Not sure what to do - Talk About Marriage
Life After Divorce Divorce is complicated, and change is never easy to cope with. Use this section for help and advice on living life after a divorce.

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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-20-2015, 06:13 PM Thread Starter
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Not sure what to do

Dear friends, hello again. Its been a while since I posted anything here, but I have been a regular lurker.
So I find myself in a bit of a situation where I need some sense knocked into me...or a good 2x4 kick.

A year ago I met a woman who almost knocked me off my feet. I say almost, because if I wasnít so cynical and afraid she probably would have succeed in doing so. This was two years after my divorce (met her on the same date I filed). She is a single mother and had a very similar situation to mine. Very similar thinking and has old school values. We instantly clicked, but took things slowly.
I saw a potential in this relationship, unlike any relationship I had before. She is a wonderful and caring person.
So here we are, a year laterÖI still have trust issues and am somewhat less cynical than year ago. Probably because I know things could and any day so I am protecting my heart. I donít know if that is a good thing or a bad thing.
I introduced my boys to her after about 8 months of dating and she did the same with her daughter. Boys (7&9) really like her and love playing with her daughter, who is the same age as my younger one. Her daughter likes me and I really like her (too early to say I love her), but I feel she is overly attached to her mom who lets her get away with anything. I told her this and she agreed with me, so now she is trying to change things a bit. But I donít want her to do it for me, if you know what I mean.
Anyhow, we both enjoy spending time together which is twice or three times a week and have very similar interests and outlook towards life. About a month ago we started having overnights with kids included, but we never slept in the same bed. Still taking things slowly a bit but very steady.
One thing that bothers me, and I told her this is that she is 35 and does not have a steady career. She came to US when she was 20 and worked different jobs. From bartending to working in a beauty salon. Right now she works in a nice restaurant four nights a week and during the day works in her own beauty salon (converted bedroom). She is a hard worker, and her ex finally started contributing towards the child expenses.
I have a good stable job making decent money. 20% of my paycheck goes to my ex who just went to court and is asking for more, which she will likely get. If she does that is going to put quite a stretch on my finances, so girlfriend and I talked about moving in together. She is very excited about this. In one hand I am too, because it will take a lot of financial burdens and stress from both of us trying to manage bills. But in the other hand I feel if we do so the relationship will change and I am afraid it will be harder. Yeah, I know it's supposed to be hard. So I am still undecided. By moving in together I would be 3-4 miles away from the boys (right now 12). I will have more money to spend on them and enjoy doing fun things together. But I am afraid that things between us two might change for worse, and I donít know why. I am afraid that on evenings she is working and I am alone with her daughter that I would not know how to discipline her if needed. I am afraid that my social life would suffer (and I have no reason to believe it would). And it just might be that I am afraid of getting close to someone again and getting hurt.
All my friends say that I am much happier when I am with her. The relationship is so much more refreshing than any I had before. We are both very open and respectful towards each other and we talk a lot about everything. But few times I thought about ending with stupid thinking that it would be better to end it now peacefully than later when things get more complicated. Yeah I know, itís wrong to think that. But I just donít know what I should do.
In hindsight I feel every decision I made in last three years was a right one, but some reason I think this one could cost me all the progress I made. Is this rational thinking? Any of you ever felt the same?
Friends asked me do I love her, I do, very muchÖbut I donít know if I am in love with her. I donít even know what being in love is supposed to feel like any more. I am afraid to let her go because I'd hate to regret it, but sometimes want to see if there is possibly something better out there. Greener grass syndrome maybe?
Do I just go ahead and do it and if it ends at least I would have learned something. But I feel people would end up hurt, including me and the kids.
Damn, I feel like a selfish ******* sometimes.

My next step is to talk to her about all this I wrote, but I don't want to hurt her feelings.
So dear TAM people...I am asking you for some help. Ask me questions I possibly failed to ask myself. Tell me things from your perspective. And I understand that decision is ultimately mine...but need help to come to it.

Thanks

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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-20-2015, 06:59 PM
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Re: Not sure what to do

It kind of sounds like you are not really ready for such a commitment as living together it is a huge step, especially following a divorce. Don't do it for financial reasons. Do it only if you want to be with her all the time, more than anything else.

Can you move someplace cheaper that is near your kids and closer to her as well?

Also, as a woman, I think if she is operating a hair salon and also hostessing at night, that is a very busy productive woman. Maybe not a "career" woman in the sense of a banker or a nurse, etc...but no doubt equally busy and earning as best she can and still be a mom. You need to make sure you don't, deep down, look down on her to some degree, for not being whatever it is you are trying to say here.

I would hold off on moving in, until you have fewer doubts.
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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-20-2015, 07:05 PM
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Re: Not sure what to do

I agree with the above. It is too soon for you to be moving in together given your reservations. One year post divorce is not enough time. Keep things as is for a while.
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-20-2015, 07:27 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Not sure what to do

Thanks for the responses ladies. We met two years after my divorce was finalized and we"ve been together for a year.. I don't feel as there are any unresolved issues from my divorce. At the time I did not see it coming and did not want it, even though I filed. But in hindsight it's one of the best things that happened to me.
I do want to spend a lot more time with her, but it wouldn't be fair to ask her to cut down her hours.
Also, I feel I will always have these reservations no matter who I'm with.
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-20-2015, 07:46 PM
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Re: Not sure what to do

Here's my thinking...if it was 100% right you wouldn't be hesitating, you would want to be together more and more, you would want to weave your lives together. Something is holding you back, could it just be fear and some unresolved trust issues? Sure it could, or it could be some other little things that plant a seed of doubt in your mind.

If you want a honest open relationship with her talk this out, both of you need to be understanding of the others feelings. Don't move in together just to "try it", don't move in together because it makes things easier financially. Move in together because you love each other and you have no doubts it's the right thing to do.
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-20-2015, 07:50 PM
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Re: Not sure what to do

It is a bit of a tough call because it is not just you two that will be making this change it is the children involved too. If I were you I'd be really concerned about being the babysitter for her daughter when she works at night. That seems like a big commitment and if it impacts your freedom and social life it might build resentment. What is she currently doing for childcare when she works at night?

Asking her to cut her hours without moving in together isn't really fair, she probably needs that income to live on.
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-20-2015, 11:21 PM
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Re: Not sure what to do

If you don't feel that you are truly in love with her then don't move in with her. That will just complicate things down the road if (or when) you decide you made a mistake and want out.
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-21-2015, 05:08 PM
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Re: Not sure what to do

"If in doubt, don't" an old saying but if I were in your shoes it would apply. There are kids involved and that really has to be a big part of the decision. Also you not knowing if you are in love with her is a concern. I also agree that moving in together just for financial reasons is a mistake.

You don't sound like you are fully invested in the relationship, whether that is because you are guarding your heart or because it really is not the right place for you, well only you can work that out. IME being in love post divorce was even easier to know than when I got married the first time, post divorce people generally know a lot more about themselves and what they do and do not want in a partner. Guarding your heart post divorce is normal but if it were true love then you (general) would think it were worth the risk.

Serious relationships post divorce should be better than when you were younger, life has hit you with some lessons but also given you strength to know what is truly right for you and what isn't.
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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-21-2015, 09:56 PM
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Re: Not sure what to do

Finances are a terrible reason to tilt relationship decisions. In hindsight, I should have rather subsisted on beans and rice than continued to live together with a woman I knew wasn't one to build a life with. But hey, rent turned out to be a mere $600 (I lived in an expensive metro area) with split two-way in an old apartment you could get into only through personal recommendation (which she did).
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-21-2015, 10:37 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Not sure what to do

My feet are getting colder after these replies. You are all spot on, and thank you for it.
We talked today and I mentioned my concerns and pretty much said everything I told you here. She wasn't happy about it, but she understands and is very supportive. She really is a gem. Maybe too good to be true.
We made a decision to keep things just as they are and will try to spend more time together.
it could be that all those statistics about relationships after divorce are scaring me and keeping me in check.
I sure do miss having a family and being a part of it. But blended family is something that I am not equipped for. At least not just yet.
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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-21-2015, 11:07 PM
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Re: Not sure what to do

Knowing you want to have/be in a family is one thing.

Knowing you want to have/be in a family with THIS person, now, is different.

If both are the same... Groovy.

If not...
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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-21-2015, 11:37 PM
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Not sure what to do

Gettingbetter,

I guess I am in a similar situation.

I have a girlfriend. She loves my kids. She loves me. I love her. I love her son.

Maybe it's a gender thing. What Holland describes is not what I feel. For whatever reason (monetary loss, broken heart, etc) I don't find it easy to take the next step. Like you, I've been dating the same person for a long time (2 years).

What I do is think of things logically rather than emotionally. I know I love her. I know my kids love her. I know she loves them.

I've made my decision.

How you make yours is up to you.
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post #13 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-22-2015, 11:40 AM
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Re: Not sure what to do

If you're questioning this now - and not sure you're "in love" with her (I don't know what that means, either, btw), then I'd say no way you should move in. That's huge man. I can't even fathom living with a woman again (divorced since October, separated in Feb 2013).

The only way I'd consider it is if I was positive I wanted to do it and couldn't imagine NOT living with her - even then, I'd be weary.

And moving in together for financial reasons - that's probably the worst reason to do it. It'll just make your financial situation even worse down the line, when it ends.

You are simply not there yet.
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post #14 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-22-2015, 02:06 PM
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Re: Not sure what to do

I can only add that not having a "career" means absolutely nothing. If she is happy in her current work then what is the problem? Careers don't pay bills. Work pays bills. Any kind of work.

ďYou're painfully alive in a drugged and dying culture.Ē
― Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road
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post #15 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-22-2015, 03:32 PM
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Re: Not sure what to do

does your company have EAP? maybe you should talk with someone that is a professional. I think you have some underlying stuff that no one can get to. don't move in right now, until you are ready. you don't want to be 6 months down the road and regret something.
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