General Dating Questions/Problems with my boyfriend and his kids
I am 47 and am divorced with two young adult children who still live with me. For the last four years I have been in a relationship with a man who is 45 and who has two children who are now 12 and 15. My partner's marriage breakup (six years ago) was extremely bitter and he still has huge feelings of anger towards his ex-wife. As a personality, he is a lovable, fun guy but he is easily stressed and quickly becomes irritated when things change or don't go according to his plans. I think he is actually a very anxious person but this has never been addressed. My problem is that my boyfriend loves his children dearly but finds the times when they stay with him (three nights a fortnight) extremely stressful. During these times I pretty much need to avoid him as it seems everything I do annoys him and he ends up becoming angry at me in front of the children, which I hate and find humiliating. I think the stress is all tied up in the ongoing toxic relationship with his ex wife and the custody battles that he had to go through a few years ago. He is always trying to be the perfect father, to the point where he spends hours obsessively cleaning before the kids come and then tries to make every moment they spend together amazing. I have been on my own with my children for 10 years and my experience of being a mother has been relatively easy so I find it all very strange and confusing. I don't understand why he can't just provide a loving home for his kids without putting all this pressure on himself and letting our relationships suffer. If I try to talk to him about it he just says that he can't help being the way he is and that I should just leave him alone when he has his children. I guess I always hoped that one day we would get married or move in together but I can't see it ever happening. He seems to find it impossible to reconcile being a father with being my partner. Can you offer me some wisdom on this. I feel so sad at the moment and don't know how we can move forward.
I agree with you. That separation between you and his kids is a very dark, think line. He's not going to be ready for anything more with the way things are currently. Consider too that this isn't about how old the kids are. Even when they are in their 20's this will still be an issue - trying to compete with the mother whom he feels is poisoning his kids against him (and likely is!)
Until this changes, you're always going to be "the other half" of a whole relationship. I don't think you want to be in that situation, do you?
It seems high-time to decide what you want and need and to express it. He doesn't get to just sweep it under the rug and trust me, he knows exactly what's going on here. He knows that this is an argument he can't win so instead, he just avoids it.
You need to decide if this is enough for you or not. If you're willing to always be estranged because of his kids, then, accept things and make what you have the best it can be. If not, you need to consider what next steps you have - and take them. This isn't going to get better on it's own.
Dr. Dennis W. Neder
Producers: "BAM! TV" and “Love and Sex”
Publishers: "Being a Man in a Woman's World I, II & III”