My Boyfriend Does Not Want To Spend Time With My Kids

My Boyfriend Does Not Want To Spend Time With My Kids

I’m a 38-year old single mom with an 11yr old daughter and 5yr old son. I’ve been dating a 47-year old bachelor (has no children) for a year. We see each other when we can as we are both busy with 2 jobs.

When I’m with him it’s always fun and wonderful. I get along with all of his friends…they actually make me feel special. I have met his brother and his family and love them. However, he still has not invited me to meet his parents (they live 30 min away) which seems strange to me…he met mine after 3 months of dating and really get along well.

Everything is perfect until it is my weekend with my kiddies! I’m not possessive, quite the opposite, and would never suggest he spend all of his time with me! But I am wondering whether he will ever get more involved with the two most precious people to me…my children! Little encounters here and there but nothing to get excited about. I invite him to spend time with us every other weekend…never pushing as I’d like him to want to spend time with my children! I keep giving it more time to improve, but so far, none. He always has an excuse why he can’t be with us so I tell my children, who adore him that he has to work or has a previous commitment. Lying to them is not a good feeling.

If he wants to be your boyfriend without spending any time with your kids, well, that’s what he’s gonna do.

Is there hope that he will step up to the plate and be a part of my children’s lives or will he continue to ignore what means most to me in the world, my children? Should I have a one-on-one with him about this or keep doing what I’m doing and hope things will change?  Am I wasting my time?

Thank you,

Natalie

Men do what they want.

I wrote this in “Why He Disappeared” and nothing I’ve heard since has convinced me otherwise.

If he wants to call you, he’ll call you.

If he wants to sleep with you, he’ll sleep with you.

If he wants to commit to you, he’ll commit to you.

And if he wants to be your boyfriend without spending any time with your kids, well, that’s what he’s gonna do.

You’ve got yourself a 47-year-old bachelor. If he wanted to get married or have kids, he’d probably have done so by now, right? This should, in no way, diminish the fact that you seem to be very happy with him as a boyfriend. It just means that it’s entirely possible that this is the only role he wants in your life – the one where he really doesn’t have to compromise all that much.

Just as there are great guys who make shitty boyfriends…and great boyfriends who turn into shitty husbands, there are also great boyfriends who DON’T WANT TO BE great husbands.

Point is: you have to figure out what your endgame is.

You need to have a come-to-Jesus meeting with your bachelor boyfriend and let him know your vision of the future.

Do you want to be married again one day?
Do you want the man you’re with to take on some stepfather duties, or at least integrate himself into your family more readily?

If that’s the case, then, yes, it sounds to me like you need to have a come-to-Jesus meeting with your bachelor boyfriend and let him know your vision of the future.

While there’s a possibility that he loves you enough to reconsider how he’s lived his entire life, the most likely answer you’re going to get is what you already know from his actions:

“I love you. I like your kids. I don’t want to be tied down to a family. I prefer my freedom. If you can keep doing this, I’d love to, but if you can’t, I completely understand.”

And you have to have the strength to walk away from a fun and wonderful short-term relationship because it has no potential to be the long-term relationship of your dreams.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Kathy

    If I was the OP I would start dating others as soon as I had the “come to Jesus” talk with my boyfriend and it didn’t look like we were on the same page. I would still date him if I wanted to, but I would start dating others that had more potential of what I wanted for my long term plans.
    When I was in my 30’s, newly divorced and dating, I noticed how every man I dated treated my son. Most of them didn’t pay him too much attention to him.  When my husband came along, the first nite he came over to my house he brought handmade blocks that he had made and sat on the floor and played with my 4 year old son with them. A man will let you know how much interest he has in your children. I agree with Evan.

  2. 2
    starthrower68

    I would skip the Come To Jesus discussion.  This relationship has shown that it’s going as far as it will go.  She hasn’t met mom and dad and he doesn’t want to get involved with the kids.  Let it go and move on, or accept it for what it is and enjoy it but ask for no more.

  3. 3
    Selena

    If after a year together he won’t introduce you to his parents and doesn’t want to spend weekends with you when you have your kids…does seem he’s not planning any kind of family future.
     
    Two things in this letter seem contradictory to me though:
    But I am wondering whether he will ever get more involved with the two most precious people to me…my children! Little encounters here and there but nothing to get excited about. I invite him to spend time with us every other weekend…never pushing as I’d like him to want to spend time with my children! I keep giving it more time to improve, but so far, none. He always has an excuse why he can’t be with us so I tell my children, who adore him that he has to work or has a previous commitment. Lying to them is not a good feeling.
     
    How did your kids get so attached to someone they’ve only had little encounters with here and there over the past year? 
     

    1. 3.1
      Jerry Gamble

      I found that an odd statement As well. Typically I like my son but someone else’s kid is exactly that. If the dude wants to be around,the kids sense the bullshit he provides right away.,they also sense the good guy.it’s very tough. My ex told my son if her boyfriend was a real man he would ask her to marry her. this was meant for me to hear of course.  a seven year old can’t keep secrets yet. i took my son to our favorite  college football game. As he was telling her and the new boyfriend, she chimed in, So and so likes college football! How pitiful. My,son doesn’t give A crap,about her newest boyfriend. Not one bit. He wants to spend time with his dad. She is pissing against the wind on  this one. I say let her get wet!

  4. 4
    Laurie

    I have dated several men without children.  It’s always the same story.  They don’t want children for their own reason….selfish , immature, or simply made that decision a long time ago,  if this is something short term for you….do it.  If you are looking for long term, a relationship, marriage, whatever , then it won’t work.  Kids are a deal breaker for many men.  It s their problem , not yours.  Leave now. Kids are usually a commitment phobe’s crutch as they get older,  it’s easier to explain to people that it didn’t work out because of “the kids” than because he simply didn’t want to be a step-Dad.

    1. 4.1
      Androgynous

      Laurie. Why is it that if a man does not want children he must be selfish or immature, but if a woman does not want children she must be empowered to make her own choices ?

      1. 4.1.1
        TJ

        In fairness, Laurie’s comment does offer the third reason that he simply “made that decision a long time ago.”  As I read it, she’s not saying he must be selfish or immature, merely that those are two possible reasons.   The third reason given is exactly what you mentioned… choice. 

      2. 4.1.2
        mthrof3

        That was a very good question!!!

    2. 4.2
      JoeK

      “Kids are a deal breaker for many men.  It s their problem , not yours”
       
      Well, from a pragmatic/practical perspective, kids are her “problem”, in that they’re another limiting element from a dating standpoint. She can’t control whether potential suitors will be ok with her kids – and odds are most won’t be. It’s a much smaller pool of men who are ready/willing/interested in taking that on.
       
      Mind I’m not saying women with children are undateable, but for the men who don’t want kids, her having them is no “problem” whatsoever – she’s not a “keeper” for them (for more than just dating, as with her current BF).
      Unfortunately, her children are a greater limiting factor for her than for potential suitors.
       

      1. 4.2.1
        starthrower68

        It might be limiting for her, but as a single parent, I am good with having those men pass me by.  What would be worse is the man who would date me anyway and resent my kids.  I don’t know too many single dads who will put up with a woman who tries to get in between him and his kids.  

  5. 5
    Almita

    I am on the other side of the equation.  I am a 44-year old bachelorette (never married, no children).  I am dating a divorced man with a 12-year old son.  I have never been around kids (except for when I was a kid myself!), so I feel a bit awkward around the boy.  We get along fine but sometimes I don’t know what to talk with him about or how to interact with him in a way that is “fun” and “friendly” but still maintains my authority as an adult.  My boyfriend also has his son every other weekend, and I don’t want to intrude on the limited time they have together.  That said, I do want to get married, and I think that my boyfriend is a good candidate.  I realize that if my boyfriend and I do get married, this boy will be a part of my life. If I want to marry this man, I have to step up and spend time with his son, even if I am out of my comfort zone. 
    I agree with EMK that you should have a talk with your boyfriend, explain that you would like him to be more integrated into your life (including the time you spend with your kids), discuss his goals for the future, and find out why he doesn’t want to spend time as a “family.”  He may have feelings about your children like the ones I have had toward my boyfriend’s son.   

    1. 5.1
      HP

      Like Almita, I’m a woman with no kids and I was in a 3+ year relationship with a man who has a son (his son was 10 when we started dating).  Very similar to Almita’s story, I liked and cared for his son, but I sometimes felt awkward around him and didn’t really know how to relate to or bond with him.  On top of that, just as Nathan pointed out (below), I often didn’t agree with my boyfriend’s parenting choices or style, and the situation was exacerbated by the fact that my boyfriend and his ex-wife had a very contentious relationship – which made me want to keep some distance from the whole thing.  

      The result of all this was that, as time went on, I found while I was happy to spend time with my partner and his son some of the time, there was a definite limit to how involved I wanted to become – especially since I enjoyed my independent life and my time with my friends, almost all of whom also don’t have kids.  My boyfriend naturally wanted me to have a good, close relationship with his son, and he was unhappy with what he perceived to be a lack of interest on my part and the limited role that I was playing.  The more he pushed me to get more involved with his kid, the more I resented it.  

      All of these dynamics obviously put a huge amount of strain on our relationship, and I’m sure also (unfortunately) on his son.  After more than 3 painful years of arguing, couples therapy, and on-again/off-again, we finally broke up for good a few months ago.  He is a wonderful guy and we really loved each other a lot, but ultimately we just couldn’t reconcile these differences.  It completely broke both our hearts.  

      What I finally had to realize and accept is that there’s a limit to my desire and interest in parenting children that aren’t my own.  I’m sure that some people reading this will call me immature or selfish, but the reality is, just because you fall in love with someone doesn’t mean you’re going to fall equally in love with their kids.  And what’s more, this doesn’t make you a bad person.  Just as Evan’s response suggests – a person may love his/her partner, but have reservations about taking on the responsibility or making the sacrifices that come along with that person’s children.  

      There’s a whole spectrum of attitudes and agreements that could be made between the two partners – what I hoped for a long time was that my boyfriend could relax his expectations a bit, acknowledge and accept my independence and the fact that I am not a parent, and appreciate the time that I did spend and the efforts I did make with his son, instead of criticizing me for not giving or being enough.   Sadly, in the end, neither of us was able to compromise or shift our position enough to meet the other in the middle.   It hurt a lot, but at least I learned a lot about what works for me and what doesn’t.  I know now that in future relationships, I’d prefer to be with someone who doesn’t already have kids. 

  6. 6
    Peter 51

    In my case, I regard a parenting role as an absolute requirement for the relationship with a single mother that I have.  In fact, I wouldn’t see the point of planning marriage without it. The boy is 14 but still decent (one reason I like his mother – strict bondaries for the child).  I’ve known him since he was 9.  I dread the next three years of erupting hormones.  as this is otherwise, perhaps marriage time.  I could get blamed for any divergence in the relationsip between them.  On the other hand, I already have my own relationship with him and his maternal grandparents and aunts so I am almost family.  There is a half uncle who lives as a hermit on a farm somewhere who might not be a great male role model but Grandad is great.  Dad hasn’t been seen since he was 6 months old.  The previous long term boyfriend turned out to be married, after 5 years of reguler lengthy visits from another city.  As far as Evan’s situation for discussion is concerned, she should walk quickly.   We are not isolated beings.  We are part of each other.  She is not just a single woman she is a mother.  if he can’t accept the package then he should move on.  This is clearly not the American zeitgeist but then I think this whole individualism thing is a tremendous mistake.

    1. 6.1
      Dina Strange

      “This is clearly not the American zeitgeist but then I think this whole individualism thing is a tremendous mistake.”
      Wholeheartedly agree!

  7. 7
    Nathan

    Laurie’s comments #4 represent the flip side issue here. Namely, that single parents seem to forget, or never realize how challenging it can and often is for the new partner to step in and develop an appropriate relationship with the children. I say this from experience. There are all sorts of potential issues. Everything from the “you’re not my father/mother” dynamic between child/children and new partner, to major disagreements about parenting between bio parent and the person they’re dating, to interference of various kinds from the Ex (the other bio parent). It’s not just a matter of wanting to become a “family” together. Even when I think of my own history with my step mother, it took many months of regular interaction before I saw her as someone who both cared for me, and also was “worthy” of being listed to in terms of authority. And furthermore, wasn’t some kind of competition to my mother. Kids get all kinds of wild ideas and scary emotions around this stuff. Sometimes, they get over it all fairly quickly, and sometimes not. The last thing I’ll say in general is that people with children dating people sometimes project all sorts of biases on those of us who haven’t had children. Including the idea that we have no clue about children, and thus our opinions when it comes to anything children are irrelevant.
     
    As such, I think some important information missing from the letter is as follows. First off, how does Natalie feel about at least somewhat sharing the actual parenting role with her boyfriend when he and her are with the children (as opposed to him being just the “fun, friendly guy mom’s dating)? And has she talked with him about how they might do this? Secondly, in regards to his parents, what’s the nature of his relationship with them? Does HE regularly visit them and enjoy his visits? And finally, I’m wondering if he feels like he’s in competition with the kids for your love and attention. Obviously, this isn’t a good place to be, but if he feels this way – as opposed to simply opting out or not caring when it comes to the kids – perhaps things can change.
     
    It’s entirely possible that Evan’s right and this guy isn’t interested in being in a family and a step dad over the long haul. However, it seems to me that the 9 month to year point in a relationship is when a ton of the challenges with trying to build a blended family really begin. Because the new partner needs to become more than the “fun person” in the parent’s life, and the trust levels between the children and new person, as well as the parent and partner need to grow and expand in order to allow for some role shifting and new patterns to develop.
     
    Until this point (9 months to a year or so), it makes sense that the bio parent would be more protective of the kids and make them his/her main priority. But there comes a time when all sides have to change some in order for a new family unit to develop and function well. It’s not all on the incoming new partner, and so it would help to know more from the letter writer in my opinion.
     
     

    1. 7.1
      sarahrahrah!

      Very insightful, Nathan.  I am a single parent and agree with most all of what you’ve written.  The development of the relationships makes a lot of sense to me, though it might follow a slightly different timeline for different people. 

  8. 8
    Jeanne

    I am a divorced mom and I have two adorable kids who are with me 50% of the time.  My children mean the world to me.  Even though my divorce is “fresh”, my older daughter is very interested in me meeting someone special and remarrying as her father is a cold fish (where I am the complete opposite). When I am ready to become super serious with someone, he will know that I want all of us to share the same life as I have more than enough love and attention for all of them.
    For the woman in the letter, Evan is spot on.  He does what he wants to do. He probably thinks you are wonderful but also wants his own space so the weekends you are with your children are “his weekends.”  This is not to say he doesn’t care about you.  However, if you are looking for a family unit (like me), this may not be the man with whom you can have your dream.  You are awesome.  There are tons of fish in the sea.  Search for a man who shares all you hopes, goals and dreams.  You will not regret it.  Waste too much time with the wrong guy, and you will :-)

  9. 9
    sarahrahrah!

    I’m not 100% convinced this guy is leading her on.  For one thing, he may not be bringing her home to mom and dad because of the intense *pressure* they may apply once they find out he is seriously dating someone.  He may also come from a dysfunctional family (which could explain why he’s still single) and may want to put off that meeting as long as possible.  Finally, as one of the other posters mentioned, he may not know what role to play with you and your kids and may need guidance.  There really aren’t any public role models or education courses on how to be a good step-parent.  It’s really trial and error.  I agree with Evan:  it’s time for the Come-To-Jesus talk (delivered in a sweet, yet self-assured manner) and see where this guy wants to take things.

  10. 10
    John

    Evan said:
    And you have to have the strength to walk away from a fun and wonderful short-term relationship because it has no potential to be the long-term relationship of your dreams.
     
    OK so maybe it wont be the relationship of her dreams. But it can still be a successful long term relationship. Just because a guy doesn’t want to wife up a woman with kids, doesn’t mean they still cant have a future together. She will have to weigh the options of just having half a loaf (LT relationship without marriage) or giving that up to go for the whole loaf (marriage).  But the risk is that she will dump the current guy and still not find anyone to marry her and then she wont have either.  Its a tough choice.
     
    From a guys point of view, I am dating a girl with a 5 year old. I cant see myself marrying her since I don’t want kids. But I can see a LTR with her. The lifestyle of living with a kid is just so drastically different than living without one. It doesn’t make me a bad guy. Just someone who doesn’t want to look at Elmo dolls and Barbie dolls in the shower with me. Or someone who doesn’t want to have to be the one who picks up the kid at school when Mom has to work late (currently done by the babysitter when that happens).
     
    The tone I get from these comments and from Evan’s reply is that the guy should be dumped just because he doesn’t want that lifestyle, while completely ignoring the fact that she is in an otherwise good relationship.   
     
     
     

    1. 10.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      You’re missing it, John. No one said you (or the man in question) is “bad” for not wanting kids. But if a woman HAS kids or a woman WANTS marriage and she’s with a guy who DOESN’T want kids or marriage, that man is a waste of her time.

      1. 10.1.1
        John

        Evan,
        I get your point. But I think it is rather shortsighted.  A woman with kids who wants another guy to marry her is playing a long shot. I understand she wants what she wants. But do you give up an otherwise good relationship for something that has low odds of happening? The number of men in their 40s willing to wife up a divorced woman with kids is extremely low.
        For her it may be worth taking the chance. But that is something that you should point out may not ever come to fruition. Saying he is a waste of her time makes it sound like her decision should be a no brainer. Maybe she should rethink her stance and accept that half a loaf may the best she can do.
         

        1. julia

          So did I miss the part where no dirty woman burdened with children has ever married before? Cause I seem to know plenty of blended families.
           

        2. Marymary

           It may be a long shot but the best odds are to look for someone who wants the same thing rather than sinking months or years into a relationship that isn’t progressing and never will.  In most cases it’s not being bad that scuppers relationships, it’s the irreconcilable goals.  It’s denial to just motor along assuming too much. 
           

        3. Karmic Equation

          John,
           
          If this conversation hasn’t come up already, you should probably tell your gf that you never intend to marry her.
           
          Then let her make the decision of whether what she has with you is better than trying to go it alone and finding someone else.
           
          I’m thinking she’s quite milf-y. She’ll be able get the whole loaf.
           
          OP is only 38, she can still find someone to marry her. Probably a single dad. Particularly if she’s milf-y.

        4. Ruby

          Does your girlfriend know how you feel about divorced women her age who have kids? That they are damaged goods whom virtually no one else wants? I wonder how she’d feel if she knew that not only do you not want to marry her, but you see her as someone with so few options. Doesn’t sound so great to me.

        5. SparklingEmerald

          John @ 10.1.1.1 said ” A woman with kids who wants another guy to marry her is playing a long shot.”
          It may be a long shot, but if that’s what she wants she should go for it, and not settle for “half a loaf”, because that will decrease her odds of getting the “full loaf” even more.
          In fact, I think a big problem with we women is that we settle for CRUMBS, and tell ourselves that the crumbs are fine, or that the crumbs will eventually add up to a full loaf, or that the crumbs will do in the interim while we are looking for the full loaf.
          I think EMK does women a great service telling us not to settle for less than we want and waste our time.  He is right.
          And John, and to most women, a half loaf is really not better than the full loaf.  It’s like those song lyrics,  “a taste of honey is worse than none at all”.

        6. Clare

          John said “Maybe she should rethink her stance and accept that half a loaf may the best she can do.”
           
          Is this what you think of your esteemed girlfriend? That the “half a loaf” you are offering her is the “best she can do?”
           
          Au contraire, my friend, though it would be rather convenient for you and your ilk – you could clean up on all the attractive milf’s and give them whatever you feel like giving them because their self-esteem must be so low that they think it’s the best they can do.
           
          Neither the OP, nor your girlfriend, are obliged to settle for “half a loaf” if that’s not what they want. There are plenty, PLENTY, of wonderful guys who would love to “wife up” a fantastic woman with children – particularly an attractive one in her 30’s. You need only look around you for evidence that this is true.

        7. Joe

          @ julia:
           
          “Blended families” indicates that there are discrete families to be blended, not the same thing as a childless man/woman marrying a woman/man with children.

        8. sunflower

          Wow John!  From your comments, I’m guessing you’re on the young side.  A woman with kids is a package deal.  If a man knowingly does not want kids in his life, he has no business dating a single mother WITH kids.  It’s basic etiquette and makes the man involved look like a fool.  The kids come first….period.  There are plenty of other datable women. 

        9. craig

          Totally with you John, unfortunately women just don’t seem to get it, it, they always want the ‘full loaf’ unfortunately,  they just can’t seem to settle for the half loaf like men can, as I feel sure you will know. They see it as progress,  to where I don’t know. Children may be the apple of your eye but to a non bio man it doesn’t,  why women can’t understand this I never know, take a look at ‘the cinderella effect ‘ ladies and see how men differ, also step ‘blended’ families have a 70% failure, hardly encouraging for a man to take on, especially a childfree bachelor. 

      2. 10.1.2
        Pauline

        John is a walking talking contradiction, he doesn’t want to “wife” up and have any kids or the responsibility that goes with raising kids, yet is currently going out with a girl who has a five year old child. 
        What the what? 
        It’s all about him, I wonder if he tells his girlfriend that’s she’s lucky he’s around … 

        1. starthrower68

          If you don’t want kids, don’t date a woman with kids. Nobody is holding a gun to your head forcing you to be involved with her and aceept her kids.  I get the sense you expect her to put the kids on the backburner for your sake.

  11. 11
    helene

    Dear Natalie
    As a woman without children who tried dating men with children (expanding my dating pool, as Evan advises!) I would like to draw attention to two phrases in your post which I think may be part of the problem. 
    “….the two most precious people to me…my children!”   “….. what means most to me in the world, my children…..”
    Whilst these sort of phrases seem to trip naturally off the tongue of all parents, they never seem to stop to think of the impact these sort of comments have on their new partner. When someone – man or woman – doesn’t have children, their partner is the most important person in the world to them. To then have to cope with the fact that your partner doesn’t feel the same way about you…its a lot to have to deal with. It creates an imbalance.
    You are not giving your partner priority….yet you wonder why he may be cautious about becoming more deeply involved with you. Of course, everyone is free to set their own priorities, and if for you that is your children then of course that is fine, but you shouldn’t be surprised that he may feel cautious about things if he sees he’s not, and never will be, your number one. You also seem to automatically assume that he should wish to adopt your “family” lifestyle, and if he’s not too keen he is behaving wrongly   – not “stepping up to the plate…”  not “….improving.”  I have noticed that where one partner has children and the other doesn’t, it is the childless partner who is expected to adapt their lifestyle – fit in around the kids schedules, participate in family style activities, etc…etc… If you choose to date someone who is childless you have to respect the fact that they have their own – equally valid  – lifestyle…. one that does not involve going to water parks or watching Disney films.
    Clearly your partner has some interaction with your children -and in a positive way – as you say they adore him. Why is that not enough for you? Why must he change to be good enough for you? he is dating you, not your children. If you marry he is marrying you, not your children. Even parents themselves have been known to say they find all children unbearable except their own – in that respect it seems you may be  placing unreasonable expectations on someone who has actually chosen to live child-free.

    1. 11.1
      Danaris

      As a woman who doesn’t have children, I wouldn’t want to date a man with children who DIDN’T put his children first.  I grew up without a father so I know what’s it’s like to feel like one of my parents didn’t care about me.   I feel that until children  become adults, parents should put the care and needs of their children first.    Fortunately,  parents putting their children first doesn’t mean that a girlfriend or boyfriend will be neglected.  Indeed, the OP doesn’t feel that her boyfriend is neglecting her, she feels that he isn’t paying enough attention to her children.   
      I did date a man who had two children and I never felt bad that they came first.   I was glad that he cared about them so much.   I also didn’t push to meet them because I don’t think kids should be exposed to every single woman a guy is dating.   If  he is getting serious and believes he might want to get married, then I think he should introduce his girlfriend to his kids.
      Finally, when a woman marries a man with kids who live with him, she is in fact marrying his kids too.  If a woman believes otherwise, she is setting herself  up for a rude awakening.
       

    2. 11.2
      Skaramouche

      I have no children, don’t particularly like them, am not really interested in having any and if I were single, I wouldn’t want to date men with children.  I should also say that parents who expect everyone else’s lives to revolve around their children annoy me to no end.  Parents who think their lives are more important just because they are parents also really annoy me.  Having said all of that however, if  someone like me chooses to date a person who already has a child, those feelings, by necessity, become somewhat secondary.  Any kind of  relationship with a parent will have to include his/her children.  If this man is avoiding the OP’s children, it is likely he does not see anything permanent with her.  Nothing wrong with that but unless she is okay with a short term/casual arrangement, he is the wrong man for her.  Changing her priorities to fit his needs is not the answer.  In any case, it doesn’t sound like he is asking her to change.  He just wants very little contact with her kids.
      >> If you marry he is marrying you, not your children.
      Come on…you know that’s not true.  Parents and children are a packaged deal.

      1. 11.2.1
        SparklingEmerald

        Skaramouche @11.2 –
        I have no children, don’t particularly like them, am not really interested in having any and if I were single, I wouldn’t want to date men with children.
        Then you shouldn’t date anyone with children and they shouldn’t date you.
         I should also say that parents who expect everyone else’s lives to revolve around their children annoy me to no end.
        You are reading into things based on your own dislike of children.  No one expects “everyone else’s lives” to revolve around their children, but children, by necessity need to have the people in their lives care for them and make them a priority.  Parents who neglect their children for a selfish/disinterested adult annoy me to no end.  Think Susan Smith – – extreme example I know, but  if my ex had left me when my son was young, I doubt that I would have dated at all until he was grown, because there is NO WAY IN HELL that I would have neglected my son’s physical or emotional needs for something as fleeting as a boyfriend candidate and/or boyfriend.
         Parents who think their lives are more important just because they are parents also really annoy me.
        Again, your dislike of children is coloring your perception of what parents think.  It’s not their lives are more or less important than anyone else’s, but parenthood, by it’s very nature demands that a person be unselfish enough to put their children first.  That’s going to affect everything from job choice, where to live,  who you date & your recreation (really, the constant  all night partying with alcohol & drugs seriously is not compatible with parenthood)     A single parent, if they love and are responsible for their children will not choose a job that puts them out of town for weeks on end, live somewhere that is not child friendly, party like a college kid, nor date someone who dislikes children and expects the person they are dating to ignore their own flesh and blood.
         Having said all of that however, if  someone like me chooses to date a person who already has a child, those feelings, by necessity, become somewhat secondary.
         
        Any single parent who would choose to date someone like you who dislikes children so much should have their head examined.  You are entitled to your feelings, but please don’t even consider dating a single parent of young children.  And I hope no single parent of young children would ever consider dating you.  Your resentment of children oozes out of every pore in your body.  Children need the love, care and protection of their family, more than a single parent needs a relationship.  Single parents are right to put the needs of their dependent children ahead of the wants of any adult.
         Any kind of  relationship with a parent will have to include his/her children.  If this man is avoiding the OP’s children, it is likely he does not see anything permanent with her.
        BINGO !
         Nothing wrong with that but unless she is okay with a short term/casual arrangement, he is the wrong man for her.
        Actually, there is a lot wrong with that.  He is wrong for her AND her children.  Just because a single parent is “ok” with short term/casual arrangements doesn’t mean the children are “ok” with it. 
         
         Changing her priorities to fit his needs is not the answer.
        You are right about her not changing her priorities, but I would say it is about his WANTS, not his needs.  Sorry, but the needs of young children should always come first over the WANTS of a temporary boyfriend.
         In any case, it doesn’t sound like he is asking her to change.  He just wants very little contact with her kids.
        Then she should move on, or limit all of her contact with him to times when her children are with her ex and her casual relationships should be invisible to her children.  I witnessed a neighbor girl who was eight years old play second fiddle to her mom’s casual boyfriend.  It was heartbreaking to see this innocent child relegated to the emotional dustbin because her mother thought pleasing her boyfriend of the week was more important than loving her own flesh and blood, who was likely the by product of some past boyfriend of the week.  Society is better off if we raise healthy, whole children, rather than trying to repair broken adults.
         
         

        1. starthrower68

          SE, once again you win the Internet. 😉

      2. 11.2.2
        starthrower68

        I am eternally grateful my stepmom, who loves and raised me as her own, did not have such an attitude.

    3. 11.3
      Kathy

      Helene, You obviously don’t understand what the word “marriage” means in a relationship with children.  If you are “marrying” a partner with children, it comes as a “package deal”. You can’t separate the two. For the “marriage” to be successful you have to all blend together to the best of your ability, or basically have a failed marriage where there is so much tension that it is not enjoyable for anyone.

    4. 11.4
      adrianne

      Thank you Helene so much for sharing your point of view. Wish you could start a support group for new step parents

      1. 11.4.1
        Weaselina

        Helene, I also appreciated your point of view. There are single fathers in the world who love their children, and are looking for love and a ltr, but are not looking for a partner to be second mommy to their kids. Some people want a partner that will be present without interfering in the parenting realm. 
        I resent the attitude of people who believe there is a “one size fits all” approach to raising kids or to dating when you have kids.
        yes, children need their parents. But parents don’t all need or want the same things. And they do not all have to raise their kids in the same way. How stepford to think they do. 

    5. 11.5
      HP

      I also agree strongly with Helene’s comments.  It’s disconcerting to me that so many people seem to have an attitude that when a person with kids dates or marries a person without kids, it has to be an “all or nothing” proposition.  Helene hit the nail right on the head with her observation that someone who doesn’t have children of their own has “their own – equally valid – lifestyle.”  I also think this is not a gender issue – it’s an issue of personality and human nature.  If a person with kids chooses to get involved with a person who doesn’t have kids, the parent-partner has to realize that it’s a BIG lifestyle change – and very possibly a difficult one – for the childless partner.  Are there some men/women out there who will love and embrace their new partner’s kids as if they were there own kids?  Sure, of course – and if you happen to be one of the single parents who finds one of those people, then you and your kids are very lucky!! But that shouldn’t be where the bar is set.  Speaking on behalf of adults, both male and female, who don’t have children – we are whole individuals who have complete and fulfilling lifestyles.  The needs, priorities and life goals of people who have children are not more important than those of us who don’t.   In many cases, a person without kids may be kind and friendly with his/her partner’s children, and may be happy to have some involvement, but may not want to “step up” to the extent of giving up their freedom or prioritizing time with the kids over other things they want to do.  I don’t think that a single parent should have to settle for “crumbs” or “half a loaf,” but I do think it’s unfair for a single parent to expect 100% buy-in or commitment with their kids from a partner who doesn’t have any.  You may have to adjust your expectations and realize that your partner might only want to give 70%, because he/she needs to have that other 30% for his/her own priorities and needs.  There are two sides to this coin, and if people with children can’t understand that, for many of us, it’s a big adjustment and compromise to date someone with kids, and if you aren’t prepared to accept and respect your partner’s freedom and individuality – then you have no business dating someone who doesn’t have kids.  

  12. 12
    Pauline

    The OP needs to have this conversation with her boyfriend. After a year of going out and having a good relationship meeting friends and other family members she needs to consider where this is going not only for her sake but for the children as well. Children need a stable loving environment to grow and thrive and so far her boyfriend is not providing this.
     
    After one year together if he hasn’t stepped up to the plate to integrate her children into his life I doubt if he’s going to.  He’s got a great girlfriend who is giving him love and support and he’s quite happy for the status quo to continue without really having a lot to do with her children. He bails on the “family” weekends with the kids for his own reasons and whatever the reasons are, they are valid for him, including not taking the OP to meet his parents. Just because they are going out and having a great time doesn’t mean that their long term goals and aspirations are the same, ie. marriage and perhaps a child or children of their own. 
     
    The OP is having one relationship and from the information in her letter, her boyfriend is having a different relationship, one that doesn’t include her children to any great extent. That’s not to say that he doesn’t like her children a lot, he probably does and being a “dad” may be beyond him right now.
     
    Hard as it may be and before any more time is invested in her boyfriend, the OP really needs to find out if he is capable of taking on her children or not. Her children need to come first, they exist and need a happy, loving and stable life. If her boyfriend doesn’t want to take on a ready made family, its up to her what she wants to do. On one hand she has a great boyfriend ,  on the other he doesn’t want to have much to do with children. What’s your priority here, your kids or a guy who wants you but not your kids? 
     

    1. 12.1
      Kathy

      Pauline,  I’m just being sort of serious.. What do you do with the kids if you choose the guy? Maybe you could put them in “time out”.

      1. 12.1.1
        Pauline

        Kathy, I have a feeling that the OP already knows the answer to her question. This elephant has been sitting in the room for a while and after a year it must be painfully obvious to her and her kids that he’s unwilling to be around full time and Mum is making excuses (telling lies).  How terrible for her to have to lie to her kids and make excuses for another persons lack of care. Once you start making excuses or telling lies to remain invested in a relationship it’s a major red flag and needs to be addressed. 
        Contrary to what some posters are saying about single parents (male or female) being unlikely to ever find another partner, all I can say is its a load of BS. Anyone who is trying to convince you to believe that all you can now expect from a relationship because you are a single parent are crumbs, are liars. They are being very disrespectful and busting your boundaries big time, not to mention trying to drag your self esteem down, and you have to ask yourself … why? 

        1. Kathy

          Pauline,  I agree..  I was a single mother at 33 and at 36 married a good looking man who had never been married and had an MBA from Stanford. He helped raise my son like his own and loved him very much. That was the first thing I looked for in the qualifications of the kind of man I wanted to be with and it worked out great. 
          He has since passed away, but my son has wonderful memories of him and this can happen for any single mother out there! Don’t let anyone tell you any different!  Don’t EVER settle for crumbs!

  13. 13
    Dolly

    Kathy, may I know how you met your husband?

    1. 13.1
      Kathy

      Hi Dolly,  I made sure I got into a “singles group” as soon as I got divorced. I asked a friend of mine who I knew was invited to a singles Halloween party to please get me an invite. This was not a formal singles group, just a casual one in the area where I live. I met him at that party and saw him at several other parties with this group before he asked me out. It seems that men have to get a little comfortable with you, but you have to get out there, I believe.

      1. 13.1.1
        Dolly

        Thank you!

  14. 14
    From The Ground Up Coaching

    While I applaud you for your efforts here in gaining insight into the situation, the truth is, you already know the answer. You already know that he has crossed the line of what is and is not acceptable and you are seeking justification to keep dating him. If you value your children, which clearly you do, you will get really clear with yourself as to why being with “someone” is important to you and decide whether or not your kids are going to serve as the cost of not having it. It’s your decision. Beware however that should you choose to continue to date a man that refuses to accept your children as part of who you are, you risk making them feel as if they are responsible for the unhappiness you feel as a result of being alone. Many hugs to you for your courage to write this. I know it must not be easy to be vulnerable and ask for guidance.

  15. 15
    someone

    I really wish the article and comments had time stamps on them, and that the OP’s would reply to EMK and the comments.
    The OP can have a relationship that’s separate from the kids. She basically has to lead a double life. Only see him when the kids are away until the youngest turns 18.
    Why would a single parent ever date someone without kids?

  16. 16
    starthrower68

    I agree with all the folks here that know they don’t want to deal with kids so they don’t date people with kids. That is wisdom, whether we agree with them or not. I would rather be rejected outright for having kids than for a man to try to date me then resent my kids because I had to divide my attention. And if I grew to care for him, the hurt and disappointment would keep me from being emotionally prsent for my kids (one reason why I’ve let go of dating at least for now). While thankfully, things have changed, my children’s step mother said to my son – in front of me – he couldn’t be at their house whenever he wanted. Parent is 24/7, convenient or not. She has since backed way off that attitude, but at the time, my son was at an age where he needed his dad’s attention. He knew I loved him and was there but I wasn’t the same. But I digress.

  17. 17
    j

    I think its time for them to declare what they want and to discern his intentions. While he seems to be a nice guy and is coming through on some levels he’s not on some others. I think a talk is in order before she falls too deeply for him only to find its stopped progressing and will be no more. Not wanting to introduce her to parents and not wanting to do stuff as a family could very well be because he wants to avoid hassles when he walks away. There are alot of obstacles with long long time bachelors. They are a very difficult to progress with as they usually have avoided having a marriage and family for deep seated reasons you may never know. Instead of being a good sport forever she should simply ask him why she hasn’t met his parents or why he turns down her offers of doing things with her kids. Really if you have to be afraid of communicating with someone you’re with well that’s very telling in and of itself. Trust me these days more than ever you have to have your own back and be willing to accept the truth. Trusting a man to  have your best interests at heart rather than doing that for yourself is very risky and dangerous. If she’s satisfied with the status quo then she wouldn’t be asking the question. Men and women have different styles in conducting themselves and that’s what Evan is teaching women. We often make excuses for mens actions or lack there of because we dont understand and are in denial. 

  18. 18
    A

    I’m also a single mum of 2. I’ve been seeing someone for over 12 months now, my kids love him so much and he loves them. He has an older son himself but hasn’t spent much time with him. We decided to move in together, two weeks in it was too much and he ended things saying he didn’t want to be in a relationship with someone with kids. Don’t get me wrong my kids are good but they were playing up but just normal kids stuff. Don’t really understand why these men start dating single mums when if fact they can’t deal with the idea of actually raising the kids together

  19. 19
    PrettyLama

    I’ve been with my partner for over 6 years. My kids live with my parents which is a 3 hour drive I go home once every month to see them for a weekend. I live in his house and for the past 2 years I have not brought the kids to visit me where I live but preferred to go home for weekends, holidays, christmas ect so this means that he has not seen them for over 2 years. I feel sick just typing this out – how ridiculously low are my standards. 

  20. 20
    starthrower68

    Men will come and go but your children are your family. 

  21. 21
    Starsailor

    It is a difficult situation for you. I have 2 children (all grown up now with kiddies of their own) and I love them to bits. As they grew up I was happily married and doted on my children, they were and still are my world. However I am now divorced and started dating a fella 4 years ago who has two children.(We live separate and see each other most weekends) The children are polite and well behaved and he sees them every other weekend. I also see them every other week but I dread it. I play with them and take them out places, buy them presents and will always treat them kindly, be caring and respectful but I still don’t like it. I cannot bond with them like they are my children because they are not. I do not agree with his parenting methods, he is too soft and will rarely tell them off for poor attitudes or behaviour and if he does tell them off he soon retracts it and apologises! Much to my annoyance. I would never tell him how to parent his own children so I tend not to mention it. His Ex controls when he can and cant bring them back and what day over Christmas he can see them. usually resulting in us having to travel for 6 hours to collect them on Christmas day, when do i get to see my family??? I don’t!. Its all baggage that I could do without, but I love the guy to bits so it is difficult, I do it for him to prevent hurting his feelings as he will be devastated if I really told him how I felt about his children, so that doesn’t make me selfish and nor is your guy and I can completely understand where your guy is coming from. He has his freedom to do what he wants without the worry of having dependents,his choice, it is a lot to expect someone to take on your children as his own, so when he does spend time with them, think of that as a blessing, as it may be very hard for him to do that and he is sacrificing his precious time doing something that makes you happy, which is a selfless act not selfish. He obviously loves you and is kind to your children but why should you expect him to want to be with them to prove his love. I can understand how you are upset as it is not ideal for you but it is not fair to pressure the poor guy to be with your children. Every  weekend I could be living the high life doing things I want to do with a partner that I have always wanted to to. Instead i spend time watching kids films and going to play parks, stuff I do not want to do and I don’t have to do but I do because I don’t want to hurt my partners feelings. I can’t just arrange a weekend away without discussing the children and arranging it around them,then I have to arrange to be back for the following weekend as we have the children again. I hate it.So give him a break, don’t expect him to spend time doing things he doesn’t find pleasurable it is not fair. If you cant deal with it then tell him and move on. But let him live his life how he wants else you will force him to move on without you…. Time will not change anything with regard him coming round to your way of thinking, trust me, it wont. I’m near the end of my tether and not sure how long I can keep up this act and he will end up resenting you or your children if he is forced into a situation he doesn’t want to be in.

    1. 21.1
      starthrower68

      With all due respect, it would be better to end this relationship sooner rather than later.  It doesn’t appear that these issues will improve and the values are too divergent.  You are not wrong to not want to play second fiddle to the kids or the demands of his ex, but he should be putting the kids first and the kids don’t need to be subject to anyone’s resentment.  I’m always an advocate first for the kids.  The adults have made their beds and must lie in them, but the kids should not have to suffer because of it.

      1. 21.1.1
        Adrian

        Starthrower, that is why this is a circular argument… or maybe it’s really a case of: “yes I’m going to be selfish and you have to accept it to be with me”.

        EVERYONE wants to feel important in a relationship but with comments like: “my kids always come first” you are basically saying that who ever is with you will should still put you first in their life, while being happy that they come in second place…

        Take out the paradigm shift… the word kids… and replace it with work, friends, his hobbies, etc. and you and I both know that NO woman would advise anyone to stay in a relationship like that, no matter how well he treats her. 

        1. starthrower68

          Oh, and I forgot, nowhere do I say what you allege. You read into what I said, because I’m gguessing it triggered an emotional response based on a word or two.  I don’t expect someone to put me first while I put them second. I don’t even date as my responsibilities as a parent are simply too important to me, among other reasons.  If a single parent is fine with a casual arrangement with someone who doesn’t want to interact with the kids and they like it that way, fine.  But they shouldn’t expect a person who doesn’t want kids or their kids to to do a 180.  

  22. 22
    starthrower68

    So where do you and I disagree?  He is a parent of young children who still need a high degree of parental involvement.  She says herself she dreads dealing with the kids and wants to live it up. Her words not mine.  I didn’t say she was wrong for that. She admits this isn’t working for her so why is she still in it?  Is she hoping the kids get put aside for her sake?  I don’t think that she is, but it’s no mystery to anyone that he and she are at two different places in life.  

    I will refer back to something Sparkling Emerald said either on this thread or another one on the same topic, but the kids aren’t to be relegated to the emotional dustbin for something as fleeting as a boyfriend or girlfriend.  I don’t have an issue with anyone who is honest about dating a single parent.  What I take issue with is some one who decides to knowingly date a single parent then resents the situation.  The kids didn’t just pop up out of the Lorna Doone box.  If you want to feel special, that’s great, I’m in your corner. But pick a partner who has no childrearing respresponsibilities to honor so you can be the main focus.  I have turned down men that could ccome and go as they pleased knowing that I am not in that place.  We seem to think that the kids should just be forced to deal but that’s not how it works.

    1. 22.1
      Adrian

      Ah… I figured when I used the word “you”, that it would be misunderstood that I was speaking to you starthrower personally, which I wasn’t.

      I agree with you and Emerald, if someone jumps into a relationship with a single parent, it is wrong for them to expect it to be the same as with a non-parent.

      Again, I wasn’t speaking only of my self when I said a person in a relationship wants to feel special, it wasn’t personal.

      So let me ask you, Emerald and any single parent this: “what are the ways that you juggle time with dating (though you said you aren’t dating now)?” Because in  the first few months of dating someone new, getting to know them is very important in deciding if this is someone you want to spend you life with, how can you do that if you only meet every other weekend, or only go out in the company of small children -who require lots of attention-?

      I think dating as a single parent requires lots and lots of balancing, something that many single parents don’t do because they feel they shouldn’t, they feel a “good” man should understand their kids come first 

      1. 22.1.1
        EmeraldDust

        Dating a single parent not only involves a lot of juggling, but LTR’s require a lot of balance, not unlike a married couple who has their own children together.
        Better to find someone who genuinely likes children and who specifically likes yours.
        I had a step son in my first marriage.  I loved him, and I have kept lightly in touch with him over the years, have met his wife and two daughters.
        On weeks when he was with his Mom & Step Dad, his father and I could have each other all to ourselves.  Weeks he was with us, we acted like any other family with a child.  We BOTH attended to his son’s needs if they were pressing, but basically we did all the family with children things.  I was even the team mother and score keeper for his little league, I picked him up and dropped him off from school, went shopping for his bedroom furniture when we bought our house.
         
        I never groused about “who was being put first”.  We were a family and “who’s first” was not even on my radar.
        Much like married couples with young children,  if Mom & Dad want to make love, and they hear the infant screaming in the next room,  guess what ?  Any sane set of parents would go check on the child first.  And attend to that.  And depending on what was going on, either resume love making, or not. 
         
        Love isn’t like a cookie, if you give someone half a cookie,  you only have a half cookie left for yourself.  If you give away too much of your cookie, you are only left with crumbs.  Love grows and expands the more you share with it.  If you can’t make room in your heart for someone else’s child, don’t date them.  Leave them free to find someone who has room in their heart for both the parent and their child(ren).
        BTW, I’m not saying someone is a “good” or “bad” man or woman if they don’t like kids/don’t want kids/don’t want to date someone with kids, but they certainly aren’t a good MATCH for a single parent if they feel that way.
         
         
         

  23. 23
    Me too

    I have recently been wandering the same thing, I have been dating a 40 year old bachelor (and an only child) for nearly 3 years. I have 2 boys kind of teenager stage. BF lives in my house most of the days of the week, but avoids the boys totally. He leaves before they wake up and comes home just in time for dinner. He does not do anything with them at all – not one trip to school nothing. He clearly thinks these are my kids and I should do it. The problem is that the little flexibility I had while single is now completely gone. I cannot plan any of my days as I want to – in essence due to the addition of his schedule I have now lost 4 hours per day.
    That is why I would think even if it is not his children, one should recognize that.  

    1. 23.1
      starthrower68

      I would be more concerned about why he’s ignoring his own children.   

      1. 23.1.1
        Joe

        “His own children?”  Huh?

    2. 23.2
      Karmic Equation

      Me too,

      If your bf is living with you and he is not engaging your children, you need to have a talk with him. He’s not your roommate. He’s your bf. He NEEDS to engage with your children and he NEEDS to help you out. Is he paying you rent and utilities? If no, then lady, you’re just a pit stop.

      A good man WILL engage your children and help you raise them, whether or not they are his or not. A man like this is either too selfish or too closed off to have a good relationship with.

      Talk to him to find out WHY he’s not engaging. If he doesn’t because he doesn’t think it’s his “responsibility”, dump him and find a better man.

      If he just wasn’t aware that you want him to help and then steps up. Keep him :) 

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