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[RUSH!] Relationship difficulty

Are you male or female:

Is the person your question is about male or female:

What is your age:

What are the ages of the other people involved:

What is your relationship status:

What is the relationship status of the person you are dating:

How long have the two of you been together:
on and off for 4 years

Is this an online only relationship:

Have you ever had a date in person, face-to-face:

If this is a long distance relationship, how often do you physically see each other:
Does not apply

If you’re engaged, when is the wedding date:
Does not apply

If you’re engaged, but there is no wedding date set — why not:
Does not apply

Are you divorced or just separated:

How long have you been divorced:
5 years

How long has the person you are dating been divorced:
2 years

How many kids do you each have, and how old are they:
me: 2. Her: 3. Ages 15, 13, 11, 10 and 3

What country do you live in:

Describe any cultural, religious or family influences impacting your relationship:
Does not apply

Hi April,
My question is difficult. I met "Liz" 4 years ago. We were both married at the time and we knew our relationship would not go anywhere. So we did not pursue it. We both waited until we were divorced. About a year ago we started talking again and decided to "
date" We dated and enjoyed ourselves. However a few things happened but we overcame that and started dating again. In fact, in early December we took a trip to Marco Island together for a few days. We had a great time. Then about a week after we were back, she started acting "cool" towards me. We didn't see each other over the holiday and I didn't know what to do. Finally she said she was "upset" because my daughter had told her daughter that we were talking about "building a home together". I NEVER said such a thing to my daughter. The only thing I ever told my daughter was when she asked me about a picture of a house I had put on facebook. I simply told her it was a house that both Liz and I liked a lot. That's it, nothing more. So "Liz" tells me she is answering questions for her daughter now that she wasn't prepared to and needs to "protect" her kids. I'm not sure what this means. She also said "we are back where we started/were".

Any advice on what I can do to get back with Liz? We both have over and over again expressed our love for each other but this situation I just can't understand. I would never tell my children anything that they could repeat unless we both agreed to it. What should I do?


Re: [RUSH!] Relationship difficulty

Dating with children is tough! In fact, kids and potential step-kids can become as difficult in a relationship and as much a relationship deal breaker as a meddling in-law. It's easy to forget this because the idea of one big happy family seems so seductive, and children seem so sweet an joyful -- but beware! Dating with kids can be like walking over a minefield. Here are a few tips you can try:

* Protect the relationship you have with this woman, from both sets of kids. In other words, keep this relationship on the down low. Don't involve the kids in your dating lives unless and until you're mutually super serious about a commitment. Don't talk about the relationship with the kids. Don't share news about it. Don't include them on your dates or set up play dates between them. There are too many ways for kids to misinterpret their own feelings about your relationship and how it will affect them, so just don't involve them. Even with something as seemingly innocuous as telling your daughter that your girlfriend likes a particular house.... kids can run with these ideas and twist them out of context, between themselves -- and create relationship trouble as a result.

* Consider that this woman's children may feel threatened by your relationship with their mother. They may feel that they'll be displaced. They may feel jealous of her attentions towards you. They may feel that you're displacing their father -- even if you aren't trying to.... they may conjure up these ideas, and there's not a lot you can do about it. Her kids, her relationship with her kids, and their personal journeys are not controllable, but being aware of these potential feelings that the kids have, is going to help.

* Apologize. Explain that you didn't realize that talking to your daughter about your feelings about a house would spin out of control, and let her know that for future, you want to keep the relationship between the grown ups, big time -- and not the kids. Let her know you won't do that again, and you're sorry. She wants to hear you taking responsibility and making changes...
April Masini is a relationship and etiquette expert, author of 4 books and the #1 relationship advice forum, blue-chip corporate spokesperson and preferred go-to source for the world’s most prominent media and news outlets.