I’m a 36 year-old single mother of three daughters (16, 13, and 2). I live alone with them. I’ve been with my boyfriend for two years now and he’s close to all of us. My baby girl loves him very much and has grown attached to him. We all have a good relationship. I have found a best friend and lover all in one. He’s everything I’ve been searching for in a partner. However, I’m not sure we have a future together.
Currently, he lives with his family (his parents and sister). He’s responsible for paying the house mortgage and utilities, along with his sister. I’ve talked to him about moving in with me and our starting a life together, but he says all he can offer me is for me and my kids to move in with him in the back house because he has the commitment of paying the mortgage. That isn’t something I would want for myself and my kids. I want a home of my own with privacy.
What should I do? Should I continue waiting or should I just let this go and move forward with my life and plans? I feel stuck because I’m in love, my kids have gotten attached to him, and we’ve shared so much already as a family. I would hate for them and myself to go through another heartbreak like when their dad and I got divorced. I also would hate to bring someone else into their life again. It’s not something I want to do to my children. — Ready to Move Forward
Well, if things are going so well right now, why change anything? If, in your boyfriend, you have a partner who feels like a friend and a lover, your kids are attached to him, and you share experiences as a family, then it sounds like you’ve got a wonderful situation that many people would be thrilled to have. You know that saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”? Nothing in your letter indicates anything is broken. In fact, in a lot of ways, it sounds like you have an almost ideal situation: a boyfriend you and your kids love, absent the pressure that sometimes comes with merging families and homes and finances. What if you kept things as they are?
Of course, if what you really want is a live-in partner and step-parent figure to your kids, then it would make sense to re-evaluate this relationship as it sounds like that probably isn’t in the cards, at least for a while. But it might be! Just because your boyfriend is saying he can’t move in to your place right now doesn’t mean he won’t change his mind or that circumstances won’t change. But you have to decide just how important it is to you to have the live-in partner. Is it more important than who the partner IS? If it means losing the boyfriend you have now to open yourself to the possibility of someone else whose life circumstances might be a better fit for you, are you willing to take that risk?
Only you can answer these questions, and only you can say what the timeline is for answering them. Maybe you can hang out right where you are for another year and just see what happens. But the thing is, as you know, you aren’t making decisions that impact just you. You have three kids who are majorly invested in and affected by this situation. What’s best for THEM?
If things are great right now, as you say they are, then are your kids even missing out by not having your boyfriend live with you all? Is the idea of having SOMEONE living with you as a step-parent to your kids more important than having your boyfriend remain in their lives in the capacity he is now? Again, only you can answer these questions, but they are definitely important questions to ponder, and you don’t need to rush to your answers.
When I read your final paragraph above, it sounds to me like you’re already answering some of the questions I’m posing to you. You don’t want to experience heartbreak again, you don’t want to bring someone else into your kids’ lives, and you don’t want to feel stuck. I would advise focusing on the idea of feeling stuck, and make a list of what is or could make you feel that way. Get specific. Instead of “living separately from my boyfriend makes me feel stuck,” follow that with a “because” and then list WHY it makes you feel stuck.
I suspect getting very specific about your feelings and your situation is going to bring to light some of the answers you’re struggling to find. If I’m wrong and it doesn’t, you might consider talking with a therapist to help you find the answers you’re seeking. I know they’re inside of you, but you may need a little outside help finding them.