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Dating or marrying a divorced man with kids

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Is it possible to feel included as a girlfriend or second wife to a divorced man with kids?


As a little girl... and even as a teenager... I dreamed that I would meet the man of my dreams. At some point in my mid-20s, I'd marry him, buy a cute little home, and have a couple of his kids. We would be great parents together and raise happy, successful children. They would look like a perfect combination of my love and me, and every time we looked into those children's eyes, we would be reminded that our love created them.


I didn't find my dream man in my 20s. I found a lot of duds. I started getting a little older... I hit 30. Suddenly, finding a single, never married, childless man was less likely than buying the winning Powerball ticket. So, I conceded to date divorced men, but still childless. Still... no dream man. Just bitter I-don't-want-to-marry-again types. *sigh*.

At the beginning of this last year, I reconnected with an old classmate from high school through a social networking website. After a few messages sent, we met for dinner one night. A month of "just friends" went by before I learned he had spent months "watching" me on this social site before having the nerve to ask me to this dinner. He admitted to a little crush on me 17 years ago in high school. I was flattered and became smitten. He treated me like I deserved to be treated. He was sweet. We became very close very quickly. The catch: He was married to his ex-wife (and high school/college on-and-off flame) for nearly 11 years. And he has two young sons. But, this is the man I've waited for all my life. He truly loves me. He tells me how much he loves me. He tells me I'm beautiful. He makes me FEEL beautiful. The current "man of my dreams" has all the baggage I never wanted. Life is so ironic.

Three months ago, my love moved into my house with me. My guest room became his sons' bedroom, and suddenly I had an instant family that not only included my love and his children, but his ex-wife and her family as well. While it made me incredibly happy to come home to my love every night, there were adjustments to be made... not only in my house, but in my head and in my heart.

I am hoping that those who read my Hub and can relate to my woes will leave advice for me and other readers in similar situations.

Pack Order All my life I'd wanted a man with whom I came in first. Now, I'd have to "settle" for 4th. The ex-wife already snatched up the first feeling of forever that he'd have, and the children actually are forever. 4th is not a position I can ever move up from. This makes for awkward situations. The ex-wife holds the power in my relationship. And she knows it. How does one handle the jealousy of knowing that if this man proposes, he will have already done this with someone else? When he says "I do" or sees the birth of a new child (fingers crossed), will it even mean as much having already gone through it? Will all of my "firsts" be ruined because none of them are his "firsts"?

Child(ren) of my own?? My love has two children already. He had a vasectomy in his former marriage. That is all the children they wanted together. But, now that their marriage has dissolved... now that he has a new life partner... what is to become of the wants and needs of his new love? Will I be able to convince him that he wants to take the necessary steps to make my dream of having a child of my own come true? Will he look forward to fathering that beautiful child I always wanted? Or will he adamantly declare that he wishes to have no more children? Will I be able to handle that? Or will I consider that so much of a deal breaker that I will have to leave the man I have loved more than any others?

I asked a very good, and slightly older, guy friend of mine for some advice on this topic. He suggested that going into the holidays with a man I'm deeply in love with is not the greatest time to bring up this topic. My friend suggested I wait until my love and I were at our one-year mark to discuss such a serious matter. He said my love (or most men) would not consider necessary medical steps to reverse or go around a vasectomy for a woman they hadn't spent at least a year with and decided to spend the rest of their life with. But, that a man who was deeply in love and sure of the relationship would give it serious consideration. What do you think?

Step-parenting His Children The advice I've been given in this area has been so restricting. I'm supposed to become a part of the family of these children without being a "parent". I'm supposed to be with their father, but not too affectionate in front of them. I'm supposed to have them live part time in my home, but am expected to only let their father discipline. I am supposed to become a major part of their lives, but also to step back and out of the way. I am supposed to help guide them, but only if I follow the parenting plan established by their mother, who is the primary custody parent. Every part of this relationship with these children contradicts itself. It shouldn't even be called "step-parent". It should be called "that other person". Because that's how it makes you feel. This certainly wasn't the life of which I dreamed.

I suggested once that my love and I meet quarterly with his ex-wife and her new love to discuss the children and what is new in their lives. I thought we could all come to agreement on how to discipline, what to work on, etc. so that we might keep the transition between households as smooth as possible for the kids of a broken home. He says that while it's a good idea in theory, that his ex-wife would probably not be keen on the idea. Really? This role is incredibly hard.

Are you a parent whose children has another step-parent? Or are you a step-parent yourself? Maybe you are the parent introducing a step-parent to your children. What advice do you have for those in my situation?

"Our" Money In my dream life, my love and I would work successful jobs. His would be full time, mine part time, and we would have a savings account and afford regular vacations. In my real life, my love has financial obligations to the former marriage dissolution debt and to child support. Half of his income goes to these obligations. Right now, I'm working part time and am able to contribute more than half of the financial obligations of OUR home, his and mine. Should I decide to marry this man, I will essentially be taking on the financial obligations of his ex-wife. She will never go away! Because I love this man and want to spend my life with him, I will happily help him pay off his financial obligations knowing that someday we may be able to put aside money for our own life's adventures. (I'm still crossing my fingers that our main adventure is a baby!) But, still... until then... "our" money doesn't mean his and mine. It means his, mine, and hers, too.

Are you in a "modern" family? How have you handled having ex-marriage partners, financial obligations, and starting new lives with new partners?

Other Feelings I imagined my first meeting with the ex-wife as one thing. It sure turned out to be another. I imagined in my head a slightly overweight mom-type in frumpy clothes and unmanaged hair. I mean... the boys are very active, and I can't imagine her having that much time for herself. And based on the description of her personality by my love, I expected a cold glance and attitude. Instead, a tall, statuesque, trendy, pretty lady stepped out of a Jaguar (still wondering how she affords that one). *sigh* Now I felt very fat and wondered what my love saw in me. Her handshake WAS somewhat fish-like, which says alot to me. But, she was very sweet in tone. She told me the boys talk about me often, that it was a pleasure to finally meet me, and smiled the whole time. She sure knew how to make me feel even more secondary than I had before. She remained that way the first couple meetings, but now barely looks my direction, even if I try to send a smile and a wave her way. It's so unpredictable. I don't want to be her best friend or anything, but I still hope that someday perhaps we can be civil and polite enough to discuss the children and any issues that may arise. I can't imagine her take on me. I'm sure she thinks her ex-husband has downgraded. And perhaps if you compare her figure to mine, he has. But, I gather he has seriously upgraded in personality and integrity. Neither she nor I chose to have the other come into each of our lives. Learning how to deal with each other over jealousies of the same man and children is going to be one of the hardest things either of us has ever done, I'm sure. I do try to take into consideration what she must be feeling, but every time she is less than pleasant to deal with, my caring about her feelings goes right out the window.

How have you dealt with these types of issues?

I ran across this Hub from another writer. The post brought tears to my eyes when I read it because of how much I related to her. If I have left out any feeling I've had in this post, she has most likely covered it in this one:

Other related Hub links:

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Overall, I love this man. I didn't want to love a man with this much baggage. It just happened one day. Un-loving someone so special is harder than all the problems I described in this Hub put together. So, I'd love to conquer my qualms instead.

I'd LOVE to get some feedback from readers. Share for me. Share for each other.

Thank you!


Rachel Jasmine on April 05, 2019:

Hi I was as a friend with the guy who I am in love with now for 14years.I know him from my first job, we were talking only through phone. I was searching him before I got married and he said that was searching me before he got married. The time showed us the way that I was left alone now without my husband who is behind divorcing me , as I used to tell my friend few things for which he gives very good advises, informed him about my personal life asking for suggestion but that turned out to be a lover boy of mine. That is he started to propose me and saying very nice words that he is in love with me and could not express it for 14 years because I was talking wiht him as a friend. He used to talk very friendly later and one fine day he said that will not leave me at all because I will be left alone as my life is a damaged now, yes I was married twice and both are unsuccessful marriages for me. I was already in love with him for 14 years though I spoke to him as a friend which I did not express it at all. Reason of it is he got married for 8 years and got 6 year old girl. But later when he was trying to express his intimate feelings I started to stop him in not doing that because that is not good and lets have a good friendly relationship . He denied for it and still started to push in for more lovable talks, like caring for me, becoming more attached. He identified that I am more into spiritual and started to say that me and him are connected lots because all our feelings are same, because many things even I noticed that it showed a sign that we are soulmates.

I started to express my intimate feelings later after he proposed me, but Once I informed him that I was already in love with him for 14 years and was not able to convey him as he got married and do not want to disturb him, there was a typical change in the way he was talking. That is he was not talking to me caring, lovable words do not flow, he stopped sending me intimacy messages and sometimes he forgets to call me too. This changes really pushed me to a bad stage of mind that I should not have expressed my feeling of love for him that informing I loved him and was not able to approach him as he left abroad for studies.

He understood how much I loved him all these years and started to be by my side on supporting my problems at home, office within friends. I asked him a serioud question that will he leave his wife and marry me later after 50 years and come back to me after completing all his responsibilities, for that he was making me fun and said that it is not at all possible but if it happens will be nice and lets see. This is the response I got from him. In the beginning I told him that if he gets intimate feeling he need to approach his wife and not me but for that he was creating a drama saying that I am thinking bad of him and bad of his attitude and he is not that guy that loving me and having sex with his wife. It was hard to belive in the beginning, but later little by little I realised that I fell in deep love with him through his lovable words for which watever happens I am not able to leave him. But he said that he did not sleep with his wife because of his daughter and that is not possible and they have responsibility and could not think about it. That I could not belive and asked if they both are in same bed how come it is not possible to have sex at all in all these 8 years, he denied and said No to sex between them. But still I had a doubt, but later when we met for a dating and got into relationship, I found that he was not interested with me in sex. I realized that and he denied for it. He never spoke to me at all and I am the one who is talking the whole day. He kept very silent.

We actually had a age difference that he is 2 years younger than him which I came to know only after few days of fallling in love with him and not aware all these 14 years , I denied for the relationshiip and still he convinced me and back again in love trap with him. He used to share me all his datings but was strong in saying that he is in love with me very much and can never leave him or miss me hereafter because that will create an empty space in his life. I got melted on these words and got into deep love and affection but that turned into possesiveness. I started to showcase it when he is talking about his wife which he did not like it.

Later after we had dating he left me and back again to his home, but I had a very strong feeling that he is in back again into relationship with his wife, this time I was not abel to ask him because I felt that I am no one to ask about it because they are husband and wife. He stopped calling me for a month and once in a while he called me and talk, but he used to show his anger on me whenever I get into stress and talk about my experiences to get some feedbacks from him. Later I realized that he started to not like me because he came back with his wife close and stopped messaging or calling him back or responding to his calls.

He again started to get in good communication with me through phone and sms and was really happy even if I am stressed and speak out he never shouts he just hears and listens to me very well but he never talk passivative and like a person before who really loved me. I felt the difference very much, I felt that the connection between us is lost and I tried to change my way of talking to him to talk only positive things and very friendly, yes he responded me nicely and very politely and he also said that he loves me soo much, I thought that is a great achievement that I made him to tell that he loves me twice in two months. But that did not lost long.

As I guessed there came a surprise for me that his wife became pregnant now and is yet to be confirmed. When he told me that I felt really bad thinking that he was lying me all these days but can see that he is going to get another baby if it is confirmed. He was not having any feelings that I will feel hurt , because he always says that is how it is supposed to be because he told me very clearly in the beginning that he can never leave his wife and child and in this life that will never happen to marry me. Then I asked why is he behind me he can just leave me and go , but he was very nice in saying that he is in true love with me. I trusted his words. still I belive that he loves me, but once I heard that his wife is pregnant all my memories of him gone away for a second. I feel that I am left alone again in my life and there is not mental support as well because I was thinking of him each and every second wasting my time too.

I blasted him in sms that this is how his x-girl friends left him and I feel pity for them and me now, and thanked him to teach me a good lesson for I loved him and that I will never love anyone hereafter . Thanked him. He tried callling me today many times but I did not pick up the phone because I dont feel like picking up and talking because I know that he will ask me why those messages and I will have to tell him the explanation and finally he will blast him saying that I am putting him in the court for the mistak I have done and he was being honest and true with me from the beginning.

What I did here ? I just loved him. I want to marry him. But I found that he started to create his boundaries on his own that he will never come out of his married life hereafter. It was really hurting to me that loosing a 14 years good friend and my soulmate is not fair. I really dont know why this happened to me though I have been true with him .Do I need to stay away from him permanently from my life which is a great loss of my heart Or I have to be with him though he do not give much importance to me than his wife. Because once he said that not I only love him there are many people who is in love with him and he is blessed to be loved by all. That day I felt very bad that his consideration on me is common and not unique which is what a basic feeling to be loved. Please advise what to do..I am confused to loose him or to be in contact with him.

BarryGuevaConner from Hendersonville NC on November 28, 2018:

Where do I start a new topic? There's no button for it. I've contacted support but they wanted to know if I needed to reset my password. Could someone help me. I know this isn't the place but don't know who else to ask.

Valida on October 01, 2018:

I loved your article, and I have/had same questions. I am in a relationship with one amazing guy, he loves me more than anyone in the world, he is great dad, great man, thanks to God I met him. I love his children, and they love me too. We are engaged and I hope soon to be married because the only normal fight we had is the date of our wedding, he wants it immediately.

Thank you for showing that can work out fine, in the name of God... I do believe it can be good.

peace on May 14, 2018:

I love this

Lover on January 12, 2017:

I wonder why I feel short changed and irritable when I have the man of my dreams right next to me. It was not like that at the beginning. Gradually you realized that your relationship doe not conform with normal relationship. He thinks is normal and you should just accept baggages of the past. You were not the first in his life, and at present you are third in his life although he always promise you are his top and foremost above his beautiful daughters who are the pride and joy of his life. What else would he say because it is all about managing expectations . He calls you by the same pet name as he would call his daughters and you get confused if there is something wrong with our relationship. They were rich and spoilt and he would continue to feed the behavior because he is a super great dad. He would contact them when I am away at work because he wants his privacy but each time he does that it makes me feel like an outsider in his life, the third person in his life when he needs someone to talk to or a shoulder to lean on. The end result is I doubt he truely loves me and want to possess me as his beloved and as a result I feel used on bad days and confused on a daily basis. This is the second year of our relationship. He is confident that he will be back on his own feet financially and our love for each other. I thought I am controlling and something is wrong with me. I realized this is not just my problem but women in similar situations may share the same struggles.

Larissa on June 09, 2015:

A lot of men date childless women because it's easier. They are too selfish to date another woman with kids. If he has never dated a woman with kids then that is a red flag. He won't be able to emphasize with your feelings and it's a big indicator after he swoons you he will become demanding and selfish after you are hooked on him. If you really want him YOU have to make him work for you in the beginning. He has to know he will NEVER do better and that you have options. You have to realize your value and what you have to offer. You have to make DEMANDS and let him know you can and will LEAVE if he doesn't comply. I know this sounds wrong but if you don't establish a hierarchy in the beginning you will get walked all over. DONT move in until you are engaged. Too many women involved with men with kids don't stand up for themselves and get walked on. His ex wife is his baggage and he needs to do whatever necessary to keep her in check. Don't let him forget. If he loves you he will do what it takes to make you happy because he won't want to lose you.

levertis steele on March 10, 2015:

This is the most informative hub I have read on the subject. It is not the rantings of a jealous and insecure second wife. It presents strong, thought-provoking points with great support.

Clicki on August 26, 2014:

I read your article, and it was so wonderful.

And than to read your last comment about how you have worked it out, is just amazing. I really thank you for writing it. And for letting us know that it worked out for you.

I am in a situation similar to yours, except have a crazy ex wife. But i know my husband and i can make it work.

Kuddos to you for sticking it out and making it work, and congrats on your baby girl.

La st (author) from Somewhere in the midwest, USA on August 09, 2014:

UPDATE: It's been several years since my original post. Since then, my love and I married. So did his ex-wife. She married a great guy (dad of a teenage daughter) who plays a great surrogate dad to my stepsons when they cannot be with us. I believe that their marriage made ours stronger because her new husband gives her perspective and, because he is a respectable man, helps us all communicate with each other without pettiness or jealousies. Thank goodness for that! After reading all of the comments, I count myself lucky that my husband's ex-wife doesn't come with the same childish drama that so many of yours do. I'm not sure we would have worked out if she was that crazy and troublesome.

My husband went through the vasectomy reversal a little over a year and a half ago, and last month I gave birth to our beautiful daughter! I did end up getting one of his "firsts" in that his previous children were boys! He has said that because our marriage is stronger and happier than his first, he is finding himself more connected to and involved in the baby care than he was before. I think that our new child has actually helped both of us feel more connected to the boys, too. He because he realizes how emotionally disconnected he was in their early childhood, and I because they are no longer just someone else's children, but the big brothers to my daughter.

I feel for some of the commenters who are so scorned by their own situations with previously divorced men with children that they can only cry "run!" In my experience since my original post, I am finding that happiness CAN be found with a man of such, given the right circumstances. I am not significantly younger than he is, nor is there a lot of crazy ex-wife antics. The children and I get along fine, and we work as adults now to all co-parent the best we can. My particular scenario may not be the norm for this type of situation... I do feel I have lucked out! But, my point is that it is not a doomed connection just because he had a wife and kids prior to me. Happiness is being had! And every day, week, and month, I feel us becoming stronger and happier.

That being said, it was not an easy road to get where we are. There was counseling, surgery, and numerous fights while we figured out our dynamic. We had to learn how to communicate effectively, and I had to learn to let go of jealousies for us to have a successful relationship. But, we're now on the right road, and I'm extremely glad I stuck it out. He's perfect for me. Best of luck to all of you still trying to figure out if it's worth it to you. Thank you to everyone who has read and connected with this HUB. Your comments and advice have been appreciated!

Monica on April 14, 2014:

Wow! Your post hits the nail on the head...except in my situation, I hate (strong word, but the truth) my husband's 3 children. We pay a significant amount of money in child support to a worthless woman for her monsters. My husband has little to do with his kids anymore, because of their selfish mom. For example, the monsters will come to our house and find any reason to run and tell mom something to get us in trouble. We let them watch the Pink Panther (a cartoon), and their mother sued us. She sues us for anything and everything, and she never wins money from us, but it costs $220/hour for us to hire a lawyer. Among the pink panther thing, we have gotten sued for refusal to pay for Tae Kwon Do for his oldest son, because he got three D's on his report card. We are currently getting sued because the mother took one of the daughter's to an out-of-network provider (we already pay for health insurance) physician, intentionally, and sent us a bill for $600. Had she taken her to any physician with in a 45-minute radius, the visit would have been free! I thought things for us would get better after she got remarried, but I was wrong. Her new husband is fat, makes little money, and is pretty much a creepy deadbeat. She is miserable and bitter, and she attempts to make our life hell. My husband had a vasectomy, as well, but you should know that if it's been 10 years since the vasectomy, the body creates antibodies against making sperm, so a reversal will probably not suffice. You will probably have to go through a very extensive and violating procedure to get pregnant. In all honesty, as much as I wanted children before, I look at my husband's children, and I think of how ugly they are, how much of a waste of money they are, and how pathetic they are destined to be in society. However, my husband contributed to half of their being, and I don't know if I can take the chance of having a child with any of the same similarities - pale skin, red curly hair, knifing personalities, liars, no motivation, no competitiveness, ENTITLEMENT, unappreciativeness. He blames it all on his ex-wife, and I do see the same characteristics in her, but he should have quit producing with her. Now, when I graduate medical school, instead of paying for my own children and taking care of my own debt, I will be paying for 3 worthless children to go to a private university to major in basket weaving. Do I recommend you run? Yes, because before my husband, I NEVER wanted to get married. Everything about him, other than his baggage is more than I could ever imagine! I am more in love than any person can be! However, the sleepless nights, financial struggles, and monsters for children become yours too. They reflect on the person you are and what you have worked for. Love is not worth being miserable the rest of your life. Will I ever get divorced? - Probably not. I couldn't imagine a life without my husband. Will I rejoice in 10 years when his ex-wife's worthless children are no longer a major burden for us? - Absolutely! But you should know that life isn't a Disney movie. It takes more than love to make a relationship work. It takes more than love to be happy, and love doesn't heal all pain. Unfortunately. I wish ALL of you women the best of luck, because if a woman hasn't gone through this, there's no way she can understand. I appreciate your post and all of the comments!! Best of luck ~~ xx

TD on March 28, 2014:

I wasted 10 years of my life - 29, now 40 supporting a man with 3 kids, divorced. He has proposed...and wants to marry. Part of me wants to...just because I have so must vested. The other part, thinks I have wasted enough. Being last takes its toll...especially when he doesn't even acknowledge that is how I feel.

My advice to the younger ladies. STAY AWAY. Why choose CHAOS. I thought I was smart...and then I blinked and 10 years past by me. Now, I feel old, and feel like I missed MY OPPORTUNITY for a family. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE...feel GOOD about putting YOU FIRST.

K on March 22, 2014:

It's so nice to know I'm not the only one in this situation! I'm actually surprised by how many of us there are. Here's my story. I've been with my boyfriend for just over a year. Right now we're long distance (me in Canada and him in the US), but we met when he was working here. We were together for about five months before he had to move away, and we've been doing the long distance thing ever since. He's 34 and I'm 27. I've never been married and I don't have any children, but I definitely want both! He's been separated from his ex for about three years, and their divorce should be finalized next month. They also have two boys (5 and 7) together. They originally moved to Canada so his now ex could do her PhD. They weren't even married for a year when he found out she had been cheating on him for 10 months! She's as crazy as they come and has treated him so horribly, I don't even know why they got together in the first place...however, both of their kids were "accidents." When he moved away, it was because his ex was going finish the last few months of her PhD in the US. They had a plan to move back to where they used to, so I went on a road trip with him across the entire US when he moved back. Two days before our trip was over and I was about to go back to Canada, his ex sent him and email saying that she had quit her PhD and that she was no longer moving to Washington, but that she was moving to Iowa to be with her boyfriend. So after my boyfriend quit his job here and spent the little money he had on moving back (solely for the sake of the kids), she bailed and said she wasn't moving there anymore. So, she has the kids and is living in Iowa with her boyfriend. Meanwhile, my boyfriend is living in Washington (he has a good job now), but he's really unhappy and sad about what happened since he barely gets to see his kids now.

Anyway, we started dating a few months after we started working together, and I can honestly say that I've never been with someone who I feel such a connection with, or who makes me so happy! I love him with all my heart, but I feel like I am at a crossroads. I don't want to keep doing long distance for too much longer, as I've done it before, and I know that we need to have a plan. I also want to move on with my life (get married, have kids, buy a house, etc.), but I don't know if I'll ever be able to do that with him. He has a lot of baggage: crazy ex, two kids (which he'll have to start paying child support for soon), A LOT of debt (school and credit card), and he had a vasectomy 5 years ago.

I pretty much knew all this before getting into a relationship with him, but the heart wants what the heart wants. I really feel the same way that you all do...even though his kids are awesome, I will always feel like they will come first (as they should), but I don't know if that's for me. I don't like the feeling of being put on the back burner when his kids are there. I just feel like regardless of how much he loves and cares for me, his kids will always come first. I always dreamed of getting married and having kids with the man I love, but I just feel like I'll be missing out on all those firsts with him. He's said he wants to have more kids, but now he's unsure because they're such a huge cost. Not to mention the reverse vasectomy, which is expensive and might not even work. I would also rather for us to live here, in Canada, instead of the US. Mostly because of health care, which I don't want to have to pay for since I've had it for free (through taxes) all my life. I almost feel like I'd be downgrading if I moved to the US. My boyfriend has tons of debt, while I have tons saved up. I'm young and there are still so many things I want to do, like travel and experience the world. He, however, doesn't have the same financial freedom. As much as I love him, I am starting to realize that maybe this isn't the life I want. I feel bad that he's dealing with so many issues, but I don't know if our love would be strong enough to get us through the tough times that would be ahead.

I feel like he has so much working against him, and although I've loved and accepted him this whole time, now that we're really starting to think seriously about the future, I'm starting to feel apprehensive about the whole thing. I almost feel like if we did have kids, it would be because I wanted them. He always wanted two kids, and he has them. Or, what if he really couldn't ever have kids again? I would be devastated. I think it would be difficult to start a life with him because of all the obligations he has from his first marriage. He only talks to his ex when it's about his kids, but there have been times when she calls in the middle of the night asking for advice about something. It made us both angry because he didn't know why she was calling, and obviously I didn't want her to be calling at all. But it's little things like that that will not go away. She will always be there in one way or another, even if they don't live in the same place. He'll still always have to talk to her and deal with her craziness for the sake of the kids. Am I okay with that? Deep down, no. As much as we think it might be easier to deal with these things if we say, get married, I don't think marriage will make them go away.

Sometimes I ask myself: Do I want to live in the US? No. Do I want to be a stepmother? No, I'd want to have children of my own. Do I want to be paying my boyfriend's (or husband's) debt forever? No. Love is strong, but is it strong enough? I feel like the strong bond we do have now could be broken by the "real life" issues we'd have to deal with once we got married. It just seems like there are too many factors working against him. I felt like I was willing to make so many compromises for him (move to the US, chance it with the reverse vasectomy, help him deal with his debt), but it seems like too much of a risk.

I feel like I could still meet someone and have the life/future I really want without all the baggage of the person I am with. It's really tough because I love my boyfriend SO much, but I just don't know if being together would ultimately be the best decision. It's good to hear other people's stories to get a better perspective of my own. Hopefully my story will help shed some light on yours! I've never been in such a complicated relationship before (all the other men I have dated had never been married and didn't have any kids), and I'm beginning to see that this would be a long road and that I might not be happy with the decision to be with him...well, not so much him as his baggage and all that it would bring. However, there is always hope! We're going to wait to see what happens with his divorce and everything next month. As sad as I am about the real possibility of breaking up, I also think it might be for the best in the long run. Every relationship has it's issues, but I really need to ask myself if I want to start my life with him with so many issues already.

Thanks for listening. :) I hope reading each other's stories will make us stronger and help us gain the clarity that we are looking for!

Jasmine S from Pennsylvania on March 18, 2014:

Tobi my advise to you is simple. If you really want the first times of everything then end this relationship now. You will never be the first, nor will you enjoy any first moments with this man. You are far too young to be a step mother of 5 kids some of which are in your age range. Yes he is a good guy but you will never be happy no matter how much of a good guy he is. This is part of the curse of divorce, it doesn't only affect his family but also anyone he dates. Remember you have one life, one chance of fulfilling your dreams. Don't waste it!!

Tobi on March 18, 2014:

Oh wow!! I am actually in tears as i write this. I am a 26 year old beautiful young woman and he is 58 years old. We have been together for 4 years. He's been married twice and has 5 kids, 3 in wedlock (1 with 1st wife and 2 with 2nd wife) and 2 kids out of wedlock. We love each other very much but i just dont think i can be able to go through with this.

I have always wanted first times of everything. i have always wanted a man who will share the excitements of being 1st time parents together and now with this man, it is not possible.

The boys are 7 years younger than me and there are things that i cannot do infront of them as they are at their adolescent stages and i sometimes feel uncomfortable with the way i dress when they around. I cant be all lovey dovey with their dad, i cant wear sexy clothes nor wear a sexy bikini infront of them. I feel like i am being deprived of being happy and enjoying my 1st times with the man of my dreams. I sometimes feel like i have missed out alot as i have had to transform and start acting like an older woman, with 5 step kids. I wanna be happy and i am at a peak where i wanna get married and have kids of my own but i an just not sure if i can deprive myself of having my first everything with a man who doesn't have any baggages. He has asked me to marry him and wants 1 kid with me but i dont think i am ready to be with a man who has experienced everything while i haven't.

Please advise me :-(.

HJ31 on March 17, 2014:

As someone who married a divorced man with shared custody of his son from his first marriage, my advice is to run. Run away now! Every day it gets harder not better like you expect it too. I love my husband, but I wish I'd never married him. Now we have kids of our own who, like me, will never be treated as well as they should be, because kid number 1, no matter how awful they are, will always come first. I'm miserable and consider divorce almost daily. Get out while you still can!

L on February 23, 2014:

Look at the Stats for divorce nationally in USA or internationally, 1 in 10 or 10% nationally or internationally are DIVORCED, but of the 10% DIVORCED PPL, 91% of the DIVORCED WOMEN are caring for the kids, and only 9% of the men are caring for the kids. It kinda says that men will ALWAYS GET THE UPPER hand in relationships. They can get divorced one day and GET A new GF or WIFE the next. SOCIETY Marriage Laws haven't changed for the better for women, it is actually going the opposite direction, women are not impacted, but now the kids are the genetic carriers for the fault of divorces..

L on February 23, 2014:

And since the mid-evil times to current, when have a STEPMOM been truly a divine step mother? Look at Cinderella, Snow White, and plenty of mid century women married for MONEY and NOT LOVE. Times have not changed, but people of that nature are MAKING it OK to do the things they do, aka justifying their acts.

L on February 23, 2014:

I read through most of the posts, and 99% people talked in "I" all the time. It shows self centered issues and it isn't about children, it is about how to utilize kids to GET to the NEXT relationship. Societal toxicity and humanity turning more animalistic every generation....

Maria on February 17, 2014:

My advice to young ladies, who want to have kids is, make it clear to your partner as soon as possible. I told my man that he should decide, if he doesn't want to have kids, we should separate straight away. And he said, that there is no problem with kids after several years. Because they be weary of what "several years" actually means, set your own boundaries. You should be established - have a career ( I am in teacher training now), be fully mature and ready, and what is crucially important - positively supporting him and his kids (its a great way of proving you can be a good mother). Make the time between you, him and his kids enjoyable. A divorced man, will try make the time with kids the best, to prove there are a good father. So help him in that, don't stand in between him and the kids, become a part of their time together. In my case, though, my man doesn't see his ex, I would be careful of them having "a friendship", in case they want to, insist you will be there as well when they want to keep in touch. So, I would say, have a serious and rational conversation with your man about you having kids once a year, not more often, cos it can annoy them. Don't rush, but prepare your other half for the inevitable. It should just be very well planned, comfortable for your beloved. Be honest with them. By no means go onto unplanned pregnancy, it may just scare them away. Instead, work around your beloved, convince them they are great and truly gifted and you just crave for their genes in your child. Make them feel good about themselves, make them want a family with you. And they will. Women, we are clever, we can shape our men how we want. Just use carrot and stick. Without being hysterical, prepare them for the possibility you may need to leave them if they don't want to have children, and if they let you go, in this case - its not "the one", look for a real man, because a real man will value you and will respect your dreams.

Maria on February 17, 2014:

Remember, ladies - you are the change. No one, but you. My man is divorced and he has two lovely girls, we get along very well. Because every day I make it happen. Every person wants to have someone who loves and understands them, and nothing in the past, no ex, with all the pain they caused and emotional bullying they did, will be better than you. You just need to believe in yourself. And be firm, make it clear that you want kids, clear but calm. They should respect you. We have been together for almost two years, and we had really amazing time together. Just belive in that you are young, beautiful, caring woman - and you know, sooner or later, your love will not imagine their life without you. And the more patient, the more positive you are the more your divorced man will appreciate you. And they will. Just think for a moment, being in their shoes. It must be a horrible experience for them, after betrayal, hiving this mark "divorced" on them, its like being a looser and a man without hope. And who, if not yourself can be the light in their life. And the better you treat his children, the more he will love you. Actually if you are fun and caring, you can add a lot of positive things into the children's lives too. Just show your understanding, talk to them, be that adult that cares, even biological parents sometimes fail to make kids feel loved. If you have the capacity to love, you know, people will feel that. Just be as you are. Love yourself and believe in yourself, talk to the kids - say, I know how you feel, I know what it is like to feel like nobody cares. We all are humans, including your partner's kids. And if it doesn't work out, you have nothing to loose, they are. Because they had you, affectionate, lovely woman in their life, if they fail to appreciate you, then its going to be their life, which is ruined - not yours.

Kayla Mae on January 27, 2014:

What a beautiful post and amazing comments! It gives me hope knowing that I'm not alone in this adventure. Being a 26yr. old never married female (never really had a serious relationship for that matter) and meeting a 35yr. old divorcee with two amazing children, I thought the struggles I am going trough are just in my mind. He was with her for at least nine years, and had a vasectomy after his second was born. He and the ex wife work together and remain friends after everything they've been through... which made me a little nervous. He is an amazing guy-let me just start with that! I still always wrack my brain as to why she would want to leave him! It was her choice-she lost over 200lbs and met someone else and told my love that she didn't want to be with him anymore, and he let her go without a fight. They both realized that they weren't meant for each other and they wouldn't be happy together, and their main concern is of course their children. They are both great parents (she is one year younger than me), and they communicate well about them... but he talks to me about her a lot. And he talks to her and is always helping her out a lot, too... which makes the green monster of jealousy poke it's head out.

I never really wanted children, until (ironically) I met him and saw what kind of a father he is. He's told me that he only ever wanted two, and he has them. Now I'm still on the fence. At first, hearing of his vasectomy was a blessing to me! I wouldn't have to worry about getting pregnant when I didn't want to or have kids when I knew I didn't want any... but now, I feel like I do only so I can have something that is a part of me and him-not him and his ex (as much as I love them, and as absolutely amazing as they are!) I will gladly love his children for the rest of my life as if they are my own... but I just don't know if I'm ready to compete with his past with his ex or even his present and future with her for that matter. Especially since she is so completely gorgeous, and I feel like an elephant around her.

He has assured me that they are over (have been for almost 4 years now), and will remain friends for the kids and because they can't just delete their past together. But I do feel as though it robs me of many of my firsts.

We've only been together for a little over 6 months now, and I feel as though I have finally met the man of my dreams-and would happily spend the rest of my life with him. I just wonder if I'm ready for that competition with his ex.

I know my comment doesn't really give much hope-except for those going through the same thing. Maybe hearing more of this will help us all in knowing we are not alone, and if one of us can do it, then many if not all of us can!

Here's to our futures, ladies! Let's make a pact to keep our heads high and try to keep their past in their past and just focus on our love for our divorced men and their children.

Hard Times on January 09, 2014:

I stupidly married a man with 4 children when I was 23. Thought time with his children and LOVE would win over. Nope. Wasted 16 years tending to the brats and when they grew up, I was left with nothing much. Had 1 child of our own --still married to the man-- and that has been a joy. But if I were to give advice to a younger woman contemplating marrying a man with existing children: run, run away as fast as you can. The ex wife, also, is a haunting pain the rest of your days. In my case the ex thinks after treating her ex (my husband) like dirt emotionally for years, that he'll want to go running back to her to 'grandparent'. Nope. Hell will freeze over before that will happen. About the only control you have as a 2nd wife is after the children are grown and you are not legally required to pay child support $. After that has ended, you and your husband are in a position to decide IF you will continue contact with the ex/the ex-children etc. In our case we had been through so much garbage and angst with the 4 children and ex, that we walked away. Has been so much happier just the 3 of us and our 12 year old daughter is a joy to share together. Advice: Do NOT, I repeat NOT, marry a man with previous children unless you want needless heartache, pain, and a whole lot of baggage that does NOT come with a never before married man. My parents were right: It was a bad decision but one I have managed to make 'work'. I look at my friends with husbands who were never married before and they do generally have more $$, and much more to show materially for marriage than I do. Why? Because my husband had children before and children ARE expensive FOR YEARS. The only good thing is, eventually, we (my husband) and I were free to be 'our own family unit' ....after his children grew up and left.

But it was a long wait.

Helen on December 29, 2013:

I've been with my boyfriend over 2 years he was married for 17 years he has 2 girls and 3 step kids that he treated like he's own . I have children myself and they love him to bits , my children don't see there farther as he moved away and dosnt care about them so my boyfriend dosnt have to deal with any of that . But I've been caught up in he's past life he's kids hate me they call me names he's ex wife dosnt like me I've taken so much stick of them and it's been so hard . He's ex has got so much power over him to the point it's destroying are relationship . We can't have a holiday together because he's kids wouldn't allow it and caused trouble and I ended up going on my own and he had he's kids . I don't no how much more I can take it's got to the point it's made me I'll . My boyfriend lives with he's mum and he tells me I'm he's life and he loves me so much and that he's so lucky to have found me , yet on the other hand he's not making no effort to build a future with me it's all so confusing he's been promising to move in with me then he breaks he's promise again and again , my head is such a mess now . When we first got together he kept asking me to marry him we spent so much time together and things was so good . But when the kids all got involved he's ex started causing trouble and one minute I was aloud to see he's kids with him then I wasn't and it went on like that , then he's ex stopped him seeing he's kids for a year and he was hurt but it brought us closer more than ever , but now he's seeing he's kids again it feels like he's dropped me and my kids and pushed us in the background . He always sticks up for he's kids over me and says I'm to blame when they do things and he never believes me . And it hurts me so much when he has he's kids he dosnt really bother with me but as soon as he drops them home he starts texting me . I don't no if I can live like this anymore but I love him so much I can't walk away , I think the reason he won't move in with me is because he thinks if he does he's ex will stop him seeing he's kids again . If this is the case ill life will never move forward we're does that leave me and my kids , I've tried talking to him about it but he says I'm being silly and that he loves me and he refuses to talk about it and says I'm going on at him . But how can I keep going on like this when it's hurting me . I've tried with he's kids so hard to get on with them but it never works he's step kids treat him like rubbish they have stole of him and hurt him time and time again he's daughter has said such hurtful things to him yet he gives them everything yet the people that really care like me and my kids we get all the back lash of it all when they hurt him . He's my life I love him so much I no he loves me the same but I don't think he will ever move on from he's past and make a fresh start and that's destroying are relationship any advice would be great , cause I can't talk to him about it cause he says I'm just going on about the same stuff , what should I do .

Lee on December 24, 2013:


Lee on December 24, 2013:

Hi ladies. I started dating with my boyfriend 9 months ago. He was married before me and his wife was married before him and has 2 kids with her ex husband. She has twin girls with my man. They separated 2 years ago. But still technically married. Now his wife has a new baby boy with another man. So she has 5 kids. I'm an asian woman and i'm 30. My boyfriend is a white guy and he is 34. I never see this type of crazy life in my life. And my dream was same as yours. First marriage, first child but..... Now i don't know what to do. I really love him. He says love me too. His wife is very jealous and she doesn't our relationship :(

Chrissy on December 20, 2013:

Oh?! N i forgot to mention that the first born who is a guy already knows about us n he is very supportive of his dad. He totally likes me. The rest are girls and they ve no idea.

Chrissy on December 19, 2013:

Hello People,

I am dating this guy who is 17 years older than me and a divorcee. I am 26 , never married n no kids. he got divorced 11years ago and has been living alone for all those years except for the last one year that we met. He has grown kids first being 23 n last 14 n he loves them so much. They know me but thy ve no idea that we are dating. They knw tht we r just friends. They r very good kids n by the fact tht thy r mature thy knw respect. He is a wonderful guy n everything that i ever wanted bt my mum n other few friends think tht its nt a good idea. he wants two more kids n tht makes me happier. He has said if he wl nt marry me, he wl never marry me. I wl try my luck coz i dont knw hw God has planned my future. What do u pple think?

Ramgirl on December 10, 2013:

I am in the exact situation, minus the vasectomy. In fact, I'm 10 weeks pregnant, and he's completely lackluster about it, and the ex--who looks like a video vixen--is running around half naked in front of him. Not to mention, I found out that only a few short months before we started dating, they were messing around and thinking of getting back together. His past tortures my mind and I always feel like I just won't measure up.

But then, I wake up and realize that women, by nature, compare ourselves to other and have standards for ourselves that far exceed the ones that others, particularly our men, have for us. And while I wonder how they aren't still together, the truth is that they aren't and he picked me. And if there's anything that turns a man on it is confidence, and if there's anything that kills a man's view of us is lack of confidence. Then I take inventory of my positive attributes over her, and quite frankly, we are both pretty awesome in different ways. And she may have his past for the last 14 years, but I have his future...and our many years will blow her 14 away in no time. I wish you the best and hope that these circumstances don't deter you from being happy if he, in fact, truly values how great you are. And, if nothing else, he made all his ridiculous mistakes with her and is now better trained for you :-D

april on December 10, 2013:

I see I am not alone and see many other people are facing or faced the same challenge I am dealing with currently with a new man that came into my life and means the world to me. I myself am 27, and I am divorced but have no children of my own. I have dated several men with kids but it never became serious that anything became an issue. Now here I am, met a divorced man thats a bit older than myself and father of two teenage daughters already and was married 11 years and I just fell head over heels for him because it all felt so right and the connections and attractions are were and are so strong and mutual. But I am 27, I want children of my own eventually. I met him, we have strong feelings for each other and now the difficult challenges are setting in. He claimed after his divorce he never wanted anymore children and he had a vasectomy . Just finding that out was the worst challenge I had to face because he is finally someone that entered my life and developed feelings for like never before with anyone since I been divorced. I am someone that absolutely can't wait to begin my own family. He claims I am only person that made him change his mind and would undergo the surgery to have it reversed but not until years to come until youngest daughter is over 18. To me that was quite difficult to accept, as I dreamed like everyone else to find the man of your dream, fall in love, get married and begin a family. Not have to wait years for him to have it reversed then begin to start trying and knowing always in the back of my head it may not be a successful surgery and I may waste years of my valuable time with him and then find out we can't have children because it wasn't successful and waited too many years before having it reversed when knowing that reversals are most successful when reversed in the first couple years after having it done. Getting involved with a man and knowing he is not happy to want kids or meeting a man that had a vasectomy would be a number one deal breaker right away as it has always been my main goal after getting divorced to find a man that if has children is joyful to give me more children or if he doesn't have any children it would be his ultimate goal to fall in love, get married and can't wait to begin a family. But in my case, I happened to fall for someone that is divorced, was married 11 years, has two teenage daughter 18 and 14, and has a vasectomy. It hurt me to find out that news because I am someone who looks forward to having two or three kids of my own. I went and made the hardest decision ever to accept it and continue to be with one another with hopes of us having a future and being able to have children of our own and remaining positive he would have a successful reversal and we will eventually have our own. But the sad part is, knowing the fact he isn't to enthused to have more children and never wanted anymore and had the vasectomy and probably is of preference to meet someone that doesn't want kids its the downside and upsetting part to it because you want to have children with someone who is just as happy as you are to have more children and treat me as a future potential wife and the future kids not last but equally . So I feel he would be just doing it to give me a kid and not be happy though about it and is not a real "want" of his which makes it sad to face. Everyone wants to have a child with a man that is happy to have more. But I been coping and accepting the matter even though deep down it hurts and is sad I feel for someone with this baggage because I never would have continued to see someone with this baggage, but he was a man I met, and fell deeply and strongly for and I am making that exception for him because of the way I feel about him and I do not know if I am making the worst decision ever because there are so many men out there that have no children and look forward to having children or men that do have children already but see having more children as happiness not as a pressure. My feelings for him and way I feel makes me want to continue seeing him and be together. However, know the situation just seems to be getting worse!! The holidays are now approaching, and he doesn't want to spend it with me or let me be a part in his life on Christmas and spend together with me coming to his family or him and his daughters coming to my family because he doesn't think he wants his girls to meet me yet which I think is completely unfair because if he truly feels so strongly about me like he claims then he would explain to his daughters how much I mean to him and they would be happy and comfortable accepting there father has a woman in his life that makes him happy, but instead I am being excluded. I don't know how to take it, I feel I am on the back burner and will always be last for rest of my life if we were to get married. Accepting someone with kids is not a deal breaker, but when it comes to being shafted and pushed aside and me not being able to be accommodated into his day on Christmas to be able to spend together is really making me wonder and it hurts. Kids will always come first, there financial needs and wants will always need to be met first before anything else, his time needing to be spent with them always be first and probably would never have time for us in future to do the things together like you could with a man that has no kids, or a man that has kids but will make equal amount of time for you and will never exclude. He told me straight my kids will always be number one in my life and come before anything else. I am lost and confused!! Have strong feelings for this man, and makes me happy...but I also don't wanna be treated unfairly and last always. The children that came from first marriage are always going to be the number one children and if we had children it wouldn't be as special to him because he already experienced parenthood with first wife of 11 years. A man with children isn't the deal breaker, but when there is no rarely ever gonna be "US" time, always going to be third in life and not eventually equal is when the problems may occur and the heartaches will set in because already he doesn't want to spend the holidays together and has to spend entire day morning till night with daughters and I am excluded, that's when it becomes unfair. I am lost and confused because he tells me he is the luckiest guy to have met me, wants the best for us in future, but yet is not very compromising I'm seeing and will always be last in life if developed into a future together. I wonder will he have the excitement and joys of having a child with me, will that child be treated not the same and unfairly because it's not the children that came from first wife/marriage. I feel if a woman or man enters your life and you care about them, have hopes for a bright future then they should not be excluded or and should be treated fairly and equally. It is a very tough and lifelong decision to choose to make or not. I care about him, feel I would want a future with him, would willingly always accept his daughters but wonder will they accept me or be the daughters that don't like step mother. Will his daughters accept and be happy if he had more kids and want to have step siblings or would they not like the idea of it and will he always do in life what they want him to do and not be type to explain and make them understand he fell in love with someone that has no children and have them accept the fact he would have more kids and they will happily accept it, or will he always just take there opinion and I be last and always be back burner. Confused!!! To continue through with it and hope for best, or walk away and find a man that wants children soon and will always treat me fairly and equal! Just until today it seems like everything down the line is going to be unfair and issues will always arise, and those precious daughters will always be number ones and me as a second wife and any children WE brought into the picture would be treated last and not equally. What to do?? I care about him deeply, want a future, but also don't want to be set on back burner rest of life!

Uhhuh on December 03, 2013:

Perhaps inappropriate, and belatedly timed, however, I cannot help but respond. I am a divorced woman (gasp) with two children. I am dating a single never married no kids man right now. I see his struggles in your posts and have learned a bit about what it must feel like to be him. It is not what he hoped or imagined. That's rough. And having kids is crazy, esp when not your own. But having kids is nuts even when they are your own. The relationship with ex (are they a selfish controlling asshat?) matters too. But your relationship matters more, and it has to, that is one of the important things I gave learned. Boundaries with my ex are important to any current relationship. But you must honor the man for putting his kids first, he will (would) put yours first too, that's just what all good parents do. That's what kids do to every relationship! The minute little bundle of joy shows up, you are both second, and your relationship is third! Granted, as a step parent, your place in their lives needs to be negotiated, and that's hard too, but depends so much on your relationship. It can be a blessing if you figure out the distance (space) necessary for all to be happy. Do you need a room that is yours to get away? That's ok! I, for one, am lucky in some ways, b/c I do not want a dad for my kids. They have a father, a very involved and loving dad. My honey is for me, and I am for him. I could go more into details, but I am writing now mainly to respond to this whole "he has baggage you deserve better" bullshit. Everyone has baggage. We are born with it or we contract it. That's life. It's HOW WE CARRY IT that matters. He has cancer, dump his ass, that's miserable, girlfriend. Serious? Kids are not baggage, anymore than lack of experience dealing with kids is a handicap (never had any? You probably aren't as cool with smelling like pee and peanut butter. At this, I am a champ. No baggage here!) One thing my honey can say is, our weekends alone (when their dad has them!) are freaking awesome, having a third co-parent has benefits, too!! Hint: You will NEVER get that with your precious full-time baby (sorry, kinda mean but truuuue!) Furthermore, he knows for a fact that I am a great mother, certainly an attractive characteristic. ALSO, I have actually learned from my mistakes in past relationships. I know who I am and actually took the time to reflect on why my marriage didn't work. I'm not just caught up in resentment blaming my ex and the world. I am a waaay better partner, lover, communicator, with all this experience under my belt. In short, it's just not fair to say avoid a man (or woman) because of his/her status.

Lo on November 03, 2013:

Zfiles, thank you for your advice. I try focusing on the important things which is my bf and his son, I'm lucky to have a great guy followed with an amazing son that I got along with right off the back. I've always and still will be respectful to his ex wife, no matter how rude she is to me because ultimately she is the special little guys Mother. My BF always tries to keep the drama away from me as he doesn't want to lose me. I'm a personal trainer in my career, and have helped transitioned my bf's lifestyle, so other than me being positive health wise in his life, he's just surprised how well we've blended as far as what we have in common, and because I have no issue not being first in his life. I want him always to have his son come first, and if he didn't I would lose serious respect for him as a Father. He's such a great Dad that I just admire him. I just never thought that me being in my 30's that I would be more mature than a women that's almost 50. My BF always ask me "how come a girl like you fell in love with me" I just reply "I just feel it, my gut tells me I can't let go, no matter how hard this experience can be"... So one thing for sure is I'll never regret my first time dating a Divorced Dad. I can tell all those other women that it can be challenging, but it also can be the best experience that helps you grow.

zfiles on November 03, 2013:

Lo...let it go. The H E double hockey sticks with this other woman. It is all about control. Once they go sour...look out. It is like a train wreck.

On another note, insecurity is definitely involved. You see, some women that have divorced a great mate find it difficult to see another woman in his presence. It can be a difficult transition/experience. I have met a rock star of a woman...beautiful and very open and kind. I will not bring this woman around the ex wife nor will I ever bring myself around my ex wife. LOL! Manipulation, conniving and confusion as in my ex; she wants to be friends after a divorce and I ask myself, hmmm....why weren't we friends when we were married for the last few years of our 10 year marriage? Also, why does a conniving woman use my own kids against me to try and get what she wants? That sure sounds like a good friend!! LOLOLOL! I will not and cannot be a friend to this selfish, conniving and manipulative individual...ever. Just not me and I am moving on.

Ignore and block out the garbage and noise that comes from this person. Focus on your mate and your vision of having a successful and meaningful relationship. The hell with her and what she thinks. She is disrespectful...let her deal with her own misery and confusion. Focus on the important things in your life. Might be easier for a man to do!:)

Lo on November 02, 2013:

I too am dating a divorced dad that was with his ex wife for 10 years and married for another 10, they have a son together. We both have no desire for anymore children, as mine is grown already, and his is only 11. He never gets me in the middle of his ex wife's drama, and he looks forward to the day his kid is 18 and he doesn't have to pay her anymore, since he already pays for things his son needs and doesn't see why he has to pay for her needs. One of the issues is how awkward she makes it when we all have to be around one another for their sons events, she never acknowledges me, I'm always the first one to greet her, she never makes eye contact with me. I don't understand where all the hostility is from considering I have a good relationship with their son, she says one thing then contradicts herself. Example that if I want to call her house to talk to their son that it's completely fine, but when finding out her son and I iMessage from our iPad she freaks out and says its weird. It doesn't make sense. Sent him endless texts a couple months ago talking how "she's better than me" "I'm an airhead" "that he's sad he lost her", keep in mind her and I never had full conversations because she never talks to me, his response basically was "good riddance" he never pries into her dating life, or minds her personal business. He has no desire to ever reconcile. She wanted the divorce and after years and years of marriage counseling and trying to make it work, he basically said "you want a divorce, you got it" ... It's not like I dated him when he was married. In fact he dating someone else right after, and I met him almost 2 years of being divorced. He's 10 years older than me and his ex wife is 13 years older than me. I've always said to him from the beginning, that I will never take a side when it comes to them and their opinions of one another, and that I will never talk an ill word of her, especially to their son. I've done all the right things, as far as their son, and been respectful to her. I just don't understand her disgust-anger with me.

Zfiles on November 02, 2013:

Hello again.

Dating divorced women, in my case has been an enlightening and eye opening experience. Single women with children. It is strange and yet the amount of drama that unfolds within the single parent household is surprising. The amount of complaining and the lack of a father figure in the home is omnipresent. The children, especially the 8 year old is confused...a bright young boy of who is seemingly looking for some stability in his life...he calls me his next Dad. Ouch. Secondly, the mother is vulnerable and looking for comfort...someone with a much better financial situation to aide her in her high maintenance prowess as she uses me...a 45 year old attractive and intelligent man to boost her ego. It also helps me for we do have a connection and understand each other. Nothing sexual and I will not go for it. She is very pretty, but being involved at that level...I run the other way.

It is interesting to see the struggle of a family that is exposed to so many outside and internal forces especially when it comes to the vulnerability of a woman on her own of who struggles to keep peace in her father less home. She also has a 17 year old that has some pretty bad mental health issues and is under the influence of pills and marijuana. To see her lacking the ability and power to address this issue with her Son is sad. This young man walks all over his mother and has little to no respect for this woman. This woman seems to be stressed beyond any human threshold. Her complaining brings out the "devil" in her. As a result, being a gentleman that I am, I provide her with some much needed emotional support and really try to work hard at opening her mind, but with her being under the influence as a single parent for so long and having the same behavioral and thought processes, she seems to relinquish any opportunity to improve and settle down. Instead of bringing friends into her apartment and drinking wine, laughing and chasing a good time, she finds herself(a very attractive woman with great qualities) always looking for an outlet or in other words a good time. This was also the case with a 33 year old woman that I dated...she drank uncontrollably when she went out on the town and indicated through certain indirect statements that she was looking to be provided for instead of having a loving sociable and long term relationship where two people learn to grow through both good and bad times. The entitlement factor:) As in my ex wife of who embodied much of the same principles. The words, "I deserve" came out of each of these 2 women including my ex wife. The "all about me" issue runs rampant based on my observations during 10 years of marriage and 3 women that I have met and dated over the course of the last 16 months.

Based on my observations and personal relationship values, I am starting to gather valuable evidence based on my abbreviated relationships with these women and my ex wife. I have also interviewed some of the married women that I know and found out from them that the problems that they experience with their husbands is about having POWER in their relationships over their male counterpart. I have interviewed 10 married women and 90 percent of them indicate that it is about some kind of POWER struggle. Confused about their responses about having POWER, I can attest to their internal issues now based on my experience with single mothers from semi happy marriages that divorced their husbands for no real apparent reason. Their responses were mainly excuses. To escape from reality and believe that the grass is greener seems to be the issue. Now they are faced with challenges that confuse them as well as their children.

Now they are faced with an uphill battle as their children start to reach their teens and as a result, mental health issues arise. They seem to stem from the mental health issues of the parent, in most part, the single mother(or father) in these cases. They love their children and definitely care and provide for them in addition to child support...on another note, 2 of the women that I dated or hung out with used child support funds to fund their hair and nail modifications and clothing purchases. Extortion:) I witnessed one of my dates spending 1300 dollars in child support to fund a mass clothing purchase. To my dismay, she acted like she deserved it while her 10 year old Son walks around with torn shoes and very minimal bedroom furniture. :( It made me feel sick on the inside to see this .

I also dated a 43 year old woman. On our second meeting, she had her clothing off in no time. I learned much about this woman. She certainly had some mental health issues due to her former husband walking out on her...he cheated and ran off with another woman. So this woman with 2 children in their teens turned to alcohol to ease the pain. Promiscuity is her outlet outside of alcoholism. I abated the relationship in no time.

Now, not singling out the single woman, I have also met up with many men that are single and divorced...struggling to stay alive after being beat up by the family court system...child support and alimony. Some live in half way houses...these men are philosophical in nature and their mental health varied based on the number of years following their divorce. To see them with their children, I noticed very loving and caring fathers, but their was definitely a disconnect with their children on an emotional level. As in me, with very limited exposure to my children, the father figure involvement has deteriorated over time. Being pushed and pulled from a house to an apartment and peeling children from your neck while they are giving you a hug as they are being dropped off is very difficult on the father and his offspring. Especially those Dads that depended upon his family experience that completed him.

The single divorced fathers that I have witnessed range from a complete lack of connection with their children to a more subtle connection. Most of the fathers that I have witnessed show their kids a good time with not authority...just the so called disney land dad syndrome. I witnessed children that act out and favor manipulation to get what they want from their fathers. What can a Dad do other than be passive for he wants happiness in his children's lives at all costs. Some fathers had developed new relationships with other women and have minimized their contact with their children in order to try and foster a healthy relationship with their new mate.

As a result of my experience with single divorced women, I must say that I must stay well away. I will be friends with this type, but no more. To have to deal with another man's children is a bit too much.

As for dating a single divorce man with children. There may be a possibility, but it surely depends on both parties involved and their understanding of their position in the relationship. It is very different and in a sense scary. Scary in the sense that in my case, I was used to a family foundation for 10 years. That foundation is now a rocky one with respect to the single person. Never will I construct another family that has to deal with a single person with children. To me this is not growth, but moving backwards.

lulu on October 28, 2013:

I am also in this situation and I am finally, really leaving. We have been together nearly three years but never lived together. I wanted a HOME, to start right. What he bought for his ex wife. He just wanted me to move my stuff into his small apartment. I never resented the kids, they need a caring, consistent woman in their lives. I have felt extremely upset when they parrot to me things this bi*** says about me. She bad mouths me and their dad. Recently I learned that it was not only she who was being vengeful and playing games while they divorced, it was he too. There are so many things I do not know and won't ever know. But I do know that I don't trust what he says about her, their ending, and yet this woman will always be in our lives. I'm supposed to be a part of this family but if things don't work out, guess who ends up with nothing? I agree with someone up there: listen to your intuition. We want to believe, as overly giving women that I think this page is full of, that the man cares as much as we do. But is he did, we wouldn't be on this comment page, we would be happily secure in our relationships. I'm leaving because I want to LIKE myself again, and feel fully alive in any random moment, instead of, as I have been, constantly re-thinking my position, or feeling like a dumb-ass for being in this situation, or liking myself less because I am comparing myself using the ex as a standard. I would LOVE to raise his kids as mine. BUt first you need to be sure the MAN is for YOU, with nothing that he does "because what you don't know won't hurt you." God dammit. ALl these woman on here, wasting our time while these men obviously don't care enough to make it worth our while! I think we have all been fooling ourselves. It's time to find what we want and deserve- a man who values what we value and with whom we can start the kind of real, trusting relationship we can build a family on.

Zfiles on October 28, 2013: is tough. Recently divorced from a ten year marriage. I have three beautiful kids...all little girls of which their mother did damage beyond repair. A loving father to his family and kids. I was married to a woman that was emotionally abusive and lacked many of the true characteristics of a genuine and loving lady. With tons of debt and a lack of interest in a female companion, I no longer think of having any type of relationship again. Sad as it may is so true. With kids and the POS ex wife in the way of having any type of a better life and relationship with a woman...I concede. I don't want to put someone through such pain.

On another note, I have dated a few women that are single mothers with children. All I can say is no way. I am also third or fourth in line and not only this, the amount of resentment towards men had surfaced with each of these women.

Divorce is unfair. Unfair to the father of his beloved children. Unfair to the children and an ex wife of who stole the children that he loves right out from under his nose. One of the ten commandments states that "Thou shalt not steal." As in the other mothers that I have is the same. Semi happy marriages that turned a man and his children's lives upside down. To steal from a man his kids and to cause so much emotional harm is beside me. Well, in my case my former wife is married to her Dad. She had been since she was little. Her father is millionaire and also a terrible man in that he has tried to ruin me financially through a divorce.

Stay away from the turmoil from the results of a divorce. It can be very intimidating and above all hectic. Yes, it is very possible that marrying a divorced man with kids can work, but it has to be understood that YOU will not be the parent of his kids; YOU will never be in a position to reprimand his children; YOU will never be number one; YOU will never be able to alleviate the fact that the ex wife is always there.

Jasmine S from Pennsylvania on October 21, 2013:

It's nice to know that I'm not the only one in this boat. I wrote a similar article and I got so much abuse and derogatory comments from a lot of readers simply because none of them understand the pain that comes from dating a divorced man. It's like your dream of having the perfect family will never be fulfiled. Yes not all divorced men are bad men. We don't question your character. Its your baggage and your ex-life that ruins our current life. I don't care if you're the nicest man on the planet. If you're divorced and have children, you will never understand the pain that you inflict on us childless singletons who have decided to let you be in our lives. It may sound one sided but unless you have been in a relationship with a divorced man or if you're a divorced man that has been in a relationship with a single childless woman, you will never understand the predicament. So to all of you haters that wrote rubbish comments on my article, I am open to criticism but don't insult me simply because I have outlined my experience. If you disagree with me, then lay out your reasons and don't call me names. Lots of us women suffer from this and if anyone asks me advice to date a divorced man, I will always tell them to flee from doing so because I have experienced that type of life. If you haven't experienced it, then don't insult people that have.

Suzy on September 30, 2013:

I think that is the risk you take when you marry someone with lifelong "baggage" meaning ex- wife and kids. You knew what you were getting into. Furthermore, most moms with young children dont want a new woman "mothering" their children. You would not understand unless you had children of your own. Secondly, fathers also must financially support their children- period. SO yes, you and your husbands income will be shared with his ex and child so they can also maintain a decent standard of living. If financially he cant really afford that, perhaps you should reconsider having any more children for him to barely support.

Second and third wives will always play second fiddle to children of previous relationships as it should be. Children come first as you would hope for your own children. He wil not be able to be as spontaneous, travel, have extra cash and the like. That you have to decide whether you want to sacrifice your own life for that.

Ellie on September 29, 2013:

It won't be worth your self esteem, your confidence, or your overall happiness. I rejected the idea of ever dating anyone with a child because I have seen it firsthand. Maybe you can 'eke' through but why settle? Life is short and hard enough. Look elsewhere if a successful marriage is your goal. Birds of a feather....

Cat on June 25, 2013:

I was in the same situation. I was with the 'not quite divorced' man for 2 years (which is even worse than your situation). He was working on the divorce the whole time we were together. He has 2 kids who I regularly spent time with.

He even talked about marrying me. That went on and on for a year. Just 4 months ago, he told me he's buying a ring and that we will get married soon. He warned me to prepare myself. He asked me where I would like to get married and what sort of wedding I wanted. He even came up with names for our future children.

He loved me. I loved him and that was all I cared about.

Then resentments built over time. I have felt all of those things you mentioned. Being a young woman, 14 years his junior, I also want a life full of adventures, travelling and seeing the world, exploring new things. I couldn't even get him out of the house, because the kids prefer to stay at home, or he's too tired/lazy to go out. I began to love him less and less. The only time I realised I loved him so much is when he told me to go our separate ways.

We both knew this relationship was not right for both of us. I'm too young for his old soul. He's to old to consider changing his lifestyle for a more exciting one. He also refused to compromise and meet me halfway. As soon as I made a mistake, he saw that as a chance to break up with me.

So after 2 years and 1 year talking about wedding bells and children, I was devastated when it ended. Devastated and HAPPY at the same time. I already realised how much better off I am without him. I am already imagining my true love is waiting for me out there. He would be single, closer to my age, emotionally available, NO BAGGAGE, ready to love and get married to the one he's ever loved.

That's me.

Have some faith. If you end this, there's a greater chance of happiness for you out there. I know it feels impossible when you're still in love with him, but all these baggage will suck all the love out of you eventually.

Trust me. I ignored everyone who told me to break up with him. I should have left a long time ago.

Geoff on February 27, 2013:

Very enlightening post. I'm on the other side of the coin; This is an old post so I'm sure this comment may not even be read. It was hard for me to grasp being on the side of the woman. My ex is just an ex, she's not "first" to me. While I don't harbor resentment or hatred towards the woman, I just don't see her with any shred of nostalgia. My girlfriend, however, has a very difficult time of not being "first". In my eyes, she is the best soul mate I could ever imagine, and couldn't hold a candle to my ex.

It's definitely a situation that tears you up. The best you can settle for is understanding that you feel that way because you DO care so much about your man. I keep trying to tell myself, if these feelings didn't exist, then we'd just have a superficial "surface" love, not one that runs deep. Definitely a double edged sword though.

Hopefully you understand, he does things to be with you out of want and choice. he does things for his ex out of obligation. Not an ideal situation, but I commend you for occupying a role and sticking with it.

Kelly on February 10, 2013:

The only thing that makes dating a man with a child difficult a is an unhappy and jealous ex-wife. If that woman isn't happy with herself, she will try to make it difficult for any new woman she sees as a threat. You can be the perfect "friend" to her child and all she will do is try to vilify you for things that aren't even real. Believe me, just love yourself, do right by the child, love your husband and his child and live your life. Hope that the ex will get a life of her own as well so that she stops focusing on yours. My husband's ex-wife thought I wanted to be the mother of her child so she told him he didn't have a stepmother. Please, I never thought that loving my husband's child and looking out for his best interest was an insult to her. My only advice is that if you are going to date or marry a man with a child, remember be true to yourself and try to find humor in the sheer insanity that comes your way from the ex.

zieloneoczy on December 22, 2012:

I would advise any woman under 35 who is attractive and can easily find men not to bother with this headache. However, when I was 34, I decided to date my fiancée because 1) he is amazing, 2) his ONE child was already 10 3) his ex wife was happily involved in a relationship with someone else. It's really the best-case scenario with all the baggage, but it is still such a challenge. You always think about the woman who came first (even if she was never the one for him), he the child he had with someone else. Maybe there are woman out there more understanding than me, but it is truly a challenge in my opinion and unless he is a top-notch guy i really wouldn't go there.

alma75 on December 20, 2012:

I am so glad that I am not alone in this because it often feel like I am and like there's noone who can understand me. I have been dating a divorced father of three children for the last two years. We are talking marriage and future life together but because of our circumstances of living in different countries, in order to be together I would have to give up my job and everything I've got here. It is incredibly hard to make a final decision only because I don't see that he is treating me well. He is a nice guy and I love him but his life is all about his children + he is very materialistic, adores money and is very stingy to me. Never buyes me anything, I never got a candy bar from him. Still, he expects me to drop everything in life and be with him. I think that the bigger problem is that what he has and all his plans for the future are all about his children. Every time he had to make a choice between me and them, without any mistake, he always chose them. And I am talking about very little things and important things as well. i have done all I could to try to get with him on the right page but it isn't working. His number one priority in life are hic children, he spends all his money on them, he soends all his vacation on them, we have never been anywhere together, and he gets to see them quite often which means that I don't see him for months because he is with them two weekends a month and unbeliveably often for school holidays. On the rare weekend that he is actually not with them, he is too tired to visit me. There are so many other issues but the biggest of all is that my dream is to have children. He said that he is OK with it that we have a child (he said one is maximum and doesn't want more with me) but I am having problems to concive and he is refusing to go to the fertility specialist with me. He says it's my own fault that I didn't have children before and it's not his fault. But he doesn't want to help me have one now, we don't have regular sex, he doesn't want to get medical help, I am on my own. Having sex every second month at best and when he wants to come, and I never know when is that going to be, and he cancels a lot of our planned time, it is impossible to get pregnant. I already have problems getting pregnant and i am doing everything I can on my own but it's not enough. The basic condition of plain havin sex is not met. And he refuses to time his visits to me based on my cycle. I guess it's clear that I am paying all the medical expenses myself. I don't know what to do. I feel I am getting old and there are only married men around me and I'll never find anyone. I feel like this may be my last chance and that's why I don't give up on him and our relationship. But I would advise any woman NEVER to get involved with a mdivorced father. It is a nightmare. You will never have your needs met and you will always fall second to his children and to himselg. Eventually, you can get something if there is anything left after their needs and wants have been met. You are not second, you are always last, and often completely unimportant, almost as if you don't exist at all. I will see where this goes and most likely this isn't going anywhere. There is no way that you can have a meaningful successful marriage with someone who has someone else as a priority in his life.

lovedoctor926 on December 17, 2012:

I'm not going to advise you on what I think you should do because when it comes to matters of the heart, only you my friend can decide. I can relate to your experience because I also dreamed of finding that guy and marrying in my mid twenties and it didn't happen. I'm in my 30s now, still look and feel like I'm in my 20s, but I have grown as a person, which means that just because you're in your 30s doesn't mean that you're old nor that you have to settle for second best. As much as you love him, having an ex wife around is a big red flag. Keep in mind that his children will always come first. And his ex wife will always find a way to be involved in her children's life. It will take a lot of adjustment and compromise from your part. I have been in this situation and I can relate with the exception that I never lived with this person. I understand that you love him, but do not settle. Each and everyone of us has baggage. Some more than others. Follow your intuition. If something doesn't feel right, then just let it go. The red flags are usually there for a reason. don't ignore them. I recommend you reading this book called how to succeed with men, by louis copeland. It will give you a better perspective on finding true love

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on December 17, 2012:

I think marrying a divorced man with kids or no kids is may not work for everyone. The ex will always be a part his life and you the second wife will never be sure of where you stand in his life. It can ruin you if you don't know how to cope with the changes.

NoName on December 03, 2012:

Ah, the comraderie of shared circumstances. I married for the first time at 41. Had always lived alone, choosing to invest in my education and teaching career. I simply never met the "right one." Had assumed I would go to college, marry, have kids...reality was something else. My husband is 6 years older, had a hellish marriage, 2 kids and a nightmare of a divorce. Love is a beautiful but blinding force. We had a fantastic dating life. We developed a close, genuine friendship that had that undeniable romantic spark. There were red flags, but I calmly waved them aside. Those red flags have now become huge strains on our relationship.

His 18 yr old daughter, with whom he has quite the dysfunctional relationship, is now pregnant. So I am not only NOT his first wife, nor his first love, nor have I born his first child, I am now in a place to be a step-grandparent. Did I mention his kids live with us full time? What a slap in the face.

There was a pop song way back in the 70's or 80's that said "sometimes love just ain't enough." Now I understand why. Love is wonderful and I do love my husband and stepkids but living with this stress on a daily basis is beginning to damage my emotional well-being.

What we women will do for love.

I dearly resent being in this situation - though I entered by my own choice. Ladies, listen to Fifi - don't do it! The heartbreak of being less than #1 in your husband's life is rather devastating. I applaud Fifi for 16 years of marriage and would love to meet her in person and gain from her experience.

Nickydutch on November 26, 2012:

I am SO happy i found this 'HUB'. Am holding on to the edge of sanity by my nails. Here we go: I have been with my boyfriend for 5 years now and we have been living together for 3 of these. He has 3 kids ( twin boys of 11 and a 13 year old daughter . He is the best dad in the world and he does lots with them and has then 1 weekday every week and every other weekend. I never wanted a boyfriend with children but at age 31 that was a lot to ask and was looking at spending the rest of my life alone if i did not settle for some baggage, and i met him :D I never made a secret of me not wanting to have kids or even be a stepmom and he was always fine with this. My boyfriend want me to be more of a step mom now and has said in a row that i need to have a good think about if i want to spend my life with him and his kids as they are a package (stangly enough and think the rules have changed as i normally could do as i pleased really). After 3 years in his house i finaly got to the stage that the kids sometimes clear their mess up and the house is in a livable state of cleanlyness what is very hard to substain with his kids around. I get grumpy when i get home from being in work for 24 hours and the house is a tip expecially because i leave it clean for his kids to arrive in. His ex is a phycho who has been kicked out of 2 houses for not paying the rent (he does pay her lots of money but she chooses to spend it elsewhere) and cleaners need to clean the places profesionally after she leaves so i can see where they get it from. I am normally ok with the kids and have my moments of baking cookies and help them do their room etc but am stuck emotionally and can not seem to find a happy place with this one. My boyfriend and me are going to my home country for a few days over new years, i am working (with teenagers) christmas eve and all day Christmas and sleep there 2 nights and he has now arranged to have his kids all day and night boxing day. I was really hoping to have some adult time that day and invite some adults over (even have his kids till 13.00 or summot) I know a lot will think: "why are you with him then" and "you are so selfish , you got him for yourself on new years" but this is the way i feel. I think the moment when it got extra hard is when He told me that if his kids are grown up we could move to Dubai or Thailand for a year as he can work from there....... just counting the days. Does it mean that if i love him that i am a hartless cow if i dont feel the same for his kids ? :(

Fifi on November 23, 2012:

Marrying a man with children and an ex-wife, etc., et al is the HARDEST thing I have ever done. I was 39 when I married and never had children. I would advise anyone under 39 NOT to marry a man with children. It is EXTREMELY difficult. My husband and I are still married (16 years) and my stepdaughters adore me and I them, but it was HELL in the early years because of the ex-wife. She was horrible. Oddly enough, we are now a happy, blended family all the way around but it was VERY, VERY DIFFICULT. If you take this on understand that your feelings with always, ALWAYS come last when there are children and a b***h ex-wife. This is the truth ... no sugar coating. Talk to woman who married a man with children -- they will all tell you the same thing. GOOD LUCK.

Elizabetth on September 14, 2012:

Iam engaged to this man who has four very young kids. I have never been married before neither do i have any kids.He is 15years my senior. His divorce is still ongoing. We have been dating for almost two years now and i recently moved in with him in his house where he lived with his exwife to be for 11years before she moved out about 2 years and half ago. they share the kids half half. its been terrible,ofcourse will always be there number six in his life, i am practicaly raising the kids and they constantly remind me that that is not my home but theirs,and i should not make any rules or discipline them. my fiancé doesn't want to have a kid in the near future. He still wants to continue with the old traditions they had with his ex and i just feel so invisible. he expects me to pick up from where his wife left and sometimes forget that i am a single woman who has never been a mother before. i wonder sometimes if he really loves me or he is just using me to help him raise his numerous disrespectful kids. I love him so much that i had fooled myself that maybe things wolud get better. the truth is,i will never be his priority, i dont think any childless woman deserves this kind of a relationship. he will never share with you the joy of having the first kid,or walking down the aisle for the first time. you are his second life,he has been there done that. so please ladies run as fast as you can. after reading all these stories posted here i finally have the courage to tell him that its over!

Shay44 on August 31, 2012:

I came across this page having nothing but anger for only 5 months but feels like a life time! I feel your pain! And I'm so glad to see that there are other women I can relate to.

I am in my 20's never married and I have no children(yet). The man, I am now in love with and want to spend the rest of my life with,we were friends for a few years prior to these feelings. We had one crazy night and that one night left me with greatest gift I never thought I was ready for, I became pregnant with my first child. I was very lost and confused and didn't know what to do. I wasn't married and that goes against everything I was taught growing up. My love is a divorced in his mid 30's and has two little ones of his own, whom I adore beyond belief. The only thing is I'm not Mom so they don't feel the need to respect me. I never asked for this but now it's what I want more than anything to spend the rest of my life with him. I too, have to deal with the baggage and debt that his cheating ex-wife left him with. She took half his income yearly and he still pays full for everything they have from daycare to birthday parties. I am about to start a family with him and we are inseparable but I find myself wanting to hide in our room any time his kids visit. They are incredibly smart and fun to play with but when it comes to discipline they want nothing to do with it and as I feel my love has "single parent syndrome". He doesn't get to see them as much as he wants and with his job nor does he get enough time when they are at our house so they get absolutely everything and anything that they want. So in other words "spoiled." I feel like I as well come in 4th and it is by far one of the worst feelings imaginable between the jealousy and wanting those "first" moments. He has one boy and one girl in a 3 bedroom house. So I in return don't get that exciting feeling of being able to decorate the baby's room or getting to buy all the clothes that I want because my love has the hand me downs from both his children. This is not how I pictured my first pregnancy to be. I'm frustrated, lost and I don't know how to handle any of this. I was bar tending while going to school full time and once I became pregnant and about 5 months along I was let go from my job. Illegal I know but there is nothing I can do without the unwanted stress that I don't need to ensure my baby's health. So in return losing my job the smartest option was to break my lease and move in with my love the father of my child. At first it was great I love being a housewife, but working around his ex-wife and her crazy schedule ( wanting to switch days or weekends so she can go out and do whatever) and his children not listening I sometimes feel like I'm in a prison. I want to be with him more then anything but in reality my anxiety dealing with his baggage is sometimes too much and I wish I could just leave. This is not how I pictured my life and I know everything happens for a reason I just wish I knew that if i stick through this it's for the better and not for the worse. I know all I need is patience but it's the last thing I have at this point. I went from being single and doing my own thing to insta-mom and have done a complete 180 on my life. Any suggestions on how to deal with this?

Jay on August 13, 2012:

I just came across this page after spending the last two hours crying over a PTA meeting. I see there are woman on both sides of the fence here... But I hope I end up in your side destiny! See I have been with my boyfriend for a year now (I know it's not that long) and he has two boys. His ex wife is a crazy lady who cheated on him, got pregnant, lied and said the third child was his... Then he found out it wasn't his... Then she attempted to take everything from him... Then met a new guy and got pregnant yet again. Needless to say she is out of her mind... But the worst part is that she is a horrible mother to her first two boys, my boyfriends kids. In the past year I have done everything I can to be there for the boys. I make their school lunches, cheer at football games, help pay for everything and try to be their for them emotionally. The youngest is about to start kindergarten on Wednesday. Today we took him to a BBQ at his new school for a little pre first day party... Of course his biological mother was no where to be in site because she is knocked up again and doesn't care. We had a blast. Then we got home and the first day of school came up... I asked my boyfriend if he knew if his ex wives boyfriend was gonna be there Wednesday morning for the parent meeting.. I was asking because I was trying to hint that I wanted to be there. But it didn't go so well... He was like probably not blah blah blah. I felt tears coming up right away. How am I supposed to be the loving mother role but yet I don't have the right to be there for big moments such as first day of kindergarten????? Especially when the biological mother as her partner don't give a shit?!!! Yet I am gonna be the one in his PTA, the one who paid for all his new school clothes and the one that will help him with his homework? I want to scream at my boyfriends ex and let her know I do more than her.... But sine I'm not the mom I just end up crying at night and feeling so under appreciated. I am so confused. I love my boyfriend and his boys. I want this to work so bad... I think he's the one for me... But how do you deal with these situations... When they aren't going to be the last of the battles, I'm sure.

Destiny on August 07, 2012:

I'm engaged and getting married to man who is 13 years my senior and is divorced with three amazing kids. After dating for three years, we're going to be married in less than three months and I am super excited I can't even begin to describe it but let me tell you it was a very hard road getting to this place.

Yes your going to go through the grieving process. It's natural because as woman we have these expected "family" dynamics that are just supposed to magically work and when they don't we feel like we're failures somehow. YOU'RE NOT TRUST ME! This is totally natural, and it takes time to navigate exactly what your roll is in the family. And let's just be honest here, we're never going to come first. That is the card that woman such as us are dealt whenever we chose to be with someone who has an ex wife and children.

Amberjewell on August 01, 2012:

Norwegian Wood - I know that has to be difficult. I am sorry for the confusion on where you stand right now. It can be quite awkward at times. I would just ask him these questions straight out. You don't want to waste your time on someone who doesn't see you in their future ya know?

norwegian wood on July 31, 2012:

Im also with the same situation too right now. I have a relationship with this divorced man with 2 boys (kids). I haven't met his children but I have only a picture. I met my man in a dating website,to make story short, he decide to meet me. Its okay on first meeting thats why we decide to work for the relationship we had, but as time goes by, we have talk about the kids and me,but he only said that the Boys might not be ready, they will get "confused", by what he said, I started to think, what is my role in his life??? does he see his life with me in future? Have I didn't show sacrifice on this matter? Im a single woman,with good job and raise on a good family, is this the man I deserve? Do I have to continue my relationship with Him?

Amberjewell on July 30, 2012:

I always had the idea that I would never date a man with children. Obviously from my life, you can't help who you fall for. My husband has a vindictive ex-wife and two children.

Regardless you can make it work. I have a hub called 'How to have a great relationship with your step-children'. It's all spoken on experience if you ever decide to check it out.

Lost on July 09, 2012:

Same exact situation.... And I have no idea what I should do. Sometimes I'm okay and can handle everything. And then there are days where I just sit and cry over the whole situation, or I get really emotional over everything. I hate the fact that we can't have any first's together. And the fact that no matter what I will always always come third in his life no matter what. His kids were there before I was, so I understand why, it just sucks. It makes me sad. I love his kids and him of course. It's just really hard making someone else first in your life when you will only ever be third in there's. I will never be his favorite person, and the one and only person he wants to spend the rest of his life with and I don't know if I can do it. I love him so much though, and I don't know if I have the strength to say goodbye or If I want to say goodbye. I'm just so lost and emotional right now.

Fearfull on July 09, 2012:

I feel as though i couldve written what you wrote,, i feel you on soo many levels. I am engaged, my fiancé divorced twice!! And has three children from previos marriages.

The kids do nothing for themselves and are vulgar ie the f words, b words and c words.

One of them used those words on me. I have told my fiancé that lack of respect is a deal breaker but they all seem set in their ways. Lately he agrees kids need boundaries.

Two ex wives and each one calls over the most trivial issues that they could solve on their own.

To top it off, they all live very near him.

Fed up

going solo on July 06, 2012:

I wish you the best of luck. I fell in love with and married a man with 3 children. I love the children like my own. We didn't have children together because I didn't want the children from his previous relationship to be envious that another child lived with us full time and because I believed we'd always be a family. 10 years later, we split after his affair. Despite his promising his children that they would see me as much as him, after 2 months, he broke his promise. He would yell when he learned we spoke or saw each other, and he made them feel bad about not forgetting about me. Although I never bad mouthed him, he did me. Six years later, I have no family. Financially, I had always put them first, so I took a big hit acter the split, but the emotional cost has been unfathomable. After barely dating for years, I've met a man I'd like to know better. Unfortunately, he has children, and I know I could never not fall in love with them if I fell for him, but I also know I would never survive another loss like the one I had. I'd rather be single. Still, I wish you the best--despite the pain of loss, I loved being a stepmom to the most amazing kids for 10 years.

Liv on June 27, 2012:

I have read and read and read about what to do in this situation. Some say go for it others day do not. I think it is really up to you, I mean many people have children after one night stands and yet they are not reduced to such things. I have dated men without children and am now seeing a man with two children. I haven't met them but there is something about Chad that makes me tingle. There is something there that I have never had before. He supports me and wants the best for me, and I do him. He never faltered when I said I was going to get my master's degree and helped me find schools. I fell in love hard and fast and I knew early on he had children and was married before. I don't care, one because I will never be able to have children. He has said he would be willing to look into other options for us if I choose to one day want a child but I refuse. I will not do that. I see this as a way to already have a family, I love Chad and all that comes with him. His children aren't baggage they are an extension of him. How could I disregard such a great man, what if the tables were turned and he was the one without the children and I had them? I think there is a lot more to this than do or do not, if you love someone you are selfless. His happiness is the most important thing to me.

Vm on June 24, 2012:

I married a man who has a teenage daughter. She originally lived with mum and after we married she decided she wanted to live with us. I tried to be accommodating and understanding but started to feel like a stranger in my home. After lots of soul searching I left and now me and husband are divorced.

I sacrificed my precious years for this man and have ended up with no family of my own. Do not get involved!!!

Ees on June 04, 2012:

My situation exactly, only he says no to more children due to the financial responsibility. Does this mean he doesn't love me enough to sacrifice?

Andrea on May 30, 2012:

I married a divorced man with alot of baggage past, I did not think about the future at the moment , once I started living with him I found that it was not what I was expecting, I started feeling unconfortable with his ex estupid calls for stupid things , I also stared feeling unconfortable because he even bought her furniture , I SAID, HER LEFTOVERS from when they were married, and he gave it to me without even asking me if I wanted it or not, or if I agreed with that or not,I only found it out 9 months later, he also was keeping all her cards, her pictures, her letters, which made me even more unconfortable, he told me I would always be his first priority, but I found that I was always going to be in the last place,our first child is not his first child, because first come his exwife and children ,even thought our marriage is totally another thing, this is really frustrating and depressing, first his exwife and children , then his family, and last place his wife. Now I have a 2 years old, and its hard for me to move on for different situations, but if I could go back, I would have never decided to let him to be the father of my first child because he does not even deserve it, I did deserve a single , childless man,without baggage past just the way I am.. For all of this, I would advice you all ladies, if you find yourself in a similar situation, DO NOT GET MARRIED WITH A DIVORCED MAN, get away before your life will be ruined.

katty on May 30, 2012:

I think marrying a divorced man with children is the worst mistake you could have ever made. Ladies, run away from if you are on time, a man like that does not deserve a single woman.

Noelle on May 28, 2012:

My story is basically the exact same as La St's. I've fallen in love with a man who got married in a courthouse, and had 2 sons with his ex wife. I'm only 23, and I feel almost like I'm too young to have to deal with this! The ex is constantly calling him at work, and texting him once he's out. Yes, some of it is about the kids, but a lot of the time, it's either to bitch, or because she "needs someone to talk to". I can't shake the feeling of jealousy. I feel like I'm in 4th place like you said. It's a horrible feeling. I can't even watch a pregnant woman on tv, without getting upset knowing that whenever we have a child, it w