“He Can’t Decide If He Wants to Raise My Son!”

I am a 41-year-old divorced woman who has been dating a 44-year-old divorced man for five months. I have a 5-year-old from my last marriage and he has a 16-year-old and a 19-year-old from his last marriage. Since the beginning of our relationship, we have gotten along famously. We enjoy the same things, have an amazing sex life, are becoming best friends and everything seemed perfect…until a few nights ago.

He was telling me he doesn’t know what he plans to do when his daughter goes off to college in two years and he sells his house. I mentioned we at that point, we could move in together, and he paused and said he has reservations because he doesn’t think he wants to raise another child. But here’s the thing: my ex has 50% custody, so my boyfriend would not be raising my son in the conventional way.

After texts back and forth the next day I said my son and I are a packaged deal and if he doesn’t want to be part of both our lives, then that’s a deal-breaker. After anger and confusion, he decided it won’t work and thinks I’m being too hasty and should give him another year to warm up to the idea. I don’t want to wait for him to decide yes or no at my and my son’s expense.

Am I being too hasty, or is this a dead-end street? I’m meeting with him in two days to talk in person and to say goodbye and give each other our stuff back. I need your advice on how to proceed. My heart is broken. — Too Hasty?

Yes, you’re being too hasty! You’ve only been dating this guy five months. That’s barely enough time to have introduced your son to him, let alone for you to all get to know each other and imagine forming a family together. I mean, no wonder your boyfriend isn’t ready to say, “Sure, I’ll move in with you and help you raise your son!” And it’s not like your boyfriend said he didn’t want another child in his life. He said he wasn’t sure. He said he needed time to figure it out. And because you’re so afraid of being hurt again, you’re willing to throw away what you describe as an almost perfect relationship because your boyfriend, after just a few months, isn’t ready to commit to raising someone else’s child 50% of the time?

Look, if you were writing to me saying you wanted to have another kid and the guy you were with was adamantly opposed to being a father, that would be one thing. But you aren’t saying that. And at your age, I have to assume that isn’t a likely scenario anyway. This is a question of whether your boyfriend of a few months can picture himself as a father figure to another child — a child who already exists. A child who isn’t his. And regardless of what the nature of your custody is, your boyfriend, if he moved in with you, WOULD be a father figure. Maybe it wouldn’t be as traditional as a full-time dad, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t have an extraordinary amount of responsibility. And it wouldn’t mean that your custody arrangement wouldn’t or couldn’t change at some point. What if something happened to your ex-husband? What if something happened to your ex-husband AND you? Asking a man to even think about moving in with your “packaged deal,” let alone give you an answer right now about whether he’ll be ready for that in two years IS hasty. And it’s unfair.

What’s the rush? Why do you have to have all the answers today? Why can’t you give it another six months or so and let him get to know your son better — hell, let him get to know YOU better? Unless you’re racing against the ticking biological clock, you can afford to be relaxed about your timeline. Especially if either of your divorces is fairly recent, it makes sense to slow down. Especially when you have three children between you — one who’s only five! — it makes sense to slow down.

Slow, and stop having serious discussions, like whether you should end your relationship because your boyfriend doesn’t want to raise your son, over freakin’ text messages!! You’re 41, not 15. Put the phone down and have a grown-up conversation face-to-face. You say you don’t want to wait for a “yes or no” from your boyfriend, but if you want a healthy relationship that’s exactly what you have to do. You have to wait and get to know each other. You have to wait and see how your relationship continues to develop. You have to wait and see how your son responds to this man. Yes, you have to WAIT. And, yes, you may end up getting hurt. But moving too quickly and making hasty decisions hasn’t really worked for you this far, right? So try it another way.

Try slowing down and thinking things through and really getting to know someone before talking life-long commitment. If that’s too much of a risk for you to take — putting your heart on the line only to be hurt months down the line — then you aren’t ready to date yet and you sure as shit aren’t ready to be introducing your son to new boyfriends. Think about it: if YOU can’t handle the idea of bonding with a man only to be let down when it ends, how do you think your son is going to deal with it?


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.


  1. WWS. I think you need to stop being so sensitive. This man is on the home stretch as far as his kids moving on. He will get to “have his life back” and you want him to commit right this second to get back to fathering a child. You are looking at this as saying he doesn’t love you enough or like your son enough. This is more about him thinking about what he wants the rest of his life to look like. And chances are, 6 months ago, it wasn’t find a woman with a kid to do the whole thing over again. While he evaluates his future, why not cut the guy some slack.

  2. I agree with Wendy’s advice. Five months really is not that much time. LW, it sounds like you’re not planning on having another child, so what’s the rush for commitment?

    However, I would also add that being a stepparent is a really difficult, often thankless, role. It is soooo hard being a stepparent and a stepchild, so hard in fact, that if a man is not enthusiastic about taking on that role, it really isn’t worth pursuing a relationship. That’s why when the LW said that she and her son are a package deal, she is right. They are. And she needs to find a man who is open to living with her and her son. I commend her for sticking up for her son here. So many woman make commitments to men that are either wishy washy about their children, or flat out don’t like them.

    That being sad, I think Wendy was right, she should have given her boyfriend a little more time.

    1. Totally agree about being a stepparent being completely thankless and hard as hell. I have two awesome stepkids, thankfully, but I know it’s not always as easy as I’ve had it (and I haven’t even had it all that easy!). But seriously, freaking out about this after 5 months seems a bit hasty. I didn’t even meet my stepkids until 6 months in and by then I did know I was in it for the long haul. He’s not even saying he doesn’t want to do it (which for me would be a reason to move on). He’s trying to process his kids growing up and moving on all while trying to decide if he wants to start that cycle all over again.

    2. lets_be_honest says:

      Great response, I just don’t see the point in waiting months, or years, to see if he decides he wants this.

      1. I agree she should give him months or years, but at the same time, I don’t disagree that she was being a bit hasty with the whole thing. She certainly shouldn’t wait the 2 years until his daughter leaves though.

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        So how long then? A year? 6 more months?
        If they already aren’t seeing eye to eye on such a huge issue, what’s the point in telling her to wait longer to see if he comes around? She seems to want a husband again, not a casual boyfriend for many years.

      3. Sue Jones says:

        A lot of things need to be hashed out in a step-parenting arrangement, for instance, will the BF, if they marry, be responsible for paying for the 5 year old’s college, piano lessons, summer camps etc? I am also a stepparent and one of our agreements was that I would not be the one paying for stepson’s college. Finances get more complicated with stepkids and blended families and assets as you get older. I know many women with young children remarry hoping that the new dad will take over all of the large financial obligations (above and beyond mortgage, rent, groceries, and bills) such as college, camps, music lessons, sports league fees, etc. and if this guy is finishing raising his own kids and ready to plan for his future, nothing can derail that retirement plan faster than the expectation that they have to pony up the big bucks again for a stepkid’s college. I can see why he may be balking. Way in the future, but these things need to be hashed out and 5 months in is way too soon. Being around, living like a father figure is in many ways easier. I met my 21 year old stepson when he was 3, he has a mother already, so my role is different. Give it at least a year. There really is no hurry at this point.

        That said, if the BF is dead set on selling his house, quitting his job, leaving town and sailing around the world in 2 years, then I would say that you have different goals and the relationship should not continue.

      4. lets_be_honest says:

        You are right about all of those things. Its a lot. But it just seemed to me, like you said in your last paragraph, that he is not interested in any of those things. I guess she could give him more time, but I wouldn’t. I’d consider that a waste of my time.

      5. Sue Jones says:

        I would listen to his words and “give him time to (at least) warm up to the idea” if I were in her shoes. If after a year or so he is still waffling a lot then I might MOA, but in my experience, as a relationship becomes more serious, one is more likely to entertain the idea of (fill in the blank – marriage, living together, raising children). Otherwise she risks scaring the guy, who in a year might be in the place to move forward and blend their families, off.

        When I met my now husband, he is was in the middle of a divorce and living together, marrying, having more kids was the LAST thing on his mind. In fact 3 months in I almost dumped him because he took me to a friend of his’ wedding and proceeded to act like a cynical jerk. Plus he already had a kid. Well as time went on and the relationship progressed he changed his tune, moved in with me, we got married 1 year after moving in together, bought a house, and 8 years after getting together we had a child of our own. 18 years later we are still together and at this point I couldn’t get rid of him even if I tried! (not that I want to try). So with some men, they are more maleable. Others are more stubborn. She should know what kind of a man he is after 1-2 years.

      6. I wouldn’t even push it to 6 more months. I would give him a few weeks (or at least a few days!) to wrap his head around what she was asking. It seems to me that he was caught off guard of having to think about something like that. Asking him to make a decision without hours seems hasty to me.

      7. Yeah, it isn’t like the 5 year old is a surprise. He’s already had the whole 5 months to consider if he wants to be a father figure to the kid, if this relationship progresses.

      8. I would imagine you would wait as long as you would wait to have a serious marriage talk. So I would say somewhere between a year and 1.5 years of dating. That is what I would think.

      9. Yeah, I can understand “checking in” earlier when you have a child, but I can’t imagine being asked to commit to moving in with someone after only five months.

      10. lets_be_honest says:

        Don’t you think she was just trying to find out if they had the same idea of what they want for their future together? She was not asking him to move in today. She was asking if they are on the same page of wanting that eventually.

      11. We have so many conversations going on, I don’t know where to post this! But yeah, I think we’re reading her question AND his response differently. If a person said to me, after five months, “Are you looking for marriage? Do you see us in a serious relationship?” I could probably answer that, at least the first part. But if they said, “Hey, when your lease is up, you can move in with me, right?? Do you want to have a child in two years?” I’d freak the hell out. I saw her question as the second one, and his response as being, “AAAHHH, what?? I don’t know, do I have to decide now?” I feel like if her question to him was how I read it, then it’s hard to really judge his response. I just think that at five months, you have to frame the question taking into consideration that some people aren’t even exclusive at that point in their relationship.

      12. lets_be_honest says:

        Yea, I agree. Fair enough.

      13. sarolabelle says:

        I agree with you Lindsay! It is how I read her question too.

      14. Lindsay, this is how I saw their conversation, and I think it was made all the worse by the fact that it was had through text message. There are obviously deal-breakers involved on both sides, but they needed to have a rational face-to-face conversation about this.

      15. Yeah, I hadn’t even thought about the texting part. Face-to-face def needs to happen.

      16. Agree with Lindsay!

    3. So great that he is honest with himself and her. Much better than having an underlying resentment that the son would pick up.

  3. Hmm I rarely disagree with Wendy but I disagree this time. It’s not like it was a mystery to this guy when you started dating that you had a son and that your son was 5 years old. What did he think would happen if you guys kept dating? Your son would miraculously raise himself? This guy knew going into the relationship that you had a young child (unless you’ve hid it from him for the past 5 months lol) I think this is his way of telling you that the relationship has an expiration date in his mind. And now that you have broken up with him he’s back peddling because he still wants your companionship.

    I think when you have your talk in a couple days you need to ask him flat out if he is honestly open to the idea of raising your child. It seems to me that you are looking for someone that you can re-marry (or partner with at the least) and you need to let him know that. If he’s not that guy it’s better you find out now.

    There are so many men out there that would not mind raising young children. My dad married my mom and adopted all 5 of us when I was 10 (the eldest).

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      Wow, adopted 5 kids all under 10!

      1. yeah I realize that we’re the very rare exception to the rule (5 kids is a lot lol) but there are people out there who are willing to raise children that are not theirs biologically. I think this guy knows already where he stands on that point, especially since he can see the empty nest on the horizon. There’s nothing wrong with him not wanting to raise another child but there is something wrong with sticking in a relationship with someone who is not going to give you what you want from one.

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        My mom remarried when I was a teenager and she had 4 of us from a previous marriage. Same with my dad when he remarried. None of them adopted us though. They very much acted in the stepparent capacity, and unfortunately I never really liked either of them.

        But yes, there are some guys out there who would be happy to raise children that aren’t theirs biologically.

      3. well we had a deadbeat biological father. Him and my mom divorced when I was 7 and he would hardly ever show up when he was supposed to take us for the weekend, he hardly ever paid child support. So I think what ended up happening was that my mom and dad and biological father ended up negotiating some thing where my biological father gave up paternity and gets off the hook for child support etc.. and my dad then adopts us. For the first year my dad was a step dad but then we were officially adopted. I haven’t seen my bio dad since I was 12.

    2. Five months would be fast to have the ‘are you going to want to marry me within the next two years’ conversation, even if there were no child involved. It is unclear from the letter whether or not LW and bf have even had the ‘are we a permanent item’ conversation, let alone the ‘are you willing to parent my child’. This is not obvious when you start dating a new person, even one with a 5-year old child. For one thing, some newly divorced parents want to be practically solely responsible for parenting their children and expect new spouse to take a seat way in the back as far as parenting is concerned.

      It is interesting that she brought up discussion in terms of when his last kid moves out. No mention of her being willing to co-parent his kids. If she is in such as hellfire in back of her rush, you would think she was talking about blended family within the next year, but she isn’t. So is it okay to expect him to co-parent her child, but not vice versa?

    3. fast eddie says:

      No matter how “amazing” the relationship is, if he doesn’t want to be part of raising another kid it isn’t going to last. He knows full well what it like so his anxiety is qualified by experience. Let him go with regret and accept the fact that not everyone wants to be a parent, even part time. Sorry about that…

  4. sarolabelle says:

    Wendy your response is sooooo beautiful and real. And it is the best advice for this situation. I don’t understand why she even mentioned moving in together with a man of only 5 months “in two years”….what she should have said was “oh, really” and nodded as he explained his fear of the empty nest. And maybe said something like “she’ll be back for the Summers”

  5. I have mixed feelings on this one. On the one hand, the LW is being very dramatic about something that she wants to happen two years in the future. This guy does not seem to be gas-lighting her and honestly mentioned that he wasn’t sure he wanted to take on the responsibility of raising another child. It is hard to see how dating the guy while he ponders their future is “at the expense of my son”. Lw also seems a bit unrealistic with the explanation that the co-parenting needn’t be a big deal, since she has custody only 50% of the time. This guy is divorced with kids. He likely is very aware of how divorce and shared custody complicate parenting and how adding a part-time sort-of stepdad into the equation makes things even more complicated and intense. He would be a fool if he didn’t have some trepidation about the situation. He also was probably more than a little shocked to have his gf of 5 months ratchet up his mention of his kids moving out in two years to a discussion of him being a parent to her child.
    On the other hand, it is very possible that his ‘undecided’ is really 95% certainty that he doesn’t want to move in with her and co-parent. She very likely picked that up from what he said and how he said it and then this was cast in stone in the text messages. It sounds like this issue truly is and truly has to be a dealbreaker to her. He doesn’t want to live together and she wants more than perpetual dating. Although close in age they are at quite different stages of their lives.

    My father remarried after my mother died. New wife, who was also quite a bit younger, came with kids. My youngest sib was out of college, married, and had her own house. There were a lot of hassles for my Dad, some due to his age and weariness at already parenting for over 30 years, and some due to the added problems and traumas that children of divorce so often have. Taking on a new parenting assignment just at the time you thought you had moved on from that is not something to be undertaken lightly. I think LW is correct is determining that it may be a lot harder to find a guy willing to take on that role that to find a guy who is delighted to be her bf. Likely she feels she needs parenting help ASAP and if the current bf seems squishy on this, she needs to look elsewhere. For her, a not quite as good bf/husband who is a good and willing father is more valuable than the nearly perfect bf who is averse to parenting again.

    1. I agree with you, oldie. I can’t do a simple WWS because the LW may have the right read of the guy.

      That is, maybe the LW and the BF tried to ad lib something important and simply got into some sort of frantic “death spiral by text.” OTOH, maybe LW’s 5 months of knowing the guy truly let her correctly spot this fatal conflict.

      Maybe Wendy has read enough letters by now to get a better read than I can. I just know I’m left with ambivalence here. LW had a single late-in-life child and maybe she’s simply going all in Momma Bear. Yet, she may accurately read the guy as being in the child-rearing wrap-up mode, having raised his kids starting from when he was 25.

      I can’t tell. Maybe LW can, and maybe not. LW’s prose style and choice of texting over dialogue does not fill me with confidence, but maybe letting her 5-year old get close to a man for 18 months and then having to dump the guy will not be good for the boy.

  6. lets_be_honest says:

    Wow, was not expecting that response from Wendy (I haven’t finished the entire reply though).

    My advice was that LW is NOT being too hasty. These 2 are at very, very different times in their lives. He is just about done raising children, and she’s just about started raising children. I applaud her for recognizing that her and her son should be a package deal. If he doesn’t want that, and I don’t blame him, then she’s doing the right thing by ending it early and immediately.

    1. Avatar photo BriarRose says:

      Yeah, I really can’t imagine this guy changing his mind. Raising my daughter on my own has been enough for me…when she’s about off to college I would probably run screaming from someone who had a 5 year old. Not because I didn’t like the person, but I will be at the “been there, done that” stage by then. 50% custody is still a good chunk of time with a kid at your house. It’s sad, because it seems like they’re well-matched, but I doubt the boyfriend will truly change his mind on this issue, and if he does give in, he may end up resenting the LW.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Right?! I’d never date a person with kids, I can’t imagine doing so when I’m done raising mine.

      2. Avatar photo BriarRose says:

        My boyfriend has a son a year younger than my daughter, which is totally fine with me! Them being so close in age means our lives are pretty well-matched right now. But 10 years from now when she’s off to college, I truly would not date someone with a young child.

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        Oh wow, I didn’t know that. Do they get along?

      4. Avatar photo BriarRose says:

        Erm…kind of. He has mild autism, so combined with being a boy and a year younger, he acts significantly younger than her, so they don’t have much in common. Both of them tend to keep to themselves (her reading, him playing) so they don’t play together a lot, but they’re both polite to each other. It has been and continues to be a bit of an adjustment for her, whereas he really don’t think much of it. To me, it’s not really an issue of getting along (since they’re both so good), but more, will they ever have any sort of relationship?

      5. BriarRose says:

        I can’t believe I wrote “don’t” instead of “doesn’t”. I hang my head in shame.

    2. Yeah I agree. I think he knows how he feels already about raising another child. I don’t blame him for not wanting to raise another child when the empty nest is on the horizon but I don’t think she should stay with him if he is not going to give her what she wants. During their chat she should lay out exactly what she is hoping for in this relationship

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Maybe next time she is dating, she should say upfront what it is that she is looking for. This guy may have gone into it thinking it would just be a casual, but long term-ish, girlfriend.

      2. yes very likely.

    3. It’s one thing to start the conversation going and keep an eye on this, but don’t you think at 5 months it’s a bit hasty for ultimateums?

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        I don’t see it as an ultimatum. If you went on 3 dates with a guy and knew you were only dating for the purpose of eventually marrying, and he said on date 3 that he never wants to get married, would you continue dating him?

      2. Right. But they have dated 5 months and he says “In two years I am going to sell my house and the whole world is wide open to me.” and she says “Lets move in together.” I feel like that prompted a very wierd conversation that she might be over reacting to. Like, Has she hit other relationship milestones before jumping to moving in together? Like has she met his kids? his parents? have they done a major holiday together? I feel like she jumped the gun and then got mad when he back peddled.

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        Idk, if my boyfriend of 5 months told me his plan in two years is to sell his house, celebrate being done with parenting, and have every option ever to be at his doorstep, I would MOA.

      4. I totally see they way you are reading this conversation. And if you are right, I agree with you. However, I feel like he was making some offhand conversation about the next stage of his life (which you were right before saying they are in different places) and she started a very serious conversation that took him by surprise.

      5. lets_be_honest says:

        Yea, its clear that we’re all interpreting her conversation differently.

      6. Avatar photo BriarRose says:

        “Let’s move in together with my kid who you’ll need to help raise for the next 10+ years” is a lot different than just “let’s move in together”. If he is balking this early on, I sincerely doubt he’s going to change his mind, and by then, everyone is super attached and the break up is that much harder.

      7. But he said he wasn’t sure though…which is totally normal at their stage of the relationship! If you had been dating someone for 5 months and they were all “I want to raise your son!” don’t you think that would be a bit strange?

        It’s something to keep an eye on for sure, and to keep discussing, but to be all “It’s both of us RIGHT NOW or neither of us!” is a bit nutty.

    4. I just don’t get how she can expect him to know 100% after 5 months. I would need time t see how my relationship works with this person, how they parent, how I feel about the child, much longer than 5 months. I don’t get how it’s reasonable at all to expect him to know by now! They need to date more first. He needs to think.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        But you also would presumably know pretty early on if you were NOT interested in it, or if its something you could see happening and would be willing to do down the road.

      2. At first I didn’t get the idea that it was something he definitely was NOT interested, and I thought giving him only a few hours/1 day at most to process was too hasty, but I just re-read it and he wants a YEAR to “warm up” to it? Oh hell no. That doesn’t work. When I said more time, I’m thinking like weeks, not a year.

      3. I have the same view as LBH. From the start he knew she had a small child.

    5. I think she is being hasty. 5 months? I know people with kids who haven’t introduced their kids to the SO at 5 months. This is huge decision. He is probably telling the truth. He’s not sure . I think she should wait longer.

    6. I think the problem wasn’t that she has a five year old, it was that he was just making conversation about his daughter going to college, and out of the blue she hit him with “promise me right now that me and my son will be living with you in two years.” No wonder the guy was a little freaked. Not too many people would react well to being put on the spot like that, by someone they’ve been dating such a short time.

      And we’re all focusing on the five year old – even without a child in the picture, he may not want to make that kind of a commitment, two years into the future, with a woman he’s just started seeing.

  7. I completely agree with Wendy’s advice. 5 months isn’t much and it’s normal not to be ready to commit to living together at this point – making plans for 2 years from now is too hasty after 5 months, regardless of what it’s about. He even said that she should give him time to “warm up” to the idea, meaning he’s not sure whether he wants to move in and be a stepdad at some point, but he might consider it. I think he was just thinking aloud about his future and got surprised by LW’s strong reaction.

    My mother never moved in with her bf before my brother and I hadn’t left the house and he never was a father figure for either of us (my brother, the younger one, was 12 when they got together, so it’s a little different, but still). They moved in together later. It’s simply not a given that moving in must occur in any relationship, not a given that your kid and you must be a package deal in the sense that your partner must live with both of you. My mother never expected that from her partner, and I’m glad I didn’t get a stepdad at age 15. My mother & my father also had split custody, so she still got enough time with her partner and was fully there for us when we were staying with her. I’m guessing maybe LW’s partner is also envisaging something like this as a possibility at least, and he could still be involved in the LW’s child’s life if they did that. But if LW must live together with her partner and it’s non-negotiable to her, then maybe it’s good that’s out in the open now.

    1. And my mother always made us our number 1 priority in all of this, I think actually more so than if she had forced a move-in with her now-husband. She waited almost 10 freaking years! (I love my mom.)

    2. yes but if LW wants that to occur then this guy is not the right one for her (if he doesn’t want that to occur). Your mom and her now husband were on the same page. It doesn’t seem like the LW’s bf is on the same page.

      1. That’s true, but I think the LW may be too black and white right now about the “package deal” thing. I could imagine that they could figure out a middle way between giving the LW’s bf full stepdad status and him not being involved in the kid’s life at all. Even him living part-time with her if they have the money for that, for example. I’m not sure that all options and have been explored at this point. I think she just exploded at him and he shut down, which is sad.

      2. But I don’t think she wants that – I think she wants the black and white all or nothing. I see your point and agree with you that it’s a good idea if both parties want that but I don’t think that’s what she’s saying here. But I don’t think either view point is wrong

      3. You may well be right and if that’s the case, and he can’t agree to living together, then it’s good for them to break up. But from the description, there’s some flexibility on his part (potentially warming up to it) and she may not have considered the grey zone between black and white at all.

      4. yeah you’re right – it is something for her to think about if she is interested

  8. Sue Jones says:

    WWS WWS WWS! Too soon to be having these sorts of ultimatums.

  9. lets_be_honest says:

    I just don’t see the point is saying hold off a little longer to see if the man you are dating will finally come around to give you what you want.
    That just seems the opposite of what we’d normally say.

    1. IF she really knows what she wants then that’s true. But it sounds like she reacted spontaneously and didn’t really think it through, and didn’t inquire what’s behind his position & how mutable it might be.

    2. But would we normally tell someone to MOA if their boyfriend of five months wasn’t ready to commit to marriage or moving in together?

      1. Exactly! If anything we would caution someone wanting to make such serious decisions to slow down a bit and get to know each other better.

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        If they said the weren’t interested in marrying down the road or ever moving in together, yes!

        Its clear I’m reading him as saying its very unlikely he would ever want this, and you guys are reading that he might be open to it.

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        If you both know at day 1 that you are not looking for a similar future, regardless of who with, then yes I think we would say MOA right then.

        Imagine this: girl knows she wants kids someday, tell her date this, he says he knows he doesn’t want kids, we would never tell her to wait around and see if he changes his mind. Right?

      4. I guess I read this way differently, it wasn’t even a conversation where she brought it up and wanted to talk about it… there’s no context. He was having a very casual conversation and she made it all about herself and then reacted poorly when he didn’t react well to that. I wouldn’t react well either… she doesn’t say that she has ever even mentioned anything to him about it previous, give the poor guy a break he was clearly caught off guard!

      5. lets_be_honest says:

        Yes, I guess that’s possible. Of course she should have a reasonable discussion about what they see their futures as and give him time (more than 1 minute) to think about what he wants for his future. But since she got her answer, I don’t blame her for MOAing.

    3. Really? We would tell a woman dating a guy for five months who isn’t sure if he wants to live with her/get married/have kids to MOA? That’s nuts. I don’t even know if I want to date someone exclusively at that point.

  10. Whooeee, LW! I really think you blindsided him. I think what was “hasty” was that you brought up moving in and raising your son together after only dating for 5 months! I completely understand his reaction.

    On one hand, I think it’s good to make sure you’re both generally on the same page for what you want in the future. On the other hand, sometimes you’ve just got to relax, go with the flow, and let things progress naturally.

  11. Yeah, hmm. I do applaud this woman for putting her son first, & planting her foot down about them being “a package deal”—isn’t that what we tell single parents (who are looking for a partner) to do all the time? I’m nowhere near this woman’s position in life, but if I were, I think I’d be a bit taken aback by a man saying, “Look, I’m not sure if I want to raise another child—mine are grown, I think I’m done.” It’s a perfectly valid viewpoint, obviously, but if she wants to move onto the next step with him…then, yes. This perfectly reasonable standpoint of his MIGHT be a dealbreaker.

    At the same time, Wendy’s right. What’s the rush? You’re 41, probably not looking to ~create~ another child, & you’ve only been dating this guy for 5 months. Maybe he DOES need time. Maybe it would actually be a red flag if he were super eager to move in with you & your son. So I agree that giving it another 6 months-a year is fine. You like him, right? And he wasn’t all, “helllll no”? AND he seems to like you, if your sudden “well, this is over” confused and upset him. I say to give it another chance 🙂

    1. “Maybe it would actually be a red flag if he were super eager to move in with you & your son. ”

      This is what I was thinking as well… the fact that this guy wants to think about things and take his time, especially since we don’t know if this was the first or fiftieth time it has come up, that’s a good thing!

  12. At first I thought the LW wasn’t being too hasty, but after ready Wendy’s response, I’m with her. It’s only been 5 months. You can’t expect him to be willing to raise a child that he barely knows at this point. Like Wendy said, it’s not like you want to have another child with this man and are up against a ticking biological clock. Give this a little time. Take time to REALLY get to know him, and allow him time to get to know your child before you decide to make any decisions.

    1. It’s not even the shock of being confronted with this issue out of the blue after 5 months with an insistent demand that a decision about what will happen in 2 years be made RIGHT NOW. That undoubtedly raised an issue he hadn’t thought all that much about and was ill prepared to give an answer about. More than that, this showed him a side of LW that he hadn’t seen before. It is an extreme neediness/control-freakedness that really is the exact same thing as a man or woman who has been dating for only 5 months and then demands to know RIGHT NOW, ‘are you going to be willing to marry me in two years?’. I think most who have encountered this sort of thing have run screaming in the opposite direction. Well, although it’s commendable that LW puts her son first, that’s really what she is asking/demanding of this guy — plus the commitment to be a father to her son, who already has a father whom he lives with half the time. Is it fair/wise to demand a commitment to marriage/fatherhood after 5 months of dating? I’m guessing that’s going to be a hard sell in most cases. It also not so subtly says that she cares less about the bf than about snaring a husband and isn’t willing to devote more than 5 months to assessing his suitability, before showing him out the door and yelling ‘next!’.

      1. WORD Oldie!

  13. When I re-read the letter, one thing that stuck out to me is that the boyfriend said he wanted another year to “warm up to the idea.” When you have a 5 year old who could very easily get attached to this boyfriend, I don’t think it’s fair for him to ask for another year. When my mom got divorced and started dating again, one question she would ask potential boyfriends is if they were open to becoming a stepparent. And she asked this question within the first few dates. Sure, maybe that’s an intense question to ask someone when you are first getting to know them, but she had two young children at the time, and she didn’t think it would be fair to herself or to me and my brother to bring a man into our lives that wasn’t serious about such a commitment.

    Yes, I get that it’s only been five months and I get that people need time to think about these things. But if this relationship doesn’t work out, I think it would be better for the LW to be upfront right away about what she wants — in month one — not in month five. Finding a man who wants to be a stepdad is dealbreaker. Just like finding a man who wants to get married, or has the same religion, or is able to hold down a job, or whatever another legitimate dealbreaker might be.

  14. I think you’re jumping the gun. I realize that you’re trying to look out for your son, but I would never, ever be comfortable deciding to move in with someone and essentially making a lifelong commitment to them after knowing them for five months. That’s a really big decision for your boyfriend, to commit to raising another child after 20 years of raising his own. I’m not a parent, but I do have friends with teenage stepchildren and they, who originally wanted to have babies, are reconsidering because they’re so darn glad to get the kids out of the house. I guess I’m also wondering, has your boyfriend even interacted with your son enough to really have formed a relationship? Because I don’t think I’d even met my future stepmom within five months of her meeting my dad. Obviously, commitment to raising a child is a logical choice, but I think it’s also hard to commit to something like that if you barely know the child you’re supposed to help raise.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      She wasn’t asking for a lifelong commitment at 5 months though. She needed to know if that’s where they were headed eventually, and to me it very much sounded like he was not interested in that.
      Its similar to say, dating in your 30s. If you know you are dating for the sole purpose of marrying and procreating together, wouldn’t you be clear with that upfront?

      1. Yeah, when you put it that way, it makes more sense. She still sounds like she’s looking for a commitment, not just a vague idea of what he wants. And I assume that as a mom, she’s not going to move someone in who isn’t expected to be around for the duration.

        But in terms of dating in your 30s, I think that it would be very different to approach a boyfriend of several months and ask if he for sure wants to move in with you in two years and have a child, versus asking if he wants marriage at some point or if he sees you two together long term. I guess, to me, a closer example would be if you had no desire to move to the West Coast, and then you meet a guy who needs to be there for work, and after five months, he asks if you will move there with him in two years. If he and I were serious, I might consider it, but I couldn’t say after only five months.

  15. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

    I didn’t read Wendy’s whole response because I’m being lazy today. But, I don’t think 5 months is too soon to make it clear that your child is a priority. I mean I think I would have said that on day one! (Since the child is so young, older children I think this is less of a hurdle.) Sucks but this might be a move on situation.

  16. Whoa this is so refreshing to encounter an LW who actually prioritizes her child over her significant other! Personally, I find it a bit odd that this guy decided to enter into a relationship with a woman who has a five year old child if he is leaning towards not wanting to have to “raise another child”. In my opinion, when kids are involved the stakes are raised and if the relationship doesn’t work out it’s not just “welp too bad that didn’t work out…oh well” because you have also involved the feelings of an innocent third party( or in this 3rd, 4th and 5th parties). While I might go out on a few casual dates with a single parent, I would never enter into a relationship with one without at least being open to the possibility of being a step parent or parent figure somewhere down the road. I think I would give this guy more leeway if he wasn’t a parent himself, I think there is a lot if fear in the unknown and in that case I might chalk up his reluctance to feeling out of his depth or being overwhelmed and/or intimidated by the thought of raising a child. But this guy knows the drill and probably from his own experience can glean semi-realistic expectations of what raising another child would entail. If his gut reaction was “i want to be done raising children, I would probably take him at his word. I agree with Wendy that you moved too fast and this wasn’t really a conversation to be only be having at only the 5 month mark but that said you can’t unhear those words and knowing that he truly felt this way would make me question his enthusiasm about being involved in your son’s life.

    1. I think this is a really good point. Why would a guy enter an exclusive relationship with a woman who has a 5 year old child if he wasn’t at least open to the possibility of being a stepparent? It’s one thing if you are going to casually date someone, but that doesn’t seem to be the case at all here. So to me one of two things is going on here. The first possibility is that he truly is open to the idea of being a stepparent, but he just thinks things are moving a little fast. The second possibility is that he just isn’t approaching this situation with a lot of maturity, and is truly not open to the idea of being a stepdad. In which case he is being unfair to the LW.

      I could not fathom being in an exclusive relationship with a person that has a child if I was not open to the idea of being a stepmom. And if I had a boyfriend with a child, I would never ask him to give me another year to “warm up to the idea.”

    2. I second this being a great point. If he’s not looking to raise another kid, then why start dating someone who has a 5-year-old? Unless he sees the relationship as more casual…in which case, she’s right to MOW (because she doesn’t want the same things).

      Also, I need to give this LW another credit point for saying “becoming” best friends. Not that they ARE “best friends” at only 5 months.

    3. Think this is spot on. If there’s a hesitation now what will realistically change in another 6 months, year?

  17. WWS for the WIN! I think the LW is being crazy hasty… there’s no mention that they have had any serious talks about the future at all, or if her boyfriend has even met her son, and all of a sudden she’s pushing him to move in with her and co-parent.

    It went from him thinking about his child and selling his house in 2 years, and sharing his thoughts with his newish girlfriend about how he is not sure what the next phase in his life would be, to moving in with her and her seriously minimizing the role of a step-parent with the 50% custody line. I mean would you rather your SO not think at all about the consequences for the future? I would be worried if he just said sure to shut her up… he was honest about needing time to think (about something that may or may not happen in 2 years) and her response was to react way too harshly, make demands that a GF of a few months really has no business making and then getting into a text fight (always a sign of maturity). SLOW YOUR ROLL… maybe enjoy this amazing relationship for awhile 😉

  18. painted_lady says:

    LW, I wonder about this conversation you had with your very new boyfriend. There’s “I don’t know if I want to do that,” that means just that, and there’s “I don’t know if I want to do that,” that means no. You know which one it is, and you should think really hard about that conversation because if he were saying no, he doesn’t want to raise another kid, then you’re doing the right thing. And if it’s that he genuinely doesn’t know, then I think that’s actually a good thing.

    If this guy, five months in, were all, “OH MY GOD, YES, LET’S GET MARRIIIIIIIEEEEEEED! TOMORROW! I want to raise your son! I want to grow old with you! Let’s go to the courthouse tomorrow morning!” are you honestly saying, you’d prefer that? I mean, I know it’s an extreme example, but a man who would rather take the time to really think about a commitment and all of his hesitations rather than just jumping in (or agreeing to) and keeping his fingers crossed that everything will work okay…that man is the kind of man you actually want in your life.

    Just purely from an ego standpoint, it always stings just a little bit when we discover that someone else doesn’t think we are the MOST AMAZING THING EVER. It’s silly, but when my boyfriend and I first discussed marriage, he totally agreed with my “at least three years together” time frame, and that, bizarrely, hurt just a little that he wasn’t like, “TOMORROW!” He totally agreed with me! That’s awesome! And yet it was still a let down. Isn’t it stupid? But that’s the way it goes. And it was the double whammy of you and your son not being OMG AWESOME, so that’s gotta hurt a little. But you’ve had your son’s entire life to fall in love with him. He’s had far less time than that. Give him time to love your son.

    At the same time, I agree with what a couple of others have said: this may be confusing for your son if this guy is a huge part of your life and then disappears. Limit their contact to special occasions. Don’t make it so that everytime you have free time, your son has to share you. I am really close with my uncle, and most of my life he’s been bringing SO’s to holidays and family gatherings and on trips just to visit my immediate family. So some of them I got really close to at a really young age, but then the relationship would end and so would their involvement with the family. I missed them, but it wasn’t traumatic because they weren’t around all the time. Leave it at that sort of contact until your boyfriend is sure, one way or the other. Your instinct to not continue a relationship with a man who doesn’t want a relationship with your son is right on, but I think you jumped the gun in lumping your boyfriend into that category.

    1. “If this guy, five months in, were all, “OH MY GOD, YES, LET’S GET MARRIIIIIIIEEEEEEED! TOMORROW! I want to raise your son! I want to grow old with you! Let’s go to the courthouse tomorrow morning!” are you honestly saying, you’d prefer that?”

      I don’t think that’s fair. What if he were just like “I know your son is your priority and I know that if we do decide to commit to each other, he will be a big part of my life and I am preparing myself for that possibility”?

      1. That would be a better response, but I’m not sure she gave him that opportunity. That’s something much more eloquent than I could compose if someone suddenly asked if I wanted to move in in two years, as well as if it turned into a fight over text.

      2. painted_lady says:

        That’s why I said in my next sentence that it was an extreme example. I know there’s eons of space between that and “Sure I’ll think about raising your kid,” but as well there’s eons of space between “Sure I’ll think about raising your kid,” and “No more kids, EVERRRR!” But I feel like the only person who would be 100% sure about raising a kid five months into a relationship is going to be someone who moves too fast. I’m a very slow mover, though, so my perspective is probably skewed. I just think taking time with a decision like that – one that not only involves the LW and her boyfriend but a little boy as well – isn’t a bad thing. If they have no plans for more kids, what’s the rush? Marriage and/or cohabitating aren’t going anywhere!

        Now granted, I think a year from now is excessive. I think if, as an adult, you can’t decide within a year that permanence is what you’re aiming for, you’re either waiting on a sign that isn’t coming or you’re in the wrong relationship. I might, were I the LW, insist on a shorter timeline, because waiting an entire year on whether or not someone loved me and my kid enough to alter their own plans sounds cruel to ask someone to do. If the boyfriend refuses to budge on that…maybe it is time to move on. Or you could assume he’s probably going to come to a decision more quickly, and he probably is, but that’s a risk I probably couldn’t talk myself into taking.

        So I guess it comes down to which part of it the LW has a problem with: is it waiting for him to decide? If so, jumped the gun. Is it the year part? Then negotiate, get out, or risk that he actually will take a year. But another fact about parenting is, not everyone’s going to love your kid immediately, or sometimes ever. And even if they love your kid, that doesn’t mean they want to raise him. And if that’s never going to happen, of COURSE. MOA. But if it’s a “Wait and see?” I think it might be worth taking some time.

  19. Bittergaymark says:

    The LW sounds nuts. Since when is having some kid living with you half the time not raising it? Honestly, her immaturity is why I think most single parents should give dating a fucking rest… And maybe, you know…just raise their kids.

  20. …And now I have Feeling Groovy in my head

  21. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

    Fucking texts. I’m over texts. No more texts, ever.

    1. What texts seem like a totally mature way to have a thorough and nuanced discussion regarding COHABITATION AND RAISING YOUR CHILD with the man you’re dating. Totally rational.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        I got pregnant via text message once.

      2. Is that what sexting is? It makes sense now…

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        Yea, if you disable texting from your cell phone provider, it works the same as birth control.

      4. Oddly, one of my most common texts is “I’m late.” Was that your response?

    2. Don’t hate texts just because you had a bad experience with a texter. Texts don’t text people. People text people. Then again, I just got my first cell phone a year ago, so I’m practically a virgin. You know what i hate Facebook. It’s hard enough to get one person to understand my skewed view. But my whole friend list? Gahhh!!!

      1. Should have been a question mark after hate and before Facebook.

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        I miss pagers. You get funniest post award for texts don’t text people.

      3. “Texts don’t text people. People text people.” bahaha, I like it.

      4. Hell, i got tons of solid gold material here. Like, as a newby, I’m still exploring my textuality. I like to text both men and women – does that make me bi-textual? It’s all killer, no filler, folks. Remember to tip your server.

      5. Bittergaymark says:

        I know plenty of straight, married guys with homotextual tendencies…

      6. I only texted that guy to see what it would be like. It’s not like I LIKED it or anything…

      7. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:


      8. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Diablo where have you been? Also you guys are funny with the textual comments. I had forgotten that I left that text comment early today.

      9. Unfortunately, I’ve been silly busy at work. Often, by later in the day, all the good advice is used up, and I don’t have anything more to offer. Plus, I recently ran out of insights, and have had to resort to quoting song lyrics to have anything to say. Also, a lot of the recent forums have either been about weddings, which I never have been all that interested in, including my own, or really sad stuff that I don’t want to cheapen with my little barbs. Ask me about men who play guitar – then I’m off to the races. But I’m still here. Thanks for asking.

  22. I love that Wendy quoted a Simon and Garfunkel song from the 60s, the last line of which is actually, “Life i love you, all is groovy.” Generally, I think “grooviness’ is an underrated quality that seems to have been lost since the 60s, in our urgency to become tougher, smarter and hipper. Tragically, by now, to quote Douglas Adams, “I’m so hip I can barely see over my pelvis.”

    LW, I know that you and your kid are a package deal. But it sounds like you should be saying to any prospective date, “Please be advised that unless you are prepared to raise my child as your own, there is no point having dinner with me.” If that’s your view, fine, and good luck. Five months is not a long time. This guy certainly already understands parenting. Given a chance, even with reservations, the odds are he would be just what you want him to be. What’s he gonna do, just talk to you, but ignore the kid? It’s the same kind of situation as women who begin each first date wondering whether this guy is husband material. If your expectations are just to have dinner, you are a lot more likely to end up satisfied.

    Even in a long-term marriage, ultimatums (or ultimata, for the language police) are not a good way to get the result you want. And they always leave you with no fall-back position. It’s your way or the highway. You might have wanted to ask for Wendy’s advice before you said that. Because from where I stand, if this is me, after only five months, it’s the highway.

  23. I vote too hasty. Because what she asked him – after five months of dating was – in two years how about we live together and you raise my kid with me. If anyone asked me to commit to anything after 5 months of dating – other than to continue to get to know each other – my answer would be to beat a fast retreat. Why are you trying to lock him down after five months? I think it speaks well of his character that he was honest and said he didn’t think so. I think anything other than that is the wrong answer. It wasn’t “hell no”; it wasn’t “yep – I’m all over it”; It was I don’t know you well enough much less your kid to make that kind of life choice FIVE MONTHS IN. I’m not sure if my ex’s knew my middle name at 5 months in.
    That said – if she is looking for someone who actively wants to raise small children – then this guy isn’t it. This guy doesn’t know. I’m sure there are lots of guys who WANT young families – maybe they won’t have all that this guy has going for him – but that is a cost benefit analysis you, LW, have to make. And the wait shouldn’t be at your son’s expense. Your son shouldn’t be introduced to him until he actually is serious about staying around for the long haul. So the wait would be at YOUR expense. And you can decide what that is worth.

    1. I think there’s a subtle but important difference between finding out whether someone is open to marriage and/or raising kids in general, and asking them if they want to do so with you. The former, I think, is fine to bring up at any stage. That’s just looking out for you and your kid. Granted, this is sort of a hybrid situation since she already has a kid, so the implication is that he’ll raise her kid. But this guy seems to have a problem with the general commitment—> “he doesn’t think he wants to raise another child”. Adios muthafucka!

      1. I agree that when you date with kids – you make it known you have kids and you are interested in marriage or long-term commitment – if that is what you want. But what she did was to take a conversation about him selling his house and turn it into the two of them living together on a particular time table and him signing on to her raising her son, after knowing each other for five months – nothing general about that. That’s asking for a specific commitment. And asking too soon.

      2. Bittergaymark says:

        Agreed. Its darkly hilarious that most of those here saying five months is NOT too soon all have strings of messy failed relationships involving kids… So yeah. All this jumping the gun doesn’t seem to have worked out…

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        Its also darkly hilarious that some commenters who haven’t been in any relationship in a very long time are saying five months is too soon to want to know if your boyfriend wants a casual fling or more someday.

      4. lets_be_honest says:

        ps Assuming you’re referring to me as one of those “people with strings of messy failed relationships involving kids,” you’d be wrong about me. I’ve yet to have a failed relationship since I’ve only been in one legitimate one since high school, which is the one I’m still in. The guy I made a baby with I was not in a relationship with ever, I just slept with someone who I wanted to sleep with. I know, slut city over here!

      5. Bittergaymark says:

        Believe it or not, LBH… Not every post or everything is about you… 😉

      6. lets_be_honest says:

        Just used to all your snarky comments directed at me I guess. That and the fact I didn’t think any other parents were commenting in agreement to me.

      7. OMG, seriously LBH please get over yourself. I want to second that not everything related to single mothers is about you. The fact that you’ve taken it upon yourself to be the know all be all spokesperson for single mothers is beyond annoying. The fact that you jump to conclusions about everyone else’s opinion and feel the compulsive need to defend your status as a single mother speaks volumes about your issues. As does the fact that you have to comment and post your overbearing opinion to every single comment or discussion posted on this website. Honestly, don’t you have anything better to do than comment on this website all day long like it’s your own personal claim to fame?

        I read this website twice a day and browse the forums and I only comment when I have something relevant to say that hasn’t already been mentioned. I don’t consider myself part of the DW community, but I find your constant chiming in annoying. I try to skip past all your comments but how can I when you respond to everything constantly. This is dearwendy.com, not LBH.com. Honestly, I wish Wendy would limit how many times a person can comment on a single thread just so I don’t have to look at your opinions. Limiting the number of comments would also probably end the back and forth arguments that break out on here.

        I’m not trying to attack you though I’m sure you’ll see it that way, I honestly just find you very annoying. Like you hang around on this website all day looking for reasons to get offended.

      8. lets_be_honest says:

        Oh snap!

      9. Sheesh, this is your one comment? Lighten up!

      10. lets_be_honest says:

        I’m going to have to come up with a new website name. Mine’s already taken 🙁

      11. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Haha who pooped in your cheerios this morning?

      12. Damn – what would you write if you WERE trying to attack her? Someone clearly needs a drink.

      13. Haha. My thoughts exactly. It’s like when people preface things with, “No offense or anything, but (Insert Insult/Offensive Remark Here)” and you sit there wondering how it could ever be construed as anything positive (or even neutral).

      14. Grilledcheesecalliope says:

        How do you say “I’m not trying to attack you” in the same sentence as “I find you really annoying” is that a thing now?

      15. I enjoy reading comments made by lets_be_honest, and I probably read all of her comments! I raised and supported my son entirely on my own, and now he is a wonderful grown up man. I look for lbh’s comments to see how it is now, as I can see that the changing technology and culture present challenges that are different from my experience. I also love bittergaymark.

      16. Sassy but Classy says:

        Wow. I also read DW everyday and I think LBH usually has good advice especially when it pertains to single mothers. And who was BGM calling out if it wasn’t her? She is the most vocal single mother on here and he does spar with her often, I thought he was attacking her too.
        Also, there are other readers that post often on other topics, LBH isn’t the only one.

      17. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        not me, i never comment everywhere.

      18. Shoot, I know I’ve got some here somewhere… *rummaging through refrigerator* AH! Here it is.

        Sistine, would you like some cheese to go with that whine? 🙂

      19. woah. I love LBH’s comments, even when I dont agree! There is an age-old rule for people like you ‘don’t read the comments if they get to you’.

      20. lets_be_honest says:

        You guys are awesome! Thanks 🙂
        Nice people make my day!

      21. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Is it weird that I kind of love both you and BGM and y’all fight all the time? You’re just too similar – but on opposite spectrums – if that makes sense. (It doesn’t – but that’s fine)

      22. Bittergaymark says:

        Perhaps. But at least my “mistakes” haven’t left any messed up kids in my wake… Somehow I doubt a good number of single parents on the make can say that…

      23. lets_be_honest says:

        You realize that failed relationships does not equal a messed up kid, right? A messed up parent equals a messed up kid, and even then, not always.

      24. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        Right. And curiously, numerous failed relationships tend to go hand in hand with messed up parents… Coincidence?

      25. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Wow I missed a fun day on DW! I love a good BGM v LBH showdown. Makes me want to get popcorn and take a front row seat! Well, know a Sistine v LBh showdown!

      26. “he doesn’t think he wants to raise another child”

        But it seems like he is just not down with raising a kid, any kid. If his response was more along the lines of “I’m not ready to commit to that yet, but I see us heading there or I wouldn’t be with you” OR “I understand that you and your son are a package deal and I’m open to raising him down the line but this is too soon for me to make a commitment” then maybe I’d be more on your same page. I mean, he’s in his forties and already raised a kid, it’s his prerogative to not want to raise any more. But not at the expense of bonding with this kid for another year. He’s old enough to know generally whether he wants to raise another kid or not.

      27. She blind sided him when he was talking about selling his house….over text(?) After which time, he said he didn’t know about the future – he needed time before he could say definitely (which is what she was asking for – not can you see yourself open to this – but would you move in in two years and live with us). If she doesn’t want to give him time – no problem – but her question was is she being hasty and I think the answer is – given the context of her discussions and the timing of the relationship – yes.
        And I don’t think he should be bonding with the child from jump either. I think parents need to take a serious minute before introducing their children to the people they date. I would want to hear some of the words in your quotes before I let someone around my kid. And it would be longer than 5 months. At 5 months I don’t even know the guy – much less know him well enough to introduce him into my child’s world.

  24. What are we always telling single parents? You are a package deal with your kids, they are the priority, and anyone that’s not down for that can kick rocks sooner rather than later. I think you should take plenty of time to introduce the kid to potential new step parents, and definitely don’t move anyone in with your kid until a major commitment has already been made. But if he’s already back stepping on the kids issue? K bye! Why waste time trying to convince someone they should want to be with you and your kid? That’s fundamental. You guys are adults in your 40’s, that’s plenty old enough to know who you are and what you want. If he doesn’t know, MOA.

    1. BriarRose says:

      Exactly, thank you. Why is everyone telling her she was too hasty in making sure he was aware she and her son are a package deal? That’s how I’ve always been with men. I have my daughter 95% of the time, this is just a fact of my life. It’s not something I hide or just to beat around the bush about it.

      It seems single parents can do no right. We’re supposed to live alone and ignore our selfish desires for companionship whilst devoting every waking minute to our children (yet not helicopter parenting them!) AND if we are terrible enough to date, we have to be patient with the generous souls who would be so foolish as to date us. FUCK THAT. We are adults, we know what our situation is, we are going to make it known. Our kids are a part of our lives. What are we supposed to do, get attached to someone, let our kid get attached them, date them for a few years, THEN find out they don’t want to be a step-parent? No. You find that information out when you can and move on if it doesn’t match up with you. Just like a woman in her 30’s who wants kids and meets a man who doesn’t–she moves on. Single parents should do the same, and this woman is smart to do so.

      You’d all be telling her what an awful mother she was if this was a year from now and she was writing in about should she break up with the guy she’s been dating for about 18 months who her young son is attached to. She would be told she should have thought about that a year ago, before attachments were formed and she screwed up her child in pursuit of her own selfish happiness. Instead, she’s being proactive about her child’s future and she’s being told to slow down and give this guy a chance. Why, so she can get yelled at a year from now when she writes in with an update that sure enough, he STILL doesn’t want to be a step-father?

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        “We’re supposed to live alone and ignore our selfish desires for companionship whilst devoting every waking minute to our children (yet not helicopter parenting them!) AND if we are terrible enough to date, we have to be patient with the generous souls who would be so foolish as to date us.”

        WOW. I’d quote your entire thing actually. You’ve hit the nail on the head perfectly! Perfect BriarRose!

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        Reading your comment made me realize how sick of parent judgment I am. Its becoming much more frequent too, unfortunately.

      3. How long before you introduce a partner to your child when you date, though. I know Peter has been in your life forever but on average – or an ex? I’ve never had children while dating but it just seemed that you would only do the introduction when you knew that this person wanted to stay around.

      4. lets_be_honest says:

        I’m not really sure, since I’ve never been in that position. I used to say I wouldn’t date until she was much, much older, so I can’t say I even imagined being in that position.
        I guess it depends on a lot of things. If its a casual meetup/bump into each other, then no big deal. If its a formal dinner where you are “revealing” your new boyfriend, that’s different too. I’d probably do a casual thing, like this is my friend Tom (no long time periods of the 3 of us hanging out though) at any point.
        My mom’s now husband picked her up from our house for their first date, and we were all excited to see what he looked like, etc. She’d never been on a date before that (except for one I think). That was fine. Met him at the door, small chit chat, goodbye. Didn’t see him again for a while.
        I think the important thing is not the first time you meet, but rather when you realize you want to be serious with this guy, and then how you want a real interaction to take place. Casual? A dinner out together?
        I know I would wait a very long time before having a boyfriend stay the night, even if in another room. (sorry for the rambles. basically, IDK.)

      5. BriarRose says:

        In this scenario, the boyfriend currently has made it clear he’s not sure he wants to stay around for the kid aspect. So I guess she would just never introduce him to her son? That doesn’t seem like they would ever truly know each other then, if that aspect of her life wasn’t at all a part of her relationship.

        I guess it is just different for everyone. My boyfriend and I have been together for about as long as the LW, and we both would like marriage/living together to happen in the next year or two, and talking about it this early on doesn’t freak either of us out. Needless to say, we’ve met each others kids.

      6. I agree with every single thing you are saying, but I’m not sure it completely fits this particular situation. (1) The way the LW brought up the subjecg was crazy. It would have caught me off guard! I don’t know what I want a relationship to look like in 2 years when I’ve only known the person for FIVE MONTHS, and the fact that the LW demanded an absolute answer is off-putting. (2) He said maybe! He said give me time! He didn’t say, “No, never, and I want to be involved with only you and not your kid.” I think his answer was perfectly reasonable, especially given the context in which she posed her question.

        I mean, he is dating her knowing full well that she has a child. He has his own kids, so he knows what being a parent entails. If he was dead against it, then I HOPE he wouldn’t have gotten this involved with her in the first place. And if the LW finds out that he only wanted to date her casually while she is planning for the future, then good. She can move on. But THAT is the conversation that should have happened (“Do you think we have a future together? How serious are we?”), rather than “Let’s start planning to move in together in 2 years so you can co-parent my child.”

      7. BriarRose says:

        I can see your point; she definitely should have worded it differently because she came on very strong. But I feel like his response was pretty telling (not wanting to raise another child) and I just have a hard time imagining him changing his mind.

      8. Yeah, I can see that too. He could have been in shock, or he could be letting his inner commitment-phobe shine through. I feel like he hadn’t thought that far ahead, was enjoying where they are (were), and was caught off-guard. But I’m wrong an awful lot.

      9. Bittergaymark says:

        Strong? She came on very desperately — which I rather suspect she is… To do all this over text simply blows my mind… If I was the guy? I’d run fast and far, far away…

      10. One wonders what their relationship has been up until now. She talks about almost her best friend, best sex ever. Did this start as fwb? As I said upthread, did they ever talk about being in a serious relationship with each other, or did she just drop the ‘parent my child’ thing onto his discussion as the first time any subject of them being permanent has come up.

        People say ‘he knew she had a child’. Then people say ‘can’t single mothers have a social life?’. From which one asks, can’t a guy form the impression that a single mother is just casually dating? Does it automatically become monumentally serious, must lead to marriage and co-parenting because she is a single mom. It seems a lot of normal dating steps have been skipped here.

      11. “I mean, he is dating her knowing full well that she has a child. He has his own kids, so he knows what being a parent entails. If he was dead against it, then I HOPE he wouldn’t have gotten this involved with her in the first place.”

        I hope so too! But I dunno, so many people just sort of bumble through life, and it’s easy to get caught up in romances, even into your 40’s from what I’ve seen. You may be right that my thoughts don’t apply to this situation. I based what I wrote also partially on the fact that, speaking of jumping the gun, this discussion caused him to dump her. Either he wasn’t that into her, or actually is averse to raising any kids ever, or… something. Honestly they both seem kind of immature. Text fighting is not for anyone, let alone parents in their 40’s. :/

  25. Halfway through this letter, I had to go back and look at how long they were dating. I was expecting to see something like four years. Five months? Really? OMG.

    If a guy I was dating said to me, five months in, “In two years, I want us to be living together, and having a child, and you have to give my your decision right now or I’m breaking up with you right now”, I’d say “sure, the answer is no.” After I stopped laughing.

    The stakes are even higher here, because you already have a child. And you’ve decided that boyfriend is suitable to be helping you raise your five-year-old because…..he’s great in the sack?


    After 5 months, you don’t even know this guy. Not well enough. It’s all lust and infatuation and roses and happy talk now. You have no clue where your relationship will be in two years. And he doesn’t really know you either, not well enough to make that kind of commitment to you and your child.

    Your BF is rightfully petrified that you’d even suggest it. Chill. Either let him go, or give the relationship time to develop and shut the heck up about cohabitating.

  26. Do people really having important conversations like this over text? I’m firmly mired in the texting generation. I text all the time. But when I thought I needed to break up with the guy I’ve been seeing for the past few months, I went and did it in person. And guess what? It turned into an open and honest conversation and I wound up deciding I was -wait for it- being too hasty!

    1. Oh yeah what happened with that, you guys worked it out?

      1. We’re slowing things down a bit. I updated the thread the next day.

        The reason I was a bit trigger happy on the break up was because I felt I dragged things out with my ex, and I promised myself I would never do that again. Really, I should’ve told this guy how I was feeling instead of trying to break up with him right off the bat. Like I said, I was being hasty!

        And herein we learn the tale of how TaraMonster discovered healthy communication:

        With my ex, I felt I had to be “prepared” for every serious or semi-serious conversation. It was like playing a really exhausting, emotionally draining game of chess that I always lost. If I didn’t know EXACTLY how I felt, or if I changed my mind, he would pounce and basically tell me point by point why I was wrong. And I was always wrong, or sensitive, or not sensitive enough. Blah blah blah.

        So here I go to have this serious conversation with this guy all mentally prepared like I’m going into battle or something. Imagine my surprise when he was reasonable about the whole thing. It took me a few days to figure out why the interaction was so foreign to me: I wasn’t being manipulated! So I got a glimpse of how emotionally balanced adults talk about their feelings. It was like I’d been living in a cave my entire life and saw sunlight for the first time. Imagine that.

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        Good for you Tara!

      3. Wow yeah, when relationships go sour then can really do a number on you. Sounds like you’re going in a good direction. Awesome.

      4. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Wow what’s that like?

  27. Holy hell in a crazy hand basket.

    LW – I would assume that you’ve either JUST introduced the kid to him, or you were planning to soon. If you introduced them within the first two months – you’re rushing for no reason and overwhelming both your son and the guy. A child needs stability, not to meet new bedmates of Mommy every few days/weeks/months.

    I get that you’re feeling Mama-Bearish and like you’re pushing past your “prime” years. However, that does NOT give you the right to push a relationship faster than it needs to be going.

    Your guy was honest. He’s not sure of what he wants when it comes to additional kids right now. He doesn’t know YOU, your child, or your ex-husband well enough to want to commit himself to that situation.
    Give your relationship more time to develop. A good rule is “one day at a time”. Don’t discuss moving in together until he is ready to sell his house. Just let the relationship flow, and let him and your child hang out, if that’s what they both want. Also, talk to your ex-husband and make sure he’s okay with your son meeting/hanging out with the boyfriend. As a 50/50 parent, he should have some say in who your child meets (adult-wise).
    This is all about mutual respect. Respect his boundaries.

    1. I agree, especially with the last paragraph. I don’t necessarily want to marry a man with children, but I can’t say that I’d never meet a man with children that I’d want to marry. It would come down to who he is, who is child is, etc. Also, I think it’s a lot safer to pursue things with a man who already had children than a 40-something dude who never had them or wanted them.

      1. Same here. I thought I’d never want to date a guy with a kid, but then I did. Because I liked him. (It ended up not working out for reasons unrelated to the kid, though).

  28. landygirl says:

    LW, are you serially impulsive?

  29. I’d like to respond to Wendy’s response. I am the person who wrote the question to Wendy. I was married for 12 years and with my (1) husband for 18 years altogether.
    I left my husband after a few years of a not so great marriage and have dated off and on till I met this man I was talking about. From the moment we met we had instant chemistry. in the beginning i told him that if the relationship progressed my don would be a part of his life. Within a couple months he told me is was falling in love with me as I was with him. We talked about one point living together as the relationship progressed. He had seen my son about 7 times total in our relationship and I wanted to be sure we were solid before my son got to really know him.
    Then last week he was acting stressed about what his plans were after his daughter leaves home and that’s how all this started. I regret the texts and what followed. We actually met today and he told me that he probably will not want to raise another child because he’s already done this even though when we started dating he said he would. It was a realization over time that its not what he wants to do and I appreciate that. So, for everyone to say I rushed this, please….I am glad I didn’t slowly introduced my son into this relationship over the next year to have him decide then its not working. When a man dates a single mom, the reality it is a packaged deal no matter what you say.

    1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      You know, that makes sense to me. 5 months is kind of a long time – I know people in good relationships that progressed quickly (and they would have certainly had that talk by now) and those that progressed slowly … And I bet when you have a kid, the “do you mind kids” conversation happens quickly. I’m sorry he’s not on board with raising a kiddo but, you’re right, better figure it out now than after a couple more years invested. … But is your boyfriend’s position a “I don’t know yet” – in which case, ok, he doesn’t know yet – give him some more time – not 8 years, but maybe 1 year. Or is his position “I definitely don’t want to raise another kid”? If the latter, good thing you figured that out now. But I thought it was the former.

      1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        also, LW, close your eyes, i need to do something real quick.

      2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        not done yet.

      3. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        hold on.

      4. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        BOOM – side forum bar + side comment bar = all AP!

        Ok, getting back to my brief now.

  30. I completely disagree! I think that if you start dating someone with kids, you either accept that if things go well with your new SO then the kids will be a big part of your life and that’s fine, or you decide you don’t want the kids and you break up with your SO. If you want to build a relationship with someone who could one day be your kid’s stepdad, and he doesn’t want that, then he’s a jerk for leading you on and you’re foolish to stick around hoping he’ll change.

    Now, if the boyfriend is just not into the talking about moving in together after dating for only 5 months, and just using the kid as an excuse to avoid saying that he thinks you’re moving too fast, then that’s a different story.

  31. Just a girl says:

    Totally disagree with Wendy. He can’t see himself raising another child as his age? Totally fine, but you are a package deal! MOA and don’t waste another minute with this guy. Find someone who is ready willing and able! You both deserve this.

  32. HeartsMum says:

    While my kids were doubtless a package deal with me, I could not have said five months into my first relationship after divorce that I was ready to contemplate super-imposing another co-parent onto my kids—even if my new love interest was keen to be a step-parent. You have to find out first if they’re right for you, then if their parenting ideas are a fit for you and your kids—and the potential step-parent has to do the same. It might be that the 5 months you’ve had plus trying to fast-forward 2 years were enough information for him to decide it’s not a good fit. And even though we are a happy couple, my eventual co-parent has had to take a big hit in freedom, finances, and, at times, quality of life—because that’s parenthood.

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