Dear Opinionated Male,
Before I start I just wanted to let you guys know I enjoy your articles, very thought out and germane. I hadn’t heard of you guys until a very close acquaintance told me about this site so I decided to check you guys out and I must say I am impressed. Awesome! Okay I digress.
I am in a tough situation. I met this guy (we’ll call him Eric) at my friends 30th birthday party this past March. We exchanged numbers and hit it off instantly. We have been exclusive since the beginning of June and everything has been going great.
I have a son who is 5 years old –yes I’m a single mom. He met Eric July 4th weekend. The three of us have gone on a few outings together and had a good time. He doesn’t have any children but has several nieces and nephews and treats my little man very well.
The problem is I haven’t told my son he’s my boyfriend, I just say he’s my friend. Eric thinks I should let him know and doesn’t see the problem. I don’t know how to tell my son, especially since he’s very close with his dad. So I guess my dilemma is, how do I break this to him? Do I? Do he and I tell my son together? *sigh* I feel he’s too young to be exposed to that but I don’t want to continue to make Eric feel bad at the same time. Help (lol)
Firstly, welcome to the OM and thanks for writing in. Shout out to your friend for putting you on.
Secondly, congratulations to you and your new beau Eric for embarking upon an exclusive journey together. Its great that the both of you are on the same page as it pertains to the type of progressive relationship you want with one another. There are many who are not so fortunate as ambiguity and ‘situationships’ appear to dominate the dating/relationship landscape in these current times. Kudos to you both. Now lets dig right into your situation.
Okay, so although you still have yet to provide full disclosure to your son (I’ll get to this shortly), I can’t say I disagree with much of the way most things are being handled. On the surface both you and Eric appear to be doing all the right things. You even state that he has been treating both you and your son quite well. Uhhh, ding! On your end of things, the decision to delay introducing your little man to him until after the relationship evolved to a stage that offered stability and promise, was a also wise move. Double ding! Thirdly, I applaud the consideration you have shown towards your son’s feelings and ability to fully comprehend your and Eric’s involvement, as well as respecting his close relationship with his dad. Ding, ding and ding.
Speaking of which, children instinctively and understandably want daddy and mommy to belong together. With that in mind, is your son aware that you and his biological father are no longer together romantically? Is this a factor in your struggle to ‘break it to him’ as you stated in your letter? Not to suggest this is your case, but there are instances in which some well meaning parents who are no longer together continue to present the illusion of ‘togetherness’ to their child(ren) on some levels – a decision that ultimately causes more work, harm and confusion in the grand scheme of things. From your letter, I don’t get the impression that this is your circumstance (and hopefully this isn’t). But if any element of this does in fact pertain to your situation, this will be a large source of your woes and it is in your best interest to rectify it ASAP before pursuing a conversation with your son about your new relationship. #JustSayin’
Overall Alana, I’m not seeing much of a problem here. So my question to you at this time is, whats the issue? The brotha has passed your approval tests and is now officially your man. Granted, the relationship is still relatively young (2 months officially in) and perhaps giving it a little while longer to truly settle in wouldn’t hurt just to be sure honeymoon feelings aren’t whats driving this. But apart from that, I say go for it! You should absolutely be open and honest with your son about the type of relationship you and Eric have. Now is as good a time as any. Remember, Eric is your man now, not some fly by night dude. Not a bootycall. Not a friend with benefits. Not A man you’re kicking it with. He is your man. Out of nothing other than basic respect for Eric, you owe full disclosure to those this relationship directly impacts – your son and your son’s father. The truth is, they deserve that respect as well.
Regarding the best way to tell your son, honestly don’t underestimate that he doesn’t already know that this man mommy has been spending a lot of time with lately isn’t of some significance. Chances are he is aware or at the very least has some inclination that Eric is more than just a friend.
That said, here’s what you do:
Have a one and one talk with little man. Broach the subject by simply asking him what he thinks about Eric. This works twofold as it will provide you with insight into your son’s feelings about him as well as open the door for dialogue.
Follow up by sharing your own feelings and thoughts about Eric. Then follow that up by explaining how Eric feels about you. This approach will help to establish a context for the relationship news you’re about to lay on him. I imagine your son will naturally have comments and questions throughout this conversation, to which I encourage you to answer them openly and honestly. It serves to help him gain a better understanding of not only how you and Eric feel about one another, but the nature of your relationship and how he [your son] fits into it.
The last step is to tie it all together and simply explain that since you and Eric feel the way you do about one another, you have decided to become boyfriend and girlfriend. Be sure to be clear with your son on what this means, and what it means for him, i.e. what it affects and doesn’t affect in his life (i.e. his relationship with his dad). This is critically important.
And there it is. My own meandering advice. Use it wisely Alana, and good luck!
OM Family, what are your thoughts? What advice would you give to Alana? Do share!