Michelle - posted on 03/06/2014 ( 2 moms have responded )
My boyfriend and I are both divorcees/single parents with children. Our children are from our prior marriages, he having 3 and I having 1. They are pretty much all teens, ages ranging 11-17. We have been living together for the past 3 years, dating for 4 years. A financial situation came up last year that was eye opening for me. It triggered some sort of awakening and ever since then, I've been rethinking our situation. What our goals are? Contemplating on the future and what that looks like. I've never been one to want to remarry and he's well aware of that, but I still look into the future. It's natural. I'm a planner. In the end, I've determined that all of us, myself, him and the children, have changed/grown and I'm not sure we're on the same path in life anymore. He's on one road and I'm on another, but they're not leading to the same destination.
He's extremely loyal, easy going, and has been a positive male figure in my life and my daughter's life in helping me show her what a healthy relationship is (no yelling, shoving or breaking of things like her father did), what an active father is like, etc., but financially he has been on a decline, some what digging a hole for himself. He keeps afloat, but is scraping by. His family is very helpful to him and his 3 children, but it's taking a toll on me. The ongoing financial struggle is slowly eating away at me and I'm pushing further away. I feel his financial issues have become mine.
I've also been frustrated with our parenting styles. We parent our children separately, which I'm now realizing might not have been the best choice. For example: I believe children should have some chores in the home. It builds character and responsibility. He does 95% of things for his kids. He washes all of their clothes, does all the yard work, throws the trash out, handles the recycling, etc. I definitely do chores as well, but also give my daughter daily tasks like vacuuming, dusting, etc. However, I don't feel right making my daughter responsible for chores in communal areas like the kitchen, living room, bathroom, etc. when the other 3 aren't helping. We have tried a chore chart a number of times and my boyfriend enforces it for about 2-3 days, then it falls off the wagon and we go back to the way it was. I continue to do all the communal chores instead of making my daughter responsible for some, which has made me bitter about "doing it all" with able kids.
So I turn to you for advice. There isn't anything wrong in our relationship that is traumatic (i.e. cheating, abuse, etc.) that would make anyone put their foot down and end things. I just feel the we've all grown, changed and are on different paths in life. I care about my boyfriend and don't want to hurt him, but I just can't see that my path will line up with his in the end. How can I explain this to him as gently as possible? And then how can we help the kids understand? Thank you in advance.