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dating advice: did i do the right thing


DHonks

hey folks. Last September I met a fantastic lady and we started dating. While I was 26 (now 27), she was my first girlfriend. She also has a 5 year old (almost 6). After an amazing 7 months, yesterday I told her that I think I had to let her go find someone else. We had zero fights. We got along great. But last week she asked me a question..."how come whenever we have plans to go somewhere--the three of us--you find an excuse not to go?"

 

I pondered it all week, and on Thursday it hit me. I think I loved the arrangement as it was. She and I were in love, and saw eachother roughly 6-7 days per week. I got to see the kid quite a bit, and I care a lot about him. I go to his basketball games and practices, and sometimes pick him up from school. But in the end, I think I like seeing him, knowing that when he has a rough day (he has a VERY defiant streak) I can go home. It's like having a niece or nephew...they're fun when they're good, but they're not my problem. So after enjoying his game, then seeing his dad take him for the weekend, she and I had a great day. But as the day went on, talk turned to the future. And it started to eat at me on the inside, knowing that in the previous few days I'd been wondering if I could ever live with him. I knew that I could marry her, as I love her VERY much. But I just don't think I'm ready to commit to having him full-time

 

So yesterday afternoon I confessed to her that I liked him very much, but I think the reason I don't want to take even day trips with him is because I'm just not ready to be a father. If that's the case, then perhaps my wonderful girlfriend (whom I planned to marry) should move on and find someone that can be there for both her and her son. In the end, I can be there for her, and always love her. But since I cannot guarantee that I'll be able to be perfect for her son, then perhaps she should move on. As of now, I have a few days to figure things out. She's hoping that my commitment to the kiddo changes. But I think I'm coming to terms that it won't, and a woman that I truly love will be moving on, in part because the situation just isn't right.

 

Any thoughts? Did I do the right thing?

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I agree with logan. That said, man it would suck if you decided you were ready to be a father in a year or so, and you just kicked this wonderful woman to the curb. If you dont want to have kids, then you never should have dated her. If you do want to have kids, and you are 27 and presumably done with school and have a good job, then what are you waiting for? As guys, we cant screw off forever.
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You have to find out/ask yourself what it is that you want in a relationship. Children that aren't yours are easy to like, because in the end, their responsibility does not come down upon you, unless they live in your household. It's easy to just pass them off to their Mom or Dad. I can't tell you what to do, nor can anyone. Because only YOU know what you really want. You also might not want responsibility right now, so dating a woman with a child probably is not in your best interest.
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I agree with logan. That said, man it would suck if you decided you were ready to be a father in a year or so, and you just kicked this wonderful woman to the curb. If you dont want to have kids, then you never should have dated her. If you do want to have kids, and you are 27 and presumably done with school and have a good job, then what are you waiting for? As guys, we cant screw off forever.

RyDogg, it's killing me inside, cause we get along so well. I'm done with school, and a middle school teacher. She absolutely loves that I'm a teacher. I really want to have kids. I always have. But part of the problem is that she's my first girlfriend. We've dated for almost 8 months, but that means I've dated for a total of 8 months in my life. And we've talked about the future so much, yet it never scared me. But when she asked why we've never taken a trip with her son, it scared me because I had no answer. And I think the fact is that I love having her as my companion, and while I care a lot about the son (I'm very kind, sensitive, and a teacher, so I like kids), I'm just not sure if I'll be ready for him. And ultimately I'm new to dating. I've been having fun with it, but we're at a point where she's viewing us as a family of 3, and I'm viewing us as a couple. And if I'm afraid to take him on daytrips now, I just don't know if that will be changing anytime soon. I'm not saying I can't learn to love him, cause I care a lot for him. But I think that if I'm apprehensive after nearly 8 months, that it's a sign that he might not be in either my heart or my plans.

 

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Is it possible that perhaps you're discounting your ability to care for the kid? It seems that those who are most qualified (teachers, etc in this case) are often the most critical of their own abilities and intentions. It may be that you're a far superior fit for this situation than most others would be, but you're hard on yourself for not being the perfect fit who doesn't really exist.
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I agree with Logan, and Rydog's thoughts as well....

 

I'm just not sure if I'll be ready for him.

 

I can tell you, you won't be ready for your kids. They are tricky

 

I'd take a huge step back, and cut the kid some slack. His folks broke up, and that is not on him. I'm sure he has it rough not having an every day male role model.

 

I guess I don't understand how you plan to marry someone, but didn't deal with the whole issue with the child.

 

I'm not saying I can't learn to love him

 

I don't think you can learn to love anything, you either do or you don't. I guess I'd be concerned that your fear is getting the best of you.

 

I guess if you truly care for this gal, I don't see why you can't deal with the kid. He has a father, you can be supportive of him, help him in life, much like the kids you teach every day.

 

There was a point in my relationship with my wife where "I will do anything for you" wasn't just something I said, rather something I knew to be true. I guess the million dollar question, is would you "do anything" for this woman or is that something you just say.

 

My advice is this: Realize that your relationship with boy will change if you commit to the mother. Things that he may lacking that bother you, can be addressed and corrected. I don't think you have to be a father, you just have to do what's right.

 

I'd certainly talk to the mom, and see if there isn't a middle ground where you can find some comfort.

 

I hope this isn't read as harsh -- I would sincerely hate to see someone miss out on a great spouse.

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Thanks guys. Most of the advice I'd gotten had said, "sounds like setting her free is the right thing for you and for her." But i just spoke with a cousin, and he suggested that if she truly loves me, she'll give me time. She'll understand my fear/concern. So he feels that there's a good chance she'd rather have me struggle and be there, than not be there. So I think we'll talk about this.

 

Perhaps I over-reacted. But I've been proud to have lots of answers, just I didn't have any for this scenario. Of course, I do love Wisconsin, and being "trapped" in Arizona until I'm 39 is also a bit of a concern. But I think some of you were right. As mothership pointed out, perhaps I'm just being hard on myself.

 

I'll keep everyone posted...thanks for the thoughts though.

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DHonks, I applaud you for being completely honest with this woman. I think most people would have freaked out and ran away and not returned her phone calls.

 

The kid issue is huge. I've never had to face that dating, as I can only imagine how big of an issue that would/could be, and have had friends in which that came into play when in came to the world of dating.

 

It sounds as though you've got some serious soul-searching to do. Others have given you some great advice already, but all I can say is that if you truly do love this woman you may want to focus on your feelings for her child to determine where they stem from and whether or not they will truly damper your relationship for the short and long term. True love doesn't come around very often, not to diminish the issue you've presented, as I can understand how that would be a deal-breaker. As already mentioned above, you don't have to be this young man's father, just a supportive adult.

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DHonks wrote:

And ultimately I'm new to dating. I've been having fun with it, but we're at a point where she's viewing us as a family of 3, and I'm viewing us as a couple. And if I'm afraid to take him on daytrips now, I just don't know if that will be changing anytime soon. I'm not saying I can't learn to love him, cause I care a lot for him. But I think that if I'm apprehensive after nearly 8 months, that it's a sign that he might not be in either my heart or my plans.

You have to realize that she is going to see every guy she dates as a possible father. That's how it is with most single mothers. That's how it was with my wife when we were dating whether I realized it at the time or not.

Fan is short for fanatic.

I blame Wang.

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Dating a woman with a child is definitely a tricky thing, especially when you are both relatively young. I dated 2 women that had kids. The first when I was 21, she was 23. I had a great relationship with the kid, and I wasn't afraid of that part at all. She wanted to get married after 4 months. I had a lot of things I wanted to do for myself yet. I told her that I was really happy, but I wasn't going to get married until at least a year and a half of dating. I figured by then you'll go through enough things to know if it is the right person to spend the rest of your life with. She kept pressing the issue though, and eventually I told her, firmly, I wasn't going to do what she wanted. I tried breaking up with her, but I was happy with both her and her son, so we kept dating for a while longer. Things never changed though and she was in such a rush to get married. We were both firm in our positions, and it did lead to our demise. The hardest part of leaving was leaving the son. We did continue to hang out for about another year, and eventually she met the man she did marry.

 

I thought I would never date a woman with a child again after that. I felt like I hung on too long because of the kid. My last GF had a daughter though. This time around I made sure that I was dating her for her, and not hanging on because of the kid. I was very excited about that relationship. Unfortunately, I met her after my plans were already in place for the move to AZ. She planned on moving here, but wasn't thrilled with it when she came to visit. She didn't want to be the reason I moved back, so she wouldn't even allow the relationship to continue.

 

It is a very intimidating thing to know you are going to be a large influence on two people's lives, not just one. It is a big responsibility. There is a lot of questions that run through your mind? Can I handle it? Does she want it for the right reasons, or is it just because I am nice and responsible(a good father figure)? I think if you are genuinely happy, and believe she is too; go with it. If you want kids someday, even your own will give you a handful at times. I think it is something you will never feel completely ready for. You seem to be a good person, and you'll probably handle it better than most people.

 

I think it is normal to be nervous, doubt yourself, or be afraid when you make choices that affect others lives. If you think she is a person that is worth it, I think you should fight through the fears. That said, there are plenty of people to date in this world. It probably is hard to judge if she is the one worth fighting for if she's the first relationship you have had.

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Is slowing down an option? We all work at different rates, but it seems pretty normal that you don't love her son yet after 8 months, especially since this is your first serious relationship. That's a lot to sort through at once. And for a young kid whose dad is also still present, it's probably pretty confusing to him. I don't know how often y'all are making plans for the 3 of you, but if you started it as once a month or every two weeks, with an activity with a certain time limit, it could be good for you both. It seems like you and this woman have something really special that can be worked out if you balance couple time with family time.
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Her first priority should be her child, not you. . .so if you're not ready, even after 8 months, to take him along on day trips or outings, then I think she would be best served to find someone who could date her as she is, accepting that means taking a secondary role.

 

He already has a father--so you don't have to be one, but her boyfriend should expect some afternoon dates at the zoo, park, or video arcade with the two of them.

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Raising your own kids can be very difficult at times. Raising a step child is a whole 'nother set of issues that needs to be addressed.

 

Raising other people's kids can at times be very trying and extraordinarily difficult. You have to take into account that you're not a 2 person parenting team, but a 3 person (or even 4) setup. Getting around the whole "you're not my real dad" thing, you still have to deal with different rules at different parent's houses, not to mention the fact that the kid's "real" father may try to undermine your authority and parenting abilities as well.

 

I think it's great when people take the time to really decide if they want to have children. There's all too much evidence of kids out there with parents who don't/didn't want them to begin with. Choosing to raise someone else's kid is an even more complicated choice, and you have to be CERTAIN you want to take that on before you make a final decision.

 

If this woman does care about you, she should actually be grateful that this concern of yours is something you want to be thoughtful with, and take your time and make (hopefully) a right decision.

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You did the right thing. I've been in that situation, I felt like I was reading a post that I would have written about 9 years ago. A relationship with a woman is complicated enough, but you throw in a child and his father, and it's a whole new ballgame. Dating wise, you moved way past rookie ball and broke yourself in at AA. I'm not saying it will get any easier, but when you've found the right woman, you'll know it.
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I don't know...personally, I could have never dated a woman who had a kid...of course, my wife and I started dating when I was still in college, so I never really had much chance to do so. Some people can do it though...I have a friend who got married a couple years ago to a woman who already had a child, and he's ended up being a good father for her daughter (where before I never could have seen him being a dad at all).

 

I think the best thing is that you're being honest with her, and having a discussion about it. I hope things work for the best for you. I get what you're going through...I am about the same age as you, and for a long time wasn't really anxious to have kids...frankly, I thought I didn't really want any. At least my wife was willing to hold off until we both were done with school and had established jobs. As I've gotten older and a lot of our married friends have kids now, I guess I've warmed up to the idea. What I'm saying is that...while you may not want a kid right now, maybe very soon you will? Only you can answer that for sure.

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Tell her that if she really loves you, she should give her son up for adoption.

 

 

 

 

 

Just kidding.

"Dustin Pedroia doesn't have the strength or bat speed to hit major-league pitching consistently, and he has no power......He probably has a future as a backup infielder if he can stop rolling over to third base and shortstop." Keith Law, 2006
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I am a stepdad for 2 kids so I can relate. IF there are streaks in the kid that scares you, you need to tell the woman that and then let her know that for it to work you cant just be the guy who tags along. The boy, if your to be a part of his life, has to be raised your way - when he gets out of line, you establish the punishment and she agrees with you on it.

 

Alot of the reason the kid probably acts the way he does is maybe because he lacks a "father figure". The mom probably doesnt disipline well or coddles him when he acts out. Kids are a ton of work, and step kids are probably even more work. Its not for everyone but what you do have to understand is that you get a great opportnuity to make a difference in this boys life and mold him into the Man that he will be.

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You did the right thing, definitely, in terms of being up front with her about the issue. And I genuinely hope that things work out positively for you, in some way.

 

(You might win the inaugural BF.net "Stand Up Guy" award.)

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I'm not a father so I can't really answer my own question, but is anyone ever really ready for kids? Do you fathers out there always want to hang out with your kids? Obviously there will be times when you don't want to, but if you really want to make the relationship work (with the kid, not the girl since she's not the problem), then you tough it out. Maybe do things with the kid that you like to do. Take him to a Brewer game, and bring some buddies along so the kid gets the full male-bonding experience. Just some thoughts. I know there are times when I've given up on things that I didn't think I was ready for only to realize that I'll never be ready for them, but that doesn't mean I can't work on it.

 

I do agree with Ru Rah Rah that you did the right thing by being up-front with her about it. Most guys are too scared to be that open with the woman they're with, and at one point in my life I was one of them. Though I blame that on the girl http://forum.brewerfan.net/images/smilies/smile.gif

If I had Braun's pee in my fridge I'd tell everybody.

~Nottso

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I wrote and rewrote my reply about a dozen times before settling on this. You screwed up, I'm not going to bother to go in depth on the why, this will be something you learn on your own through future relationships. The decision, and how you handled it, shows your immaturity and inexperience in this type of situation. This sounds harsh, but I'm not going to justify your decision as some noble way of not wasting any more of her time. She and her child will suffer from your decision, and regardless of if you change your mind, the damage has been done with the woman. She may hope that you change your mind, but in the back of her head, she will always remember your initial reaction. You love the kid (by all accounts), but don't want to put up with him when he has a bad day, this is ridiculous and pathetic. You knew she had a kid before you started, or at least towards the beginning of the relationship; and it seems it is the idea of a step-child that bothers you, so why did you get involved in the first place? You had already waited 25 years, why start with someone you know you will be ultimately incompatible with? If the answer is that you were in love with her, then the kid is part of her as well, and you screwed up. This doesn't make you a stand-up guy, a stand up guy would have told her your concerns, and found a way to work them out like an adult.

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"She and her child will suffer from your decision, and regardless of if you change your mind, the damage has been done with the woman. She may hope that you change your mind, but in the back of her head, she will always remember your initial reaction."

You dont know that. He said himself he has a bit of time to think about the decision, and she hopes he will change his mind. to me, that sounds like things aren't permanently damaged. if u have other insight on what makes you an expert on that, i'd love to hear it.


"You knew she had a kid before you started, or at least towards the beginning of the relationship; and it seems it is the idea of a step-child that bothers you, so why did you get involved in the first place?"

How can you accuse him of knowing that in the first place. If the idea bothered him from the get-go, i would think he wouldn't have gotten involved. i dont want to speak for him, but i would think that in his mind, he thought he could handle it (and with him being a teacher, i can see why)


"This doesn't make you a stand-up guy, a stand up guy would have told her your concerns, and found a way to work them out like an adult. "

Isn't that exactly what he did? once he realized his situation, he came out and addressed the issue. you saying he is not an adult is ridiculous. i think his biggest mistake was getting into something he probably wasn't ready for, considering it is his first relationship. but at the same time, it is her fault as well if it doesn't work out. i'm sorry, but it's just as irresponsable for the mother to commit to this guy so soon when she knows that it is his first relationship. its only been 7/8 months and she wants to get married already. i've been dating a woman with 2 kids for almost 2 years now. he has a better arguement than i do for not wanting to get married like tomorrow...


i personally think your post is more of a knee-jerk reaction rather than one you wrote and re-wrote several times...

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"You love the kid (by all accounts), but don't want to put up with him when he has a bad day, this is ridiculous and pathetic. "

 

So he should just be miserable the rest of his life?

"Dustin Pedroia doesn't have the strength or bat speed to hit major-league pitching consistently, and he has no power......He probably has a future as a backup infielder if he can stop rolling over to third base and shortstop." Keith Law, 2006
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