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Parenting Stepchildren/we thought he wanted a family but maybe not?


I'm dating a man, for several months now, who has no children.  He was married once but they didn't have kids.

I am divorced and have two kids.  He gets along great with them, buys them things, plays with them, etc.  But we spent a weekend at his place once and he was very wiped out by the end.  He also said he didn't realize how much of my time they took.  He made a note of the fact that he had only gotten a small portion of my time that whole weekend, the rest I was tending to the kids in some way.

We took a vacation together a while after that and everything went ok, he reacted much better that time.  We were all together several days.

He would make an excellent father - there are times he's better with them than I am!  His friends tell him he would make a great dad and eventually "you get used to stress from having kids."

Our friends and family have even offered to help with sitting and date nights if he and I get married.  But he still has reservations.

He says he is not sure now about us getting married.  He wants time to see how things go for a while, as we continue to date.

When we met he said he wanted kids and he and I even discussed having one of our own if we marry, which I'm fine with.  But is this a case where he thought he wanted some ... until he saw what is actually involved in having kids and now he doesn't?

I know you can get used to kids gradually when they are your own kids and it takes adjustment.  It's just that, it seems like if he were tired of being alone, and truly wanted kids, like he said he did, he would accept me and the kids, despite some trepidation.

I'm wondering if I should wait for him to get used to the idea, over time, or just cut my losses.  He and I are a great match and he's even great with the kids....but if he is nervous to combine our lives .... do I wait until he does want to?  We have not yet been dating a full year, but almost.  

Does he need time to overcome some fears?  A few people I ask says he needs time to adjust but others say it's a red flag.

I'm confused.  Thx

My apologies for not answering sooner.
What I feel you should do is find a quiet spot where you can be alone for a little while...ask yourself some of these questions that you have asked me.  But instead of listening to those voices in your head... there are usually two of them... a positive one and a negative one... listen to your heart and the feelings in your gut.  I believe you already know what you want to do. Trust your instincts. So often we ask others and try to use what they say but they do not know what is happening inside of you... only you do. Write down what you REALLY want in a marriage partner and the kind of life that you want to have for your family. It is important to be clear on what you want so that you can know what your boundaries are...what you will accept and won't accept.  This becomes your baseline from which you make your decisions.  If you need some guidance on doing this please write back and I can give you more help

Remember that your relationship involves more than just the two of you... you come as a package deal. You are already a family... your and your children... and are looking at adding one more to it... he is looking at adding three more to his life.  Becoming an instant parent is not easy as there is so much of the history of the family that they have missed that it can seem overwhelming at first... until you have created new history together.


Let me know if you need some more information or help in getting clear on what you really want.  

Here are a couple of things you can read  

Parenting Stepchildren

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Rick Olson


As a stepparent of 4 children and a family coach, I can answer questions about the issues that arise in step-parenting including discipline,blended families, boundaries and guidelines.


I have 18 years as a stepfather, and over three years as a family coach focusing on unifying, strengthening and empowering families.

My wife and I have written 2 books on Family FUSE Your Family - Family: Unify Strengthen Empower! and Raising Families

BA(Recreation Administration) Grad Studies in Urban and Regional Planning and Design Certified as a LifeSuccess Consultant/Coach

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