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3 years on and I'm still not ready to live together?? Help please

(35 Posts)
Notexactlymarthastewart Sat 09-Aug-14 10:17:19

In new relationship after emotionally abusive, controlling marriage ended.

DP very thoughtful, generous, kind, considerate, supportive, loving - I would be extremely lucky to find anyone that treated me nearly as well if it ended (and I do not want it to end). We have been in a LDR for almost 3 years. I love him to bits.

DP excellent with my DCs, but he struggles with aspects of the freedom/modern parenting - he has no real experience with kids, he has never lived with a partner, and we are both mid 40s. He is forever comparing their lifestyle (?? Not the right word??) to what he (and I) had at their age (under 12) and is genuinely baffled by some of the decision making processes they are involved in (i.e. they are asked what they want to do / eat / where to go etc). He has "pitched his position" as "uncle" rather than a daddy replacement, which is ideal as ex has regular contact, but he does step in to help parent when we are together at the weekends I have DCs, e.g. if they are misbehaving or not respecting me. DCs love him and are always asking when they will next see him (I have some weekends with just them).

I am extremely twitchy about getting "trapped" again IYSWIM, and worry about aspects of our lifestyle compatibility:
I hate public transport / he hates being in a car (can't drive)
We struggle at mealtimes choosing what to have and often seem to end up with different meals (unless we are having proper meat & 2 veg type meal)
He likes to get up,showered and dressed before having breakfast - DCs and I love a pj day, and I prefer to eat first, do some housework then shower
I could quite happily spend some weekends parked on my couch, he needs to get out for a walk/cycle at the very least.

We almost had the option to move in together (at some future date) last year as I was going to move about 15 miles away, which is closer to him, but a few things happened within the space of a week and I ended up staying put (related to my job and my family moving back to the local area). He was understandably upset, but understood my reasons. I am not yet divorced, and both of us talked about not wanting to live together until that was officially and legally finalised.

I know I am very lucky to have found someone like him, and so soon after the marriage ended (6 months), but I am still terrified by the thought of living with another man full time, even though it would be lovely to see him more often! I miss him terribly, and he misses me and we speak most nights via Skype.

Is it possible to maintain a LDR permanently??? Would that be weird??

Do I need counselling, or is it perfectly normal to feel this way??
What can I do please?
Will this feeling pass?

I know this is minor compared to other posts, but any helpful advice greatly appreciated. Sorry for the long post.

however Sat 09-Aug-14 10:33:40

I've said this before. I don't see my marriage ending any time soon, but if it did, for whatever reason, and I found someone else, I couldn't see myself living with someone while my kids were still at home with me.

I can see the benefits in having a LTR with someone, with separate abodes. I think it's a perfectly sensible approach.

The distance thing, however might be an issue.

however Sat 09-Aug-14 10:37:07

Just to add: my position isn't coming from a view of being a martyr to my kids and 'sacrificing' my happiness for theirs. I just think that unless someone could perfectly slot right in to our lives (unlikely) then it would be easier to have two households. I think I could be perfectly happy with that.

Even if things are rosy with your guy, it's a big ask for a middle aged man who has never been married/had kids to move in to a ready made family situation.

Notexactlymarthastewart Sat 09-Aug-14 10:38:34

It's about 80 miles apart. Two end-of-line to end-of-line train journeys, about 3 hours.

Notexactlymarthastewart Sat 09-Aug-14 10:41:23

We both have good jobs that we are happy in very close to where we live.

Notexactlymarthastewart Sat 09-Aug-14 10:46:59

Thanks however I hear what you are saying.

The distance was helpful (?) at first as it meant we had no choice but to go slow. I just wonder if it has now become a problem, or am I just worrying because it's now stopping us moving forward on some level (if I was ready!)

Fiddlerontheroof Sat 09-Aug-14 10:47:15

I've been with my do for three years after a hellish divorce....he's widowed. We've both come to the conclusion that living together is overrated, were very happy as we are...but while my kids are young...5 and 11 and his 26 year old son still lives with him at home...we are very happy as we if it ain't broke...don't fix it eh?

Neither of us want to live with each other, and although family and friends ask when we're moving in together, we say we aren't , we are happy so we are...I think it's other people who automatically expect us to conform to society...but it simply doesn't work for us. We know after 6 months we simply wouldn't have what we have now. Where we look forward to seeing each other, get regular weekends away and quality time. That simply wouldn't happen if he lived with us, it would completely change the dynamic. And yes, he has kids, but they are all grown up now...I simply don't think he would want to do the raising kids thing again, though he loves my kids and is very close to them.

Hope that helps, do what is right for you, not what is expected. X

dreamingbohemian Sat 09-Aug-14 10:52:47

I just think that unless someone could perfectly slot right in to our lives (unlikely) then it would be easier to have two households

I think this makes a lot of sense. He might be a great guy in many ways but it does sound like you have some incompatibilities -- which, tbh, if your relationship was not long distance might have broken you up by now.

Some of them are not too serious but I think you are asking for trouble if he does not really accept your parenting approach, despite not having any experience himself. I also think if he has never lived with anyone before it would be a steep challenge to do it the first time with kids along.

If you want to stay with him, I'd just try to be patient. Perhaps your job situations will change, for example.

But I'm not sure it's good for you to be thinking that you could never find anyone else like him. Arguably, if you were not devoting yourself to someone you may never realistically be able to live with, you might find someone closer to home who is also lovely and more compatible.

Basically, I wouldn't compromise what sounds like a nice family setup for you, for the sake of a man who it might be really difficult to live with anyway.

Notexactlymarthastewart Sat 09-Aug-14 10:58:18

We compliment each other very well - I find him very calming, he is 99% of the time on a very calm and even keel (the odd down/off day but who doesn't have those??) and he isn't afraid to let me know nicely (away from the kids) if I'm overreacting/being a bit too strict (I know I can be).

He is great at diffusing squabbles between DCs, spends loads of time playing with them, and suggesting and planning things for him and I, or us and the DCs to do together.

I think it is a terrible shame he never had the chance to have DCs of his own, he has told me he wanted that in his 20s but it just never happened that he met someone, so he gave that idea up long ago. I've told him I felt too old to have any more early on, and he said that wasn't something he wanted anyway now. I still feel like I'm denying him that somehow??? although I know he is choosing to be with me, knowing that.

however Sat 09-Aug-14 11:05:03

I think if you're both happy, then leave things the way they are.

Is he happy with the current set up?

Notexactlymarthastewart Sat 09-Aug-14 11:14:12

Hi fiddler that's good advice re conforming. Thanks.

Hi bohemian yes, I do wonder if we would have been able to manage day to day - it's fine on holiday and we've had several weeks and one fortnight of being together 24/7 with the kids but I know it doesn't necessarily follow it would work on a permanent basis.

I don't think he would necessarily be difficult to live with, I'm more concerned about me being on guard waiting to look for examples of control coming from him. For example, he thinks it's odd having pudding (yogurt/fruit/cake) at lunchtime and I have had "What? now??? No thanks, it's too early for me" from him a few times when I've offered him something the kids and I are about to have. I am being ultra sensitive, I know.

I don't think that it is him not "accepting" my parenting style, just struggling with how times have changed in almost 40 years, as he's never really seen examples up close apart from his own childhood.

It is a good set up, but I'd like a bit more of it, but not full time yet. We only have about 6-8 days & nights together a month. We can both get lonely.

Notexactlymarthastewart Sat 09-Aug-14 11:16:41

When I said about not finding someone as good, I was just trying to say that he is really great and pretty much everything I would hope for in a partner smile

Notexactlymarthastewart Sat 09-Aug-14 11:24:37

Hi however yes we are but I feel if there is a stumbling block to us living together in the future, it is me and my experiences in my marriage.

I'm a bit of a forward planner, and was wondering if there was some action I could take to make me less jittery about allowing someone into my life on a full time basis again, or is my reaction perfectly normal??

dreamingbohemian Sat 09-Aug-14 11:26:00

Ah I see smile

I'm not sure you're being ultra sensitive though... he's not just saying 'no thanks', which is normal... the whole, What now??? makes it a bit more judgy, which isn't necessary.

It also seems a bit odd to me that after 3 years he is still struggling with how parenting has changed -- do you find him a bit inflexible generally? is this part of why he's never had a serious relationship before?

I'm not trying to badmouth him, just to say that if you do have reservations despite all his great qualities, I think that's normal.

SquidgyMummy Sat 09-Aug-14 11:28:30

would he consider moving closer, but keep his own place.
Sounds to me like you would be better off living seperately for now.
LDR to moving in together seems to be a big step. and he does sound a bit set in his ways

Notexactlymarthastewart Sat 09-Aug-14 11:48:15

I think he has lived on his own for so long and is so used to how he has done things, he just finds it weird when other people do things rather differently. He finds some of my friends "behaviour" a bit odd too, so I know it's not just things I do.

Yes, it is the "What now???" I struggle with, and I will have to confess to not having said so to him as a) it seems so minor in the grand scheme of things and b) I know I am being over sensitive / watching out for control/belittling behaviour. I need to speak to him though, don't I? He probably doesn't even realise it bothers me, but it makes me feel as if I have asked something ludicrous, so I then feel stupid, which then makes me twitchy.....yes, I'm stuck in that cycle, aren't I? He is so unlike my ex, I feel terrible to even compare them. I sometimes feel like I am punishing him for other people's (ex's) crimes. sad

God, this next bit is going to sound awful...when I first met him, there are aspects of his behaviour that border on being perceived as a bit camp. Maybe eccentric is kinder? He might be the nicest person I ever met, and he is certainly no mans man, and I don't think he would ever want to be. He's told me he's often spent an evening (what he thought was) chatting up a girl, and them being surprised when he's eventually made a move as they'd assumed he was gay. (Nothing wrong with that btw, but not from his perspective!). He's got a very gentle manner about him, private but a lovely twisted sense of humour and several old gothlike tendencies. "All the good ones are married" seems to have been his take on things, and he is a bit picky, lol.

Notexactlymarthastewart Sat 09-Aug-14 11:51:10

Hi squidgy yes, that would be ideal, but it means him having to do commuting and he sometimes works late as it is. He lives and works in a city just now, I'm bordering on rural. He also rents cheaply from a friend so it would increase his costs too.

dreamingbohemian Sat 09-Aug-14 12:10:16

I don't think you are oversensitive.... it's possible you are so worried about being oversensitive that you are not responding normally to some things that would bother most people.

What do your friends do that is so odd to him?

He may be a really nice guy who you are better off keeping as a LDR. I think living with someone who found it odd whenever people did things differently to him might be difficult on an everyday basis.

It's not about you punishing him for someone else's mistakes, or you being the impediment to moving forward, I think it's just being realistic about your situations and also the areas where you are compatible and the areas where you are not.

Isetan Sat 09-Aug-14 12:56:23

LDR can last indefinitely as long as it's what both parties want. You're both set in your ways, understandably so, given your individual circumstances.

Fear is good until it stops you doing something that you want, if you want to live with this man in the near or distant future, than there will have to be comprise on both sides. How well you both are at compromising and change, will impact the sucess of the co-habitation.

I have always viewed parenting as permanent on the job training and I am still mystified at other people parenting decisions, so if I wasn't raising my own wildling or rarely interacted with one, I could totally understand where your partner coming from.

Notexactlymarthastewart Sat 09-Aug-14 13:02:04

Yes, I think that might be possible too bohemian. It's hard for me to tell.

He finds the idea of planning holidays almost entirely around kids activities a bit bizarre, because when he was wee they went on holiday and they might have gone to a play park for a while, or played crazy golf but otherwise it was places/things his parents wanted to go/do (same here tbh). He also finds it odd that they drink in the afternoon when my friends with kids get together e.g. to watch a sporting event and have dinner into late evening. It's just things out with his own experience and he is trying to adapt, but he'll maybe only have one beer all day. (That might be partly my doing/for my benefit as he knows I have issues with my ex's drinking habits and I rarely have more than 2 myself even if DCs aren't there.). I don't mind if he has more than one as long as he isn't obviously drunk in front of DCs as I'd be not drinking in that case anyway.

Having said that, we did EuroDisney last year and he enjoyed it more than I did!! He was surprised too and we've talked about going back just the two of us!

Notexactlymarthastewart Sat 09-Aug-14 13:04:37

Isetan I agree, we don't all parent the same way,and that's fine.

ForalltheSaints Sat 09-Aug-14 13:08:08

I work with someone who has been in a relationship for at least all the time I have known him (seven years), but still lives in his own house, whilst his girlfriend and her children live in theirs. Seems to work well from what I can tell.

SolidGoldBrass Sat 09-Aug-14 13:29:02

I have never lived with a partner and never will (mind you, I don't go in for couple-relationships anyway.) It's not compulsory to move in together. You have DC so it's not a case of needing to set up home together because your biological clock is ticking.
If you and he are both happy, enjoy your set up the way it is and don't worry about what other people might do or think.

miniscule Sat 09-Aug-14 13:29:47

You could be me OP! Apart from the LD relationship I have a very similar situation (EA XH, 2 kids, DP always lived alone, both in our 40's). I originally said I'd never move in with anyone again and it took a long time for me to trust DP and so it has taken us 8 years to move in together. We're only a few months in and it all seems to be going well so far.

It took me a long time to stop looking for (and sometimes overreacting) to things that appeared to be controlling or taking me for granted etc. I found that explaining why I sometimes overreacted or appeared to take innocent comments so hard really helped. Once my DP was aware of where my sensitivities lay he has been really good at phrasing things slightly differently etc. That's one of the main reasons I let my guard down as it were, he listens to me and will take my feelings / foibles into account. It's not all one way though, as he's lived alone for so long he can be set in his ways but we are both tolerant and willing to compromise so I have compromised on some things and he has on others.

If you don't feel ready to move in together yet, don't. There's no right way or wrong way to conduct your relationship, whatever suits you, your DP and your kids is the right way. If that's staying LD for the forseeable future then fine, you do not have to move on to the 'next level', there's no time limits! If people make comments then let them, just say you're very happy as you are and ignore them. I know of one couple who have been together for 14 years but still live in separate houses, they're really happy with the way they live.

flappityfanjos Sat 09-Aug-14 13:44:47

I actually know of a married couple who live in separate - but nearby - houses. It works for them. I certainly don't think you have to live together. Though always living 3 hours' journey away from one another might get wearing. Would he consider relocating to be nearer you, since after all you're the one with kids to think of when it comes to uprooting your household?

The differences between you sound like things that can be accommodated without too much fuss, whether you live together or not. I mean, there's nothing inherently awful about having separate meals, some people regularly do that because of different preferences or dietary needs. The only time it's a problem is if he always expects you to wear yourself out cooking both different meals and washing both lots of pans, or if he gets grumpy if you don't pander to exactly what he wants. Similarly, he can get up and dressed and then have his breakfast, you can take it slow and eat yours in PJs - not everyone in a house has to be doing the same thing. It's not the differences that matter so much as how you both handle them. Mild surprise the first time someone does something differently from him isn't a red flag, particularly, but continually harping on it/getting angry about it wouldn't be OK.

It must be so much harder to figure out what reasonable differences and even disagreements look like when you've suffered an abusive marriage. I don't blame you for being twitchy.

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