It’s been six months. We’re still hot for each other. Things have changed slightly though and we see each other twice a week, sometimes three, young children are nearly always around, although occasionally we get to go to the theatre or do grown up things on our own but more and more we now try and integrate the children on both sides into each other’s weekends.
He told me it’s hard being a full-time dad. I’ll bet it is. It’s relentless, the washing, the cooking, the feeding, the tears, refereeing sibling rivalry, packing school lunches, going to work after walking sleepy children to school breakfast clubs, checking trains to pick up from after-school clubs on time, having to find out about 11-plus exams, helping them cope with anxieties over the changes to their routines – going to work is probably a walk in the park. Wondering how the heck I got here on my own. I don’t know the half of it as I’ve never ever had to be a full time single parent myself.
And of course sometimes it’s downright depressing and he says he gets really angry at the ex. I can only imagine that must be hard because blaming someone else is not what he does normally. I’m on his side totally. I am amazed when he makes excuses for her unreliability.
The one chink of positivity is that now he calls the shots as far as how he wants to parent. He can be the role model for his children and besides the stability and normality that he gives them he can also show them what it’s like to try new things. There’s strength in being able to ask for help or even hire help. I agree with him that to be a sane and normal father he deserves some time out occasionally. But setting all these thints up takes time and patience.
I’m full of admiration for this man and his optimism. I’d be an idiot not to stick around.
The relationship has intensified. I have met A’s children more often and there had been a plan last week when A arranged that I’d spend some of the school half term holidays with them. Unfortunately his ex had become unreasonable and threatened to take her life, resulting in the police being called and A having to step in and parent full time.
Of course the emotional well-being of young blameless lives takes precedence. I am no needy jealous girlfriend and fully appreciate that this may be a permanent scenario. He had been reluctant in the past to take on the children full time because of course they would have been devastated at losing contact with their mother. But it has become clear that said mother is in no fit state to healthily parent and after the emotional rollercoaster the children had been through it is now important that A provides them with the stability they sorely need. It doesn’t mean that A feels less for me or I him, even if in reality we might see less of each other.
He is conscious that when we first set out to date each other he had been a part-time father – having his children one weekday and every other weekend, something like 10-12 days a month. We had become drawn to each other resulting in tentative discussions of sharing a fuller relationship. We began to date each other exclusively a month into the beginning and by December last year were spending every free evening with each other – that is, at least 20 evenings and two whole weekends a month. We are aware that the change in his circumstances means that we will have to revise what we had previously thought was possible.
Do I want to live with a man and his young under 10s? My own children are practically grown up now, the youngest approaching adulthood this year. This is a question I cannot fully answer yet. Do I want to continue to date Alexander? This is an easy one. I had not appreciated until the whole thing with his ex came to a head how generous, kind and patient and strong he had been – no matter how unreasonable her behaviour had been, he had never played the blame game. That may be the reason why she had continued behaving in even more extreme ways each time.