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Navigating the waters of new relationships when SO has limited child time

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tybec:
New Thread.

Same topic.

How to work through the dating/new relationship with someone who has limited time with their children. 

I am almost 16 months with NG.  He has children with a typical 1970s child custody visitation.  Every other weekend and the alternating week night for dinner.  Every other week in the summer.  And then they decided to flip flop YEARS for holidays and spring and fall breaks. So this coming school year, no breaks or holidays are his.

The time is sacred with the children.  No altering it.  Has not been too problematic from long distance, but how to blend our families in the future?

How not to feel 2nd or 3rd, 4th priority?  Especially when you were number one with your late spouse, and then the children.  I was with LH 20 years before we had a child.  Our relationship was so important, and my LH reminded me he needed me as his wife when I would become overly child focused.  I am talking neglecting the marriage to take care of the child, which is not helpful for any parties.  Out of balance and wrecks lots of marriages.  30 yr. old marriages ending in divorce when they realize they don't even know or like each other because their lives revolved around the children.  Ya get it... 

So, NG has complete other dynamic.  Communication, communication.  Yes.  I hear ya.  But sometimes venting is needed, though you love the person, but it is hard.  All I am saying.

Those that know me and LH are worried about me.  I still after 5 1/2 years, have folks tell me how lucky I was as my LH loved me so much and shared that with others.  The things you hear later!

So, an example of this. Separate vacations this summer because of scheduling issues.  NG just got back from his with his boys.  3 days no phone contact.  We have talked about it.  WE did text.  But still.  I didn't go 3 days without contact with LH ever once married.  I am starting to get used to it as I am independent and have been on my own for 4 years.  But then that scares me.  Interdependence in a relationship is needed.  So, there ya go.

Respectfully my OP and my views/perspectives. 

Sugarbell:
Why no phone contact with He's vacationing with his kids?? To me..that's a little over the top on his part..just my opinion. Looking at this just from what I've read-it sounds like he's keeping everything compartmentalized..I recognize it because I did it in the past ALOT. Keeps things from getting messy...I also think maybe it's why you feel 2nd priority. I get his time alone vacationing with his kids...but what's a 10 minute phone call going to hurt???

I know relationships are give and take...compromise...It seems you do a lot of compromising..is he?

Portside:

--- Quote from: tybec on July 15, 2017, 07:57:58 AM ---New Thread.

Same topic.

How to work through the dating/new relationship with someone who has limited time with their children. 

So, an example of this. Separate vacations this summer because of scheduling issues.  NG just got back from his with his boys.  3 days no phone contact.  We have talked about it.  WE did text.  But still.  I didn't go 3 days without contact with LH ever once married.  I am starting to get used to it as I am independent and have been on my own for 4 years.  But then that scares me.  Interdependence in a relationship is needed.  So, there ya go.


--- End quote ---

Important issues brought up here - thanks!

I certainly understand you being a bit put out regarding the 3 days of no talking while NG on vacation. But, could this simply be a function of the differences between men and women? Many guys don't need, or perhaps even want, the level of tagging up that many women want. I'm not suggesting that anyone is right or wrong here, only that it may be due to differences in personality.

As to the level of attention NG showers upon his kids when they are around - he may feel some underlying guilt as a result of the breakup of his first marriage and he overcompensates when he has his children. Who knows? Just a thought.

SB, you mentioned NG may be compartmentalizing various aspects of his life. That is very possible - as a group, men oft times do that. Rightly or wrongly, we view it as a feature, not a bug within our lives.

It seems everyone involved here will have to compromise a great deal in order to have this relationship be a happy, successful one. Everyone, on both an individual level, and as a couple, must decide what they are willing to give in to and what they will not. Each of us will have our unique 'line' that must be reached to feel comfortable.

I guess the trick is to find where the line is and is that compatible with what the other person can live with and that's where the communication aspect comes into play.

Blending isn't for sissies - Good luck - Mike

tybec:
Thanks for the input.  I agree with both SB and Portside.  We communicate differently. 

He is Mr. Logic. Yes, Portside, he is making up for his failed marriage.  He came from a divorced family, his father a cheater, liar, and currently has a wife and live in girlfriend. He is NOT going to be a father that chooses a woman over the children, as his father did and still does.  NG's wife left him, and he believes he did all he could to make the marriage work, to the point of never arguing, always giving in, in order to not have a divorce.  And now he has his kids 4 days a month and the schedule.  So, I understand his background and beliefs. I am attracted to his dedication to being a great dad.  My LH had no dad ever and was an extraordinary dad to our son.

 Like SB, where is the compromise?  Will there ever be?  He never has dealt with a health crisis or otherwise.  What will happen WHEN that occurs? How to manage that?  How to be there for me, if I am his SO/partner/wife with the kids' schedule?  His vacation time is for the kids.  If we are together, what about us having some time?  Nurturing the new relationship is needed, too.  So many what ifs. 

Interestingly, he emailed today about Thanksgiving and Christmas plans.  He reconciled the schedule for the new year with the orders and school calendar.  Already planning.  He is willing to change Thanksgiving plans, but Christmas is set already.

Input on others experiences.  I don't worry about the thread moving past my comments.  I learn from others.

Trying:
Blending is definitely not for sissies!

Tybec I think it's good to focus on what you said about being attracted to his dedication to being a good Dad.  He may need you to be patient and supportive as he figures out how to juggle the dad role with the significant other role.  That doesn't have to mean not voicing your own needs but approaching any conversation with understanding about where he is coming from.  Obviously a phone call while he is away with his kids is not unreasonable to expect and he is probably over compensating.

For me, having occasional time away, without kids, has been an important part of our relationship and it took me a while to make that a priority and to not feel guilty about leaving my kids to do so.  Our first full week will be our honeymoon but we have taken a few weekends which is more manageable but still very beneficial.  It can take some planning with fiancĂ©'s schedule with his kids and me finding coverage for mine but any time we have done it we both have felt it was so worth it.  Relationships definitely need to be nurtured and not just in the early days but always.

We are still working on finding balance, in our case it is usually him feeling my kids take time away from us. This weekend we made a nice compromise when my son had a nighttime baseball game (most of the time I go alone).  We dropped him off for the hour of warm up before the game and went and had a nice dinner alone.  We got to the game by the second inning and watched together.  I was able to make him feel like a priority and not rush our meal and still saw 6 out of 7 innings of my son's game so he didn't feel like I wasn't supporting him.  Sounds simple enough but I have a tendency to compartmentalize too which usually makes me feel like I am letting someone down.

The biggest thing is both of us have to be willing to work on managing our expectations and listening to each other's needs. We are a work in progress and I expect we will always need to work at it to some extent which is why we are starting premarital counseling this week.

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