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  1. #41

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    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!

    O-

  2. #42

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    To summarize the above ^^^: I need to talk to this guy!!

    O-

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by OliviaPug View Post
    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.
    Well, sure they were hoping for a girlfriend without kids. Because they don't want to compete for attention with some kids who they don't know and might not even like. They still get to be the center of attention. They get dad all to themselves, and they get you all to themselves. Don't get sucked into this vortex if you don't want to! And it sounds like you really REALLY don't want to.

    As for the proposed sleepover next week, uh, yeah. You'd better talk to this guy and soon.
    The fastest thing out of New Jersey since Tricky Nicky in a Muscovian handbasket

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by OliviaPug View Post
    To summarize the above ^^^: I need to talk to this guy!!

    O-
    Yeah, pretty much. I think you're going about it the right way, being concerned that you don't want to take away too much "dad" time and making sure the girls are okay with it. At the same time, you certainly don't seem like wanting to be the drama queen that about him spending too much time with his kids and not enough time with you!

    I think you'll be fine. You just some reassurance, and this is definitely uncharted waters.

  5. #45

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    Anita18: You're right. I'm not a drama queen. Never been. I am also not a jealous or demanding person. If a man doesn't want to be with me, then I don't want to be with him. I would never choose to be in any kind of relationship that was one-sided. There are a lot of wonderful people in the world and great things to do. There aren't enough hours in the day for all of that as it is. When it works out and we can see each other and we choose to see each other, I'm happy. That's good enough for right now and probably forever. You're right. I think I need reassurance! And a kick in the butt so I talk to HIM.

    O-

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by OliviaPug View Post
    When it works out and we can see each other and we choose to see each other, I'm happy. That's good enough for right now and probably forever.
    Remember in the movie Cutting Edge in which the prissy figure skater chick brags to the hockey player guy that her boyfriend lives in London, and he responds, "Bet you look pretty good from a few thousand miles away"?

    Think that could be what's happening here? You don't need to see this guy every night, but you seem almost relieved when you talk about your lack of contact with this person, and you might be cloaking that relief as independence.

  7. #47
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    Eh, would you want someone to get in a relationship with you thinking, "She's not what I actually want, but it's more effort to find what I really do want, so I guess I'll just settle for her."?
    I'm not sure where you're getting this idea of settling from. The point I was making was that you have to compromise in any relationship, and that a good guy with kids is a lot less work than a childless one in many cases.

  8. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by leesaleesa View Post
    I'm not sure where you're getting this idea of settling from. The point I was making was that you have to compromise in any relationship, and that a good guy with kids is a lot less work than a childless one in many cases.
    I don't have any other experience dating a man with children, but I can say that some of this man's best qualities come out through his kids. It's good to see a man step up to his responsibilities as a father. He has a very silly, warm, and fun side with me and his kids. It's nice.

    O-

  9. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by heckles View Post
    Remember in the movie Cutting Edge in which the prissy figure skater chick brags to the hockey player guy that her boyfriend lives in London, and he responds, "Bet you look pretty good from a few thousand miles away"?

    Think that could be what's happening here? You don't need to see this guy every night, but you seem almost relieved when you talk about your lack of contact with this person, and you might be cloaking that relief as independence.
    I remember! And you're insightful. My independence *is* very important to me right now because I just got out of a bad relationship. I guess I'm just afraid of being consumed by another relationship and all the "stuff" that comes with it. I even thought about getting my private pilot's license. It seems I'm trying to fill my time with other things that are my own to prevent me from falling ...

    O-

  10. #50

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    Olivia - you actually sound really level headed and balanced in your attitude to the relationship. Plus where you are coming from is a good place in that you don't want to upset him or his kids. I think just getting over the big step of being honest about the situation with him will help a lot. And from what you are saying he will probably quite appreciate it. It must have been a massive step for him to introduce you to them as well.

    Whatever happens good luck.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by OliviaPug View Post
    I remember! And you're insightful. My independence *is* very important to me right now because I just got out of a bad relationship. I guess I'm just afraid of being consumed by another relationship and all the "stuff" that comes with it. I even thought about getting my private pilot's license. It seems I'm trying to fill my time with other things that are my own to prevent me from falling ...

    O-
    After my first relationship, in which I was a jealous controlling bitch with low self-esteem, I too was afraid that I'd get lost in another relationship. But my relationship with my fiance (my second relationship) is the complete opposite. We're both pretty independent and completely support each other's endeavors. It isn't just you in a relationship, but how the other person is too.

    If you want to get your private pilot's license, you should do it.

  12. #52
    I <3 Kozuka
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    I remember an article about Candice Bergen and Louis Malle. She said she fell in love with him because of the way he treated his children, and he said he fell in love with her because of the way she treated his children.
    "The team doesn't get automatic capacity because management is mad" -- Greg Smith, agile guy

  13. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by heckles View Post
    Remember in the movie Cutting Edge in which the prissy figure skater chick brags to the hockey player guy that her boyfriend lives in London, and he responds, "Bet you look pretty good from a few thousand miles away"?

    Think that could be what's happening here? You don't need to see this guy every night, but you seem almost relieved when you talk about your lack of contact with this person, and you might be cloaking that relief as independence.
    Uh, there are a lot of people in that boat. If, for whatever reason, a committed and cohabitated relationship is not right for you, and there's someone you like far away with whom you can enjoy yourself sometimes, where's the harm if both people are signed on to that?

    The distance between relief -- and Olivia is fresh off a bad divorce -- and independence may not be much. Sometimes you really like someone but realize there's an inherent deal-killer and the kids might be that in this case. If you don't have to commit and can live with not seeing the person that often, it doesn't mean you don't really like him, it only means that you know that even with the opportunity to be closer or full-time, for some reason it would not work.
    "Youth and vigor is no match for age and deceit." -- Prancer

  14. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by Badams View Post
    If you don't want anything to do with his kids, I think you really need to ask yourself if this relationship is worth pursuing. They are part of the package and deserve someone who wants to accept them. I'm not trying to be rude or anything, and I think it's great that you are so up-front and being completely honest with yourself about it. Some people just don't want to be parents in any way, shape, or form, and that's COMPLETELY fine. But he already IS a parent and...and there's no changing that.
    Word!
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  15. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by PRlady View Post
    If you don't have to commit and can live with not seeing the person that often, it doesn't mean you don't really like him, it only means that you know that even with the opportunity to be closer or full-time, for some reason it would not work.
    You're correct, but it seems that in this case, we've already been told about the geographic distance at least three times because it's a big component to make the situation bearable. It's as if we're being asked, "Hey guys, is it okay to get in this pond full of alligators as long as I only put my feet in? Oh, did I tell you, I'm only putting my feet in? Look, it's just my feet that are in! That's okay, right?"

  16. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by heckles View Post
    You're correct, but it seems that in this case, we've already been told about the geographic distance at least three times because it's a big component to make the situation bearable. It's as if we're being asked, "Hey guys, is it okay to get in this pond full of alligators as long as I only put my feet in? Oh, did I tell you, I'm only putting my feet in? Look, it's just my feet that are in! That's okay, right?"
    I realize you try to live up to your screen-name but I think the OP is right to be cautious even without the kids. Post-divorce is the time to make a colossal mistake. So yeah, maybe dating at all requires exposure to alligators but why not mimimize the risks.
    "Youth and vigor is no match for age and deceit." -- Prancer

  17. #57

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    Quote Originally Posted by kwanfan1818 View Post
    I remember an article about Candice Bergen and Louis Malle. She said she fell in love with him because of the way he treated his children, and he said he fell in love with her because of the way she treated his children.
    Uh, oh!

    Thanks, Aussie Willy. The act of being present, recognizing my feelings in the present, and focusing on my own life right now is the challenge I face. For someone, such as myself, who thrives on nurturing others, it has been a difficult journey.

    PRLady: I don't know if the kids are a deal-killer. I think that's a big part of the issue. It's a Catch-22. I will only know if the kids are a deal-killer by spending time with them and him and seeing how we work together. BUT, the only way I'll be able to get that information is by pursuing the relationship with both him and his kids, and I am anxious about doing so for the reasons I've already discussed. I'm not sure I can trust myself. When I love, I love fully and completely and sometimes to my own detriment (something I am working on).

    heckles: Every relationship is like a pond full of alligators! Human beings can't help being human beings. Even the good ones do crappy things. Me included. I may be trying to prevent something bad from happening or something worse from happening. It's all relative. Most relationships end at some point (putting aside death). Will it be a Hurricane, a tropical storm, or a gale? Or maybe just a thunderstorm? I'm a little squirrely right now, for sure, due to my previous relationship. The truth is, I think you're right. You really can't be cautious in a relationship. It hurts even if you just lose a toe.

    O-

  18. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by OliviaPug View Post
    Most relationships end at some point (putting aside death). Will it be a Hurricane, a tropical storm, or a gale? Or maybe just a thunderstorm?
    Going with your weather analogy, there are some ways you can predict whether you're looking at a light shower or a hurricane. No meteorology is 100% accurate, but you can look at the odds and decide what risk is worth taking.

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    ...Which is exactly what she's doing.

  20. #60
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    ...which is good.

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