Young Widow Forum

Socializing => Relationships/Remarriage => Topic started by: MrsDan on July 11, 2017, 03:49:30 PM

Title: Waiting in the wings
Post by: MrsDan on July 11, 2017, 03:49:30 PM
Title: Re: Waiting in the wings
Post by: tybec on July 11, 2017, 07:44:56 PM
Mrs. Dan,
Almost could write your post.  It is hard.  My NG has his kids every other weekend, every other week in the summer and all holidays, school breaks this past year.  This year, he will have no school breaks with them.  Crazy schedule.  We have been dating 15 months.  Last summer, I had a conversation about it as he basically stopped all communication during his kids time.  I was hurt/angry.  It happened again at Christmas, and I discussed it with him again.  He agreed both times of his lack of communication.  He would do better.

We live 70 miles apart, so it is not like we can see each other easily.  I am moving to his city in 3 weeks.  We are talking living together, engagement, marriage.  But the kid visitation does concern me.  He is into Father's rights in this state, hoping to change things as he had 50/50 time prior to the oldest attending school.  When the oldest started school , the new schedule happened, and he lived out of state.  He quit his career, GF and moved to the state/city to regain more time.  It hasn't happened.  This state doesn't do that unless both parties agree, and his ex won't.  But research supports shared parenting. 

Anyhow, I get your feelings.  I feel put back on the burner.  I have even felt somewhat like a consolation prize.  His mother flies in each week/long break and keeps the kids while he is at work.  So, he has meals prepared nightly, a grown up to converse with, and I get no calls/communication. He is the best guy to me, when he doesn't have his kids.  But I wonder what if I have a crisis, where will he be if he has his kids?  My mother nearly died in May, and he was helpful, but wasn't his kids' time.  He has no way to help me move as he has his kids this summer, and our schedules are not jiving.  We went on separate vacations this summer due to this. 

NG's  father left his mother, and always put his latest GF or wife first, so NG is NOT going to be his father.  However, a friend has told  me she worries about me and him.  If he has his kids, and an activity comes up for us, a family event, work, whatever, will he choose to attend?  So far, history says NO. 

But my marriage was us first with LH, then our child.  My LH would remind me he needed me as his wife.
 We were better parents when our marriage was going well, of course.

I have my child full time, right.  I have made arrangements over and over to have dates, adult time.  My kid goes to camps, school trips, etc., so we have had that time as adults.  But never has he changed his schedule to be with me when it is his kids' time. He has never taken off work for me, taken off early for me, nothing.  All for his kids, his time.  We aren't married, so, I get that but I can't have it like that if we do share our lives under the same roof.   More communication in the future.

I have had to keep my mouth shut about his time issues, as he gets very depressed each time they go back to their mom's.  I want to say, "well, they have a dad.  You are alive and well and get to see them.  My kid is fatherless."  He knows, and  I don't bring it up. 

UGGHHH this stuff.....
Title: Re: Waiting in the wings
Post by: MrsDan on July 12, 2017, 10:35:50 AM
Title: Re: Waiting in the wings
Post by: arneal on July 12, 2017, 11:48:10 AM
I often wonder if it's more a matter of an issue of focus ... My NG's children are both adults, one he is estranged from. He has a granddaughter. In his case, it's not so much the kids but it's work for the most part. He would also take time for himself where he disconnected from everybody, including me. It's not like it was when we were first getting to know each other; now, after a year and a couple months I notice he will tell me of his plans, like when he needed to go to a friend's place about two hours or so from our area.

I too get in my zone, where I'm doing things and don't include him. I might invite and if he doesn't respond or responds late, I'm out and doing whatever I had planned. Do I get irritated and sad? Sure -- because a part of me wants to spend every second with him. But the only child in me takes over and I get back to myself, realizing that I have work to do, a house to run, and things I like to do on my own.

I know this is off topic, but what gets me a bit is that I haven't met his granddaughter and that we haven't introduced each other to friends. I have come to the realization that it takes him more time to decide to do these sorts of things and the fact that we haven't done it is not a situation where he's keeping me away from his friends and granddaughter but more that it's things like she's not at the house on the weekends (especially during the summer she's not there at all I don't think) and his friends are his personal space, which he doesn't have a lot of with his crazy work schedule. I haven't suggested he meet my son yet, although I am thinking about it. I have mentioned doing things with friends a couple times but didn't act on it because the events were things I really didn't want to do either.

Sigh. Building relationships is hard.
Title: Re: Waiting in the wings
Post by: Metv on July 12, 2017, 11:54:41 AM
For my friend : )
Title: Re: Waiting in the wings
Post by: TooSoon on July 12, 2017, 12:13:45 PM
Communication, communication, communication!  It is the only way.  I am so sick and tired of talking about "our relationship" and every blessed dynamic (and it seems there always is one with someone - kids, grandparents, one of us) it makes me want to scream.  But it is the only way.  Otherwise, and I say this regretfully from experience, things just build up and pile up and fester until they explode and everyone is left stunned and overwhelmed and miserable.  MrsD, I don't have any of the answers - though I am happy to talk it through always - and you haven't asked for advice but having talked and then reading your post, if it was me (and this is SO the pot calling the kettle black because I have never actually taken the advice I'm about to give), I would take each item from your original post and any other issues on your mind and make a list.  Is there a pattern?  If so, what is the pattern?  Its the pattern that matters not the individual incidences.  Patterns do not tend to change; they can be modified however.  So if you can identify the pattern(s).  I suggest thinking about concrete ways they can be mitigated.  Talk to him about how you can see making some changes that will mitigate some of the problems associated with the patterns.  See if things improve.  Keep communicating.  If things do not improve, then I think that's when you start making some decisions.  As ever, if I've over stepped or am not on point, please feel free to disregard.  As you know, different circumstances, but I've got this blending/step parenting thing on the brain lately as well. 
Title: Re: Waiting in the wings
Post by: arneal on July 12, 2017, 12:22:06 PM
TooSoon -- your comment about not following our own advice made me smile  :D
Title: Re: Waiting in the wings
Post by: Mizpah on July 12, 2017, 12:43:40 PM
My situation is different bc NG and I live together and share a child, so our integration was accelerated, but he has a son from a previous situation, and he's someone who puts the kids first and I put the relationship first (not to the detriment or neglect of the kids, but I think that one of the most important things for kids is the example of the relationship).  It was a hard, hard adjustment for me, and still is at times.  Also, it wasn't until our kid was about 1 that our family truly started to integrate - there were lots of times before that when it felt like he and his son were one family, and our kid and I were another family (and sometimes he and I and our kid were a family).  Now the division is adults and kids, and I think that's a more natural order.  I do think this is truly, at heart, about what the definition of the family is.  Not living together makes this more stark, I would guess (can two households be one family?, etc.).  I think if you two have a long-term hope/plan, you need to get on the same page about how and when the integration begins and progresses.  Is this going to be one family or two (or rather three: you and your daughter, him and his daughter, and him and you and your daughter)?  How can you turn the three into one?  We have NG's son every other weekend, and even after years to get used to it, it is still a major shift in the dynamics of the household and relationships every single time.  I didn't used to feel like we were allies; I do now.  It takes time and effort and decisions (by both) to make it happen.  I feel for you.  Back in the beginning of my struggles with family integration with NG, I used to rail against feeling like I was always waiting, that I spent my whole life just waiting around, or that he put me on pause whenever he felt it was convenient.  It is not a good feeling.  I hope you can get this a bit more hashed out as soon as possible so you can function with less hurt and struggle.
Title: Re: Waiting in the wings
Post by: MrsDan on July 12, 2017, 12:50:01 PM
Title: Re: Waiting in the wings
Post by: Trying on July 12, 2017, 01:06:24 PM
Before we were living together we went through similar issues.  His kids are young, on the nights he had them and every other weekend we did not do things together.  On the weekends he did not have them he expected me to have my older boys babysit the youngest and complained we couldn't spend more time together on those weekends.  It was frustrating for both of us.  Being the one with kids 24/7 I was expected to make arrangements and leave them out of my plans and his time with his kids was precious and limited and obviously a priority for him.

Before we got engaged we gradually began to spend time together when we had his kids. Now that we live together it's more about family time when we have his kids and my youngest is old enough to stay home alone so we can go out to dinner when we don't have his kids.  There are still issues at times, we have never had a babysitter for his kids so every other weekend we are not available for any adult socializing, I would have to go alone if there was an event or party.

This is a long winded way of saying that I have no advice but I think what you are experiencing isn't unusual in a relationship with someone who only has partial custody of children.  It doesn't make it any less frustrating to know you're not alone though.
Title: Re: Waiting in the wings
Post by: Metv on July 12, 2017, 01:51:23 PM
Title: Re: Waiting in the wings
Post by: arneal on July 12, 2017, 02:10:11 PM
MrsDan: while a very painful thing, thank you for sharing there. Your followup made me think of how I look at life right now and how I try to look out for my needs; to use your language in a way, I felt second (or second and third?) to my son's special needs and my husband's illness(es), never having time to take care of myself very well. The only times I had for myself were during my commutes to work, where I was still worrying if they were all right at home ...

The two parts I took away from Metv's post were these:
Yes they should be aware that their relationship are all important, but from their view, maybe they're doing the best they can.

There's a lot going on, sometimes calls for communicating more to them (NGs).

From NG's point of view, maybe he can't juggle all the pieces at the same time. I read somewhere that in general, men tend not to multitask as well as women. People in general really don't actually multitask well, no matter their gender, but women tend to be not as bad as a group as men when it comes to handling many things at once. It sounds like him having his children is not just a simple thing -- there are certain times, dates, lengths of time, seasons, lack of ease in making adjustments. Maybe there are reasons why he hasn't involved his mom or any other relatives in helping so he can incorporate more family time with you and your children, maybe those reasons are that it hasn't crossed his mind to do so.

This is a far out example of a thought process, but I hope you'll hang with me here. Last year, NG asked me to drive him to the airport; he was going to pick up a truck from out of state to bring back for his new job. He rode his motorcycle to my house and we were going to leave from here. He parked it in the garage and everything. It dawned on me that there would be no simple way for him to get his bike when he got back ... if I rode (and I don't) and took it back to his place, he would have to bring me home. Otherwise, I would have to make a round trip to pick him up to bring him my house to get it. He said something about wanting to go shopping for an outfit to wear when he met the new work folks for the first time and also realized he'd left something at his place, which gave me the plan: I suggested I follow him to his place to drop off his bike and then drive him to the mall. That way, his bike would be at his house and he wouldn't have to figure out how to get it when he came back with the work truck. It was like a lightbulb went off. He told me I was so smart, that he hadn't even thought about it, and thanked me. It just never dawned on him. It took me saying it. Maybe, as Mizpah said, it will take having a deeper conversation -- at a time when visitation is not coming up so it won't seem like you are putting pressure? Just a thought.
Title: Re: Waiting in the wings
Post by: Abitlost on July 12, 2017, 03:04:16 PM
Mrs. Dan,

I typed a long response out yesterday, but it took too long and timed out and I lost it all. I don't have the time now to re-write it all, but the gist of it is that from what you write, I don't think that NG feels your relationship is unimportant. I think rather that NG is simply not skilled at physical, emotional, and/or parental multi-tasking.

He doesn't have his daughter very often, so I imagine there is a period of adjustment and reconnection every time they are together which may take varying lengths of time depending on what is going on with each of them. It may be that he is reluctant to make plans until he takes the temperature of that piece first. It could also be that as a single father he feels a little challenged. Maybe he doesn't call you because his daughter is pitching a fit, or maybe they are engrossed in a tea party, or maybe he is exhausted of parental duties. Another thought is maybe he is feeling inadequate if his parenting isn't at the level he perceives yours to be and yet you manage 24/7/365.

I do understand how this can make you feel second best. I was with a divorced dad for several years that would rarely do anything with me when he had his kids, and some of those things had to be approved by his ex first. I do remember feeling resentful that I was the only one that would ever make arrangements for my kids to leave them alone while his time with his kids was untouchable (and it wasn't because he was a great dad, rather that his ex insisted that the kids couldn't be left with babysitters so he would plug them into electronics so as not to be bothered with them).   

Long way of saying from what you write here as well as over the length of the relationship, I don't think it's about you/your relationship but more that NG may just be trying to keep up with his parenting expectations of himself. 

Title: Re: Waiting in the wings
Post by: Captains wife on July 12, 2017, 04:57:16 PM
I'm glad you posted this. Honestly, being involved with a divorced dad who doesn't get enough time with his son and has a really unpleasant ex has left me feeling a bit resentful. It is not close to having a relationship with our spouse and father/mother to our children. There I said it. I also put my NG and his time with his son first but it's not equitable. When he's with his son I don't really hear from him yet, for example, I make a point of taking the time to talk to him on the phone -  even if my 5 yr old is trying to get my attention. I'm also tired of having to work around the inflexibility of his ex. I believe there has to be a happy medium and I have made suggestions to my NG of how to deal with some of this (and my feelings).So we shall see. I know the kids come first but there needs to be compromises on both sides. Sigh - why is all this so complicated!
Title: Re: Waiting in the wings
Post by: tybec on July 12, 2017, 06:55:25 PM
Mrs. Dan, 
I don't know what you wrote since you edited it.  I hope I wasn't over the top or offensive.  I shared a lot of feelings/thoughts that were not a favorable side of me, but I own them.

Interestingly, one of the reasons I am attracted to NG is his loyalty and dedication to his children.  Reminds me of my LH.  I remember you sharing how your LH was a children's author or librarian and great with kids. Same type of thing. He  Is a wonderful father, and my LH was, too.

We are able to get together with all our kids. My son prefers that as he says NG is more fun than with just us three. It is really good.   NG tried really hard the 4th of July weekend to reach out to my son to connect more, and his boys were with their mother.

I know more adjustments are coming.  He hopes that once I am in the same city, we will connect and integrate our lives/schedules much better and then, maybe sharing our home.  Lots coming up.

I am sorry it is a hard week, and your anniversary is coming up here, also.  The triggers are hard.   :( :'(
Title: Re: Waiting in the wings
Post by: MrsDan on July 12, 2017, 07:10:38 PM
Not at all Tybec I'm glad you posted. That's why I posted. I don't like feeling like I'm trying to take something from their relationship. I don't like feeling like this, that's why I sought some validation.
Title: Re: Waiting in the wings
Post by: StillWidowed on July 13, 2017, 01:32:28 PM
Mrs. Dan,

I was also in a relationship where I felt like the kids came before me.  Hell, they DID come before me....every....single.....time.  I was crazy about this guy, and hung in there, and gave him space, and was understanding, and would completely turn my schedule upside down to accommodate him when he changed plans on me at the last minute because he was able to see his kids, etc.  Three years of on and off and hanging in there and waiting it out, blah blah blah.  Ultimately I had to walk away for my own well being.  I get a lot of "how are you still single" bullshit but this is one of the reasons why.  I want a man that makes me a priority and not an option.  I just feel like I've already been thru the worst, then that relationship kicked the shit out of me a little bit more, so if I have to be alone and wait for a good one, so be it.  Navigating dating and relationships after death just plain sucks.

(((Hugs))) to you.
Title: Re: Waiting in the wings
Post by: tybec on July 14, 2017, 02:16:34 PM

Almost laughable. NG text me asking what I was doing the week of July, the last week.  Umm, moving?!  Been talking about it a while, and I think I text him.

I responded, " And that is the last week with your kids, right?" He asked about moving his week time with his ex, requesting it, stating he would help if able to do so.  I told him not to worry about it with me, we would figure it out.   Don't rock the boat with the ex.

He responded, "Oh, well, I wanted to attend an event that Sat. and was asking for the change for that."  Not for me, not for helping, nope. 

Yup, need to see how we do in the same town for a while.  And communication.
Title: Re: Waiting in the wings
Post by: tybec on July 14, 2017, 02:23:16 PM
Mrs. Dan,

Noticed you deleted all your comments.  I appreciate this thread.  It is some tough stuff, taboo to talk about in some circles, but a reality for apparently many of us.  I do notice men are not seeming to respond, and so not sure about all that.  Maybe they handle it differently, or obviously, they do.

I think it is important to have somewhere to discuss this stuff.  And it is unpleasant.  But being part of this club is. 

Hope you will return.

Title: Re: Waiting in the wings
Post by: Bluebird on July 15, 2017, 06:30:17 AM
Hi everyone,

After discussion among the moderating group, we have decided to lock this thread to further comments since the OP has deleted the initiating post. Thanks to all for your contributions.