You meet a great man, and he ticks all the boxes on your list – he’s the right height, the right shape, smart, handsome, well dressed, well traveled and then some – anything you’ve envisioned. And — he has an ex (wife, girlfriend, fling, or whatever) with whom he’s had children.
There. Let’s say this part wasn’t exactly on your list. (Or maybe subconsciously it was, and so the situation manifested.)
Come to find out, and in my experience, upfront men will share this with you very early on – he’s good friends with this other woman. What now?
Well, it depends, right?
It’s rare that I cross-reference blogs here, but I should do it more often.
I have been dating my boyfriend for 4 months now and everything seemed to be going great. I’m 32 and he is 46. Most recently after one of our trips 1 month ago I noticed his ex-wife started to contact him more, “always something about the kids” Background- They were married 12 years and divorced now about 6 yrs. They have 2 children together, 22 and almost 17. I don’t have a problem with the communication because they are parents but why do they need to talk nearly every day. His kids are clearly old enough to reach out to their father if they need him. I too am divorced but I don’t talk to my ex-husband. If I have to talk to him, it is mostly through text or I am handing the phone to my child. I don’t need to speak to him constantly nor do I want to because my child is old enough to do that. He is 12. This is really making me uncomfortable but each time I try to say something it starts a huge argument. He made the statement that “if I want to be back with my ex-wife trust me I can”; I have been distant since then because I have been hurt in the past and that made my guards go up.
I don’t want to give up on a man who I can see a future with but I feel like my 4 months with him can’t compete with their history and I rather give up than to have my heartbroken again.
What should I do?
Please visit her blog for the full post…
A host of commenters chimed in, including Jana… Some said this woman was tripping over nothing; some felt her feelings were valid.
I went decades without dating men with children, because I just could not be bothered. At all. I wanted to avoid any drama associated with “another woman” and not have to see or hear about my dude’s interactions with someone he made a baby with. Then I met this guy with whom I had an obvious, recognizable connection that predated our meeting for a first date. (No, I hadn’t met him in person before.) I decided then and there that I wanted to love him, regardless. In short, I was going to try and deal. It helped that someone had patience with me and my own children (and some drama). The patience of Job.
My response to the readers question is different than it would have been a year ago, or even a few weeks ago. I did touch on co-parenting in this piece back in December 2015 though.
We all have insecurities. And the relationship with his ex is bringing out hers. But if that relationship is important to him, and he’s still nurturing it for whatever reason, the girlfriend can either leave, or put up with it, or try to control his behavior, which won’t work. And if he gives in to the pressure to stop talking to the ex, he will resent the girlfriend’s controlling behavior. To get to the root of the issue, in this relationship or the next (when her insecurities come up again) she needs to dig deep and deal with her own issues of mistrust, because those were there long before this relationship. Only way to break the pattern. I never dated men with children for this reason. The thought of “my man” having to interact with a woman he is permanently bonded to via children in common was displeasing. And it can still be uneasy, but I’m of the view now that relationships are eternal – especially if they created children together. They have a bond that will span lifetimes. Unless he’s being inappropriate and or disrespectful, you have to deal. Or not. Especially if you knew early on that they called themselves “friends.”
At 20 or 25, I couldn’t deal with this type of situation. I was socialized to violence and drama, and came to almost expect it, I admit. I had a belief, or fear, that men would roam, and always be interested in someone else. Based on experience. I wasn’t enough. Clearly that was a belief that didn’t serve me or my partners.
And sometimes it’s not insecurity at all. It’s knowing what you will and will not accept in a relationship. Plenty of folks wont even consider dating someone with children. I understand it. Yes, I do. All a matter of preference. I’ve also heard men say they would only make an exception if the child’s father was completely out of the picture.
Now – what do you think? Was the woman with the question just imagining things? Or do you think there was cause for concern. Have you dated or married a partner who had children from a previous relationship? What tips would you share for navigating such a situation?