My Boyfriend Does Not Want To Spend Time With My Kids

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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. 41
    Andrea Lee

    I am a woman in a relationship with a man with two children.   My guy is a great guy and I really care about him.   However, he is financially challenged at the moment.     Although I like children I dont want to support his children more than I already have.   Another challenge is the constant chauffeuring around the kids in my car.   Ok.   so I’ve agreed to help him do this but it’s a challenge particularly when these kids are so used to being served  hand a foot. Yeah, this generations X parenting is really  troubling.   Right now these kids are cute but I wonder what they will be like once they become adults.   I’ve tried empowering them so that they learn some self control skills and some sense of initiative but the over protectiveness by both parents undoes all that.

    Perhaps, your boyfriend is turned off by the same things I am turned off by.   Generation X parenting makes for unlikable children.

  2. 42
    anne

    Interesting to read all the comments and helpful to understand why my bf is not wholly comfortable with my children. Especially reading single women comments. It’s helpful that it’s a common feeling and weirdly I just hadn’t appreciated that fully.

    I’m in a loving long term relationship. Not what I ultimately wanted but single parenting is complicated. he’s polite and tries hard to engage with my children, I sense it’s difficult for him though, and we’ve discussed it. My kids are pretty good but they’re not perfect, and non parents often do pick up on nuances that we overlook. Let’s face it many bio parents can have vastly different parenting styles, it’s even harder for single parents and partners.

    I have chosen to keep the ltr.  If I ever want to live with someone again I’d have to split or wait till kids are grown up. For now I have quality time with the kids and lovely alternate weekends where I look forward to spending time with my partner, my kids see him couple times week but see him as my boyfriend and not a stepdad. They know I have no plans to get married.

    Not ideal but infinitely better than life with their bio dad. I have someone who genuinely loves me and wants to be with me for the rest of his life. He just doesn’t want to be stepdad. I accept that. They are my kids and they are my responsibility not his. He does help me out with them on occasion and I appreciate that. I don’t expect it as my right that he does. Nor do I expect my mum to mind them for me as many mums do. I had them. I care for them and in truth I have provided for them emotionally and financially all their lives. Their dad loves them but never worked. My bad.

    There are times when it’s very tough and I just want my bf with me fulltime, but I know that would be hard for him and for the kids. They would end up resenting each other. It does worry me if this relationship will have an impact on the kids but I do try to talk to them in an adult way so they understand my needs as well as their needs. They have a mum and a dad in their life after all.

    I’m nearly 50 and will retire in a few years, and will look forward to many years together with my bf in the future. As children grow up and leave the nest, I don’t want to be left with someone who was just good dad material. I want someone who will make me feel special long term. Hence I don’t look on this as accepting crumbs or a half loaf, it just a loaf that will have to be baked for a long time. I wish I had best of both worlds but I don’t, and I honestly don’t feel I would find someone that I love as much as my bf, it’s very hard to find someone that your in tune with let alone the kid element.

    just wanted to add this as a different perspective and to think carefully before you cast aside a boyfriend who genuinely cares.   100 per cent Trust and respect were the things that swung it for me to keep with my bf rather than find a new live in love-my-kids partner. Many things make up being a good partner and as long as kids aren’t hurt is the live out boyfriend that bad of a deal ? I also love my independence and my time with the kids on my own.

    To those mums who have found perfection with a guy that loves their kids and them in harmony. Congrats. It isnt easy to find utopia as a single mum.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    1. 42.1
      Lisa

      Thank you for this. I’m in the same situation. This was reassuring.

  3. 43
    anne

    I have to add that my ex husbands new partner on the surface is a saint. She often drives over 60 miles return to collect my kids, is always the one to sign their homework off (not my ex) she’s again the breadwinner while he “studies”.   I can clearly see why non bio parents don’t want to be taken for a ride. i think there is a limit of how much should be expected of a partner, there is clearly a balance. To the guy who spent 20 years bringing up someone else’s kids, You truly do not deserve such a slap in the face it’s diabolical especially if she cheated on you.   My friend who can’t have kids of her own did that also and after split is banished from her step kids lives, it’s heartbreaking.

    As to having more than one kid being irresponsible. I had them to my ex whom I was married to. He bolted when my youngest started school and I asked him to look for jobs. He basically left his kids rather than work and now lives off his new partner, and now has another kid…

    I didn’t see the split coming but I really should of. I think a few serious issues clouded my judgement, losing my dad, serious illness etc. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and I’d agree with the concept of chosing your life partner very very carefully. some people can be very manipulative but I have to say he’s the irresponsible one, not me. Not all single mums are irresponsible, we just choose our husbands unwisely.

  4. 44
    Cc

    I’ve been with my boyfriend for 4 years. He has only been spending time with my children in the last year.   He has no children. He knew I had 2 and I don’t think he see it as an obstacle. But me being cautious prevented him spending time with them. my bf does not have an instant rapport with any children though he has tried with mine. My children like him an the fact he makes me happy. But the dream of us all becoming a United front is far off.   Both my daughter who’s 9 an my boyfrind struggle to share me. As I do them. My bf tried to integrate for me but it overwhelmed him and his answer is keeping visits to a minimal when my kids are around. This hurts. But this relationship is not just about me. I love him and that he has tried. And I know he loves me. So we don’t conform to the idea of a normal relationship. But we do enjoy what we have. I’m mum and girlfriend. Point being…… if you love someone enough you try all you can to make it work.

    1. 44.1
      Emily, the original

      Cc,

      My children like him an the fact he makes me happy. But the dream of us all becoming a United front is far off.

      I think what’s often forgotten is that kids are people, too. There’s an automatic, biological bond between parents and children. But when a complete stranger comes into the picture, a relationship has to be formed. Sometimes the person the parent is   dating and the child will form a genuine bond and grow to love each other. Sometimes they won’t click as people but can be polite/civil. And sometimes they don’t get along at all.

      There’s not an automatic rapport between the child and the person the parent is dating simply because the parent feels a bond to both of them.

  5. 45
    nata

    Hi, I just wanted to let you know I was in the same situation. When me and my husband (notorious bachelor at 47 no kids or marriage) started dating we had a 17 year age gap and I had 2 children from my previous marriage. He doesn’t spend time with the kids- we recently just got married- and it has gotten worse ever since we did. I feel like he put on a show in front of everyone being nice to the kids but now they are an inconvenience to him. Will not spend time with me or the kids, if he isnt at work he is locked in the bedroom away from us. Recently things are only getting worse and I feel that this is not fixable at his age. He is set in his ways and Im not, I still want to have fun. With that being said I would get out if I were you. At least you’re not married to him. Get out now, before your kids get hurt.

  6. 46
    Jo

    I have been dating a man with 3 children for two years I have none of my own by choice …. it’s a lot easier now than in the beginning and his children and I get on really well , I try very hard for him as he’s such a good man and half the reason I love him is how good a father he is ……. trouble is I don’t enjoy this ‘ family ‘ life at all I simply do it for him, if I had off known how tough it would be at times I would have run away! It’s ridiculous to expect that I will love them deeply and at best I’m fond of them, you can not meet someone and expect them to take on a parenting role for children that are not their blood just because they love you, that said I would never treat them badly and I run around after them and comfort them etc whilst they are with us and on the back of this we get on great and it’s comfortable enough ….. my point is childless ‘people’ can fall in love with men/woman who have kids but it takes time to build the feelings that are necessary to feel for somebody else’s children how you might for your own , it’s not an overnight thing but a long process on both sides. I am not selfish for not wanting children around and couldn’t help falling in love with someone with children …. everybody has to live the life they want and if he doesn’t want to meet her children that’s his choice and her choice to keep him around knowing that , let’s stop Berating a man for living how he chooses and question her parenting especially if he has been honest about how he feels ….. We’ve only heard one side of this .

  7. 47
    Stacy

    For goodness sake, this should be   a dealbreaker if I have ever seen one.He doesn’t want the package deal.   You come as a package deal.   It’s literally that simple. If he wanted this, it would have been obvious after a year.

  8. 48
    Yet Another Guy

    Why is it that many single moms choose to get involved with men who have never been married and do no have children, especially men in their late thirties and forties who have never been married and do not have children?   I have seen single mothers who date childless men exclusively (I dated a few of these women before I married). Yet, they are hurt that these men do not want to engage their children.   The cold hard truth is that most men who have never been married and do not have children have little to no desire to raise another man’s children. Single dads who target childless women are just as bad, but they tend to target childless women with ticking biological clocks because they are easier to conquer.

    The reality is that every child a woman has going into a marriage with a childless man is one less biological child that he can have of his own.   Most of the women I dated in my early to mid-thirties who had been married and had children looked at having another child as the cost of securing a second husband to help raise their existing children.   Very few childless men will sign up for that deal.

    The truth is that most single, childless men target single mothers because they are easy, mostly drama-free sex that affords them time to play and date other women during custodial weekends.   It is that simple.   Unlike single, childless women, single mothers usually put out without complaint because they were used to getting steady sex when they were married, and there is no pretense of being “low mileage.”   Childless women can often be drama-filled experiences when it comes to sex.

    The moral of the story is that single mothers should date single fathers.   That way, both partners are used to being parents and making the sacrifices that being a parents entails.   Being a parent changes a person.

    1. 48.1
      Marika

      YAG

      People have all sorts of arrangements which may not work for you, but work for them. I loved being a step mother and would happily do it again. I know several childless men who seriously dated and even married (didn’t just use them as easy sex) women with children. I even know one man who adopted his wife’s child (as the biological father wanted nothing to do with the child).

      Not everyone thinks like you.

      1. 48.1.1
        Yet Another Guy

        @Marika

        There are exceptions to every rule, but childless men generally do not get seriously involved with single moms. They will date them for easy sex, but most will not consider a long-term relationship with a single mom. That is a verifiable fact.   Evan discussed the problem with the following letter writer: https://www.evanmarckatz.com/blog/dating-tips-advice/im-a-single-mom-who-is-ready-to-give-up-on-men-because-they-all-want-sex/

        Ultimately, all I wanted from that single mom was to hook up, because that’s all I felt she could give me. Whether it’s fair or not is debatable, but that’s how I felt at the time. I’d venture to guess that your sex-oriented guys feel the same way. It’s not you they don’t want; it’s your lifestyle.

        Evan was not a bad guy in this scenario.   He was just being your typical childless man.   Men are not natural nurturers.   The light usually does not go on for a man until he sees his own flesh and blood in its most helpless form.

        With that said, I routinely encountered single moms who only wanted to date childless men before I married.   Yet, they usually did not want to have more children. I could never wrap my head around that one when I was still single and childless, and to be completely honest, I have an even more difficult time wrapping me head around the preference now that I am a divorced father of grown children.   It is a losing proposition for a single mom.

        1. Marika

          YAG

          “That is a verifiable fact”

          No. It’s not. There are men who seriously date and marry single mothers. It’s not a one in a million kinda thing, it happens reasonably regularly.

          I know you’re a man and you have friends (who all sound a lot like you), but I work with children everyday, and meet multiple families multiple times a day. Men don’t all just use single mothers for sex. As I said, I know through my work and personal life numerous childless men who got involved with single mothers and happily raise their children –   sometimes the families have more children, sometimes they don’t.

          My brother (who has his own kids) is pretty much the sole provider for his kids, his wife (second wife) as well as her children. Their biological father gives a tiny bit of money, lives interstate and hardly ever sees them. So my brother is their main father-figure, lives with his wife’s kids, sees them much more often than he sees his own kids and pays for everything, including their private schooling. That is a situation you probably can’t imagine any man being happy in (you’ve talked a lot about how men feel about other people’s kids), but he is.

          Like I said, not everyone thinks like you.

          It’s possible that all the men I know who ‘took on’ someone else’s kids were somehow tricked into this scenario against their will, or they are all desperately unhappy and great actors…but it seems unlikely.

          In your research, maybe think about having a look into ‘fixed mindset’…

        2. Clare

          YAG,

          As intelligent as you clearly are, and as much as I can see that you have mellowed your stance in certain areas (for which I give thanks), I think you still fall victim to the common habit of generalizing.

          There is a difference between generalizing in order to understand a concept (which is helpful), and generalizing which achieves nothing other than to make a person cynical about the opposite sex. I feel as if you fall into the latter category far too often.

          For instance, understanding that men are more sexually driven than men is a generalization but it is a useful concept to help women understand why they need to hold off on sex until in a relationship. Evan makes these kinds of generalizations often, and it’s always to serve a purpose: to show women (or men) how to  date more effectively.

          Your generalization – that childless men typically only want to hump and dump single mothers – literally teaches women nothing, other than to be guarded and wary of  all childless men that they date. Broad generalizations are, by their very definition, unsubstantiated claims (they are simply sweeping statements with no specific evidence attached to them). Literally the  only  way they can be useful in a debate is as a logical link to understanding a higher truth. There is no higher truth with your generalizations. I note that yours usually simply follow the same old tired formula: Women beware of men. They’re only interested in sex and nothing more with you. Without knowing any of the specifics. *Yawn*

          So a single mom who meets a childless man who falls in love with her and her child (which is what happened with my mother and my stepfather) comes to you for advice, and you offer up this tosh, because you have the dubious authority of being a man who knows a handful of other men like you. What does this accomplish? How does your advice help anyone?

          See if it were me, I would not simply make a blanket statement that “men are not natural nurturers” and that “they will date them for easy sex, but most will not consider a long-term relationship with a single mom.” I would advise her to keep paying attention to the man in question’s actions. I am pretty sure this is what Evan would advise. Which is the MASSIVE difference between you and him.

        3. Yet Another Guy

          @Marika and Clare

          You are both from different countries, so what I am have written may not hold for you.   However, what I said holds in the United States. Most childless American men will not take on another man’s children.   To do so limits the number of biological children that they can expect a marriage to produce.   Single mothers are usually not keen on the idea of having several more children, but most will give a man one child if that means securing him as a husband to help raise her existing children.   America is a very dog-eat-dog country with little in the way of social safety net.   That is an uncontested fact; therefore, every child that make a man takes on limits the resources that he has for his own biological children because stepfathers usually provide more for their stepchildren than their own biological fathers.

          Also, please note that I said “most men,” not “all men.”   The childless American men who take on another man’s children are usually men with limited options or men who are well-off and desire a much younger and hotter woman (i.e., they can afford to take on another man’s children without hindering the futures of their own children).

          With respect to your brother, Marika, well, he was already a father when he met his second wife; therefore, you are merely reinforcing what I wrote about single mothers seeking single fathers if they desire commitment.   The reality is that single mothers who only date childless men are setting themselves up for heartbreak because childless men usually do not want to take on another man’s children, nor do they desire to be part of a ready-made family.   Even level-headed Jeremy made a comment about ready-made families in the blog entry where Evan discussed wanting a single mom, but not her life.

          The thing that blows my mind is why is this reality even debatable? The reason why this blog exists in part is to tell women what they need to hear, not what they want hear about male behavior.   Whenever a man offers his experience and that of tens of thousands of men that he has encountered during his lifetime that does not fit the typical female “rainbows, unicorns, and long walks on the beach” fairy tale relationship narrative, he is dismissed as being an outlier.   That is an example of one cannot fix stupid.   The average man is much more self-focused than the average woman could ever imagine. Why? Because he has been told that nothing is going to be handed to him since he was a little boy; therefore, he spends most of his life competing with other men for a finite amount of resources, which he is reticent to share.   He has also been conditioned to suppress his emotions since he was a little boy.   It usually takes staring into the eyes of his own flesh and blood to make a man stop being so self-focused and more human. Why is that so hard for women to understand?

        4. Clare

          YAG,

          I’m not sure what brought on the rant about the thinking of the women on this blog, because I saw no evidence of it in either my or Marika’s post, but please do not include me in it.

          I have learned many things about men from reading the (thoughtful) comments of the men on this blog, and I appreciate these revelations very much. As far as I know, many of the regular female commenters feel the same way. As for wanting things to be  “rainbows, unicorns, and long walks on the beach fairy tale relationship,” this is hogwash. I have brothers, guy friends, and I have dated a lot.

          You’re right, I may not know what American men are like, and if they are really as you say, then I am very thankful that I am dating men here and not there. Even so, I find your low opinion of your own gender to be a bit hard to credit. What you say about men is not “so hard to understand,” I just believe in being realistic, but not cynical and judging people as individuals based on their actions rather than as a collective. Luckily, I am not a single mom so I will never have to find out if what you say is true.

          I admit, I am bristling from your comments because of the ungenerous (vastly generalized) remark you made about the guy I am dating the other day. You gleefully wrote him off without knowing an iota of information about how he treats me. As it happens, things are going fantastically between us, and he makes lots of time to spend with me and is great at communicating. In fact, he took me to one of his cricket games last night, and tomorrow we are going to the beach. So things are going great.

        5. Marika

          Evan provides this service to help women. You, YAG, seem to hang out here telling women how they should act, think, be..as some sort of bizarre hobby.

          I’m surprised. Work, your own dating life and your girls I would think would keep you quite busy. Wouldn’t your limited free time be better spent working on yourself (and your attitudes towards women.

           

  9. 49
    reality check

    Here is a thought. Maybe your kids are unlikeable, psychopathic assholes ! Kids are there own person, we don’t like all adults and the same is true with kids. Sometimes we click with kids and sometimes we don’t and some kids are truly unlikeable.

    The Mum might be great and you both love each other and have an incredible flow together, but the kid is just an dysfunctional unit whose dad is moron. In this case, just live seperately and enjoy your time together when it happens. This all in ‘complete’ family thing is an old ,outdated limited belief that feminists just love, but any together man rejects entirely. There are exceptions, say the bio dad actually isn’t around and new man adopts then this could work, but this whole daddy 2 and mummy 2 thing is just an illness, perpetrated by unresolved people.

    Kids are given far far too much importance these days anyway. They shouldn’t really have a say in anything important until they are 30…. the prefrontal cortex hasn’t fully developed until then so for the most part , until then they are just selfish, over emotionalised, naive, clueless morons.

    Also, none of these women you talk about are ‘single mothers’. The dad is around, so they are choosing to live independently and be single…. put they are NOT single parents.

    At the end of the day, everyone to their own, but before that can happen successfully, people need to have some real self honesty:

    1. Men who love women but not her kids. Totally normal and can easily work if woman respects mans situation as much as she expects him to respect her situation.

    2. Women who ‘want it all’ after having kid with moron (and same for men having kids with loony woman). Suck it up. Decisions have consequences and your consequences are YOURS.

    3.  Men or women who get in relationship with partner with kids. Hold your ground. Don’t be shamed into taking on more than you truly want.

    4. Most kids are annoying as hell to biological parents. The non bio partner doesn’t have any of the DNA buffers inherent to cope with kids not their own, so unless you score and get angel kids… good luck my friends ! Good luck with that.

  10. 50
    Cassa

    The issue  is partnership, not paternity. If you want to be someone’s partner, you should support them in their personal goals. Whether they want to plant a garden, buy a home, take a trip, plan for retirement, eat healthy, become a yogi, start a farm or raise some children, if you can’t support them you shouldn’t be with them.

    As for the people talking about “another man’s kids”, you have the wrong focus. They are her kids. She is the one you are committing to.

  11. 51
    No Name To Give

    Reality Check, your problem isn’t with women. It’s with kids. I hope a woman wouldn’t be so weak as to get involved with a man who can’t stand her kids.

  12. 52
    Somer

    Do any of the parents with kids stop to think about their partners feelings? It’s not always the guy.I’m a female who has never wanted kids since I was 12.Later in life was diagnosed with a brain tumor and shouldn’t have kids due to health reasons. I was ok with this since I never wanted one.I’m currently dating a man who is 40 and has a 6 year old son.I’m 43,don’t wanna raise a kid at this age,much less someone else’s. I talk to the child,am nice to him,do things with him seldom,but the point is I do.
    It is important for the bf and I to get along around his kid,as his ex wife and he never did.She is a severe alcoholic with 2 dui’s and practices witch craft,and calls here late at night drunk trying to start drama with my boyfriend.
    I’m ok with his son being here every other weekend and wensdays,but to be honest it bothers me a little. For the most part he is a good kid,just has an attitude every other weekend when he’s here cause his mom tells him shit.
    If the boyfriend or girlfriend is ok with the way things are that the significant other doesn’t want the responsibility or kids,but things are going ok,why rock the boat? You still love eachother,and the kid isn’t being mistreated.
    It bothers me when

  13. 53
    Odessa

    I chose the father of my children very well. Unfortunately for us my 1st husband died. Of course not a choice anyone would be given. I remarried & the man was toxic- I thought I was choosing a standup guy who really exploited my Vulnerability as a widow. I was in an impossible position to choose staying & be well (Children & I) or leave & be well (children & I). I chose to leave & be well doing so. My kids & I are thriving. I have embraced my singleness w a happy heart & my children are content in the peace I have cultivated in our home. It will take a very incredible man to be offered the opportunity to add value to our lives & recieve in return. I’m ok w taking time but how long does it take. IMO since I’ve been honest upfrint since day 1. So With that in mind by 4months a man can visualize a future w me as his SO. If it doesnt include my children yet then I expect that by 12months there will be a status quo – it is just cruel

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