Q. I’m 33 and my boyfriend is 34. We went to school together as kids. We reconnected through Facebook Messenger, which led to texting, then calling, then three months later I moved in with him. He’s literally everything I have ever wanted in a man. We both have children, and he’s met mine. However, when he brought me up to his ex-wife after we’d been dating for four months, she dismissed the idea of his kids meeting me. She says it’s because I’m a recovering addict (almost two years sober). I’ve never been told I’m not allowed to meet someone’s children, and it stung a little.
My sobriety anniversary is coming up, as is our one-year anniversary, so I asked him to revisit the idea. He doesn’t think it’s a good idea because of “what she’s capable of” — she’s even threatened to try to take the children from him if he introduces me.
He asked her if she would be willing to meet me first, but she refuses. He even asked me once if I’d be willing to be with him even if it meant never meeting his kids, and I told him I definitely wouldn’t be comfortable with that.
What are your thoughts? Am I making too big of a deal about things? Should I just let it be for now? We both have talked about the future, in detail, and planned for our lives. I just thought maybe he would talk to her because he wants a future with me, but I’m beginning to wonder.
— Hopelessly Hopeful
A. That first request might have been made too early. I don’t know the players here, but I can imagine it was jarring for your partner’s ex to hear that the father of her children had moved in with someone after less than six months. Any request might have seemed like a big “no” at the time.
So many months later, it sounds like he needs to revisit whatever legal agreement he made with her about the kids. Does it say anything about significant others? Is there any guidance at all? This is where third parties can step in to mediate conversations. There are systems for this.
But he has to want to take that step.
I can understand why he fears making his arrangement worse, and why he wouldn’t want to risk the time he has with his children. Her threat is a big one, so he probably wants to maintain the status quo for as long as possible. But you know you don’t want to live this way forever.
Ask about an alternative plan — that maybe after a year or more of living together peacefully, he investigates a new path, with more help. Is he open to that?
If so, consider seeing a family therapist together. That person can help the two of you figure out next steps — and reveal whether he wants to take them at all.
Don’t take it personally. Meeting them isn’t a validation of your worth as a person or the strength of your relationship. LOCALMOM
My kids rarely got to meet the women I dated until we had been together a long time, and I certainly wouldn’t have moved in with any of them within the first year. MRSPOON
This sounds like this is more about a trust issue you have (does he love me enough to go to bat for me?) than about the children. Try changing your thinking to: The man I love is in a tough spot. How can I make it easier for him while still respecting my needs?3XMOMMA