A man is in love with a woman but admits to disliking and resenting her children. Am I trying to rationalize a relationship that doesn't (and will never) work?
posted by passing.by to human relations (74 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I am a divorced 36y.o mother of two children 13 & 5. I am in a relationship with a wonderful single, childless man of 42. I love him. We met not long after my divorce and, wow, it was great, we were very happy together. At the time there was a living arrangement in place and my children lived with my ex-husband for 9 months. About 7 months of that time I was living with my boyfriend. We both knew that my children would be moving to live with me full time because of my ex’s planned move overseas.
We did not discuss commitment in traditional sense (marriage or De-facto) because it made sense to wait till my children arrived and settled. His flat is small so I knew I would be renting a place of my own. I chose a place nearby so my boyfriend’s place is a minute away.
I was aware of the fact that my children’s presence would change the dynamic of our relationship. I was positive that we both were ready for the challenge and my optimism was shared by my boyfriend, he was looking forward to meeting them.
Well, my kids have been living with me for more than a year now, my boyfriend is very supportive, loving and affectionate towards me but struggles to accept or bond with my children. It’s a very subtle type of attitude, resentment, dismissal even. It’s hard to pinpoint or describe. We talked about it numerous times, he admits to it and gives reasons such as - they are too excitable, -they focus on the wrong things, -they do not follow the routine, -they are not appreciative, -they always want attention, etc. My daughter is 5, she has been dancing since she was 3 and she loves it. It is part of who she is. When in good mood she dances around the room and I love it, but my boyfriend thinks it is a show-off!
Well, at first I was trying to be objective because sometimes you are raising brats without realizing that your own kids display behaviors that are difficult for others to accept. I became really mindful of their language attitudes and routines. I suggested he got involved and he agreed. He was helping with homework and playing board games with us after dinner. He is really great, he is patient and very smart. These activities have to be on his terms though, when they play, how they play and so on, it seems to be very conditional as opposed to having fun. At times I feel he’d rather be somewhere else, where there are no kids, no distraction. It was like a task to complete and he perhaps expected particular results, I am not sure. It gradually stopped and I started noticing that he most of the time comes around when kids are not home.
Yesterday he dropped by on his way from the shops to see how I was going with my research paper and my little girl ran to greet him and he gave her this cold stare, he just said, “hello” and that’s it. She was full of her little stories from school, but sensed that it was not a good time. He did not see her for 5 days. She obviously wanted to share her stories with him. Witnessing it broke my heart! First time his attitude was that obvious, first time in a year.
He kisses the ground I walk on and he helps me a lot, he is very introverted and educated (PhD), I like it that he is well read and he supports me in my postgraduate studies. He fixes things around my place, is ready to help me financially if needed, he is lovely to me. He is all I have in this city, I do not have close friends or relatives here.
I talked to him today –here is a part of it (one of his responses):
“I love you, I care for you but I struggle with your children, it is stressful and depressing, their personalities are too full on…. I want to be in your life and help you, and care for you but….”
Big pause and I could not help it by saying:
“But not for my kids? Is that what you mean?”
There was no reply….. I thought I’d throw up
He does not want to end the relationship, he said he would always be there for me, he loved me whatever that meant in the context of our conversation. He mentioned that living together or getting married is not in the picture for some time because he questions his ability to have any positive influence on my kids or be a good role model.
According to him my daughter is a show-off, attention seeker and is insecure, if she doesn’t change she would be a trouble. And my son is too clever for his age; he thinks he knows it all without any proper education and reading. My boyfriend has a PhD in Economics and he questions and analyses everything my son says with sarcasm.
Surprisingly, my kids like him coming around, they’d participate in anything (games, walks, beach) and they get along for most part. It is not long before they pick up on his vibe and resentment. It feels like he resists their mere existence. It feels like I have two pet cats and he is a dog person.
I am so desperate for some clarity. At this stage I do not know what to do. I want to break it off completely, but then I start rationalizing coming up with excuses and reasons. My gut feeling is that it is over, I lack conviction to act on it, it seems. I will give it a couple of weeks.
I do love him and he has been more or less honest about his attitude. Please share your thoughts, maybe someone went through similar situation.
P.S. I forgot to mention that he hates my ex-husband. He knows of him (they were in the same university years ago). I suspect he might project some of his “dislike” of my ex onto the kids.