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Please advice... boyfriend's children - Page 2

post #21 of 36

His kids' attitude is not necessarily rational, or fair.  It's certainly not selfless.  But they are still kids, and kids - even nice ones - tend to be pretty self-centered and incapable of seeing the world with the same level of rationality, fairness and maturity that will hopefully acquire, by adulthood.

 

His kids have a relatively short time before graduating high school and (hopefully) going off to college or to otherwise begin independence.  It is common for teenagers to feel insecure about a parent's attention and devotion to them - especially the parent they spend less time with - because they realize that, in a few years, both of them will learn to adjust to spending a lot less time together.  "If my parent can adjust to that, am I really important to him, even now?  If I don't find some way to prove that to myself now, maybe I'll never really know..."

 

Likewise, your BF realizes he only has a few short years left with his kids at home.  IMO, his willingness to put that first should make you feel better about him and a future relationship/marriage with him, not worse.  I realize you feel disappointed and that's understandable.  But if you want long-term stability with him, not just fun now, his very inattention to you on the weeks his kids are with him is proof he has some good, loyal, devoted character traits!

 

I know it's not the same as a long-term relationship, but once I was set up on a blind date with a friend's brother.  He was nice and so was the date, but I just wasn't attracted for whatever reason.  Unfortunately, he was.  I was supposed to drop by his office a few days later, for lunch.  I had planned to find some excuse to give him, at lunch, for why I didn't think I could get more involved at that point, even though I did think he was very nice.  He completely stood me up - didn't call my cell, leave a note, a message with co-workers, nothing!  Finally, as I was leaving his office in embarrassment, a receptionist overheard who I had come to see.  She mentioned that the nurse at his kid's school had called a half-hour ago and the guy had immediately jumped in his truck and left, without a word to anyone.  The guy did call me, after his kid was at home asleep (his son lived with him).  I have to tell you, I was really impressed that when he heard his kid was sick, he did not have a passing thought about the woman he was trying to impress - he just ran to the school and took care of his puking child.  I went out with him again mainly because of that, to see if I could generate some spark for him, after seeing that side of his character.

 

Maybe try to look at things from that perspective?  It's not about you personally, it's that he is a man who puts his kids first.  That's a good man!  You made a good choice.  You're attracted to good things!  And, most likely, once his kids are out on their own and he knows they're OK in the world, he's the type of man who will be capable of putting his spouse first, too.  Waiting a few years until he's finished raising them is not so bad...unless you let yourself spend that time competing with his children, or giving him a hard time for ignoring you.

post #22 of 36
Thread Starter 

Well there seems to be a split in the different advice I am getting... Averysmomma if I understood right in the last post suggested that I look at my posts as if it was my daughter's.  If it was my daughter, I would tell her to stop, not put up with being always second and look elsewhere because I would like her to have a relationship where the couple put each other first and jointly share the responsibility of the children. That was how my first marriage was - but I guess that was easy as we were both equally interested in the kids as they were our biological kids. So if my daughter was looking for a person as a young lady, my advice would be don't get into a blended family.  But I am now too emotionally involved to be so practical.  It is easy to advice my daughter as I would not feel the love and loss.

 

But then there is also the compassionate point of view (to see it from his kids and his view), which is becoming harder for me.  Very confusing.

 

post #23 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by frangipani2011 View Post

Well there seems to be a split in the different advice I am getting... Averysmomma if I understood right in the last post suggested that I look at my posts as if it was my daughter's.  If it was my daughter, I would tell her to stop, not put up with being always second and look elsewhere because I would like her to have a relationship where the couple put each other first and jointly share the responsibility of the children. That was how my first marriage was - but I guess that was easy as we were both equally interested in the kids as they were our biological kids. So if my daughter was looking for a person as a young lady, my advice would be don't get into a blended family.  But I am now too emotionally involved to be so practical.  It is easy to advice my daughter as I would not feel the love and loss.

 

But then there is also the compassionate point of view (to see it from his kids and his view), which is becoming harder for me.  Very confusing.

 




Comapassion for your partner is healthy and realistic, from the standpoint that you also want your partner to treat you with compassion and understanding. Recognizing the reasons why this is difficult for your partner is important....but after you've done that, taken the time to see things from his perspective, unless it helps you to make peace with a new way of being in this relationship for the "now"...it really only muddies things and makes you feel bad about your expectations (which aren't being met).

 

As far as how you would advise your daughter....maybe not to the specifics. "Don't get involved in a blended family situation" - is not exactly the advice you would give her, because there are plenty of men out there who ARE capable of making space for his new partner and balancing his love life with his family commitments. HOWEVER, no matter the particulars of a situation, you would - every time - recognize the signs of your daughter being unhappy and feeling under-valued and you would alert her to that. When you advise your daughter, you are free from the obligation and love she feels toward the partner she is trying to work things out with...your perspective is clean and unattached the the relationship. THAT is why I advised you to counsel yourself as you would your own daughter.

 

 

I believe that giving up on a good relationship for small things, or "maybe bad things" prematurely is a mistake. My current husband has come SO far from the early days of our relationship, if I had given up when we were just two kids and everything was crazy bad, I wouldn't have this incredible gem of a human being I have now. People don't stop growing and changing after they reach a certain age, we are forever reshaping ourselves and learning new things about ourselves in this life.

 

On the other hand......you being unhappy, in general, and feeling like you come second every time....well, that's not a "small thing" or a "maybe bad thing" - those are DEFINITELY big, bad things. The fact that you are gearing your life up for marriage and he is basically outright telling you "I'm happy with you coming here once a month and having fun and then going home, I don't want to make any promises, let's just see what happens" - means that the two of you are on very different pages. In his defense, I think he is very overwhelmed by the situation with his kids and has given a lot of clues that lead me to believe that his past marriage experience is why he is hesitant and perhaps a little scared to jump back into married life....but those facts do not change what the situation is. You want something that he does not want right now....and we don't know if he ever will, because he's not even really saying "yeah, this is where our relationship is headed, but right now I have to focus on other things" - he is saying "I'm not ready for that and I don't want to talk about it....let's talk about it in a couple of years" - that's what the situation is.

 

My advice remains the same, for the fact that I think the ONLY way forward is writing to him in the most clear and concise manner you are capable of. You need to lay it all down in front of him and give him a final chance to dig deep and muster up the stones to tell you exactly what he thinks he wants to do. Because he knows what he wants to do. He either sees himself marrying you in the next few years......or he does not. Period.

 

After you discover what his intention is you need to decide what is going to work for you. If it's not gonna work, you need to walk....or at least tell him "I really care about you, but I can't wait for you with no idea of where the waiting is leading me - give me a call if you ever change your mind or gain more clarity" and then go on about your life and open yourself up to other possibilities.

 

 


Edited by BroodyWoodsgal - 8/28/11 at 4:49am
post #24 of 36
Thread Starter 

I just spent a few days with my BF.  We had lunch with his 15 year old daughter who was nice and we connected well.  His 16 year old son, the same kid who had issues with his dad having a relationship, refused to talk to me or have lunch with us. That did not bother me too much as he is just a kid.  But I think I understood where BF is coming from.  When I brought up the issue of commitment, he went on about how much he loves me, and that he "hopes, expects, and desires that we will have a committed relationship", but that he cannot make a verbal commitment to me, nor tell his children or friends about us. He would rather risk losing me than do that.  He said he would need two to three years more to come to some resolution - same position as before.  Overall we had a nice time as always, but I realized on my plane ride home that I cannot engage in the way he wants - be a girlfriend to have fun with when he has time and disappear at other times.  It is not worth feeling insecure most of the time just for a few days of fun and a fear of being alone. I don't think I can do it for 3 years especially not with the level of intensity that I have been putting into the relationship. I am going to do partially what Averysmomma suggested.  I am going to tell him that while I do not want to break up with him, and I am not planning to look for anyone right now, I cannot engage with him as I did before.  That while I would like to stay in touch and talk, I cannot meet often anymore. While I understand his constraints, I cannot keep my peace of mind engaged intensely in a relationship going nowhere for a few years.  So I want to slow the pace of the relationship.  If and when he can resolve his issues, we could maybe reconnect the way we did before.

 

When I wrote my first post, I was worried about staying single and not finding a decent person at my age. But I feel much more confident now, and feel being alone is not so bad after all.  There are benefits to being alone and I am confident that life will be fine even if I lived alone.  I am not going to look for another person for the next year at least as this is my daughter's junior year and I would rather just enjoy her company. Once she is off to college, I will see how I feel about dating again.  It is certainly easier to focus on my life and do what I want with it than worry about a relationship that is not meeting my needs and makes me insecure. 


I just hope I can stay the course on this and not get dragged back into the relationship.... right now I feel strong. Thanks to all of you for your inputs. Helped a lot when I was feeling very upset.

post #25 of 36

It sounds like you're coming to some important conclusions, which I'm sure is painful and relieving at the same time. 

 

One thing that kept popping into my mind as I read your posts was that you've been divorced for 10 years, while he's only been divorced for 2. I'm sure your mindset about dating and remarriage was much different 2 years post-divorce than it is now, so part of it may just be timing. His kids haven't had nearly as much time as yours to get used to the idea of their parents being apart, much less marrying new partners, and he hasn't had as much time to wrap his head around that concept either. So although it may be frustrating for you, I think his answer of just needing more time could be perfectly legitimate. 

post #26 of 36
Thread Starter 

Well, that is the other side of the story which if I could really understand or believe, I would see things differently...  I just find it hard to believe that someone who claims to be so much in love, still needs two or three years to decide if we should be together for good.  All couples have challenges, why not make the commitment to deal with them together?  I interpret his position to mean he wants to keep the door open to bail if things get too difficult.  If he was not ready for a committed relationship, how could he engage in all ways except when it requires actually making a commitment?  I don't see how we can move forward if he does not want to tell his kids I am important in his life, or tell common friends that we are dating and he is serious about me.  I probably sound bitter and frustrated, most likely I am.

post #27 of 36

Hello,

 

I registered here simply because of your story.  I'm older than you are, but that means nothing really.  Please, please back away from this man!  Continue to be friends, if you really want to, but don't rely on him to ever put you first.  I may get a lot of flak over this, but I have to say it.  As kids grow up, it is *okay* for them to come second to a life-long relationship.  They are going to be off and about their own lives, and where is this man going to be?

 

 

post #28 of 36

I read through all your posts too and I feel like he probably a good man but you two are not on the same page for a relationship right now. Irrespective of the situation with his children, if he cannot work towards getting to a place to marry and that's what you want you are not on the same page. He is telling you that he cannot give you what you want. You need to listen to that.

 

Personally if it were me I would tell him I love him but feel we are not presently headed towards the same place in life and that you need to take a break until something changes.

post #29 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by elizabethann View Post
  As kids grow up, it is *okay* for them to come second to a life-long relationship.  They are going to be off and about their own lives, and where is this man going to be?
 


Although I sort of agree with this statement, I don't think it's relevant when speaking of minor children still living at home and asking the parent to re-locate to another city where he will not see them often. I would have ZERO respect for a parent who moved away from his/her children because of a romantic relationship.

 

Second, my DH works in a field where people get moved around a lot and we've watched people move kids in highschool. It's not pretty. We've determined to not do that to our kids. I think moving highschoolers (even when there isn't a second parent in the equation) for a romantic relationship is selfish.

 

I agree that its ok for teens to come second to a life-long relationship. But I don't think it's reasonable to jerk them around. There is a line.


Edited by Linda on the move - 9/14/11 at 4:10pm
post #30 of 36
Thread Starter 

I really appreciate all of you taking the time to respond to me.  It is so important to get some perspective on what I am going through.

 

I told him a week ago that I am not able to handle this with equanimity anymore and I cannot care as much as I do, and act like I am in a committed relationship when he wants to take a wait and see attitude of deciding if he wants to commit after another 2-3 years.  It is just too conflicting an emotion for me.  As soon as I said this, he got very upset with me and asked me not to call him and respect his need to be alone.  Have not heard from him since.   I feel so upset and wish things worked out OK, but I also feel I made the right decision.  Just got to get through the next few days and each day will get easier (I hope).  :( 

post #31 of 36
Thread Starter 

I was not expecting him to make any changes re. his kids during their high school years.  All I wanted from him was to let people (his kids, family and friends) know that he was serious about me, and wanted him to at least verbally tell me that he feels committed to making the relationship work. The best he could tell me that it was his "intention, desire and expectation that we will be together", but could not make a verbal commitment. His top reason being he might not just get estranged from his sixteen year old son, but "cause serious damage" to his son as it has been only two years since they were divorced.

post #32 of 36

I was moved as a high school senior; already into the school year, in a town where I was born and attended 11 years of school, because my dad got a different job and we needed to relocate.  I moved from a tiny, tiny town with less than 50 in my graduating class to a much larger one with about 200 graduating seniors.  My heart was broken, I was so very homesick!  I knew I could mope and mourn all year, and make my parents' lives (deservedly, in my opinion) miserable.  Or I could realize that this was the only senior year in high school that I would ever, ever have, and make the best of the situation.  I did the latter, and had an incredible senior year.  I don't feel attachment to that school, and even though I had some close friends there, I haven't been back to a class reunion.  But I do go back to the reunions of "my" class in the smaller towns.

 

This really has nothing to do with the OP's problem, but I wanted to say that moving teenagers isn't always ugly, and sometimes it's necessary for something other than romance.

post #33 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by frangipani2011 View Post

 

 

I told him a week ago that I am not able to handle this with equanimity anymore and I cannot care as much as I do, and act like I am in a committed relationship when he wants to take a wait and see attitude of deciding if he wants to commit after another 2-3 years.  It is just too conflicting an emotion for me.  As soon as I said this, he got very upset with me and asked me not to call him and respect his need to be alone.  Have not heard from him since.   I feel so upset and wish things worked out OK, but I also feel I made the right decision.  Just got to get through the next few days and each day will get easier (I hope).  :( 



I didn't see this before I posted.  I am so very sorry that he has hurt you.

post #34 of 36
Thread Starter 

That is exactly what I did.  I told him I loved him but I could not continue like this, and if he has a change of perspective he can talk to me again.  It was initially very hard, but I feel better everyday and feel this really was the best decision I made in a long time. Continuing the way we were was depleting the warmth in the relationship and it was just kicking the can down the road. 

post #35 of 36

OP i will take a different stance. i think you are forcing him into a corner too quick. he's only been divorced a couple of years. HECK it took me that long to recover from my own marriage. you on the other hand have  been divorced for over a decad. both sets of kids are naturally going to differ. his 15 and 16 year old having trouble with this is sooooo normal. coz they saw he hardly was out of the marriage when he met you. and now you want to be no. 1 over his children.

 

his actions are telling me he can be loyal as a bull terrier. tenaciously. i commend him for staying focused on his kids. i keep thinking when his own life is a little under control - he will be as tenacious over you as he was over his kids when it is time for you guys to be together.

 

you guys meeting sooo soon kinda went against you.

 

so his kids not liking you makes a lot of sense to me. them playing with their dad makes complete sense to me. gosh as kids get older divorce is harder and harder on them. i would even guess they were nice to you at first thinking she is not going to stay v. long. but once that changed they started having difficulties  themselves. i have read from posters on this board who were brats to their step father. and now they love and respect him so - more for putting up with posters children terrorizing. they regretted what they did later. 

 

your kids liking him makes a lot of sense. i mean come on. they must be excited that after 10 years FINALLY mama has met someone. they will be nice and try to encourage the relationship.

 

him struggling to figure things out - absolutely normal. his behavior - an overwhelmed dad trying to make his family work. i am imagining he is not really good with small talk. so for two weeks a month he does not talk to you right. what about the other two weeks. he's there isn't he.

 

the issue with his kids affecting the relationship is not from his part, but for you it is a big deal. 

 

my post is not to make you change your mind. my post is an attempt to see life through his perspective. if to you he is worth it then you need to pull your socks up and stop getting so hurt. i think you are being unreasonable. however one can't dictate one's feelings. if this relationship is not working for you then let it end.  it is good to mourn the loss. if you don't feel a 'no' deeply and strongly from your gut, i think you gave up too easily. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by frangipani2011 View Post

Hope you can be patient to read the whole story so you can give me advice....

 

I have been divorced for over a decade, and he has been divorced for two (we met online right after his separation and while the divorce proceedings were ongoing - I did not know him when he was married). 

 

Initially, things were wonderful. But in the last year things have started to deteriorate.  He has been increasingly focused on his kids - the week they are with him he either does not call or does for about 10 minutes. If I call he is usually busy with them. 

 

Further, his kids seem to be quite hostile to the idea of a relationship.  


This issue with his kids has become a major problem in our relationship moving forward.



 

post #36 of 36
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your advice Meemee.  I wrestle with the perspective you give and wonder whether I am being hasty and losing a good man.  But part of the problem is me and my upbringing.  It might just be too old fashioned but for me physical intimacy and marriage go together.  I had told him I was not going to be physically intimate unless he was sure he was committed to being with me.  He said he was, and it was a matter of time before we could tell others. I think he was sincere about that - he was coming out of a bad marriage and was head over heels in love with me. After that wildly romantic phase that lasted a little over a year and the reality of his kids, career etc hit him, and he has been having second thoughts.  From my side, I began feeling very badly about myself - I felt I cannot preach to my 16 year old daughter to be abstinent, if I am active without a commitment. I did not like the secrecy (not telling his kids friends etc), and I guess I just felt let down by him changing his mind on commitment and telling me that I need to wait three years before he could decide if he would commit.  I have not been able to enjoy the relationship, nor be a pleasant girlfriend with this on my mind. The topic of commitment was on my mind, and it was coloring all our interactions negatively, making him even more scared to commit.   Further he is 53 and I am 51, it makes no sense for me to wait till I am close to 55 to know if this will go anywhere. Even if we were to get married, it would not affect the children. We both agree that with our kids in high school, we should stay apart till they are all done and out of the house.  But getting married legitimizes our relationship and the times we are together. He has no issues with intimacy without marriage (except so far as letting his family and close friends know) - so maybe my position seems unreasonable to him - but I was upfront and he knew my position.  

 

I might regret this some time down the road, but right now, I feel better about myself and for standing up to what my values and beliefs are.  I feel if I continued with misgivings, I would have ruined everything anyway with my attitude and the charm in the relationship would have been lost.   I heard back from him in an e-mail and he said he is so unhappy, thinks I am the nicest person he has ever met, still loves me and always will. He knows I love him too.  But our goals and maybe timing is just off. 

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