Help with dating a confused single dad? We’ve been dating for 9 months, but...

Help with dating a confused single dad?

We’ve been dating for 9 months, but known each other for 9 years. We dated for a minute before I went to college, but we always kept in touch. In between time, he had two children. Him & the mom have spent more time just co-parenting than being in an actual relationship. Still, she makes smart remarks about me to him & on social media. One minute he seems like he wants to move the relationship forward & the next minute he’s saying that he’s afraid the mom might try to keep him from the kids. He seems torn between loving me & the duty to his kids. He doesn’t see a way to effectively do both. He believes that if we become more serious that she will make it harder for him to see his kids or try to replace him as a dad. Before they met, she had one child and included him in the child’s life early on in their relationship. He says he doesn’t care if she gets another man but he knows how fasts she moves & doesn’t want his kids around just anybody. The situation is very confusing for me as he takes one step forwards & 2 steps back. I’ve tried to show him that I am supportive of his situation. Example, I met him at his mom’s house once and his 4yo daughter was there. She was very talkative and wanted to show me all her toys. I think we interacted well together, but I can tell she’s territorial. I joked with him & said he has a body guard. I suggested that I meet him in the car, because I didn’t think it was appropriate for her to see us leaving together just yet. He thanked me when he came to the car. I don’t know what else I can do? I listen at him vent about his frustrations, I give him his space to spend his days with his kids. I don't go back and forth with the mom. Although, there is so much I want to say I know it will only make things worse. Sometimes I think it's me he's not sure about and he's using the circumstances as a cover up.

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SomebodyElse avatar
1 week ago

<<Sometimes I think it's me he's not sure about and he's using the circumstances as a cover up.>>

I don't know about that. BUT it looks as if his kids come first, and if he is afraid the baby mama really is evil enough to make it harder to see his kids, you're kind of screwed. If you saw her make a snide remark about you, maybe he's telling the truth about her. But even if he is telling the truth, I wouldn't consider him a good bet.

It sounds as if you have handled the situation like an adult, but eventually enough becomes enough. Has he ever applied for visitation or shared custody? I know a divorced couple with kids. The mom has principal custody, but she can't leave the state as long as the kids are under 18, and she doesn't mess with her ex's visitation. I don't know if that is the law or was just something they agreed to. I would think that fathers would have similar rights even if there had been no marriage.

I don't know. Nine months of dating isn't that long. I would give it some more time. This is really his problem to handle.

Johnny Nicks avatar
1 week ago

"He believes that if we become more serious that she will make it harder for him to see his kids or try to replace him as a dad. "

Surely she would have done this already? How do you feel about this excuse?

Baron A. avatar
1 week ago

The only thing sometimes is if you feel you are putting your desires for the relationship on hold, if you feel you are waiting around to be treated like a priority in his life, if you feel you have to bite your tongue on your opinion about how things are handled or you may come across as pushy and demanding then I would suggest not waiting around for another 2 years before taking a step.

For some reason I do not think things are going to change any time soon.

If he is so concerned about the behaviour of the ex and how it will impact his relationship with his children, after 9 months I am not sure based on the ages of the children it is going to change any time soon.

You saw it even before you got into it with him that his daughter is territorial. If the kid is comfortable with you from the get go then you have a shot, but if you are hidden and have these challenges then just imagine when you decide to come out of the closet?

It is not looking good. Can you find a way in sharing your feelings with him, not asking him to fix it, but at least he would have an understanding of how it impacts you, it can make a difference and do not be surprised if his reaction is, "I am surprise you are feeling this way" because most times when you get into a situation like this they are not even aware of what you may be feeling as they are so caught up with what is happening with the kids, it is like they have no life, everything is focused on the kids, been there done that.

In a nurturing and careful way, seeing his side and your side, make an argument for your feelings and I hope he can see your point of view as it relates to the future of your relationship with him and the implication with the kids and the ex.

Recent Baron A.'s blog post: Taking Care of you after a Breakup

Johnny Nicks avatar
1 week ago

Check these links out 9 months of a relationship means you may be into the conflict stage of a relationship, and his pushing and pulling may suggest an attachment style issue?

The 5 stages of a relationship

Attachment Styles
Attachment 1

Attachment 2

it may change soon if you change something yourself.."if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you always got.."

Spitfire avatar
1 week ago

The kids will always come first, that's how it should be and it's not a bad thing.

I dated a single dad before and he was just like your man. His kids were young and they were such little darlings.

It was actually me who told him that his kids must always come first and I would never come between him and his kids, I would rather back off than be the person who drove a wedge or caused trouble between him and his kids. I was very sincere when I said that and he knew it. He actually got all misty eyed when I said that. From there on our relationship went to a new different level. It didn't work out in the end but it's got nothing to do with his kids at all.

Baron A. avatar
1 week ago

@Spitfire, that is all good, I guess there are cases like that, however there are those cases when you seriously wonder if you are in a relationship with this person or not. Amber showed sensitivity from the get go, the kids were never an issue for her, but when the ex is posting on social media and one is being kept in the closet because of fear from how the ex is going to react, it doesn't feel good.

Recent Baron A.'s blog post: Taking Care of you after a Breakup

Spitfire avatar
1 week ago

You see Amber, in a situation like this you must protect and put the kids' interests before yours even though they are not yours, especially when the kids are still young. It would be different if the kids are older.

Johnny Nicks avatar
1 week ago

In someway the key to this issue maybe this? If it really is not an excuse that he is talking about

“He doesn’t see a way to effectively do both.”

It’s likely that he may be a black and white thinker, so you have to show him the grey in things.

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