Dating a man going through divorce

Cindi - posted on 02/01/2016 ( 2 moms have responded )

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I've been dating my boyfriend for almost 2 years. I was divorced in Dec. 2014 (separated for 2 years prior to that). His divorce proceedings began when his ex filed for divorce in February of 2014. They have had 2 rounds of mediation and he always describes the result as "productive, but not much got accomplished." I helped him through a cancer surgery in October 2015 (I was with his 2 sisters and son at the hospital throughout his ordeal), celebrated Thanksgiving with my 5 kids and 2 of his 3 kids (his other son didn't come home for the holiday due to his work schedule) and his ex knows he is dating me. Our lives are not fully integrated though (I haven't met his parents or his other 2 siblings, some of his friends, etc.) and it's bothering me. He says he cannot be "fully into" our relationship until he is "out of " the other. My kids like him, we get along very well, and we love each other.

Am I being foolish for continuing to date him exclusively and being committed to him? What is the best way to "date" in this situation? I am in uncharted waters! Thanks, in advance, for any responses!

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Raye - posted on 02/01/2016

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Personally, I would not be trying too hard to integrate your two families until his divorce is final. You have been through separation and divorce before, so you should know that it can be a lengthy process. If he and his ex are not agreeing to terms regarding the kids and/or finances, then it could be dragging on for quite a while yet. Have you talked to him about what the sticking points are that are holding things up? You could try to help him work through some things in his own mind so he's better prepared for the next mediation meeting. But if he doesn't want your involvement, don't take offense. Don't push.

If you love him, and want this to work out, then you should be patient. I know you just want your lives to start, but if it's going to be forever, then what's a bit more time? But don't let him have his cake and eat it too. If he can't be 100% committed to you, you should be protecting yourself (and your kids) a bit too. Stick to just dating, and don't treat it like you're headed toward marriage with this guy (because legally he can't at the moment). You don't know what the future will bring, and he may want time after finalizing the divorce before he jumps back on the marriage wagon. Keep a realistic view of things.

You also don't want your kids hurt by getting too attached to him if he can't fully commit to you. If they lose another father figure, it might be really difficult for them. I would not have introduced the kids to him as your love interest until all the divorce stuff was done and you could actually think about what kind of future you might have together. But I guess that's past now. Right now you might think of cooling things off a little until things become more stable. Continue dating, but don't have too many "family" times with the kids.

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Cindi - posted on 02/01/2016

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Thank you so much for your post, Raye! It is exactly what I needed to hear. I need to pull back on integrating him into my "family time" and just enjoy dating him until his divorce is final. It's not easy since I will be 50 this year and I feel like time is slipping away for me in terms of having another long-term relationship (live-in or marriage), but, as you say, I have to believe that the future is out there and will be for as far as I can see (whether he is a part of it or not).

At the end of the day, I simply need to protect my kids. I definitely don't want them getting hurt. I know I will be fine.

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