Unfortunately, we've had to part company, because of reasons that are beyond both of our control. We're both devastated and we don't know if this situation is a permanent one, but for now, we have no choice.
I regret that we never dated properly. We settled straight into domestic bliss - with him being my lodger and us being friends beforehand for quite a while. He and the children already knew each other and things were really easy between us all from the off.
I haven't been able to bring myself to write about it because it's too heartbreaking. Suffice to say , I used to think that things were too good to be true and, perhaps, they were, because something has come up and his commitments to his children have to presently take precedence, despite them all being adults.
Me having young children is one thing - I don't think I could have coped if his were school age too. The hell that I went through with my ex-husband and his kids split him from the rest of his family as well as them, so it's not something to be taken on lightly. It was nothing short of a rigmarole, full of heartache and has left scars, so I'd never planned on having a boyfriend until he landed in my lap, so to speak!
Getting involved with anyone who has younger children is less likely at my age anyhow, but not impossible, so when I was contacted by a company who wanted to do a feature about dating, this was the subject I asked them to talk about and they actually give some cracking advice:
When you’re in a new relationship there comes a time when you ask yourself, is this romance going
somewhere or is it just a bit of fun? Once you realise you really have met someone special and you
see a future as a couple, it’s a great feeling but it can also leave you somewhat anxious.
You may start to wonder: will things work out long term? Do they feel the same way? And, most
importantly, does this mean I have to introduce him or her to the kids?
|Image courtesy flickr.|
It can be difficult enough to make that decision to start dating again but more questions lie ahead.
Deciding to introduce a new partner to your children is certainly a milestone in your relationship, but knowing how and when to do it is something that you need to handle with tact and care. The last thing you want is to cause problems between you and your partner, or you and your children.
Here are some things you need to consider:
Timing. In an ideal world, you should not introduce a new partner until the dust of your former relationship breakdown has settled. Your children will need time to accept that your relationship with their other parent is over – this may take some time.
Activity. If the time is right, try and make that first meeting as low-key as possible. Avoid dramatic reveals or involved heart-to-hearts on the first meeting – this is not fair on your children or your partner. Instead try something fun like a night ten-pin bowling or a day out at the farm.
|Image courtesy flickr.|
A low-key activity gives everyone the chance to meet each other without too much pressure. After
this first meeting, allow a bit of time to pass before you arrange another. During this time your
children can organise their thoughts and you can answer any questions or concerns they might have.
Sensitivity. Remember you have nothing to feel guilty about. Just because you’re a single parent, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy some romance in your life. However, you do need to be sensitive about it.
If you've been single for a while, your children may be used to your undivided attention and fear that they’re losing you. Reassure them that you love them and that your relationship with them will not change just because you have a new partner.
Be pragmatic. We all dream that things will go smoothly. Unfortunately there is no guarantee your children will feel the same way about your partner as you do – nor that your partner will click with your children. Take things slowly and be prepared for hiccups along the way.
Be honest. The best way to alienate your children is to make them feel they’re being kept in the dark about your plans. Discuss your relationship with them and signpost your plans clearly before making them happen. Make decisions together and be prepared to take things one step at a time.
Above all, forget those fairy tales! Stepfamilies do work but you need to work at them. Keep talking, keep loving and keep happy. You deserve it.
If you’re still looking for that special someone, you can find out how online dating can help you
meet like-minded people at e-harmony.