Should I wait until they get things sorted out as far as living arrangements go before I even approach her again outside of seeing the boy? — Waiting to Get it Sorted Out
So, let me get this straight: You’re a 57-year-old man who struggles with bipolar disorder and you have developed feelings for your girlfriend’s daughter-in-law who is more than thirty years your junior and employs you to watch her son full-time in the home that your girlfriend shares? And you’re wondering whether you should wait for things to “get sorted out” before you pursue anything? What does “sorted out” even look like in a situation like this? There is no sorted out! Not unless you are being entirely selfish and “sorted out” applies only to your own feelings being considered. What about Linda, her son, and her grandson? In what arrangement do you get what you want — a life with Maria, I guess — and everyone else is ok? There is not an arrangement where that happens. Not in any timeframe that comes close to soon, anyway. And I’m not sure YOU would be ok with getting what you think you want. Can you imagine the resentment Maria may have when she matures a little and realizes the old man she thought she loved took advantage of her naiveté, potentially wrecking any kind of cordial relationship she could hope to have with her child’s father and grandmother? If you love her like you think you do, don’t put her in that situation.
My advice is to excuse yourself from this family. Apologize profusely for the damage you’ve created and then explain that you never meant to hurt anyone, though you can see you’ve done just that, and that you are going to leave them alone so they can figure out, as a family, how best to pick up the pieces. And then let THEM “sort it out” without your input. Maybe that means Maria moves out and she and Luke figure out a custody arrangement that works for them. It most certainly means that you no longer watch their son. (And if that is, indeed, an actual paying gig for you, it’s time to find a new job; if you were doing it on some sort of volunteer basis, use the 50+ hours a week you’ll now have to find a hobby or volunteer elsewhere.)
Maybe in time, once Maria has sorted out her living arrangements, she’ll reach out to you. If so, you need to tread VERY carefully. Yes, you’re both grown adults, but she is so much younger than you and you share some baggage that would definitely affect any potential relationship you might have. Linda will aways be her son’s grandmother and Luke will always be his father. These people will always be in Maria’s life, which will make it very hard for her to find space for you in any meaningful way.
Finally, you mention having bipolar disorder and using pot to help manage it. I hope, especially given your current situation, you are in regular contact with both a psychiatrist and a therapist and that you have another method, besides pot, to manage your symptoms. Most mentally stable people don’t blow up their lives and the lives of people they profess to love and care about the way that you have. This is not normal behavior and is a sign that your mental health is not being managed well. For your sake and the sake of people in your orbit, I urge you to get help.
His daughter and I get along only because I get along well with children. I try to offer to every child someone whom I wish I had had when I was a child. My boyfriend’s daughter now loves me and prefers me over her dad. I still don’t want a child in my life forever, and as much as it breaks my heart, I don’t think I could offer him the support he needs to raise her to adulthood. His ex/the child’s bio mom has relapsed on drugs and said she does not want the daughter around me. So for about two months now, my boyfriend has avoided picking up his child, blocked his ex’s number, and does not talk to me about anything involving his daughter. He doesn’t even seem to care about her, and I feel like this is all my fault. — Not Ready for Motherhood
No, it is not your fault at all. This is 100% your boyfriend’s fault. He’s a manipulator and a liar and a horrible, terrible father. Please, please dump his ass and move on with your life. Someone who would discard his daughter the way he has, after denying her existence for the first five months of your relationship, is not somebody who could ever be a good and kind and loving partner to you. He has shown you his colors, and they are ugly. Continue to focus on your degree, work, emotional health, and love life, starting with eliminating the stain you currently have upon it. A new year is a great time for a fresh start — one that does not include a dirtbag boyfriend!