After dating my partner for eight months, I accidently discovered that he’s divorced (for four years) and has two young children.
He’d previously told me that he’d never been married and had no children.
When I (gently) confronted him, he was initially angry then despondent, saying he wanted to tell me but was afraid I’d leave him over it.
As we live together five days out of the week, he’d obviously gone to great lengths to keep this from me.
He’s otherwise been a kind, generous, and insightful partner who supports all my endeavours.
I’m not against dating a man with children (I have none), but am hurt that he hid this from me and can't get over it.
He gets irritated when I try to discuss my hurt, so I can't even be honest about my feelings with him.
Four more months have passed and he still thinks it’s too early to introduce me to his children.
I appreciate that it’s a complicated thing and that he wants to protect them, but it still seems absurd.
Though we spend a great deal of time together, I worry that he doesn't see me as a serious potential partner, which is why he wouldn't share this part of his life with me.
There are other possible explanations: 1) He believes that the children’s mother will react badly to their meeting you and limit his time with his kids.
Or, 2) He’s afraid of his children’s rejection of him if they learn there’s another woman in his life.
Neither of these possibilities are easy to handle.
But his delaying a meeting is equally worrisome.
He shows little strength of character in not acknowledging your hurt, and being unclear about what “too early” to meet his children really means.
That he lied at first and has been able to keep this huge part of his life from you is a red flag for any future you might have.
Clearly, he has financial obligations to his children which he never explained, and he’s never been upfront about how he spends his time away from you.
Re-think the whole relationship. Tell him the issue is him, not his children.
I’m 63, a very successful business man married 44 years. We had an agreement that she takes care of the family and house, I manage business and finance.
Like I’m Minister of Revenue and she’s top gun over Public Works.
Eleven years ago I caught her cheating with many partners over two years. With counselling we worked through this, she begged forgiveness, and today I have full confidence in her.
However, she’s become very controlling over what I do, with whom, and when.
She checks my email and texts. Though I worked to purchase our three properties, she decides who comes and goes.
I don’t wish to leave but these aren’t happy times for me. I’ve expressed my frustration, she says she’ll change, but doesn’t. I just want her to treat me like I treat her.
Over time, the less-powerful (e.g. your wife, initially) can become restless, even resentful.
After all, the “revenue” actually controlled what “public works” were available for her to run.
Her cheating was her rebellion. It was wrong, you forgave her, and then she found her own voice.
Call it an “even” switch that needs to end. Insist you both compromise and arrive at decisions together, not controls. Time for mutually happy years ahead.
FEEDBACK Regarding the husband who told his bride after their marriage that he expected her to go unclothed at home and keep an open-door bathroom (July 22):
Reader #1 – “This is about control and power struggles. I wonder if there’s an age gap between them?
“It's no coincidence that nudity wasn’t discussed during dating and engagement when people normally get to know their future spouse.
“His "preference" for nudity, couched in "the beauty of a woman's body," and insisting on no privacy for personal toilet business, would lose its power among family members if it were openly discussed.
“She should get a handle on this now.”
Reader #2 – “Given that they didn't live together before getting married, the whole getting-to-know each other was ruled out.
“She should consider compromising. Have him give up on the bodily-functions exhibitionism in exchange for some private nudity.
“Or ditch him if that's what she prefers.”
Tip of the day:
Keeping a past divorce and existing children secret from a partner goes beyond hurtful – it’s a serious red flag.