‘Lockdown with his kids has wrecked our relationship and I want us to

Dear Coleen

Last year I moved in with my boyfriend. He’s divorced and has two children from his first marriage, who are aged 11 and 13.

They usually spend every other weekend with us and one night in the week. However, over lockdown, they stayed with us pretty much full time because their mother and stepfather are paramedics.

Before lockdown, I was very happy with my boyfriend – we’d been together for a year – and I had a nice relationship with his children.

I tended to leave my partner and them to it when they came to stay, which they seemed to appreciate. But during ­lockdown, we were all thrown together and I found his 13-year-old daughter particularly ­challenging.

We would argue quite a bit, but my boyfriend never stuck up for me, so then I’d end up arguing with him too.

I was so unhappy and confided in my best friend that I just wanted to end the relationship.

Things have got a little easier now that life is slowly returning to normal.

They’re now back living with their mum the majority of the time and are due back at school soon.

But I’m still feeling resentful towards my boyfriend for putting me through such a tough time and for never sticking up for me. Whenever I bring it up with him, it leads to a huge row and we’re back to square one.

When I think back to our ­relationship at the start of the year, it makes me so sad to think how things have unravelled. I keep thinking about breaking up with him but I’m not sure what to do.

Coleen says

Lockdown has been so tough for parents. It’s hard enough with our biological children, so lockdown with stepchildren must be, potentially, even harder. However, I think you need a little time to let life return to normal before making any big decisions.

You say yourself that your ­relationship was great at the start of this year. So why not see how things go when the kids go back to school and you both go back to work?

Everybody living and working together in the same house is tough, so give it time.

As for your resentment, lockdown has been a testing period for all forms of relationships, so give your boyfriend a break.

His kids were ­probably missing their mum and they were off school, separated from all their friends.

They must have been all over the place, so this has been as hard for them as it’s been for you. And it’s been hard for your boyfriend, being stuck in the middle of all that, feeling guilty they weren’t with their mum and torn between you and them.

So don’t focus on the past few months and try to let go of that resentment.

That’s what I did with my ex. We had a terrible last couple of years together, but then I started to train myself to remember all the good times we had shared and we’re now great friends.

Whether you break up with him or not, what I’m trying to say is to focus on the good bits of your relationship and not the last six months.

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