Have you ever paid close attention to how your spouse speaks about you? Do you notice subtle queues, like how they refer to your items or the items that you possess jointly?
Are they obsessive or protective? Are they inclusive? Do they promote equal partnership?
I ask these questions after realizing something extremely important the other day.
Steven and I sat at a table, watching a little boy (maybe two years old) run around his parents and play; he was a total dollface. I saw love and admiration in Steven’s eyes as he watched this child play. The parents looked over at us, and to acknowledge them and their son, Steven said, “Oh he’s so cute. Our son is about the same age.”
Those of you who know my story, know that Steven is not the biological father to my three children; although he might as well be. He has no real responsibility over my children. He has no obligation to them whatsoever.
But he chose them, and he chose them to be his. Actually, ours.
He said, “Our son,” even though my children are not biologically his. He loves them as such; and it shows when he talks to them (and about them). You can tell a lot about a person’s interests and priorities if you simply pay attention to their choice of words.
He could have said, “Her son.” It would have still been correct. But what would that imply? It would imply that there’s a disconnect with his role in my life. It implies that he still views my children as someone else’s. It implies that he does not accept and choose all of me entirely.
Being a mother of three small children, I need to be especially in tune to these sorts of things.. because I will not settle down with someone who does not view my children as their own. My kids deserve to feel loved and wanted and cherished by the male figure in their lives, and having someone who accepts them for them is very important to me.
Maybe I’m just being hypersensitive and overly emotional because it’s Father’s Day, but I strongly believe that how a man refers to or talks about your kids should be a deal breaker.
I see so many women in mom groups talk about their significant other and how he gets annoyed with her children; how he’ll single out only one of her kids (usually the boys or whoever is oldest), or how he seems to be jealous of her attention towards her own kids. When I read these posts and comments, so many red flags go off and I can’t help but wonder where some of these women’s heads are at.. but honestly, I know.
Most of the time, these are women who are newly divorced or who have been through rough, abusive relationships in the past. I know this, because I have been one of them. They just want to feel wanted, needed, and loved. They want to feel worthy. But sometimes that comes at a cost to their children (and I know most will never realize it).
Anyone can date the mother of someone else’s kids, but it takes a true man to step up and take care of someone else’s kids. To look at them and feel a love like no other. To never imagine their lives without their children. To assume the role of ‘Daddy’ rather than ‘Stepdad’ or ‘my mom’s boyfriend.’ It takes a secure (and mature) man to understand that the woman he chose comes with extra little hearts who need the same amount of love. A man who understands that a mother will always protect, provide, and love her children first- before anyone else.
It takes an insanely secure man to know all of these things, and still sign up.
Since we have become exclusive, right off the bat Steven began imagining a future with not only myself, but my children as well. He would talk about “when they grow older” or watching them in sports or coaching their basketball teams. He has always been that ‘involved dad’ who has never forced me to guess where his heart lies in regards to my children.
To hear him say “Our son,” wasn’t necessarily a surprise, but it did make me realize that if he didn’t want to be around, he wouldn’t be. If he didn’t feel so strongly about myself or more importantly my kids, he would not have worded it to show that he’s all in.
The subconscious is a beautiful thing; it can display so much validation if you pay attention.
Ladies who are recently single and beginning to date again:
Women who are with a man who is not the biological father of your children:
You can tell a lot about a man’s true intentions by how he speaks about you and your children, and refers to possessions you may or may not have together. My only hope is that all of you can listen and catch these little details, as they are subtle cues that will foreshadow what you deal with in the future.
If you are with someone who doesn’t see you and your children as a package deal, get out. He will only cause problems and damage your children.
If you are with someone who wouldn’t bend over backwards for your kids, get out. Your kids deserve better than that.
If you are with someone who seems jealous about your relationship with your kids or is insecure of your love for him when they are around; get out. That only leads to further controlling behavior.
Find someone who says
“Our kids,” instead of
Because your kids deserve to know your significant other as “Dad,” not “my mom’s boyfriend.”