Splitting Up, Please Help - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 21 Old 10-29-2008, 08:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am likely leaving my relationship with DP shortly over some differences in core beliefs that I cannot feel comfortable about having in my life. I'm hoping the break-up will be amicable. I think he and I can manage that.

I've found that "no contact" for several months post-relationship best facilitates personal healing, and then I generally become friends with my exes...some closer than others.

DP and I have been dating for almost a year. He has 2 daughters, 10 and 15. He lives with the elder. I am close to both, but am unlikely to come into any contact with the younger any time soon. I am likely for a number of reasons to run into the elder. She is also on my myspace and facebook.

If this split occurs, I will consult with DP, of course, but I am looking for advice on what to do or if there is anything for me to do or not do regarding the girls, in particular the elder. The nature of our relationship will inevitably change now, as she will not be seeing me often. She will, however, see me sometimes, I'm sure. It's a small town.

I know every situation is different, but I would like some advice. I don't want the kids to hurt more than they have to. I don't know how much control or influence I have, or what I am personally capable of doing in my grief, but I want to do as well as possible by them because I do love them. And him.

Help. Please only reply if you can be gentle and very kind; I am hurting so much and will run away and not read this any of the replies if someone is anything but very kind to me.

In grief,
Phanta
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#2 of 21 Old 10-29-2008, 08:35 PM
 
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I think you should talk to the girls one on one and reassure them that you still care for them and leave the door open to them. At their ages, they can decide for themselves what feels right.
Good luck. Breaking up a blended family is uniquely challenging.
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#3 of 21 Old 10-29-2008, 08:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you.

The younger one (10) lives far away and will likely not be visiting until summer. Phone contact is not natural for us, and usually is in the context of her being on the phone with her Dad and I break in on the conversation. I occasionally send her things in the mail. Ideas? Or let DP handle it, and pass along my love.

Phanta
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#4 of 21 Old 10-29-2008, 10:00 PM
 
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I would probably let your DP handle the younger one since you do not a big relationship with her. The older one, I would talk to yourself. I would just leave the door open for her if she needs anything from you. Good luck with it all. I know this could not have been an easy decision for you to make.

Mama to Ava (12/03) , Leila (4/06) , Violet (11/08) , and bonus mama to Madison (7/98)
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#5 of 21 Old 10-29-2008, 10:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you.

It is not easy, but I think it is right. I have some further council to seek, but I think this is the right thing for my well-being.

We have what I find to be a major incompatibility. This particular belief of his is a biggie for me. I have trouble even being around people who hold it. I have a very strong emotional reaction to it that I simply can't choose to stomach. DP is even willing to never speak of it around me. But what kind of relationship is that, where one of us feels like we have to hide a belief? Not one that I can feel good about.

There are so many wonderful things about our relationship, and DP himself. So, so many. This is such a shame. I have grown so much in this relationship, and am grateful that he has been able to tolerate me in all of my variety. I feel deep disappointment and loss.

Thank you for the advice. Other advice is welcome.

Phanta
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#6 of 21 Old 10-29-2008, 11:03 PM
 
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I have no advice, but I don't want to read and not say anything.

Hugs to you.

ProtoLawyer (the now-actual lawyer, this isn't legal advice,  please don't take legal advice from some anonymous yahoo on the Internet)
Spouse (the political geek) * Stepdaughter (the artist) * and introducing...the Baby (um, he's a baby? He likes shiny things).
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#7 of 21 Old 10-30-2008, 11:53 AM
 
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I agree with pp--let your dp deal with the younger dd and you talk directly to the older. It sounds like you have a good relationship with her and I'm sure it would be reassuring to her for you to talk to her.

You seem to have thought long and hard about this decision and even though it is obviously painful it seems as though you know in your heart that it's the right decision for you. That will bring comfort in the long run.
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#8 of 21 Old 10-30-2008, 06:36 PM
 
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I have no wise words for you, but so much respect and love. I'm hoping you and your DP can find a way to come through this safely and happily, whether that is as a couple or not.

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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#9 of 21 Old 10-30-2008, 09:48 PM
 
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How kind of you to be thinking of your stepdaughters! I've often thought myself that if for some reason, dh and I were no longer together (death or divorce), I would want to try and maintain some sort of connection with my dss if they wished.

Understand that it may be an ackward and painful time for your stepdaughter, and that it may take some time for her to adjust. As pp have said, let her lead the way, letting her know you're available. Take care.
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#10 of 21 Old 10-31-2008, 10:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I appreciate the support.

I told him this morning that I am ending the relationship. He said it wasn't unexpected. I've been crying a lot, of course. I'm in a lot of pain. I really wanted this to work. But...the strong feelings I was having about his core beliefs were different from the struggles I experienced with situational challenges like step-parenting. The latter, I felt like I was moving mountains inside me sometimes, the former felt like I was facing solid foundations inside us. In order to stay together, one of us would have to be smashed to bits. That's not a loving relationship. It can't work, no matter how many great things are in the relationship. And so.

We'll talk more about the girls this afternoon. I have to think about what, if any, boundaries I need to have around our relationship, should they wish to continue contact with me. I want to stay available to her, but I also want to minimize contact with her father. I need to heal.

I think we can work through this.
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#11 of 21 Old 10-31-2008, 11:48 AM
 
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mama.
just wanted to give you a hug and say good luck and im sorry you have to go through this and that that teenage girl is lucky to have you as a friend.

Mama to 3 boys 

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#12 of 21 Old 11-02-2008, 09:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This is so painful.
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#13 of 21 Old 11-02-2008, 10:38 AM
 
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I dated someone over 15 years ago that had two daughters I became quite close to. When we split it was really ugly and horrible and I really needed to just get completely out of it.

I lost contact with everyone. But a few years later, I was able to connect with the daughters again. I apologized for dropping out of their lives and they said they understood the circumstances.

We still communicate, but it hasn't been the same. I know, back then it was what I really needed to do...but part of me wished I could have stayed closer to the girls...or reconnected with them after a few months.

Listen to your heart and do what you feel you need to do.

Wishing you all well as you move out of this relationship.
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#14 of 21 Old 11-11-2008, 03:27 AM
 
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It is hard, I'm sorry you're going through this.

My ex was quite volatile after the split, despite it being expected as well. I spoke to my dss's and explained to them that it wasn't about them, and my door was always open.

I hope you're able to maintain contact with the oldest. I was quite close to my youngest ss, having raised him almost full time from when he was 3 until 12. I was able to have time with him on occasion until DH and I made plans to marry and the ex cut off all contact with my dss's.

Only now that they are 18/21 am I getting in contact with them again because of my lovely exSIL's.

Again, I'm sorry that you're having to deal with this. Getting out of a relationship that isn't right for you is hard enough, giving up access to children you love makes it that much harder.
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#15 of 21 Old 11-15-2008, 04:44 AM
 
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my dd is on the receiving end of this unfortunately right now. i just broke up with my bf of 2 years. she's heartbroken, upset, angry, etc. i sat her down and told her that it was over, we're still friends and it has nothing to do with her. of course she's 4.5 and it's very hard for her to understand. she's very attached, we were talking marriage, babies, etc.
hugs and good luck...

single mama to DD 5.09
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#16 of 21 Old 11-22-2008, 03:23 AM
 
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Ask the girls what they would like. Be there for them, but not pushy. My ex step mom is a wonderful asset and friend to me. We have remained close.

I often find that other people think it is wierd that I remain friends with her, so you may want to be ready for this.
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#17 of 21 Old 12-20-2008, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I ran into her and her Dad for the first time in a store today. Conversation was awkward. I felt she wanted to hug me, and I wanted to hug her, but it didn't happen. My conversation was mumbled and stilted--very unlike me. I felt overwhelmed within moments and don't clearly remember ending the conversation and wandering away.

I sent a message to ex shortly after expressing regret, and he told me she was ok but she cried after seeing me and not getting a hug and love. I dream about her, hugging and loving on her as I used to all the time (in my dreams we are all still a family). But in real life I just experience overwhelm and shut down. I can't offer her what she really wants anymore (a Mum-figure) for a number of reasons. I decided I wasn't emotionally up for having face-to-face contact with her or the little one for the foreseeable future, because I feel strongly I need to avoid her Dad due to my emotional state. I don't want to communicate with him at all right now, which I think is more likely if I am hanging out with the girls. But they love me, I love them, and we are obviously attached. I'm trying to offer something.

A few weeks ago I tried offering to continue to e-mail with her, but didn't get a response, though she has kept me linked to her on social networking sites and every once in a while posts a survey or note that references missing me or loving me.

Not giving her a big hug was a mistake. I'm thinking of calling her and telling her I love her and I'm sorry I didn't give her a big hug, but ex said to wait until tomorrow if I choose to do that.

I'm just...not steady, stable, and consistent. At least not post-break-up. I have no idea what is the "right thing" to do anymore that is manageable for me. Disappearing, comes to mind. Move out of town. But that's not realistic. I have to learn to live in close proximity.

This is stuff I will work out with my counselor, but it's fresh now and I thought it might help to write.

Phanta
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#18 of 21 Old 12-20-2008, 10:40 PM
 
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Big hugs to you! That must have been tough. I'm glad you are able to talk to your ex, though, and still keep in contact with her if you so choose.
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#19 of 21 Old 12-21-2008, 04:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I rang Miss H and apologized for running off in the store. We had a heartfelt discussion about where we might go from here. I had boundaries, and she was very open to accepting them, acknowledging it would be "different". The catching up was natural and loving. She is fantastic.

One thing is certain, my eyes are now open to a whole different dimension of gifts and challenges that comes with dating a man with children (as opposed to one without). I have no regrets, but it has made a huge impact and has been a massive learning experience.

Thanks, Fiana, for the bit of compassion and support. It means a lot.

Phanta
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#20 of 21 Old 12-21-2008, 09:32 PM
 
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Ouch *big huge hugs*
I can't even imagine.

New endeavor coming soon...
Raising Alice in Wonderland (DSD, 17), and in love with a Superman
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#21 of 21 Old 12-22-2008, 11:40 AM
 
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Falling in love with someone who has kids is an entirely different experience than being with someone who is childless, isn't it!? I am really glad, though, that the child in this case is being given the opportunity to express her feelings, have a continuing relationship with you on some level, and can have healthy closure. That's got to mean a lot. It's horrible to have that extra layer of grief for you, though. Big hugs.
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