’re happy with your current system then simply tell him that you like how things are and don’t feel the need to adjust anything. If, honestly, you struggle sometimes with the routine, then perhaps try recalling if there was a time, even in the briefest of measurements, that you made a comment or complained to your boyfriend about it, as he may have been trying to help you find a solution.

Edited by LotusBlack
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2 hours ago, Tinydance said:

But some people actually just don't like children and that won't change. If he got annoyed so much just by a toddler jumping in a puddle that he just stormed off. Isn't that a sign that children annoy him just by their mere presence?

Agree. Don't jettison your children's happiness for some uptight johnny-come-lately.

You and their father are the only ones in any position to have a say over parenting.

As just some BF, he has zero say in how your children act and how you raise them. 

He sent you those articles, not for your education, but to manipulate you.

He doesn't like that your children sleep in your bed. That's the backhanded message he's sending.

If you continue with this control freak, you'll be sorry. Imagine having this creep around your children full time.

 

 

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5 hours ago, Tinydance said:

Your boyfriend doesn't really seem like a "kid person". I assume that's why he didn't have any of his own? If he doesn't want kids and doesn't really like kids, this is going to be a big problem.

He actually likes kids and wants kids of his own someday, he just never met the right person. 
 

He’s even told me how he views step family as real family, his step mother is closer to him than his biological mother, and his step siblings are as much his siblings as his biological siblings. And if he were to have step children, he would raise them as his own. (Perhaps that’s what he’s trying to do now, but I feel it’s too soon.)
 

Children themselves don’t grate on his nerves, but in the puddle scenario I was bothered by it enough to invite him over less. I see my child with his tiny umbrella and rain coat and rubber boots and he’s running through the puddle, he’s stomping like a dinosaur, he’s lifting and lowering his feet and watching the different ripples and to me five minutes isn’t that long. I understand how quickly time passes and in the blink of an eye he’ll be a teenager. But to my bf, he just sees a kid doing the same thing for five excruciating minutes. Five minutes can seem like a long time when you don’t understand the reason for the wait. I really just think this is lack of experience. Parents of older kids who have grown out of the puddle phase would truly appreciate the cuteness. 

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5 hours ago, Wiseman2 said:

How is your co-parenting relationship with thier father?

The articles were passive aggressive and condescending.

My ex husband and I are amicable (although we do fight occasionally) but we have opposite parenting styles. He is like a big kid when they are with him. They don’t brush their teeth, there’s no bedtime, no routine, no rules. 

That’s what bothered me about the articles. It felt passive aggressive and condescending. And it still bothers me. I know a lot of people said to dump him, but I’m actually not considering that at the moment. I think that’s an easy thing to say with online forums when a problem is presented. I stated my problem but you can’t see the whole relationship. We love each other a lot and see a future together, and people who have yet to have kids find it easy to see fault in others’ parenting. Oh, that looks easy to fix. But parenting is never so black and white. I think it’s just an understanding issue that will be fixed if we ever have kids together and he sees what it’s like. 
 

I’m just wanting to get over this fight and establish an understanding (without sounding like a b-word) that I am handling parenting my kids and I don’t need his articles to tell me how to do it.

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5 hours ago, lostandhurt said:

Was he criticizing your parenting or trying in an awkward way of being helpful?  You said yourself that he was more engaged with the children.

The whole he has never had kids or been a parent so he cannot say anything is silly.  

Many men simply do not have maternal instincts and an instant connection with children, they build that with time.  

There are boundary talks in all relationships so why don't you have one with him about how you raise your children and how his suggestions hurt your feelings.  This time please do it in person, not through text messages.  If he apologizes and seems sincere then see how things go.  If he is condescending and judgmental then consider it a bad sign and think about ending it. 

 Lost

Do you have children? I’m not saying I completely ignore all advice from non-parents, but I do think people who haven’t had kids yet don’t understand what it’s like even if they have worked in childcare. (I worked in childcare for 10 years and knew many women who felt like they understood parenting without being a parent, until they had kids and it was a huge eye opener for them!)

Yes, it’s possible he was just trying to be helpful in a way I found insulting. I’m not looking to end a relationship over this, I just feel bothered by it and he’s so quickly dismissed it. I want to tell him to stay out of my parenting without sounding like I’m building an unbreakable wall and will never accept any parenting criticisms/tips. If we live together someday or get married, we will have to find a new balance. A talk about boundaries is in order. 

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1 minute ago, OTW said:

Do you have children? I’m not saying I completely ignore all advice from non-parents, but I do think people who haven’t had kids yet don’t understand what it’s like even if they have worked in childcare. (I worked in childcare for 10 years and knew many women who felt like they understood parenting without being a parent, until they had kids and it was a huge eye opener for them!)

Yes, it’s possible he was just trying to be helpful in a way I found insulting. I’m not looking to end a relationship over this, I just feel bothered by it and he’s so quickly dismissed it. I want to tell him to stay out of my parenting without sounding like I’m building an unbreakable wall and will never accept any parenting criticisms/tips. If we live together someday or get married, we will have to find a new balance. A talk about boundaries is in order. 

Yes, Lost does have children. 

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5 hours ago, LotusBlack said:I can understand it can sting or feel uncomfortable to have someone tell you about parenting tips and tricks, but did you actually read the articles? Did you bother asking him what in the article he found interesting or helpful? He sounds awkward with children and, yes, rude even to walk off as he did, but he was improving with time and took the initiative to look into things. And perhaps he was considering the challenge of sharing a bed with you when your toddler is in it too. I’m certain that would make him feel uncomfortable. 

If you’re happy with your current system then simply tell him that you like how things are and don’t feel the need to adjust anything. If, honestly, you struggle sometimes with the routine, then perhaps try recalling if there was a time, even in the briefest of measurements, that you made a comment or complained to your boyfriend about it, as he may have been trying to help you find a solution.

Yes, I read both articles in their entirety. The first was about the benefits of putting your kids to sleep by 7 pm. I felt it had very skewed and manipulated statistics and I feel 7 pm is too early and impossible with my life’s schedule. It had no helpful tips and was only a parent justifying why they put their kids to bed by 7 pm every day without fail and why it’s better than 9 pm. 
 

The second article had tips for getting your child out of bed, but nothing I didn’t know. It felt condescending in that sending it to me assumes I don’t know this basic information. There was nothing I found helpful in the article, although he may have read it and thought oh wow, these are great tips! Establish a bedtime routine. Remove distractions from their room like tvs (none of my kids have a tv in their room). Be consistent. Take it slow. Use a comfort item. 
 

I’m sure he doesn’t want to share a bed with my toddler and I. He had mentioned it before just asking “when are you going to get him out of your bed?” I don’t expect him to share a bed with a toddler, and I had planned on eventually getting him out of my bed. But we haven’t even talked about moving in together or marriage. Honestly, if it weren’t for the prospect of having to share a bed with a man, I wouldn’t even care. I know that’s an unpopular opinion in the US (where I live), and co-sleeping is frowned upon here, but it doesn’t bother me. 

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I agree with the others. I knew a lot about parenting -and was really good with kids - for many many years before I became a parent - at age 42.  I babysat, nannied (live in for one summer), volunteered with kids weekly for years,, taught in daycare, kindergarten and elementary schools and had my nieces over for sleepovers/spent much time with them (sister had 4 kids, 3 of whom were almost grown by the time we had our son. I babysat my friend's 5 day old- 8 years before I had kids - for 8 hours - I was the first sitter.

I helped many of my friends with their kids and there was only one time where I messed up -I traveled almost 2 hours to see a friend with two young kids and had unrealistic expectations of how much time she could spend with me or have a conversation with me.  She commented on that and the next time I came I brought books to read to her kids and spent lots of time with her kids for that visit and all was good. 

You do not have to be a parent to know how to keep your mouth shut about giving unsolicited advice (whether about parenting or anything else), you do not have to be a parent to know that kids need lots of attention from their parents and you do not have to be a parent to have great rapport with kids. And if you don't like being around kids or certain kids - then just like adults - you make the choice to either suck it up or avoid the situation. 

I know parents -like my sister -who are not "kid people" -meaning she loved her kids, she was a stay at home mom for 20 years and worked her behind off and they adored and adore their mom - but she told me many times she wasn't into other peoples' kids in general -there were specific children she clicked with.  Other people are kid people (like me -kids -not teenagers- have always been drawn to me and also to my mother for whatever reason).  

When I had my son there were friends who I could not see as often because they just did not get that my new job -stay at home mom -had a different schedule than certain other jobs (like specific nap times/feeding times/night time when I was too exhausted to go out).  I didn't expect them to play with him but I did expect them to get that if they showed up 30 minutes late for lunch I probably couldn't stay more than 30 more minutes with my toddler in a high chair before he was d.o.n.e. 

Did I learn a lot more about parenting when I had my son -yes because my son is an individual child so yes of course.  But at 42 my years of experience helped so much and my maturity. As far as co sleeping -no, we did not do that, yes I have several friends who do.  Whatever works as long as it's safe (meaning infants need to sleep on their backs, etc)

I didn't expect them to help me but -yeah - if I asked my friend to please hold him for 2.5 minutes on a couch or keep a hand on him so I could pee I didn't really love the friend exclaiming that she didn't have kids, she was scared of an 8 month old and to let him start to roll off the couch (nothing happened).  Because friends help other friends pee whether it's because of a baby or to tend to something on the stove.  

I really don't love this whole "non-parents" don't get it.  Some people don't get it and it's not because they are not parents . It's because he's decided whether parent or no that it's ok to give unsolicited advice and ok to sit there rudely when he is at your home just because you have certain responsibilities that include parenting.  I'd say buh bye.

Edited by Batya33
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11 minutes ago, OTW said:

It felt condescending in that sending it to me assumes I don’t know this basic information.

I’m sure he doesn’t want to share a bed with my toddler and I. He had mentioned it before just asking “when are you going to get him out of your bed?” 

No one sticks articles like this in your face for your benefit. He's making it clear he is manipulative.

He will make your kids an issue and tug of war and you already see that... his needs come first. 

This has  nothing to do with being a parent, first time parent, childless, whatever, it simply reveals a self-centered streak and haughtiness to keep an eye on.

He may talk about "having kids one day" but that doesn't mean with you. And based on his distain for your parenting style, you can be assured there's no future here.

Edited by Wiseman2
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26 minutes ago, OTW said:

Yes, I read both articles in their entirety. The first was about the benefits of putting your kids to sleep by 7 pm. I felt it had very skewed and manipulated statistics and I feel 7 pm is too early and impossible with my life’s schedule. It had no helpful tips and was only a parent justifying why they put their kids to bed by 7 pm every day without fail and why it’s better than 9 pm. 
 

The second article had tips for getting your child out of bed, but nothing I didn’t know. It felt condescending in that sending it to me assumes I don’t know this basic information. There was nothing I found helpful in the article, although he may have read it and thought oh wow, these are great tips! Establish a bedtime routine. Remove distractions from their room like tvs (none of my kids have a tv in their room). Be consistent. Take it slow. Use a comfort item. 
 

I’m sure he doesn’t want to share a bed with my toddler and I. He had mentioned it before just asking “when are you going to get him out of your bed?” I don’t expect him to share a bed with a toddler, and I had planned on eventually getting him out of my bed. But we haven’t even talked about moving in together or marriage. Honestly, if it weren’t for the prospect of having to share a bed with a man, I wouldn’t even care. I know that’s an unpopular opinion in the US (where I live), and co-sleeping is frowned upon here, but it doesn’t bother me. 

Everyone has different lifestyles and different needs. If your lifestyle requires a non-“typical” routine/schedule then do whatever works for your family. You don’t have to justify yourself to anyone. I put my son to bed at 7:00PM every night but not because articles tell me to do that or because it has been recommended, it just fits in with my family schedule and what works for us. If you feel like your boyfriend was being condescending then be honest with him about how it made you feel and that you have your own ideas about how to move forward with parenting and addressing issues that come up. It may be that he did not intend to sound condescending and you took it that way as parenting is a sensitive topic. Or he may have well been being judgmental and passive aggressive, as you said, either way, assert your boundaries and be clear about what you do and do not appreciate in terms of input. Perhaps state that when/if you and he ever move in together and progress to marriage, have your own kids, then his opinion on it becomes relevant as it directly affects his life and your life together. Until then, he can kindly respect your parenting choices and keep his opinions to himself unless you ask for it. 

Edited by LotusBlack
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2 hours ago, OTW said:

Do you have children? I’m not saying I completely ignore all advice from non-parents, but I do think people who haven’t had kids yet don’t understand what it’s like even if they have worked in childcare. (I worked in childcare for 10 years and knew many women who felt like they understood parenting without being a parent, until they had kids and it was a huge eye opener for them!)

Yes, it’s possible he was just trying to be helpful in a way I found insulting. I’m not looking to end a relationship over this, I just feel bothered by it and he’s so quickly dismissed it. I want to tell him to stay out of my parenting without sounding like I’m building an unbreakable wall and will never accept any parenting criticisms/tips. If we live together someday or get married, we will have to find a new balance. A talk about boundaries is in order. 

I'm wondering why they affected you so much, do you think that it may be because he was making valid points?  How late do the kids stay up? 

You don't have to be a parent to appreciate kids.  I just don't think that this guy cares for children, at least not other people's.   I don't think that you have similar views on parenting styles, he doesn't sound like a good fit.

The most important question, what do the kids think of him?

Edited by Hollyj
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Does he try to correct or discipline your children?

I don't know how you're going to blend him into your family if he storms off because your toddler was having fun acting like a toddler. If he or she was screaming in a restaurant demanding ice cream that would be a different story.  I mean, what will he do if your child throws up all over the floor or knocks something over? Storm off? 

Your kids and you are a package deal. If he's impatient or intolerant of normal child behaviors I can't see how you can compromise on that. 

I would ask him how he envisions the future with you and your kids. If he insists things need to "change" to how HE feels they should be done, you have your answer.

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3 hours ago, OTW said:

He actually likes kids and wants kids of his own someday, he just never met the right person. 
 


 

 

Prior to the puddle incident, you shared how he was bored and basically pouted when you paid more attention to them.

Dating is the time of good behaviour.   All of you being under the same roof with a man who thinks it's appropriate to exercise his authority and opinion on a child's behaviour that is neither his or lives with is a bad sign.  *Unless the child is hurting puppies or similar.  But if jumping in a puddle is the hill he wants to die on, I can't imagine more challenging and typical parenting scenarios.   

Imagine when the dating good behaviour wears off.  You will be at odds with a childless man who thinks he knows better and will assert his opinion on what he perceives is the right way.  Because apparently, your way is wrong.

I call bs on his innocent attempt to share parenting material with you.   You had a reaction to it and he down played it as a means of damage control and it caused you to second guess yourself.  *after all, he was just being helpful?  What'a guy.

Someone without kids can't possibly understand.   It takes a special person to bring into the mix and this isn't the guy.

At the very least give this more time. . much more time and pay attention to the dynamic.   You didn't come here with your concerns by accident.  Listen to you gut and remember, your kids come first. 

Edited by reinventmyself
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guys who walk away and go home because a kid is playing in a puddle is not a great guy period.

 

and as far as the articles... read between the lines... he wants to be in the bed with only you for sexual reasons, and perhaps alone time/intimacy.

 

I agree that kids are absolutely forbidden in the marital bed- this was majorfactor in intimacy lost in my divorce...

it was still unsolicited and manipulative. unless youre asking for advice, he has no right to say a word. He has every right to say his needs physically, or alone time arent being met and is becoming unhappy, but has no right to manipulate you.

 

perhaps he is immature and unsure how to discuss feelings and needs. He did try in a somewhat non confrontational or toxicway. but it is still wrong.

 

whtever frustrations you sense are just what escapes his tongue, and much moire under the surface. 

 

But yes, the kids must not be in bed with mom no more. 

 

 

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10 hours ago, OTW said:

Once he got impatient with the toddler...and he just left and went home in the middle of a walk. 
...he sent me links to two articles: “The Benefits of an Early Bedtime for Children” and “How to Get Your Child Out of Your Bed”...and said “I thought you’d find the articles interesting. My bad.” 
 

We were in a really good place before these articles. I don’t want to overreact but I’m bubbling with anger, to the point I don’t want to see him on our usual date night coming up. And he has already dismissed it and is over it. I already said everything I wanted to. I want to let go and move on but I’m not sure how. I just feel angry and attacked. 

What a passive aggressive dude.  Thank goodness he doesn't have any animals.  He'd probably leave them outside as a form of punishment.  This guy should have been doting on your kids up and down with presents and trips to the museum and ice cream.  I don't care that he doesn't have any kids...he can ask you questions. He can babysit nieces and nephews.   Sending you those articles, what a crackhead.  Eww. He sucks.  You may not wanna break up with him, but he is not the guy to have in your kids' lives, and your kids should 100% come first.  Maybe you are a lonely or think you can't do better, but you aren't doing right by your kids having this guy around.

Who the hell walks off because your kid is splashing in puddles - your guy does.  What a selfish guy.  Ugh, please, for the love of God, really think, I know they have a dad, but is this a guy who'd ultimately be good for your kids down the road...NO WAY.  Plenty of dudes and gals out there with no kids, and are totally respectful and take time to get to know people's or family's kids without judging or making others feel weird or bad about their parenting choices.

I also have zero issues with kids in bed. We did extended nursing, so I totally get it.  They fall asleep, and you move them into their bed.  Been this way for my youngest still at 5, and he is super emotionally secure.  And he's in his bed by 10pm.  My eldest, always placed in his crib, and cry it out, and he has anxiety that he is getting treatment for.  Granted he'd fall asleep after 20 min, but he can't sleep in the dark either.  So, really, do what works for your kid - not what some dude thinks is best.

Edited by tattoobunnie
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His actions and his word do not match up.

What he is telling you is what you want to hear - he likes kids, he wants kids. His actions are showing you the total opposite. He doesn't like kids at all, he doesn't have any patience for them, and he appears to be jealous about sharing your attention with children. For the latter, some people are just plain weird like that and really should stay away from parents or having children because that weird jealousy and resentment doesn't go away.

On top of the above, while you were projecting what you so desperately want, "happy family", he was clearly pretending and harboring all kinds of resentments for how you parent. Sending those articles was super passive aggressive and made even worse by the fact that he then gaslighted you that he was just trying to be nice. 

OP, good men don't lie like that and don't play passive aggressive games. In your shoes, I'd take a big pass on this one. Throw him back into the pond and fish somewhere else. A case of better to be single than with someone who may stab you in the back. You are angry because that's what he did to you. He seemed to be having a good time, and then you got blindsided and bs'ed to boot about how he really feels.

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5 hours ago, OTW said:

Do you have children? I’m not saying I completely ignore all advice from non-parents, but I do think people who haven’t had kids yet don’t understand what it’s like even if they have worked in childcare. (I worked in childcare for 10 years and knew many women who felt like they understood parenting without being a parent, until they had kids and it was a huge eye opener for them!)

Yes, it’s possible he was just trying to be helpful in a way I found insulting. I’m not looking to end a relationship over this, I just feel bothered by it and he’s so quickly dismissed it. I want to tell him to stay out of my parenting without sounding like I’m building an unbreakable wall and will never accept any parenting criticisms/tips. If we live together someday or get married, we will have to find a new balance. A talk about boundaries is in order. 

Maybe you should start by considering ways that he can be involved and share his thoughts that don’t offend you? I mean, if I were him and I had shared some articles with you that I thought you’d find interesting, and you responded by telling me to stay out of your parenting (no matter how nicely you phrase it), I really wouldn’t know how to act at all in relation to your children. I would be afraid to ever say or ask anything.

My husband and I started dating when my daughter was 1. And for awhile, he really would just interact with her for a few minutes in passing. Until she was comfy with him, she wouldn’t have allowed more anyways. There was actually one incident where he was going to handle something in a way that made my blood boil (far worse than walking off while your toddler plays), and I stepped in and let him know it. He’s learned SO MUCH since then. We both have. Now she’s 7, and she’s his baby girl and he’s the only dad she’s ever known. They adore each other and he’s literally the best dad in the world. And now that we’ve had another baby girl, he’s appreciated this whole first year of her life in an awesome way (she’s 1).

Based on the way you describe the relationship and the overall situation outside of the articles he sent you, I think this guy can learn if he’s willing, and you are willing to teach him and expect that he won’t be perfect. When he missteps, remember that he’s learning and teach him, don’t crucify him.

I feel like there is A LOT of assuming in many of these responses, but YOU don’t have to assume, you have experienced the entire situation. What do you think he’s capable of in the realm of bonus parenting?

Edited by indea08
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The articles wouldn't sit well with me. If he really is so clueless and naive, there's usually a second check most people are able to do before sending things that are inappropriate and that's a consideration for others and how the message could be received. Someone mentioned empathy up above which I agree with.

With emails and texting these days, it's easy to send articles back and forth. I used to get types of articles from a particular relative that were so strongly opinionated in one way or another, I just could not stand it. Each time I saw her pop up in whether in phone or email I felt myself get tense because I knew it was another underhanded way of trying to influence or convince others (and me) to think just like her. It wouldn't be an issue if it was once or twice but daily emails were a regularity.

The sad truth is both of you weren't on the same page to begin with anyway, kids or no kids. I think you've been tolerating him for awhile and keeping an open mind but he's still missing a few things you're looking for in a long term partner. Avoid any long texts back in response, no debates over text message. Why rile yourself up that way even further, especially if you're convinced the other person may not understand? 

I'd let it go and go your separate ways. I don't think he is a bad person, per say. Just missing a few links. If you're looking for someone a little more intuitive and empathetic, I don't think it's him.

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1 hour ago, indea08 said:

I feel like there is A LOT of assuming in many of these responses, but YOU don’t have to assume, you have experienced the entire situation. What do you think he’s capable of in the realm of bonus parenting?

I agree with this point. He walked away because he got impatient and it was rude as heck, but who knows what else was going on in his day before that. Of course it doesn’t excuse his attitude and you shouldn’t tolerate that kind of behaviour again, but I know how much I love my own son. I would lay my life down for his in a heartbeat and every day there is a solid half hour where I just look at him quietly and adore him, BUT, if I was on the outside looking in (from someone else’s perspective) at some of the choices I have made, overstepped his boundaries in moments of sheer overwhelmed emotion, then I’d probably have removed him from my care. It got to the point where I’d overstepped WAY too much and it scared the absolute heck out of me to the point that I told my husband because I was afraid it could get worse and I couldn’t risk that happening again. We took steps so that I wasn’t compromised like that again to where our son was at risk. I love him to pieces and he is my son, so imagine how challenging it can be for someone who has never had experience with kids or been married, is in a relationship with someone who does and who has. 
 

I am a good person but I’d be lying if there weren’t times in my life that I didn’t snap at someone or get frustrated about something that wasn’t really that big a deal but I was having a terrible day, etc. People on this forum are helpful and offer usually pretty good and objective advice, but many may also be speaking from ideal scenarios about how something ought to be. But people aren’t perfect, we’re all flawed. It may really be the case that your boyfriend is passive aggressive in personality (not a once off that many people I am sure are guilty of at one point in their life or another) and truly not a good choice for a partner, especially with you having kids. But, it could also be that he’s a good guy who behaved badly in those moments and he’s learning from them. Only you can know that though. You know him in a context and way none of us do, so we can only go off of these snapshots that you have provided. You’ll have to go with your gut on this one. Good luck!

Edited by LotusBlack
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