04-27-2021 05:15 AM
Hi, I'm looking for advice here, as I might be over-complicating my situation.
I (49M) live with a bit younger woman and her 13 year old daughter. Up till now, after living there a couple of years, I haven't been alone with the daughter in the house. If the mum has needed to go out on her own, I've gone out too, but this is proving to be a burden.
Question: What do couples do when a man moves in with a woman and her kids? Is it okay for him to be left alone with the kids, is it okay for the mum to go out and leave him to look after them, for an hour or two say, or longer?
I'm asking this from the point of view of the man not wanting to have allegations made against him.
The reason for this is I'm anxious, and if the daughter were to make an allegation against me and then I would have to move out, I'm not very good at looking after myself and at this time of increasing homelessness and over-burdened social care, I'm afraid that I wouldn't cope very well.
I've talked about this with the mother, and she has complete trust in me, I'm an honest and caring person. A friend of ours spoke to a social worker, and she advised that I protect myself by not being alone with the girl. I just wonder what other couples do. Is it completely normal for a man to move in with a single mum and kid(s), and for the mum to have to go out and leave the kid or kids alone with the new partner?
How does a man protect himself from the small risk that the child might make up a story which could potentially ruin his life?
I would just appreciate to hear from anyone who has experience or insight into this. Surely there must be many men in such a situation, do they just live with that risk? Are there any safety measures a man might take against this.
I should add that I have a good relationship with the girl, enjoy being a replacement dad, she has accepted me into their home and looks to me for advice and support.
Am I worrying unnecessarily?
04-28-2021 02:01 PM
Hi @Salojy ,
I can imagine this would feel like a really tricky situation to navigate. It sounds like you're in a step father type of relationship with your partner's daughter, have I got that right? It's great that you've been able to discuss these concerns openly with your partner as well.
I can imagine that the thought of having unfounded allegations made against you would feel really frightening, and I'm hearing that you have a lot of anxiety around this, and the prospect that if that did happen, you might then be left in a really precarious situation - I'm wondering if you've ever talked to a counsellor about these feelings? They may be able to talk to you about the likelihood of something like this happening - in general, it is very rare for a child to make false allegations of this kind. Has your stepdaughter ever said anything to you that makes you feel concerned that this is something that could happen, or is this more of a general worry that you're experiencing?
In terms of appropriate boundaries when a step parent starts living with a single mum with kids, it's definitely something that looks different for every family. It sounds like you have a close and respectful relationship with your stepdaughter, which is really wonderful. Some boundaries that may appropriate, and also could be protective for you could include never entering the bathroom while she is showering, for example.
We have some great articles about blended families on our ReachOut Parents page that might be helpful, I'll just link to them here
What appropriate boundaries look like is different for every family situation and dynamic. Is your step-daughter's biological father also involved in her life?