More recently, she has been spending more time with my kids and that's been going well although the kids have their ups and downs with the general situation.
Early on in our relationship she told me of her wish to adopt a child. I was clear at that point that adoption was not something I wanted for myself, but that I would be supportive.
Things moved forward a bit and then the adoption issue went quiet - for more than 6 months. It came up again last night with SO saying how hard it is to adopt as a single person. I found this hard, and felt like I was letting her down by not doing this with her. I expressed myself badly and things escalated into a huge fight.
She feels hurt and I feel wretched - truth is I have been selfish in looking at this from my point of view and not hers. She has a driving need to do this and who am I to get in the way of this?
On the other hand, my anxiety about it is related to my own kids and the fact that I know I don't want more kids. Of course, it wouldn't be my child - it would be hers, but if our relationship is to progress - living together etc, then it does have implications for me and for my kids. I can't pretend otherwise. She feels I am being unfair - she has to deal with my situation (two kids, XW etc) and I am not prepared to deal with her adopting. I can see her point but I'm not sure she sees mine.
Thing is, how can this move forward now? Can it?
Any thoughts/ advice/ support gratefully received. I love her and right now I'm all over the place.
Ask yourself this though, if you had met her and started a relationship knowing she had a child (either bio or adopted), you would have to accept that child as a part of the package of being in a relationship with her. She is accepting your package.
I guess she needs to be clear and understand that you will not be this future child's co-parent or step parent right now. After all she is not your children's co-parent or step-parent right now.
Or did you react by saying you're not happy about her plans to do this because they could impact you?
Her whining about how hard it is to adopt as a single person sounds like a p/a way of hinting that she'd like to get married so that the adoption takes place when she's part of a couple, so she's ignoring your needs.
I don't think you're being selfish. You clearly indicated your desire not to adopt in the beginning. She probably thought she could change your mind, and now it sounds like she's trying to guilt you into changing it (and being somewhat successful?)
Some things are just deal breakers, and no matter how much you love the person, you need to walk away.
I'd also be really careful about her "oopsing" you -- make sure you maintain total physical control over the condoms.
(((velveteer))) Good luck -- I know it's tough when you have completely incompatible goals.
Married: 11 years, no kids
The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark. -Michelangelo
I say to you what I said to him.
You are both right. That is what is so awful about this.
This is not something to be argued about or raged about or hurt about.
You are both right.
In a fight if i you surrender you will resent her. If she surrenders she will resent you.
You are both right.
Whatever you each decide it needs to be for yourselves.
If you decide to go down her path you need to own it as YOUR decision. For you.
If she decides to go down your path she needs to own it as HER decision. For her.
As it happens he went down her path. He loves his little boys. Their relationship is rocky at best because he did not make the decision for him. He made it for her. She pays for it on a regular basis.
I know with absolute certainty that I would make it 10000% clear to any SO well before integrating them into my childrens lives that I will never, ever, ever have any more children. I will never consider it. It is not up for discussion.
It turns into a fight because one or both of you did not make it crystal clear and/or have not stood resolutely behind your decision.
Hell, it may be that one or both of you have not made that decision.
One of those is why you find yourself here now.
Make a decision. For you. If it is different to her decision its not because she is wrong. Its because you are wrong for each other.
Sorry if this comes across as a 2x4. I see how people get themselves into these sticky situations and maybe I'm being overly harsh because I am a woman of a certain age so its kind of a moot point for me (I sure as hell hope so!) but how on earth did you go this far with involving your kids and all without resolving this issue once and for all?
That isn't a jab - its a genuine question. I'd like to know in case I'm missing something huge and maybe I'm not guaranteed to avoid this same situation myself one day.
SBB - I think you have hit the nail on the head - we are both right. I understand this and that is exactly why it is so hard. Nobody has wronged the other here.
How did it get to this? Well, we discussed it in the past (and almost split up as a result some time back). At that point, I felt that I was thinking about it wrongly - that what she was talking about was US adopting when in fact she was and is only talking about HER adopting. So I started to think about it in different terms such as what if she already had a child etc. She is accepting my package, why not accept hers? Its not me that adopting. This was much earlier in our relationship and she had not, for example, met my kids.
Then it all went quiet. She had put it 'on hold' and I found out last night that she had done this 'for me'. Except she hadn't told me that.
Meanwhile our relationship progressed and I started introducing her to the kids, and all had been going well. Then the adoption issue come up again. She is dismayed that I am struggling to get my head around it.
I guess that we have both to some extent ignored this elephant in the room. Maybe deep down, I have worried that this is a deal breaker issue - its a fundamental on which we have different viewpoints.
We have not been planning to move in and in fact she has always given the impression of being very independent in this respect. But - it is me thinking further down the line here. If we were going to move in, how would that pan out when I have been clear that I don't see myself having more kids.
But - she would say that this is not about ME having any more kids - it is about her. But how can this not have implications for me and for my kids too? It just seems to go around and around.
In the heat of our discussions last night I also learned that she still feels that she is not my top priority and that she gets pushed aside - hasn't seen enough of my kids. I understand that this must be hard, but we HAVE been steadily taking that forward. She had a shot at me about her not seeing them a couple of weekends ago, but that was because, as a result of events on my XWW's side, they were very wobbly. I decided as a father that what they needed that weekend was to be with me and just me. Not happy about that, even when I explained.
I am probably guilty of being over protective, but I would rather that than the alternative.
I feel gutted right now, and really unsure of how to proceed.
Its a way to avoid the big hurt by focussing on the little hurts instead.
Its the same for the way you have tried to minimise the potential impact on you and your children.
A woman who already has kids is a whole other kettle of fish to someone who is not yet a mother and becomes a mother during your relationship. You know this - you've been there.
It goes around and around because you are both right.
My old boss told his GF he didn't want the hassle of more kids, he didn't want to go through babydom, nappies, baby-proofing - such a pain in the arse, etc. etc. etc.
I asked him what his REAL reason was.
He said he was scared. Scared that their relationship would end and he would break those childrens hearts as well as his own. He was unwilling to go through that again (sidenote: he was a WH in his first M, I believe he will be a WH again someday).
I don't know what advice to give.
Do you sit her down and tell her you are both right. You've reached an impasse.
You are not witholding anything from her any more than she is imposing something on you.
This is exactly the kind of thing dealbreakers are made of.
What is it exactly that you are afraid of? I mean really, honestly. Change is inevitable. Your kids will adapt. You're not taking into account the richness potentially added to their lives by a new sibling. So what is your "Why?".
I know what she is afraid of - I say that as a woman who was never broody, didn't have that drive for children so patently obvious in others. I would not have understood it before. I only know what she is afraid of now that I am a mum. You know the shit she would missing but you also know the bliss she is potentially missing.
Tough situation friend. The decision would be easy for me. As easy as breathing. It would hurt like hell but the decision itself would be easy. Not because I'm almost 40 - I have the fear my old boss has. I'll refuse to risk any more children getting caught in the midst of their parents divorce/breakup ever again.
Would I date someone with kids? Yes. That fear would still be there though so the pace would be glacial in terms of integrating them into my girls lives or me into their kids lives. Famous last words?
When getting to know each other in new relationships there are things we tend to overlook or believe have been settled or discussed enough... Then, they boomerang back and hit us in the head after we "thought" they'd been settled...
Inspite of the love we feel there are simply places in the relationship where agreeing to disagree is the nail in the coffin... It unfortunate but the cold hard fact is that ultimately if you "give in" you're going to regret it and resent the person you gave in to...
I agree with the SBB... You're both right... Unfortunately it most likely means you're not going to be coupled much longer...
I am afraid of what your boss was afraid of too (I am not a WH though). Yes I know that kids can adapt, but I don't feel ready to be making these decisions. I am very afraid of going down a path that I am not comfortable with and ending up in a whole lot of pain myself, and more importantly causing a whole lot of pain to my kids and to an adopted child.
In my M, the introduction of kids fundamentally changed the dynamics and neither me nor XWW dealt with that well. Its a trigger for me.
So also said that my involvement here is complicating the adoption process for her. Doing it single is hard, but even more so as a single with a partner but not a live-in partner. I feel that I am not being fair to her - that I am a barrier to her doing the one thing that has driven her all through life. I can't ask her to give that up, and I can't put myself into a situation that I am not 100% committed to when there are kids at risk.
That is what I am afraid of.
I am also afraid of losing her, which is why I think we have avoided this elephant in the room - it has always carried with it dealbreaker potential. If I am really honest though - the other fears above are stronger. Having been through what I went through with XWW I know I can recover from my own heartbreak. I'm not blase about it, but I know I can. For me that differentiates this fear from the others.
I need time to think it all through, but I am not sure there are any clear answers.
I really feel sad for both of you because it is nobody's fault, but it does sound like a dealbreaker in the end.
I'm so sorry.
If she has actually started the process and put it on hold "for you", but you didn't ask her to, then that is on her. If she has NOT started the process, then she didn't put anything on hold and telling you that she did was just a guilt inducing manipulation.
I'm feeling like this is some big test of your dedication and commitment. But this is HUGE! If she's got her heart set on adopting, then no man (or lack thereof) in her life is going to stop her.
"We're not broken, just bent, and we can learn to love again" ~Pink
More and more I feel like I am a barrier to her going down a road she so desperately wants to take. I'm really struggling with that, but I also need to be true to myself.
What is the likelihood of success even if you do live together.
If adoption fails what will she do?
My old boss and his GF ended up having fertility issues and went through 5 IVF round for their 2 boys.
Her success or failure here is not the issue though. She wants to add children to her life and you seem like you do not.
I would caution you on 2 other things.
1) you had a previous post where she complained that she didn't like "not being #1" in your life. That makes me wonder if this adoption thing is a way to sort of raise the stakes in your relationship? She is looking for ways to get to you really commit and what better way than make you commit to being a part of this process?
2) I had a guy friend a number of years ago in this same position with a girlfriend who had started the adoption process and then began dating him..... then OOPS! What do you know? She is pregnant! There is no doubt she just used him to get pregnant. They did not end up together in the end and he felt really deceived. So, be careful! It does happen! These were two very mature and professional people.
The differences I see in you already having children and her adopting, is that there won't be a second parent for her adopted child. Will she be looking at you as an "honorary" father? It is a different dynamic than her relationship with your children.
Think about people you've know that were dating and adopted a pet together. It creates this shared life that can keep couples together that shouldn't be.
I was very clear that I did not want more children. It was a subject I brought up early in dating.
There is no compromise when it comes to having kids. You can't half way have kids with someone. I broke up with a really great guy b/c having kids was very important to him.
Your gut is telling you something. Listen, sort it out and take whatever steps are necessary.
Would you date someone who already has children? How slowly are you willing to move forward with the relationship?
Unfortunately, love isn't always enough. Sometimes there is just no middle ground.
“Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves - regret for the past and fear of the future.” -foulton oursler
Snapdragon - she has started the process but apparently when she told them she had a BF they told her she needed to start again!
My spidey senses do not believe this. Have you actually seen the application paperwork and communications AFTER it was turned in? I hope I'm wrong.
I'm still not completely clear on what I'm thinking here, but some things I do know:
- my guts are telling me something
- I don't want more kids - maybe ever, but certainly not at the moment
- SO does want to adopt - alone and NOT with me. Her need to do this is bigger than our relationship. As it should be.
- nonetheless, this has implications for our relationship and for me and my kids
- if we have a long term future it will need to all come together - that means another kid involved. Right now, I can't see that I want that
- I feel selfish. I feel like I'm being unfair. I love her and feel like I am letting her down
- my priority is my children. Period. I cannot imagine trying to explain this to them.
I think we are maybe just in different places with this.
I'm feeling very sad, upset and confused about it all and really don't know where to go with it. I'm hoping we can talk at the weekend. Communication between us is minimal for now - we are both needing some time and space.