His Son and Her Son Not a Good Mix

Q: Throughout our 5-year relationship, my boyfriend and I have lived in separate houses. He is quite fine with me being a weekender at his place. In fact, he prefers it that way. His 15-year-old son recently came to live with him. He's very mean and a bully toward my own 12 year old. Recently his son starting beating the crap out of my son, broke his TV, and called me very ugly names, so I packed our stuff and left. It has been 5 days since the incident. I have not made contact, nor has he. I'm very upset he hasn't called to at least say he would replace the TV. Or for that matter, just "how are you." So confused! — Paula, 45

Dr. Susan: After a five-year-relationship and the extreme acting-out of his son, the least you would expect from this man is that he'd ask how you and your son are doing. The fact that he hasn't made contact makes me think he's satisfied, on some level, with ending the relationship. Perhaps he realized that now that his son has moved in, it isn't going to work with you and your son there too. His boy is probably going through a hard time with the changes in his life, but he needs adult guidance, not free rein to terrorize you.

I'd be proactive if I were you, rather than passive. Call him and ask how everyone is. Ask if he thinks there's anything to be done about your relationship, or is he content to let it go. You needn't sound overly needy while doing this. What you most need is clarity so you can go forward. I wouldn't consider going back to him without his willingness to place firm guidelines on his son relating to you and your son's safety.

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