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meeting someone new as a single parent

(14 Posts)
karaline Sun 23-Apr-17 13:09:55

sorry about this long rambling post which is probably far too detailed

so, I left my husband last christmas (just over a year ago). we were living in a very remote part of france, i wasn't happy, i said i wanted to return to uk, he didn’t, so I went without him.

this xmas just gone, i was at a good friends leaving do and i met a man, i didn't realise until he friended me on facebook and then after a bit of back and forthing suggested we should go for a coffee what was even going on. Thus began a series of dates, every time i saw him i would have a really lovely time, come away in a sort of endorphin fuelled haze, but after a few days i'd convince myself i wasn't ready for a relationship, it was too soon, the kids have experianced too much upheaval etc. the ex was very controlling, sort of border line abusive etc etc then a few weeks later he would ask me out again, and i would grin stupidly and agree and the cycle would begin all over again.

finally, this easter break the children went off for a few weeks with their dad, and me and James went to the pub, got shit faced, fell into bed. I had sex for the first time in two years, had sex with someone who wasn’t the father of my children (I was with him for 15 years). it was absolutely terrifying but It was also great, we really get on, I really like spending time with him.

The thing is the kids are back now, their father has gone back to france. Unlike all of my other friends who are single mums I don’t really have any regular respite, my kids don’t see their dad for months at a time, they went to him last summer for four weeks and then they didn’t see him again until that half term after Christmas (7 months). I knew it would be like this when I left him, and they’re no trouble. Most of my friends are single parents, my mum lives near by, I was really happy with my life, my mum is cool to watch them if I wanted to go to a gig or a party I can’t bring them to, which isn’t very often anyway. And because I wasn’t looking for a relationship the fact that they don’t go to their dad every other weekend wasn’t a problem really. Except now it is.

They have been through so many changes recently, so much upheaval. Its not that I don’t trust James, he is a secondary school teacher, if I wasn’t sleeping with him I would absolutely introduce them like a shot, he is quite curious about them and I think they’d all really get on. But I’m not willing to introduce them to a new man unless I feel confident that he is going to be around for a while, and at this stage I feel like I can’t know that. I need to spend more time with him, getting to know him, figuring out how compatible we are. And in here is lies the problem, how can I do that without letting him into my family? We can go out together, (we are on Monday), but we can’t spend the night together -unless I find places for my kids (12 and 14) to sleep over.

Its feels like a catch 22 situation that I can’t move forward from. On the one hand I was happy being single, I liked my life, I don’t want to get into a commited realationship with someone, but on the other I do like spending time with him and although I don’t know anyone else who is in this situation I know they do exist. Other people have babies with men who then disappear from their lives, or end up widowed, how do they manage without this going to dad every other weekend arrangement that seems to be the default? Am I being too protective of my children? They both quite mature, I know they’d want me to be happy, I know they would get on with him. James seems like a very gentle, sensitive person, he’s not pushy, he wouldn’t muscle in and start bossing them around, he works with teenagers everyday so although he hasn’t got children of his own, I would imagine he can handle them well.

Has anyone been in this situation? what are your thoughts?

thanks in advance

TimelessReality Sun 23-Apr-17 13:21:55

Its difficult (and with no childcare almost impossible) to develop a relationship as a single parent, which is one reason many single parents without support stay single for so long. So I understand where you're coming from. But I would still err on the side of caution before introducing him to your children, even though they are 12 and 14.

I need to spend more time with him, getting to know him, figuring out how compatible we are.

If he is right for you he will be patient.

P.S. In the meantime, why can't your children stay at your mother's who is close by you say, overnight? Why can't you stay at his?

BarryKwipkee Sun 23-Apr-17 13:28:32

Similar set up with kids dad abroad. Kids similar ages too. It is really hard. Men without kids have so much freedom. Men who have normal set up sharing residency still have some freedom and dont want to be around your kids when they are on down time. It is so hard.

BarryKwipkee Sun 23-Apr-17 13:29:59

Ps cant speak for op but it is hard to ask one's mother to mind dc overnight so you can bring a bf back to house.
If you have a mother who gets it you're lucky

christmaswreaths Sun 23-Apr-17 13:35:12

Practical suggestions that spring to
Mind Are: asking your mum to have them overnight; babysitter (and go out/go to his house)?

user1487175389 Sun 23-Apr-17 13:36:39

Ask around for local babysitters.

I find the hardest thing as a single parent is weeding through all the chancers and weird blokes who think I might sleep with them just because I'm single. No, I'm not bloody interested, and when I finally meet someone I am interested in and who's interested back it'll be a chuffing miracle.

TimelessReality Sun 23-Apr-17 14:03:05

Yep its hard BarryKwi.

And ... I think single parents can be more vulnerable esp. if they are in a vulnerable situation generally (money, housing, health, age), and after a long period alone without sex. Some (selfish) men can just wade in without a thought and then having met your child/ren, suddenly decide the set up is not for them. It can be horrible for the single parent and the child/ren. So though there are I'm sure some lovely men out there I've been told, caution and patience by the woman is not a bad thing.

pallasathena Sun 23-Apr-17 15:16:18

I'd talk to your boyfriend about it. If as you say, he's kind and understanding, he'll probably empathise with your dilemma. And as others have said, ask your mum to have the kids regularly for an overnighter.

weatherbomb Sun 23-Apr-17 15:42:38

Engineer sleepovers at their mates for your DC or at your mums? if he really gets it, he'll understand that it's not going to be a regular occurrence. Date nights should be a bit more manageable. In a similar position - it's really not that easy at all hmm

karaline Sun 23-Apr-17 16:41:34

Thanks everyone, i was talking about this with a group of mums from their old primary school on Friday and I came away feeling like I was being neurotic and overprotective, its good that you all get where I'm coming from.

the handy thing about him working in education is his free time does coincide with my kids holidays (although their dad doesn't always take them for school holidays)

grobagsforever Sun 23-Apr-17 17:10:11

I am a widowed parent of two DDs. They are 2 and 6 (unborn and 3 when husband died). So I get no nights off.

I was 33 when DH died. I was dammed if I was going to spend the next twenty years alone.

When I started dating I paid a sitter or asked friends. When we reached sleepover stage, he was snuck out in the early hours! After six months or so he was introduced as a friend who they saw briefly round the house. In the last few weeks after 18 months together we've introduced our respective children and had two play dates. So yes, they met him early because it was that or be alone and when your husband dies suddenly at 35 you learn life is short and precious. But crucially, him being around didn't impact my kids. Nothing changed. They saw him briefly in the morning, had a five minute chat and went about their days.

Is it ideal? No it bloody isn't. But raising kids alone is so hard, boyfriend gives me affection and emotional support and therefore makes me a better husband parent.

Mine being young does make it easier - they go to bed nice and early so don't even know he's here. But my point is you deserve to date if you want to and you can find a way so your children aren't impacted if you're careful . Talk to them. See how they feel.

And yes to babysitters, sleepovers all of this.

ohforfoxsake Sun 23-Apr-17 17:20:34

Very similar situation OP. I've been with bf for two years, he's met the DCs a couple of times and stayed over once when they were here (separate rooms). XH doesn't have all the children regularly . It's tough but we get on with it. I just won't risk the DCs becoming attached and going through a break up again.

Other friends have had new men staying over very quickly and I just can't get my head around it.

It requires a very special, kind, patient partner. It's a real test. Worth it though.

BarryKwipkee Mon 24-Apr-17 16:04:26

I envy those of you who found a relationship that's worth the no freedom issue. Three times now, a man I thought I was a good man has just suddenly changed his mind at that point of deciding whether or not it's serious enough to introduce him (indirectly) to my kids. OBVIOUSLY I know this is better than if they change their minds after they've met my kids, but it still takes it out of you a bit. You can't fast forward through the preliminary getting to you bit, but it gets harder to summons up the energy for it again. Even if I meet somebody, nothing has changed, I still have no freedom. My x has robbed me of the opportunity to meet somebody else. I'm independent and I don't need anybody to complete myself, so a few years of this would be good for almost everybody. Most people in a relationship advising you to love yourself before you try to date have no idea how little need longterm single people have for a relationship. But they might just really want one.

BarryKwipkee Mon 24-Apr-17 16:10:18

Also, if you have more than one child you can't send them on play dates on the same night. I've never managed to pull that one off. My younger one only really has one friend. What if you arrange an over night for one child but you can't for the other child! I would never be brave enough to say to my mother that I wanted her to take the children because I wanted a new bf to stay over. She could cope with that if it was a steady thing but HOW DOES IT GET TO THAT

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