Dating with children = tough situation - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-19-2019, 10:52 AM Thread Starter
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Dating with children = tough situation

Hey guys,

Iím having a tough couple of weeks and am in need of some thoughts, advice or encouragement. This past Saturday, I went to my friendís funeral which was beautiful and sad, and was in need of some company, so I went out to visit my SO and his 8 year old daughter; we had a movie night. I stayed a little while after the movie was done, and think I left his place just before 11, when his daughter was calling for him to lay down with her. Before I left, he made a comment about not knowing how hard it would be to date while having children. I get this. Hell, I have 2 dogs and find it difficult enough with them; I couldnít imagine dating and being a single parent. Note: him and I have been together for a very happy and content 8 months now.

I talked to him last night, when his daughter was with her Mom, and it turns out that his daughter is now fairly upset that her Dad is dating someone, and she fears that heís going to abandon her for me. She likes me; she just doesnít like that her Dad is in a relationship. Heís torn: he doesnít want to break things off with me, but he doesnít want his daughter to feel this way either. Both of us were crying on the phone last night. Heís usually an open book with her about his whereabouts, and will let her know if heís hanging out with me, and we both agree that he may need to be a little more restrictive of that. Oh, and sheís told her Dad that heís not to have sleepovers with me, both at his place and mine. While I can appreciate how sheís feeling, I also donít believe that a child should be involved in adult matters, and shouldnít be trying to control a parentís life and decisions.

Her Mom is also dating someone, and has frequent sleepovers with him while both kids are present. This doesnít bother my SOís girl, because she told him that her Mom doesnít care about her. But, her Dad cares, very much, and is always there when she needs him, which I give him huge kudos for.

Weíre going to keep things as they are for now, but probably with more limited contact with each other during the weeks that he has her, and zero contact with her at this time. Iím not sure if Iíll be able to call him or text him because she has games installed on his phone and if a message/call comes in from me, she could see it. Him and I are also going to try a new schedule of seeing one another as well. This week is Wednesday evening and Friday night / Saturday day at my place. In 2 weeks (on his child-free week again), it will be a weekday evening and Friday night / Saturday day at his place. This is because his girl will probably be spending a lot more time with her Dad now that heís living in the same city as his kids.

Iím not sure if weíre handling this right, or if there are considerations we havenít thought about. Any thoughts and guidance would be greatly appreciated! If more info is needed, just ask. There were a couple details I missed writing just to keep this shorter.

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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-19-2019, 11:06 AM
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Re: Dating with children = tough situation

Ursula ..... everyone already knows your the Queen of the class act. I have no doubt y'all are going to figure out the right thing for everyone.

Your concern is well founded and your concern for the matter already sets the stage that y'all are going to handle it well.

I unfortunately can't add much except the following ..... how about a little counselling for the daughter.

I used to think this was only for nut jobs, but as it turns out my two daughters both had a few sessions growing up and it helped them both.

Try to look past the stigma ...... there really isn't one. I was wrong to think that way and it helped my kids.

This is his child so that is another matter ..... sorry that this is all I have.
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-19-2019, 11:11 AM
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Re: Dating with children = tough situation

This is a tough one. No, the child doesnt get to dictate things, like "sleepovers", this is not her place and he absolutely should NOT give her that kind of power. However I think her feelings should be considered when she is actually with him. I would say, for now, no hanging out with him and her together, or staying over while she is there. Beyond that, you should continue as normal. I think a little time away from her directly will help, she will see that her dad isnt going anywhere, and she isnt being replaced. It would be different in my opinion if she flat out didnt like you.. to me that is a different beast.

Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you.


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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-19-2019, 11:13 AM
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@Ursula, how often does he have custody of his daughter? How often is she at her mom's house?
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-19-2019, 11:27 AM
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Re: Dating with children = tough situation

He needs to know that the best thing he can do for his daughter is to firmly (and lovingly) refuse to let her dictate how he runs his life.
Children don't really want to be able to control their parents - they might fight like crazy to try to, but sub-consciously they always hope to lose that battle, because if they have that kind of power over the adults in their lives, it makes them feel terribly INSECURE.

What she needs is to know that her father is in fully charge in charge of his own life and what happens to her, and that she doesn't need to worry about it because he loves her more than anything and won't make decisions in his life that will be bad for her. But that the decisions he does make are HIS to make. He always wants to hear her concerns, but ultimately, if you are someone who loves him and is caring to her, he isn't going to end his relationship with you just because his daughter wants him to.

My oldest boy was her age when I first met my second (now) husband, and any time concerns would come up, I would say, "yes, I see why you don't like this (or feel worried, or love your daddy more, etc), but it's MY job to pick the man for our family, and I take my job as your mom VERY seriously"....come to think of it, that was my response to my kids for ALOT of things that I would deny them -- "I know you don't like my decision, but as your mom it's MY job to decide what's best for you, and I take that job VERY seriously", and even when they were angry at my refusals, they did respect them, and I think there was a part of them that felt comforted that I wrested back control over things from them until they were old enough to make those decisions for themselves!

So tell your guy that he will do his daughter a great disservice emotionally if he lets HER have control over his life -- she doesn't really want that control, she's only wanting SECURITY, and he can give that to her without breaking things off with someone who could love him and his daughter!!

Last edited by LisaDiane; 11-19-2019 at 11:42 AM. Reason: spelling again - ugh!!!
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-19-2019, 11:36 AM
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Re: Dating with children = tough situation

Something I would like to comment on is the comment the daughter made about being ok with mom dating/having sleepovers because mom doesn't care about her. That needs to be nipped in the bud. Even if mom isn't the best mom, dad needs to explain to his daughter that dating does not equal "not caring". The two need to be separated in this little girls mind now because you guys don't want her projecting the situation with mom onto the two of you, now or in the future. She needs to know that dad can date and still care very much.
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-19-2019, 11:42 AM
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Re: Dating with children = tough situation

Ursula, can you, your SO and his daughter sit down TOGETHER to address her concerns? Sounds like she doesn't know you well enough to allay her fears of Dad abandoning her.

YOU (if he is ok with it) can DIRECTLY address her -- tell her that you have NO intentions of stealing her Dad from her -- that he would NEVER abandon her for you. It doesn't mean that he can't spend time with you - spending time isn't abandoning. BUT, you DO need time together -- tell her that SHE gets times alone with her friends without her Dad. HE needs that also (everyone does), but that doesn't mean he is abandoning her AT ALL.

HE does need to know that HE makes the decisions and there will be times his daughter doesn't like what he decides. Well, that is part of growing up and she needs to learn that also.
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-19-2019, 11:50 AM
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Re: Dating with children = tough situation

I'm gonna strongly disagree with this.

It's not Ursula's place to sit down with this child and address her issues.

Unless they're getting engaged/married (moving in together), it's inappropriate.


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Originally Posted by jlg07 View Post
Ursula, can you, your SO and his daughter sit down TOGETHER to address her concerns? Sounds like she doesn't know you well enough to allay her fears of Dad abandoning her.

YOU (if he is ok with it) can DIRECTLY address her -- tell her that you have NO intentions of stealing her Dad from her -- that he would NEVER abandon her for you. It doesn't mean that he can't spend time with you - spending time isn't abandoning. BUT, you DO need time together -- tell her that SHE gets times alone with her friends without her Dad. HE needs that also (everyone does), but that doesn't mean he is abandoning her AT ALL.
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-19-2019, 11:52 AM
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Re: Dating with children = tough situation

MinMe, I didn't mean that SHE drive this -- her Dad clearly needs to do that.
I was suggesting that maybe if the daughter heard it directly from Ursula, that may help the daughter.
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-19-2019, 12:49 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Dating with children = tough situation

@Mr.Married ó thank-you! Yes, weíre both concerned about his little girl and about our future. I guess the one good thing that came out of it was we shared a lot of feelings last night. I told him that my heart was in this 100%; he said the same thing. And, that it was my hope and desire to be a part of his family someday; he wishes the same thing. And, his daughter seeing a psychologist is something that I suggested last night, and heís going to look into it. I also see a psychologist at the moment for issues dealing with my immediate family, and I think that talking to someone when youíre overwhelmed is a good thing.

@3Xnocharm ó just to confirm that Iíve never stayed over at his place when his daughter is there. I respect her and her space and would never want to make her feel uncomfortable, so we just donít go there. But I do agree that time away from her would be good, and Iím really glad that she doesnít dislike me.

@Lila ó he has 50/50 custody with his ex, so he has her 1 week on, 1 week off.

@LisaDiane ó what you mention is I think what we both hope for: that by taking control of his life, and still being there when she needs him, it will show her some stability. Actually, I may show him your post, if you donít mind; you have a lot of good words and insight in there!

@Not ó yes, I agree.

@jlg07 ó I actually thought about suggesting this, but held back. But, I did consider that if the words came directly from me, it might ease her mind a bit. She definitely doesnít know me well enough at this point, and so she doesnít know that I have no plans on taking her Dad away from her at all. And I do agree that we all need adult relationships with friends and an SO, and those are important to keep a person well-rounded and happy. Itís unhealthy to just focus on 1 thing or 1 person, and even though Iím not a parent, I would think that being happy and well-rounded would make a person a better parent.

@minimalME ó THAT is exactly why I bit my tongue on suggesting that one. If we were at the point of moving in together, or getting engaged, thatís a different story, but we arenít.

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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-19-2019, 01:08 PM
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Re: Dating with children = tough situation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ursula View Post
@LisaDiane ó what you mention is I think what we both hope for: that by taking control of his life, and still being there when she needs him, it will show her some stability. Actually, I may show him your post, if you donít mind; you have a lot of good words and insight in there!

Oh, absolutely! If you think that will help, do whatever you need with my post!! I hope you guys can resolve this!
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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-19-2019, 01:47 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Dating with children = tough situation

Thanks for the thoughts and insight, guys, I really appreciate it! It's so nice to know that there's a group of fantastic folks out there (that is: you guys) where I can go to talk/type through my feelings about a given situation, and gain a lot of great feedback. Thank-you; you guys are very, very appreciated!
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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-19-2019, 01:57 PM
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Re: Dating with children = tough situation

Daddy's little girl, my son can relate
to this. Daughter comes first and
my sons daughter will tell you so.
Some of his past girl friends she liked
so not so much. His current GF she likes
a lot.

His current GF does his daughters hair, cooks
what she likes when she is there also. The
50/50 custody is he has her most weekends
and every other week. They do a lot of stuff
on weekends together. Some sleep overs but
usually not on the weekends. The weeks he
doesn't have his daughter yes.

Do not talk with his daughter about this and he
should not either. This will most likely push her away
from you. What is going on between her mother and
her is between him, his daughter, and his ex. One of
my sons ex GF tried getting involved in something like
this and was gone quickly. I mean quickly !! A far as sleep
overs at your place, why tell her anything. Be yourself
and show her you care about her and her father. When you
and him are together with her make sure she is involved.
Plan some fun things for all of you to do together. If the time
is not right for you to stay over then leave.

Another thing to remember is you don't know if his
ex is asking questions about you or implying about you.
My sons ex use to do that with my grand daughter.


Just be yourself , she will see through anything else.

Never place anyone on a pedestal it hurts more when they fall off
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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-19-2019, 02:12 PM
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Re: Dating with children = tough situation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ursula View Post
Thanks for the thoughts and insight, guys, I really appreciate it! It's so nice to know that there's a group of fantastic folks out there (that is: you guys) where I can go to talk/type through my feelings about a given situation, and gain a lot of great feedback. Thank-you; you guys are very, very appreciated!
I would love it if you posted back at some point and let us know how things went...I'll be thinking of you!!!
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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-19-2019, 02:14 PM
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Re: Dating with children = tough situation

Itís very common for girls to be jealous of the new woman in their dadís life. Iím surprised it hasnít come up before now. She probably senses heís serious about you and she doesnít like that. Sheíll drive you apart if she can and itís up to him ó not you ó to see that doesnít happen. If you really do want to be together then a long semi-casual relationship might be a good thing. In other words, donít be in any hurry to take it to the next level. And keep in mind that children from a previous relationship are very often the reason that second marriages fail. Love unfortunately is no guarantee that things will work out.
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