The other day I texted him and mentioned I was going to a restaurant with a girlfriend. He texted back that he would like to join us and bring his son along. Well, I met the little guy along with my girlfriend in a relaxed state of mind, no stress, under the guise of friendship.
A couple of days later I got some tickets to a local football game for Frank and his son. He said he would swing by my house to pick them up. I told him I had a mutual friend over and to pop by and visit during the ticket pick-up, but he mentioned he had his son with him. Well, we waited for them on the steps outside the house for the ticket hand-off and it was brief and uneventful. The son stayed in the car and we did a quick ticket hand-off from the steps.
The next day, my boyfriend told me he had told his son that our mutual friend was in fact my boyfriend. He said he did this to cover up any “tales” his son might say to his ex-wife. Initially, I was taken aback and confused. I did not understand why he did not tell his son we were all just friends and why he fabricated a lie. To make matters worse, our friend is actually married to a wonderful woman, not me.
I texted him that I was uncomfortable with being lied about and certainly other arrangements could have been made for the ticket hand-off. At 46 years old, I don’t want to be anyone’s secret or lie. I have yet to hear back from my 47-year-old boyfriend with the exception of, “Wow, OK.”
Was I so off-the-mark? Am I missing something? I’m old enough to acknowledge if I was off-base and would appreciate some unbiased feedback. — No One’s Secret
No, you weren’t off-base, but this may be a case of moving more quickly than Frank is ready to move. His divorce was just finalized four months ago. Four months is a blink of an eye in comparison to what was probably around a 10-year relationship (assuming he was with his ex-wife a couple of years before his son was born). He’s adjusting to a brand new life, living alone, being a single dad, sharing custody with his ex-wife. It’s a lot to take on, and to add a new girlfriend into the mix, even before he’s maybe fully adjusted to the demands of his new lifestyle and the terms of his new relationship with his ex-wife… well, it would be a lot for anyone.
That doesn’t excuse his lying, and you have every right to call him on it, express your discomfort, open the lines of communication and discuss better options for introducing your kids in the future, but doing it over a text probably wasn’t the best way. Texting is great for finalizing a meeting place or meeting time. It’s good for a quick, “Thinking about you” message. It works well when you want to ask someone to pick up some milk on the way home. It isn’t the best means of communication when you want to address your new boyfriend’s lying and how to handle interactions with his son in the future. That’s a conversation that really should have happened over the phone, if not in person, when your tone could be better expressed. And if it’s a conversation you don’t feel comfortable having in person or over the phone, then your relationship probably isn’t serious enough to warrant introductions to each other’s kids quite yet anyway, even under the guise of just friendship.
What I would do now if I were you is: first, forgive Frank; second, slow things down and take your time getting to know each other and letting the embers of your respective marriages die down completely before jumping into something serious with each other; and third, discuss with Frank how much you want your kids — and your ex-spouses — to know about each of you, and how you’ll handle introductions in the future, especially unplanned introductions. Since you’re still new to single motherhood and Frank may not be the last boyfriend you have before your kids leave your home, this is a topic worth considering no matter whom you might be dating. At what point would you feel comfortable introducing a new partner to your kids? Assuming whatever they know about your dating life may get back to your ex-husband, how much do you want them — and him — to know? And what precautions do you need to take to protect your privacy?
Try not to be too hard on Frank. Four months is hardly enough time to readjust to single life after a marriage, let alone go from marriage to single life to being someone’s boyfriend again and figuring out how to navigate a relationship while balancing being a single parent to a young child. In the big scheme of things the white lie he told his son doesn’t really affect your relationship that much. I get that it may feel like a sign of disrespect to you, but if you two have staying power, there will be plenty of time for him to prove what you mean to him. He’s probably still figuring it out, along with all the other new roles in his life.
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