We are in a long-distance relationship. We have long talks on the phone every other night and sometimes he calls me at noontime during week days. I just feel that, when I am more relaxed and could enjoy more time with him on weekends, he is not as available as someone in a normal dating couple would be.
Another thing that bothers me is that he was divorced seven years ago but his cell phone plan is still under his ex’s family plan. I know economically the family plan is always cheaper, but I just can’t understand if it is a sign of not cutting off with his ex completely. He has a very good relationship with his ex in-laws too. His will still designates his ex-mother-in-law to be his power of attorney; he also took invitations from his ex-sister-in-law to bring the girls on a family ski vacation.
Am I making a fuss or is what concerns me and makes me uncomfortable reasonable to worry about?
Except for concerns above, he is a very tender, thoughtful, romantic and emotionally sharing person. He already said he wanted to marry me four months after we met.
I frequently think about that, for the rest of his life, I need to share him with his two daughters, who will have heir own families and children, literally his grandchildren. This is inevitable. I am not sure if I am willing to handle that or if I will handle it well. Is it a reason to reason break up? — Dating a Dad
It sounds like what you’re asking me is whether your boyfriend having kids is a deal-breaker or not, and no one can answer that but you. If you’re asking me whether it’s a reasonable deal-breaker for someone to have — whether someone’s parental status and the affect kids has on his or her life is a legitimate reason to end a relationship, then the answer is: of course! Not everyone can deal with dating a parent. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that most non-parents don’t want to be in a relationship with someone who has kids for the same reasons you’ve listed: they don’t want to compete for time and attention; they don’t want to deal with the other parent forever being a part of their significant others’ lives; they don’t want to feel like someone else is always more important to their partner.
Are you wrong for feeling the way you feel? Absolutely not. But it is unfair to expect your boyfriend to shift his priorities to cut contact with his ex in-laws when he is still, and always will be, connected to them through his kids. I mean, no shit you feel like he isn’t “cut off with his ex completely.” They have children together! How could he cut off from her completely and still maintain relationships with his daughters? It’s kind of essential that co-parents, you know, stay in touch with each other.
As for sharing a family cell plan, I’m sure that’s just a matter of convenience and economics, and I certainly wouldn’t take it as some sign that he isn’t over his ex, just as I wouldn’t assume that a woman who keeps her ex-husband’s last name upon getting a divorce is doing so because she can’t move on. Sometimes, there are relics of our past lives that are just easier to hold onto than get rid of and the reasons have absolutely nothing to do with emotional ties we can’t cut. Like, years ago when my (live-in) ex-boyfriend and I broke up, I kept the window unit we bought together not because it reminded me of him and our relationship, but because he was moving into an apartment with central air and I wasn’t.
Everything you’ve described about your relationship with your boyfriend and the way parenthood affects it is normal. Your reaction to it is normal. His relationship to his ex and her family is normal (and healthy, it sounds like). But “normal” doesn’t necessarily mean right for you. If parenthood doesn’t leave your boyfriend with enough space in his life and heart to suit you and make you feel as important as you need to feel in order to be happy in a relationship, it is OK — it’s essential, actually — that you own that, communicate it, and MOA. Life’s too short to stay with someone whose life isn’t compatible with your needs and the path you’re on.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.