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Thread: I don't know how to react to this.

  1. #1
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    I don't know how to react to this.

    Hello. My girlfriend and I have been seeing each other exclusively for the past year and a half. I'm 52, no kids, she's 56 and has two boys ages 17 and 14. The father of her sons is not a very good person from what she told me about him. He's crazy and abusive and didn't treat her well and doesn't take much interest in his sons. She told me early on that she suspected her oldest would possibly eventually not want to continue visitation with his dad. And now that time has come. He has decided that he doesn't want to go and see his dad anymore. From what I understand about him, I don't blame him. But I don't know much about that story, I keep out of it. It's really none of my business and I don't want it to be.

    Because of the way her ex has treated her kids, she has been very careful about introducing me into her kids lives. She waited six months before I met them. That was fine with me and I understood. In the past year that they have known me though, I haven't been intrusive towards them, but I have bought them tickets on a few occasions to go out with their mother and I and I've attended some of their extracurricular activities, but I make sure not to put any pressure on them. I'm not their dad, I don't want to be, and I don't want them to think that I'm trying to interject myself into their lives in a parental capacity. I'm not and I never will. I care about them because I care about their mother, but I consider myself to be a friend to them if they want me to be and nothing more.

    So the arrangement her and I have had so far for seeing each other has been basically me going to her house when the kids are with their dad. When her son decided he wasn't going to visit his father anymore, she just matter of fact told me that I would not be able to stay the night at her house anymore as long as he was there. I wasn't asked how I felt about it and no other explanation was given to me, just that I could no longer stay the night if her son was going to be there. That's it.

    I told her I felt that we were at a point in our relationship where it would be okay for me to stay over with her son there. I said that if things have been going in that direction anyway, which they appear to be, and her son has now decided he's going to be there, then now would probably be the time for us to take that next step. I asked her if she was ready for that and if she wanted to take that next step. She said, "yes I need to talk to him about it, but I don't want to spring anything on them". I told her she's not, the kids know me and I'm not new to them. She has fears because her ex introduced his girlfriend to them very early on and she apparently isn't very nice to them either. I said, "are you ready to take that next step?", and she said "yes...I don't know..." and then she laughed. Doesn't exactly make me feel very confident.

    So it's been a couple weeks now and she hasn't mentioned anything to her son about me being around more or staying the night. Her and I are avid concert goers and we have a lot of dates planned for the next few months that were made with our usual plan, which is we go out and I stay at her house for the weekend. Now it looks like it's just going to be me going to pick her up, we go out, I drop her off and go home. Sex is definitely out of the question with that kind of arrangement and I don't know how she feels about that and she hasn't asked me how I feel about it. We are both very sexual people and it's an important aspect of the relationship for both of us.

    I just feel like I've kinda been left hanging at this point and that she made a unilateral decision about our relationship based on her exes behavior without my input being considered. I'm kinda beside myself at the moment wondering how this is going to play out.

    How do I react to this? Her son is 17, so he's aware of what's going on between his mom and I. It's not a mystery. He's very standoff-ish with me and I honestly can't get a read on him about how he feels about me either way. But her younger son who's 14 is very friendly and it's clear that he has no problem with me.

    So what's the best way for me to react? I want us to take that next step and be more of a part of her life and everything she and I have done up to now has made me feel that's the direction we were going. I've spent the past year letting her kids get to know me. One of them is practically an adult an the other isn't far behind. Do I just hang back and let the situation in her house play out however it's going to? I'm ready for her and I to get more serious, but I feel like she's just kinda leaving me hanging at the moment. How do I approach this with her? Or should I at all?

  2. #2
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Yes, just hang back a bit. Her kids will always come first and many of her decisions and actions will revolve around them rather then her love life.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member reinventmyself's Avatar
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    You pretty much described my life a few years ago. Two sons, at differing points, no longer wanting to stay with their father and lived with me full time. All this in the middle of dating someone.

    It wasn't a unilateral decision but more of mom putting her son first, as she should. You should have anticipated any and all scenarios before you got involved with someone with kids.

    In your opinion everyone is ready, but there are two other people in the mix.

    Best advise, don't push. Don't persuade . Trust that she is clearly aware of how you feel and the impact it has on everyone. You push, she could likely choose and it will likely not be you.

    Give them time to adjust to his full time home and time for mom to wrap her around how it's going to feel when you pass each other in the hallway coming out of the bathroom in the middle of the night. It was this exact time that I critically evaluated the relationship I was in and had to be honest with myself if I saw us still together in the long run. If not, I wouldn't chance exposing my son to it.

    You say the boy is a little standoffish? Then it's safe to say he's not comfortable with Mom's sleep overs. My ex had sleep overs and after enough unnecessarily exposure and tension is what led the boys to want to stay with me.

    Why can't you go to your house? That's what I did when my sons were that age. That coupled with high school kids constantly staying the night at friends houses gives mom a free pass for the night.

    If this relationship is important to you, how you handle this milestone (and there will be plenty more) will determine the outcome.

    This calls for being generous, patient and flexible.
    And when you least expect it, things will change again.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    This is where you show her how much you care about her, and respect her, by basically sitting still. She knows how you feel and what you'd like, big picture, and it sounds like she's pretty lined up in that respect. That's all great. Trust it, don't push.

    Kids are kids—they come first, and she needs to adjust to this new situation first before making it more complicated. That's just the deal. What you want in a day or a month might take a lot more time than usual. That's not a verdict on her feelings about you, or even being on a different page, but simply the reality of her life.

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  6. #5
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    Originally Posted by reinventmyself
    You pretty much described my life a few years ago. Two sons, at differing points, no longer wanting to stay with their father and lived with me full time. All this in the middle of dating someone.

    It wasn't a unilateral decision but more of mom putting her son first, as she should. You should have anticipated any and all scenarios before you got involved with someone with kids.

    In your opinion everyone is ready, but there are two other people in the mix.

    Best advise, don't push. Don't persuade . Trust that she is clearly aware of how you feel and the impact it has on everyone. You push, she could likely choose and it will likely not be you.

    Give them time to adjust to his full time home and time for mom to wrap her around how it's going to feel when you pass each other in the hallway coming out of the bathroom in the middle of the night. It was this exact time that I critically evaluated the relationship I was in and had to be honest with myself if I saw us still together in the long run. If not, I wouldn't chance exposing my son to it.

    You say the boy is a little standoffish? Then it's safe to say he's not comfortable with Mom's sleep overs. My ex had sleep overs and after enough unnecessarily exposure and tension is what led the boys to want to stay with me.

    Why can't you go to your house? That's what I did when my sons were that age. That coupled with high school kids constantly staying the night at friends houses gives mom a free pass for the night.

    If this relationship is important to you, how you handle this milestone (and there will be plenty more) will determine the outcome.

    This calls for being generous, patient and flexible.
    And when you least expect it, things will change again.
    Yes, this is a time for re-evalution, I agree. Not just for her, but for both of us. I knew she had kids and I was ready to accept them and I still am. She knew she had kids and should know if she's ready to make me a part of her life or not. It's been a year. I've been patient, generous and flexible. She needs to be forthcoming with me about where I stand. We can go to my house, but she can't leave the kids at home alone. The relationship is important to me, but it also needs to be fair. I'm just not sure of the best way I can express that to her.

  7. #6
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    Originally Posted by bluecastle
    This is where you show her how much you care about her, and respect her, by basically sitting still. She knows how you feel and what you'd like, big picture, and it sounds like she's pretty lined up in that respect. That's all great. Trust it, don't push.

    Kids are kids—they come first, and she needs to adjust to this new situation first before making it more complicated. That's just the deal. What you want in a day or a month might take a lot more time than usual. That's not a verdict on her feelings about you, or even being on a different page, but simply the reality of her life.
    Thank you. You've expressed pretty much how I feel about it. I just don't want her to keep me in the dark about it. I don't see any reason why she can't tell me how she feels about this new development and what it means to our relationship.

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    It's not about whether or not YOU can "accept " her kids, but what is right and healthy for THEM.

  9. #8
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jul-els
    Yes, this is a time for re-evalution, I agree. Not just for her, but for both of us. I knew she had kids and I was ready to accept them and I still am. She knew she had kids and should know if she's ready to make me a part of her life or not. It's been a year. I've been patient, generous and flexible. She needs to be forthcoming with me about where I stand. We can go to my house, but she can't leave the kids at home alone. The relationship is important to me, but it also needs to be fair. I'm just not sure of the best way I can express that to her.
    What I can't help but hear—and, of course, I understand you're emotional right now—is that you're losing that patience at a moment when she needs it most. It's been a couple of weeks of this new arrangement—also known as three seconds in Parent Time.

    It sounds like she told you where you stand—that, big picture, she wants what you want. But it's only been three seconds. If you can see it a bit more along those lines I think you may find that you both get what you want.

    If you push more about knowing "where you stand," or needing her to prove something by putting your needs before those of her son, you are very likely going to push things to a point where something cracks.

  10. #9
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    Originally Posted by bluecastle
    What I can't help but hear—and, of course, I understand you're emotional right now—is that you're losing that patience at a moment when she needs it most. It's been a couple of weeks of this new arrangement—also known as three seconds in Parent Time.

    It sounds like she told you where you stand—that, big picture, she wants what you want. But it's only been three seconds. If you can see it a bit more along those lines I think you may find that you both get what you want.

    If you push more about knowing "where you stand," or needing her to prove something by putting your needs before those of her son, you are very likely going to push things to a point where something cracks.
    Thank you, this is very helpful. I guess what's really bothering me is the way she approached it. Just, "you can't stay over anymore" and that's it. No discussion or consideration about how that would make me feel. I guess that's what's actually bothering me. I feel like I just need a bit more communication from her at the moment. But perhaps that's just me. Perhaps not. I'm not sure at the moment. But as you said, this is all still a very new development.

  11. #10
    Platinum Member reinventmyself's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jul-els
    But as you said, this is all still a very new development.
    And because it's a new development, it's developing. I get the sense that when the boy moved in and you said it was so, it was to happen according to your time frame.

    Again. The kids come first and it should happen according to the child's time frame. If waiting is too much for you, then you have that option to end it, of course.

    Trust me when I tell you this is weighing heavily on her.

    In my case, the boyfriend at the time told me I needed to do what ever was best for my son and he wouldn't have it any other way. His value skyrocketed in the moment.

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