Relationship question for single and formerly single moms (Xpost) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 11-10-2008, 12:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all, Bf and I have been together a year. STBX and I separated 2 yrs ago and the divorce has taken a long time but is nearly done. BF and I are like soulmates, I never thought I'd connect so much with someone. He is awesome with my kids and they adore him. We have taken several trips together and it's like we are a family. My children are young. His are teenagers, so he's looking at an empty nest on the horizon. We really function like a family when he is here, which is most weekends and sometimes during the week. He babysits when my nanny is unavailable.

Here's the thing: He likes things as they are but he is not sure if he is up for the stepdad role. He might be, but he is not sure. If he were really up for it and excited about it, I would definitely want him to be my kids' step dad, he's so great with them, but obviously he'd have to be really into it.

I know there needs to be a time period in which he feels it out and decides if he's up for it. I really get that it's a big decision, and it would involve a longterm commitment to the kids.

There isn't a rush exactly. But on the other hand, my kids are getting really attached to him. Last night I was with my 3 kids and we talked about how we are a foursome now, but we used to be a fivesome (with Daddy), and one of my kids piped up -"But now we are again!" Meaning bf. This gives me a pang, since I know that for bf, there is no five yet.

I do not want to artificially back off bf's time with the kids, things are what they are, and frankly I can't afford to pay a babysitter for all of my bf time. I do not want to rush bf, because his process is what it is. The worst outcome would be him hastily committing but not really being ready.

OTOH I feel anxious because there's a disconnect between how we feel when we are together (including how the kids feel with him) and the level of commitment he has to the family (none yet, although he does care about us all deeply).

Do I just need to be patient? What does it take for a potential step-parent to realize they are ready--I realize it will be different for everyone, but I'm curious about stories and patterns. Do my kids need me to put a limit on how long the decision period lasts?

Please don't flame me for introducing the kids to bf before we are married, that is just not how my life has gone and I do not need any moralizing. Please respond if you have life experience and or thoughtful reflections on my situation. Thank you.
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#2 of 7 Old 11-10-2008, 12:40 PM
 
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What stands out to me is: it's working, just the way it is.

1) Is "the way it is now" any different from "stepdad" in your mind? In your BF's mind? What does "commitment" mean to each of you?

Maybe this is simply a matter of semantics, that he thinks YOU think you want him to adopt them or something, and you don't - that you just want him to say "yes, I want the way it is to continue for the foreseeable future" or some similar commitment.

2) Is a commitment so important? You've been dating him without the specific commitment of engagement or marriage, right? So is his "dating" you + kids so very different? You guys haven't been together all THAT long, and all of that time, you've been married to someone else. Is there a reason you need commitment? (And you might have good reasons you didn't post about: like, kids were uprooted by your divorce and you don't want to uproot them again by another breakup, or YOU were uprooted, or...)

One thing I learned in divorce is that words of commitment - including "I do" - aren't worth relying on. To just share and give what I can without resentment, and if I find myself wanting more security, to seek it within myself. NOT saying this is YOUR right answer - just HTH, to ponder where your longing for commitment comes from, and what "commitment" means. It's REALLY REALLY common post-divorce to "grieve the dream" of what you wanted your marriage/partner to be, and then grow resentful when your first partner after divorce doesn't "give" you that dream. Articulating your dream and grieving it can really help get back to realistic expectations - and happiness. Good luck!

The only thing you owe to others is to behave with integrity.
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#3 of 7 Old 11-10-2008, 12:46 PM
 
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I met my honey online this past June. We met IRL in Sept and basically living together since. There is definite committment and also definitely marriage in our future (civil union sometime in 2009) my kids have just started calling him daddy and he takes care of them like his own. (we are discussing adoption) Things are going wonderful and we definitely have become a family in a short time. I know my circumstances are not the norm but personally I think after a year if he's not sure, I'd move on I just think you either "know" or not. Especially after a year! If he's not jumping in, there is likely a reason for that.

Blissful Mama to DD-(5), DS-(6) and someone new due in November!
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#4 of 7 Old 11-10-2008, 02:27 PM
 
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How old are the kids? With my kids, I'd be dropping little hints that it's nice for now but I don't know if it will be a forever thing. But they are young adults. I don't know about littler ones. It might be worth a talk with a child psychologist, or reading a good book about kids and divorce.

Take the time to heal from your marriage before you move on with someone else. Make a list of all the qualities you would like in a new partner and then work on growing that way yourself. ~mandib50
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#5 of 7 Old 11-10-2008, 02:38 PM
 
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How long have you guys been together?

Honestly, what's done is done. Your kids know him. I would just give him the time he needs. It IS a big commitment and is harder for some men to make. Maybe he has been looking forward to the empty nest. I would try not to push it and let it play itself out and enjoy what you guys have together now.
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#6 of 7 Old 11-10-2008, 05:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tripleaces View Post
I would try not to push it and let it play itself out and enjoy what you guys have together now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rainbowmoon View Post
I know my circumstances are not the norm but personally I think after a year if he's not sure, I'd move on I just think you either "know" or not. Especially after a year! If he's not jumping in, there is likely a reason for that.
I agree with both of the posts above. Its really what you are comfortable with and what you want out of this relationship. There isn't a right or wrong answer here. If you aren't comfortable proceeding without a committment from him to be a husband and a stepdad, then you might start thinking about moving on soon because a year should be plenty of time for him to get to know you and your kids. However, if you don't need a committment from him to be anything more than he is now, then just enjoy things the way they are now. I highly recommend seeing a counselor either way because he/she will help you figure all of this stuff out. If BF will go with you, then that's even better. DH (who was my BF until a few months ago) and I go to couples counseling and go to see counselors individually at times when we need to. Its not that we have disagreements and then need to go, we go to be proactive. Most of the time we don't even know what we're going to be talking about until we get there. My DH was ready to be a stepdad to my DS from the start because he knew that's what I wanted and if he was going to be with me, it was something he needed to do. Same for me - I knew I would need to be a stepmom to his DS if I wanted to be with him. It didn't take me a year to decide. It didn't take him a year to decide. We both did it without question because we were best friends first and foremost and we knew we could accomplish anything as long as we worked together.
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#7 of 7 Old 11-10-2008, 06:08 PM
 
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two things come to mind reading this thread.

one is what others have pointed out. actions speak louder than words. you are already functioning as a family.

the second is - his are teenagers and an empty nest. he already has had so many years of parenting. and probably looking for a break. so he may not truly know what he wants. he thought his life was going one way and now its going the other.

i would definitely give him some more time. he will need time to figure out.

but also listen to your gut? you have a lot invested in him. at this time i would take just sit and try to figure out for yourself. take your kids out of the picture for just a moment.

and reassess what you want. what do you really want? are you willing to wait.

s its such a hard place to be in.

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