Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Dealbreakers and Tough Choices

One of my closest friends has met the man of her dreams. Well, he’s got many qualities that the man of her dreams would have. They are totally and completely in love, but she’s still torn about the relationship, primarily due to his two children: a 9-year-old from his first marriage, and a 2-year-old that’s the result of a lying girlfriend who told him she was on birth control because he was such a great father, she wanted him to be the father of her child (there’s anecdotal evidence from friends she has lost by pulling this stunt).

Angie is a fence-sitter with her feet hanging onto the childfree side (she’s sure she doesn’t want children of her own, but thinks someday she might like to adopt or foster kids, though she identifies as childfree), and at first she was open to her boyfriend’s kids. His oldest is well-behaved and pretty cool, very independent and only comes over a couple times a week. His ex makes it very difficult for him to see the baby (though she has no problem taking his child support money). But now, as they look at the past 8 months together and consider the next steps, she’s got serious cold feet.

Angie loves to travel and plans to live abroad for at least year in late 2008, and for a number of reasons, all tied to the kids, it’s not possible for her boyfriend to join her. She’s come to resent the ridiculous amount (nearly her rent payment) that he spends on child support, as well as the time he spends with his son. A busy chef, his hours make it hard for them to spend time together, and the two nights a week he has off are spent with his son, and she’s not feeling up for bonding with him until she really discovers what she wants from the relationship.

She’s in a tough situation. She’s completely in love, but dealing with a serious dealbreaker situation. I don’t envy her position in the slightest, especially since I adore him as well, and seeing them together brings me joy. But their lives are just fundamentally incompatible. He wants to move abroad with her, to have his son visit them over the summer, but she also doesn’t want to spend a month or two living with his 9-year-old. It’s so sad to me that the situation is so difficult.


M said...

I know I would want to be with my husband no matter what. I love him, not the fact that he is not a parent. If he had a child it m ight make things harder, but would I give up living our lives together because of that? There is no way.

You marry or commit for better or worse. Sometimes things aren't ideal. If you can't make it work when things aren't perfect, it isn't meant to be in my opinion. If we don't love and stick by our partners no matter what, things are bound to fall apart.

I may have chosen no kids, but my first choice is my husband. If he came with kids, or some other scenario that wasn't my ideal, I would choose him just the same.

This isn't about your friend by the way but just how I see myself if faced with a similar situation. I'm curious how other childfree people think they'd react in such a scenario.

Anonymous said...

He is a father, no matter how one looks at it. And the fact that he isn't a "deadbeat father" is relevant to who he is. He's a package deal; get him, get his kids, period. End of story.

She has to decide if she is going to be a part of that or not. She can't have him without the kids. She can't be selfish enough to "take" him, then make things difficult, or painful, for him when it comes to his kids.

If she can't take him as he is, and share his life with his kids, she should walk away. I am sure it isn't easy for him either, but the fact that he has those kids is the most relevant fact of all.

She cannot come between a father and his children, and her fence sitting and own personal issues about kids would do just that. He can't be put into a position of choosing someone over his kids, for any reason.

Maybe it's just me but I think it's a no brainer. Accept it, and become part of his life WITH the kids, or walk away.

Anonymous said...

Eight months is not that long. It's just the beginning.The situation will feel irritating once this "honeymoon phase" of the relationship wears off. It's pretty hard to break off a relationship at that phase, but if she stays, she will never go overseas or do any of the things that kids will prevent you from doing.