Parenting isn’t easy, and dating someone with a child when you have no experience as a parent can be a very tricky situation, as one man discovered.
After accidentally making his girlfriend “furious” by saying that he would find playing for 12 hours a day with her son “boring”, the man took to seeking advice.
He started by explaining that he’s in the military and currently home from basic training for two weeks, during which time he’s staying with his girlfriend of two months and her seven-year-old son.
The boy has special needs and “is non verbal with little motor functionality”, so the man’s girlfriend has become a dedicated mother and full time carer for her son.
The man writes that he “fell in love with both of them” and adores his girlfriend’s son, happily spending “hours every day reading to him, playing with his toys, watching him enjoy his shows, etc.”
But things have hit a rough spot.
“The problem came in once I got here and started spending 24/7 with them,” the man writes.
“I’m a software engineer and have always spent my time pursuing entrepreneurial goals as a developer, solving complex challenges with code, planning, learning, creating, etc.”
He explains that with no access to a computer he has “nothing to put my mind to” and therefore spent a “good amount” of time on his phone as he had “nothing really to do”.
“It’s sort of my only source of (somewhat) mentally fulfilling entertainment with ebooks, news, study, and coding.”
But after a few days of that, his girlfriend got frustrated, saying she missed seeing him interact with her son more often.
He tried to explain though he enjoys playing with her son for a few hours at a time, he needs “something more mentally engaging.”
That’s when things really got heated.
“I asked what her expectations are exactly, 4 hours of playing? Six? Eight? Ten?” he wrote.
“I said, as an extreme example… that I honestly would get bored if my life consisted of 12 hours of playing with her son every day.”
It was clearly the wrong move.
“She got furious that I ‘said I would get bored of the people I love’ and it seems clear that her expectations are that I literally be happy with spending every waking hour playing with her son.”
But the man feels that it’s an unfair expectation, and that him wanting more than to sit with her son all day isn’t an unreasonable request.
“Is that really what it means to be a father? She says it is.”
“How can I explain that there should be healthy limits even on interaction with people we love and that I need a reasonable amount of time doing things aside from playing with a seven year old?” he asked, seeking advice from fellow Reddit users.
And boy did they give it.
Plenty were concerned that the girlfriend was expecting so much from him after they’d been together for such a short time.
“This seems really rushed. I think you need to slow your roll and REALLY get to know this woman before you start playing daddy to her son,” one wrote.
“The fact that she let you into her son’s life so early and expects you to be instant Dad are big red flags,” they added.
Meanwhile other dads chipped in with advice from their own experiences.
“I’m a father of a 4 year old and my wife and I need self care time. Whether it’s together for a date night or alone while someone is with our son,” one father said, proving that time alone should be a part of the relationship.
“I have 2 kids myself and while I love them more than anything, but I won’t be their entertainment team for 12 hours straight,” said another.
It looks like the best thing for the man to do now is take a step back and reevaluate the situation, we just hope it all works out for the best.