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Jealous of SD I've never met

Madeleine78's picture

My BF and I have been together for 2 years. From the very beginning we agreed on a LAT lifestyle (living apart together). He had been separated (never married) for 6 years and had established his own routine with his now 11 year old daughter and I was going through a very complicated divorce and still am with 3 young children. We live an hour away from each other and when we aren't together, we are 100 percent in our daily routines with our kids. For us, living together at this point in our lives would not work and would bring unnecessary tension to our relationship. We have a very close relationship and keep in contact through FaceTime, texting, phone calls when we are with our kids and the other half of the time we are together.

Where we differ in our boundaries is how to involve our families. Before he met me, he dated around a lot with women he knew he would never be serious with. I'm the first relationship since his daughter's mother that he envisions a future with and we do talk about the future and living together when the kids are gone. His breakup was really difficult and his parents invested a lot into helping the couple renovate their new house and taking care of their granddaughter. When the separation happened suddenly (his partner suddenly took off with his daughter when she was 2), he vowed that he would do everything possible to protect his daughter and his family from any hurtful situations in the future. So, for nearly 9 years now, he's kept his family on one side and kind of gotten into a routine with them without bringing anyone new into the picture and kept his dating life on the other side, not mixing them. Although they "know" of my existence (without really knowing), he feels strongly that it is up to his daughter and his parents to tell him when and if they are ready for another person to be present and out of respect for them and for my children, it is not up to us to impose our relationship on them. I did get her a Christmas gift and she absolutely loved it. She "knew" it was from me but it didn't go any further and she didn't ask for it to go any further. Honestly, she's gotten so used to it just being her dad, that I don't think she'd be very welcoming to another female in her dad's life and she likes it just like it is!

I come from a completely different background. My parents were divorced and I grew up with stepparents, my grandparents up the street, and so many positive influences in my life. While I'm the first person to push the LAT lifestyle, I also think that there is a way to connect our children and our families without having them become a part of our daily routines nor imposing it on them, which neither of us want. I also have an added complication in that I'm living in a foreign country and have been here for 15 years. Although my family is not very close knit now, I do miss having them close by so that my kids can see their cousins and grandparents. In fact, it's mostly just me and my kids when they are with me. They do have their dad's family and all their cousins on his side, but I do think it would be nice for them to have other kids in their lives, and I know they are open to that. I did a big Thanksgiving feast with American couples and their kids and they had such a great time. My boyfriend didn't come because it's part of our arrangement: no mixing the kids into our relationship. But, I know his daughter would have had a great time. Also for NYEve, he was alone with his daughter and I was alone with my kids: From the way I was raised, it would have been perfectly normal for us to spend that evening together. And, in my eyes, it is possible to do things like that once every 6 months, without getting our kids and families involved on a routine basis, which might create tensions. For my boyfriend, however, it's unfathomable. His life and his routine are so anchored in his routine with just his daughter and his parents that he is mentally incapable of changing that at this point in his life.

My problem is that I find myself uncontrollably jealous of his daughter on several levels. The first is that she reminds me a lot of myself when I was a kid: into art, music, theatre, reading etc.... She asks her dad to take her to museums and classical music concerts. I have always wanted to do the same with my kids, but my kids are the complete opposite of that and they hate all of that! I guess she's the daughter I always thought my kids would be! When I was a kid, my grandparents made me feel special and I had a very close relationship to them, even though I was one of 4 siblings. I see her as an only child and her relationship to her grandparents and the special relationship she has with her dad and I'm sad that my kids have no one to make them feel special as I had when I was a child and that as a single mom to 3 kids, I can't form that same bond with each one that my boyfriend is able to form with his daughter. I'm also jealous of my boyfriend's life. He has it all: a family, his role as a dad which he absolutely adores, a wonderful love life. I have a wonderful love life, but as many mothers (both single and married), I can't say that I'm head over heels in my role as a mother. I adore my kids, but it's not always rainbows and pretty colors: it's also a lot of work! I did want children, but I always thought I'd be more fit to have only one child. I feel like I can't give my kids the time my boyfriend gives to his daughter and I'm jealous that she has that. Having kids of different ages means that I can't always do activities that I would like with my kids. And perhaps, somewhere, I'm jealous that she has the dad that I never had and that my kids will never have.

He has stopped telling me when he takes his daughter to his parents' or when they go to concerts or museum visits because he knows it pushes a jealousy button in me. I also think his daughter is the way she is because she is only surrounded by people who make her feel special and cultivate her talents and interests. She plays the harp and now she's going to join the conservatory because she has a very unique voice. Her dad is head over heels proud of her. Then I feel bad for not exposing my kids to more, for not enrolling them in more, for cultivating their talents more. They do their activities, but they don't really have any specific aptitudes.

My grandparents did that for me. But, my kids just don't have that. I simply can't do that being a single mother with no family here. Once a year my ex and I arrange to have each of our kids alone and my middle child and I do an art class together each week, but it's not the same. My kids spend more time together as siblings than I can give them one on one time and I regret that.

I guess I'm just looking for a way to get rid of these jealous feelings and to see how lucky I am with the situation I've been given and to look on the brighter side of things. Any advice would be great!

Disneyfan's picture

If you were to move back home, would you br able to give your kids the type of life you want them to have? If so, why stay here?

Disneyfan's picture

*****

Madeleine78's picture

First of all, no court would allow me to take my kids away from their dad. We share custody and they live with him 50 percent of the time. I would never do that to them. Also, my life is here. I really have no desire to move back home.

My family would not be able to provide what I'm looking for, even if I do move back home, so it's really not a question of where I live.

furkidsforme's picture

I don't think you have the relationship you think you have with your BF.

You can tell yourself you are "LAT" all you want. His boundaries go far beyond that. Living Alone Together would not mean you could not meet his family or daughter, it simply means you don't cohabitate.

Deary, you are not LAT, you are his secret piece of ass on the side. You are as completely expendable as "all those other girls he wasn't serious about".

I'm so sorry, I can tell you really love this man.... but a man who wants to keep you hidden from his child and family until the child is 18 (or 20, or 30 or 40) isn't in love with you. He is hiding you.

You aren't actually jealous of the child. The child just triggers the fact that you can't tell yourself this is a real relationship.

luchay's picture

I have to agree with this, he is in a relationship with his daughter, you are there (in secret) for the sex. And never the twain shall meet.

It doesn't sound like this man wants to have a "real" relationship with you. Whether you live together or not isn't the issue, but a man who keeps you as his bit on the side, away from his "real life" - that is not a relationship. Well, I guess it is, of sorts, but not the kind you are imagining yourself to be in.

Work out what you want - to move forward to a proper RS with this man, or to move on and find a man who wants that with you AS WELL. Or. To stay put and keep being each others dirty little secrets.

furkidsforme's picture

Or, since he only sees the OP when he doesn't have his daughter, maybe there is also someone else.

Or, maybe he likes to appear completely available because he is still playing the field.

A man in love does not hide his partner. From anyone.

another step's picture

Even if - and that is a big if - that he was sincere about protecting his apparently fragile daughter, what does that have to do with you meeting his parents or other members of his family? Are THEY so easily damaged as well by someone whom he has been seeing for TWO years? I'm very sorry. There is a problem here but it is not you.

You can do some detective work first if you choose. Or just pull away until you are more "apart" than "together." I suspect that if you confront him you are just going to be told that you are jealous, crazy, and immature because you "can not handle him having a child." But either way, this does not appear to be the relationship you actually want.

Disneyfan's picture

Anyone else think this man is dating other women? He has perfect set up to do as he pleases.

OP, this man is treating you like his side piece or one of his options.

furkidsforme's picture

YES like 1,000% sure of it.

"LAT" is the perfect scam for the commitment-phobic!!!

Toastergirl's picture

This seems very convenient for him, but not for you. Are SURE he doesn't have another girlfriend near him, and that he's using his daughter as an excuse? I'm not saying your bf is a lying scumbag, BUT Im in the army and I've known guys who do this. Pull the "I can't get more involved because I have a kid, and she needs only me so much right now" card, only to have several girlfriends and tell each one that. Then when one of them called him out, he broke it off saying, "my child always comes first, I'm sorry you can't handle that I'm a dad."

I'm not trying to accuse your boyfriend, I'm just saying I've heard this story several times.

Toastergirl's picture

OP, people who have nothing to hide, hide nothing. As corny as that sounds, it's so true. there's something underlying here, and I dnt know if it's really that he's so noble to put his daughter above everything else in his life. You know him best, but as someone who knows men who have done this, men who use their job/kid/whatever as a convenient excuse to not commit, this will not end well for you.

One guy kept a girlfriend stringing along for a YEAR. He was reserves in a unit a state away, had a girlfriemd there and a wife and two kids (one from his previous marriage) in his home state. Girlfriend knew about the oldest kid, but not the youngest or wife. Guy told gf the reason he didn't move to her state was because of the oldest kid. Girlfriend had a kid from her previous marriage as well, and couldn't easily move states without more custody going to her ex. Girlfriend eventually got suspicious when he never gave her his home address or asked her to come visit him. But it took her a year to figure it out. She legit believed he loved her and the only reason they couldn't fully live together was because of the kids...

ocs's picture

Ten years ago, I dated a guy who had a 5yr old son.

I had never dated anyone with kids before, so took everything he said with total trust.

"sorry babe, can't see you- i have my son tonight, last minute."
"sorry babe, BM has to work, so I have my son for the long weekend."

and he lived about an hour away.

Well, turns out he had a 5yr old and a BM(an ex), BUT he also had a new girlfriend who was 8 months pregnant!

He got busted by a mutual friend who saw him with her shopping, LOL, in a total out of the way place.

I swore to never date a man with kids again, because of trust issues. Then I met DH and he was the most transparent man I'd ever met. So as someone said above- a man in love won't hide you. He will want to shout you from the rooftops.

jumanji's picture

If you don't want your child to deal with a g/f or b/f, the solution is easy. Don't date.

You're being used.

Madeleine78's picture

Hey, thanks for taking the time to comment.

I knew I would be opening a can of worms for negative thoughts on my situation, but I'm fine with that. Also, I realize a LAT situation is not for everyone and can be taken the wrong way, but just remember that not everyone's way of being a couple is the necessarily the way that resembles our own.

He is not seeing anyone else. He, himself, tells me that psychologically, he's the one with a mental block in getting his family/daughter involved. He understands my frustration, listens openly to my feelings, and is actively trying to work on finding a compromise. He has seen so many blended families end up hurting the kids that he didn't want to make the same mistake a second time around and decided to keep his daughter and parents out of it completely. He grew up with a tight nuclear family. When he separated, he decided that he wanted to protect the family he had left. I can understand this. And, they've gotten used to it. What he doesn't "get" is that we don't have to become the Brady Bunch. I definitely don't want that. I am all for waiting until the kids move out! But, that doesn't mean that we can't mix the families, get them involved a little. He's so afraid that getting the families involved means bringing tension into our relationship. It doesn't have to be like that. We can take little steps and go at the kids' pace. If it goes badly at a playdate or a family dinner, then we don't do it again until things are comfortable again. He has actually come a long way since we first met. He, himself, doesn't want to hurt me and would love to feel comfortable with introducing me to his parents and daughter, but he's not there yet. And, after all, he's dating me, not my family and vice versa, which is kind of how I felt when I told my family recently. I actually regret bringing them into my relationship because I feel they now know something about y personal life that I'm not sure they need to know. He is totally open to meeting them when they come and visit, and yes, I have met his friends and he has met my friends. No problems there! In fact, our friends have told us they really commend us for not being selfish and putting our kids first and that we are doing a really good thing.

Still, I do have to agree with some of your comments that some of this has to do with a sort of Electra complex that his daughter probably has. He has told me in the past that she'll physically get between any woman who shows the slightest interest in him at school events etc... He also has a tendency to say "we" a lot when he has his daughter, and it really bothers me. He doesn't know this bothers me and I'm not even sure he realizes that this is going on. I'm not sure he realizes that even though it's normal for his daughter to be a little jealous and not want to feel like she's being replaced, it's also normal for her dad to be with someone if he so wishes.

I just don't think it's healthy for me to be jealous of an 11 year old. I'm not so much jealous of her role as I am of who she is and what I don't have in my own kids! They don't get the one-on-one relationship that he has with his daughter, and they definitely do not get the same time with the grandparents on my side! They don't treat me with the respect that she treats her dad and I guess all of that provokes frustration in me!

Disneyfan's picture

Everything out of his mouth could be a big lie. Since he's keeping you away from his family, you have no way of knowing the truth. It's to his benefit to keep saying the right thing to keep you around. Of course he isn't going to say I'm just here for the sex.

If you regret sharing this part of your life with your family, then perhaps you feel that this whole arrangement isn't healthy.

Madeleine78's picture

I'm still going through a divorce. My divorce is complicated. I didn't know how my family would handle it and they don't want to hear about a new relationship going wrong again, so I waited until the time was right! He makes me laugh, respects me, we have the same interests, and we absolutely love our time together. As a couple, we are very happy. I don't know why others feel the need to judge that happiness.

Our society has this notion that we need to shout it from the rooftops and get the whole world involved, but I don't agree with that. I don't think family has any business in a relationship the second time around. They already spent so much time and effort on the first and the kids are from the first relationship, that they don't really need to be an active part of the second, what is their role? The second relationship is truly about the couple, not the kids or the parents. Friends are fine, which is why we share our lives with our friends. Like I said, those who know us personally and who know him (which is a lot more than what you are getting through my description on the forum) think our way of handling things is really a great way.

He's not with another woman. He's with me exactly when he doesn't have his daughter and I don't have my kids, which works out to be every other week. The week when he's not with me, he's with his daughter and if we can work it out, we see each other during the day. I'm not stupid enough to be lied to. I also have other proof that I don't feel comfortable getting into on here!

ctnmom's picture

As I said in another post, any couple in the world can be loving their time together. That's the easy part. It's how you handle kids, jobs, in laws, household stuff, etc that will determine your longevity as a couple. I've been married 31 years= I know what I'm talking about.

Madeleine78's picture

But my kids aren't his kids and vice versa. I had in-laws and trust me, I do not want to deal with that and their opinions again if I can avoid it!

As for "handling" things together, we do. We are constantly sharing our stress about our kids, our jobs, our finances, our struggles as single parents. Sometimes one of us is so stressed about a rough time with the kids that it does impact our relationship. Last year my landlord gave me a month to do work on my kitchen and my boyfriend stepped in and helped me get all the work done so that I wouldn't have to hire someone. It was stressful, we had to cut back on going out to the movies or dinner so that we could meet the deadline, but it was a situation we had to handle. I feel that we have more quality time together than most married couples, but we also have more stressful times together because each of us, on each of our sides, has to handle a lot more than a couple who has help from the other. But, we don't have the tension of who does what around the house, that my mother-in-law is judging the way I raise my kids and vice-versa. All of that belongs in a first relationship which, in my opinion, either sinks or swims. Then, people go back and make the same mistakes again with the second relationship and get the whole world involved in it and the step kids hate their step parents and there is drama all the time. If you can avoid it, why go through it?

This is why I chose to live as an LAT couple.

ctnmom's picture

You're not addressing the core issues here. No one can stop you from being delusional but you.

Disneyfan's picture

But you're not happy with the decision you made. Living as a LAT couple can't be as good as you're trying to convince YOURSELF that it is.

Madeleine78's picture

I'm perfectly happy living AWAY from a blended family. I do not want that. I'm fine with having two living situations and not having to answer to anyone or fight over who takes down the trash or having to deal with stepchildren or step siblings and all the tension that brings. I think I made that much very clear.

The "core" issues are issues that were created at another time, with another person. My children are not his responsibility and his daughter is not my responsibility. Our responsibility is us, our couple. My responsibility is the well being of my children. His responsibility is the well being of his child. There is no "our" in there.

I wasn't looking for criticism about my situation, simply advice on how all of you get over jealous feelings of your stepchildren because I had a stepmom as well and she tells me all the time how jealous she was of me, which is perfectly normal!

furkidsforme's picture

"I'm perfectly happy living AWAY from a blended family. I do not want that. I'm fine with having two living situations and not having to answer to anyone or fight over who takes down the trash or having to deal with stepchildren or step siblings and all the tension that brings."

If the above were true, you would not be here griping about how "jealous" you are over a child and how unhappy you are that your BF won't introduce you to his family or child.

Obviously, you like to delude yourself that this LAT is working out for you, but the things you claim to be wanting prove otherwise.

And I'm sorry, but his excuses and explanations sound like a raft of bullshit. He sounds like a scam artist or spin doctor. He doesn't want his FAMILY getting hurt? OMG, spare me. His family will not be hurt of the two of you break up. They will live. And he has "a blockage" about introducing you to his daughter??? All for the fear of pain? Is he pretending to be some poetic, tortured soul, endless romantic? And you're buying it?

Nah.

Madeleine78's picture

I think there is confusion about what an LAT couple is. An LAT couple simply lives in two separate households. I don't ever see once where I'm "griping" about living apart.

We can live apart and still involve our children and families to a minimum extent. I see all over these forums that stepparents are jealous of their skids, regardless of whether they live with them or not. I just wanted some advice on how to deal with that. Yes, I'm unhappy that I can't meet his daughter right now, but that has nothing to do with choosing to live an LAT lifestyle because both are independent.

I agree with you that his family will live and get through it, but you are rather harsh in your assumptions. You do not know this person. My own stepmom, who is one of the few family members on my side who has met him during a trip over here, understood right away our situation and encouraged me herself to just suck it up, that now isn't the time for our kids to meet or for our families to get involved but that it would be too bad to throw what we have away. She was also the first person who suggested that I should leave my ex-husband and that was the best decision I made, to leave an abusive marriage. No one is perfect. If it isn't this, it would be something else. I prefer to be with someone who treats me with respect, makes me laugh, loves me, and cares for me. You are going to say that he does none of those things if he doesn't involve his family. But, his family has nothing to do with me! And, mine has nothing to do with him! What am I going to bring to his family that he doesn't have already and vice versa? From what I see on here, blended families cause tension and the need for "disengaging and disassociating" from the skids. I completely see his point on this one. Still, I do have a need somewhere to be more involved. That need is created from Hollywood, from what society teaches us, and from our upbringing. And from what I can observe all around me, most of the time, that type of situation doesn't work!

jumanji's picture

It really is unreasonable for a grown woman to be jealous of someone else's child having what she cannot provide for her own kids, None of this is his daughter's fault, issue or problem.

And honestly? Given that you are still embroiled in (what seems to be) a difficult divorce, he is wise to separate the rest of his life/relationships from what he has with you.

Pilgrim Soul's picture

You may want to try therapy to get to the bottom of your feelings . The therapist might want to know the following: what kind of family did you grow up in? What kind of relationship do you have with your dad? Is it possible that you missed out on the same close father-daughter relationship your BF has with his daughter? Are you looking to him to provide you with love that you did not get growing up?

As for the differences between his kid and yours, I can relate to that- 2 of my skids are into things I am into: languages,arts- while my sons prefer low-brow pursuits and claim to hate it when I drag them to the opera or to Broadway shows. Guess what? I expose them to arts anyway and my skids, while more intellectually inclined, are disgusting human beings, entitled,narcissistic, clones of their psycho mother.

We each have our individual cross to bear. Neither I, nor my husband have the kids we would have picked if we could design them a la carte- his don't have a soul, mine do not have the sophisticated bend I would have preferred. So what? We get what we get and we don't get upset.... too much. And if we do, there's always step talk!

Madeleine78's picture

Thank you for another intelligent response!

I only saw my own father once every summer for a week or two. I definitely think my inner child is envious of the relationship he has that I never had. And also, like I said, that I can't provide my children what his own child is getting through the attention of many adults in her life, which is what I had growing up.

I'm in therapy, but can only make it there once or twice a month with the finances, but it does help. I hadn't been in a few weeks but have scheduled an appointment for next week.

I think all of us have some sort of inner child that didn't grow up, and this is definitely the area where I need to grow up. It's not normal for an adult to be jealous of an 11 year old, I agree, but we all have our crosses to bear as you say and we all have work to do. Better to help each other than to judge or criticize, so I appreciate your input after all the negative and not constructive input I mostly got from others!