It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing today. After the jump, we hear from “Dirty Little Secret” who had been dating her new boyfriend for nine months and still hadn’t met his kids (whom he fathered with his ex-wife of 18 years). Keep reading for more information from the LW.
Wow!!! It was definitely hard to read some of the comments made, but I have read each and every one of them. Everyone has the right to their opinion. I appreciate that. But to set the record straight – “baggage” was his word to describe his situation. Not mine. I’ve never dated a man who is so protective of his children and so close with his former in-laws. I’m learning, too.
I would like to share a little more about me. I am not desperate to find a husband. I was married in my mid-twenties to a doctor whom I left because he cheated on me with a nurse at the hospital. I had a boyfriend who asked my father for permission to marry me, but I knew he was not right for me, which my family did as well. And I had another man, seriously discussing marriage, fall to the floor and die in front of me from a pulmonary embolism after surgery for lung cancer. I have loved and lost, and I have not jumped into anything fast. I am not desperate, but of course I would like to marry again.
My BF knows this. He sees himself getting married again as well. He has told me he does not want me to be a “forever girlfriend.” I know that can have many different meanings. Right now it means to me that we will be moving one way or the other. We are discussing travel plans for November and February of 2013. I know that’s a long way off and anything can happen, but we are talking about the future. And I have my own timeline in place that I am comfortable with. I know myself and I know how I feel.
Yes, I do want to have a child of my own. My boyfriend and I have talked about this. This has never been a secret. He will have another child if we end up together. I will not go to any extreme measures to conceive this child (medical issues on my part), but I want to try. And the alimony he pays his wife is for a total of six years, with over two completed.
Yes, I have met his one and only friend. And yes, I find it odd that he has just one. I have also met some of his co-workers when we have gone to a professional basketball game in his company suite. I have verified on county records that his divorce is final and has been for over two years.
I have introduced him to numerous boyfriends and husbands of my friends. They have all welcomed him and truly like him. Several of them have suggested they go play golf together. I am very encouraging of this, and he is excited too. (Especially because he is better than they are!!).
I have never said that he CANNOT spend time with his former in-laws. I have actually encouraged on numerous occasions that we meet his nephew (who is getting married) out for a beer. We both agree he would be the easiest one to break the ice with. It’s not a matter of him going to his nephew’s wedding; it’s the matter of me not being there with him. He said it is because his boys – and the ex-wife – will be there. He is going to the bachelor party in Vegas, and I have no problem with that.
When “ladygirl” stated that when the ex-wife finds out about me, she will have an urge to have him back, and “artsygirl” stated that once the former in-laws know about me, his relationship with them will change, I completely agree. Yes, and yes. I have thought both of these things, and I have discussed them with my BF. He doesn’t know for sure how they will react, but it is a concern for him. His ex-wife and former in-laws suspect he has a GF – especially the nephew. As far as I know, they have never flat out asked, and my BF has never offered. He is an extremely private man.
“Oldie” hit the nail on the head. He does not share much, if anything, with his mother regarding his personal dating life. She did not even know he was getting a divorce until he moved out of the house and the process was well underway. And he is in his early 40’s and feels (felt – 2 paragraphs down) that meeting my parents is equivalent to being engaged. This is different for me because I am very open and speak to my mom every day. My parents have always known my friends and boyfriends and even my co-workers.
He told me that I know him better than anyone else. I actually said “with the exception of” his ex-wife. He said no. They grew up together, but I know him as the single career adult dad that is trying to figure it all out. And I’m trying to figure it out with him.
I will be meeting his mother in less than 2 weeks. (She will be in town for his oldest son’s birthday.) She is absolutely thrilled. He will also be meeting my parents, sister and her family. He is still not ready for me to meet the boys. I’m truly okay with this. We are meeting each others’ parents and that is a huge step for him. And I feel it’s a step in the right direction. The change of heart came when my niece and nephew asked to meet my boyfriend. They are the same age as his boys, and it melted his heart.
I believe my discomfort with his former in-laws is simply that my BF’s ex-wife is their daughter. And, just like my boyfriend puts his boys first, my parents would put me first, and I am afraid that at some point they will put their daughter first and he will be even more hurt than ever. He was already shocked and hurt by the lack of birthday wishes he received from his ex’s family (in May), but pleasantly surprised by the wishes from my friends and family.
Maybe I am being naive at this point? I don’t know. But I do know what I feel. We have talked quite a bit lately, and we both want to continue this relationship and let it develop. Neither of us is perfect, and we are learning from each other…and we shall see.
You know, given all this new information — that you are introducing each other to members of your families — it seems like he’s moving forward with you. It may not be as fast as you’d like, and you should probably decide for yourself how long you’re willing to wait before you feel fully integrated in his life (including, of course, meeting his kids), but in the meantime, take some comfort in the steps forward your relationship is making. As for his nephew’s wedding, I’d really let it go at this point. Obviously, he isn’t quite ready for you to meet his kids or his former in-laws and that’s that. Putting pressure on him isn’t going to help. Respect that he isn’t ready and trust that his intentions are pure. Don’t think of him trying to hide you from the people in his life, but more that he isn’t sharing you yet.
As I said in my original reply, relationships are about timing as much as anything else. If you can stand to wait a little longer, perhaps he will eventually be able to meet your needs and invite you to be part of his whole world and not just a portion of that world.
If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.