I am a 52-year-old divorced woman. I have two grown children and two grandkids. I am dating a 44-year-old man with a daughter who is 6. He is a loving man and we have been seeing each other for three months. We have a great time when we are together. While his feelings are much stronger than mine, I do care for him a lot. I have not met his daughter yet, but I'm not sure if I want to do that kid thing again. I don't want to hurt him in any way, shape or form. But I have been there, done that. HELP!
ANSWER: If everything is as you present it, there would appear to be no reason for your confusion. He's into you, you aren't into him, and after three months it's time for you both to move on. Yes, he may be hurt that you are ending the relationship. But you've only been dating for a short period of time, and he has a young child that probably takes up a great part of his non-working life. Perhaps he has reservations of his own, and that's why he hasn't introduced you to his daughter yet. If you told him that you aren't sure you "want to do that kid thing, again" he may be wise to avoid that introduction. His child has suffered a trauma when her parents divorced, as you well know from your own situation, and it would be cruel and thoughtless for him to allow any transient woman into her life.
Indeed, you seem to have answered the question yourself. You like this very nice man, but you don't love him. He has a 6-year-old daughter. At this stage of your life you've raised your kids, and the only relationship you want to have with young children now (if any) is grandma style -- that is, spend an afternoon having a lot of fun, spoil them without worrying about the consequences and go home. You don't want to hurt him, but he doesn't seem to be the guy for you. We can understand your concern. Clearly, you married quite young to be a grandmother at 52. You don't mention when you divorced, but if you were a single parent -- well, that's never easy. Now you feel you've earned the right to do whatever you want to with your life, and that doesn't include raising any more children, even parenthetically. However, it seems odd that you haven't met this little girl after three months. You don't mention custody arrangements and how much time she actually spends with her father. If she lives with him, or if he has joint custody, and if you continue seeing this man, you would have to become very involved with his daughter. But if she lives with her mother, and your boyfriend only sees her one or two days a week, than your concern about "been there, done that" seems hollow. You could be as involved in the little girl's life as you wanted to be, without a whole lot of responsibility. After all, you'd be third in command at best -- an occasional stepmother. But it seems like you are unable to project yourself into either of those scenarios, even though you say that you have a great time together, and that you care for him. To paraphrase Leo Tolstoy: "happy relationships are all alike, but every unhappy relationship is unhappy in its own way." That's because, we think, all happy relationships have a foundation of similar core values. By "core values" we mean things like spirituality, morality, sex, attitudes towards money and, of course, children and family. The most important value of all isn't having identical beliefs, but mutual respect for each other whether or not beliefs are shared. The value you place on children seems substantially different than his. There is no right or wrong here, you are just at a very different point in your life than he is. We congratulate you on realizing this now, before you get any more involved, and risk hurting a child who deserves better.
The first thing you have to do is honestly discuss your feelings. If you haven't done so already, express your concern that you don't want to be a mother all over again at this stage of your life. Surely, this will quickly dissuade him from pursuing the relationship; in fact, he may decide to end things. This will also allow you to avoid hurting him, because you won't have to tell him that you don't feel you'll ever love him, which, if you think about it, is really your main problem. (After all, if you were crazy about this guy, you would have phrased your question very differently, if at all.) Just one more thing. You seem to be a confident woman with a good sense of what you want in a relationship. Therefore, to state the obvious, in the future, focus on guys with grown children, or none at all.
Source: Relationships & Love