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3 Bumps

When does my boyfriend earn the title of "Dad?"

My son's biological father is not in the picture bc he is very abusive and into drugs. I have sole legal custody and he isn't even allowed to contact my son or I. I have been dating someone now for several months (but have known him several years.) Things are great between us and he and my son get along great and really love each other. I do see this to be a lasting relationship and believe it will eventually turn into more. But my boyfriend has already started referring to himself as "Dad" and "Daddy" and I'm having mixed feelings about it. I love my boyfriend and he is great with my son but we don't live together so he isn't up in the middle of the night with him, he doesn't support us in any way financially, and he can still come and go as he pleases. It feels a bit like he is stepping on toes when he says those things bc I'm the one (and only one) here day in day out taking care of my son. Am I being petty or is it really too soon for him to be calling himself my son's dad? At this point he is the closest thing to a real dad but I still just don't feel like he's actually earned that title yet. Please help! Any advice or comments would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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Asked by Tandina at 5:25 AM on Jul. 3, 2012 in Babies (0-12 months)

Level 2 (5 Credits)
Answers (18)
  • It really is too soon. Unless you plan on this relationship being permanent, I wouldn't refer to the boyfriend as dad at all.

    Answer by glam.fairy at 5:49 AM on Jul. 3, 2012

  • 1). The relationship is no where near permanent at this point.
    2). It really isn't even your decision. Your son has a Dad. Yes, it might be a crappy one, but he does have one. If your son decides to call someone else Dad, it is really up to him, but not to anyone else. Unless you meet someone that adopts your son, then that is different.

    Answer by layh41407 at 6:27 AM on Jul. 3, 2012

  • If I were you, I think I'd continue to call him by his first name to your AND your children will know when its I was in a similar situation in that my ex has no contact with the kids whatsoever....court ordered....I had no intention of any man stepping in as 'dad' fact the word 'dad' made me throw up a little because that was how the kids knew their bio dad, and I didn't want someone around called the same name - I know it's a bit petty, but it was hard to swallow....anyway, my new man also had no day 3 years after we moved in together, my youngest remarked to another child "that's my dad." it felt weird to both of us, but never corrected...another 6 months went by before she started calling him dad to his face....then my other children started calling him dad....we like how it evolved that way...I feel like it meant so much more than asking them to call him dad....

    Answer by FXmomTo3 at 6:50 AM on Jul. 3, 2012

  • He is just a boyfriend. Not even a live in boyfriend yet. No marriage yet. You need to inform him as nicely as you can. He is not your child's dad/daddy. When me and my DH got together I always called him by his first name. We married when my kids where 5 and 10. He was never dad/daddy.


    Answer by louise2 at 7:54 AM on Jul. 3, 2012

  • I agree that it's too soon. But regardless of how long it's been, if it makes you uncomfortable, then it shouldn't be happening. I'd keep calling him by his name, and stress that he isn't your son's father when it applies. "This is my son, Joe, and this is my boyfriend, Tim." If he approaches you about it, just be honest and tell him that he's not really in a position to refer to himself as your son's dad. If he doesn't like it, then maybe he's not really the guy for you. Any guy who truly cares about you and your child would want you to be comfortable with his role in your child's life, even if it's not the role he'd like to be playing.

    Answer by wendythewriter at 7:59 AM on Jul. 3, 2012

  • He should not be called dad unless and until your son wants to call him that. A family relative of mine had her spouse's child ask when she was ready if she could call her mom. They left it totally up to the child. Have an open and frank discussion about it and the sooner the better. If he is a good man he will understand and not be offended. The results of the discussion will reveal a lot about him. GL

    Answer by whitepeppers at 8:01 AM on Jul. 3, 2012

  • For me, he would get the "Dad" title after he had proposed marriage and there had been a wedding. That to me would be the indication that he seriously wanted us to be a family for life. Anything short of that says to me that the situation is temporary, and I would not want to risk the possibility of another man walking out of my child's life. I know that things can happen even after marriage, but the risk is lessened. I would just tell the boyfriend that I have a standard set for who my boy calls dad, and he hasn't yet met it. I am very suspicious of guys to want to "play" family but who are not very serious about actually being a family.

    Answer by NannyB. at 8:32 AM on Jul. 3, 2012

  • You don't bestow the title dad on a boyfriend. The weight of that title is very, very heavy. With the potential of screwing up your child's head if he isn't really serious about a lifetime commitment and takes off and you never hear from him again after a breakup. Your baby does not deserve that. Have you spoken to him about where you'd like your future to go? It doesn't sound like he's terribly interested in being a family man right now.

    And why in the world would he feel obligated to support you financially? 


    Answer by adnilm at 8:39 AM on Jul. 3, 2012

  • I do see this to be a lasting relationship and believe it will eventually turn into more.

    When it turns into more, he marries you and wants to adopt your child... then he is Dad. Right now he's playing house and if it goes sour your kid is going to be confused and hurt! ;o(

    Answer by Crafty26 at 9:16 AM on Jul. 3, 2012

  • Not until the two of you are married and your ex signs a TPR so your new husband can adopt your son. And then it is more up to the child as to what he will call your new husband. Your boyfriend should not be referring to himself as the dad/daddy. You should be telling him to STOP NOW.

    Answer by meooma at 9:57 AM on Jul. 3, 2012

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