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trying to move on with my son
February 15, 2006
8:29 pm
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sep
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Hello all,(I am male)I sure can use a little advice.I left my marraige July 2003,I have a 14 year old daughter and 16 year old son.I never left them!since that day I've always been there for them I do everything possible to stay in thier lives.My daughter is golden with me on the other hand my son will have nothing to do with me.Yes he is mad at me still and is convinced I left him as well as his mother and called my girlfriend a dirty f*^%&^ sl$t.On top of child support I bought him a car and cell phone and cover the car insurance,I thought this would help our relationship but NO he never ever calls and ignores mine and of course does not drive to see me.He rejects all my efforts to spend time together...I can't describe the pain its horrible and what bothers me the most is I can not move on with my life until we rectify.I know I know he is also a 16 year old discovering his own life and I am sensitive to that.From what I hear he will likely mature in a few years and may have a better understanding but in the meantime what to do? what to do?

February 15, 2006
10:01 pm
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altabionda
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As a child who's father betrayed her mother, it is normal for the child to feel loyalty to the parent who was hurt, esp if they are closer to them. It's hard and often (but not always) impossible for the child to step outside of the situation and know that it was not done to them or meant to hurt them.
Did you cheat on his mother or divorce first and then get the girlfriend?
Can you ask him if you two can have some one on one time to sit down and perhaps you can explain to him why and how it happened an even apologize that this is hurting him. Share your feelings with him? Ask him how he is feeling, ask him what you can do to make things better between the two of you. It seems like you are trying to buy his love and forgiveness and that doesn't work - i've been there.
It took me a long time to get even remotely close to my father after he was unfaithful to my mother and we still aren't super close. But he has been trying a lot harder in the past years and he has tried through his emotions not through his wallet.

February 15, 2006
11:55 pm
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mamacinnamon
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Sep

Maybe the best way to rectify is to stop pandering to him. Maybe a little "not tough love" but a little less attention. He's takin you for all he can. I say this coz this is how my son treated his father after we divorced. As long as dad paid for things he'd go around just enough to get what he could. And in so doing, his dad made the fatal error or not making our son pay for the consequences of his actions. Now my son is having to pay his consequences since dad just decided to "write him off". I am not even suggesating you write your son off. He needs you to be there for him. I am just suggesting that if he wants something then he will have to spend time w/ you to earn it.

February 16, 2006
2:27 am
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chloeysmomma
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take the car and cell phone away till he agrees to spend time with u i think thats best

February 16, 2006
5:31 am
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Dillhol
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Sep,

This sounds like a situation I was in 20 years ago in my life, however I was the son.

I have not spoken to my father since 1996 and really would not know how to if I tried or wanted to.

I went through the same events, the divorce, the father's girlfriend, being a teenager and everything your son is going through. The only difference is I didn't have the father who wanted to rectify and could not get on with his life until doing so.

It made things easier for him to move on with his life and he let me and even eventually my golden sister know this as we grew older.

He has a grandson, my nephew that he has never seen and I doubt he knows was even born because even my sister gave up on trying to keep a one ended relationship alive. I had given up years earlier and chose to move on.

You cannot be the one who gives up. From experience, I can be pretty confident that what your son is doing can and will change over time. You cannot force the issue but you cannot accept it either, and of course you always have to be the adult in the situation.

Don't lose sight of your goal. It is not material things that your son will see as a sign of love. It will be a genuine interest in his feelings and how you react to them that matters.

Give him the space he needs to adjust, but no so much space that he slips away. Three years is not so long that you cannot keep the relationship alive. I am of the opinion that you are on the right track just by not giving up, but I have been wrong before. I guess more than anything, I felt like my father failed the test when I started giving up on him and let me know he was taking the easy way out.

February 16, 2006
6:58 am
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Dillhol
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Sep,

I almost forgot. Never, ever disparage his mother. Not in front of him or anyone. He will find out.

If you can show that you can still be friends with her, and somehow get her to show that she can still be friends with you it will make it so much more natural for your son to be comfortable with you.

I know I was VERY defensive of my mother after my parents divorce and the fact that she did not love my father any longer made it easier for me to stop loving him too. It would have been so much harder if they had had an amicable relationship after the divorce and I could have seen from both of the parents that it was ok to still love the other and not have to choose.

My father always semed to want to drive a wedge very subtly and cleverly between me and my mother. Typical tactics were to shed just a little light on things about her that she had already been honest about with me hoping it would lead to discovery by me and damage my relationship. Other tactics were to subtly dangle incentives over my head that my mother could not provide such as a car and even college money. He even told me once that he would give the child support directly to me if I chose to live with him or his parents since he was already used to giving it up anyway. $400 per month back then was never ever tempting enough even for a teenager and the offer made me resent him.

Don't do this in any way and always think about your intentions and his perceptions when it comes to how you interact with his mother.

February 18, 2006
12:25 am
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sep
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thank you folks I'm paying close attention to your thoughts I know the process will be slow and time will show the result I will never give up on him....but to let you know what I have done with the car and the cell phone thing.I simply asked him if he deserved those things from me after the way he has been treating me,believe it or not he said NO I then said well if you don't want me in your life at this time give it back OR I'm in your life and be prepared to start contributing to the phone bill and car insurance..I got his attention!!!! I so bad want to rip the car and phone away anyhow but man is it tough.
again thank you all, more to come........

February 18, 2006
12:50 am
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on my way
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I think I would just tell him that I understand how he feels and that you are there for him anytime he decides he wants a relationhip with you. Possibly in his mind it is a push-me, pull-me scenario...to him you pushed him away, but you really didn't, and to him now you want to pull him in and make him a part of your new life....just a bit too much for him right now maybe. I suggest respecting his feelings, because you certainly can't change them. So maybe just let him know you love him no matter what, and that you want to be there for him, whatever that means for him.

It would be great if he had someone to talk to about all of it though, either a youth group leader or a counselor to help him work through the anger. If his mom is hurt, your ex-wife, then he also may be feeling overwhlemed and does not know what to do with her, or for her, and it could be hindering his life now,, and he may be angry about that...so he is angry at you. Maybe he sees you as the one "who made everything different".

Only speculating here a bit. I am a female, who divorced my husband, with 3 teenage sons at the time, and they were very angry at me for a long time. Not so now, it does get better, they do grow up, and eventually understand both sides, and that they are actually responsible for their lives and can't blame anymore,...but it is tough being 16 and having everything change. Even if it was bad before at home for him, it was familiar. Make sense?

February 18, 2006
10:39 am
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readyforachange
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My son is almost 16, and he really has nothing to do with his father since our divorce last year. He blames him for many things that happened in our marriage...he was old enough to see the emotional abuse, and suffered some of it as well. I have been very careful never to say anything bad about my ex in front of my kids, but my ex does not have the same policy. It is backfiring on him. Make sure you are not badmouthing his mom, and be honest with him about why the marriage ended. Let him know you love him unconditionally, and give him time. This is a hard time in his life, teenage years are not easy even in the best of circumstances. I wouldn't continue to try to buy him things to gain his attention. Just let him know you love him by calling and asking to spend time with him. If he refuses, don't push or be angry with him. Pray that he will come around with maturity. I know this must be very hard for you...as a mother, I encourage my son to spend time with his dad whenever I can. He often refuses, but I know they need to have a relationship. Give him time...and don't hold any of this behavior against him. He's a kid, and he'll make mistakes. He is lucky to have a father who truly wants to be with him....so many kids don't.

February 18, 2006
5:05 pm
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lnidey
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I maybe young but i think your son if his anything like mine mommy can do no wrong and for the girl freind he cant find it in him to feel anything but hard feelings because he again doesnt know how you could feel for someone else beside his mother and as for your girl she wont ever let you go your relationship is something she cant find anywhere else and you dont want her to find it anywhere else keep doing what your doing it's the right thing. look at it this way if you didnt cheat on there mother and there wasnt anything to stop you from supporting them then your in the right and some day he will see things through diffrent eyes. be a great dad thats all you can do.

February 20, 2006
4:48 pm
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Dillhol
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Sep,

Readyforchange touches on a point I was hopefully making. My mom never said anything bad about my dad even thought I knew how she felt about him. She always encouraged a relationship.

Conversely, my father always assumed she was saying bad things about me because of the way I acted around him. So he felt the need to reciprocate what was not really occuring and it made me dislike him more which made him make more assumptions about why I disliked him, etc. It was a what I commonly refer to as a self-licking ice cream cone.

I just wanted to drive that point home because it was such a factor for me. I do not know what your relationship is like with his mother or why you split up. What I can offer is that if you can get to where you can have events where both you and mom, your girlfriend and the kids can all be at like birthday parties, sports or school events where there are plenty of neutral parties to make it seem less awkward and then let your son see that you and his mom can still be comfortable around each other then you may make some ground. Just as important is that mom and girlfriend can be present around each other. My dad's girlfriend and eventual wife refused to be around my mom because she "did not think it was appropriate". Please do not let that kind of pett BS interfere.

I would like to know what your relationship was like before the divorce if you are comfortable. It is just so uncanny how this seems to parallel my past.

As for my past: I was younger to my sister by 2 years. She was the straight A student that played softball and was a complete extrovert. She made my father very happy and she and he were always doing things together. She was in 4-H and fished and all the outdoorsy stuff.

I was somewhere between introvert and neutral, did not have the patience for many sports and made A's in the classes I wanted to like math and science and blew off the classes I hated like history and English made F's or D's in them until the last grading period where I would pull an A out and get a C for the semester. I was into computers and spending more time alone or with a group of few friends. I played the drums and the closest thing to a sport I did was water skiing. My father did not understand me much and really got onto me alot. I really never had any fun with or around him, we were just such different people and he never tried to become interested in the things that made me tick. He focused on my sister who was athletic, a bit of a tom boy and probably more what he would have preferred as a son.

I just offer this glimpse of my past because I hope I can help you go right where things went wrong in my life.

I do not know how your son's interests and yours mesh or what your opinion of the things he is into is. I do know that had my father ever shown me the genuine kind of attention he showed to my sister that I may not have drifted apart from him and lashed out at him so much after the divorce.

Let me know how you see your relationship with your son before the divorce too if you want so I can see if there are any additional conclusions I might be able to come to that will help you out. I just hate to see you in this situation because I know you are trying and would not come here if you really weren't.

~dill

February 20, 2006
7:24 pm
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readyforachange
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((((dill)))) your relationship with your father sounds so much like my son's. My son is not an athlete, but his dad was the big baseball start. My son is a straight A student, his dad pulled C's even though he was totally capable of straight A's. They don't see eye to eye on anything. My daughter, on the other hand, gets along very well with her dad. She's athletic, built like her dad, has the same personality as her dad. He would move heaven and earth to spend time with her, but he doesn't seem to care if he spends any time at all with his son. It hurts me terribly, and I spend so much time trying to get my son and his dad to spend time together. It usually doesn't work.

I didn't mean to create a diversion on your thread, sep. I just hope that some of these experiences might help you with your son.

February 21, 2006
10:12 pm
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sep
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To start off with my ex-the good news is I have never said anything harmful to or in the company of my kids about her. My relationship with her was one of little to no communication our life were the kids our marriage became a habit,it felt like a friend relationship rather then a loving couple one.We respected each other through out never fought I did my own thing she did hers.She is mostly introverted and I the opposite,but again during the aftermath we are very cordial and have the best interest of our kids.
My son,while I lived with him everything was ok until he had enough of me coaching his soccer team he was 12 and he became very hard to deal with in a father (coach) son relationship which is not good in the first place, now I preech to young fathers never coach your kids it never works. well anyway this is what started our troubled relationship.He hated me coaching him for all the obvious reasons of fathers expecting to much from there own,I can't blame the kid at all. I did recognise it and stoped the coaching and stayed totally out out of his soccer for 3 years,during that time he got very competitive with me why? soccer was my game plus I'm the type of athelete who can doing anything average I beat him in pretty much everything. I was not the average Dad I was still playing on my own teams,I was active and fit..
He saw me as the competition not his Dad...that now has changed of course.The sad part now is that he plays High School soccer and he dosen't relize or doesn't want me to help him with his game and recruitment to college but oh well
I'm sure one day we can look back at that . Just recently he agreed to play on a team with me competitively,bam, there it is our comman ground if this is the only way to spend time with him I'll take it. this might work for starters.

But there is one crucial thing that 2 of you have mentioned that I need to do and that is to talk with him about the marriage and why things happened like they did,he still only sees one side and I feel like I'm waiting for him get over being angry and hoping he may mature a bit more before I have that talk with him.
Thank you for your input its very helpful...

February 21, 2006
10:12 pm
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sep
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To start off with my ex-the good news is I have never said anything harmful to or in the company of my kids about her. My relationship with her was one of little to no communication our life were the kids our marriage became a habit,it felt like a friend relationship rather then a loving couple one.We respected each other through out never fought I did my own thing she did hers.She is mostly introverted and I the opposite,but again during the aftermath we are very cordial and have the best interest of our kids.
My son,while I lived with him everything was ok until he had enough of me coaching his soccer team he was 12 and he became very hard to deal with in a father (coach) son relationship which is not good in the first place, now I preech to young fathers never coach your kids it never works. well anyway this is what started our troubled relationship.He hated me coaching him for all the obvious reasons of fathers expecting to much from there own,I can't blame the kid at all. I did recognise it and stoped the coaching and stayed totally out out of his soccer for 3 years,during that time he got very competitive with me why? soccer was my game plus I'm the type of athelete who can doing anything average I beat him in pretty much everything. I was not the average Dad I was still playing on my own teams,I was active and fit..
He saw me as the competition not his Dad...that now has changed of course.The sad part now is that he plays High School soccer and he dosen't relize or doesn't want me to help him with his game and recruitment to college but oh well
I'm sure one day we can look back at that . Just recently he agreed to play on a team with me competitively,bam, there it is our comman ground if this is the only way to spend time with him I'll take it. this might work for starters.

But there is one crucial thing that 2 of you have mentioned that I need to do and that is to talk with him about the marriage and why things happened like they did,he still only sees one side and I feel like I'm waiting for him get over being angry and hoping he may mature a bit more before I have that talk with him.
Thank you for your input its very helpful...

February 22, 2006
8:54 am
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readyforachange
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sep, I agree that you need to talk to your son about why your marriage failed. He's old enough to understand.

I'd be a little cautious about playing on a competitive team with him...if you do, be careful to make sure he doesn't feel threatened by your skills. Your relationship with him is more important than winning a game, this being spoken from a non-competitive, non-athletic type person who can see things from the other side of the fence. Just a thought...

Have you thought about counseling with your son? Would he agree to that? Might be helpful.

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