"I am a very honest, caring, supportive, and loving lady to a great man, who is a widower. His wife passed away over three years ago; but, his adult children still refuse to accept our friendship and relationship. For example, his adult son refuses to let his dad see his new granddaughter, and he holds her hostage (like a pawn piece). I am a single mother with two teenage daughters, who really like this great man. However, they are also really tired of all of the drama and interference with his adult children. It is really ironic to see my daughters as teenagers be more mature than his adult children.
I am a very strict mother. I believe two things. If you do nothing else right in life, "raise your children well," and "lots of love with limits." My teenage daughters know that honest rules and true respect are not ever negotiable. I will honestly communicate and support my daughters to the very end; but, i will not let them rule my life. As I lived through the loss of my dad's second wife, when she died unexpectedly, i know how it feels to lose a loved one (who was like a second mom to me). I have also had to learn to accept the new woman in my dad's life and still keep family peace (out of family love and honest respect). "I walk my talk." I try to be fair and honest with everyone. But, in this current relationship, my daughters and i keep getting hurt deeply. I have stood by this great man through thick and thin for the past three years, and we are great friends. I am even supportive with always talking and discussing his life with his former wife; because, I know that she will always be a part of him and his adult children.
It is simply just not fair and wrong for his adult children to tell their dad, that now they will disown him, if he stays with me. I just cannot win for losing. I have set up immediate counselling for their father for deep depression, as he is trying to be loyal to his children first and foremost. In my opinion, he has lost sight of who is the parent (dad), and who are the adult children (who are 29 and 27). What is a fair compromise for everybody? For others, who have also lived this same life scenario, please share your stories (good and bad). I know that I cannot fix everything for everybody. Is it time to just "let go and let God?" I love him dearly and we have a great family with us and my daughters; but, his two other adult children will not let us also have an extended family with them, as well. I am even willing to still keep a safe distance for several years to come. I just will not be told, that i cannot be seen with their dad in public, for fear that they will not approve. That is a total slap in the face to me and my pride and self dignity, as well as my daughters. Please help!!"
I know your man’s first family is important and I don’t think it would be appropriate for you to usurp them, but as you pointed out, they are no longer children and it is extremely selfish of them not to expect their father to move on after the loss of his former wife.
To improve this situation there are a few things that need to be sorted out. The most important is your relationship with your boyfriend. You mention that you discuss his life with his wife, but do you discuss your own relationship with him? Does he understand how deeply hurt you are? Is he okay with the way his adult children treat you? Has he ever spoken with them about what is and what is not acceptable behavior towards you? What does he think is the reason for their rudeness?
You and your boyfriend need to be on the same page about what role his children will play in your life together. My feeling is that if they refuse to accept you and your boyfriend is incapable of setting boundaries and insisting on a basic level of civility toward you then you will continue to be frustrated. At some point your own sense of self-respect will make it impossible to continue in a relationship where you are not respected.
- Lisa Oz