Author Topic: Navigating the waters of new relationships when SO has limited child time  (Read 2621 times)

tybec

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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

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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?

B.W.H. 9/24/2007

Portside

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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.


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
The war is over for me now. But those of us who did make it have an obligation to build again, to teach to others what we know, and to try with what's left of our lives to find a goodness and a meaning to this life.

tybec

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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

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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.
You will forever be my always.

klim

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I understand the putting significant other in a holding pattern when you are dealing with your children. I quite often do it and my boys are older. My younger one is depressed an he is the one that will have me put NG on the back burner while I deal with him.  I try and balance things and hope that is good enough.

Since my sons are older, whoever I am with will not be coparenting them.  I never picture a true blending situation. I see NG's role as supporting me as I parent them.

I do not know the age of the children involved in your case but if they are younger I would think you would change the expectation and the younger they are the more I would expect to be included.
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tybec

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I can't believe I am writing this.  I am flabbergasted!  Signed on my new home!  Stayed with NG the night as I had to go get my kid from church camp, just north of this new city.  WE had a great night of discussing the future possibilities.  He helped me clean up my new kitchen. He is storing things at his garage until moving day which is Wed. His sons are in the school district of my home, so he is closer to them now.  It is out in the county.  Opposite side of town from his work, so about 30 minutes maybe.

He bought a house around the corner from the school where his children attend. Their mother got a new teaching job, and thus, they ended up way out in the county, and he was so aggravated.  He could have them walk to school from his house, so, a better chance of 50/50 parent sharing.

He text me this afternoon his ex called, and she got a job at the school board, next to the school by his house. So the children will now return there.   It is what he wanted, why he bought the house he lives in.  The kids are asking for more time with him now as they are older.  Moving to the home and area where I live is opposing this. 

I can't believe this.  Asked him if he was staying now, and he said, "yes, if it means more time with my children."  I specifically looked for a house to accommodate a family of our blended size.  I asked him more than once he was certain of our future, his choice, as I didn't need a house this size. 

I didn't move just for him, but made plans for our future.  I feel such a fool.  I have to support him in his pursuing his time with his children, the reason he left his career, moved to this state to begin with, to be with his kids.  But OH MY GOSH!  The timing of this! 

I just have to regroup and focus on my needs, my son, taking care of my mother as the reason to move.  And if I can be truly be placed in the back row now, will I choose to accept it or change goals?   How could this have occurred on the day after I close? GEEZ! 

And I don't have a ring, not the level of commitment, so I do feel foolish. 

This is hard.

Julester3

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Omg Tybec. What crappy timing! I'd be pretty pissed off in your position that this happened and just after you literally closed. I think you do need to regroup and focus. I too sort of feel he's not as committed now that this happened. He totally changed his tune as soon as his ex made changes - what happened to blending and compromise? There was no opportunity made for it after this transpired. Hugs!

trying2breathe

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Crappy timing indeed!  Sounds like he's torn between what he believes is the right thing to do and the future plans that you've discussed and agreed upon.  What you've described of him regarding his upbringing makes me think that he's hard driven to be the best possible Dad, over and above all else.  Time to have a good & hard conversation with him about it all.  Big hugs ~
Have I told you lately how much I love you?

arneal

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tybec: {{{hugs}}} this is the best I can offer at such a time. Regroup for sure, for yourself, your children. Much love to you hun.
Andree'

Seek peace, and pursue it - Psalm 34:14b

Sugarbell

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Ugh!

Put you and your son first!! That's pretty shitty of him (I know I know his kids).

Think I would focus on making a life for myself and son in New place and put a few walls up to NG. If its meant to be..he will work hard to also be there for you and your future. If not...-a move is still a good thing and make be what you need.
B.W.H. 9/24/2007

Captains wife

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I'm sorry about this - it's not fair. And the decision is completely out of your hands. Doesn't seem though that NG is handing this well either - making a good life for you and your son in a new house is exciting so focus on that. My NG keeps talking about living together but I am so cautious - when kids are involved (and both our kids are young)  as well as exes it gets so complicated. There is a part of me that is so used to being with my son, on our own that the complications of blending and having his crazy and selfish ex in the picture doesn't appeal to me. I sometimes feel I am put in 3rd position, behind his pushy ex and his son - and that's not an easy place to be in - so I like the  space. Then there is another side of me that loves the idea of having a larger family unit... Wishing you all the best - enjoy the new house!! Sometimes change is good : )

Trying

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Wow Tybec, definitely crappy timing!!  I don't know what I would do if I was him but I can imagine how awful you feel.  I don't think you are foolish at all, the divorced parent thing is so much more complicated than for widows like us who have total control of our kids(not harder or easier just way more complicated).  It sounds like his ex could continue to change things with the wind so you need to focus on you and your son and the things you have control over. 

Uhggg, moving is stressful enough without all of this.  So sorry.
You will forever be my always.

Forgottenwife

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Ohmygosh, I am stunned and shocked for you. Wow. And you took that chance and moved and just bought a new house. I am so sorry.

tybec

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Thank you all for your support.  I have had every kind of emotion you can think of and I am packing, so emotional.  I don't believe in coincidences.  I am meant to be in this city.  5  1/2 yrs. since LH died.  Signed on the house on the actual date of 5 1/2 yrs.  Maybe this is my catalyst to change?  Maybe NG will decide to go ahead with moving forward as it is only 12 minutes to the school at my new home. 

I have decided I of course, need to discuss  things with him.  I also have decided, as much as it may hurt if we do not work out, I will be okay.  He is not my LH of decades.  He is not there.  My walls are still up some as it was long distance and not real.  I know moving there makes it real. I had talked about us waiting a while before he would move in.  He didn't want to wait long, though.  It is just strange the timing. 

I don't know if I can do the dating thing without him being able to make a long term commitment.  He has said it, but follow through has not happened.  I don't doubt his love for me, but his children are first.  I know this.  I just wonder if  at what point is it of  of unhealthiness?  When do you balance doing everything for your children and your own life?  No right answer, but if he swings every time the ex does, won't he see she is still ruling him on some level? He said he argued in court to keep the kids in the school where he lived around the corner as she is on the career tract and he said she would likely move again, and here it is.  She lives in the same district, so 10 minutes from home maybe.  I understand her choices, but GEEZ...    It sure makes his life always at her beck and call.

Yup.  Back pedal a bit.  See where it is.  My teenage self wanted to break it off that night.  Impulsive.  My adult self decided to wait and see and get over there and see how life is.

I decided my house is large for me and DS, but the school district and neighborhood mattered, making it similar to our home now.  So, I guess I will deal with that.  Smaller yard, newer so low maintenance. So that is good.  The widow is the neighborhood!  HA!