Author Topic: Obstacles to moving forward  (Read 3410 times)

Trying

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Obstacles to moving forward
« on: April 12, 2015, 07:40:07 PM »
New Guy and I just had an amazing weekend away, it was perfect.  Now we are both left wanting more and knowing that we have so many obstacles to face before we can move forward.  We generally see each other only once or twice a week and have only done single night 5 times before this weekends 2 nights in the past year.  In some respects I have been glad that I have my kids to think about because it has forced me to go more slowly.  But, we both want to do more for each other, do more with each other, be partners. 

For those of you who have kids and are in committed relationships, how did you start integrating your new love into your life?  I want him to start being part of every day life yet my middle son hasn't said more than 3 words to him.  I feel like I am moving so slowly compared to everyone else.  A big part of this is that I was very early out when we started seeing each other so I kept the relationship quiet for 6 months.  I feel guilty, even though I know I shouldn't, because I am in love with another man. 
You will forever be my always.

TooSoon

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Re: Obstacles to moving forward
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2015, 08:09:41 PM »
I am in a similar situation but it is transatlantic; we haven't seen each other for 3 grueling months and I am so over it I could scream.  He will be here later this week for five days and then I will be right where you are now - that feeling of wanting more.

My strategy with my then 7, now 8 year old was to incrementally introduce her first to the idea of him.  When he came to visit for a weekend when we were in Italy last summer, I let her decide if she wanted to meet him.  She said yes but didn't at that point want much to do with him.  When I visited him in the UK, I texted her pictures of his kids and his cats and that sort of thing and she talked to him on the phone.  All through the fall, I kept talking about him and she started asking questions.  Whenever I went there or he came here, he brought her something.  Finally in January, he came for a week.   It could not have gone better but I think it was all of that groundwork and time to acclimate to the idea that helped the most.  Next Monday he's going with my Mom to her spring concert at school and she's so excited to show off her new friend with the accent and, I suspect, to have someone Daddy-like.  She has asked if we are going to get married or if he is going to move here and I've been as honest as I can be in saying maybe and asking how she felt about it.  So that's how I handled it.  I never tried to hide it and have always been pretty matter of fact when she brings it up or wants to know something. 

We did have an uncomfortable conversation before he came here in Jan.  She asked where he was sleeping and I said in my room with me and asked where she thought he was going to sleep (we don't have a guest room) and she said the sofa.  I stumbled a little on that one but said I think he's too tall for the sofa.  Of course, then when the three of us were standing in front of said sofa she wanted him to lie down to see if he really was too tall for the sofa.  Nothing gets past this kid.  But more to the point, Obviously, we kept the door closed at night but I let her know she could come in if she needed me and in the morning when we all got up, we also kept the door open while we drank coffee in bed; I did not want her to feel "shut out".  She even came in and hung out. 

But that's just me and my approach to parenting;  be true to yourself and remember, your needs and happiness matter, too. 

PS- I am a huge fan of the take it slow approach.  For me it was the only way I could be absolutely sure I was on solid footing with someone I could trust absolutely.  Logistics played a big role in that and its sometimes been painful to watch my closest widow friends move forward in their new relationships but so far it has helped us build something really strong. 


Trying

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Re: Obstacles to moving forward
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2015, 08:04:03 AM »
Too soon, I can't imagine how difficult the extreme long distance thing must be and the obstacles you face are so much more significant than I face.  We are talking about my youngest (11) and I joining him and his kids (and large extended family) this summer for a beach vacation and I'm already worried about how to handle the sleeping arrangements.  I think it's trickier the older they get because sleeping in the same bed takes on a different connotation and I don't want to set a bad example.  And forget the 16 and 18 year old! My kids don't know I was away with him this weekend. 
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anniegirl

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Re: Obstacles to moving forward
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2015, 12:20:56 PM »
We didn't actually give our kids a choice. We told them that we were dating and then that we were going to be getting married.

It was an LDR and he had the more flexible job (and his kids were grown though the younger still lived at home) so he did the traveling and we usually didn't go more than a month without some sort of visit.

My daughter was four. She had zero memories of me with her dad, so her being upset on LH's behalf was never an issue.

I was co-sleeping with her though and transitioning her to her own bed involved tears (there would have been anyway) but it didn't take too long. She never questioned us sleeping in the same bed. Why would she? She was four and she had zero experience to base any opinions on.

The older girls were more problematic. They were 22 and 24. They were fine with just dating but alarmed by our deciding to marry. I figured they would be but husband was caught flat-footed.

He heard them out. Offered to bring them along on his visits to get to know me and my daughter but his bottom line was always "I am an adult. You don't have a vote in my life."

We love our kids. However, neither of us believed that our lives had to be put on hold for them. Kids grow up and leave and live their own lives (which we will have no say in) and while society deems it the more noble thing to do, letting them be priority one, we just never saw it that way.

In fact, I still don't see it that way.

This is just my opinion, but if the two of you want to have more of a joint life, you simply have to do it. Kids will come aboard when they are ready and in the meantime, you just listen, be respectful, don't push but expect the same from them.

Bad behavior (and there were moments) was never tolerated by husband or me. We were the adults. They were the kids. The end.

Most of those I know who moved in together with kids and remarried - just did it. Dealt with issues as they arose but expected best behavior. It didn't always work and in cases where it didn't, there was often outside agitators like ILs or exes fueling things but mostly, it does as long as you and your guy are on the same page about expectations and don't allow the kids to divide and conquer.
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Neverthesame

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Re: Obstacles to moving forward
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2015, 03:44:48 PM »
For those of you who have kids and are in committed relationships, how did you start integrating your new love into your life?  I want him to start being part of every day life yet my middle son hasn't said more than 3 words to him.  I feel like I am moving so slowly compared to everyone else.  A big part of this is that I was very early out when we started seeing each other so I kept the relationship quiet for 6 months.  I feel guilty, even though I know I shouldn't, because I am in love with another man.

My kids were 17, 19 and 22 and still lived at home when I started dating my wife. My wife kids were in their late 20?s and had families of their own. We were fortunate in that none of our kids were opposed to us dating. They had their own lives, so most of the time they were content to do their own thing and let us do ours. We started getting our kids involved early on by inviting them to do things with us. We?d invite them to family get-togethers, shopping trips, movies and things like that. Sometimes they went and sometimes they chose not to. If one of them needed something my wife and I would go shopping together and then call them to get specifics about what they needed and pick it up for them. It was just our way of letting them know that, even though we were dating, we still though about them and were available to help.
 
As our relationship moved forward (pretty rapidly) my wife started coming to my house and staying one night a week. We?d just have a normal night at home. She would come after work and we?d cook dinner and then watch TV or work around the house. My kids were welcome to hang out with us if they wanted to, or go and do something else if they chose to. At bed time my wife took the master bedroom and I sleep in the guest room. The next morning we got up, got ready and left for work. It worked well for us because it gave my kids a chance to get used to the idea of having someone new around?.but at their own pace.

A few months later we had a church wedding. My wife?s son walked her down the aisle. Her daughter and my daughter we brides maids and my two sons were groomsmen. After we were married we started off staying at her house some and at my house some. After a few months we decided to stay at my house full time and rent her house to her son. Now, 1.5 years later, my kids are used to having her around and just accept her as part of the family. To be honest I think my kids feel like our home is more of a home now that there is a woman?s touch around the house.

I know that it doesn?t work that way for everyone, but that?s the way it worked for us. Our kids were old enough that we could be patient, give them choices, and let them get used to things in their own time. She has a good relationship with all my kids and I have a good relationship with her daughter. Her son and I still don?t talk a lot. It?s not that we don?t like each other, it just that our personalities and interest are different we aren?t around each other as much.

So, what worked for us was just being available and letting them get used to things at their pace. Of course I can see where younger kids might be a whole different ball game.

Bill

Trying

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Re: Obstacles to moving forw
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2015, 03:56:15 PM »
Thanks for sharing your stories, it gives me hope.  I'm not sure why I feel like my older 2 will never come around.  My 18 year old is at least polite, my 11 year old is fine, but my 16 year old can't even seem to come in the room when new guy is here.  My response has been to not have him around much but I know that's not the answer.  It's time to start having him around and just letting it evolve for the kids at their own pace.  His kids are little, 4 and 5 and I haven't spent much time with them because I feel bad leaving my kids to do something with them.  Ridiculous, right?  I have a pool and this summer I would love him to be able to bring his kids over after work for a swim and cook dinner together on the grill and just be normal. 

I wish I understood why it's so hard for me to do what makes me happy without overthinking the impact on everyone else.  I exhaust myself.
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anniegirl

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Re: Obstacles to moving forward
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2015, 06:17:03 PM »
Quote
I wish I understood why it's so hard for me to do what makes me happy without overthinking the impact on everyone else.  I exhaust myself.

That's just who you are and it's not a bad thing, but it's good to be aware of because clearly, it's not working for you in a good way.

It's okay for you to be happy and for kids to be (because they are choosing to do so) be unhappy. You can acknowledge their issues without catering to them at your own expense. Just takes practice and patient.

I think your pool plan is a great one and one thing I have noticed is that younger kids make easy connections with older ones and can be the bridge to smoother blending.

It's easy for teens to snub an adult but not so easy to do the same to a wee child. My daughter was easily accepted by my stepdaughters and they refer to each other as sisters as though it has always been now.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2015, 04:57:42 PM by anniegirl »
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MissinGrizz

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Re: Obstacles to moving forward
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2015, 04:24:46 PM »
Too soon, I can't imagine how difficult the extreme long distance thing must be and the obstacles you face are so much more significant than I face.  We are talking about my youngest (11) and I joining him and his kids (and large extended family) this summer for a beach vacation and I'm already worried about how to handle the sleeping arrangements.  I think it's trickier the older they get because sleeping in the same bed takes on a different connotation and I don't want to set a bad example.  And forget the 16 and 18 year old! My kids don't know I was away with him this weekend.

I did not have my now husband sleep in the same room with me on our trips. We just snuck after the kids slept. :-) Think about the message you want to send to your teens and decide on your own value system as well as their comfort level. Maybe after you are engaged, but just dating and with them in the next room?

We looked for rentals that had two or more bedrooms and we had three trips over a few months to really get to know each other and it helped. My favorite was the condo we rented so we all cooked together and watched tv together at night so it felt like practice and not just vacation fun which gives a better picture of how it all may work.

Trying

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Re: Obstacles to moving forward
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2015, 08:35:52 PM »
Some progress this week!  New Guy came over for dinner one night during the week, quick visit and only youngest ate with us, oldest said hello and was pleasant, middle son was at work.  Today youngest and I went to a local park with trails and a waterfall with new guy and his boys. We hiked, had a picnic and kicked a soccer ball around.  Then we went our separate ways for a few hours and he brought them over for dinner later.  Again only youngest ate with us.  Oldest is away for the night and middle son came home after we ate and ate by himself.  He did say a few polite words to New Guy and played with his kids in the basement.

Baby steps...
You will forever be my always.

fairlanegirl

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Re: Obstacles to moving forward
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2015, 04:07:33 AM »
Gyaahh! I lasted a whole two weeks before the kids saw us lounging around in the same bed together - but they were 6 and 2. I cannot imagine what it would be like with older children/teenagers, I take off my hat to those of you dealing with that. Three years on we are not cohabiting but are committed to each other and a happy unit with him staying most weekends and a night during the week. I suspect - touch wood - I have been very fortunate.

If you have been seeing each other for a while and the children know that, not sure how it sets a bad example to share a bed, but maybe we're a bit looser in this part of the world in that respect?

The very best of luck to you Trying, the pool idea sounds lovely.

Mel4072

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Re: Obstacles to moving forward
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2015, 08:07:08 AM »
Trying, don't be so hard on yourself. Remember that you can not control your kids feelings. Be the parent who listens and lloves them. That's what you can do. I am a lot like you in that I want to protect my daughter from any more pain but she doesn't get a vote in who I love. Now, if I saw him mistreat her, I would kick him to the curb.
Good luck with this relationship. If it's meant to be, it will work. I am a product of divorce and didn't really like my stepdad but they've been married 32 years!!! My mother was his 4th wife.... What if she had asked me??? I would have said run! Lol!
Hang in there! Own your feelings and let your kids own theirs!

Max2507

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Re: Obstacles to moving forward
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2015, 08:58:56 AM »
Slow is good. I think especially with teenage boys. But the more they see you guys together doing regular things they will get used to it. They will also see how happy you are with him. Really teenagers are naturally self centered and look for what's in it for them and how will it effect them. And of course they are protective of their mom. My DH was my kids step dad but was really the only dad they ever had. They were young when we started dating and I didn't even introduce them until we had dated 2 years. Then it was another two years before we married and lived together. He didn't have kids and was afraid but I told him its just like dating, you find common interests, spend time together, develop a relationship. He would take my son out to lunch, to help him at work, all kinds of stuff. We went on some family vacations together, renting cabins. They were a nightmare! But now years later my kids say stuff like "remember when we went to Georgia how much fun we had blah blah blah" and I am thinking oh the vacation I wanted to throw myself off of the mountain to get away from you guys. Don't be hard on yourself, its not up to your kids if you have a boyfriend or more. But I totally understand wanting to make it all work so that everyone is happy. The summer pool get togethers sound perfect. Grilling, maybe a campfire with smores.