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My children want me to be loved 😕

(19 Posts)
BooksAndBooksAndBooks Thu 18-Jun-20 07:19:15

I just need to collect my thoughts in one place.

My relationship history is dire. I was constantly told growing up that I was unloveable and I completely accepted it.

In one sense, it freed me up from a lot of the "does he love me?" type worries because I had no expectation of it and every relationship I've had has been exclusive but 'casual' (from my side - I've never really discussed it with anyone I've been seeing). I've never had an expectation of being loved and I never have been.

But I want that to change now.

I married my best friend and we stayed together for 12 years (absolutely dire, no love or attraction - was a mistake from start to finish). That ended several years ago and I have two (teen and rwenties) children, as a result, who are delightful - well rounded, secure and self confident. But I know now that they also want me to be in a proper relationship - to be loved.

I started seeing someone around 7 months ago. My children have met him twice. He and I are each other's 'support bubble' now and he came round for dinner last week to celebrate something. My children were utterly charming - they engaged him in conversation, baked a cake and generally made him feel very at ease. He said he'd enjoyed the evening very much and really enjoyed their company. They like him.

I know from a conversation with my youngest afterwards that she didn't want the fact I had children to put him off and she had wanted to 'sell' us as a package. Which I thought was really sweet and it came out from the conversation that they just really want me to be loved and I realised, for the first time, that it hurt them that I'm not and haven't been.

They see their dad building a life with his partner and they enjoy a complete family experience with them and it was obvious from the way they interacted with this man that they really want this experience with, and for, me.

I really like this man I'm seeing. I could fall in love with him but I wouldn't unless I knew it was safe to do so - it's just not something that I do. I just don't imagine that anyone would ever see me as a long term prospect.

I don't know what I'm asking really. Just for people's thoughts. Thanks.

OP’s posts: |
NewLevelsOfTiredness Thu 18-Jun-20 07:34:19

You already seem to know that the reason you don't see yourself as a long-term prospect is because of your childhood experiences. It's a lie. I hope others can suggest some effective form of therapy because you deserve this happiness.

The silver lining is that it's not a bad thing to be cautious going into a relationship - just don't turn that into pushing him away, I guess.

Your children sound absolutely wonderful!

Aussiebean Thu 18-Jun-20 07:43:20

Have you tried counselling to help you rewire your training?

You have be trained to think you are unloveable and now you need to retrain yourself.

Having been trained by my mother to follow her every command to ensure her happiness, I get the difficulty of childhood training.

Whether this is the man for you or not, is irrelevant at this stage. What is more important is that you Are open to a life long love.

Aussiebean Thu 18-Jun-20 07:44:12

Ps. Your children are awesome. And you must be an awesome mum.

FlurryKnox Thu 18-Jun-20 07:44:25

In the nicest possible way, what your children want for you is irrelevant, OP. The people we love can want all kinds of things for us, not always the right ones. What do you want?

Falling in love is never ‘safe’ because there are so many unknowns — it involves making yourself vulnerable, and it sounds slightly to me as if you are using your children’s enthusiasm for this man and for you to be in a relationship as a sort of legitimising excuse for continuing to see him, even if you believe it’s doomed because you’re unloveable ‘’Oh, I knew it wouldn’t go anywhere, but the kids made me do it...’)

I’d find a good therapist as a matter of urgency and start to unpick the assumptions about you being unloveable, whether or not you continue to see him.

BooksAndBooksAndBooks Thu 18-Jun-20 07:47:06

They really are lovely!

I feel I need to broach the subject of where we are and how he seeing this developing, or not, going forward. I just dont know how to bring it up not having had the conversation before.

People say to just ask him where he sees it going but that feels huge to me!

I also know I'd need to end it if he doesn't see me as a long term prospect and I'd feel sad about doing that.

I've had therapy which is why I feel ready for a proper relationship now. I think I just don't really know how to go about it.

OP’s posts: |
BooksAndBooksAndBooks Thu 18-Jun-20 07:50:01


I see what you're saying. Its not that, it just made me think about it slightly differently and held a mirror up to the situation I suppose.

I've been telling myself for so long that I didn't want a relationship that, even after the therapy and being in a much better place, I've found it difficult to make the transition.

No, falling in love is never 'safe', I get that. But it would be utterly pointless allowing myself to fall in love with someone who was never going to see me in that way.

OP’s posts: |
ThatLockdownLyfe Thu 18-Jun-20 07:52:58

I would be very wary of projecting your feelings onto your DC.

As a child of a single mother I acted as you describe when she brought a boyfriend home. I did it because I wanted her to be happy. I couldn't give a shit about a father figure or whatever you think it is they want. I wanted my family, which was my mum, to be happy. That's it.

My mum talked a lot to me about wanting a partner. It really messed me up actually. The message I got was that she regretted having me because having children meant she was less attractive to men. Also that I wasn't enough for her and didn't make her happy because she wanted another person to live with us. I am certain that is not what she meant but that is what I took from it. Children are narcissists, they blame themselves for everything.

JustJayne69 Thu 18-Jun-20 07:55:20

How do you prevent yourself from falling in love with somebody ?. In my experience if the chemistry is there then any conscious effort to deny it is futile. You can fall in love with the wrong person but that’s emotional connection is still there. I guess tears and a journey.

MiddleAgedLurker Thu 18-Jun-20 07:55:29

Can you talk about some lovely things to do together after lockdown? Plan a holiday perhaps? It might help you gauge how committed he is to the relationship. Your kids sound great

MiddleAgedLurker Thu 18-Jun-20 08:01:22

Asking where you see the relationship going may be a bit blunt and intense at this stage although I get why you want to feel that your emotional investment is worth it.

FlurryKnox Thu 18-Jun-20 08:07:17

Yes, I thought along the same lines, @ThatLockdownLyfe — is the OP so visibly unhappy her children are desperate to help, and are trying to do their best to promote the relationship and not give the impression comes with ‘burdensome’ extras?

OP, I appreciate that part of those seven months have been in lockdown, but surely you have some idea of whether this relationship has potential?

thatsnotgoingtowork Thu 18-Jun-20 08:09:10

You are loved unconditionally and very much by your adult and nearly adult children. So its completely untrue to say you've never been loved.

Obviously I understand that you want romantic love and a partnership. That's a completely different kind of love.

Remind yourself that the people who probably know you best in the world and have known you for two decades in one case, love you. So you can hardly be unlovable.

People who say you can't prevent yourself from falling in love are oversimplifying or have fallen for the romantic ideals which certain types of media, especially hollywood and soaps, push. In reality of course you can keep your walls up and not allow yourself to feel. Sometimes when you know someone is wrong for you it is absolutely the right thing to do. Nobody has to be governed entirely by hormonal responses without engaging their brain. Nobody is entirely incapable of overruling "the chemistry" with rationality, especially if the person your hormonal response responds to is in some way likely to negatively impact your dependent children for example (not the case here but sometimes is for others). Of course it is difficult to change the rational overruling of "head over heart" once it has become an ingrained defence mechanism. You might need further help from a therapist specifically on how to let your defences down, if that's what you want to do.

BooksAndBooksAndBooks Thu 18-Jun-20 08:09:18

ThatLockdownLyfe I'm sorry to hear of your experience, but that is the absolute opposite to what is happening in my house. I've never discussed my relationships with them or expressed any desire for anything myself.

Besides, it's impossible to convey entire conversations and histories in one post.

How do you prevent yourself from falling in love with somebody?

A lifetime of emotional abuse and an expert level skill at conpartmentalising! Historically, I have just shut my feelings down and don't engage with them.

MiddleAgedLurker we've got a couple of pencilled in plans for a day out/weekend away that had to be postponed due to lockdown.

But I'm not sure that tells me what I need to know.

OP’s posts: |
BingPot720 Thu 18-Jun-20 08:11:18

I think, if this man has made the commitment to meet your children and be your "support bubble", that there is a pretty high chance he does see you "that way". I also think that if you're too cautious, and are holding yourself back from falling in love with him (the only way I can see you being able to do this is not getting too close to him) then he's going to pick up on that and possibly hold back himself.

This may have been the case in previous relationships also - it's not that you are unloveable, it's that you're giving out all these "don't get close" signals and they're picking up on them.

I recognise this very intensely from my own experiences, and also the need to know where it's going so you can protect yourself. But the thing is, you could find the best possible way to talk about it with him, and he could give you all the answers you want - "yes I see you as long term prospect, I love you, you're perfect for me" etc but are you going to believe him? There's simply no way of "knowing" at the beginning of a relationship whether it will work out or not. You can't use that as a reason to never be in one though!

I'm rambling here because as I say, this is something I have struggled with, and still do to a certain extent. It's only now that I'm in a secure (so far!), loving, respectful relationship with a man who is honest and open that I can see (and he has told me) that "protecting myself" can be read as pushing people away. Allowing myself to be that little bit vulnerable has led to so much happiness.

💐💐 For you

SteelyPanther Thu 18-Jun-20 08:11:19

If you’re going to marry him keep your will up to date. He will be entitled to half of everything when you marry and your kids will miss out.
My SF took everything of my mothers when she died without leaving a will.

TwentyViginti Thu 18-Jun-20 08:11:41

Sounds like a bit of role reversal here? Your DC may want you to partner up so you're 'off their hands' and they don't have to worry about you being lonely and depending solely on them in the future.

thatsnotgoingtowork Thu 18-Jun-20 10:10:15

Steely is right - that's the right place to remain firmly rational and practical.

BooksAndBooksAndBooks Thu 18-Jun-20 12:54:09

is the OP so visibly unhappy her children are desperate to help, and are trying to do their best to promote the relationship and not give the impression comes with ‘burdensome’ extras

No, quite the opposite. I'm not unhappy at all - lots of friends and a good social life/hobbies. I don't feel the 'need' for a boyfriend at all just that I'm at the point where, if I'm going to have a relationship, I'd rather have a good one with some degree of commitment and not a casual one. I had no idea they had an opinion on it at all until i spoke to the youngest to thank her for being so welcoming and well behaved and to say the cake had been a really nice touch.


Yes that's it - my head always rules my heart. And you're right about the children - they do love me.


You're right. I think that because I've always seen relationships as only 'casual' that I find it difficult to see myself cast in a more 'long term' role.

I don't want any long term promises but I've always kept men at such an emotional distance, I don't really know how to let one in!


No worries on that count. I have my own horror stories from my own parents on that count. Both deceased - not recognised in either Will...


Maybe but they haven't said as much. I think that seeing people happy and in relationships is so normal to them that they'd just like me to have it too. They know I'm happy and independent.

surely you havesomeidea of whether this relationship has potential?

It does for me but I've treated every relationship as 'casual' so, for me, its the default model. I don't know how he feels about it. He's as likely to be thinking "I could see myself with her this time next year" as he could be thinking "I like her well enough until someone better comes along".

OP’s posts: |

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