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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.