Dating and not sure I ever want to be a SM - how and when to have that convo?
I am almost 40, CF and currently dating a man with three bio kids under the age of 13. This is my first experience dating someone with children. His divorce was amicable, and the kids are welcoming and warm toward me, as is the BM. He has 50% custody of his children and is a truly loving, generous, warm and kind father to them. (And embodies all of those qualities in his relationship with me.)
I will readily admit: I am someone who generally needs a lot of alone time, I am particular about things like chores, finances, etc., noise and disorder, I like having the freedom to come and go as I see fit, so on and so forth. The older I have become (and less likely to have biological children with a partner), the less interest in or intent I have to ever marry, cohabitate or financially merge with another person.
Understandably, dating someone to determine if our lives and values aligned was far more simple when my context was only two, CF humans focused on each other. It has become infinitely more high stakes now that three other humans (four, if you count BM) are involved. The introduction of kids also feels like it has accelerated things and expectations.
While I adore my partner and his children, the longer we date, the more uncertain I become that SM is a role I can see myself being happy in. This is hugely conflicting and confusing, because my feeling for him continue to deepen. But as a dear friend always says, "Listen to your tummy when it talks." My tummy alarm is focused not on the people involved, but on the situation and long-term implications. There are several points on which we don't seem to see eye-to-eye (finances, parenting style, tidiness) that I have concerns could grow into eventual points of conflict. But for now, those seem secondary to the big question about whether a potential SM life is right for me. (And in turn, right for him and his kids.)
After almost a year of dating, I find myself feeling more confused rather than finding clarity. My short-term plan is to find a therapist who specialized in blended family and begin working through some of these questions. In the meantime, I am uncertain how to broach any of this with my partner. I don’t want him to think he or the kids have done anything wrong when it really is a current case of "it's not you, it's me."
I’ve read so many forums and responses (thank you all for generously sharing your thoughts and experiences). The lack of sugar coating and brutal honesty is important food for thought. I’m wondering if anyone has had experience in telling their BP partner they are struggling with the "potential SP dynamic" while dating? How did you broach that discussion? How did your partner respond? What, if any, solutions did you come to?