His kids are ruining our relationship

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2013
His kids are ruining our relationship
Mon, 06-17-2013 - 7:12am

I have an amazing boyfriend, he is divorced and my divorce is coming through next month. We really get on well and love each other so much.

However, we both have kids (well, older kids) from our previous marriages, My kids dont live with me and his dont live with him. How I see it, is as much as I love my kids and will always be there for them, I do now want (am mid 50's and him too) a life, ....a life to share with him and I just find that his kids are getting in the way....I see mine only occasionaly probably once a week, whereas, he phones and txts his all the time and rushes to their every need. He has one child in particular who has special needs and this child literally holds a gun to his fathers head!....if my boyfriend misses his calls, he is questioned as to why he neve answered his phone, I find we cannot be together without the constant calls etc....in fact I find it ruins our evenings or days out...I know his child (who is over 18) has special needs, needs to speak to his father and to see him.....but I am finding it all a bit ,much...My boyfriend will not have a word with this child or any of his other kids, and says they play a bit part in his life (sometimes I wonder why he was on a dating site....when he cant really fully commit to that person, even though he has asked me to marry him)

I feel a little threatened by all this, do you think I am being unreasonable?...I dont think I am jealous, I understand fully that he needs to see his kids....but to a point of ruining his relationship with me??

I would appreciate anyones reply

Thank you.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-05-2013
Mon, 06-17-2013 - 9:05am

ilovetodream wrote:
this child literally holds a gun to his fathers head!

The child has held a gun to his father's head? Did this really happen or are you just incorrectly applying the word "literally" to this situation for the sake of adding dramatic flair? If it really did happen, I'm confused as to why this person isn't in jail.

I think you need to have an honest conversation with him about your relationship and figure out what both of you want. If there's no middle ground, then move on since his priorities aren't in line with yours.  Why waste time in a relationship that's only frustrating?

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-16-2002
Mon, 06-17-2013 - 9:48am

His kids are his kids forever, the fact that you say they are ruining your relationship means that this is not the relationshp for you.  This is a father who is used to being at his kids' beck and call, this is normal for him, much the same way that normal for you is talking to your children once a week.  The fact that he will not speak to his chidlren to create any boundaries and that they play a big part in his life, should tell you that the situation will not change even when you are married.  I do think it was selfish of him to expect that any woman he would bring into this relationship would not have a hard time with this.  A couple needs to have time alone (even if both are parents to the same children), they need to be able to focus on their relationship, when they can't, and it's all about the kids, here comes divorce number two.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

.  -Albert Einstein

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Mon, 06-17-2013 - 10:10am

When you say the child has "special needs" that could be a whole host of things from mild to severe.  There are some special needs kids who have severe problems where even though they are grown by age, the parents are really always going to have to take care of them.  For ex, I was in a single parents group once and this guy wanted to date me--he was nice enough but he had 2 older girls--one was blind and I think also had some other problems and the other one had some kind of psychiatric problems.  I think the guy was drawn to women who had so called "normal" kids because he had never experienced that.  I knew that I would not want to get into that kind of situation--when they are your own kids and they are born to you that way, you just adapt because you really have no choice, but if you are marrying a guy who has a special needs child, you have to think about it and realize whether you will be able to deal with that.  For a "normal" child, you could just tell them "Hey, I'm out with X on a date, I'll call you tomorrow" but maybe he just can't do that with this child because he has some kind of emotional challenges--and it's ok if you don't want to deal with that.  He probably thinks the way he parents his kids is fine and so do you & neither one of you is wrong--but if you aren't on the same page, the relationship is not going to work out because you will always be arguing about it.

Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Mon, 06-17-2013 - 2:34pm

I don't see it as his kids "ruining your relationship" so much as that you & your BF expect different things from your relationships with each other and with your kids.

Since you've exaggerated with "literally holding a gun to his head," I'm not sure what you consider "phoning and texting all the time."  My 21yo and 18yo text or email me every day - occasionally more than I want, and if it's too much, I'll tell them I'm busy.  Sometimes they need something specific from me, such as help with paying for something education-related online or advice about an important matter; sometimes they just want to keep in touch; on very rare occasions, they vent.  My 21yo has anxiety issues, has Aspergers, and is transgender - when he actually calls me, I know he really needs something NOW, and if I can possibly answer his call, I will.  My 18yo is so independent that she rarely calls either, so if she calls, it means something has really stymied her, so if I can possibly answer her call, I will.  If you consider those things excessive or relationship-killers, then I'd be guilty. 

Being over 18 doesn't make someone suddenly an independent adult.  Certainly my 21yo needs me less often than he did 2 years ago, but he does have emotional needs that may be greater than a typical 21yo.  He doesn't call me to chatter or to make minor decisions, but when he needs me, I need to BE THERE.

You say, "I feel threatened," but in the same sentence, "I don't think I am jealous."  If you're not jealous, then what's the threat? 

Really, what you need to do is talk to your BF.  It may be that he hasn't set boundaries with his kids (it is possible to be there for them when they really need you but have boundaries - e.g. I will not respond to "chatty" texts or "should I buy this dress" texts, ever - I need uninterrupted time to think and work and exist).  Or it may be that this is the way he parents and always will parent, and you two are just incompatible. I can't tell from your post whether you've ever asked him, in a realistic manner, to set aside an evening just for you without talking to his kids.  The way you're describing it, you've mentally set up a situation of "It's me or them," but I don't see that you've tried to resolve this yet. Maybe you were looking for input first.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-29-2010
Tue, 06-18-2013 - 3:38am

I don't think you're being unreasonable. But maybe you're being unrealistic in expecting this man to adopt your attitude towards how to be a parent of adult kids. He probably had a different parenting style than you in general, and if his kids were young when he divorced then he may have "parental divorce guilt", or he may have a need to feel needed by his kids so he doesn't set boundaries. So you need to talk to him about these things...but I will guess that even if he agrees to make some changes they won't happen fast enough for you because these patterns are established both with him and with his kids.

Obviously don't marry him until you are sure these issues are resolved to the point where you are comfortable with them.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2009
Wed, 06-19-2013 - 1:03am

His kids aren't ruining the relationship, he is!  He is enabling his kids to come first in his life, and if one has special needs, then that one needs to be his special priority, and you are in third place!  The question isn't why he was on a dating site, the question is why you are involved with him!  You're not even divorced yet, and you're really not ready for a new relationship yet either.  He has little or nothing to offer you, and you have to see where you fit (or don't fit) in his life.  If his chiild has special needs, why would he even HAVE a gun.......and you may be the next one to have it held to YOUR head.  You need to distance yourself from this situation.  It's not going to change, you aren't more important to him than his kids are, and you will always be the outsider.  Move on.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2013
Wed, 06-19-2013 - 3:46pm

sorry but what do you mean? can you clarify?....sorry I dont understand

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-2001
Wed, 06-19-2013 - 10:17pm

I totally agree with Itchick and Musiclover12.  It can't be said better than how they said it.

~ cl-2nd_life

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-13-2010
Wed, 06-19-2013 - 10:37pm

  I can't add anything more than what the other posters have said other than think long and hard about what you're getting into.  I explained MY situation to someone online once when asking for advice and they told me to RUN!  I admit...I have days I wished I'd listened.  

 I'm 53 and have 4 grown DDs and my dh of 2 years has 3 grown sons...all range from 20-31.  I, too, honestly thought that"adult" kids would not impact my new "life" after divorce, but the opposite has been true.  All of our arguments have been about kids.  Mine because they favor their father and his family over me (this is why my dh doesn't like them), but my DDs say they don't like to come to my house because they don't like dh...think he doesn't speak to me very nicely (he's kind of a grouch sometimes, I admit).  His sons all have emotional problems and all 3 of been through drug use and his oldest was diagnosed mentally ill at age 23 (he's now 31).  My DDs went to college, my DDs 29 and 27 live on opposite coasts and I live in the midwest.  I have DD26 here in town, but we rarely see each other due to many problems since I met dh (long story).  I also have DD21 who goes to college 45 minutes away.  I try to go see her once a month.  At any rate, I was NOT prepared for any of this, but chose to stay with dh as I kept hoping things would get better...and lo and behold, they're finally starting to (after 5 years!).  What I would suggest is talking to your dh and see if there's a chance he could put you first now and then and some compromise can be made and if he agrees...see if he really CAN change.  If not, I'd end it.  I'm afraid this generation is NOT like ours was. We knew at age 18, we needed to support ourselves and be responsible adults.  Not so of  this generation.  Some of it is our own fault by giving our children too much which has given them a sense of entitlement and also enabling them by bailing them out when they get in trouble.  Dh's sons inherited addictions, depression, and anxiety (the oldest worst of all obviously) from both parents and lack brains and motivation (they definitely get THAT from their mother as my dh is smart AND driven in his career).  Anyway, I've threatened to move out more than once if dh didn't do something about his DS20 who lives in our basement due to his drug use (lost his license for 2 years, totaled his car, etc...).  Dh always says the same thing, "Feel free and there's the door."  He told  me a long time ago that if I made him choose between him and his kid, I'd lose.  I feel the same though about MY kids.  They'd win hands down as well, but luckily, mine are normal and not living here like HIS son.  I finally blew up enough times and threatened to move out that finally made dh DO something.  DS20 is now looking into joining the military (which I had talked to him more than once about). 

I'd think long and hard about whether you can take a back seat to his kids.  Luckily, dh gives me much of his attention on a daily basis and on the weekends, so I AM a happy wife.  As soon as his son moves out, I'll be delirious!  But, honestly, I sometimes wonder had I met someone else with normal kids, maybe my life would have been happier. 


You have alot to think about.  Keep us updated.