Uneven parallels.

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Paige wrote:

Sean,

I have a dilemma.  I was a single mom until I started dating a man about 7 months ago.  My children are 8 and 5 if you’re going to ask.  Anyway, I really enjoy the way things are going, but it appears the guy I am dating doesn’t quite know where he fits in with this whole thing.  I try to include him in my family things, but he stated that traditions in my family are different than his and he is afraid of disturbing them by coming in as the new guy.  I feel he shys away from doing family stuff because he feels like he’ll be looked at differently since he isn’t the biological father of the children.  I really love this man, but I feel that he feels like more of a burden than a blessing.  How do I fix this?

Paige

 

Paige,

I can’t say I’ve ever been in this situation myself, but I know people who are (or have been) dating someone with children and stepping into a totally different experience.  Maybe they’ll decide to write in with their experiences after I post this.  I’d imagine that stepping into a relationship where children are present would be a nerve-wracking experience because you’re not only involving the adult relationship, but you’re also involving the adult to child relationship.  Couple that with the stresses of meeting the families on both sides and you’re looking at quite an ordeal.

You didn’t mention if he prefers spending more time with his family than yours.  That’s a different situation if that is happening.  In THAT case, it may be that he feels that your family’s traditions are so different than his that he’s having trouble adjusting to them.  If your family BBQs every weekend and his family rarely eats meat, it may be a big change.

If that isn’t the case, and your boyfriend is just having trouble adjusting to your life it may be for two reasons:

1. He feels like he is entering a half built house.  You’ve got the kids and he didn’t experience the earlier moments so he is just trying to figure out where exactly he fits in.  If he loves you as much as you love him, have a talk with him and explain where he fits in.  If long term plans or marriage are in the plans, explain your parenting styles to him and see his side of things…take the time to ask him how he feels he should be contributing to the relationship.

2.  He may just need to know where things are between you two and how serious you want to be in order for him to feel comfortable.  I know I wouldn’t go meeting parents and family of someone I wasn’t serious about.  It’s not to say they aren’t worth meeting..I just wouldn’t want to get to know them only to have things turn out to be a summer fling.  So if your family has regular getaways, he may not want to be “the new guy” if you two haven’t made any future plans.

In either case, you need to have a talk and communicate to each other what your respective wants and needs are.  Hopefully you find some similarities with what you want from each other.  Good luck.

Sean

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