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Need an opinion
April 6, 2010
9:58 pm
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Karma king
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I'm a divorced, extremely involved dad. I have had a very liberal visitation arrangement and, for the most part, have maintained a positive relationship with my ex.

Now for the challenge. I have had a girlfriend for the past three plus years. Things have been good, she has a good relationship with my children and all in all, it's been good.

About three weeks ago, my twelve year old was having problems with her mom and came to stay with me. At first, my girlfriend was very positive, said the right things and was supportive. However, in less than a week, that all changed. She became distant and seemed to resent my daughter being there and the time and attention it took from her. I tried to explain that this was hard for everyone and once we developed a set schedule, everything would fall in place.

Basically, within the next two weeks and after several arguments, things got progressively worse to
the point where we simply were not talking or seeing each other.

In talking, she said that basically she felt my daughter should be back with her mom and the way things were going, it made no sense for her to come over and be a third wheel. She told me I was being played by my daughter. I told her I felt like she was askng me to
choose and her response was it just was not working like this. I told her I would always choose my child first and foremost.

She then told me I would end up being a lonely old man. I told her whatever it took to be a good
dad and do the right thing. If the cards have me being alone, then it is what it is.

I feel very disappointed in her and deeply hurt. I tend to
get anxiety and this has caused it to flair up. I am managing. But I could really use some opinions, some advice and just some general honest feedback.

Thanks.

April 6, 2010
10:06 pm
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onlyboringontheoutside
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I can see both sides. You say you and your girlfriend have been together for 3 years, and during that time, there hasn't been a dependent living with you. Now, suddenly that changes. that's a big adjustment for both of you.

It's perfectly acceptable for your girlfriend to try out this arrangement and find it not to her liking. It's also perfectly acceptable (and a good thing in my opinion) for you to support your daughter and have her living with you if that is the best thing for your children overall. You and your children are a package deal, and before, the packaging worked out, but now, the packaging has changed. Maybe she will come around, maybe she won't. But in either case, being honest about what will and won't work for both of you is key to finding happiness for you both.

If I were in your girlfriend's position, I think that I would cool off the relationship or terminate it all together, because that's not an arrangement that works for me. But I have friends who feel the opposite, that actually welcomed the more permanent dependent living arrangement (although there were major bumps along the way to get to that happy blended state). Your girlfriend's needs are as important as your needs... whether those needs get met within your existing relationship or whether going separate ways is the answer remains to be seen.

This must be hard to go through, but so long as both of you are honest and loving with each other, the right solution will present itself.

April 6, 2010
10:07 pm
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fantas
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I'm so sorry you are going through this. I think your child should come first and should be able to be with you whenever she wanted. Your girlfriend sounds quite unreasonable in my opinion, especially given how long you have been together. It's possible she didn't want to share you and never thought your children would ever come to live with you.

I would say if you both can't come up with a comprise then you should consider breaking up. Otherwise, she will begin to believe that she is more important that your children.

All the best and I hope things work out!!

April 6, 2010
10:14 pm
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Karma king
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My gf can be very jealous. She has been on anti depressants since before I met her and has some extreme lows every four to six weeks that last a few days. I'm not trying to paint her as bad or crazy. Overall, she is a good person. She has always been a little selfish, but this has been an extremely selfish approach

April 6, 2010
10:20 pm
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onlyboringontheoutside
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Is there anything inherently "wrong" with selfishness?

April 6, 2010
10:47 pm
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In my opinion, we are all selfish at defferent levels. However, in this case, I would have to say yes there is a lot wrong with selfishness. Three plus years gone, all of the support I had provided her- not reciprocated.....so yes, if selfishness is hurting others, especially those you love, it is very wrong.

April 6, 2010
10:55 pm
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onlyboringontheoutside
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What you are doing might seem very selfish to her if it hurts her. And it probably does hurt her, whether her hurt makes sense to you or not. You seem to be keeping score of how much you support her vs. how much she has "given back" to you. Perhaps your daughter moving in is just the catalyst for both of you to be looking at the inequities in your relationship.

If the relationship really were as strong and caring as you think, your daughter moving in would be something the two of you would work out together. But the immediate reaction from her is to withdraw and for you to accuse her of being selfish. Sounds like both of you are being a little black and white in your thinking. Perhaps both of you putting yourselves in each others shoes would help. Maybe neither of you are ready for that, but it's necessary if you want the relationship to work.

April 6, 2010
10:59 pm
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Karma king
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"If the relationship really were as strong and caring as you think, your daughter moving in would be something the two of you would work out together."

Well said and that is why it is probably over. At this point, it would be hard for me to get past what I feel like is her turning her back on me when I needed her support.

April 6, 2010
11:15 pm
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onlyboringontheoutside
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Hard, but not impossible. 🙂 If the two of you are able to really see each others' sides, you could move to a really great stage in your relationship. But it might be too much of a stretch, especially if you need the bulk of your energy to go towards providing your daughter with a stable home life right now.

Things will work out the way that they need to. Sending positive thoughts your way!

April 7, 2010
10:24 am
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StronginHim77
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This is only my personal opinion (so please no one beat me up for it!!), but I have never felt it appropriate for a parent to cohabitate with someone he/she is not married to in the presence of any minor children. In my heart it sets a terrible example for our children.

Also, I believe that children need to know that they come first...always. Once raised, it's a different story (mine are now 21 & 25, so I FINALLY am getting a "life"), but during the growing years (below 18), alot of their self-esteem is predicated on KNOWING they are their parents' priority...not somebody you are dating.

Interestingly, I have heard "Dr. Laura," the radio talk-show hostess take the same position. She does not even believe that divorced parents should CONSIDER dating/remarrying, until the children are raised. That is not a politically correct position to take in this Day of "It's All About Me and My Happiness" and "If I'm Not Happy, How Can My Children Be Happy?" But I agree with her on that one, also.

Barring abuse or adultery, marriage vows are just that: marriage vows. And a vow is binding till death. Separation and divorce is so hard on the children. They become the true victims, unless it is handled very caringly and appropriately.

I think it is definitely in your daughter's best interests to live with you ALONE. Without a gf involved. If you must date, try to do so quietly when she is otherwise occuppied. I would NEVER support bringing home a date, allowing a woman to spend the night when your daughter is in the home, etc.

Again, not many will agree with this olde lady, but that's ok. Just wanted to "put it out there."

- Ma Strong

April 7, 2010
11:32 am
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Karma King, I am a divorced mother of a 12 year old daughter. I agree with Ma. I was in a relationship where I felt I was balancing a tightrope of giving him the attention he demanded and giving my daughter the attention she deserved. Some of the best advice I was given was from an ex-fiance'. ( I was engaged to him before I married my husband, my child's father). He told me NEVER to let anyone or anything come between my child and me. In my heart I knew this but it made a difference coming from a man who wasn't her father. My initial reaction is that your girlfriend was looking for an excuse to walk. Your daughter moving in provided it. I am sure you know how important it is for a young girl to have a good relationship with her father, after all that forms the foundation of every relationship she will ever have with a man. (I got this info from reading Always Daddy's Girl). In six short years our girls will be off at college and will be self centered and we can get on with our lives if that includes a girlfriend for you and a boyfriend for me. Yes, your daughter may be manipulating you right now. And is that such a bad thing for her to do for a certain amount of time. She is probably testing you to see just how much you love her. The key is to recognize it and put a stop to in in a given amount of time. I can tell you from personal experience that I had a mother who was an alcoholic. She ALWAYS chose Canadian Mist over me. My father was a heavy drinker unitl he retired and I asked him to please stop drinking. He went cold turkey. In my mind my father loved me more because he gave up alcohol for me. I realize this does not compare to what you are going through but maybe it does. My father has been dead for almost two years and I know I will never find a man to love me as much as he did. I also realize that no man will ever live up to the ideal I have in my brain so I would never expect a man to try. I hope this helps. I have to say since the break up with ex-bf I have seen my daughter blossom. I wouldn't give that woman a second thought and quite personally I wouldn't be interested in a man who would allow me to come between him and his children. At least not until they were grown. I have a great relationship with my stepmother. Her attitude has always been that I was my fathers daughter longer than she was his wife. She also didn't allow him to come between her and her children.

Bitsy

April 7, 2010
11:46 am
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haythere
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Karma king

Sorry to hear of the difficulties you are having. But you do have your priorities straight, your daughter should come first. Our kids need the adults in their life to be present and available, which you are for her.

Your girlfriend may want to be just that, your girlfriend. She may be selfish, but at least she is being honest about her feelings. She may not be emotionally ready to "share" you, she may never be.

I have seen many adult relationships chug along quite nicely as long as things are going a certain way. Then bam, something changes and the other half of the couple cannot or will not adjust. A priority for one person, may not be a priority for the other. It is generally a foreshadowing of where that relationship will end up.

The fact that you are hurt & disappointed by your girlfriend's lack of support is not surprising. But perhaps in the long run, it is a good thing to know her position now. What if something were to happen to your ex and you had to take the kids on a permanent full-time basis?

As to what Ma says about having relationships after a divorce and exposing the kids to a new partner. I think you do have to tread very carefully, a divorce can be confusing enough to kids. Introducing them to someone you are involved with should be carefully considered. Is this person going to be around for the long haul, or are they going to be gone in a month?

You sound like a thoughtful, considerate dad and I'm sure you have thought of many of these things. Know that putting your minor kids first is the right thing to do now. Good luck to you.

April 7, 2010
4:07 pm
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Karma king
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Thank you everyone for your input and advice. I am hurt and disappointed by my gf's recent actions. But my daughter is my priority right now and that's what right. I believe we are never given more than we can handle and things do happen for a reason. I will survive this and do whatever it takes to help my daughter.

April 7, 2010
5:04 pm
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andii
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"my daughter is my priority right now"

I'm so glad you said this. Quite frankly, I find this trait EXTREMELY attractive in a man.

andii

April 7, 2010
5:38 pm
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BAREFOOTGIRL
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I think this is why excatly that a relationship is best with someone after your children are grown, not too many women will want to be second to your child, and I am not saying they should be, infact your child should come first, always...but most people I know want a man to make them their number one priority and with a child..that is not possible, so I think if you can find a woman who has a child who also has made them her number one priority its going to be hard...most people are not that unselfish, just human nature I think.

April 7, 2010
6:37 pm
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Well, I'm a very independent person. I certainly won't be opposed to meeting someone in the future, but the bottom line is I don't "need" anyone. At the end of the day, as long as I can look myself in the mirror and best proud of that person and the way I live my life, I will be happy. Finding a relationship that will naturally fit, would just be icing on the cake.

April 7, 2010
11:17 pm
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onlyboringontheoutside
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Karma King, that's a great post. I am glad that you are getting clarity on what is good for you.

I know that I personally would not want to be in a relationship who considered my involvement in his life "icing on his cake". I don't have children myself and never will for reasons outside of my control, and having my own family where I am not the outsider is important to me. That's why I have never sought out relationships with men who have young children. It just doesn't work for them or for me. However, I am in a wonderful partnership with a man who has adult children, and that works great for us. 10 years ago it would not have worked, though.

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