He has two girls (aged 16 and 11) whom he gets every second week, so we work on a week on-week off schedule. I stay at his place most nights during his week off with girls. I do have my own place and it is about 2 minutes from his place so that works out quite well also. My 20-year-old son still lives with me.
Things are great, I adore him and am I am crazy in love. He tells me he loves me each and every day and we see each other every day, even if just for a late-night coffee.
I do not want to give him an ultimatum but I am sad that his kids do not know about me. I am OK with not meeting kids at first and letting them be involved in deciding when they are ready to meet me, but I really need to be validated in this relationship and at least be a name of someone that they know is important to their father. I have mentioned this to him, he is very aware, but he is so afraid to tell them he is seeing me in fear it will change their relationship with him. Their mom has a boyfriend and started seeing him early on and the girls were not so thrilled, mostly the eldest.
I am getting frustrated. I don’t want to be the dirty little secret anymore. I think two years is long enough. There is no doubt in my mind that he knows how much I love him and that I am committed to him and that I am in for the challenges ahead. I believe he is making a bigger deal out of telling them than necessary and that the longer he waits, the more chances they have to find out from some other source and I think that would be much worse and more painful to the girls. I do not want to force him to tell the girls about me, but I really really want him to want to!! — Ms. Unvalidated
Just yesterday the Huffington Post published an article all about when to introduce your kids to new significant others. The author advised to keep several variables in mind when considering such introductions including: timing (length and seriousness of the relationship); age of the children; goal of the relationship; and the reason for including the kids. While after two years of dating, the length of your relationship certainly justifies meeting his kids, there are a couple of others points that seem a little iffy and demand some clarification before you move forward.
First, Hank isn’t divorced yet. It’s been three years since he’s separated from his wife and he still hasn’t divorced her. That’s a red flag, don’t you think? Even if the reasons they remain married aren’t emotional in the least, surely you can understand how it could be potentially very confusing to, say, an 11-year-old (and a 16-year-old, for that matter) knowing that his or her parents are still legally married but seriously involved with other people.
And maybe the reasons Hank hasn’t gotten a divorce yet are emotional. Is there still a chance he and his wife will reconcile? Are they still in the “trying to figure it out” stage? Is your relationship with him a stepping stone to a reconciliation … or a stepping stone to something else? And what would that “something else” entail? Are you part of the “something else”?
That takes us to the next issue, which is: just what IS the goal of this relationship? You say you love each other and spend tons of time together, but do you ever talk about the future? Do you talk about growing old together? Do you talk about living together and marriage and everything else that comes when you merge two lives together? If you haven’t, you may be in for a rude awakening. It may be that while Hank very much DOES love you and does enjoy his time with you, his intentions with this relationship are very much different from yours. If he sees an end date at some point in the not-too-distant future — and certainly if he’s still considering a reconciliation with his wife — there isn’t much of a point in introducing you to his kids and dealing with the emotional repercussions of that introduction.
I would not recommend issuing Hank an “ultimatum” as you say, but I absolutely would suggest having some serious discussions about the state of your relationship, where you stand with him, and most importantly, where he sees you in his future (and whether he sees you as part of it at all). You also need to find out when he plans to finalize his divorce. After two years together, if Hank can’t give you some solid answers to these questions, it may be time for you to decide whether this is a relationship you want to keep investing time and energy in. And if he CAN answer you and does see a future with you, you need to decide how long you’re willing to wait for the next stage of your relationship to begin.
Pick a point in the future when you know in your heart of hearts if you haven’t met his kids yet and he hasn’t taken some steps to divorcing his wife, then he isn’t in this relationship as whole-heartedly as you need him to be. He doesn’t have to know what that date is. It’s better if he doesn’t. But pick a date to keep in your head and if things haven’t changed by then, you’ll know where you stand and what you need to do.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.