my girlfriend has another man's child - can I live with it?

Reply Tue 26 Aug, 2003 08:18 am

I'll come straight to the point. My girl-friend whom I met a little over a month ago has a two year old son from a previous relationship. In the beginning everything was fine but after about two weeks the first doubts started creeping in on my part whether I would be able to accept another man's child in my life and whether I could live with this. Feelings of jealousy, frustration and anger took hold of me. Jealous... at a two year old kid who NEEDS his mum. I don't know how I can have these feelings or where they stem from. I feel awful having these feelings as I see myself as a good person. I also find them very unfair toward my girl-friend and her two year old son. Is it normal for a man to have these feelings and can he ever get rid of them?

When I see the kid (who happens to be very sweet) I don't see it as my girl-friend's but as the child of another man. I just cannot seem to wrap my mind around the fact that the woman I love has had a child by another man. I feel I am ready to have children myself, I just don't want another man's kids.
The kid still sees his dad when his dad has time to see him and, so I've heard, is a good dad.

I'm getting fed up talking to my girl-friend about these feelings of jealousy, frustration and anger and I don't know if she is the right person to talk to. She is very understanding but obviously does not want to hear the things I am saying to her because they, not surprisingly, stab her right through the heart.

Sometimes I feel I need to finish the relationship because when I think of the 'enormity' of the situation I seem to stop functioning. Of course, I like my girl-friend (insofar one can say I love her after one month).

I don't know if anyone has first-hand with my 'problem' but any help would be greatly appreciated. I just want to come to terms with my feelings. Am I being too much of a martyr? Am I being selfish?


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Type: Discussion • Score: 10 • Views: 42,708 • Replies: 35

Reply Tue 26 Aug, 2003 09:43 am
I don't think so, Johno. I doubt you can change your attitude on this, so it might be best to get out before the three of you get more emotionally involved than you already are.
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Reply Tue 26 Aug, 2003 10:42 am
I don't think you are being a martyr or selfish - you just feel the way you feel. There's no great rule in life that says you have to accept other people's children into your life.

You seem to care about your girlfriend and you think that she is raising a good child. I agree with roger - if you are feeling this way after only one month, I'd take that as a huge red banner indicating that this is NOT the relationship for you.

If you won't break it off with her, at the very least you should attempt to work out your problems with a professional. If you don't, that 2 year old is going to pay the price for your jealousy.
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Reply Tue 26 Aug, 2003 10:59 am
Get out now before you hurt the baby, either emotionally or physically. Frustration over things we can't change can force one to do all kinds of ugly things.
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Reply Tue 26 Aug, 2003 11:14 am
I agree with the others. If you cannot accept the fact that she has a child with another man, then you should get out of the relationship now. You have all the right in the world to your feelings, but those feelings are not fair to the child and his mother. If you stay in the relationship with those feelings of resentment, everyone loses.
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Reply Tue 26 Aug, 2003 12:38 pm
Like some other members have said, the depth of your jealousy and negative feelings for this sweet, innocent child are too strong for a one month relationship.

My heart is broken for the young woman, who has probably encountered the dust-off due to her precious child before. I hope she is strong enough not to resent the child for ending her relationships.

Think about this. Every woman you have ever been with (most likely) has been with another man before you. This child is only evidence of that. If you know other women you have been with have had previous emotional and sexual relationships--why the concentrated negative focus on this child? Think about it in depth. I think there is something more there.

But, regardless of what you discover about your feelings about dates' children--I think it would be best for the three of you to discontinue the relationship. I wouldn't date women with children, until I had come to terms with my feelings about 'other mens' children. A guy who dates Mommy really does have an impact on these children of divorce. I beg you to consider them.
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Reply Tue 26 Aug, 2003 01:17 pm

Have you asked yourself why the presence of this child stimulates such great jealousy in you?

Are you the oldest in your birth family? The youngest? Somewhere inbetween? What sort of relationships do you have with your brothers and sisters? Do you have particularly resentful feeling about hand-me-downs?

You recognize that your feelings are not rational, but irrationality has a logic all its own. You might consider a few sessions with a mental health expert, not so much to save this relationship (which seems very heavy, very quickly) as to explore yourself--particularly the areas you don't understand.

Good luck.
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Reply Tue 26 Aug, 2003 05:09 pm
When a couple gets together and has a child,
both parents participate in raising the child.
They have a need and a strength together that draws them even closer.

But when a child is being raised by a single parent,
the child will always be needful and close with the parent.
Nothing competes with that bond, not even close!

To an external person coming into that situation,
the child will always take priority, always get the time, attention,
communication, understanding, energy and involvement first.
The outsider will always be on the outside, and the child will
continually be drawing the couple further apart.

I've tried dating a few single parents, and though they've been very nice
and pleasant, capable, competent and wonderful people, the limitations
are severe and the rewards greatly curtailed.

Is there a place for an entire relationship in a situation like that?
It can take a lot of work and commitment only to discover that you
are disposable company.
Go wherever you are welcome *and* there is a place for you. Sorry.

All of your feelings are healthy and good. Explore them. Know them.
Indulge them. Find out exactly what they are and why.
If you want to "get rid" of one of them, you'll have to get rid of them all
and that's a pretty high price to pay. There's no such thing as a negative
emotion. Better to go with the flow and if the relationship overall doesn't
contribute to the kind of life you want, find one that does.
Reply Tue 26 Aug, 2003 05:30 pm
Don't take this as being harsh or anything Johno because it isn't meant to be but in reading your post I strikes me that you are way to wrapped up in this relationship.

You've known this girl for a month yet you profess love for her and are already concerned about your long-term dealings with her child.

It sounds like you need to step back and take a little reality check. Are you really in love with her? Or just very infatuated? Are you maybe a little over-anxious to "settle down" yourself? (I don't expect you to answer these publicly. You are the only one that needs to know the answers..).

I've dated women that had children and never had the problem you describe. But I suspect I'm a bit older than you and I have a child of my own so I probbaly see things a little differently than you do.

It sounds to me like you are trying to compete with a 2 year old for the attention of this woman. My own advise there would be "Don't!". Any woman that would choose you (or any other man for that matter..) over her own child isn't a woman you'd want to have children with yourself.
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Reply Tue 26 Aug, 2003 05:32 pm
I agree with Codeberg but only to a degree. It is true that when you're talking about a two year old child, the parent's attention should go to that child above everything and everyone else, period, but a 22 year old is a different story. I think it depends on the age of the child and the maturity of the relationship between the parent and child. Some kids would love nothing more than to see their single parent hooked up with someone. The chances get better when the child is older.
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Reply Wed 27 Aug, 2003 09:17 am
maybe you should try just being friends with this woman and leave it at that. this woman probably has a lot of stresses in her life due to the child and the childs father, if you aren't ready to deal with these then you should let her go. doesn't mean you have to push her out of your life completely, hang out with her and be friends, allow her to date someone who will be ok with her having a kid.

my sister has a two year old and is in a mentally abusive relationship with the baby's father, he doesn't let her go anywhere and is calling her names and rudely commenting about her weight since she had the baby, but she told me that she wont break up with him because she is afraid no one will want her because she has a baby.
so keep this story in mind when you are being jealous of this baby, the baby doesn't ask to be put on this earth the parents make a decision to put it here. they need mommy and daddy, just be happy that your girlfriend isn't in a situation like my sister.
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Reply Wed 27 Aug, 2003 09:21 am
fishin' wrote:
It sounds to me like you are trying to compete with a 2 year old for the attention of this woman. My own advise there would be "Don't!". Any woman that would choose you (or any other man for that matter..) over her own child isn't a woman you'd want to have children with yourself.

Excellent point.
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Reply Wed 27 Aug, 2003 09:31 am
There is nothing wrong with the way you feel and it is a sign of good mental health that you recognize your feelings honestly.

If you stick around and do any damage to a child because of them you are not only doing wrong, you will actually be a wrong person.

get out.
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Reply Wed 27 Aug, 2003 09:35 am
My girl-friend whom I met a little over a month ago

Johno- For your girlfriend's and her son's sake, end the relationship now. If you feel this way after a month, it will only get worse later.

As far as seeing a professional, this relationship, IMO, has not "jelled" enough to warrant counselling. I say that your girlfriend deserves a man who will accept her and her son as a "package deal". Any less than that, and the three of you will be miserable.
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Reply Wed 27 Aug, 2003 03:46 pm
Thanks for making that point, Phoenix. This relationship isn't stable or established enough to warrant professional counseling. It's only a month old. If Johno is already having problems dealing with things, it's apparent that she is not the one for him and vice versa. If it don't fit, don't force it.
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Reply Thu 28 Aug, 2003 05:09 am
Let me put my 2 cents in here, I might have a helpful perspective. I'll say right up front that this is no "answer", and is not even intended to be "advice".

It's just my story.

I once met a woman who already had children. Not just two children, but two children by two different males. (Notice I didn't call them "men" or "fathers".) Males of different color, no less. This woman, then a girl, was 19 years old with a 5 yr old son and a 2 yr old daughter. I married her in 1993.

Now, if you think being jealous of the kid is hard to deal with, try raising that kid, and her brother, for ten years with absolutely no support, no help, no contact of any kind, and then all the sudden the sorry excuse for a man wants to be a "good dad".

That will bring on some jealousy.

But... I knew within the first five minutes of meeting that woman that I wanted to spent the rest of my life with her - There was just no question. No reservation at all. Not the slightest bit of concern about her kids, and I knew it was a package deal. There was 100% commitment on the spot.

Jonno - obviously you have a great deal of doubt. You cannot continue this relationship without hurting everyone involved. Don't worry about how much you or your girlfriend will hurt from terminating the relationship - It's peanuts compared to the hurt you all will suffer if you continue. Your feelings are not wrong, but they are the truth. Follow the truth.
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Reply Thu 28 Aug, 2003 05:18 am
harmonic- It is so gratifying when I hear a story like yours. It just proves to me, that when true love is present, a person can deal with all sorts of obstacles.

As for the wayward "father", I know that dealing with the reality of him is problematic for you. Your feelings of jealousy, (and quite probably anger) is absolutely normal. Be open and honest about it with your wife, and you will get beyond it. Good luck!
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Reply Fri 29 Aug, 2003 07:27 pm
Thanks Phoenix. I have to say, you're very right about the anger. I actually had to modify my post and omit a reference to anger because I thought the admission wouldn't help. But, you're right, there is anger abound. It doesn't help. It would only bring space between me and the children I share with those males- and I love those children dearly- maybe, in some ways, more than the one that I created myself.

And I will let nothing come between me and my children... they are mine indeed. They may not look like me, but in action, they are a clear reflection of me.

There is something very special in the bond between you and those you choose instead of create.
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Reply Thu 18 Sep, 2003 11:22 pm
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Reply Fri 19 Sep, 2003 04:46 am
The thing about concieving and giving birth to you own child is that you have nine months to get used to the idea, and a couple of months where the infant doesn't do much.

What Johno's freaked about is 'instant toddler'. Another man's child? Well, yeah. So? You wanted a virgin perhaps?

My reccomendation: Babysit! Let the GF go out without you.

The possibilities:
1) The GF will be miserable because she isn't comfortable with the idea of you and the kid.
2) You will be miserable because you have no idea what to do with a kid.
3) You and the kid will have a great time doing the things a two year old does, and the GF will have a nice adult break... down time.

If the third happens, then you've got a chance. Otherwise, call it off.

Personal truth... When I was fresh out of college I dated an older woman with a seven year old. In the long run I was not yet ready for a son. A pregnant girlfriend I could have adjusted to, but I wans't ready for the full-blown fatherhood thing (and the real father was never an issue, not unlike harmonic's comment about 'males'). 16 years later, I'm the divorced parent of a seven year old (and a four year old), I figure I am finally the right age for her.

And we've been together seven years...
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