Children won’t accept partner

I’m sorry if this is the wrong place to chat about this, I am just desperate for advice and I’ve seen the advice you’ve given others in the past.

Basically, to give a background into the situation, I have 4 daughters, aged 24, 21, nearly 17 and 14. The 24 year old no longer lives at home and the 21 year old is currently home from university. I split up with their father 2 years ago. We’d actually only been friends living in the same house for many years before that, but the children only became aware of the situation about 2 years ago. I’ve been with my partner for just over a year, it’s a love (and sex!) like I’ve never known, the only issue is that the children don’t like him. He smokes which they’re not happy about, but apart from that they can give me no real reasons why not. He doesn’t smoke in my home although they won’t believe that!

Since splitting, the arrangement has been that they’re with me during the week and with their father on weekends, and it is then I see my partner. We’d like to move the relationship on but can’t because of the situation.

The children are becoming increasingly hostile towards me, and dictating how I spend my weekends. They’re now saying that as it’s their family home they have a right to an opinion and they don’t want him here! I’ve come home from staying with him this weekend, and came in to a barrage of verbal abuse and some real nasty things being said.

I love my kids obviously, but they’re making me increasingly unhappy and I can’t live in this situation for years to come. I ran out of the house in tears earlier, went and sat up the mountain just to think as I’ve had some real dark thoughts.

How is it possible to be so happy, yet so unhappy at the same time??? I just don’t know what to do. I don’t feel I should be forced to make a choice. I have tried to respect their views by only seeing him when they are with their father, but even that isn’t enough now it seems. I just don’t know what to do xx

That’s a real tough one. I dated a lady many years ago who had 2 children from a previous relationship, it took more than a year before they both really accepted that their Mother was now dating another man. I sat with both and spoke to them as adults about the situation and how they feel. Has your partner spoken to them about your situation by any chance?

Regarding the smoking, although he does not smoke in your house, the smell will be on his clothes maybe that’s what your children can smell.

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It’s a tricky situation, and you can’t force them to like him, they’re probably secretly hoping you’ll get back with their dad. I think you need to sit them down and have a conversation telling them that you won’t accept hostility towards him, and that you deserve their respect. They are of an age where they ought to be mature enough to accept the situation. Not sure if there’s any organisations such as Relate that can help in such situations? Hope things work out ok for all concerned.


Do they know that you and their dad were essentially broken up before they knew it?

As said above, you can’t force them to like him, but to them it may seem quick if they don’t know about the previous situation.

They are not babies, I would sit them down, be honest about your relationship with their dad in the past. Make it clear you will not be getting back with him, and you don’t want to spend forever alone.

Tell them that while you want them to feel comfortable in their home, ultimately, 2 of them don’t live there, and the other 2 (I presume) don’t pay the mortgage/rent, so they can’t dictate what happens in the house and who you have there.

I’d also speak to their dad (if you are on good terms with him) just to make him aware of the situation in case they go running to him to bad mouth you or your partner.

It does suck, but I’m sure they will come around eventually!


Thank you for the replies, I’ve been in tears today the strain of it all means I’m not sleeping or eating much. They won’t entertain being in the same house, so him speaking to them isn’t going to help. They’ve met him briefly a few times, but don’t want to get to know him at all. They told me today that they don’t want him here because they don’t want their friends to potentially see us together! That was the 21 and 17 year olds.

Unless they can raise some specific concerns about him that are more serious than him being a smoker then I think they’re being overly controlling.

It’s your relationship, not theirs, and I think they should have a bit more respect for you than this. If you want to invite someone round to your house then you are more than entitled to do so.

And keeping you locked into celibacy based on the ‘Family Home’ principle seems a bit tight. Though I suppose you could always sell it. :slightly_smiling_face: (Edit: I took that to mean the home they grew up in, but you may have just meant any home you’re living in as a family. So maybe ignore that bit :slightly_smiling_face:)


I’ve said about I pay the bills etc and they rolls their eyes and think that doesn’t justify things. I’ve spoken to their dad, we’re on ok terms, not great, but not awful either. I just feel so alone xxx

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You aren’t alone, you have your partner, and their dad sounds a decent enough co parent to not be using it to his advantage!

Maybe try talking to one at a time? Or just tough love it. Its your house, your rules and just carry on. If they whinge, tell them you have noted their concerns, but you are with him and he’s staying xxx


This is a tricky one but I do feel you are more than entitled to move forward. The new partner will never be their dad but they are being very selfish not wanting you to be happy. Has hubby moved on? How would they feel if you restricted their friends /partners? I wish I had some sound advice but I just don’t know how to advice you but your happiness must be very important.

Thank you for your replies, I’m crying again now at your kindness. My ex husband hasn’t got a partner and I don’t think is interested either, maybe it would be easier if he did!

It is the home they’ve grown up in @Ian_Chimp youre right there. I did say today that maybe I should sell it.

As I drove today, my thoughts were of, if I were to crash, who would care. I know that’s not right, I had breast cancer 5 years ago and fought to stay alive!!!

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Don’t think thoughts like that, please. Plenty would care, you are worth more than that.
Your children need to be told that their behaviour is unacceptable. As previously said, could you not get your ex to have a word?

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I think you might be just having a bad day. They don’t approve of your boyfriend, but I think they still love you. :slightly_smiling_face:

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While im inclined to say kids come first, your kids are not small. They know exactly what they are doing and they are probably most likely plotting privately between them about it. Trust me, me and my step sister and step brother tried that. We even staged fights between us…

They have to understand that you have a life too, outside of them. But I do feel for the easier life you might need to keep them separate for a while longer. If the kids can’t see sense, then im not sure what your option is.

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Is it possible your ex is putting a few ideas in their heads, maybe even subconsciously with little comments made when they around? If not could he have a chat with them, it might be they are partly doing it out some misdirected loyalty to him?

It’s such a difficult situation but as others have said they are not babies. I know it’s so so much easier said than done but could you have a kind but firm chat with them and lay out that if they are not mature enough to give it a chance to get to know him then they are certainly not mature enough to be laying down the law to you. You have been seperated for two years, this seems like a decent amount of time for them to have got over the shock and start coming to terms with the situation.


A possible idea might be to involve their grandmother or an aunt (if any) to have a chat with them (assuming they support your decision to move on with your life). Seeing other members of your family accepting you have moved on may help them realise they need to let you too.

I feel for you @Rhilee

Remember , you are the parent , they are the children, don’t allow them to bully you or dictate to you.

It’s difficult with a 14 and 17 year old as they are still dependent on you no matter how grown up they feel they are. Your lives remain intertwined, but ultimately, it’s your life and if your eldest is only 24, you still have a lot of living to do.

Be strong, call their bluff if necessary and keep moving forward. Break ups can be overwhelming sad and unhappy times just as love is beautiful happiness. I totally related to that.

My son has barely spoke to me in nearly ten years but I have to live my life for me, not for him


@Rhilee I am so sorry hun that you are in this situation so hard to offer you advise hun and I have never experienced your predicament, only thing I can do is offer you my support and hope you get it sorted sorry hun :kissing_heart:

This all sounds pretty stressful @Rhilee. As everyone else has said you can’t force your kids to like your partner but they should at least respect you and your choice.

They need to accept that you’re the adult here and you shouldn’t need to put your life on hold until they give their approval of who you spend your time with.

The smoking thing is probably just an excuse, especially if he doesn’t smoke in the house.

It may well be their family home but that doesn’t give them any more rights than you. If the arrangements don’t suit the 21 year old home from Uni then tell her she’s free to look for alternative living accommodation. The 24 year old not even living there shouldn’t have any say at all. The younger two need to accept your house, your rules. It’s not as if they’re being neglected by you, they just plain don’t like him and I too wonder if there’s an outside influence.

Either way, you deserve happiness and they need to grow up and come to terms with it.


Above all, keep your car on the road


I’m guessing that there are a few issues at play with your children, firstly that you are moving on with your affections to someone other than their father. and secondly that you are a sexual being with needs.

No child wants to think of their parents having sex, let alone in a split up situation where there is another figure introduced.

As stated above, a sit down adult conversation about your new partners role in the family dynamic (that he is your partner, not a replacement father) and that he is an important part of your new situation. You don’t need to go into details about sexual needs, but explaining that you have them should suffice.

Horrible situation to be in

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