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To me it sounds like you are happy in the relationship right now. Why do you need to rush it after 10 months. She has issues from her past but it sounds like she has beaten the odds and become a genuinely good person in spite of her past. I would just give it some time see how things go. Take things slow with the kids and baby daddies. In time what the future would be like will become more clear as you slowly get more involved.
 

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Her first pregnancy, at 15/16, was intended. She was not in a relationship with the father. A popular kid had interest in her until he got what he wanted: her virginity. She wanted to get pregnant (as much as a kid can at that age).

She had a male best friend, from birth essentially, who supported her through teen pregnancy and parenthood. They transitioned into dating, which lasted a year. He broke up with her when going to college. They kept in touch and hooked up sometimes. They got back into a relationship a 4 years later, lasted a few months. Hooked up again after breaking up, she lied about birth control. She wanted a relationship with him, the feeling wasn’t mutual.

Her third pregnancy was not intended. She was not in a relationship. A few dates in and a condom failed.

(For the record, she has an IUD and we use condoms. No accidents, or "accidents", are going to happen.)

Having almost everyone in my circle suggesting that I don’t marry her is concerning to me. I know that they are trying to protect me from being hurt again, and themselves. Being in another bad marriage or tricked scares the living daylights out of me. My family and friends learned parts of her past before meeting her, so maybe they went into meeting her with preconceived notions. My judgement is admittedly not the best. I had no idea what my ex-wife was or was capable of. My friends and family liked her though so, go figure. It is a lot to consider and I am obviously no where near ready to make any steps to take our relationship further.
She is a user of men, for pregnancy, and for sex. I do judge a woman with small children who keeps having casual sex with men. Where are the children while she is having sex? Seriously, she can't be a good mother when she is putting sex and men above her own children.

When you have sex with her, where are her children? In the other room? With a baby sitter? What kind of example is she to her 16 year old. Her younger children are old enough to notice, although they probably view her behavior as normal, since they have nothing to compare it to.

Add to that, she says she wants to have a 4th child with you. 4 kids, 4 different baby daddies.

I think you need to listen to your family and friends and stay away from her. She will bring trouble to your life when she gets what she wants.

And stop having sex with her. If she gets pregnant with your child, you will have to pay child support for 18+ years, depending on the state you live in.

Talking about getting her PhD? Talk is just that...talk. If she has another baby with you, already having 3, how is she going to find the time and finances to get that PhD? She is not living in reality, and she is drawing you down the Yellow Brick Road with her.

If you marry her, you will be back here in a couple of years posting about how miserable you are, and about new revelations into her character that are hurting you and your marriage.

Friendzone her. There are women there with less baggage and who have proven they are more stable.
 

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OK, now my concern is that something is/was missing in her life/psyche that twice she deliberately got pregnant. The 'holes in her soul' were so deep that she eschewed common sense for 'affection/attention.' She excels in living her life for others so that she will be liked.

Is she wearing a mask? Maybe. Her personality rules her life--not reality. Be careful.
 

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Keep in mind that your family has your individual interests in mind when they are giving you advice, whereas you have your girlfriends best interest in mind when you choose not to listen. I won't give you any advice because you are an adult that has to live with the consequences of your own choices. I would personally have a lot of concern about a woman that has tricked multiple men into fatherhood because that is not a trait of an honest person or someone that wants to setup a good relationship dynamic for their children. Rather it is the trait of someone that is selfish, rash, and impulsive. People can easily hide who they are for six months or more of a relationship so she might still be on good behavior and not showing her true self. Are you in a hurry to get married to her and is there a problem with just dating her for another year or two and getting to know each other better before you decide to get married? Usually time will help clarify these questions.
 

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Am I not suppose to talk with her about the future? What we both want? If we want different things in life, that needs to be known now not later. I don’t think I am leading her on by talking to her about these things. I hope not.

I know that if we marry her kids will become mine as well, just not legally. Her kids have fathers, adopting them isn’t something that has ever come up. They have fathers so I can’t see how that would be something to even consider. I will say that, whenever she has problems with one of the fathers she doesn’t talk to me about it. I know she keeps it to herself, and at some point I will have to deal with those problems as well. Does seeing her children as my own develop over time, or is that something that I should have automatically been feeling from the moment I met or even heard about them?
Feeling for her children will develop over time. it's not realistic that you would love them from day one.

I also disagree that you have to love them as your own. The truth is that they are not your own, they have fathers. They are also not infants. It would take them time to feel an attachment, or love, for you if they ever do. I way told by a therapist that it takes a blended family 5 years to actually become a connected family.

The children are not choosing you, their mother is. They might not even want you to be in their life as it's a disruption to their status quo. Very often parents and step parents don't come to terms with this until the children pull make it very clear by acting out in very bad ways.

Can you tell that I am a step-parent? I raised my step children from ages 10 & 11 on. I have a son who was 10 when I married their father. They are no 29 and 32. Their father had full custody, but I was their full-time stepmother. To put it mildly, raising them was hell because they resented that their father married me. They resented that their mother abandoned them, but they were still not ready to accept someone else as their mother.

I love my step children, but I am not sure that I would do it again if I had the choice to go back in time. I think that they would have been better off without me in their lives. And I know that the last 18 years of my life would have been a lot less stressful had I not had them in my life. When they were in their early 20's both of them apologized to me for the hell they put me through. They both now say that they love me, but it was a long and hard road getting to that. Their mother still only uses them when she needs something. And I still have to deal with the fallout of the damage she has done to them.

You and she need to learn some basics about step parenting. Here's a link to a good book. There are several more on amazon.com that you might find helpful.

Stepparenting: Becoming A Stepparent: A Blended Family Guide to: Parenting, Raising Children, Family Relationships and Step Families

I'm not saying that you should walk away from her and her children. What I am saying is that step parenting is hard and very often has more problems than raising your own children. You need to go into it with your eyes wide open and with some knowledge on how to handle this.

You have only been dating this woman for 10 months. That's hardly enough time to get to know someone. What happens in relationships is that the first 18-24 months is the infatuation period. It's basic biology. When we are first with someone our brains pump out a lot of feel-good hormones like dopamine, oxytocin, etc. These cause a couple to have that giddy in-love feeling. Then after the 18-24 month timeframe, that brain stops the over production of the feel-good hormones and you go into a move mature from of love. A large percentage of relationships fail at this point. Why? Because during the infatuation period most people are on their best behavior and they see the other person through rose colored glasses. Once the feel-good is gone, people start stop being on their best behavior. So you start to see the person for whom they really are. And it's often not good.

Because of this, a couple should date for 18-24 months, and only then become engaged. Then after a years engagement marry. That gives both people time to see each other as you really are, with out all the feel-good chemicals clouding your judgement.

And in your case, there are 3 children involved. And they don't have the benefit of those feel-good chemicals to help them see you through rose colored glasses. You are going to have to build a relationship with them as well.
 

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"Talking about getting her PhD? Talk is just that...talk. If she has another baby with you, already having 3, how is she going to find the time and finances to get that PhD? She is not living in reality, and she is drawing you down the Yellow Brick Road with her."

Easiest thing ever. Our younger girl was born in the middle of the semester while both parents were PhD students...
 

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She is a user of men, for pregnancy, and for sex. I do judge a woman with small children who keeps having casual sex with men. Where are the children while she is having sex? Seriously, she can't be a good mother when she is putting sex and men above her own children.

Friendzone her. There are women there with less baggage and who have proven they are more stable.
Good Grief this is harsh advice.

What is the woman supposed to do, be chaste until her children leave the house?

Not enjoy the loving touch of a man for years upon years.

I agree, having many casual hookups is not a good thing.

But, she is looking for something more from OP. She wants a permanent relationship, not a short term sex spree with him and others concurrently.

I say tell her that you want to maintain the relationship but not move in together right away.

I would wait another six months before thinking about getting engaged.

Yes, I would insist on exclusivity from her.
In fact, she would likely see that as a positive sign from you.

Tell her you want to remain exclusive. Gage her response.

Don't dump her. From a very rocky start she has made amends.

Being engaged can last a few years.
 

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On baggage....

Children are not baggage.
......................................................................................

OK..
If they act that way. that is a horse of a different color.
They will then be under-footy, Sooty Gray.
 

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Having almost everyone in my circle suggesting that I don’t marry her is concerning to me. I know that they are trying to protect me from being hurt again, and themselves. Being in another bad marriage or tricked scares the living daylights out of me. My family and friends learned parts of her past before meeting her, so maybe they went into meeting her with preconceived notions. My judgement is admittedly not the best. I had no idea what my ex-wife was or was capable of. My friends and family liked her though so, go figure. It is a lot to consider and I am obviously no where near ready to make any steps to take our relationship further.
I think it is very smart of you to consider the views of those in your life who love you and who you trust. Love can make us really stupid, and blind us to a lot of bad. You are only 10 months in, my suggestion would be to just give her some time, and try and look at the relationship through new eyes. Spend more time with her kids and get to know them. Observe how she handles their fathers. Her past of getting pregnant on purpose is a very serious red flag... good for her for being honest about it though, at least. BTW do you have confirmation of that IUD she claims to have??

You are lucky to have people in your life speaking up. I wish my people had done that for me in the past.
 

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MM,

A couple observations related to this situation:
1. You have chosen to describe this situation without any comments on finance
2. That makes it impossible to have a meaningful opinion

It is one thing to raise three other men’s children. Quite another to rai$e them. You say nothing about the bio fathers payment of child support. That partly goes to motive.

Is she under financial duress? Are you the solution to a financially stressful situation?

You are the only one who is qualified to assess her motive.

You shared a long list of useful info, but left out your dynamic with her. Do you two have fun together?

The one thing that jumps out at me is this. You describe her as sort of perfect. And yet - three other guys have passed on her. The first guy - was too young. But the other two? Especially the one you like - you haven’t asked him why he passed.




This is probably as much detail as I will give. She has explained/justified everything to me and knows that she made poor choices.

Her first pregnancy, at 15/16, was intended. She was not in a relationship with the father. A popular kid had interest in her until he got what he wanted: her virginity. She wanted to get pregnant (as much as a kid can at that age).

She had a male best friend, from birth essentially, who supported her through teen pregnancy and parenthood. They transitioned into dating, which lasted a year. He broke up with her when going to college. They kept in touch and hooked up sometimes. They got back into a relationship a 4 years later, lasted a few months. Hooked up again after breaking up, she lied about birth control. She wanted a relationship with him, the feeling wasn’t mutual.

Her third pregnancy was not intended. She was not in a relationship. A few dates in and a condom failed.

(For the record, she has an IUD and we use condoms. No accidents, or "accidents", are going to happen.)

Having almost everyone in my circle suggesting that I don’t marry her is concerning to me. I know that they are trying to protect me from being hurt again, and themselves. Being in another bad marriage or tricked scares the living daylights out of me. My family and friends learned parts of her past before meeting her, so maybe they went into meeting her with preconceived notions. My judgement is admittedly not the best. I had no idea what my ex-wife was or was capable of. My friends and family liked her though so, go figure. It is a lot to consider and I am obviously no where near ready to make any steps to take our relationship further.
 

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I will say that, whenever she has problems with one of the fathers she doesn’t talk to me about it. I know she keeps it to herself, and at some point I will have to deal with those problems as well. Does seeing her children as my own develop over time, or is that something that I should have automatically been feeling from the moment I met or even heard about them?
You don't have to make this decision today. Spend more time with her and the kids. Bring her around your family and friends so they can get to know her better, bring the kids too. I think it would take time to feel close to the kids, especially if they aren't around that much.
 

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Am I not suppose to talk with her about the future? What we both want? If we want different things in life, that needs to be known now not later. I don’t think I am leading her on by talking to her about these things. I hope not.

I know that if we marry her kids will become mine as well, just not legally. Her kids have fathers, adopting them isn’t something that has ever come up. They have fathers so I can’t see how that would be something to even consider. I will say that, whenever she has problems with one of the fathers she doesn’t talk to me about it. I know she keeps it to herself, and at some point I will have to deal with those problems as well. Does seeing her children as my own develop over time, or is that something that I should have automatically been feeling from the moment I met or even heard about them?
My response, is no you shouldn't be talking with her about the future in that way. The reason is because by your own words you are not ready to become a step-father and have not spent enough time with the children. You can't separate the kids from her, so there's a huge risk in talking about your own children, marriage, and a life happily ever after when you aren't ready to accept the current package as it stands today. There's also another part of it I see that is troubling. I am SURE this woman does not know how your family and friends feel about her, nor that you are discussing particulars about her life with anonymous people in an online forum. How do you think she would feel if she knew you were questioning her being perfect enough, questioning your readiness to be a step-dad to her children, and having discussions about it with family, friends, and even strangers on the Internet. So talking with her about the future in terms of marriage and children when you obviously aren't sure she is the right one strikes me as quite unfair to her. Of course, I'm assuming she thinks you ARE the right one and that's why she's talking to you about those things.
 

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Take your time with her. Value your families opinions, but give them a full chance to get to know her. Them starting off knowing her dirty laundry, before they even had a chance to form an opinion is rough. Start including them with her and her children as much as possible. See what they think of her in another six months. Rent a cabin, and go stay for the weekend with you parents and her and her kids etc.

People make “mistakes”, sometimes even a few times. Mine may not have been this serious, but I’ve done some dumb things in my day.

My perspective is this:
My grandmother was married two times, had FOUR kids, by two different men.
My grandpa had been married two times, and had no kids.
They met, fell in love, married, and spent 45 years happily married.

Thank goodness he could see beyond her past. He took on a big responsibility, but he also gained a pretty amazing family, and we gained the most cherished man in our lives. If she is as great as you feel she is, you might have found “the one”, even if the packaging isn’t ideal. I wish you all the absolute best!
 

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At 10 months in, you should be crazy about her. The fact that you are having these doubts;even though suggested by your family, shows that you are not certain about this lady in the long run.


How are you going to pay for a wedding, her Phd, another baby, and the size of house you will need to have four kids? What will your days look like while you help raise her kids, raise your own newborn, take care of the house and cooking etc. etc.; while she studies for her degree?

You said one of the children's father is a real jerk. He will be in your life as long as you are married to her. And so will the other guys. Are you okay with having various exes in and out of your life; even if it isn't all the time.

I had a stepfather, he was sick of his role in about 5 years. He pretty much abdicated any responsibility to me. I'll tell you, that's real hurtful for a kid.

I vote NO. But in the end, you have to make this decision for yourself. I'm make it sooner rather than later. And next time, find out fairly soon if a woman has children, and break up a lot sooner.

Good luck.
 

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OP, I think you're rushing this relationship too much. Whether that rush is coming from her or from you I'm not sure, but it's a bad idea. Ten months isn't nearly long enough to know who a prospective partner really is. People are usually on their best behavior for at least the first year or two of a new relationship, sometimes longer. It can take quite a while for new partners to relax enough to be their true selves with one another on a consistent basis. You both just need to slow your roll.

I would absolutely give it at least 2-3 years before becoming engaged, then another several months to a year before marriage. Meet and interact with her children, learn what their family dynamics are actually like in daily practice. Meet her family of origin, figure out what was going on in her home life could have led an apparently intelligent 15 year old to such desperation that she actively sought out teen pregnancy. What has she done - if anything - to overcome whatever was going on with her that led her to such poor choices, rectify her dysfunctional thinking, and make real changes to her character and psyche? If you do eventually become engaged, see how she behaves while planning that wedding she wants, whether she's calm and efficient in the face of the stress or turns into a raging bridezilla.

Get to know more about her over time so that you can make an honest and clear-eyed assessment about whether she - and her children - are actually compatible with you and are really people you want to spend the rest of your life with. At the same time, she should be evaluating whether or not the real you, once you've relaxed and are no longer careful to be on your best behavior all the time, is someone she feels is really compatible with her, her children, and what she wants for the rest of her life.
 

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My friends and family opinions were formed before they met her. When I said she had 3 children they were already weary. Questions were asked and they learned the kids have different fathers, which quadrupled the weary. She was assumed to be a bad person and a “*****” before meeting her. The same box as my ex-wife has been placed into. No one has ever mentioned anything else against her. Just that it’s not worth the risk and not to be stupid.

Something that I do struggle with is figuring out where I will fit in. I am not the father of these kids and they are old enough to know that. They have fathers, to varying degrees, and I’ve read that children don’t easily accept a step-parent. None of them have ever known their parents to be together, so there is that at least. I don’t think they will see me as having ruined their parents being together. We have talked about this worry. She doesn’t want me to let them step all over me. Though when I had to yell at and grab her 7 year old it felt wrong (chasing a ball that rolled onto a busy road with oncoming traffic). She didn’t see it that way at all, it’s something that I have to get use to. I want to stop seeing them as “her children” or “someone else’s kids”. I know that if we are to marry that I need to see them as my children. I have very little experience with kids, so it’s a big adjustment.

I had these feelings when I first met her, and I think they have lingered around because of all the negative feedback from people in my circle. Some worries I would have regardless I’m sure.

My mom wants grandchildren, and has none. She has asked if we would have kids, and the answer is yes we would have one. My mom loves all kids, and I know she would treat my GF’s kids as her own grandchildren. She has not met them. My GF is thinking maybe Christmas for my families dinner. There are other kids in the family in the same age ranges.


It's a tough gig. You may be fine with it. Who knows?

She won't have a lot of time for you. You may end up watching the children while she is working on a degree. You might rarely have sex, since she is working on her career and taking care of children and working.

You haven't seen her that much, I think you said. You have rarely seen the children and it's been, more or less, in passing.

When do you suppose you will be alone to have sex?

I could be wrong. I think it would be easier to start your own family, but I don't know either of you.
 
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