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Stepdad Left – What do I Tell My Son?

Dear Stepdad,Dad Leaves

My ex-fiancé raised my son as his own for 3 1/2 years. He was the only daddy my son knew. My son’s biological father is not in the picture, nor ever will be. My ex-fiancé and I broke up and he refuses any contact with my son. How do I tell my five year old that his daddy doesn’t want to be his daddy anymore?  – Kris



When a single mom adds a man to her child’s life, she makes the decision based on her best assessments; will the man stay? The vast majority of Stepdads leave, so the odds are against you. But there’s good news!

1) Your boy is young and will easily recover

2) Your guy left before your boy could bond even more

3) You have learned about the danger of introducing a man into your child’s life too soon

Of course, you can’t force your ex to be in your child’s life if he doesn’t want to be. But explaining that he’s gone doesn’t have to be a big deal either. I definitely wouldn’t say “Your daddy doesn’t want to be your daddy anymore.” It’s important to de-personalize it for your son. It’s not about him. You may feel he’s being abandoned but it’s vital that he isn’t made to feel that way! This is about the grown-ups, not about him.

Tell him things will change but that you will always be there for him. Reassure him with the stability of your presence in his life. Loss is something we all learn to deal with, but it doesn’t have to damage us. Be there for him. Hold him and reassure him. Be sure to spend extra time with him as you transition. It’s time to move on.

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