Post # 46
Man over 40 and never been married? You should look up the odds he ever will. Here’s a snippet from one website.
Akron, Ohio, psychologist Charles A. Waehler. After studying a small group of white, heterosexual and never-married men ages 40 to 50, he concluded that such men tend to avoid emotional intimacy and commitment and behave in defensive, standoffish, idiosyncratic ways that keep others at arms length.
“Only 5 percent of bachelors after age 40 will ever marry,” he told his peers at last month’s convention of the American Psychological Association in San Francisco, “and women with a marriage goal in mind should be aware of that when they enter romantic relationships” with these men.
Post # 47
There are so many things that don’t add up here and need to be resolved before you should even consider marriage. If they are things that can even be resolved…
If he sees his children daily he would have every right to have his girlfriend meet his children… no matter how “horrible” his ex is if he wanted you to be in his children’s lives you would be. He would have invited you over for pizza and a movie night with the kids, YEARS ago. His ex has no say in that. Especially with teenage children. Five years in you should be a part of their lives.
As a father, if he saw a future with you, you having a relationship with his children would have been important to him.
Neither of you can even know if you want to marry each other at this point. Neither of you knows how you integrate as a family.
He’s hidden you away and made it obvious that he doesn’t want you to be a part of his world and life. He chooses pieces here and there to include you in. I would never be with someone who kept me away from their children and didn’t want to share their entire life with me.
I also think it’s weird that his children never spend real lengths of time at his house. Most parents split custody at their own houses. He says he is seeing his kids or his kids are coming over but you have no way to know. He could sometimes see them and sometimes other women or go do other things. If you had a relationship with his kids you would know but by keeping it separate they can be a convenient excuse for anything. Or he was still seeing their mom off and on and didn’t want them to tell…
Maybe you were a young convenient side piece and if you and the ex ever met you’d realize they were still together during parts of the time you’ve been together…
The bottom line is, do you want to be with someone who has kept you and continues to keep you isolated from important parts of his life? Do you want to be with someone who doesn’t want to include you as part of their family with their children? Do you want to be an outsider for the rest of your life? Weddings, grandkids ect, his children are a large and important part of his life and by keeping you separate he isolates you and shows you and them that you aren’t important. Do you want to be with someone who doesn’t share their life with you?
You can find someone who is enthusiastic about you and wants you to be a part of their life and actually shares their life with you! Someone you can build a life with.
Him deciding to marry you won’t suddenly change his behavior and the dynamic he has going on in his life where he hides you and chooses to separate you from his children.
Post # 48
This is bananas. I’d be side-eyeing your relationship in this state at one year let alone five. At his age and stage of life, he should have a much better understanding of what he wants and how to get it. Clearly, being married to you is not on that list.
You know what you need to do.
Post # 49
I can’t believe no one has picked up on this yet, but I am flabbergasted that he never has his own children to stay over at his house. Why not?
OP, I say this with the greatest possible compassion, this man is not capable of a fully developed, emotionally healthy relationship, with you or with anyone else. How could he be when he only has to spend a few hours at a time with anyone?
I don’t know why his children don’t stay over, but whatever the reason is, he has them at a distance too. I also wonder why he never married their mother, and I’m starting to see a pattern emerge.
I, too, was furious on your behalf when I read that you delivered a very normal reaction of being emotional in response to an upsetting situation, and he could not sit with your emotions long enough to have a conversation but insisted one would only happen when you had “calmed down”. I’d be willing to bet that either the conversation never took place or if it did, it went nowhere.
This relationship would do my head in. sablescorpion22 is completely right in that this is on you to change. You are not responsible for his inadequacy as a partner, but you are responsible for your decision to continue to put up with it. It’s liberating to know that you can end it and choose better for yourself any time you choose.
Post # 50
Sweet Bee–you know what you have to do. You are not to him what he is to you. You provide company, comfort and sex. He has shown you for years that he has no intention of building a future with you as a future would include his children. He blames the ex because it’s convenient. He keeps you on the hook because it’s convenient. You deserve better. Please pursue therapy, work on your self-esteem and free yourself to find a partner worthy of you. You can do this. You know you have to do this.
Post # 51
Oh wow. Well first of all, thanks for having the courage to post. I know none of this is anything you want to hear…but I also think none of this is stuff you don’t already know.
1. A man who dates a woman with a substantial age difference usually has issues. He’s looking for someone to manipulate and having a good time with, not an equal partner.
2. A man who says he sees his kids every day, yet never has them over and you are not allowed to go with him sounds like he’s hiding something. I would bet he’s not seeing his kids every day and is instead going somewhere else. Possibly he’s still with the mother of his kids, or dating other women, or something. Whatever it is he doesn’t want you to know.
3. Even if he is just seeing his kids, it’s untenable that you would have only met them once. He has not incorporated you into his life in any real way. He has agency as a parent and anyone who blames an ‘evil ex’ likely has some major issues going on.
Think about this. He has you sitting at his place like a doll he can play with. You listen to his words and not his actions, and your own actions say a lot. His actions say, “I don’t want to marry you,” and your actions say, “I’ll continue to waste precious time waiting.” His actions say, “I don’t actually respect and love you enough to make you a part of my life”, and your actions say, “I love you and I’ll take your scraps.” His actions say, “I can lie and decieve you if I want and not worry because I luckily picked a woman who will not question me and let me do what I want,” and your actions say, “I am willing to be your doormat.”
You are not a doormat. You can love someone and not be compelled to wait forever for them when they aren’t the right fit for you. You are 33 and at a great time to meet someone who actually wants to treat you as a partner – why are you still dealing with this mess? This guy got lucky to meet you and he’s taking advantage of you because he never considered you a serious partner in the first place. I don’t think he’s actually a good person but he probably has you fooled with pretty words and kind gestures some of the time.
Break up with him. Grieve. Then start meeting guys at your level of life who are looking for the same things you are. Stay away from middle aged men who never grew up.
Post # 52
Thank you all for your thoughtful words. I haven’t replied to everyone individually but I do thank each person for taking the time to read my story and share your advice, support, experience, and encouragement.
He and I have set up a time to talk and I really do hope it goes well.
This is a very welcoming, helpful community. Thank you again, bees!!!
Post # 54
Wow, OP! Your situation reminds me so much of my friend’s.
She just ended a relationship with a man that she’s dated exclusively for 5 years. He, too had teenage children that she had never met. He would always make excuses for not introducing her to his kids – everything from “my ex-wife has threatened to fight for sole custody if i bring them around you,” to “they’re still kids and are confused and bringing another woman into their life will permanently damage them.” I get being protective of your children and being slow and cautious when it comes to introducing children to a new SO, but after five years? That’s a big fat red flag there.
My friend – who has four grown children herself – remained patient and respectful of his wishes the entire time. Aaaand then suddenly, she discovers that he’s still living part-time with his ex-wife, who is actually not his ex-wife after all! They never were divorced. Also, she discovered that he was financially unstable, and that his ex-wife has been supporting him the entire time while he launched his (total BS) “startup company.” I love my friend, but I’m begging you: don’t be like her.
These ridiculous boundaries he’s set for your relationship are unrealistic and just plain cruel. And why the hell wouldn’t he want you to have a relationship with his kids? Moreover, Why wouldn’t his ex want you to finally have a relationship their kids after dating as long as you have. Whether this is all about him or all about her, this is too toxic of a situation that appears to be a permanent thing.