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How do I tell my Aunt that my kids aren’t allowed to sleep over anymore because I don’t trust her boyfriend?

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My (28F) children are 9F and 1M. My daughter has had frequent sleepovers at my Aunts home over the years with her cousins who are now 13F and 16F. My son has not yet been a part of these sleepovers but since he was about 3 days old, my Aunt has been begging to have him sleep over. I have just always said no and told her it was because I was nursing. Well now that my son is no longer nursing, my Aunt is pushing for sleepovers once it is safe again with this whole pandemic thing. The problem is that my Aunt has been dating this guy since last fall and I do not like him at all. My Aunt has a medical condition that significantly impacts her life so she is scared to be alone. As soon as she stops seeing someone, she’s in another serious relationship within a month. This is exactly what happened in the fall. I am leery of this guy because he tries so hard to look so perfect. Literally brought her flowers and other gifts every day for months and just had this vibe like he’s trying really hard for everyone to like him. My Aunt recently moved him in. One reason I don’t feel comfortable around him is because he grabbed my sons hand once really roughly when he was about 8 months old and was smacking my face during dinner. I was upset but other family members told me I was overreacting and he was “just trying to help me”. But the problem was he said nothing when he did it. Wasn’t even looking at me or my son. Just grabbed my sons arm and pulled it really far back behind him and held it there. Another thing that I find weird is that when they were together maybe a month, he was allowing his Granddaughter (3F) to sleep over in my aunts bed and sleeping between the two adults and allowing the Granddaughter to call my Aunt “Grandma”. The whole situation is extremely weird and uncomfortable to me. I want to be honest that I don’t trust him around my kids alone but I don’t know how to tell her when she asks. I am sure she will also say something like “well I trust him to be around my children so do you not trust me” or turn it around on her in some way so how do I address when she starts being manipulative?

My Aunt keeps pushing for my kids to sleep over but I don’t trust her new boyfriend. How do I tell her “no and I think your new dude is a creep” without offending her and turning the family against me/manipulating me.

These are your children and it’s your decision. So you tell her outright that you don’t trust him around your kids and they won’t be sleeping over while he’s there. Then you don’t argue with her, justify yourself, defend your position or keep explaining to her. You tell her that is your decision, and it is final and just don’t engage beyond that. If she wants to press, you just end the conversation.

Your kids, your word is final.

If she gets offended, she gets offended. That’s not your problem and you can’t control it.

“I don’t know him well enough to trust my children with him.”

You don’t need to justify yourself beyond that. The truth is, you don’t need a reason to distrust him. Instead, he needs to prove he can be trusted. Maybe this sounds paranoid, but in my opinion, when it comes to your children, everyone is untrustworthy until proven otherwise.

There are way too many creeps out there, and too many of them are good at concealing it.

It’ll likely hurt your aunt’s feelings, but your children’s safety and well being are more important here and you need to do what you believe is best for them.

They’re your kids and if you have that gut feeling that something isn’t right with this guy, listen to it. It could be nothing, but it’s better to be overprotective about something like this than to be pressured into something that could cause harm to your child. Based on what you said here, I find it unsettling as well and I wouldn’t let them spend the night while he is living there.

You can say that it really bothered you that he was so quick to put hands on your son, and you barely know the guy. I think the first point is enough to not want someone to babysit for you, and the second point is true enough. After that “No, I’m not comfortable with that” should just be enough if she tries to persist.

I had a friend once named Jane. I really liked Jane a lot but her husband Bob was another story. Bob was one of the biggest assholes I have ever met but beyond that, he was really, really weird. Bob and Jane had an 8 year old daughter.

Bob really liked my 12 year old son. Really, really, REALLY liked him. When we would go over to their house, Bob acted like my son and he were best of friends. His primary interaction was always with my son. He wasn’t interested in being polite and friendly with my husband while Jane and I hung out, no. He just wanted to show my son some new computer game back in the bedroom or talk to my son about some new show on TV he watched.

Bob was always trying to work an angle where he and my son could do things alone together. Wanted to take him to Dave & Buster’s, just him. Not with his daughter, which would at least make some sense. But just him and my son. Wanted him to accompany him on a run to pick up food for the rest of us. Wanted to take him to an amusement park, a “guy’s day out”. He wanted it so badly and I always had a reason why it couldn’t happen. He always wanted my son to spend the night at their house and even offered to “trade kids”—we would take their daughter and he would take my son. I said no to that. I mean, like wtf? He was SO EAGER.

It was really hard because Bob would put pressure on me to let him do things socially with my 12 year old that didn’t include anyone else. He just wouldn’t get the fucking hint and it made things tense and awkward, but I never gave in. He even once called my house very early on a Saturday morning. I was still in bed asleep and my son answered the phone. Next thing I knew, my son was in my bedroom waking me up to tell me that Bob was coming to get him to take him to breakfast. Just him. Not Jane, not their daughter, not me and my husband–just him. I said no, called Bob immediately and told him not to bother coming over because my son wasn’t going to breakfast with him. (What kind of adult makes plans with a 12 year old child without getting the child’s parent’s permission first?)

I felt like Bob pushed these boundaries in an effort to assert some sort of authority and control over my son. Like if I allowed it to be “normal” that Bob could make plans directly with my child without involving me, as if he were another parent in some way, that he would push and push and push and push. It wouldn’t stop at just breakfast. Next thing you know, my son would have a room of his own at Bob’s house, you know?

One day in total frustration Bob let his mask slip, and he shouted at me, “Why do you never let me do things with him?”

I just looked at him. Didn’t say a word. Finally Jane spoke up and said weakly, “She’s the mom, she gets to decide.” Bob stared at me for a minute and stormed out of the room.

I had to dial back on my friendship with Jane because of this and that was ok because my primary job was to protect my son. To this day I think Bob was frustrated that I cock-blocked him with my own child.