Wow, thank you all so much for all of your responses. I am floored. I came to the right place with my concerns!
No, I haven't spoken to the guy about my thoughts and feelings on this subject. I guess, in part, because I am still trying to articulate those thoughts and feelings in my own head. I find that writing them out helps to some degree and reading others’ thoughts helps too. I do realize that the conversation needs to happen though .. and soon. We spent last night together. His ex has the kids for this week, then he'll have them next week before they head back to school. The subject of the kids came up. He suggested they all come to where I live next week for an overnight. He thought it would be fun for all of us to go out and then stay over at my place. I sort of fumbled around trying to respond, but I was taken off-guard a bit. I never really responded.
PRlady: Thanks for the sympathy. I’m just trying to be responsible and think about everyone concerned before taking the next step. It’s wonderful your stepkids are close to you. My stepdad was the most remarkable man in the world. I realize the positive difference a step parent can make in a child’s life. The thought of it and the responsibility of that is a bit overwhelming for me.
Anita18: The girls are balanced and well-adjusted and, from what I can tell so far, pretty good communicators. They seem mature and, at least from what they tell their dad, they’re very happy he has a girlfriend. Maybe I could learn something from them! I do know that they were hoping he wouldn’t date someone with kids, so I guess I fit the bill in that department at least. He also said that they think he's happier now.
Japanfan: I can’t even think about cohabitation. I am so far from that point in my life, it isn’t even an issue because it’s a solid NO. I do think I could be a friend to the kids, but not a parent.
kwanfan1818: Yes, the 1 ½ hours helps. Nothing spontaneous. Plus, I work in a demanding profession. We both do, so we understand that there are commitments outside of the relationship that can easily take priority. We have to really try to see each other and plan. That gives me time to think about seeing him before I see him. I think I may have run before now if we lived closer.
AxelAnnie: I appreciate your warning! The situation is a bit different, but point well taken. The kids in my situation have a great mom, who is thoroughly involved with their lives. I don’t see that I would ever take on any parenting responsibility if the relationship progressed. And, frankly, I wouldn’t. Their dad does a great job with them. So there would be no need. Also, I work and my job is just as demanding as his. I would never negotiate any relationship where I wasn’t working in my profession and/or took over primary care of the children. I like my job and fully intend to keep it! The guy and I are nearly the same age. He respects my working life.
Leesaleesa and Hannahclear: I don’t ever intend to get remarried. I don’t ever want to share my financial well-being with another man. On the other hand, it’s not important for me to date a lot of men. I could be happy being single. I like your idea of just telling the guy that I’m satisfied with the situation we have now. That would be a way for me to deal with the current suggestion of having the kids come next week. The kids are pretty independent, which is a good thing.
heckles: Thanks for putting it out there that no one has to settle. It helps hearing that. I haven’t thought of this guy as a life partner, but the more time I spend with him, the more I like him.
essence_of_soy: I like the idea of talking to the guy and letting him know I’m happy with the situation we have now – and just spending time alone together when he doesn’t have his kids. Thanks.
Southpaw: Thank you for your frankness. He’s working for me right now, yes. I see him when he doesn't have the kids, and I don't see him when he does. Simple. I have a job, friends, and a life outside of him. That's the case for him too, but now he's trying to include me in more of his life. I think the difficulty comes in for me because I don’t want the kids to get attached. I’ve tried to take things day by day. With an adult (their dad), that’s all well and good. But I feel a different kind of responsibility where his kids are concerned. You’re right that it’s incumbent upon me to keep that boundary if that’s what make me comfortable now. He’ll just have to accept it … or not.
Aussie Willy: I do need to be honest about it. I think I’ve just been dreading this conversation. But the kids are great and I’m flattered that they want to spend time with me.
skateboy and LilJen: No, he doesn’t know how I feel, but he does know how “fresh” my divorce is, how scared I am of commitment, and what happened to me last year health-wise and my need to focus on myself. I haven’t had to address the kid situation until recently. They didn’t know about me for a long time, and that was fine with me.
Alex Forrest: It’s all been great! I haven’t had to look for the good in this dating situation. He’s a wonderful man, who really gets me and appreciates me. Thanks for reminding me that I control the dance. I think I just need to slow dance for a little longer. Or maybe a lot longer!