Feeling awful and wanting some advice

NotReadyForThisOctober 25, 2011

Needing to vent, get some input here....

My first time dating a parent.

So I've been with my bf for two years now and he has a 14 year old son. It's great that the kid likes me and wants to include me in his life, but I'm just not feeling it sometimes. I feel torn, like I should spend more time with him to get to know him and build a better relationship

yet at the same time I feel terrified. I got sick of the instant family feeling all the time and feeling hurt knowing that I will always comes last at the bottom of the bf's list. So I moved out of his house and told him that I'm not ready to marry him, live with him, see his son and share my space with his son every night when he visits. When I was living with the bf, I felt like the only space I had to myself was our bedroom.

I've even told him, you need to put us first in OUR relationship because your kid isn't the one who is keeping it together. My needs and wants should come first too! And he replied back with "You don't get it. You're comparing apples to bananas! Kids will always come first.

It's how I was raised and how I think."

I feel like he's the one who doesn't get it!!!

I've thought about this a lot and have realized many things: It's been two years and I don't love the kid. I've realized that I probably won't, but I will be a supportive friend and offer him any help he needs if he asks for it (money for school supplies, etc). As much as I don't

want to be a parental figure to him, I will have to be if I stick around. I have very selfish thoughts. I am aware that I do want to move back in with the bf and find a place of our own but without the son. I have decided to stop spending the holidays together with the bf and his son

and family because I've realized that when we make plans to spend it alone, he will back out on it if his son changes his mind at the last minute to spend it with his father. It also terrifies me deeply that when this kid is of drinking age, I won't get any alone time at all with his father since his father likes to bring him with us wherever we go. I feel grateful right now that he's still underage so that I can go to adult places with the bf alone.

I've told the bf about this issue as well and all he says is that, as teenagers get older, they will spend less time with their parents and he's sorry for putting the whole instant family feeling on me. But it still makes me feel like I have to put my love life I want with him on hold until the kid grows old enough to decide for himself that he doesn't want to spend all his time with his father. Why can't he go back to the romantic man who was pursing me before I met his son?!

Yes, I do realize kids need their parents and need to spend time with them, but it makes me feel like crap. Like I can't get enough alone time and I feel nervous every time we go on dates and the question is burning in the back of my mind "Is his son going to be there as well?"

All my friends think I should leave him because of this. One even said that if the kid is aware that I don't want him around, then it will have a huge impact on his self-esteem, knowing that whenever he comes over to visit every day, there's someone there who doesn't want him there. And I don't want to damage his self-esteem or anything at all! I doubt he even knows I feel this way though.

I beat myself up over having such selfish thoughts every time I think about picturing a future or dates with his father WITHOUT him!!!

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"I've even told him, you need to put us first in OUR relationship because your kid isn't the one who is keeping it together. My needs and wants should come first too!"

Just the fact that you can say that tells me you are correct, you are not cut out for this. Go find someone else.

I have two kids, 14 and 11....I'm dating someone who has a 12 year old and totally gets it....but if I ever dated someone who expected to come FIRST, before my kids, she'd be gone.

I willingly bought these kids into the world....who and what they become is totally dependent on how me and my ex raise them.....they are my first priority, before girl fiend, before work, before friends....no questions. I only get one chance to raise them....there are no "do-overs" in parenting. I would never let the expectations/demands of a girl effect how I parent them. When I started dating, I pretty much assumed only someone who had a kid also would be a good match for me...they could understand.

Plenty of guys out there without kids....you'd be better of with one of them.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2011 at 4:16PM
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In my opinion, in a family, the marriage/relationship should be first but not before the NEEDS of the child/family, if that makes sense. It's just less of an issue when it's a nuclear family. The parents are a team & the children are lower on the hierarchy.

But what it sounds like, you don't want to be a "family". You want a relationship. I have an uncle that dated his GF for about 10 years until her youngest child turned 18 before they got married. They waited until all their children were grown & they are happy, been together nearly 30 years now. That is another option.

You do not have to step into a parent role. If he accepts you in his life, that's great! That's more than a lot of kids will do.

I also believe your BF is correct. As they get older, kids want to hang out with their friends. He'll be 16 in a couple of years, old enough to drive & the last thing teens want is to spend all their time with their parents. When he reaches drinking age, they don't wanna go clubbing with the parents... that's probably the last thing they want. If you like him enough to be a friend, that's not a bad thing. Let his parents parent him & as long as you are not living with him, you can control how much contact/involvement you'll have. Perhaps you can arrange alone time when his son is with his mom or friends. All relationships need alone time without kids.

I also agree with mkroopy, there are a lot of guys out there without kids that don't want kids. I won't say you'd be better off with one of them, only you know that. There is a lot of truth to parents understand other parents than non-parents. If you really can't deal with it, move on.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2011 at 4:34PM
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It's nice that Mkroopy is around to give a male's take on issues. It makes it all not just coming from females and/or BMs and SMs.

Except for a dinner out in a lounge type setting, I can't imagine any young adult really wanting to go clubbing with Dad and GF. I can't really imagine too many fathers wanting to take their adult child along every night he goes out and especially to clubs.

It is perfectly normal for a father to spend father/son time during father/son visitations. I'm assuming Dad has visitations and not full custody? Is there a BM in the picture and how often is the son at Dad's house? Also, maybe not, but I get the sense you are younger than your BF by a number of years?

I think all the questions play a part in anything else I might have added.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2011 at 5:36PM
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My advice is that you leave and find someone else, thought not for the same reasons Mkroopy gave. I suspect your BF is using his child as a cover for not wanting to commit, and even if you get past it, the feeings you have now will linger for a long time.

My DH used his DD as a buffer between he and I for over 5 years before I got fed up and left (I guess I was a glutton for punishment). We took a break, and obviously, we were able to work most of this out (SD moved away which resolved most of it) or we wouldn't have gotten married, but HIS actions built an atmosphere of competition that SD, DS and I still feel the remnants of when we are all together.

He didn't want to commit, but still wanted me around. It took me almost 2 years before I saw what was going on. Actually it was our 2nd New Years Eve together and he didn't want to go out, but didn't actually want to say it, so he called BM and arranged to have SD that night and told me (at the last minute, of course) that he couldn't go because BM had to work so he had to keep SD. The next day, the truth came out when BM picked up SD at an odd time (for her having to have had to work the night before).

DH having SD every weekend was the PERFECT reason to get out of doing things with me that he didn't necessarily want to do, such as attend weddings (going to a wedding alone really sucks) or my work events. I couldn't argue without sounding evil, hateful and selfish.

He would never tell SD he was on a date with me. Our first 3 dates were during the week and I got a babysitter for my DS (3 years old at the time), because he didn't want SD to get jealous. He even jumped up out of the booth and ran out to the car to take her "goodnight" phone call during dinner at a fancy steakhouse we went to on our 2nd date. He didn't want her to know he was out so he went out to the car because it would be quiet.

Eventually, the "dates" stopped because I refused to continue getting a sitter when he would never try to find time to go out on the weekends DS was with his dad. And that was another perfect excuse because he could say "well I only get her on the weekends, but you get DS during the week." So then I'd feel guilty for even daring to think I could ask him to spend time with me without our kids.

One night, I planned a romantic evening specifically on a night after SD had an event, BM was off, and SD would likely go home with BM. As we are......you know......spending time together, SD calls and leaves a message that she wants to come over and BM can drop her off in 10 minutes. He asks me "are we done?", calls SD back and tells her BM can drop her off anytime and that we were just watching TV.

I was hurt that he was so willing to brush me off that quickly when we hadn't had a single moment alone in almost 4 years! But what could I say? If I ever complained about it, he'd say I didn't like his daughter, which was quickly becoming the truth since he was effectively using her against me.

I felt the same way....I hated myself for being jealous of a little girl! I told myself I was selfish and, of course, he wasted no opportiunity to throw the "You can't make me choose between you and my daughter" defense in my face. It was the perfect cover for him not wanting to commit and he used it all the time.

Three things we learned through this are:

1. I was not crazy or selfish for expecting some adult alone-time with the man I was dating!!! There has to be a balance between parenting and dating. In a perfect world, the dating and alone-time would come BEFORE there are kids to compete for attention. In situations where there are already kids, adult alone-time HAS to become intentional. Sure it's not going to be as often as if there were no kids, but it's not about quantity, it's about quality.

2. Your kids can't be your life. This goes with anyone in any type of family. If you make your kids the sole source of your happiness, you will always be sad, because you will never be that for them, and one day they will leave you and you'll be left with someone you don't know.....you. You are allowed to have your own interests and hobbies, and it's good for your kids to be involved in something you like to do instead of always being involved in them. It teaches them that the world doesn't revolve around them, but they still feel important in it. I started playing on a co-ed softball team while DH and I were on that break and I kept up with it. DS LOVES coming out and cheering me on and supporting me! And, while DH and I were separated, I wasn't wallowing around in pity on the weekends DS was with his dad.

3. Kids need to see healthy dating and marriage relationships modeled for them in order to grow up and have healthy dating and marriage relationships. We wonder why there are so many divorces and broken families...maybe it's because too many parents modeled self-centered marriages and the kids just keep repeating the patterns? This is true for intact families, too, but has to be even more intentional with stepfamilies.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2011 at 6:03PM
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I've never thought of him not wanting to commit since he keeps telling me he wants to get married since the beginning of the relationship and wanting me to move back in with him.

You may be right, the kid may not want to go to clubs (and I'm not the clubbing type, the bf is) but he does enjoy his father's company and likes to follow him everywhere. The point is, is that I would really like to have more dates without the son being there. It doesn't have to be a club, in fact there are a lot of places I would love to go to that isn't even 21+ and some I do know that the son would be interested in going to as well, but I would love to go alone with his father instead. And right now, I keep choosing bars that the son can't go to because it seems like the only place I spend time alone with the bf! Although if we're going somewhere that peaks the son's interest and its 21+, he will bug his father about wanting to go.

One time we were camping and stood around a campfire with other people to warm ourselves since our tent was soaked from the night before. Some of the adults were talking about going to a pirate con with shirtless knife fighting and the bf and I thought it would be interesting to go. His son wanted to come along with, if we ever decided to go. I kept trying to point out that, I don't feel comfortable bringing him along due to the adult activities and I don't feel comfortable with him seeing us in that kind of setting even though there are is no age limit and most of the adult activities takes place at night while the children are all assumed to be sleeping. The bf just doesn't seem to get this at all or maybe he does, but he chooses to disregard it.

He comes over almost every night to visit after school and get help with homework. Then when his mother gets off of work at night, she comes to pick him up.

This may seem very silly to all of you, but I've been noticing for awhile now that, one of the reasons why I also find it so hard to accept his son is because of how old he is. I raised my sister's four kids when she was working and can connect with younger children better. But I'm dealing with a teenager and I think I would have been able to handle it better and be more receptive if the son had been younger and I helped in caring for him and raising him too. I keep trying to tell myself that the nice part about the bf having a teenager is that he doesn't need a babysitter (even though we don't get to be alone much) and this will prepare me to deal with other teens.

I find myself becoming resentful because I feel like asking for my needs and want to be met or fulfilled on some level in this relationship is a crime.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2011 at 9:09PM
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"he keeps telling me he wants to get married since the beginning of the relationship and wanting me to move back in with him."
I remember hearing somewhere before, do not believe anything a man tells you, only what he does.

So do the two of you ever go out alone, without the son? He's 14, he's old enough to stay home by himself. I find it kinda weird that a 14 year old would want to tag along with two adults, even if one of them is his dad. You and your BF should have some time alone, maybe one weekend the three of you hang out, the next weekend just you and BF.

If your BF is not meeting your needs, he may be using his son as an excuse. If he didn't have a son, I bet he'd use something else as an excuse, work, a hobby, etc. as a reason not to spend time alone with you. You have to look at the relationship and try and figure out what's really going on in your BF's head.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2011 at 9:58PM
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As you've chosen to be selective in info (ex: how many weekends son is there ect)it seems a bit impossible to give ideas on advice/solutions, but I will point out two things that shows signs of 'trouble' for you.

1. --"Why can't he go back to the romantic man who was pursing me before I met his son?!"--

Obviously this guy found plenty of alone, just 'you' time when he wanted to. So why the change? What is diferent now for BF that he no longer desires to find this free time?

2. --" My needs and wants should come first too! And he replied back with 'You don't get it. You're comparing apples to bananas! Kids will always come first.
It's how I was raised and how I think'. I feel like he's the one who doesn't get it!!!"--

It really does not matter if you think he's right or wrong in his thoughts of being a father and his active role in being one. Maybe 'he' really does not 'get it' but it's not about what is right or wrong in viewpoints...the thing is he flat out told you he intends to put his kid first and foremost. It's what HE thinks and what HE is doing. He does not seem to have left much room for considering your feelings and/or opinion on the subject. I'm not saying that is right or wrong, but it is what it is 9at least for now)

I guess I don't understand if kid is there after school a while every school day to hang a bit and get homework assistance why you'd feel a need to hid in your room. Why not use that time to do things you want to do? Sure, you can't go off and do 'me' things every night all week (well you could if you wanted I suppose) but surely you have interests of your own that you can let dad and son have a couple afternoons a week with just themselves yet still not feel you're an unwanted third wheel. So you get back from something like a the gym (or whatever you like to do)...is there any reason why then BF and you can't go for a quiet dinner. Leave a pizza at home for kiddo.

You've not answered the weekend visitation, but does BF really have son every weekend? Is there a valid reason a couple Saturday evenings a month BF can't take you to dinner and drinks at a club minus the son? Anything other than BF does not want to?

I think BF is being honest with you that his son is only a child/teen once and it will be shortly before this son finds other things to do than hang with Dad. Kid will be off with a drivers license in a couple short years. Doing teen events that he can't quite do at 14 but opens wide up as he gets into HS years. Football games, dating on his own GF, hanging with the guys blah blah. It really does not sound as if BF has an unhealthy attachment to kid or that the kid is a 'bad' kid...it really just seems rather as if you wish the kid did not exist. Nothing against the kid, he just cramps the lifestyle you wish to have at this point of your life.

I'm not saying you're wrong to expect some time alone with BF...but there is always ways to get private adult evenings. Just kinda seems like BF is not all that interested in having the private time as much as you are ( at least not at this point while he still has a 14 yr old that BF appears to realize is going to grow up and move on fairly fast)

Maybe Bf is afraid of committment as Ashley suggested. Maybe not. But if this guy had plenty of time for romantic pursuing not too long ago, the guy could still find that time now. The desire to do that is what seems to have changed here. He did it once while he 'pursued' you as you say.

Maybe it's time for a real sit down heart to heart and discuss what both of you want and need out of this relationship and where you both think this relationship is headed the way things stand now. He's already snubbed his nose at your opinion of his putting his son first and did not particularly care that you did not agree. If that is really how he feels, does not sound as if he, himself wants anything to change right now or for things to be different. Why? I have no idea. You have to talk to him for answers. Just be aware, you may not like his answers.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2011 at 11:41PM
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My DH said the same things..... That's why I stuck around so long. HE is the one that said "I love you" first. And HE is the one that said that meeting me changed his opinion of marriage. HE was the one that wanted to introduce the kids to eachother. I thought he was crazy for moving so fast! He acted all wounded when I wanted to move slower because I had just gotten divorced.

A year later, I'm the one doing all the work to keep the relationship going, and left wondering "What the he!! happened here!"

Amber is right...if he didn't have the son as a convenient excuse, he would find something else. I would seriously not move back in until you have a firm commitment.

And talking about telling you he wants to get married and actally asking are two extremely different things. He could be telling you what he knows you want to hear to get you to stay around...especially for the times he's alone.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2011 at 9:31AM
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"Why can't he go back to the romantic man who was pursing me before I met his son?!"

Welcome to reality....any woman who expects the amount of "wooing" to not subside as the relationship goes from the "pursuing" stage into the committed relationship stage is in for a big letdown. Not saying it's right or wrong, and of course a guy should try to do some of those same things...but it's completely unrealistic to expect the amount of romance not to taper off. It's like a guy expecting his wife's butt to stay the same as the years go on....

    Bookmark   October 26, 2011 at 10:45AM
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Mkroopy!! Lol!! Haha! My butt actually got smaller when Dh and I moved in together bc we had to start eating in for financial reasons and we were not going on 'dates' anymore. But I hear ya!!

My Dh doesn't have children other than the one we have together and the 'wooing' phase pretty much ended at I do because of life in general. We had to find ways to keep it alive but it's not the same as it was and I'd much rather be his wife than his GF at this point so I accept that life gets in the way sometimes of being his 'prey' lol
All relationships are this way. I don't know anyone that is in a committed relationship or marriage that would say its the same as it was in the dating phase.

When you have kids, their needs come first. Like you said, you get this one chance to raise them, to guide them, to be their parent, youhave the rest of your life to be # 1 after they are grown... My kids come first period.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2011 at 11:07AM
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I don't know. My Dh seems to still have that 'romantic' touch after all these years. Still makes me feel special. Can't say we both wear the same 'rosy' colored glasses, but through the years he's worked very hard at keeping the fire going even through all the kids, the differences of opinions, the careers blah blah. Maybe because we both already had a child going in it made it easier to know reality. That there would be good days and bad days and even a few 'what the h*ll was I thinking' days. Silly as it sounds, I'd have to say the guy is my best friend, co-parent, lover and pain in the rear. We make time for each other, always have. When something is going on with one of our kids, we're right there side by side.


--"I do want to move back in with the bf and find a place of our own but without the son."--

Anyone who states they want to live with the guy, purchase a home together and not allow the kid around is not being realistic in her choice of partners. Picked the wrong guy or picked him at the wrong point in his life. This current choice can't give her what she wants. I think Ima gave a good example of her relative above that waited it out merely dating and building an adult relationship until the kids were up and gone. The arrangment worked for them and now lives quite happily.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2011 at 12:11PM
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That is so sweet JMT. It's kind of ironic that my husband and I just had this conversation on Monday night. He is very affectionate where I'm not. I'm busy. I'm go go go. I never sit and cuddle I'm always doing someone's laundry or putting someone in the bath, by the time they are in bed, I'm exhausted and don't want to be touched! Dh and I had date night on Saturday. It was wonderful but it will never be like it was when we were dating. I can remember picking out what I was going to wear way ahead of time and often buying something new. Now I just pick what is clean and isn't my normal daily wear. I spring for the satin panties and bra and when my kids aren't home I wear TASTEFUL langerie but not because I am getting lucky... It's just how we try to have 'our' special evening/night. But when getting rEady for a date , it's not the same butterflies it was when we were dating and he was coming to pick me up and the look on his face when he first saw me. He still compliments me but I'm his wife not his gf and he sees me as his wife. He always tells me I'm beautiful etc but I'm his wife now and the mother of his child. I doubt he cares about my wrinkles or my stretch marks or my occasional adult acne I get that makes me whine -- I'm more comfortable now than I was when dating. I prefer the way I feel now but I do sometimes miss that excitement of dating and the new person in my life. It's when I feel butterflies in my stomach just thinking about it and it make me pick up the phone to call and let him know how much I love him. It won't ever be the same as when we were dating, to me it is so much better. But that is just my opinion. He picked me! He is mine! Not my BF and I know he is committed to me, there go the butterflies again lol :)

    Bookmark   October 26, 2011 at 2:12PM
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