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To not end this relationship because my children don’t want me in it?

(142 Posts)
WeepingWidow Mon 04-Mar-19 12:46:47

3.5 years ago my husband was cruelly and unexpectedly taken from us. He was only 55. It affected our three children (who were lates teens/early 20’s at the time) and grandchildren deeply, and we all miss him tremendously. I’m not going to lie, our marriage of 30 years had it’s up and downs - he could be lazy, had quite a nasty streak and would never do anything he didn’t want to, even if it meant lots to someone else. But the last 5 years or so were our best days without a doubt we rediscovered our love and were immensely happy.

I never had any involvement with any other men for the first 3 years or so after his death. Not even a flirty smile. At first it never occurred to me. We have a huge family and for a good while I never felt alone - there was always someone round the house, I holidayed with my children and I have a good group of friends so never short of company. But as anyone who’s lost a partner will tell you - friends aren’t the same as having a real intimate partner , a true companion. The last year I’ve hankered to have someone in my life - the visitors filtered away, etc and I’ve also started to really miss sex and someone to wake up with.

4 months ago my son got married and at the evening do an old friend - a guest of my DIL’s family - turned up. I worked with him about 25 years ago, and haven’t seen him in 15 years. We were very close at work at the time, always got on famously and had children round about the same time. We were both married and whilst it was strictly platonic (I was very faithful to my DH) I definitely felt an attraction and I know he did. It was never more than that though, but he is very good looking so I couldn’t really help feeling an attraction. So when I saw him at the wedding it was lovely to catch up. He divorced his wife 10 years ago, and we hit it off right away. Long story short - we have been in a relationship for 4 months now. He is amazing. He’s so kind and generous, and smart and funny. We have the same interests - we go to the ballet, theatre and have taken ballroom dancing lessons together (all the things my DH would never do with me). I feel like I’m 21 again, we have said I love you (and I really do) and he wants to be with more pretty much for life now. Plus the sex is amazing!

To clarify, we are taking it slow. I never want to get married again. Not least because I want my children to inherit what I have when I die. And I won’t be moving in with him, probably ever - I look after my four grandchildren a lot, at least one is at my house around 4 days of the week and they sleep over regularly too. I have found that I enjoy my own space and rules, and would hate to check with anyone before I had my grandchildren over. BF knows this and is fine with living apart permanently.

We kept the relationship a secret for three months, but a near miss when my DD almost walked in on us DTD (she didn’t though, she let herself in to stay the night unexpectedly and I snuck him out without her noticing) I decided to bite the bullet.

I didn’t expect them to be overjoyed but I got a really negative reaction. My youngest, who is 23, cried! They don’t see why I want a relationship, and think it’s too quick after their dad. I told them that I have no expectations of them - they don’t have to meet him, or ask questions - I am simply telling them and they do have to get used to it. I explained that, whilst I love them and their children, it’s not enough to keep me going, I need something and someone for me. I have another 30 years probably left in me (I’m 55) - I don’t want to spend them alone.

That was a month ago and they’ve barely spoken about it to me. My son can hardly look at me. I see them often due to childcare and they just avoid the subject. I took the grandchild out yesterday to the zoo as a treat so saw them all and we chatted whilst the kids played in a park. They’d come to a joint agreement to tell me that I don’t need my BF, they’ll never let me be lonely, I can come on their holidays, they’ll keep me company etc. They think it’s too soon as ive “only known him 4 months”. When I explained actually I’ve known him 25 years they were horrified - said it was like cheating on dad! They just can’t come to terms with me being with someone else, and won’t accept him in my life. My lovely son-in-law and daughter-in-law openly disagreed with them and said they should be happy for me. My DIL has text me since to say I deserve happiness and she will always support me. She never met my DH, if that’s relevant, but my son was very close to him.

I’m heartbroken about what my kids have said. My children’s opinion means the world to me, but I love my BF and feel I wasn’t treated brilliantly in my marriage and deserve this love now. The children don’t know their dad was less than perfect because I never exposed that side of our marriage - they have rose tinted glasses about him. Which is annoying as if it has been me who’d died he’d have shacked up with a new woman within six months without a doubt!

I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to lead two lives. I don’t expect BF to meet anyone any time soon, and I don’t want to be held hostage to my children.

WIBU to stay in this relationship and tell my kids to suck it up - or is that the height of insensitivity? They say they’ll never let me be lonely - but I won’t be a burden on them. What if they wanted to move away one day? I don’t want them to resent saying that they’ll always keep me company (it’s not bloody realistic anyway)! And I couldn’t exactly say that I want intimacy not just someone to talk to, they’d probably melt at the thought of me having sex! What do I do?

FlexibleFriend Mon 04-Mar-19 13:02:20

Whether they let you be lonely or not isn't the point. The relationship you have with your BF is completely different to the one with your kids. They obviously aren't happy but they'll get over it eventually. I'd talk to them all individually and tell them you have no plans to move him in or take the relationship further but nor are you becoming a nun.

annsixty Mon 04-Mar-19 13:02:30

Put yourself first and tell them, you have probably put them first for all of their lives ,now it is your turn.
You are not being unfaithful to their father, you still love him and always will but you want someone in your life again who isspecialto you.
Good luck and much happiness to you.

Foxyloxy Mon 04-Mar-19 13:15:34

I am totally appalled at your story. You will feel offended by my comment. But I think you have very selfish, self centred children, who have a lot of growing up to do. I can appreciate that it was a big shock for their mum to even look at another man, but come on! Five years on, really, they can’t accept that you have a man friend. Please, it does not matter if you want to marry him or live with him permanently as yet, four months is not very long, so do not make any promises to your children that this won’t happen. It is great you have met someone to enjoy life with, do just that. Be firm with your children, and let them know you are disappointed that they cannot be happy for you, and get on with your life. Please do not make any deals with them, they must grow up.

Urmstongran Mon 04-Mar-19 13:24:22

My lovely dad died when he was 47y from cancer. I was 23y and my sister a little younger. As mum was only 45y when she was widowed it was perfectly understandable to the family when, some years later she felt ready to have a partner again. It’s too selfish in my opinion if children/young adults fail to acknowledge that life does move on.

stella1949 Mon 04-Mar-19 13:25:57

I was in a similar situation, 15 years ago when I got together with my now husband. I'd been divorced for several years and was living a solitary life when an old friend from 30 years ago contacted me on a "friends reunited" web site. We wrote to each other for a year, then got together and we got married 5 years later. So yes I know what this is like !

My adult children were also horrified ! My daughter thought I was having a mid-life crisis and that I was being taken advantage of by an "Internet lover" .... my son just thought DH was a gold digger since I'd recently inherited from my parents. Oh dear, we had some very interesting conversations ! My daughter often ended up in tears, begging me to call it off since I couldn't possibly know what I was doing ( I was 53 at the time and quite able to make up my mind ).

The way I handled it was to tell them that it was going to happen because I loved him , and that I really did know what I was doing. I didn't back off , I just said ( over and over) that he was / is a good man and that I'd known him for many years, not just the time that they'd been aware of him. And that as much as I love them, I also need the love of a man .

It took a few months, but they did eventually come around. My DH also helped . I asked my daughter over for lunch and he approached her himself. He spoke very sincerely to her , telling her that he loved me and that he would always take care of me. He also spoke to my son and broached the subject which was rankling with him, ie the money issue. He bluntly said that he had no interest in my money and that he had his son was really taken aback but I think it helped enormously to be spoken to so frankly, "man to man" .

I do think that time will make a difference for you. Your adult children still think of you as "Mum", not as a woman who wants some intimacy and the love of a man. You need to be frank and honest with them AND you need to make sure they know that you've known him for long time - that he hasn't just turned up in your life.

I think you'd be much better to introduce your partner to your children - as long as he is kept away from them, they will see him in a negative light. If they meet him, they'll come to see him as a real , normal human being instead of an unknown quantity. By keeping him away from them, you are playing into their scenario that he isn't good for you - you need to normalize the situation by bringing him into your family .

You don't need to even consider leaving him, OR leading a double life ! You and your children are all adults - start treating them like it and they'll get over their concerns. By keeping him away from them , sneaking him out of the house, etc, you are simply delaying what should be a normal and gradual acceptance on their behalf. Good luck !

janeainsworth Mon 04-Mar-19 13:30:03

That is a very harsh judgement on the OP’s children foxyloxy.
WW My Dad was 55 when he died, and I have some sympathy with your AC. 3.5 years ago since your H died isn’t very long, actually.
Remember that your ACs probably think that anyone of 55 is very old, they will probably have assumed you would never be involved with anyone else and it has probably come as a bit of a shock to them.
Don’t give up your BF, but don’t try to make your AC accept him either. Just give them time, keep the two parts of your life separate and try not to worry about it.
4 months isn’t very long either and you may feel differently about everything in a year’s time.
Good luck.

WeepingWidow Mon 04-Mar-19 13:31:20

Thank you for your posts

Foxy I’m not offended at all (though it’s just 3.5 years not 5!). I don’t disagree with you actually, and the more I think about it the more I wonder how my children see me. When they’re little kids tend to view mum as little more than a bank/chef/taxi etc but my kids are now in the mid-late 20’s and I wonder if they now just see me as a babysitting machine rather than a human with needs.

I really have lived entirely for them, and have been happy to do so, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask for a little selfishness of my own. I was a teacher before DH died, he’d actually retired and looked after our grandchildren while our DD’s worked (we only had 2 GC then). So when he died I quit work to fill his place as I didn’t want my DD’s to be out of pocket, and I am fortunate enough to be a silent partner in some successful businesses so could take the hit financially. I volunteer 1.5 days a week in a school, I would love to go and do my masters at Uni - something my DH would never have gone for! He’d have said I’m too old, what’s the point. But my BF thinks it’s a great idea and is encouraging me. I’m reluctant because of the impact it will have on my children and childcare though. I’d be happy to pay for nursery etc bit now I just think if I told them they’d see it as him stealing me away from them. I adore looking after my GC - but I’m aware once they all start school and I’m no longer needed that I will have nothing to occupy me. I want to be able to live for me as well as them.

Antonia Mon 04-Mar-19 13:32:27

Your children are not considering your happiness at all here. I don't know what they are thinking really. How will it affect them if they already have their own families and partners? Neither can they prevent you from feeling lonely. If they call in to see you, it won't be for a whole day, and to be honest, going on holiday with your children and their families could be awful. You would constantly have to fit in with their arrangements. Please let your children know that you love them, but at the same time, you are not going to pass over your own chance of happiness with someone else.

Neti Mon 04-Mar-19 13:36:02

It can be a shock for children of any age to think of us as anything other than 'mum' and it seems that this is what is happening,they're now thinking of you as a sexual being.

I wonder if in some ways it would be better that they are introduced to your bf,as this will remove any imaginings they may have about him and bring him to life as a normal (and by all accounts, a wonderful and considerate) human being.

I wonder if this subject is something you'd feel comfortable speaking with your bf about?
Maybe discussing him being present at your birthday (or other suitable gathering),how that will be and how you will both deal with any uncomfortable situations?
You could perhaps also agree on the amount of intimacy you will display between the two of you and it maybe an idea to show your closeness without any open displays of affection whilst your children get used to the idea of their being another male in your life.

I'm sure that your children will soon come around,especially if their partners are supportive of you,but I'm not sure that keeping him hidden is necessarily the way to gain acknowledgment and acceptance.

WeepingWidow Mon 04-Mar-19 13:36:57

YYstella I can really relate - my DS brought up the ‘gold digger’ thing - DH made wise investments and left me very comfortably off, I’m lucky enough to be able to not work and I’ve also set money aside to pay for all my GC to be privately educated in the school I worked in - but BF doesnt know this as I don’t talk about money. Eldest GC is at the school I pay for but he doesn’t know it’s me who pays the fees.

I could understand if it was some Turkish 22yo I’ve met online but my BF is 60, very independent and someone I’ve trusted for decades!

dizzyblonde Mon 04-Mar-19 13:38:57

With the best will in the world, your children cannot provide you with sex or intimacy. I suspect they do not see you as a person who may need that and I think you need to be blunt with them. They probably think someone in their 50s is past all that!?

eazybee Mon 04-Mar-19 13:40:35

What do I do now?
You carry on doing exactly what you are doing.
You managed to create an ultimately happy marriage out of a partnership that was not always easy; you protected your children from their father's imperfections and gave them a rosy view of him; you have grieved for your husband and made a life for yourself. Now a chance of happiness arrives, which you are taking slowly and realistically, and your adult children think they have the right to dictate how you should live the rest of your life.

They are being impossibly immature and selfish, and it is good that your son and daughter-in-law can see this.
Try to avoid family conflict, but make it clear they have no control over your life; continue with your lovely new relationship and enjoy every minute. You have earned it.

WeepingWidow Mon 04-Mar-19 13:40:48

And yes Antonia about holidays - I’ve had great holidays with my DC and GC, we regularly holidayed with them when DH was alive too. But I don’t want to spend my life going to package resorts tailored for small kids, I’m still —fairly— young and fit and want to go Greek island hopping, getting drunk on cocktails and having zero expectations to babysit or sit through sodding “mini discos” grin (I love it really but I’m not resigned to old age just yet!)

PernillaVanilla Mon 04-Mar-19 13:50:53

OP, you are only 55 - that is nothing, you have years and years ahead of you and i'm sure most of us would rather spend that in a happy relationship with a lovely man than being "granny on call" who has to be prevented from feeling lonely. I can't offer much practical advice about how to handle your ungrateful children but please don't give up your lovely new relationship.

WeepingWidow Mon 04-Mar-19 13:50:58

I haven’t considered introducing BF just because of the DC reactions but maybe you’re right! They’re well behaved adults, they’d be polite etc (if they did agree to meet him in the first place). BF knows about their reactions and will help me however he can. He has a DD (my DD and his were actually in the same pre school but don’t remember one another) I am meeting her in a couple of weeks, she lives abroad and is coming over for the week. But her mum is still around, they divorced when she was an adult and shes had longer to get used to her dad being alone

M0nica Mon 04-Mar-19 14:27:34

I think grown-up children, especially if they are in late teens/20s are embarrassed and horrified at the thought that their parents have the same sexual urges and desires, which are still so new to them. They are quite literally revolted by the thought.

I am sure it is this that is behind these children's reactions especially as the children in law can see no problem.

I am not sure how upfront you are prepared to be, but in your situation I wouldn't think twice about saying openly to my children that I think their horror is because they are uncomfortable(to put it mildly) at the thought of their mother having sex and sexual desires, just like them. I would then tell them to get over it, because you are happy in your new relationship and this time it is your happiness you are following.

They will get used to it.

Day6 Mon 04-Mar-19 14:42:47

You do not have to placate your adult children. You have not been unfaithful to their Dad either.

Tell them simply that you are moving on, it's your life and you do not relish the prospect of spending the rest of it alone. Ask them to be happy for you now you have found someone compatible who makes you feel alive again.

Also enquire directly as to how long they expect you to put you life on hold. They might then see ho unreasonable and controlling they're being.

They rely on you for childcare and you don't let them down. You see lots of them. You are there for them. They cannot, with the best will in the world, be your companions, (so you don't feel lonely) week in, week out. Life doesn't work like that.

Give them time, and perhaps throw in nice little anecdotes about places you and your partner have been. Don't allow them to turn this situation into one of conflict, and on no account give up your new man and happy new life.

Bridgeit Mon 04-Mar-19 14:59:00

Thank them for their concerns , & tell them how much you wish life had not dealt you & them such a sad & harsh blow.
Ask them if they have ever seriously considered what they think they would do if put in such a position. The truth is no one knows & it is possible to love people differently, best wishes , be happy

Urmstongran Mon 04-Mar-19 15:18:30

I’d suggest you all meet up in a ‘neutral’ environment WW such as a quiet pub. Just have drinks, not a meal, then (a) you don’t spend awkward time studying a menu ‘how is your steak dear?’ (b) it’s no-ones territory so you are all level and more likely to be very civil and (c) anyone can easily escape without seeming rude. Definitely not a family doo or celebration. Just relax. 9 out of 10 times our worst fears never materialise!
Good luck, whatever you decide.
You sound a really nice lady. No wonder your family (and your fella) love you!

WeepingWidow Mon 04-Mar-19 15:19:20

Thank you everyone

They definitely feel uncomfortable with the thought of their mum as a sexual being. Last year I had them all round to mine for a boozy dinner with me and my best friend, and we got to talking about people who’ve only had one partner. My eldest chimes in “a bit like you and dad, mum”. Me and my friend, who I’ve known since school, looked at each other like this confused and burst out laughing! For some reason they assumed DH was my first! Granted we met when I was 20, married at 22,, but I had a fair few notches on my bed post by then. I was born in the 60’s not the 30’s - they were gobsmacked hmm

They cannot, with the best will in the world, be your companions, (so you don't feel lonely) week in, week out. Life doesn't work like that

Exactly, and they can’t seem to contemplate this isn’t possible (I credited them with being smarter than that TBH). I wasn’t born yesterday - I realise that the visits will deplete once I’m not needed for childcare anymore. And that’s fine - I don’t want to be a burden. But I don’t want to be relying on my kids for company. It’s what my mum did with me and it only bred resentment.

sodapop Mon 04-Mar-19 15:55:19

Whatever age our children are they don't see their parents as people with sexual or emotional needs. You are doing nothing wrong Weepingwidow but I think you do need to take things slowly with your new man to avoid alienating them. You should be clear the friendship is non negotiable but he is in no way replacing their father, you are just starting a new phase of your life. I wish you well in your new relationship.

Grandma70s Mon 04-Mar-19 16:52:39

If I put myself in your children’s place, I think i’d have felt exactly the same as they do. I would have felt, however unreasonably, that you were being unfaithful to my father’s memory. Three and a half years is really a very short time, and they will still be in shock from his death even if you aren’t. I suppose I’d have tried not to say so, but I would have hated it.

My children were still primary school age when my husband died, and they would definitely have been very upset if I’d tried to ‘replace their father’ as they would have undoubtedly have seen it. They were so young and had had so much upset in their lives that I wouldn’t have ever put my own needs first. I suppose it’s different with adult children. I wasn’t bothered by staying single, and now I’m positively glad I did.

WeepingWidow Mon 04-Mar-19 17:12:02

Thing is Grandma I do put them first. Everything DH and I worked for was for them, we’ve (now I’ve) been supportive in every possible way, now mostly with grandchildren - I had no help from family at their age and it was hard I wanted it to be different for my kids. I do make sacrifices - but I think this is one area where I’d really rather not make the sacrifice of a good romance/relationship to appease them. Children, especially adult children, shouldn’t get to have their way with every last thing. I just worry that if I continue this relationship my children will never recover from it sad

Sussexborn Mon 04-Mar-19 17:41:18

Congratulations WW. Lovely to hear that you have been fortunate enough to find love and happiness twice in your life. My closest friend died in her mid 40s and her daughter in particular behaved like a total brat when her dad started dating five years after. My friend adored her husband but would only wish the best life possible for him as she was one of the kindest and most caring of people. Eventually patience paid off and he has been happily remarried for some years now.