Dating the 'Divorced Dad'
February 21, 2014 7:36 PM Subscribe
Everyone I talk to seems to have a negative attitude about my dating this older, divorced man with children. I adore him. Thoughts?
posted by OneHermit to Human Relations (32 answers total)
I've been happy to be single for the past several years, enjoying my freedom and developing and growing emotionally. However, I now feel grounded and in a good place to be able to offer someone the love and support they deserve, and I would like a partner.
I adore a man who has been pursuing me relentlessly for two years now, but I've been hesitant because of his ex-wife. Now that I feel ready for love, I've been focusing on him and taking the whole thing very seriously.
The situation isn't horribly nasty between potential beau and his ex-wife, they communicate well enough about their children and aren't constantly embattled. However, she does seem to pester him and rely on him to 'help' her with certain things as if she's a child.
Two of the three children are driving and off doing their own thing most of the time, and the youngest is a joy. He's adorable and loves to hang with his pops. Potential beau is a great father, always making time for his children and caring for them properly. He goes above and beyond for them. I don't worry about the dynamic with the children, the mother is definitely a presence in their lives and he is great with them. If I were in the equation I would be a 'safe place' for them to come to for help, not really a maternal figure. With the little one, I'm sure I would be a solid adult female figure in his life, and I would help in whatever ways I could, but even he is old enough to not look at a new woman in his father's life as a parental figure at this point.
I do worry that I wouldn't be respected as the woman of my own house in the event that we married, but there's no way I'd tolerate anything else. I just wonder if it would be a battle. Some women in my life have alluded to the (moronic in my opinion) fact that my wanting to be respected and my wanting my household to be my own, (i.e. house rules that the children would need to follow) shouldn't be something that I should expect. As if I'm not entitled to that. I think that's absurd. Hypothetically, I shouldn't be expected to just be shoved into this man's life and to not have anything the way I would like it. It wouldn't be all about him and his life that already exists, it would be about his life that already exists, and mine merging with that. My desires and needs would absolutely be respected. The comments from these people I know make me wonder if I'd be met with all kinds of resistance in setting basic house rules, or in my expecting that I receive what I need in my relationship, too.
This man is sturdy, successful, emotionally sound, and has a great sense of humor. He's a catch. But I'm so reluctant to dive in. I can see myself getting embroiled in conflicts with his ex-wife, because her defining word is "take," and all she does is gobble up alimony and do nothing, when she isn't picking fights with him. I cannot tolerate lazy, incompetent people and from everything I've heard that's how she is. He doesn't speak ill of her frequently, which I admire, but I've gathered that she's spoiled and lazy from all the details he has given over the past couple of years. If anything, he is flawed in that he takes care of people almost too well, and doesn't expect much in return. Which I think he's resolved to change in his next relationship. I think that's great, and I'd love to be that person who takes care of him, too.
-She cheated on him with someone half her age and then divorced him 4 years ago
-He offered to quit his job to find one that didn't require him to travel (this is a position he's slowly graduated to over the course of 20 years at the same company, he loves his work and is incredibly successful) if it meant that it would save his marriage, and she refused to try
-Her children are always having issues with her- they don't respect her and sometimes express their frustrations with her in the form of disrespectful comments and name calling
-She just moved right down the street from beau's new home. It's like she's tapped a vein and won't stop sucking the life out of him. He sees it as a great thing because he adores his children and they can come and go between the two homes freely now, but for me it would be a burden having her so close. She relies on him to handle 'big' (translation: normal adult) things for her, and if she were calling my home wanting his attention and for him to fawn all over her and her 'needs' I would blow up at her on a regular basis.
Have you ever dated a divorced man with children seriously, and what was it like? Are you that man and what have been some challenges you've had with new serious relationships? I really want to meditate on this now that I'm ready to be pair-bonded again, but I don't want to get in over my head. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
This post was deleted for the following reason: poster's request -- taz