Lifestyle

'My mum’s boyfriend has moved in and acts like he’s my dad… I hate it'



Dear Coleen

I’m a 19-year-old girl and I live with my mum and younger brother – and now my mum’s boyfriend, too.

He moved in about six months ago and it was so strange, as the three of us have been on our own since my parents divorced five years ago.

At first I was happy my mum had met someone, but I wasn’t expecting him to move in. We clash all the time, usually over him trying to act like my dad and telling me what to do.

He has a go at me for everything from being untidy to my college work and I don’t know why he thinks he has the right to interfere in my life. I didn’t even know him until 18 months ago.

I’m quite rude to him – well, I pretty much ignore him most of the time, which I know he finds annoying.

My mum says it upsets him. And a couple of times I’ve shouted at him when he’s tried to get me to do something and it’s ended up in a row.

Things were especially bad in ­lockdown, but at least I can get out more now.

I do feel bad as I know my mum feels caught in the middle and he’s not a horrible person, but I think her loyalty should be with me and she ought to back me up. My brother gets on better with him, but I think that’s because he plays football and games with him.

Can you help? I’m stuck at home until I finish my college course because I can’t afford to move out.

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Coleen says

It’s a tricky situation and I can tell you from experience it does take time for everyone to find their place in a new step-family set-up. Instead of getting to a point where you’re about to blow your top, have a heart-to-heart with your mum and explain how you feel.

And listen to her, too. Try to talk about ways that could make living together easier. You’re all new to this and it’s a learning curve.

Also, if you can, try to put yourself in his shoes. It’s hard to be a step-parent and, I can promise you, if it was your dad asking you to do certain things, it would still get on your nerves!

I’m sure your mum’s boyfriend has good intentions, but it’s hard at first to get the balance right – and it takes time for everyone to settle into living together under one roof.

Hopefully, your mum will explain things to him and they’ll discuss it, and he’ll give you some more space.

On the plus side, your mum is happy and I think he cares about her and you and your brother’s welfare, but ­probably lacks experience if he doesn’t have his own kids.

He’s going about things the wrong way, but try to have patience and talk about issues rather than getting mad.

Also, lockdown has been a test for all relationships, so things might start to feel less intense now you can get out more. Good luck.

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