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#1 of 36 Old 08-24-2011, 03:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hope you can be patient to read the whole story so you can give me advice....

 

I am 51 and my boyfriend is 53.  We have been going out for two years. We live in different cities but have flown in to be together for a couple of days a month for the last two years and have been talking everyday.  I have two kids (16 and 24) and he has two kids (15 and 16).  His ex lives in the same town is very involved with his kids.  They share the kids 50/50.  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. I met his kids at their home and we played games together and they actually told their dad that they liked me. 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.  I find it upsetting that he cannot find the time to connect with me.  I had earlier hoped for a relationship where we would be the top priority for each other, but figured out that it will not happen, and have been telling myself that his kids will be a priority and that should be OK with me. However, I am not finding it easy to handle this cutting off when the kids are around. 

 

Further, his kids seem to be quite hostile to the idea of a relationship.  His 16 year old son told him that he did not want any changes in his life and wanted his dad to do nothing till he graduates from high school. When I visited last time the kids, especially the son ignored me. My boyfriend and the kids were into their own conversation and I felt very left out.  I suppose I should have taken this in my stride, but this is all a new experience for me. My own kids never do this - they are very supportive of me finding a partner and are very warm towards him.  Part of my boyfriend's problem is that his kids prefer their mom to him and given a chance prefer to be with her because he has more rules about TV etc..  He just craves for their attention and love and if they offer him the smallest response he just basks in it because that is so rare.  He feels that if he tells them I am important or takes the relationship forward, they will get estranged and he will lose them.


This issue with his kids has become a major problem in our relationship moving forward.  When we met I was clear that I was looking for a relationship that involved marriage, and he said he was looking for the same.  It is two years now and he is unwilling to discuss the issue of marriage as he feels there are so many complexities.  He earlier wanted me to make an effort to engage his kids. I pointed out that I have been really nice (which he agrees, but feels I am not outgoing enough to get them to engage). I pointed out to him that the kids have not engaged with his very loving parents either for the last 15-16 years. They rarely talk to their grandparents.  Anyway, he wants to either wait till his kids graduate from high school or wait till his kids accept me before he can move forward with us. I doubt his kids will accept me - his son refused to meet me on my next visit.  I feel very upset by this situation.  The fact is I love him and want this relationship to work. He has many other good qualities that I value and at my age, I don't know if I will meet anyone as nice as him again. There really are very few good available men at my age, and I don't feel excited at the prospect of searching for someone again and building the relationship.  What should I do?


Sorry for the length but i wanted to present the whole picture so I can benefit from your advice.

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#2 of 36 Old 08-25-2011, 07:38 AM
 
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At your age, if he's a really great guy, I might wait. These kids have a mom, they don't need another one, and if you just give it a few years they will be in college and you can just be Dad's wife, not anybody who has ever lived with them or mothered them. You have your own 16-year-old to get out of the nest in a different city, anyhow! 

 

Maybe you and your SO could come up with a 5-year-plan (or 3-year-plan, or whatever) that has you moving in together, into a new house in an area mutually agreed upon, once all your kids are in college. That way, the dynamic shifts from "you are invading MY home that I share with my Dad" to "I am visiting you in YOUR home that YOU share with my Dad." While it sounds like it's not a problem on your end, this might also be easier for your own 16-year-old, to have her home with you until she makes the transition to adulthood. 

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At your age, if he's a really great guy, I might wait. These kids have a mom, they don't need another one, and if you just give it a few years they will be in college and you can just be Dad's wife, not anybody who has ever lived with them or mothered them. You have your own 16-year-old to get out of the nest in a different city, anyhow! 

 

Maybe you and your SO could come up with a 5-year-plan (or 3-year-plan, or whatever) that has you moving in together, into a new house in an area mutually agreed upon, once all your kids are in college. That way, the dynamic shifts from "you are invading MY home that I share with my Dad" to "I am visiting you in YOUR home that YOU share with my Dad." While it sounds like it's not a problem on your end, this might also be easier for your own 16-year-old, to have her home with you until she makes the transition to adulthood. 


^^Perfect, wonderful, terrific advice from Smithie on this one. Take this advice. The part I like best is the "you guys getting a new home that is YOURS....I think that will help you to feel like you are starting a new life together in a new place with no old memories or uncomfortable feelings attached to it.

 

Don't give up...his kids DO have to be his priority and I can understand how desperate this poor Papa must be not to lose what relationship he has with his kids. I think when they are out of the house and building their own lives, they will be far too busy to try and control what he does with his time/space and they will have an easier time accepting you.

 

I think it is SO great that your own kids are so supportive...but imagine for a second that they were not and felt really weird/angry about the whole thing. Who/what would your first priority be? Your kids. Every time. I agree that it stinks that he is not so available when his kids are around, but you have to understand the sticky spot he's in.

 

Good luck, this will all work out. Better to put your marriage/co-habitation plans on hold a little while longer and have an easier time of things when you do transition into that, than to go into it with major problems and stress. That's not what you want!

 


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#4 of 36 Old 08-25-2011, 09:10 AM
 
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I agree that he is in a tough position. The kids should be his priority. But honestly it sounds like they're setting this up so he has to choose between them and you. The part where you say you are being left out of the conversation is kind of a red flag, or could be. Obviously, sometimes there will be conversations that don't involve you, that's natural. But basic courtesy means including everyone in the room. If they are actually shunning you, purposely talking in a way that leaves you with no way to participate in the conversation, then he should not be joining in with that kind of behavior. The kids have a right to their relationship with their father, but he shouldn't have to beg them or give up his other important relationships to have one with them. That just crosses a line for me. I also can't see why he can't manage a short phone call just to connect when the kids are at his house- assuming you aren't expecting hours-long talks. They don't have to like you, and they don't have to approve- you aren't going to be their new mommy, so unless you are bringing some kind of negativity to their father or them, I honestly don't see where it's any of their business if you're seeing their dad.

 

What I think you should look at is this- is he willing to treat you disrespectfully? A true "great guy" would never do that, barring the stuff we all occasionally blurt out in a tense moment. This might not be the situation, and if it is, he might not see it that way. But if he is willing to forge on with no consideration for your feelings, this might not be a great long term match.


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#5 of 36 Old 08-25-2011, 10:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Smithie - great advice about many things - considering my age etc.  If this goes far enough that he finally decides to commit, I will definitely take your advice of finding a new joint house so it is not anyone's house.  

 

One downside of waiting is that I will be three years older, and would have invested 5 years into the relationship and it still might not go anywhere.

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#6 of 36 Old 08-25-2011, 10:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello Averysmomma  - thanks for your advice.  You are right about how it would feel if my kids were not supportive.  I will try to hang in there at least for a little longer and see if things get better.   

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#7 of 36 Old 08-25-2011, 10:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello Singin'intherain - you echo my sentiments!  I cannot understand why he cannot take 10 minutes off to call.  He tells me that sometimes it is so frustrating with his kids that he is upset and does not feel like calling. At other times, the kids are nice to him and want to hang out with him and so he cannot. Either way I cannot understand it. Talking to him about it just makes me look very demanding. I feel he should want to call me, not feel that he should. The reason his kids feel the way they do is that they feel they have had their world turned upside down when their parents broke up two years ago and do not want any more changes.  Wish things were not so complicating...

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#8 of 36 Old 08-25-2011, 11:53 AM
 
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at this age, I would move on.

Your BF can't balance  his life and doe snot keep your promises. You are not 20 and you have no time to waste. He is not that wonderful.

 

What if in 3-5- year he is the same.

 

Move and find someone who can balance kids and relationship.

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#9 of 36 Old 08-25-2011, 02:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Alenushka View Post

at this age, I would move on.

Your BF can't balance  his life and doe snot keep your promises. You are not 20 and you have no time to waste. He is not that wonderful.

 

What if in 3-5- year he is the same.

 

Move and find someone who can balance kids and relationship.

 

 

Any man she finds is going to have a "something".....the man she is with has a hard time balancing kids and a relationship, true, but  it's really not that cut and dry. The mans children are not supportive of this relationship (or their father in general, it sounds like) and prefer their mother. This is a man who built a family, most likely with the intention to make that family his "forever". Well, it didn't work out that way and now he is trying to make these kids, HIS OWN KIDS, like him...and they are "more fond of" their mother because she is lax when it comes to rules about tv and crap.

 

Come on, please picture that....it's terrible. The best years of his life as a father have slipped past him and he's trying to maintain a good enough relationship with them that as they become adults and start building their own lives, that he will be a part of it. Can you imagine how desperate, stressed out and tired you would be, if you were constantly fighting for that with some grumpy teenagers who really don't even get it? Being rude to him, being rude to his perfectly nice girlfriend...throwing him bones every once in a while in the form of a nice word or a bit of consideration....that's awful. I've seen it before. It's terrible.

 

 

The point is, if he can handle the next couple of years with a bit of finesse, the two of them forging ahead into a new life together is going to be much less stressful and will lack the "turf wars" and drama which will likely ensue, should they move ahead while these kids are still living in this home. If she casts him aside and jumps back into the dating field, she's gonna find....

 

A really perfect guy......who smokes like a chimney.

A SUPER cool guy......who started with kids late in life and has a ten and twelve year old who live with him.

A really wonderful, one in a million guy.....who lives in the carriage house behind the home he grew up in, where his parents still live....and feed him dinner every night.

 

 

My point is, everybody has stuff that they bring to the table with them....you have to decide if the "stuff" they bring is stuff you can work out with them, because the guy in line behind him has stuff too....and when you are in the middle stage of life, things can be more "stuffy" because you are older and set in your ways and mostly because, if you were married for a number of years "before"...you were already used to someone elses stuff and it can seem really overwhelming to imagine unpacking, making sense of, wading through and learning to live with The Stuff all over again.

 

I trust the OP when she says that he is wonderful in every other way. I think a wonderful guy who is trying his hardest to handle a long distance relationship with a woman he really likes AND is grasping at the wisps of time he has left to be a dad to two teens he feels slipping away from him....well, he deserves a little slack and some time to make things right.

 

OP, you have to advocate for youself, sure, and I think that setting a routine and a set of expectations is more than reasonable. You can't have communication blackouts with him, that's not how a relationship works...but you also have to be cool with the fact that for the next couple of years, this guy is fighting a battle for his kids affection. It is a seriously sad thing to send your kids off into the world, you know this, imagine how hard it would be to let go and let them move on to that next phase of life, if you felt like they hardly cared for you at all. It would suck. Stick it out, trust your gut. If your gut is telling you that this really is about a temporary situation with his kids...it's worth waiting the extra year or two to do this the right way, the way that works best for everyone.

 

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#10 of 36 Old 08-25-2011, 03:09 PM
 
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I speak from the position of poly person. I balance my husband , my lover and my kids. Yes, it take work....but if one is willing, it works. It does not sound like OP's BF is willing.

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#11 of 36 Old 08-25-2011, 05:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Averysmomma - wow.  that is really food for thought...great insight on how he must feel.   I am not sure he is wonderful in every other way :)  but pretty good - very family oriented, decent, good job etc.. qualities that I have not found in many people in 10 years of dating. He is like most people - has good and bad qualities.  The problem is I want him to make a commitment now, not wait for two years to think about whether he wants to get married.  I want him to at least tell me  that he is sure we will be together, and will do what it takes to make things work, or telling our common friends about me, or telling his children he is serious about me. The commitment does not have to be legal, but some demonstration that he will work through things.  His response is that he believes a verbal commitment (his word) is as good as a bond, and the uncertainties we face over the next two years prevent him from doing that.  I feel his unwillingness to make such a commitment might imply he does not value me enough which makes me insecure and brings out negative qualities in me.  I feel the complex situation we face might result in one of us bailing if we do not make a commitment.

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#12 of 36 Old 08-25-2011, 05:18 PM
 
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I speak from the position of poly person. I balance my husband , my lover and my kids. Yes, it take work....but if one is willing, it works. It does not sound like OP's BF is willing.



You can't balance your husband, your lover and your kids if one of those parties is refusing to allow it. OP's boyfriend's kids aren't allowing it.


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#13 of 36 Old 08-25-2011, 11:14 PM
 
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This is where communication comes in. He can sit down and talk to them.  And explain to them that while they are dear to him and he loves them, he also loves her. That a human soul can love many. Also, a memo from the universe that it does not revolve around them. Their parents divorced, that is  . It does not mean that their parents need to be alone and celebate until the kids give them permission to do otherwise. 

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#14 of 36 Old 08-25-2011, 11:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Alenushka View Post

This is where communication comes in. He can sit down and talk to them.  And explain to them that while they are dear to him and he loves them, he also loves her. That a human soul can love many. Also, a memo from the universe that it does not revolve around them. Their parents divorced, that is  . It does not mean that their parents need to be alone and celebate until the kids give them permission to do otherwise. 


A lot of the time communicating can resolve issues, but the OP and her BF are in a long distance relationship. the OP doesn't say whether she'd move or he would. His kids may believe that they'll either have to move with him, or that they won't get to see him as often if he moves without them. I was pretty awful to my parents sometimes as a teen, but I wouldn't have wanted them taken from me! I don't see what the dad could communicate to them that would make them okay with a major rework of their lives. there are some things people won't budge on... if my husband wanted to discuss becoming poly, I'd tell him he could communicate with his suitcase! 

 

OP, two years is not a long time... not for kids who have been through a divorce. It's natural that they'd see you as a potential threat to their security. I understand not wanting to wait forever... would you be happy if you could work out some details like who would relocate to who, or a timeline? Maybe negotiate how the two of you will stay connected while the kids are with him? What about if the kids are told what exactly the plan is... maybe they'll come around again if they know what to expect from the future. It sounds like they might be feeling insecure, and that's why they're lashing out at you. Maybe they're just trying to maintain control of their own lives, not really to control their dad.

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#15 of 36 Old 08-26-2011, 12:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Beautifully said.  I am new to this forum and so impressed with the care and quality of advice.  Thanks

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#16 of 36 Old 08-26-2011, 05:45 AM
 
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Averysmomma - wow.  that is really food for thought...great insight on how he must feel.   I am not sure he is wonderful in every other way :)  but pretty good - very family oriented, decent, good job etc.. qualities that I have not found in many people in 10 years of dating. He is like most people - has good and bad qualities.  The problem is I want him to make a commitment now, not wait for two years to think about whether he wants to get married.  I want him to at least tell me  that he is sure we will be together, and will do what it takes to make things work, or telling our common friends about me, or telling his children he is serious about me. The commitment does not have to be legal, but some demonstration that he will work through things.  His response is that he believes a verbal commitment (his word) is as good as a bond, and the uncertainties we face over the next two years prevent him from doing that.  I feel his unwillingness to make such a commitment might imply he does not value me enough which makes me insecure and brings out negative qualities in me.  I feel the complex situation we face might result in one of us bailing if we do not make a commitment.


Hhmmm, well, a few of the things you've mentioned sort of open a different can of worms. If future complexity is going to make one of you bail, you're going to bail whether you're legally committed or not. If you are feeling a deep gut sense that you have to be worried about whether or not he's gonna stick around if things get tough...you need to really sit with that thought and pay attention to it. Is that feeling real? Or panic? If it's real, it's worth worrying about. I think that is more the issue than him agreeing to marry you as soon as his kids leave. You could stay with this man for a thousand years and never "tie the knot" - and have a partner so committed and loyal and loving to you that your love would be the envy of all who ever attempted to find happiness with another. The flip side of that coin, is that you could be married and talk of commitment and make promises until you were both blue in the face...and two years into this "marriage commitment" discover that he is a secret philanderer who is really good at lying.

 

The quality of a thing and the expressed mission of a thing are two separate issues. Is he walking the walk? I mean, missed phone calls aside....do you feel good about his current commitment to you? I know you want more, but CURRENTLY....is his level of commitment appropriate (by your standards) for the stage in the relationship you've reached? If so, you have to admit, he's walking the walk of where you are, not just talking the talk.....you want him to talk all sorts of talk about the future so you don't have to feel insecure and like you're hanging on for a barely expressed "maybe someday" type of future. You want to know where he is, what he's thinking. You don't want to waste two years of your life waiting for him to get his life with his kids figured out only to discover that he isn't really interested in the same future you are hoping for. I get that.

 

Your desire to hear him express his intention for the course of this relationship is completely valid. However, the first step in figuring out how to even express yourself to him, is going to have to be sitting with yourself and discovering what all of your feelings are, where they are stemming from and who should own them. You need to examine your feelings and sort out which are actual valid reactions to his behavior...and which are offshoots of those valid reactions...old psychological fall back positions learned from many years of worrying that this new guy is going to end up being a bum and leave you hanging, or whatever. You know? Just as HE has baggage...YOU also have baggage. What part of what you are feeling is YOUR baggage to own?

 

You are dealing with a guy who is having a hard time balancing his life and communicating.....what is HE dealing with? How do YOU interpret things? What kind of filters do you have in your brain....you know? There is nothing so sorry and sad as leaving someone...maybe even a few someones....who were really pretty great but you thought you would just never be able to jive perfectly with...only to realize that a lot of it was you. You know? I'm not saying that's what is going on here, I'm just saying that no one makes it to 53, married and divorced and dating again without bringing some baggage to the table. Hell, you don't make it to 25 without some baggage...depending on your childhood and life choices, maybe a LOT of baggage. EVERYONE has it.

 

The key to getting out of this or getting deeper into it.....is going to be honesty. Honesty with yourself, honesty with him. You say you don't want to waste your time. But who is wasting your time? Ultimately, you are. This man can't MAKE you stick around....if you're sticking around despite not wanting to because you are fearful of being alone again...well, whose is that to own? If things are not clear to you....seek clarity through honest communications. If you ACTUALLY CANNOT - after actual, honest, completely clear attempts on your behalf to get to the bottom of this - gain any insight into his intentions here...well, that just may be your answer. But if you want my honest, humble opinion, I think maybe the same thing about you that makes you turn kind of insecure when you feel less than valued, may touch on something deeper within you. It's possible that you need more hand holding than the average bear and he just doesn't get that. Maybe he thinks he is clearly explaining his intentions and you need more and he isn't understanding that.

 

Anyway, I'll wrap this up. The only remedy for this situation is total honesty. In order to be honest with him, you need to examine your own fears, let go of them, talk to him like a woman...pull no punches and try to see his responses for what they are and what they mean. in my minds eye, it goes something like this:

 

Hey Honey,

 

So look, I'm writing this so I can get all of my feelings down in as clear and concise a manner as possible.

 

I love you, you know I love you. I don't want to see my future without you in it...but I also want to know that your vision for our future is something I can wait for. I understand that you are trying to navigate a pretty precarious time of life with your kids right now, under circumstances which complicate everything quite a bit...and I can wait for that, I can put our plans for living together and getting married on a slower track to allow time for them to get ready to be adults and leave the nest. However, I have to know that after we're through this stage of getting our "baby birds" off and flying, the reward for my patience will be you, in all the ways I want you.

 

I want to be married to you, pretty soon. I'm thinking, the next three years.

I want to be living with you before we get married.

I want your children to know how important I am to you and that I'm not going anywhere, just as my kids know how important you are to me.

 

Please tell me clearly and with honesty, exactly how you feel about this plan. Look, neither of us is a spring chicken. We've been down this road before, we've been alone before, we've had grand plans fall through and great loves turn into resentment and fall apart. I don't want complication with you. I am no longer in a phase of my life where I can just hang on and hope. I have to forge my own path and look out for myself and my best interests. I think I want to forge a path to you, to deeper love and to a wonderful life together...but I have to know, simply and honestly put, where you stand.

 

I'm sorry for needing this assurance from you, please don't feel like I'm not serious or like, if your plan looks different from mine, I'm just gonna bail. It's not like that. I just need you to tell me where this train is headed, so that I can be sure that my commitment to seeing this through is safe for me and will bear the fruit I'm hoping for down the line.

 

All my love,

Me

 

 

 

Throw it all out there. Be vulnerable. The worst thing that could happen, is you don't like the answer.....but if you don't like the answer, you weren't going to like it SOMETIME, anyway. Life always unfolds how it should...but that doesn't mean that we are to be passive in waiting. Trusting life to happen and waiting for life to happen are two different things. You will not be alone. You are not old. You are worthy of love, you will have love. Don't put all your eggs in one basket...lay them and watch them develop everywhere you go. Opportunities for happiness lie everywhere and come in all sorts of shapes and sizes....don't let fear or anything else, put blinders on you. Dream, but be realistic. Perfect, may not be perfect for you...just as perfect for you may not be perfect. See him for what and who he is and yourself the same way. This is all going to be okay, in the end...hell, everything is okay right now...you are merely engaged in that great work of life. It will not cease until you are dead. You will be figuring out what makes you happy and attempting to move toward it until the very moment you take your last breath. This struggling is normal and good. It means you are growing.

 

This post not edited. Sorry.

 

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#17 of 36 Old 08-26-2011, 05:54 AM
 
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I have had experience with just this kind of situation. It did not get better when the kids moved off to college and a different city. They KNEW their Dad was desperate for their approval/love and continued to hold the girlfriend and his relationship hostage. It was the teenager/adult child version of "if you REALLY loved me you'd..." And generally the stipulation was to drop whatever he was doing with his gf. They insinuated themselves so deeply into the relationship it became poisonous for all involved.

 

I would have it out with him now-maybe it won't turn out this way. But I would be worried and would want ground rules and execptations laid out.

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#18 of 36 Old 08-26-2011, 12:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the detailed response.  Averysmomma and others have asked me to communicate and be upfront with him.  I have been doing that for almost a year now.  His response has been fairly consistent (a) we cannot resolve the issue of geographical distance (who will move) till one of us can actually apply for a job.  We cannot apply now as we are both going to be where we are because our kids are in high school, (b) his kids are not receptive, and he does not want to lose them, (c) he had such a bad marriage for 17 years that he is scared he might make a mistake again either in choice or in his own capabilities as a partner.  He says he loves me, but as a mature adult he cannot let love alone govern his decisions. He prides himself on being a man of his word and focusing on his responsibilities.

 

What is disheartening is he has never talked about the future, we have never made even travel or meeting plans into the future - beyond a month or so. We cannot travel anywhere needing more than 4 days because every five days he gets his kids and he cannot reduce a day with them to make a plan with me.  Further, every time I raise the issue of commitment, he gets upset.  He has told me that he feels these are not resolvable at this time and does not think about it and feels it is pointless to talk about it.  My position is that all couples with careers face geographical choices, and I can work from home so I can stay with him a good part of the year even if my job is elsewhere - which he agrees is a solution, but is not optimal. 

 

He feels talking about this is pointless as the situation is the same and there is nothing new to talk about.  It makes him feel like his "head is exploding" and we should talk no more than half an hour about this when we meet.  So his idea for addressing my concern is a half an hour conversation once a month when we meet.  :(     I suggested we write our thoughts out - but although he writes as part of his job, he feels this is too complex to write (I wonder if it too complex to write, how can half an hour be enough). I think he would rather talk as then he can avoid some issues while in writing it is so much clearer.  Anyway, he refused to engage in a written dialogue to address my concerns. I don't still understand why he is unwilling to make a verbal commitment that he is planning to get married after 2 years, or just give me a timeline of how he sees this progressing.  What he would like is that I just meet him once a month and we have a good time, we talk when his kids are not there and I do not bring up this topic.  I should also mention that we met at an online site that focuses on marriage - not just dating. Early on I was clear that I was looking at marriage and due to my values (upbringing) not comfortable with being intimate outside of marriage. I hate pretending to my daughter and others that I am not in a physical relationship when I am in one.

 

Btw, my own marriage was very happy and lasted 17 years, although my ex left abruptly and we do not communicate. I guess part of my baggage is a fear that things can fall apart very suddenly and without warning for no big reason. So maybe it is really my insecurity that is driving a wedge in what might become a good relationship.

 

Meanwhile, this unresolved issue is spoiling our relationship, which was really very good till this talk of commitment came up. It was his enthusiasm about me, that made me get so involved.  I feel his enthusiasm is dropping but he says he loves me just the same as he did and people do not maintain the highs of the initial romance.  Earlier he found time to talk to me even when his kids were around (but that might have been before his son started resisting), but now it has become an increasingly common practice that we talk a week and don't talk a week.  The thing is we have a good time when we are together but the rest of the month these negatives wear me down a  lot.  I sometimes think maybe it is better to be alone and not have the negatives, but on the other I will miss him and the potential that maybe things will work out once his kids leave.  Sorry to be such a whiner.

 

 

 

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#19 of 36 Old 08-27-2011, 03:54 AM
 
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"What he would like is that I just meet him once a month and we have a good time, we talk when his kids are not there and I do not bring up this topic. "

 

It sounds like you *do* know his position, and that position right now doesn't include planning for the future. He may or may not be sticking around, and he's not going to make that decision until he makes it. It sounds like you have done everything you can to change the situation and it is not changing. He is going to focus on his kids right now, and he will be available to you when they aren't around. It seems like you need to decide either that you are okay with "living in the moment" with him, or if you want to move on and look for someone more future focused or more currently available to prioritize your needs. Moving on doesn't necessarily mean never coming back-- he could always call you when he's ready to talk about the future, or you could even stay in touch until then if he is comfortable with the idea of you potentially dating other people if the opportunity arises. 

 

"I sometimes think maybe it is better to be alone and not have the negatives, but on the other I will miss him and the potential that maybe things will work out once his kids leave."

 

If any relationship is better than no relationship at all, it seems like you are practically welcoming terrible relationships, and willing to hang on even when you aren't getting your needs met. You are worth more than that!  Absolutely, every relationship has its challenges and compromises. But when you start to compromise *everything* and the other person is not compromising *at all*, that's not much of a relationship. 


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#20 of 36 Old 08-27-2011, 04:17 AM
 
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"What he would like is that I just meet him once a month and we have a good time, we talk when his kids are not there and I do not bring up this topic. "

 

It sounds like you *do* know his position, and that position right now doesn't include planning for the future. He may or may not be sticking around, and he's not going to make that decision until he makes it. It sounds like you have done everything you can to change the situation and it is not changing. He is going to focus on his kids right now, and he will be available to you when they aren't around. It seems like you need to decide either that you are okay with "living in the moment" with him, or if you want to move on and look for someone more future focused or more currently available to prioritize your needs. Moving on doesn't necessarily mean never coming back-- he could always call you when he's ready to talk about the future, or you could even stay in touch until then if he is comfortable with the idea of you potentially dating other people if the opportunity arises. 

 

"I sometimes think maybe it is better to be alone and not have the negatives, but on the other I will miss him and the potential that maybe things will work out once his kids leave."

 

If any relationship is better than no relationship at all, it seems like you are practically welcoming terrible relationships, and willing to hang on even when you aren't getting your needs met. You are worth more than that!  Absolutely, every relationship has its challenges and compromises. But when you start to compromise *everything* and the other person is not compromising *at all*, that's not much of a relationship. 

 

 

^This is all making a lot of sense. OP....ask yourself what you really want here and be honest with yourself about whether or not you are going to get it right now, from this man. Read everything you've written here on the forum back to yourself and imagine it's an email that your daughter sent you. What would you advice to her be?? Sometimes the best way to break free from fooling ourselves in a situation like this, is to pretend we are our own daughters....mother yourself. The urge to boss yourself right out of this situation will prove irresistible. blowkiss.gif

 


 

 


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#21 of 36 Old 08-27-2011, 04:53 AM
 
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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.

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#22 of 36 Old 08-27-2011, 06:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

 

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#23 of 36 Old 08-28-2011, 04:38 AM
 
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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.

 

 

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#24 of 36 Old 09-08-2011, 02:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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#25 of 36 Old 09-08-2011, 10:38 AM
 
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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. 

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#26 of 36 Old 09-08-2011, 11:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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#27 of 36 Old 09-13-2011, 10:58 AM
 
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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?

 

 

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#28 of 36 Old 09-13-2011, 01:19 PM
 
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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.

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#29 of 36 Old 09-13-2011, 01:38 PM
 
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  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.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#30 of 36 Old 09-15-2011, 06:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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).  :( 

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