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Long term dating. Can it work?

(61 Posts)
LeadingToGadeBank Mon 03-Mar-14 21:22:38

Both mid 40s, neither married before, I have two young children with a DV ex, he was in a childless 15 year relationship. We don't live together and have been dating for nearly two years. My children call him Daddy regularly now. Their own father has been totally absent for at least 3 years. Neither of us own our homes, he is in the proverbial batch pad and has his own business, and I'm currently on benefits looking to return to work now youngest started school last September.

This is what I'm finding increasingly hard to deal with, and it's causing some communication problems in our relationship:

We only see eachother at weekends. He stays over Sat eve-Sun eve. Occasionally may meet for coffee on a weekday, but that will be even less likely once I find work.
We communicate during the week by text, don't phone eachother. I'm not a proficient texter and I despair of the medium because it's so open to misinterpretation unless you're thoroughly articulate and can also 'sense' how a person is during the text conversation.

At the weekends, it feels like I'm on my best behaviour, because I don't want to spoil the little time we have together.
It's like having to get to know someone all over again every weekend.
Any of the big stuff or stress or worries that other couples chat about, I can't do with him, because I only see him at weekends. By which time, our problems have already risen, crested and fell again during the week and won't require that cosy, familiar, conversational airing that is such a fundamentental part of a strong friendship.
He doesn't have that opportunity with me either.

I don't feel like I'm in a relationship. It doesn't seem to have earnt that solid grounding that a few good arguments or rows, and plenty of shared in depth experiences, contribute to.
I know two years is still early days, but what is the next stage here in long term dating?
I need him to be able to talk to me or ring me during the week with his worries like other people do. But that isn't what's supposed to happen when you're just dating, is it? It's supposed to still be lighthearted and noncommittal. But I miss that solidity of a strong friendship, that was the basis for my other long term relationships before him (apart from the DV one, obviously).

Summarily, how can I gain that sense of long term friendship whilst not actually living with someone?

LineRunner Mon 03-Mar-14 21:28:02

Why only Saturday nights?

Cabrinha Mon 03-Mar-14 21:30:49

You haven't said WHY it's only weekends?

Cabrinha Mon 03-Mar-14 21:36:01

FWIW, I have a boyfriend of only 6 months and we can struggle to see each other. And I have said similar to my friend - I feel it's hard to get close, can be a bit superficial.
But we text every day. I don't get your comment about hard to interpret... yes, if you're dealing with a difficult subject.
But we're chit chatting currently about out holiday plans, what he had for dinner, and what I'm bidding for on ebay.
Why not step up the texting, or call him once a week midweek?

SolidGoldBrass Mon 03-Mar-14 21:38:31

Have you and he actually discussed what kind of 'relationship' you are having and what kind you want? Because the set up you have sounds rather nice to me: fun at weekends and no rowing over whose turn it is to put the bins out during the week.

The idea that 'proper' relationships have to Go Somewhere and lead inexorably to the grave living together, marriage and children is a stupid one. You have DC already so you needn't be fussing about your biological clock, why are you in such a rush to change things?

MrsBobHale Mon 03-Mar-14 21:42:40

I had a relationship like this. It lasted 8 years, but then it got too hard and now looking back I don't feel like we even knew each other properly even after all that time.

Two years in we were still both in the honeymoon stage convincing ourselves that it was the perfect set up. If you're feeling like this already then something needs to change. Either take the risk and move in together (if that's possible) or call it a day.

Cabrinha Mon 03-Mar-14 21:45:10

Actually, coming back to this...
You say you're on your best behaviour not wanting to spoil the short time you have.
That doesn't sound quite right to me.
Do you know WHY you're on best behaviour? Have you had rows in the past? Are you ignoring issues (like you want more...?) because of not spoiling the evening?
You shouldn't feel like that.
Maybe it just doesn't click on texts or as a deeper friendship, because he isn't right for you?

LeadingToGadeBank Mon 03-Mar-14 23:07:09

It's only Saturday nights because I have very young school age children amd have to be up early for school. Also, he works from home running his own business and has odd hours.

SGB, no we haven't had that discussion because I'm not sure it's neccessary, I wasn't aware people tried to label it at such. Do you mean, have we discussed whether it's an exclusive, open, etc type of relationship?
It's been nearly two years, I wouldn't say that's rushing things.

But yes, I agree with you it seems nice and relaxed at the moment, but the flip side is it can make things seem too casual. And the fact my children now call him Daddy concerns me.

Living together probably isn't possible. There's too many financial hurdles. Plus he is not long out of a 15 year live in relationship and enjoying his first ever time living alone in his batch pad, so I wouldn't want to deprive him of that.

GeordieJellybean Mon 03-Mar-14 23:46:51

How does he feel about your DC calling him Daddy?
2 years seems like a fair amount of time to be out of a relationship but maybe that's just me!
Could you be avoiding getting too close because of negative past experiences?

LeadingToGadeBank Tue 04-Mar-14 00:04:23

Geordie He seems fine with it. He's commented once that he think it's sweet.

I'm two years into this relationship, not out of it.

Yes, there is that last possibility you mentioned.

MistressDeeCee Tue 04-Mar-14 07:42:15

I don't see why there's any rush but I appreciate everyone's different.

When I met my OH I already had 2 DDs, they were early teens back then. We dated for 3 1/2 years before moving in together. & that was fun. We saw each other twice weekly, sometimes once. But we were on the phone to each other daily, texts too, and when we did meet really had a lovely time together. He did meet my DDs and got to know them very well. But no way did I want to live with him - I was working and also had DDs to raise. I preferred to focus more of my time on them and didnt see living with him as important at that time. We were both fine with longterm dating.

OP you're in your 40s, you have children to take care of. & if they call your OH dad then he must be pretty close with them so how bad can he be, really? It may be that you are at different stages in your life and its best you tell him how you feel in terms of living together. But - this is your partner. You're not really having to get to know him all over again each weekend are you? When you've been apart only a week?

The part I dont understand is, why you don't 'phone each other during the week - was that decided by you both? Sometimes its a case of a couple or 1 half of a couple wanting something to happen but never saying so, and expecting the other to 2nd guess what they want. You text him so you've got his number, haven't you? Just 'phone him. See what happens. It doesn't sound as if you've had a talk with him about any of this. Talk to him.

Cabrinha Tue 04-Mar-14 08:03:16

You can't on the one hand say it's a reasonably long relationship at 2 years, but then say 2 years isn't long out of a long relationship for him!

I don't get your practical constraints.
My boyfriend has a young child, I some days work from home.
Tonight I'll stay at his, be up at 07:00 with him and his son - I might help his son put his uniform on, I might not - and then I'll be ba home working at 08:00.
I also keep odd hours, due to travel. Next week I'll get to his on Thursday at 22:30 - bedtime. It's not as nice as a while evening, but it's better than nothing.

You sound like you want more but you're scared to rock the boat in case he doesn't. That's not a good way to be.

And the "daddy" thing... If you're not comfortable, why don't you just tell them that he is not their daddy, he is your boyfriend? I don't get that.

Cabrinha Tue 04-Mar-14 08:05:21

I really don't think either of you are clear enough about what this relationship is for them to call him daddy, tbh.

blueshoes Tue 04-Mar-14 09:07:17

Since you are asking about the next stage in long term dating, I assume you want something more? What's wrong with it coasting like it is. Both of you seem to not be able to make a bigger space for each other in your lives, or is that what you want?

Can one of you at least move closer to the other?

GeordieJellybean Tue 04-Mar-14 09:09:03

Leading, when I said that 2 years seemed like long enough to be out of a relationship I was referring to your DP's 15 year live in relationship that you'd mentioned. I made the assumption that as you'd been together 2 years, he must've been out of that relationship for at least 2 years.

Lweji Tue 04-Mar-14 09:34:49

Plus he is not long out of a 15 year live in relationship and enjoying his first ever time living alone in his batch pad, so I wouldn't want to deprive him of that.


He must have been out for at least 2 years.
You don't have the bachelor life, as you have two kids.

Have you talked to him about how the relationship is progressing? Why shouldn't you talk to him about what you want?

And why don't you just phone him during the week?

BitOutOfPractice Tue 04-Mar-14 09:45:32

Hello OP. I am a year into a similar relationship except that my DP has DC as well. He shares care of them with their mother 50/50.

I don't consider us to be "just dating". I consider him to be my DP.

We see each other whenever we don't have the kids. If he has his and I don'thave mine, I go to his place. And vice versa. Works for us and we are very happy. It feel like the best of both worlds. Spend lots of time together (usually 4 nights a week) so we do the day-to-day stuff together, but I also get my own space. Love it.

When we are not together, we phone on the way hoe from work, and at bedtime. Just to chat over the day etc

That's the bit I find odd about your set up - that you don't speak in the week. Any reason why you can't phone him? Why can't he come over in the week? Even if it's at bedtime to roger you senseless and leave early for work. That's what I did this morning.

Not sure why you've set yourself all these "rules". Have you talked about love? The future?

LeadingToGadeBank Tue 04-Mar-14 10:19:38

He left his 15 year relationship and was on his own for about 4 years, although his ex was still very much a part of his life, phoning with her problems, even when she moved 200 miles away. In our early dating days, she had another emotional crisis and he dropped me temporarily as he couldn't deal with both of us at once.

I don't know that it's so unusual not to phone someone during the week. In my 3 previous relationships I never did. I think it might be a modern thing where everyone has a mobile glued to their ear these days. But I don't. He has mentioned that his brother who is in a long term long distance relationship - also only sees his girlfriend at weekends - they phone eachother at a set time each night.

Blueshoes, we live about 1.5 miles from eachother.
BitOutOfPractice I have the children all the time, their father is absent, so for him to stay over midweek nights might mean an upset to the routine.

Writing this down, it's not looking good is it? I wonder why I'm keeping him at such a distance? It's not my usual pattern. Previous relationships have gone from dating to moving in together after about 6 months to a year, and have lasted 4 years, 7 and 8. The last relationship was DV though, the children came from that, so perhaps like someone said earlier it's holding me back.

Jan45 Tue 04-Mar-14 10:34:42

Personally I find it a bit odd that after 2 years together you only see each other at wknd, don't talk through the week and only text, I just think that's a bit weird, it would make me feel like I only really had a part time relationship. Surely if you wanted to see each other more, you would....? You can't really be close if it's just a wknd thing.

As for your kids calling him daddy, again, I find that weird, why not just call him his name?

blueshoes Tue 04-Mar-14 10:36:41

OP, if you live only 1.5 miles apart, you can definitely meet more often if you and him wanted to.

You ask yourself why you are keeping him at a distance. Is it your decision or is it his? It sounds like he is satisfied with a weekend relationship and would be happy to continue indefinitely. You therefore know that if it was going to move to the next stage, you would have to initiate it. Hence this thread. I think you want it just that you are uncertain of the outcome understandably and trying to talk yourself out of it.

FWIW, when previously dating, I also dislike long chats on the phone or daily emailing or texting <shudder>. I am still the same way with all the technology available these days and stick to brief emails.

Lweji Tue 04-Mar-14 10:37:57

Even with young children, if he pops in once a week or so, it doesn't change their routine that much. Not more than at the weekends. It sounds like an excuse.

Would you like it to be a closer relationship or not?

Stockhausen Tue 04-Mar-14 10:46:08

It's odd, you want more. Ask for it. If he says no, then move on.

Cabrinha Tue 04-Mar-14 12:09:20

If you're not ready to commit more to this, and expect more from him, why on earth are you letting your kids call him daddy?

I'm with you on not having phone glued to my ears (it is to my fingers though!) but it all seems so rigid.

If it's all you want, fine - but he's just your boyfriend, not their dad.

But it sounds like you want more and don't want to ask. Upsetting your routine sounds like an excuse. I am about the same distance away from my boyfriend. If I'm child free, I nip up after his child is asleep (21:15) we watch a bit of TV, cuddle, chat, sometimes sex... basically be couply.stat the night - off at 07:30. Easy peasy!

As I say - excuses! He's had SIX YEARS of living alone. If you want to see him more, then just tell him. Don't make excuses for him about bachelor pads!

BitOutOfPractice Tue 04-Mar-14 13:37:41

Why would it upset their routine?

Make new routines. He comes round for dinner twice a week in the week - a new routine. They obviously know and like him, why can't he come round in the week?

Why don't you pop round to his for lunch? If we were both at home all day every day we would probably have lunch together most days I think

Like stockhausen says, it's an odd set up. You want more. But you don't seem keen to talk to him about it.

FreakoidOrganisoid Tue 04-Mar-14 14:10:52

I've been with my boyfriend a similar amount of time, just over two years.

We don't see each other much during the week, mainly because he plays sports most evenings until gone 11, and I go to bed between 10 and half past. He could come here afterwards (and has done a couple of times when we are doing something together the next day or when he's helped me out with the kids if they need to be somewhere other than school), but there's not really much point as I'd normally be asleep before he got here. Plus his sports teams are based closer to his house than mine. But Wednesdays are mine, and he comes for dinner and stays over then. We also see each other on Fridays and Saturdays most of the time (usually stays over), as well as some point on Sundays.

When he gets a free evening other than Wednesdays he sometimes comes over, but I also appreciate that sometimes he just wants to sit in his own house for a change.

We haven't seen each other so much during the day at weekends recently as he's been renovating a house so spends his weekends doing that, and the dc no longer go to their dad, so I can't stay at his house anymore (he has lodgers so the dc can't really stay there with me). It has taken its toll a little bit but we'll hopefully get more time now he's nearly finished the house.

We text more than talk, mainly because I struggle on the phone and can't seem to hear or understand people blush but we text constantly through the day, 3 or 4 text 'conversations' as well as random messages here and there. Texting also means we can reply as and when we look at our phone, rather than having to stop what we're doing to chat. If it's important we ring though (and then revert to text after I get pissed of going "what? Say that again? I didn't catch that...")

So on the surface maybe not so different to the OP. BUT he's my best friend. He's the first person I think to tell when something happens to me, or the dc. He's the person I share all the snippets of my day with. If I'm happy, excited, worried or upset I tell him. I ring him to rant about things. We discuss problems together.

We've been on holiday together, we have shared experiences, we've gone to shows and events together. We do things as a couple, and also with the dc. The dc see him, not as a parent figure, but as an adult who has responsibility for them, probably around the same level as their aunties and uncles.

We talk about us, and our future. Living together isn't going to happen now, but we've discussed it, we both want it in the future. We've talked about marriage and babies, we know that long term we both want the same thing.

Maybe you just need to broach some of those conversations OP?

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