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My boyfriend and I are 15 years apart..... Need advice.

By August 11, 2009 - 10:54am
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My boyfriend and I have been dating "secretly" for three years. He has 4 children from a previous relationship, where his girlfriend and him ended up having kids at only 16 years of age. We are in love and are emotionally preparing ourselves to tell the world that we are going to be together and not be afraid of other's opinions. I don't want to hear about getting a new boyfriend because you know what? The grass isn't any greener on the otherside. I stick to what I believe in and this is the man that I want. During the past three years, people have assumed that we've been seeing eachother. Unfortuantely, I couldn't handle the stress of people finding out so soon, so I lived a lie. I hate myself for that, but what was I suppose to do at that time? Lately, we've been having difficulties seeing eachother because he is always caught up in his kids activities. This has become a strain in our relationship and leads to constant fighting. I don't know what to do anymore. We only see eachother on average about 10 hours a week so that we don't conflict with his busy schedule. I want to be able to tell my family and friend about him but I don't want his children to hate me or him and lead a confusing life. I need advice. Anything will do.

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EmpowHER Guest

my boy friend is 15 years older than me too. well actually 14 1/2. hes 5 years older than ,my oldest sister and that jus gives her the creeps but what he keeps telling me is that it doesnt matter what other ppl thing about you or about the 2 of you together. its not their choice, its yoursif you two really want to be together and are happy with eachother then who can stop you?? i love my boyfriend and hes really chill which helps alot also hes never been married or had kids with previos girlfriends so that could make your situation different. i wish you two the pest of luck

July 26, 2010 - 4:12pm

Sounds like a lot of issues are going on...no wonder it's complicated!

Why the secrecy with your family and friends? Your title says that you are 15 years apart, and I assume that means he is 15 years older than you? As long as you are at least 18 years of age, then you may want to begin in baby steps and begin dating him in public. This new relationship--the public one--may be telling enough without having to guess what the future may hold for both of you.

The other parts of your question: his 4 children hating you, your family & friends not liking him...those are very legitimate concerns that many adult relationships must contend with. Again, it is baby steps with his 4 children getting to know you. There are very specific ways in which he would introduce you to his children, depending on their ages. Most likely, it would first be as a "friend"...and this could last for months or years. I assume he has introduced his children to other female friends before?

The aspect of your family & friends not liking him, or not agreeing with the relationship. There are two ways to look at this:
1. Listen to their advice and opinions to a point. Do you have a good, solid, trustworthy and mutually respectful relationship with your family & friends? Do you seek their advice and counsel on other issues in your life, whether they be about work, school, apartments, finances, etc? If so, you may want to hear them out about your new boyfriend, but to a point. You can introduce him as a "man you are dating", without saying the word "boyfriend", since I would argue that you can not possibly be boyfriend/girlfriend if you are not these labels publicly...it is not a true relationship if not within the context of being in real-life situations with family and friends and society. Let your family get to know him, all the good and bad parts, and they can bring up an issue if they feel the need, but let them know you value their opinion and will take it into consideration. No further talk about it; you can be open and they can feel heard...but the conversation does not need to go further than this.
2. Do not seek their advice. If your relationship with your family, in particular, is not based on any sort of mutual respect, and you do not regularly seek their advice on your life...then just don't ask their opinion. I would wonder if ALL of your friends do not like this man; you chose your friends, afterall. Do they have legitimate concerns? If they do not, and you do not trust their judgment, I would wonder why they are your friends?

Lastly, the strain on your relationship due to his kid's activities...that is going to be an issue whether you are "living out loud" (as is suggested) or living in secrecy. (Just to make sure...you aren't currently married, and this is the reason for the secrecy?? Or, is he a supervisor or currently married? Why would there be stress from other's finding out, if you are both two consenting adults??). His kids' activities ARE going to come before you, and you should not expect it any other way. He is their father, and what a wonderful man to enjoy his kids that he wants to spend time with them, and support their interests by physically being present at their activities! Of course, as a man who also has a partner...he will also need to make a point to have couple's time that is kid-free. Make sure you know what dating someone with kids' means; talk to other women who are dating a man with kids from a previous relationship, as you will need to be mentally and emotionally prepared for what this entails, and what sacrifices you both will need to make. I guarantee it will not be "even" from your standpoint, and nor should it...these are children we are talking about who need a father. Is their mother still in the picture, or maternal grandparents or other family?

What about your busy life? Do you have other activities that you enjoy doing, so that you can come from the perspective that "we only see each other 10 hours a week because we don't conflict with MY busy schedule?" If you spend more time on yourself, your friends, family, hobbies, work and interests (and not so much time hiding), you would also not feel so pushed-aside by his kids.

All of this said---first things first. Start living your relationship with authenticity in the real-world, with family, friends, co-workers and society-at-large knowing that you two are dating. See how this feels for a significant amount of time. What feels right, and what doesn't?

August 11, 2009 - 2:28pm
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