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Am I Out of Line?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
So, DP and I have been dating for a year (we live together) and were friends 4 years before that. Not the most ideal situation I guess but we love each other. I have two children aged 3.5 years and 20 months, a boy and a girl. Their father is an alcoholic and hardly even wants to see them. DP has been more to them than their dad ever was. I told him recently that I felt he should be sure about being a part of the kids' lives some point soon. He stresses that they are not his kids, which is true, but I don't think it is ok to take in a child and raise them as your own then decide they are not not important because of a situation that has nothing to do with them. He has never in the past wanted kids but now he thinks he may at some point, but he's, "not ready". I told him its pretty normal even for bio parents to feel "not ready". He says he's still a kid (23). For the record he is absolutely amazing with my children. He plays with them, helps me feed and dress them, gets things they need, changes diapers (cloth ones, and likes them!!!!), watches them so I can go out. Is he just having irrational fears? Is this a male thing? Is it wrong for me to think he needs to make a decision?
post #2 of 26
You are definitely not out of line.

If he isn't ready to be part of a child's life, he shouldn't be dating a woman with children. I know it's kind of tricky in the beginning, but I think you're at that make or break point in your relationship. He's committing to the children just as much as he's committing to you. What happens when they get attached to their caregiver and he leaves because he's "just a kid"?

My answer would be different if you had just started dating or had been dating a couple of months. You and your children are a package deal, either he takes it or he doesn't. It's time for him to stop being a kid and act like a man.
post #3 of 26
My response assumes that you're about 20 (based on the 89?). I also had 2 kids when I was very young (twins at 22) and I was living with my boyfriend (their dad). So, what I say is not meant to be judgmental or condescending at all, just trying to share what I've learned in the 14 years since then.

It is scary to be young, on your own in the world with 2 kids depending on you, and wondering - based on your last relationship - whether you can trust yourself to make good decisions about men.

When you find a boyfriend who really likes your kids and is good with them, it feels like such a relief - like this is how things are supposed to be. It is the most tempting thing in the world to move in together before he commits to anything, assuming that commitment will come in time. When it doesn't, it feels excruciating to consider ending the relationship, being alone again, and having one more "failed" relationship to make you doubt your own choices.

It is much easier to try to reason with the guy; try to convince him that he should want to make a commitment; try to convince yourself that he really does want to, he's just inhibited by some irrational fear; to seek support from others who will tell you yes, he ought to commit. If you can convince yourself you're "right" about that, you can justify spending more time in the relative security of your current living arrangement, waiting for the light bulb to go on over his head.

It is E.A.S.Y. for a young guy to "play house" with a girl he likes who has cute little kids. Easy. It is not the same as him feeling like a father or being committed. A man who wants to be committed to you and wants to assume a fatherly role toward your kids will ask you to marry him. You won't have to convince him he should ask.

This 23-year-old guy obviously likes you and your kids. So the path of least resistance for him is to tell you what you want to hear. But instead, he's being honest with you that he feels too young to commit and he doesn't think of your kids as his, he isn't ready to be a parent. He means it. That doesn't for one second mean you are not lovable, or that you'll always be on your own with the kids. But it may be several more years before the average guy your age is ready to be a parent.

And certainly it's not fair to your kids that they've gotten attached to this guy and he won't commit to them. But that is your doing, not his. You and only you are their parent (since you say bio-dad is largely uninvolved). Any time you move them in with someone before there's a commitment, you create the risk that they'll get attached and then be hurt and confused and feel disposable. The guy is not responsible for making good decisions for them. Only you are.

I found it invaluable to spend several years not in a relationship - and not looking for one - just focusing on raising my kids and making a life for myself (work, friends, interests, school) that made me feel secure and happy enough that I could say, "If the right guy comes along, great. If I'm alone until the kids are grown up - or forever - I still like the life I'm living." When the right guy did come along, I didn't have to wonder, "Am I attracted to him for the right reasons, or just because I need a partner?" I wasn't in any rush to live with him - my life and my home were just fine, as they were. My kids got to know him as just a friend I was hanging out with, not as an instant step-parent. Once we all got to know each other, he was clear, certain and assertive about wanting to get married and be a family, permanently.

It's really hard at first to do that, to wait for that. But I hope you can find the strength to accept your current boyfriend's position about his own life, make an independent life for yourself and your kids, and then be open to someone new, who knows he wants to be Daddy to your kids, who doesn't have to be talked into it. You all deserve that.
post #4 of 26
Sadly, I'm agreeing with Jeannine. This guy seems like a great guy, and like he's a good Mr Right Now. But he seems to know that you're not his Ms. Forever, and if he settles then in the long run neither of you will be happy. I've learnt that the hard way- I got married young for the wrong reasons.
Now, I'm living happily ever after - with the man where all the circumstances were wrong. I was young, skint, a single mum, he was Mr Affluent City Banker type. My husband had moved out days earlier. Everything was wrong. Seven and a half years on, we're still together, married, with our third kid together on the way. I want this for you. Someone who wants you, for you, who will wait, who will work to make everything perfect. Maybe now isn't the right time, and be open to that. I don't think there is a magic amount of time that you should be single for.

Oh, and fwiw, there is a mile of difference between raising children as your own, and loving their mum, contributing financially and helping with childcare. When you have kids, you accept that your life is not your own, that you're tied. He's not doing this, and I'm not going to criticise him for this. You can either accept your unconventional family set-up as it is (and as long as the kids can accept that this is what it is. He's not dad, he's mums boyfriend) or end it. I don't think there's another option, my love.
post #5 of 26
I"m unclear what OP means by a commitment. Marriage? A verbal commitment? Because although I can see what the other posters say, and I don't disagree, especially as they speak from more experience than I do, this guy does seem to be making a commitment just by spending so much time with them. A totally uncommited guy wouldn't help you out. Just to give the guy some credit. Some husbands don't do what this guy is doing.
If whatever he gives isn't enough for you to feel secure, then you have to make some kind of decision. Although it's a commitment, marriage is not going to be a magic bullet, either. And it is appropriate for him not to think of the kids as his own. It doesn't mean he therefore feels like they are disposable.
I don't think of my stepchildren as my own, but I still love them.
post #6 of 26
Thread Starter 
Well we have since talked about things and he has thought about everything and is really just scared. Not enough to really want to break up over it, just the normal kind of scared to be when faced with responsibility. He has never really HAD to commit to anything in his entire life and this was not something he planned. It was not something I planned either. I moved in with him because I literally had no choice at the time and our relationship grew into this. I know it was still my decision but the alternative was abusive alcoholic EX. I had NO OTHER CHOICE believe me. He has some personal hangups about marriage because his parents divorced after 15 years. He only ever wants to be married once and I totally understand. I am not trying to push him into marriage because I don't want to do that. He needs to work out his internal strife and that is ok. I just wanted him to commit to the kids, which he has now. I personally think a person who chooses to raise a child should treat them the same as they would a biological child, I have my reasons, and this is what I would do, however I am aware some may disagree. He said we both need to decide that no matter what happens between us both of should treat the kids with love and respect (I am a yeller sometimes) and I am totally cool with that for now. He actually even told me that he's pretty close to wanting to get married but he is afraid of failing us! He is worried about screwing up somehow and not being able to be there enough because he has his job and wants to go back to school. I think though that most parents have to be gone sometimes to support their families and do other things they need to, no? He does so much for all of us and I know he loves us. Also, FTR I don't love him for the wrong reasons. We entirely mesh on a spiritual/intellectual level and agree on almost everything pertaining to parenting, and I we totally adore each other. Our relationship may have done a bit better had we had time to just date, but we are here now. We didn't. It is what it is and we have to decide to be with each other and have it work that way, or not. Thanks for your insight ladies.
post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeannine View Post

It is E.A.S.Y. for a young guy to "play house" with a girl he likes who has cute little kids. Easy. It is not the same as him feeling like a father or being committed. A man who wants to be committed to you and wants to assume a fatherly role toward your kids will ask you to marry him. You won't have to convince him he should ask.

[/B]
Yes ma'am .
post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by natural_mama89 View Post
I just wanted him to commit to the kids, which he has now. .
what does this mean?
post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
He said that he will be there for them for support even if our relationship does not work out.
post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 
And by that I mean emotional support as a father-figure not financial suport
post #11 of 26
In all honesty (and I know this may not be a popular opinion)? Yes, you are being unreasonable. You've forced this guy into making a decision that he's already told you he's not really ready for. Frankly, the kids should never have been put into the position of playing house with this "Daddy" until and unless he was willing to commit to being there for the long term. (And yes, there are always choices.) But what's done is done.

At this point, you should not push him into making a decision that he's not ready for. He's TOLD you he's not ready for it. Yet you've pushed him into it. You're asking for a world of hurt for you and the kids.
post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeannine View Post
My response assumes that you're about 20 (based on the 89?). I also had 2 kids when I was very young (twins at 22) and I was living with my boyfriend (their dad). So, what I say is not meant to be judgmental or condescending at all, just trying to share what I've learned in the 14 years since then.

It is scary to be young, on your own in the world with 2 kids depending on you, and wondering - based on your last relationship - whether you can trust yourself to make good decisions about men.

When you find a boyfriend who really likes your kids and is good with them, it feels like such a relief - like this is how things are supposed to be. It is the most tempting thing in the world to move in together before he commits to anything, assuming that commitment will come in time. When it doesn't, it feels excruciating to consider ending the relationship, being alone again, and having one more "failed" relationship to make you doubt your own choices.

It is much easier to try to reason with the guy; try to convince him that he should want to make a commitment; try to convince yourself that he really does want to, he's just inhibited by some irrational fear; to seek support from others who will tell you yes, he ought to commit. If you can convince yourself you're "right" about that, you can justify spending more time in the relative security of your current living arrangement, waiting for the light bulb to go on over his head.

It is E.A.S.Y. for a young guy to "play house" with a girl he likes who has cute little kids. Easy. It is not the same as him feeling like a father or being committed. A man who wants to be committed to you and wants to assume a fatherly role toward your kids will ask you to marry him. You won't have to convince him he should ask.

This 23-year-old guy obviously likes you and your kids. So the path of least resistance for him is to tell you what you want to hear. But instead, he's being honest with you that he feels too young to commit and he doesn't think of your kids as his, he isn't ready to be a parent. He means it. That doesn't for one second mean you are not lovable, or that you'll always be on your own with the kids. But it may be several more years before the average guy your age is ready to be a parent.

And certainly it's not fair to your kids that they've gotten attached to this guy and he won't commit to them. But that is your doing, not his. You and only you are their parent (since you say bio-dad is largely uninvolved). Any time you move them in with someone before there's a commitment, you create the risk that they'll get attached and then be hurt and confused and feel disposable. The guy is not responsible for making good decisions for them. Only you are.

I found it invaluable to spend several years not in a relationship - and not looking for one - just focusing on raising my kids and making a life for myself (work, friends, interests, school) that made me feel secure and happy enough that I could say, "If the right guy comes along, great. If I'm alone until the kids are grown up - or forever - I still like the life I'm living." When the right guy did come along, I didn't have to wonder, "Am I attracted to him for the right reasons, or just because I need a partner?" I wasn't in any rush to live with him - my life and my home were just fine, as they were. My kids got to know him as just a friend I was hanging out with, not as an instant step-parent. Once we all got to know each other, he was clear, certain and assertive about wanting to get married and be a family, permanently.

It's really hard at first to do that, to wait for that. But I hope you can find the strength to accept your current boyfriend's position about his own life, make an independent life for yourself and your kids, and then be open to someone new, who knows he wants to be Daddy to your kids, who doesn't have to be talked into it. You all deserve that.
: Lots of wise advice here. It's much better to learn from someone else's mistakes then have to make your own.
post #13 of 26
Thread Starter 
Ok I don't really need anybody's opinion anymore. No one on here really knows whats going on or what he is thinking because he insists he does want to be with me he was just upset that something like that may be a deciding factor in whether the relationship is continued. He believes it is important that my children have a positive role model and has told me in the past months before this conversation came up that he felt like the kids were OURS and not just mine with no prompting whatsoever from me. Now everyone on here is just trying to make me sound stupid when I really didn't have another choice beyond stay with abusive ex until I could do something else. I had no family members or friends to stay with, called every single homeless shelter,domestic violence shelters, everything, no openings and long waiting lists. I had a minimum wage job but it was just not enough to get out on my own while trying to pay the bills at the apartment with ex who didn't have a job when he was also stealing my money for alcohol. There really wasn't anything else I could do. I wanted my kids to be safe. They are safe here.
post #14 of 26
I think you've got my point.

Quote:
It is what it is and we have to decide to be with each other and have it work that way, or not.
If the two of you aren't together fifty years hence, he has given you and your children a big gift. He's given you a roof over your head, he's given the three of you freedom from an abusive relationship, he's given you love and companionship and he's been there for your children. That's a lot for a young man. It's a lot for a young woman, too. Whatever the future may hold for the two of you, these months and years will stay in your memory forever.
What I want to do is to tell you to stop there, to let this be enough. Let the future take care of itself, and enjoy being young whilst you can, while your babies are still little. There's no rush- and the four of you have already packed a lot of living into your lives. Just let life unfold as it's meant to.
post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thank you for being understanding. A lot of people misinterpreted me I think. He never said he wanted to break up. It wasn't until I got worried that he started worrying. He doesn't understand why we can't just keep going as we are. We have a very healthy relationship. He is just young and somewhat unsure of things and needs time to cement the relationship. Neither of us just wants to drop the relationship we have spent so much effort keeping together. We have been through a lot in the past year. He has helped me deal with issues and fear and kind of programming I had from being in an abusive relationship. He has a thing about "being in the right place in his life" which I understand. It bothers me that people were saying I put my children in a bad situation and its all my fault when that is totally not what happened. It wasn't like I had everything totally stable and just decided to move in with some random guy. He was my friend, and he may have saved my life. Yes, relationship with EX was that bad. Even if the relationship with DP does not work out in the end, I am not in a worse position than I was before it started. I have accomplished many things and his help has been truly a godsend for me. Believe me he is wonderful for putting up with me, I was a mess when I first came here. Things have been really hard for me, and recently is the first time I have been truly happy in my life. It hurts that I can come to MDC and be judged so much for my decisions that already happened and I cannot change, when i came looking for advice and support. Also, to clarify, what he agreed to pertaining to the children for now is that if we do break up he will still vist/call occasionally, help out, but for a temporary period of time. This is just so the kids are not hurt by him being there 100% then just gone. I am not asking him to put them as his number one priority, just to minimize trauma. He thinks that is fair. Now things will be fine I'm pretty sure. I am mostly just a worry wort I guess. It is very hard for me to m=not be terrified things will not work out given my history, but I am really trying now to embrace this relationship so it doesn't end up failing just because I worry too much, because at this point, that would be the only reason we would break up. lol. We are going to find some relationship books because I think it will help to have more info on communication, how males and females usually differ, etc. I have Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, and I have been told The Five Love Languages is good. Any recommendations?
post #16 of 26
I understand how you could get defensive. Let me just tell you my story:

I dated a guy for 3 years when I had a daughter that was about 3. He said he loved us both but was scared to commit. Sometimes he would get upset, tho, when my daughter would do little things like come try to sit in between us. I never put 2 and 2 together. I finally gave him the ultimatum. I loved him but it wasn't fair to let my daughter fall in love with him when he wasn't sure this was what he wanted. (He also said he was scared of the commitment and not being able to provide for us.) He proposed.

Months later, he began saying things like "you pushed me into marrying you. I wasn't ready." "I never prayed for a wife who already had a kid." "You can't expect me to bond with her. She's not my child." "She has a dad. I don't want her to call me dad." And other things... something was definitely wrong and he NEVER told me before we married.

It only got worse. We had 3 kids together and my oldest was never treated like the others. The older she got, the less "cute" he thought she was and the more he distanced himself from her. It did a number on her. When we finally divorced, she moved in with her alcoholic real dad (who was hardly ever in her life before) because she longed for a real dad to love her and be proud of her.

It's okay to be defensive. But you asked older women's advice. Women who've been there. I know you feel trapped and felt you had no other choice but to move in with him. I get that. But until he makes a decision to commit to you and your kids... you have TRAPPED him by moving in with him. He has to come to the conscious decision that its really what he wants... and he's not there, yet. As long as you realize that, then you can also make a conscious decision to stay as things are or to leave EVEN if you have nowhere to go. People can make promises all day long but until they put action with it, it's just words...

Hang in there girl. I really hope things get settled for you so that you can feel safe that he will always be there for you and your precious children...
post #17 of 26
Thread Starter 
I have not trapped him by moving in. He wanted me to. Never asked him. It was his idea. I also said before our relationship is fine and I am not forcing him to make a decision. I was worried and thats the only reason why I mentioned it. Things are fine though, really. We don't have ANY problems with our relationship, and he would never treat my children like that. I didn't feel trapped to move in here either. If I really did not think it was a good situation I would not have. How exactly does one leave with nowhere to go? I'm supposed to live on the street with my two children?
post #18 of 26
Natural Mama,

Like I said at the outset of my post, I wasn't judging you and I certainly don't think you're "stupid". I know that I am not stupid, and I was in a position very similar to yours when I was around your age. Lots of perfectly bright, wonderful women have been! I know how tough it is and how limited your options can seem. I also know how comforting it is to feel like you have a partner in all of it. Sometimes comfort can distract a person from making the best decisions - not just you, but any of us. That's one of the reasons I like the Blended Family discussion board on MDC so much - because the women here are definitely supportive of each other - and of you! - but sometimes it is with difficult honesty, instead of just making each other feel good by always agreeing.

I offered you my perspective based on my own experience. Certainly I don't know all the details of your life and my advice may be off-base. One of the best ways to judge whether you're on the right path is when you hear opposite points of view and discover that you don't feel threatened by them, nor do you find yourself doubting your own position. If you feel that confident in the path you're on, good. I genuinely wish the best for you and your children.

Jeannine
post #19 of 26
Natural Mama,

Like I said at the outset of my post, I wasn't judging you and I certainly don't think you're "stupid". I know that I am not stupid, and I was in a position very similar to yours when I was around your age. Lots of perfectly bright, wonderful women have been! I know how tough it is and how limited your options can seem. I also know how comforting it is to feel like you have a partner in all of it. Sometimes comfort can distract a person from making the best decisions - not just you, but any of us. That's one of the reasons I like the Blended Family discussion board on MDC so much - because the women here are definitely supportive of each other - and of you! - but sometimes it is with difficult honesty, instead of just making each other feel good by always agreeing.

I offered you my perspective based on my own experience. Certainly I don't know all the details of your life and my advice may be off-base. One of the best ways to judge whether you're on the right path is when you hear opposite points of view and discover that you don't feel threatened by them, nor do you find yourself doubting your own position. If you feel that confident in the path you're on, good. I truly wish you and your children the best.

Jeannine
post #20 of 26
I think you should just be careful in terms of your future. Say it doesn't work out - where will you go then? Definitely have that plan B so that you can take care of yourself and your children, by yourself. You don't want to be in a situation where you DO become trapped because of lack of options. Or you have nowhere to go. I'm just putting that out there - make a plan for the worst case scenario.

I also think it's unrealistic to expect him to make a lifetime commitment to your children if you two are no longer together. If you two were to break up in the next year - why would he still be hanging around these kids 10 years from now? I think maybe that's what he may have meant by saying they're not his kids.

I was an only child, then my mom re-married (thankfully when I was about to go to college, lol) a man with 4 kids. They ended their marriage around 3 years later, and my mom doesn't visit with the kids now. She was great to them when they were married ... but, afterwards, she didn't think she needed to hang around as they weren't her kids. My mom isn't a bad person (though, I could be biased ) ... she just didn't feel it was her responsibility to continue to be the "mother" role model when she was 1. divorced, 2. had zero claim to those kids.

Not all blended and step families remain together forever, after all, and not everyone wants to keep in touch. So, that is something to think about.
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