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Ouch, a bit too honest?(30 Posts)
I am a single parent of two boys - aged 4 and 6, one of whom is undergoing assessment for ASD. I also have an abusive ex-husband, who still attempts to control me by being an awkward pain in the arse despite the fact we have been apart 2 and a half years and we are nearly divorced.
Thing is, I was talking with a guy I have been seeing for about 6 months last night over dinner and he said he didn't have any doubts about wanting to be with me, but he did about everything that being with me entailed. He said he had never envisaged having four children, two of whom he wasn't the father of (he has two from his marriage who are the same age as mine) and wasn't sure how it would all work...
Should I be horribly offended? I really have fallen in love with this man and I do feel a bit upset that he wasn't just going to embrace it all without hesitation - but on the other hand it is a big ask I suppose and I want the kind of relationship that entails honesty.
I think under the circumstances he has done the right thing. He is telling you that it may not work out.
You need to take it very very slowly and not see it as a future long term committed relationship yet.
Who knows perhaps you have a long term committed relationship but not live together and raise your dc as a single parent who has non-live in partner.
It depends on where the conversation went immediately after that statement.
If he talked about compromise and working on it and trying his hardest etc etc then I think you have probably got a decent man and you shouldn't be at all offended.
I think I would be more worried if someone was prepared to embrace everything not without hesitation perhaps but definitely reservation. What he is feeling seems to me to be totally normal unless he went onto say that he sees no future whilst you have shared residence of the children or something equally ridiculous/dubious.
Living as a family (if that is where you are thinking this is headed) with another mans children is bound to be daunting and I thinkj the fact that he feels able to express that is positive.
tell him to chill his beans, that you aren't intending to shang-hai himinto more parenthood and that he can take as much time as he likes because, much as you want him, you don't need him
It's really early days, especially given the four children, to be thinking it will all work out without hesitation.
PS -I'm in a nearlyidentical situation and we still don't live together after 2.3 years!
God, I could hardly bear to look at your replies incase you shouted LEAVE HIM! [relieved emoticon].
Queenofdenial - love the name! If you are the queen, can I be the princess!!? He went on to say that he wasn't sure how he would feel potentially spending more time with my kids than with his, and that he couldn't be a father to mine (they do, as I said have a dad, but he is a bit of a nightmare), and that if we did live together we would have to live somewhere with lots of space. He knows that I don't particularly like living alone but am more than capable and competent, but that I am also not particularly domestic and don't find mundane family life that easy, and am looking for a lover and partner first and foremost.
However, the kids are a big part of my life obviously, and I don't want to sell them short. On the other hand, I can't imaging getting together with someone who is going to want to be a surragate dad. Arghh. Complicated..
Am interested in your situation colditz.. How does it work for you?
You're making this a huge deal after only 6 months, relax, have fun and see what happens.
I think he's being totally honest with you adn is expressing his doubts. I'd possibly feel the same as him perhaps. It does sound complicated. Relationships where one or both have children are more complicated than child free ones aren't they? Obvious thing to say, sorry.
Enjoy it and see what happens. Don't think you need to move in together yet, or do you?!
When I said doubts, I meant to say worries/concerns. Bugger. DOn't take that the wrong way.
You are right Wowoo and oliviasmama, I suppose I do tend to get carried away because my feelings about him are very strong. We have had some lovely times together so far and it is just him and I enjoying ourselves in a bit of a bubble without any kids - because we see each other in the evenings, or go for short breaks because my mum is happy to look after the kids for me. I suppose I am worried that it wouldn't translate into a more 'normal' day to day situation and I am a bit
very touchy about having a lot of baggage.
me too Wiley, you're not the only one. Enjoy all these good times though, the new stage of a relationship is great. Let it all take it's course. FWIW I think he's been really honest, I'd be apprehensive too. I know you want it all to work out...good luck.
we've all got baggage in one way or another!
Thanks, I guess so, although did I fail to mention I am also a recovering addict/alcoholic!!
I think it would be unrealistic to expect his feelings to change, no matter how slowly you take it or how much time you give him.
It may meant hat if the relationship is to continue over the long term you go on living separately. So if you are hoping that you will eventually end up moving in together you might be disappointed.
On the other hand you could be perfectly happy maintaining two homes.
Where are you hoping it will lead?
I'm not sure weevils - I guess i'm programmed to think that living together is the ultimate aim, maybe as I am not that secure as well and so would struggle a bit to feel validated if he didn't want to live with me if I am completely honest - however, I can see how not living together could have advantages - keeps it fresh, having space, no bickering about the teaspoons etc..
I'm a LP with a child with ASD. I have been in a relationship with a man for over 3 years but we don't live together, for mutually agreed reasons. I am happy with that as my son needs his own space and routines (and so do I!) so it's better to live separately. There are financial issues as well - I'd no longer be regarded as a lone parent and it would be worse for us both if we lived in one household under his salary (I get Carer's Allowance for DS as I can't work due to his SN).
DP has never expressed worries about taking on the responsibility of DS but I can't believe that it hasn't crossed his mind. I've known quite a few male friends who have moved in with single mothers and their children, and they've confided in me about their concerns. It hasn't always worked out for my friends and that's partly why I'm so wary about moving in myself. Even when they've managed to make it work, it's involved some compromises that I think I'd be reluctant to make for myself and DS. They've had to share bedrooms, be less selfish about shared living spaces and the activities they do, plus compromise on things like jobs and schools because of the logistics of everything.
Being a step-parent is a huge responsibility and it can be full of pitfalls, especially if there are children on both sides. In some ways I see it as being more responsible to be thinking about the difficulties involved, rather than being all swept up in the romance and assuming it will all just work out.
I think its natural to feel a bit taken aback and disappointed, but I also think it sounds like he was just being honest and that is ultimately a good thing. Negotiating your respective step-parenting roles in advance should you live together would be an absolute MUST in my book. It would be completely unrealistic to expect you all to just move in together and everything to go swimmingly. Predict the pitfalls in advance, make your strategies, plan around them!
On a personal note, I love my DP, and cannot envision leaving him. But I do find it hard to fully embrace the fact that our lives together will always be hugely influenced by his 6 year old DS from his previous relationship. It really isn't easy sharing your life on a permanent basis with a child that isn't yours, as much as you might like them and think they are a good kid. I don't think that stepparenting is a particularly "natural" thing to do IMO, and I certainly don't think that the majority of stepparents are able to naturally embrace it straight away without hesitation. Anyway, I've already (along with many others) posted quite a lot about this on the stepparenting board if you want to look further.
In my experience, even though it can be hard to be overjoyed about the fact that part of my life involves being a stepmother, these hesitations and doubts aren't strong enough to make me seriously contemplate leaving my DP. I think its the same for many people. Love has a funny way of overruling everything else ;-)
This is very hard. I know 2 couples who split up because of the child. In each case they had dated for a year and were close but the man could not hack the kid(s). In one case, the mum ended it as she knew he could never really be a good "dad" and in the other the man ended it.
I think you just have to see how it goes- it's a big slap in the face for you and you must feel awful but try to re-adjust and see how it goes.
Thanks everyone for your thoughtful replies
Shineoncrazydiamond , you obviously think that living together is essential, and that he is therefore not a long term partner. I'm not sure if you are right.
Riverboat, metalfoot and ameliagrey Interesting to hear of your experiences in this area - I do tend to decide what I want and then stick my fingers in my ears and go LA LA LA it'll all be fine etc etc so maybe he is right in expressing reservations/talking about it in advance. Will try not to take it badly and listen carefully to what he is saying..
Wait, he's got two kids but he's expecting to meet someone childless? Or with just one? He sounds like a dickhead, sorry. I hate the way men are so hypocritical about this. He should be glad to be with you, not bringing up problems like that!
Yes, I would accept being involved with his kids without hesitation I have to say..
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