Family hates my girlfriend
Hi everyone, I could really use some help with this as I just do t know what to do, seems like either way I lose. I am a 44 year old divorced single male with four kids (13,15, 18,21). Their mom and I share custody of the youngest two kids still at home. I have been dating my girlfriend for 5 years now and my family (all the kids and my mom) do not like her. I love her and we have a great relationship when it is the two of us.
We tried having Tena around in the first year but it didn’t go well. We had some good times but for the most part personalities conflicted. Tena is a bit complicated and has had issues but I feel together we are a good team. She is a single mom of three (13,18, 28) and been divorced three times. She is a good hearted person but definitely a firecracker and someone who doesn’t filter much of what she says. She is the person people always seem to talk about and it’s easy to judge her. Once you get to know here she is a really good person just livi g life the best she can. She never did anything to my kids or anything I as a parent would question. She tried to parent one of them in the beginning tryi g to get her to eat all her food before getting a treat and it was a mistake. She also tried to help them understand their mom having a new partner and how to address her (mom, stepmom, girlfriend) and it was a conversation they will now let go. It was 3 min while I was pumping gas and something that was blown way out of proportion and misunderstood by my kids.
We have tried a couple of times to bring everyone together for dinner or just stopping by the house but it just never worked. My girls HATE her and won’t even look at her. My two sons are easier and understand my position of trying to move on and are not big fans but want me to be happy. So after the first year we decided to keep things separate. When I was free and didn’t have kids we spent time together when I had kids we didn’t. We have done this for the past four years and at some point I have to make some decisions. I love her family and fit in with them well. I don’t even talk about Tena or her family when around my kids.
So as my kids get older and time keeps moving on I feel the ever pressure mounting about moving in together as my kids start to leave the house. My problem is, what kind of relationship will I have with my kids and their families if Tena and I stay together or even get married. It is very clear that my kids wouldn’t come to my house and I would have to go see them and be the only one invited to weddings or family events. I can’t live with that and don’t want to be an outcast from them because of who I chose to care about. The weight is getting g bigger and I just need to get some clarity on this. My thought is that I should break it off, not tie her up any longer and just bear the burden in order to save the relationships with my kids. Problem is that if I do that they are all growing up and leaving anyway and I am left 90% of the time alone. I am also afraid that with them being gone and me making that kind of sacrifice will cause some resentment.
I am a very good dad, love my kids and would like all other parents say “I would do anything for my kids”. Doing it though is tough and I just don’t understand why I have to do all the sacrifice or if I can. Please help....
Hi and thanks for your response, yes Tena wants more also. We have talked about moving intogether on e the kids are gone but and getting married at some point but no rush. After my divorce I met tena right away, actually our girls played on the same sports team so we kind of knew each other but had never talked away from the team stuff. Since the kids were involved and they were on the same team we kept our relationship quiet for a month or two to see if it would work before talking to the kids about who we were seeing. As kids get older and have relationships of their own I would hope they would start to accept her but it’s a big gamble.
If I were Tena, four years of that bullshit would be enough for me. Do your kids pick their partners based on who YOU like? Seriously, they are growing up and moving away and living their own lives. You are the parent. Your children need to respect your feelings and choices.
If you put your children's opinions and feelings above your own, you will end up a lonely old man.
Wow, its hard reading this because I’m living the exact same scenario, but im the girl friend waiting. Well I think you should really analyze this situation before it’s too late. Your girlfriend eventually will get fed up if you don’t start giving her her place in your life. Your children will go off and live happily ever after and not care about you when you are old and alone. Children will take and take but they need boundaries and you are not giving them that because you are afraid of losing them. If they really love you they should want you to be happy. I really hope you don’t end up losing your girl and regret it later. Your kids will never look back and feel bad for you.
I’m having a similar situation, my husband to be has 3 children from previous relationship and we have one child of our own. We see his children on the weekend and they stay over for one night. The relationship between children is perfect even tho the age gap is 10 years between them. The problem is that he is ignoring me when around his children as his daughter is jealous, he thinks he can show affection to her and buy her gifts so that no one else would know about it, telling her to lie that somebody else bought it. He would sometimes make sarcastic comments about me in front of her so that she wouldn’t be jealous. He is being completely manipulated and his attitude is wrong on so many levels. Children need to know their place in the family and they need to know that adults belong to each other, and there is no favourite kid. When he is not around I have perfect time with all the children together and we all are very kind and loving to each other. When my partner is around he just acts wrong in front of the children, ignoring me and trying his best to show that he doesn’t care about me. It has been going on for over a year and I am tired of this. In a couple of years children might not even want to come and see him as they live far away and will soon have their own lives, he has no friends. His attitude is not good for our daughter either to be ignored and feel like she means less for her father when his other children are around. My partner will end up a lonely old man as I won’t forgive his life choices, being scared to show affection to me and our daughter in front of other children and both myself and our daughter feeling unwanted. It’s his choice and I’m better off without him, our daughter is better off without him too.
"We tried having Tena around in the first year but it didn’t go well."
"She never did anything to my kids or anything I as a parent would question."
"It was 3 min while I was pumping gas and something that was blown way out of proportion and misunderstood by my kids." (- sounds like your kids pounced on then ran with it!)
Is everyone showing 'hatred' of your girlfriend or showing 'hatred' at the fact you went and got one? So prematurely, I mean? ...And she's (still) the Fall Guy (because the cause of that initial reaction - the kids, as is typical in this scenario, feeling they couldn't be seen to be betraying Mum by accepting her 'successor'- didn't get resolved at the time)?
Who said you have to choose between Tena or your kids? Er... Ever hear of having BOTH?
I went through this for 4 years. My partner thought he would keep stuff separate but it didn't work. Eventually he stood up to his kids and told them that I was his choice and if they got to know me, they would get to like me. I didn't push any parenting advice. I just acted normal and now some 12 years down the line we have a reasonable relationship. (Apart from one kid who is old enough to know better!)
Be patient. If you want this lady, stand up for her. Your kids won't want to lose you and I believe will fall into line eventually
But, Kram, you DO have to have one or a run of proper, sit-down meeting with your kids in order to deal with their latent, negative feelings and resolve their symbolic 'hatred' of Tena. This is imperative SO THAT your kids aren't the type to sod off and see you the bare minimum.
And then afterwards, explain it all to Tena.
Even better - I would advise family counselling or mediation. That way, everyone will have to behave themselves, yet be brutally open and honest, ergo, it'll all go faster and more smoothly.
Also, we don't know what part mum's influence might be playing - if any. How are relations between you and she? And how were they at point of deciding to divorce onwards?