I received this email from a newly divorced man:
It has been not quite a month since the date of divorce. I’ve been seeing someone I met while I was separated. We really hit it off. I mean more so than I expected. Honestly I wasn’t looking to fall in love, I was hoping more to find a friend someone who I could have fun with and get to know while I worked out my issues and get myself settled into my new life.
Anyway here is where I am going with this. I finally got a working schedule worked out with my ex. I’ve been bouncing from one home to another (which is an issue in and of itself). I am going to be spending 5 days at my girlfriends place with her son and honestly I am not 100% looking forward to it.
I feel that I should be more happy to spend time with my girlfriend but I don’t see it that way for some reason or other. Since the divorce I have been living with my parents when I have my daughter and then I have been spending time at my girlfriend’s place when I don’t. I’ll tell you what, I can see how kids can have an issue going from one house to another. Honestly I am looking forward to saving up some money and getting a place of my own so I can finally call one place home. Anyway I am straying off topic.
I think the reason that I am not 100% excited about the time I will be spending with my girlfriend is a few different things. One it’ll be time apart from my daughter. The next is I feel as though I am playing a father role to her son. (brief history of my girlfriend, she’s divorced with an 8 year old son who she has the majority of the custody of. The father has 2 visitation days and doesn’t get overnights.) So when I am over at her house we spend more time as a “family” than just as boyfriend and girlfriend.
I’ve been going over after work on days that I don’t have my daughter. When I do, I would cook for her, take care of some things around her house then help her with her son. I am starting to feel as though I just want some alone time. I mean when I don’t have my daughter or if I do, I am always somewhere where I cannot be truly alone. I’m either at my parent’s house or at my girlfriend’s place. I don’t think I want to be alone for a long time like days or weeks on end but just maybe a day or two here or there.
I have A LOT to say about your situation. First of all, I think it is wonderful that you met someone and fell in love. Isn’t that a great feeling?! The butterflies and excitement of a new relationship is wonderfully refreshing, and kind of takes you from hopeless to renewed, huh?
BUT (and this is a big “but”) I don’t mean to be rude, but I have to ask, “What are you thinking?”
Of course you aren’t excited about moving in with a woman you’ve known a short time and her son. You are just out of a marriage. Your jobs right now are:
- Heal yourself
- Help your daughter cope and transition and thrive in the new situation
- Learn how to be comfortable being alone and independent.
- Figure out what you need and want for your life.
- Have fun and enjoy being happy.
I think it is great that you met someone you think you love, but why did you just basically agree to be her husband and stepfather to her son? You don’t owe her that. And, how good can this be for your daughter?
Is it possible to have a relationship with this woman and keep living with your parents until you can get your own place? You can still see this woman when you are free, you can still love her, you can still have fun with her, but why are you committing to so much, when you have so little to give right now? Why rush something that could turn out great if you wait until the time is right?
I don’t want to tell you what to do, but you really need to step back and think about where this is going. You haven’t even moved in yet and you are having negative feelings. That doesn’t mean you don’t love the woman. It just means that it doesn’t feel right to you, so why are you doing it?
I am constantly amazed at how many newly divorced men and women sprint to either moving in with someone and/or getting married again. It’s baffling to me, and the only explanation I can think of is that marriage/monogamy/living with someone feels right because that’s what they have been doing for so long. So, to be alone doesn’t feel “normal.”
I think the longer someone is single after marriage, the more they want to stay that way. It’s those first few months or years that people might rush in (and end up making a mistake) because they are going back to what they are used to, what is familiar. That’s just my opinion.
I hope I am not hurting your feelings or being too harsh. Remember, this site is about me trying to help people, which is what I’m trying to do. My advice is, just think about the reasons you have chosen to move in with this woman. To get away from your parents? Because you feel obligated? Because you don’t want to be alone? And then think about where this is going. If you have doubts now, do you think it is going to get better? Don’t you think you might regret not seeing your daughter more? Maybe you will start to resent the woman and/or her son?
It’s not always easy to do what you know is the right thing. But, doing what you know in your heart is the right thing will always lead you to a better outcome. Just think about it.