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Dating for a nearly a year but still not met my children. Is this normal to feel this way?

(17 Posts)
Meaningoflife Mon 28-Jan-13 21:27:27

Hi, this is my first ever post on this site so please bear with me if I'm posting in the wrong forum/breaking rules/waffling etc.

Brief background:2 DDs 10 & 7, Husband left me 3 years ago (we are now divorced but have an amicable relationship).

I joined an internet dating site a year ago, more to get my confidence back after nearly 20 years in a relationship. I was clear that I wanted to date but didnt want anything serious. Started seeing a lovely guy in March and we are still seeing each other. We chat on phone most evenings and see each other every other weekend when my DDs are with their Dad. We live approx 50 mins from each other.

He has told me that he loves me and I do have feelings for him but I fear that they are not strong enough and I dont want to mess him about. I have met his 3 children and his parents on 2 occasions in nearly a year - just a brief 'hello' before we went out to dinner. This is totally down to me not wanting to meet them, or be more active in their lives (he is a single parent and has his kids full time). He still hasnt met my children. He is understanding, not pushing as my eldest daughter has said she doesnt want to meet him but I think I am using her as a convenient excuse.

I didn't tell my DDs that I was seeing someone for 6 months, I refuse to stay overnight at his house when his children are there even though they have asked if I will; I freeze at the thought of him asking me to a big family occasion and he hasnt met any of my friends nor have I met any of his. Part of me thinks its just fear of commitment having been hurt in the past but there is a niggling part of me that wonders if it is that my feelings arent strong enough for him. Do I wait and see if my feelings strengthen? do I 'man up' and introduce him to my DDs and see how I feel once I've made that step (that has taken on massive significance in my mind) or do I end the 'relationship' and allow him to find someone who will want to be part of his daily life?
I thought it would get better with time but it hasn't. I still feel very strongly that I dont want to become part of his daily life nor he part of mine. I like the every other weekend without kids arrangement although recognise it is limiting and I think it is developing into a 'friends with benefits' type relationship. I havent got a problem with this except I know he wants more. I have been very upfront about what I am able/willing to give in terms of a relationship but still feel that he is hoping that my feelings will change...

All advice gratefully received. Thanks

sarahseashell Mon 28-Jan-13 21:50:27

oh blimey I can really understand this as am in pretty much the same boat - although slightly less far in (in fact at the 6 months but dcs don't know shock) Sorry no actual advice but how do you think you'd feel if you broke it off with him? I wouldn't introduce him to the dds while you're not sure I think - but I'm keen to see what others think and will watch with interest!

Meaningoflife Mon 28-Jan-13 22:04:56

Thanks sarahseashell, its good to know that there is someone sharing my boat! I would feel sad if I broke it off as he is great company and I look forward to seeing him. Having said that, the focus of our time together is always the bedroom (again my choice) so is it that I'd miss rather than him? I hope things work out for you.

sarahseashell Mon 28-Jan-13 22:25:30

thanks smile I feel the same! although a couple of times recently have felt a bit 'meh' about seeing mine (although liked it when I did actually see himconfused) so am leaning towards breaking it off - easier said than done though. Hopefully someone will be along with sensible input shortly.. grin

mumof4sons Tue 29-Jan-13 09:09:25

I have been going out with a very nice man for nearly 2 years now and he has never met my children. At first it was to protect them, when my exH walked out on me and the boys he immediately moved in with OW and introduced the boys to her 10 days later. (What a dick! Boys were still reeling from parents breakup and he was wanting them to play happy families with the OW.) Why would I want to upset their world any more?

Another reason they haven't met him is because I wanted to know where the relationship was going myself. Is he going to be the love of my life or is he just someone I like to spend adult time with? I know now that he is not the love of my life, but I like spending my time with him in and out of the bedroom. He feels the same. I think we are convenient for each other. I wanted a life (and sex) away from my boys and my FWB (for want of a better term) did too. He has quite a stressful job that takes him all over the world for weeks at a time and has always been up front about not being able to fully devote all his time to me. I've never wanted him to be in my life 24/7. I like it the way it is.

I have met his friends, but he has never met mine. The only reason for this is that I've never had the opportunity to introduce them. His friends are all single guys that like to have a drink in a pub on Friday/Saturday night, while mine are mainly married/some single women who are busy with family life.

Our relationship is about to come to an end, but not because of any dislike of each other but because of distance. I am moving to the US next week, and he has been very supportive of my decision. I will miss him, but am happy that we will be parting on good terms. I will also thank him - he came into my life when my self esteem was at its lowest. He has made me a strong confident sexy woman.

So my advice, keep the kids number one in your life. If you are not comfortable with them meeting him at this time, then don't introduce them. Follow your instincts. When the right person comes along, you'll know.

Aussiebean Tue 29-Jan-13 10:07:50

Maybe you should spend a little more out of the bedroom. A hobby or activity and see how you enjoy that.

That might give you more insight into whether or not you would want more.

wannaBe Tue 29-Jan-13 10:18:27

Imagine this:

"I have been seeing a lovely guy for nearly a year now. We get on really well in all aspects and I really do love him. He has met my family and my children. Thing is that I have never met his children or any of his friends or family and he refuses to ever stay over even though my DC have asked if he will. I just don't know what to think."

Responses wouldn't be complimentary towards the guy and would be along the lines of "he's just not that into you, move on and find someone who will treat you better, he's a dick, get rid...." etc."

Thing is op that it's perfectly ok to have a 'fuck buddy' which is essentially what this guy is if you don't wish him to actually be a part of your life. But it's IMO only ok if you're both on the same page about the nature of your relationship. If he's said he loves you and wants you to be a part of his life incl introducing you to his kids, then it's not fair to lead him on. So you need to have an honest discussion about your expectations of what you have.

Meaningoflife Tue 29-Jan-13 18:56:32

Thanks for the replies, direct and honest - just what I need :-)

I did have a long chat with my guy last night and he assures me that he is happy with the way things are and has accepted that I won't be a large part of his life. I really want to believe him but think he is compromising for me - which shows just how lovely he is, but that's his decision I guess. Think I'm going to roll with it, try to stop worrying about what I think I SHOULD be feeling/doing and just enjoy it for what it is.

Notalone Tue 29-Jan-13 19:25:57

It HURTS. I was in your mans situation last year. Been with a lovely guy for over a year. He had met my son but he would not introduce me to his kids. He compartmentalised everything and said that time with his kids was precious. It was as though he felt my presence would make time with his kids worse rather than enhance the time. And I didn't want to be there the whole time, just occasionally. I ended it in the end as I felt like we were never going to progress and am now with someone else who has made me a full part of his life. I have met his parents, children and friends and I love that I am included.

I feel you are doing your man a bit of a disservice. If he wants a relationship then you need to let him go. I know he says he is happy but is he really happy? Can you see him becoming more involved with you and your life in the future or are you happy with everything as it is for the forseeaable future? Just for the record I am still very good friends with my ex, infact he is here now playing board games upstairs with my son smile. You would not necessarily lose this man from your life if you let him go and vibrators are really very good for the bedroom bit smile

ladyWordy Tue 29-Jan-13 19:50:30

he assures me that he is happy with the way things are and has accepted that I won't be a large part of his life.. <-- this is key.

He knows where he stands: you've told him, and since men are (I think) maybe a little better at seeing relationships clearly than we are, I'm inclined to believe he means it.

You can run a relationship however you like, if both parties are happy enough with the arrangement. I do think you're 'not that into him', and if you aren't trying to promise more - or trying to make yourself have a deeper relationship because you feel you ought to! - those are just the facts.

I wouldn't insult a man for choosing the same path if the woman knew where she stood and was truly happy with it.

- A friend had a very similar 'interim' adult relationship because she needed and enjoyed the company. He said, almost verbatim, the same words quoted at the start of my post! Eventually it broke up amicably and they moved on.

Meaningoflife Wed 30-Jan-13 21:07:02

Notalone I can see your point and that was what was making me think I should do the 'right thing' and end it sooner rather than later. I think he is happy but could be happier with someone who was prepared to be more involved in his life. Having said that I have never led him on with promises I'm now going back on and he is old enough to decide for himself. We've had a couple of good talks over the last few days and we have both agreed to carry on as we are and leave the future alone. Time will tell I suppose...

Notalone Thu 31-Jan-13 17:34:44

I think that hopefully your man will tell you if or when he feels unhappy with things. Towards the end of our relationship I told my ex a few times that Iwas unahppy with the lack of progression and committment but he was not willing to compromise hence the break up. In retrospect I am glad but at the time I was devestated. As long as you make the channels of communication open and are confident he is 100% ok with the situation then you are not doing anything wrong as such and you should not have to give more than you are comfortable with anyway. I hope things work out for you anyway smile

Dahlen Thu 31-Jan-13 22:21:18

There is absolutely nothing wrong with what you're feeling or what you want. In fact, I daresay quite a lot of people would be happier with this approach rather than rushing into trying to blend families because that is what our culture and economy encourage.

However, it does put a significant obligation on you to be honest about your desires (so not "I'm not ready" but "that isn't what I want, ever"), and, if you genuinely care about the guy, to end it if you think he's compromising himself in a bid to win you round - which would eventually make you feel guilty even if you'd been totally honest, and could end up in you giving more of yourself than you wanted to in order to appease that guilt. That would then be a form of needy manipulation on his part, and mixed signals on yours, so best not to set in motion that chain of events at all and avoid it completely. Unrequited desire is always messy.

That said, if there's any part of you that feels that your unwillingness to commit may actually be fear of getting hurt rather than lifestyle preference, please go see someone to talk to about this and work through it. Life is too short to miss opportunities for fear and regrets can last a long time.

Meaningoflife Fri 01-Feb-13 09:31:14

Thanks Dahlen, I do feel guilty and then get cross with myself and him for making me feel guilty even though he isn't deliberately trying to ( if you see what I mean). I suppose I have an expectation of how I should be behaving/feeling at this point in the relationship and it doesn't match up with the reality. If I'm being totally honest there is definitely a fear factor of commitment but I also know that there is absolutely no way, ever, that I would consider moving in with him and his children and I have made it clear that it won't ever happen. We're seeing each other tonight so will be good to talk it through face to face.

Meaningoflife Sat 02-Feb-13 10:51:05

Just thought I'd update those of you who were kind enough to offer advice. Saw my guy last night, first time in a couple of weeks, and I knew instantly that my feelings just aren't strong enough so I have ended the relationship. He was very accepting and we are hoping to remain friends. Think I'm in a bit of shock at the moment but hopefully be ok. Thanks again for advice and support.

sarahseashell Sat 02-Feb-13 18:31:11

hope you're okay meaningoflife. Totally understandable - at least in the longer term you're both free to meet someone you do want to introduce to your children, which you wouldn't do while still in that relationship. I'm sure you're not feeling that way just now though and a breakup is always sad. I'm glad you can remain friends, it sounds like you handled the situation really well.
thanks

Hesterton Sat 02-Feb-13 18:50:17

Brave lady, sensible decision.

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