On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – June 8, 2016
Dealing with a boyfriend’s adult children – Senior dating baggage
Senior dating isn’t easy. Senior dating with adult children involved isn’t easy. I hear that comment often from single seniors who aren’t in a relationship. And yet people who are fortunate enough to meet someone tell me that it’s not always a bowl of cherries either. Some of us carry more baggage that a 757.
Too much baggage can be a deal-breaker.
Excess baggage @ Hotel courtyard in India
Photo taken by Tom – November 2016
Issues created by adult children of one or both partners can fall under the excess baggage category. Such is the case with Diane, from whom we hear today.
Diane emailed, “I am a divorced, professional woman, age 62, considered attractive, fit, with many friends and interests. Two years ago, I began dating a man, 58, who had been legally separated for five years. He has three adult children (two are married).
His wife was bi-polar, to which he attributed their marital difficulties. Whenever talk of finalizing the divorce came up, there was always some issue as to why it couldn’t be done at that time. None of the reasons seemed viable to me.
One reason he gave was that if he served the papers during the time of his son’s upcoming wedding, his wife might make a scene at the wedding! I was only half-heartedly invited to attend after a year of seriously dating him. I chose not to go.
During the months of dating, it seemed there was always some need or drama happening with the family, especially with his daughter, 26. He admitted she said, ‘I won’t have a problem with Diane as long as she knows I am the number-one woman in your life.’
We have broken up several times because I felt he had (and still does) have boundary issues with his children and his ex, even though the divorce was finalized. He claims to not be as enmeshed with them as I say, but I feel he hides things from me so as not to upset me, and to present a different picture of what is truly going on.
We are not dating currently, but we speak with and text each other. He doesn’t see the problem and thinks because he finally divorced, which, by the way, was motivated by a fire his ex had, in which he feared she would go after him for more money, which was her tendency according to him.
Money is another issue with him and I get the feeling he also sees me as a subsidizer since he financially supports the daughter.
I like many qualities about this man, but I don’t feel I could ever get to the next level with him due to the dynamics of the family. Every time I think it can work I become once again frustrated and angry. I would love your advice and the opinion of Champs.”
Tom wrote to Diane:
“I am certain that our Champs will have opinions about your situation, as many of them have had to deal with adult children of their significant others. Here are a few of my thoughts:
- The 26-year-old daughter appears to be very immature, spoiled and selfish. Have you asked yourself, “Will that situation ever change?”
- You have broken up several times over boundary issues with his children. Why do you think that would be different going forward?
- Of course, there are qualities about him you like, you would not keep trying with him if you didn’t. But…are the qualities enough to overcome the other obstacles? You answered that question by saying you could not go to the ‘next level.’
- So, why keep putting yourself through this agony? I think you know the answer.
- Not to mention the money issue. You will never be happy feeling you are subsidizing the daughter who wants to be number one.
- “And remember, while you are spending your precious time dealing with these issues, it is taking you away from time that might lead to meeting someone new who has less baggage.”
Diane’s response back to Tom
“I am a mother to two healthy, stable and mature young men. I am very proud of both sons; we have a close, loving relationship. I wanted to share this with Champs so they know I understand the challenges of having adult children accept new partners in our lives. Fortunately, my sons have been open, honest and mature and want only the best for me–which is for me to be happy.
Something you wrote struck a chord: I was spending my ‘precious’ time on a relationship that not only was leading nowhere, but, it was keeping me from possibly meeting someone who doesn’t have these issues and who would be able to enter fully into a relationship.
I now see this investment of time, energy and resources (literally) was much more draining than I even realized! I think we often hang on longer than we should in relationships because we are afraid of leaving something for nothing. Having repeated this mistake all too often, I now know having the so-called ‘nothing’ is far better – in fact, it’s a gift! It’s time to invest in and love myself.
One other thing – I just learned the daughter is moving back in with my now ex-boyfriend because she had ‘issues’ with her roommate. More proof that I made the right decision!
As a result of walking away from this relationship once and for all, I am learning to play golf, do the tango and am now signing up for a writing class.
And having walked away 10 years ago from a 27-year marriage, which was not only causing me emotional pain, but affecting my health as well, I am choosing not to waste any more precious time, nor will I settle. I deserve better.”
Did Diane make the right decision?
On my website, there are 12 articles I have previously written about how adult children can affect a relationship. Likely, Diane’s story will become number 13. You can read those articles by following this link.