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Longtime girlfriend feeling unappreciated by boyfriend and his son

Question:

I am 27 and I have been dating my older boyfriend for four years. He has a 15- year-old son from a previous marriage. His mother lives in another state. 

My problem is that I feel like I am being taken advantage of by both my boyfriend and his son. His son is rude to me and does not have any responsibilities around the house. All he wants to do is play video games in his room.  

Understandably, my boyfriend wants me to have a healthy relationship with his son, but his son only converses with me when he wants something such as money, a ride or food. My boyfriend is starting to make me feel bad because his son does not want a true friendship with me.  

I work and go to school full-time, yet when I go to their house I spend my precious free time cleaning and taking care of them. I am tired of the situation and feel unappreciated. Do I stay in the relationship or leave now? I’d like to stay, but things cannot continue this way.

 

Answer:

You are correct that things must change. Instead of spending time cleaning their house, take time to plan a proposal of how this change will come about.

Start off with a positive point. Let them know that you would like to be part of their lives IF your role is that of a family member. You are not a maid. Then tell them that from your observations, the two of them do not act like a family.  Follow up this observation with what you think constitutes a family:

  1. Families work together, dividing up chores around the house so the house is clean and orderly and laundry is done.
  2. Meals are cooked and the kitchen is cleaned on a regular basis.
  3. Family members show respect for one another by speaking appropriately and showing appropriate behavior such as letting one another know where they are and when they will return.
  4. House rules exist and consequences are issued when the house rules are not followed.
  5. Families spend time together having fun. This does not have to cost money. Movie nights or game nights in the living room are easy options.
  6. Families support each other’s interests and are involved. This is as simple as talking at dinnertime about the 15-year-old’s day at school or attending one of his athletic events. 

When you have finished describing these characteristics to them, ask them for their suggestions on how to create a family atmosphere. Then divide up the points, asking each person how he will contribute to executing the plan. Working as a family can begin immediately.

You are not a maid. The more you do, the less they will appreciate your efforts.  You may not be your boyfriend’s son’s friend, but you can be a “teacher” who helps him understand what it means to be part of a family. 

If they aren’t interested in your proposal, then you have a decision to make: Stay with them under the current conditions or say good-bye.

 

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