This is as personal as it gets

United States
March 17, 2008 2:12pm CST
The October before last my boyfriend of 10 years and I ended a relationship. Because he was the one on the lease and I wasn't, I was the one that had to move out. At that time I had no where to go and so decided to leave my children with him. I must clarify though that we raised two children together. My 11 year old son is not biologically his, but he raised him from a year old, so for all sakes and purposes that is his child and my son looks to him as if he were indeed his real father. We had a daughter together who is 9, but for reasons I won't go into he has custody of her. So in essence when I left his home, I could not have legally taken my daughter, but I could have taken my son. My choice was to leave my son there until I could get on my feet. I eventually moved to Phoenix, met the man I am with now and this past Christmas we went to visit my children and my son asked to come home with me to visit. I brought him willingly, but when the Christmas vacation was over I implored him to stay. I just couldn't let go of him again. My son loves me dearly and I love him more than I could ever express, but at the same time, he grew up in California. Everything he knows is there, including his father, his sister and his friends. He's lonely here with me. He's made friends, but its still difficult for him to be in a new environment and with someone else trying to help raise him. My boyfriend has been very patient and understanding about taking on a child that is not his, especially when his own are completely grown and he is 10 years older than I am. But as in any new relationship there will be some problems. This summer my son wants to go home to visit and he torn as to whether he wants to come back. His father makes a lot of money, owns a nice home and has all the amenities. I know it shouldn't matter, but to an 11 year old it does. Should I let him go at all? Should I put my foot down and make him come back no matter what or do I out of love give him the freedom to make the choice? It will absolutely devastate me to lose him again and I'm not really sure how I would manage, but I want to make the right choices.
12 people like this
27 responses
@p1kef1sh (45640)
17 Mar 08
That's so difficult and must be ripping you apart. I suppose that you have to ask yourself what is best for your son, not what is best for you. Where is he truly happy? With his friends in California or with you in Arizona. How is his schooling? is he at a critical stage? I assume that he is in middle school. Does his Dad want him back? It's all questions I am afraid. I think that if it is what he wants, he should be allowed to visit his father. You will have to play it by ear from there, but be prepared for him to not want to return. Whatever happens do not think that you are anything but a good mother. The fact that you are considering this at all tells me that. Wish that I could be of more use to you.
2 people like this
• United States
17 Mar 08
His father loves him, but doesn't have much time for him. Instead he tends to ply him with gifts. He was getting C's and D's in California and pretty much left to his own devices. Here he has brought his grades up to A's and his life with us is more regimented. Its not that his father doesn't want to be a good father, its just that he works nights and sleeps during the day, so the kids are left on their own alot. I won't stop him from going to visit, I'm just not sure whether or not I should demand that he come back.
1 person likes this
@p1kef1sh (45640)
17 Mar 08
That does put a slightly different complexion on it. Maybe you need to talk to your ex about the fact that your son is doing better now in school and that he needs the continuity in education. It might be worth making that point to your son too. Has he any idea what he wants to do? If he wants to go to college then As will be much more helpful than Ds I would think. I would still let him go to Ca to visit, but if you can get you ex onside, then a return might be a little easier to manage.
2 people like this
@mansha (6301)
• India
25 Mar 08
When you put it that way, I suggest you make sure that he comes back. Friends and luxury he wil hve time for later in his life but its his studies and career thats important right now and if you are taing a better decisions regarding those then the whole situation makes a better sense iof you have him with you.
1 person likes this
@Aussies2007 (5339)
• Australia
17 Mar 08
You made your choice when you left your children behind. The right choice is to leave them with their father.
1 person likes this
• United States
17 Mar 08
I did what was best for them at the time. Now I am in a position to be able to give my son a good home. Its just a matter of whether or not I give an 11 year old his freedom of choice or I make him live with the changes he has to make by living with me.
• Australia
17 Mar 08
If it was only about breaking him apart from his father... it would be one thing... but you also breaking him apart from his sister... and that is too much. Furthermore... your daughter already lost her mother... and now you want to make her lose her brother as well. I don't want to judge you... because I like you as a friend on mylot... but it seem to me that everything you do are for purely selfish reasons. You put yourself before your children. And that is wrong.
1 person likes this
• United States
17 Mar 08
If I was putting myself ahead of my children then why would I have left them with their father in the first place until I could ensure that I had a good environment in which to raise them? Also why would I now be considering what is best for him and not just doing what is best for me? Yes, at one time in my life I was guilty of answering to my own emotions and not to those of my children, but I learned from that experience and do not do it any longer. Yes, I took my son back from his stepfather and asked him to give it a try here and told him that if he absolutely hated it I would send him back, but there are so many variables in this situation and to explain every single one of them would be difficult at the very least. I will say this though, it is his stepfather and even though his stepfather loves him, he has very little time for him. His grades have improved dramatically since hes been here and without trying to sound like I don't understand he differentiates between his own child and the one that is not his own. My son thinks thats the way he is supposed to be treated because thats what he knows, but you and I know that when you are raising two children, your own or not you shouldn't do that.
@maddysmommy (16235)
• United States
17 Mar 08
That sounds like a really tough decision to make KB and I know how I would feel if I couldn't have my son with me for any reason, however, if he felt more at home in California, where his friends were, his life is, then I might be inclined to let him go. I would rather he be happy and then to let him know that he will always be welcome back home whenever he wants to come.
1 person likes this
• United States
17 Mar 08
I actually went through this before with my oldest son. He begged me to stay with his father to finish out the school year and then ended up staying. It was a hard choice and now I'm having to make it again and its heartwrenching. My oldest son is now 19, he and his father ended up fighting with one another and now no one knows where my son is. You can see where I would want to keep my 11 year old close.
1 person likes this
@maddysmommy (16235)
• United States
17 Mar 08
Well then I can understand why you don't want him to go. Doesn't seem like the father is taking good care of them over there or else they are left to roam freely. I hope you're 19 year old is ok.
1 person likes this
• United States
17 Mar 08
Me too, his birthday was the 11th.
@Chey1970 (1193)
• United States
17 Mar 08
Well, I'm not sure of the "state laws" in which you and your ex live. However, when I divorced from my husband ( which was in Louisiana)they have where at the age of 10 the child can decide in which parent they choose to live with. In Texas it's 13. That is a tough situation, I know. I guess what it all comes down to is exactly how much you do love your son. Do you love him enough to let him be happy (which ever place that is - his choice)? Do you think your ex would fight you far enough to make the end choice (in the courts) your sons? I really can't tell you what to do, for that is a choice only you can make, but I know it's a hard one. I been through it. All I can do is hope and pray that in the end everyone is happy with the choice made. God bless!
1 person likes this
• United States
17 Mar 08
The thing is its his stepfather so in actuality he has no legal rights to him and I don't think he'd take me to court to get custody of him and he and I were never married. We just lived together for 10 years. It is a difficult choice and I want to do the right thing, but I also don't want to be desperately lost without him.
@Chey1970 (1193)
• United States
17 Mar 08
I understand what you are saying. So the ex male, never adopted him but just raised him as his own? Correct? It does make the choice that much harder in my opinion, for you are the biological mother here. And I understand you would want your child with you, I can't say I blame you there. I know this is a personal matter. Have you ever thought maybe you could have both worlds? By maybe asking the present guy you are with now if he would consider moving to California, where your son wishes to be?
1 person likes this
• United States
17 Mar 08
Yes, this is definitely something we have been working towards and my boyfriend is more than willing to make that move. Its just a matter of the time involved that it would take to do so.
@gabs8513 (48715)
• United Kingdom
17 Mar 08
Well you are in a Dilemma Personally I would let him choose where he wants to stay no matter how much it hurts me to be honest The thing is he might not want to stay there after a little while But when he comes back to you and then wants to live at his Dad's again you need to tell him no way Now if it is only for the money then I would put my foot down and explain to him that Money is not everything It is a hard a decision to make I know but only you can make it Sweetie and I hope you will make the right one for both of you
1 person likes this
• United States
17 Mar 08
Children tend to change their decisions from one minute to the next based on the environment at the time. I only posted this a short time ago, but I think I am already coming to a decision. Everyone has good things to say and in one way or another its beneficial. Thank you.
@clowdine (1402)
• Philippines
17 Mar 08
As I was reading your post, my heart felt heavy. But you have to be strong. It may be best if you have a heart to heart talk with your son. Let him know how very sad you will be if he decides to stay with your ex. An 11 year old may be already old enough to put aside material things and start to learn to become more sensitive because somehow he is on the adolescent threshold. However, if you are not comfortable or worried about giving your child a burden of choosing between the place he wants to stay or not letting you down, he still has to know. The child may even feel good that he is wanted and deeply loved by you and that you will be longing for his company. Every child wants their mom to want them around all the time. Try to speak with your child and try to get the real score. It's not good to keep it to yourself and letting the child just leave your place thinking it's just all right with you to let him go. I mean, you have to let him know your true feelings about his leaving.
• United States
17 Mar 08
You know I have read what you have had to say in more than one discussion and I have to say you write with much wisdom. I would like to thank you for that. You are not always agreeable, but you are honest and your answers are always well thought out. I will honestly take what you had to say into consideration. Thanks.
@LouRhi (1502)
• Australia
18 Mar 08
That sure is a tough one. No one ever really knows for sure what the right answers are and unfortunately it is not always easy trying to work it out. I don't think that you should be putting your foot down and making your son do things he does not want to. You were away for quite some time and children are easily bought by possessions. We all know about love being able to set things free, your son will always come back to you if you give him a chance. There is no need to feel like holding him prisoner.
@LouRhi (1502)
• Australia
19 Mar 08
Hi Chas, Not really sure how your comment fits in with what I was saying or this discussion. I do agree that game playing is not cool but neither is forcing children to be where they don't want to just because now it suits you have them around.
@LouRhi (1502)
• Australia
19 Mar 08
Look, I am really sorry you misinterpreted what I was saying to kb. Perhaps my words were not very clear for what my meaning was. There are obviously many things I do not know that you do and I apologise for that. I was just commenting on the information provided in this discussion. I never meant to offend upset or hurt anyone and I feel that you have been rather attacking in your comments towards me. I will try not to answer any further discussions you are involved in to avoid further conversations such as this as I doubt you will ever be able to hear what I am saying. ~may in every way this be a special day~
@teeaye98 (287)
• United States
17 Mar 08
You are definitely in a tight predicament. I would say this (and it is very hard because I have 2 children myself), let your son decide. He will love you whether he is with you or not. I am a strong believer that a child's happiness comes first. Don't get me wrong, I don't believe in giving them everything they want, but if he will be happier with dad, then let him go. I also believe that siblings should be kept together regardless. That's the only stability that he has. Although mom and dad aren't together, he knows that he will always be with his sister. That is probably the toughest thing to cope with, not being with his sister. I grew up in this kind of situation. So I know first hand that if I didn't have my brother, I'd have been very depressed as a child. I wouldn't have mattered if I lived with my mom or dad, but as long as I had my brother with me, I was ok emotionally. SO really think about "making" him come back if he doesn't want to.
@teeaye98 (287)
• United States
19 Mar 08
I totally understand now. It's a horrible thing when this type of thing happens. I really don't know what to say. I don't even know what I would do if I were in this type of situation. Good luck with whatever decision you choose.
@Thoroughrob (11750)
• United States
29 Mar 08
I guess that since I put him in the position that he is in, I would have to sit down and have a long talk, with no promises and find out just how he is feeling. I would also talk with your ex. There is no easy solution. I would do whatever I felt was best for him, not me. I would be the one that had created the situation for him and would have to do what is best for him and be fair about it. You are really in a hard spot, but I would let him go to visit, as you said everything he knows is there. Good luck with your decision.
@chiyosan (30206)
• Philippines
20 Mar 08
I am truly amazed by the father of you daughter. you ex. i mean. he raised a boy that is not even his, and even though you are separated, your boy still lives with him. I cannot tell you what you must be doing as it is actually still both you and your ex's decision. have you talked to him yet? is he still willing to take care of him? you have to think of the consequences too and it might not even be fair to him that your son is still living with him, even though he wants it to be and your boy wants to be with him. Talk to your son too about this and he must understand the current situation. He's a grown little boy and i am sure he will quite understand what is happening. If i was in your position though, i will let him stay with me. I hope i have helped you in some way.
@winterose (39918)
• Canada
19 Mar 08
that is a very hard decision to make and one nobody else can make for you, if you and your husband are on speaking terms I think you should about it together and even include your son. is there perhaps a possibility of joint custody? say 6 months, with each parent, yes I know the school is an issue but perhaps you can make arrangements with both schools to coordinate his education?
@Kaeli72 (1230)
• United States
19 Mar 08
Looks like this is a page right out of the story of my life. You ready? I know I've said to some I've been married two times, but really, I've been married three. I had two children from the first marriage and one with the second. When I left #2, I didnt' have a place of my own, so I did what I thought was right...I had him keep the kids until I got back on my feet. When after a year, I found myself in a gaurdian/custody battle with him, but being that the mother deserves to have her child, I won. But, your son sounds too influenced by the materials of what the man offers. Yeah, my children misses going out to eat, having a man there to help them with stuff, but they know that their mother loves them very much and am striving to make their lives better. You're torn between your mother's loving heart and the mother's practical one. Do you do what's best for him or best for you? At his age, he needs to be with his mother, no doubt about that. If your boyfriend will prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that he'll be the best father for the boy, then go that route. The boy will have different fathers, but he only has one mother, you.
@Pose123 (21667)
• Canada
19 Mar 08
Hi kbourgerie, I know that this has to be very difficult for you. I can only say that you must do what you feel is best for your son. Talk with him and if you know that he really wants to go back, I think you should let him. He will love you all the more for it and you will never loose him. If you decide to keep him against his wishes, there may be trouble later. I know you love your child, I hope he decides that he wants to live with you. Blessings.
@skysuccess (8882)
• Singapore
18 Mar 08
After reading your account and various views I'd just like to add another perspective. There is no denial and it is a fact that you are the biological mother to your son. On the other end, your ex husband has been his "step" father or rather his fatherly figure since he was one and throughout his 10 years of his childhood he has since grown with him and his daughter. Now in a family, there is this thing called bonding and no matter how you feel right now - he needs this bonding to grow naturally. I know you missed him and cannot bear to be apart from him, and you had talked to him and expressed for him to stay with you. However, I need to remind you that his decision to stay by your side cannot be taken as per face value for reasons that you may know too well. You see for a 11 year old, I do not think he is mature enough to be able to speak for himself - for one, he may have decided to stay by your side out of obligation rather than what he really wants. I hope you can see what I m trying to put forth here. 1st he has been with your ex since he was a 1 year old. And it is quite a long time. 2nd back in California he has a sister to play and keep him company. These 2 factors is contributing to a special r/s called family bonding. 3rd You admittedly said that over here he does not have any brothers nor sisters to play with, for your present partner's children are all grown up. So you need to think in this area, for his well being and emotional factor. 4th Has it occurred to you that your step daughter might need his company. Let's be fair here, all of a sudden you want him to stay with you - aren't you tearing them apart. 5th Your ex should be able to enjoy and share half the fruits of his labour as well. For taking good care of your son while you were trying to find a footing. 6th You have just started to adapt with this new environment, your partner and you will really need sometime together and I do not think having your son around at this time will be good. And to have another person to care and adapt in this new environment - it is going to be tough on all parties concern. These are a few areas I will mention here for your consideration, I really hope that you will reconsider your decision. Please do not take this as a custody issue - your son will still loves you and will still want to be with you when he has his holidays and etc. But for him to draw the line and make a decision, IMO is unthinkable. Don't make this into a struggle for him. I think your ex environment at the moment is more condusive and balanced, so do spare a thought.
• United States
18 Mar 08
That's a tough one. I tell you, life can be so very hard sometimes because of the decisions that we have to make sometimes. He is basically the boy's father and if he were takin by force then it could lead to something ugly. Your son is torn because he loves both mommy and daddy and he wants to be with both of you. Maybe you two can come up with some type of visitation agreement that way your son will be happy. It is difficult and I feel bad for your son. it's too bad he couldn't be split in two. Best of luck!
• United States
18 Mar 08
I feel as if you need to consider how your son is reacting to this. Is he his normal self at your home? Does he seem bitter? If he does not seem bitter about this just remember that if you keep him he could become bitter and become out of control. You said you and your boyfriend were together for ten years and your son is eleven years old. This father of his whether biological or not is his father. It seems that its the one that has raised him. I know it would be difficult to be away from your son but this might be what's best. It may not be what is best. But if your son goes back to his dad and he gets ready to come back to you then he would be more accepting of the idea. This is a hard age to introduce a new man to your children. If you let him go back with his father he will come around in his own time. I am just saying all of this from experience, not with my kids but myself. I understand that it would devastate you, and you have to manage. Wouldn't you rather lose him for a little bit than keep him and him become bitter and if this happens when he turns 18 guess what? He no longer has an obligation to speak to you. If it is not a bad sitution with his father I would let him go. If you love someone set them free, if they love you they will come back to you. This is just MY opinion and I know some will not agree, but I thought I would give it. Good Luck. And remeber listen to your heart and not your head. You can manage without him if he will truly be happy and you can still have a good relationship with him. I know how you feel though I am not sure I could let mine go either. They are 3 and 5 and I would definately not let go of them this early. I don't ever want to let go of them.
• United States
18 Mar 08
If I was you I would let him live where he is happy do not force him to live where you want him too because in the long run he will probably be unhappy with you I am going through the same thing with my granddaughter and the person that she is living with if my granddaughter had a chance to voice her opinion she would let all of them know that she would want to live with me
• Canada
18 Mar 08
There is never an easy or a right answer to this question. And with that being said, I also have to say nobody can answer it for you, only you can. Nobody really knows whats best for your child or for you than you and your child. (and yes I did say both of you). You might be thinking why both, the reason is quit simple , children are much smarter than we as parent like to think, and they really can handle the hardships and the hard questions life throws at them. you both need to work it out and talk to one another about it. Sit down together put the convo out in the open and do a positive and a negitave list together with both of your answers to it. And go from there. With that being said I will tell you my story. I have been a single mom for quite sometime, I got divorced cause my husband wasnt a good man. Thats all I care to say about it, but my kids were very young and dont remember what went on, and as kids grow up they have attendencey to remember things a little differently than they really were. Like they might remember goign to some place really special but they might forget who they really went with, well mine did and they seem to have thought those special things were there dads and not mine. So a couple of yrs ago my daughter out of rebelling cause in her eyes I left her father for no good reason (I am giving the short version here) stated she hated me and was moving out to move in with her Uncle. (my brother) as hard as it was I let her. Why cause she had to find her own way back and had to see for herself that I wasnt really as bad as she thought. Long story short less than 2 months later she called me and said she was sry and want to come back home. Since she has moved back in its been alot better for both of us, cause she has seen for herself life isnt that bad here. The main thing was she assumed that life was a party and cause I couldnt always give her that party (due to working etc. and cause her uncle was always fun,when he baby sat and her memories of her dad doing everything fun(which isnt true) she truely thought I didnt love her, but when she found out that her uncle too had to work and she too had to have the nos and the find out that not every day was a party like she thought. She soon started to see the real things. I hope this helps. One more thing I would like to leave you with. A Quote: "If you love something enough, you have to set it free, if it returns to you then you kow its yours for life" I know its very hard for you right now, but try to smile. You will have better days ahead.
@palonghorn (5486)
• United States
18 Mar 08
That choice is never easy. My husband of 16 years and I divorced 4 years ago, at the time my youngest daughter still living at home, was 15. I was moving to another city, 2 hours away, but we gave her the choice. I knew that she would choose to live with her dad, all her friends were there, her grandparents and she had gone to that school since 2nd grade. As much as it hurt me to move away and her stay there, I honored her feelings on it, and I knew that I was only 2 hours away, so I would be seeing her often. However, I then met a wonderful man and moved 1600 miles away, she was 17 when I made that move. It was hard, but I knew that she would be fine. I knew how I raised my daughters and what kind of people they would turn out to be, and they were there through a rough marriage, not physically, but there was mental abuse, and they wanted me to be happy. I miss her still but we talk on the phone all the time. Sometimes we have to let them go, and let them make the decision of where to live. I personally, would let him go, and if he wants to live with his dad, just be thankful that he has a loving, caring father and he's happy. I would never have made her live with me and have had her be unhappy.
@moneyandgc (3430)
• United States
18 Mar 08
I definitely know your pain. My situation is different from yours in the way that my ex-husband is the father of all 3 of my older children. When we divorced I was barely able to take care of myself. Emotionally or monitarily. I did what was best for my babies and I let him have paramount custody with me getting visitation. We don't use the courts visitation schedule or any of that. I can see my children as often as I want thankfully. The problem is my husband now used to be stationed in Mississippi (where my kids live) got orders to move to NJ (where we live now) because of the hurricane destroying the base there. We are doing our best to move back there or at least to a base that is closer. My older children are 10, 9 and 6 (almost 7). My ex and his wife built a house right next door to my parents house. I go back there for months at a time so I can be near my children until we can move. It is a very good thing that we all get along. His wife and I hang out almost every day that I am there usually and their daughter calls me Auntie. My ex happens to be an excellent father just a terrible husband. My kids love living with him even though they miss me. My 10 year old son is a homebody and has always been a daddy's boy. He gets homesick very easily. I wouldn't dream of forcing him to leave his dad unless he were in danger. Like I said though, my situation is a little different than yours because my ex is my son's biological father. He is also home with them every night and their step-mom is there all day. My heart is broken every minute that I am away from them so I know how you must feel. I think I was there at least a part of every single month but one last year. My dad helps out with his frequent flier miles once or twice a year and my husband never complains about the 18 hour drive back home because he knows how much it kills me to live so far away. I absolutely can't wait to get closer. I hope you are able to come to a good compromise.