Carolyn Hax: Single mother’s boyfriend is (too) okay with how busy she is


Expensive Carolyn: My ex and I divorced after we had a toddler and an toddler (don’t advocate). I started relationship “Ben” about 5 years later, and now we have been collectively now for nearly three years.

After all of the horror tales I heard about what it might be wish to attempt to discover love as a single mother, I believed I had REALLY lucked out with Ben. He has by no means been aggressive for my time. He understands how busy I’m as a mother and has all the time been superb with the truth that our high quality time collectively has to occur as soon as every week when the children are with their dad. He’s good to the children however has by no means tried to step on our toes as mother and father. I believed all of that was the dream.

So this 12 months, I introduced up the thought of shifting in collectively and/or getting engaged. I additionally introduced up that I would really like for him to spend extra centered time with me and the children as a household.

That is after I discovered that, in Ben’s phrases, the fantastic thing about our relationship is that I’ve a lot else happening and he is ready to have time for himself. He doesn’t see himself as a stepparent and has no intention of being one. He did say he would love to maneuver in collectively as soon as I’ve an empty nest … however that’s 11 years away (at soonest).

I don’t know what to do. I like this man. However I’ve principally simply been informed that what he loves about me is that I don’t have time to demand an excessive amount of from him and that he doesn’t have room in his life for my kids. Is it doable for a single mother to have a strong, critical relationship that doesn’t compete with motherhood, but in addition has room to develop?

Bubble, Burst: That’s not the query I anticipated.

The reply to the query you requested is, after all it’s “doable.” There are 8-ish billion folks on earth and up to now you could have dated (and step-paternally struck out) with solely one in all them.

The query I anticipated was extra of a what-do-I-do-about-Ben? factor. As a result of that’s a captivating one, and never apparent from any angle I can see.

Until you couldn’t settle for his phrases and already broke up with out regrets. That will be sort of apparent.

In any other case, from my place of secure detachment, I’m not as alarmed by what Ben stated, and even see some magnificence in it. Peeking out from the wreckage.

The obvious problem is that you simply two have been capable of be collectively romantically whereas conceptually up to now aside for thus lengthy. Who wasn’t speaking to whom? Who wasn’t listening? Who was wishfully considering the toughest? Was anybody misled on goal?

These are usually not small issues. In the event you’re nonetheless with Ben by the point I’ve acquired, learn, mulled, responded to, filed and revealed this, then I hope you could have already spent a few of your high quality time sorting by and fixing your miscommunication.

So long as you’ll be able to work that out, although, and nobody was mendacity to anybody, there could also be a deceptively good relationship in it for each you and Ben.

The explanation for that’s the relationship itself, as-is, or what it was all alongside and as much as the purpose of Ben’s bomb-drop. You have been each actually pleased with it. Such loving compatibility is a little bit of pretty-greatness that I concern you’re not giving due credit score. Give it some thought: You’re upset you and Ben don’t share the identical imaginative and prescient of what your togetherness might be. Which implies, by definition, your disagreement is over one thing that wasn’t but and will by no means have turn out to be actual. A minimum of discover out whether or not altering your envisioned future modifications what you could have within the current.

Plans do have an effect on how we really feel about now. However the start line is the extension of what now we have — basing retirement financial savings on present spending, for instance. So possibly each of you, in one another, can sit up for a companion who retains assembly your emotional wants — and retains leaving you sufficient room for your self.

Who’s to say: 1. That received’t maintain true when your children are grown, in evolving type? 2. That he’s the one one who advantages out of your ethereal association?

And who’s to say, on the negative-projection facet, that you simply’ll nonetheless like Ben as a lot for those who don’t give one another this area?

Consider it or not, I tucked into this reply with ideas of alt-romance. You and Ben got here throughout to me as a pair who came upon a nontraditional association that elevates you each. Then I wrote my manner right into a treatise on embracing cynicism as your matchmaker.

Plus, I don’t have room to what-if the opportunity of grownup boomerang children in your sometime shared dwelling with Ben.

However even when Ben’s not the man, I nonetheless assume there’s a very good query right here: Is shifting in and co-raising kids the one measure of “strong, critical” development potential there’s?

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