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Wearing to many hats - confused and don;t know what to do!

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  • Wearing to many hats - confused and don;t know what to do!

    Hi, I am a 53-year-old male widower. My wife of 23 years passed just over 1 year ago. She was 9 years my senior - and 61 when she passed. My wife had two children, both boys from her first marriage. My late wife and I never had any of our own children despite trying early on we were told she should not try due to her age. Both of our sons have passed away. The eldest passed away 14+ years ago from an enlarged heart caused by taking NSAF medications (Prednazone) and a rare form of arthritis (ankylosing spondylitis). John had been diagnosed with this when he was a young child at around 8. He had two children from separate women and they are grown adults. The eldest also has four children (my great-grandchildren) Our younger son (we'll call him John) was married to his wife (weíll call her Maria)13 years ago. Their oldest son was 3 when he passed. Their daughter was unborn and came six month after John passed Ė he died on my late wife and my wedding anniversary. I was invited in the delivery room and cut her umbilical cord. After our son John passed I took on the role of Dad, Grandpa to the kids and my late wife and I have supported Maria as our own child. Min the past year since my wife passed my daughter-in-law Maria and I become what I consider as co-parents. We raise her two children as if they were my own. We share all aspects of our home life including money, bills etc. I own my own home and I am considering having her in my will as if we were married. I canít take it with me and I want to make sure she and the kids are taken care of. We have an agreement that we will continue to co-parent and live in common. Maria is 43 years old has been dating for about three years now and she has had a few strong relationships. I am sexually attracted to her but she has made it clear that she does not feel the same way about me. I get why she feels that way but I canít help but feel jealous as well. She tells me that she wants a male relationship(s) only for dating and intimacy and that she has no intention of becoming involved further nor would she ever move herself the kids out. But I feel this may just be a convenient way of keeping the status quo until she is confident she can go her own way. I feel that once she has a solid relationship she can move out with the kids. This would leave me empty and alone without anyone in my life and I feel like this could end badly for myself if I let thing continue the way they are. She has a 21 year old daughter from an earlier relationship and this daughter has moved in with us to help her out. It seems that if I can establish a sexual relationship/companionship with a women then all will be good but Iím not sure. As a widower, it is even possible to find such a relationship with a women that is FWB and NSA? I am so confused that I am starting to want to run from the situation. I love my family and the grandchildren but I feel like my heart is breaking while I try to get thru this. Itís like losing my wife and then being thrust into a failing relationship that I canít walk away from due to my personal commitments as a grandparent and I canít make someone fall in love with me. Because it has been almost three years since my wife first became ill, I am very lonely and am in need companionship. Am I a fool to think this can work? My mom (80 yrs young) also lives with us. Iím afraid to make a move because I feel anything I do will make this house of cards collapse. Even for myself how do I find a person for me that would accept such a messed up situation. It seems my daughter-in-law can find men that accept this but for women finding a person who accepts this situations seems very remote to me. I donít know maybe I'm just over thinking it all but I canít afford to guess as this is my life!

  • #2
    Slow down, Grandpa. I don't know if you're real or not but it is inappropriate to be coming on to your daughter-in-law. Why haven't you tried meeting women outside of your family members?

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    • #3
      You're not related to any of these people by blood, and that's something you need to remember, however hurtful it is.
      You may take certain roles upon yourself, but they can be taken away at any time if your presence is considered unwanted or inappropriate. It's not like you have any legal claims to be a part of these peoples lives. Calling yourself grandpa or dad doesn't make it legally so.
      So you need to be very careful if you don't want to end up alone with your mother. If you make this woman, Maria, uncomfortable, that could be the end of this entire arrangement.

      If you want them to be in your life, you need to respect this woman. She has made it clear to you that she doesn't see you as a romantic partner. Cross that line again and suffer the consequences, because she won't tolerate being harrassed in her own home.
      You can't control the waves, but you can learn to surf

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      • #4
        Thank you for you replies Rose and Ayla. Maria and myself have know each other been in a family relationship for almost 14 years and we are very open and Maria is well aware of my feelings as I am of hers. And I am well aware there is no blood relationship but frankly that doesn't carry much weight with me. In her words she loves living with me and being with me. I am comfortable with that and we have a bond and trust between us that is strong and has integrity. Maria knows what I am going thru and I think she often shows me affection (hugs) to help me thru - she is not leading me on. While she has said "No", and I do respect that, she has also said "who knows, maybe one day!" and I don't think she is just saying that although I do think it is remote. I think she may be also waiting for me to get out there and date other women to heal. I'm pretty certain we will not be intimate and I am okay with that. We don't want to ruin what we have and we both feel becoming intimate could do that so we don't want to mess things up. I love the kids as if they were my own. Like Rose said, grandpa needs to get out and meet other women and I have thru dating sites but very limited responses - I'm fine with that, ill keep trying. In fact we are both accepting of our co-parent role and both plan to have a FWB/NSA relations ship on the side. She actually already has a male companion and is now started dating another man with the intent of making it more of a relationship than just exclusively companionship. I am looking for that same companion/relationship but I am doubtful that many women would want to date a man in my situation. I think men are more likely to accept than women but this is only my opinion and not based on any facts. It this whole widower, co-parenting mix that I am struggling with. In my heart these (non-blood) related family are still my family thru the marriage that my wife and I once shared. I realize that legally that ended when my wife passed. I have older brothers and a sister but they all have their own families and lives and this one is mine. I learnt when my wife passed away that you can't take any of this stuff with you so when I go I want her and her kids to be taken care of so I am truly okay with putting her name on the property title and as my beneficiary in my will as it will make things much easier for her. We had a long talk about this last night and my trust in Maria is solid. What I don't trust is myself and my own decision and this is most likely a part of the grieving process. I am now on my own without a wife to share my thoughts and ideas with and so I am left to make decision in isolation - this is very difficult and plagued with doubt. In an excerpt of a poem by Gwen Flowers, the ending reads as follows: ...grief is not a task to finish And move on, But an element of yourself - An alteration of your being. A new definition of self. I think this is my issue. If I look inward it really is that I need to find someone to make myself try and become a whole person again. I am the most patient man I know but it is hard waiting to find that person I can look at, kiss good night and all that stuff. I'm just projecting onto Maria and she understands this as she has already gone thru this. I would never force myself on her or any women for that mater. But I can't change how I feel... I just need someone else to have feeling for...
        Last edited by No1widowergrandpa; October 10th, 2018, 06:50 PM.

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        • #5
          I'm sorry that you are going through this in the first place. I hope you come out of it eventually. Grief is not easy to define tangibly and it doesn't usually have an expiry date. It doesn't matter whether you find someone else or not, your wife will always be with you in memory and in the life you both created together. It seems you're worried whether you'll be accepted again for who you are. If it's meant to be, it'll happen but I think you should give yourself time to rediscover yourself and rekindle more interest in your hobbies and in what makes you happy. It seems like you've lost your reason and will to live and you're right - you're projecting it onto someone else and hoping that someone else will give you a reason to go on. You're going to have to be strong for your family and honour the memory of your wife by committing to living well. I think things will fall into place and eventually you'll be ready to meet someone new.

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          • #6
            Thank you for the words of encouragement Rose! And I think your are correct for sure and the more I think about it the more I know that I need to focus on myself. Trying fill a void like this is a crazy hard thing to do. The doubt in myself is immense! I guess this goes deeper to who I am and who I been over the past 23 years and now I need to; how did your say it "rediscover myself". One of the obstacles I face is that my late wife and are were very much home bodies and very engaged with Maria and our grand Children. We were not overly social people and as is often the case my wife worked in elderly care and most of our non family friends were here friends. I have friends, but non that I hang with on a daily or even weekly basis, they are more just casual friends. I have no idea what I should do. Maybe just going out by myself. I guess I need to get out there and find a reason to live as you say. I just don't exactly know how to do that and I every decision seems to scare the crap out of me. I guess its just waiting for water to pass under the bridge but my heart needs something to fill it and it hurts like hell watching the water flow bye...

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            • #7
              One day at a time... Don't expect so much of yourself right now. Simply enjoy the moments you have with your children/grandchildren/family and rediscover yourself. I'm just sensing that you're still grieving a lot and that's all right. It's also ok to desire companionship. There is nothing wrong with that. Don't feel like you aren't worthy of anyone's love again. That will come in time but you should believe more in yourself and to do that yes, you're going to have to find a will to live and not just that but live meaningfully. Give yourself time. It's a new chapter of your life now. Wish you the best.

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              • #8
                I need to find someone to make myself try and become a whole person again. I am the most patient man I know but it is hard waiting to find that person I can look at, kiss good night and all that stuff.
                Sadly, I don't think you're ever going to have the motivation to do that as long as you have this (unhealthy?) attachment to Maria and her children.

                If you're so worried about them being taken care of then why not allow them to function on their own two feet by offering them first and last months rent (or a downpayment on their own home) so that you both can move on from this codependent existence with one another?

                If you don't have all this enabling going on, then the two of you will likely find someone worth being with in a true relationship type of union.

                In the meantime have you thought about joining a group for widows/widowers through grief counselling? You may even meet a good companion there. How about "Parents without Partners?" Is there a chapter there where you live?

                Does Maria work?
                Last edited by phasesofthemoon; October 11th, 2018, 04:31 PM.
                "First off, welcome to the Relationship Forums, You'll come to understand that I don't pull any punches when giving my opinion/advice and I hope you're not so sensitive to what I see as the truth of the matter." Me!

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                • #9
                  hi phaseofthemoon, I hear what you are saying but It's really not as simple as you are making it out to be. These children, especially the 6 year old see me as their father. I was in the delivery room and cut her umbilical cord. Her father passed before she was born and I am the only father figure she knows and you saying I should abandon that - that would be very cruel and is not happening. Now her grandmother passed. I think the kids do have some abandonment issues and I don;t want to add to that in any way. In addition to that Yes, Maria works and as one might think when my wife passed so did her income leaving me to carry a very large mortgage. Our home is where our family and friends (all of our family) come together for family functions. Our roots run deep. Maria is my mortgage helper and most likely will be a co-signer on my mortgage when I renew. Or like you suggest, at that time I sell and set her up on her own - that is an option I am considering. Our home actually functions extremely well and for the most part without any issues. I have decided to take some advice off this forum and focus on myself and let go of any feelings that I may have for Maria. It's the right thing to do. In time if she enters a relationship or I do then we will decided between us what is the right course of action. I'm glad I posted on here, its good to have so many ideas and suggestions. For now status quo I guess. I'm just not comfortable going to support/counselling meetings - its not something I would ever do. Wont take anti depressant either - its just not me. Thanks for your thoughts!

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                  • #10
                    Then get yourself out there and try and meet a companion that will take your mind off Maria in a romantic way. There are meetup groups. Like Meetmarketadventures.com (not sure if there is a chapter where you live?) or meetup.com where you'll do activities that you choose that interest you where other singles will also choose to attend. Maybe take a general interest night school course where you can meet friends of both sexes.

                    A woman isn't going to knock on your front door and Maria isn't going to suddenly no longer be in your romantic heart. You're going to have to put your focus on someone else and something else.

                    Good luck, you sound like a real gentleman and there is a great lady out there waiting for you to find her.
                    "First off, welcome to the Relationship Forums, You'll come to understand that I don't pull any punches when giving my opinion/advice and I hope you're not so sensitive to what I see as the truth of the matter." Me!

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                    • #11
                      Thank you for the compliment phasesofthemoon. I was raised to be a gentleman and by nature I am a very calm, gentle man that really prides himself on my honesty and integrity. I certainly can put myself out their to try to meet a companion. Thank you for the links - I'll be sure to check them out. I'm pretty sure there is also a lot of truth in finding that someone for me will relieve a lot of this pent up anxiety and stress and frustration. It just make good sense that's what I need to do. It's crazy but this whole thing is kind of like being a young virgin again. It takes me back to my teens when I was insecure and uncomfortable. I've been in a monogamous relationship for 23 years, now to suddenly change and have to try to flirt is really intimidating. Like riding a bike I'm hoping - lol. I've been chatting but haven't actually had any dates thus far. I will take all of the wonderful advice I have been offered and take some me time over the next while to reflect on all of this. I think it's pretty clear I need to take more time for me to do me things...

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                      • #12
                        Getting out there is a process, a journey. Enjoy your journey and keep your heart off your sleeve... Don't let your ego cause you pain. Dating now a days with online dating and swipe and pump apps its going to be a numbers game so be prudent in your search and quickly weed out flakes and gold diggers. There are plenty of woman your age that would be happy to be with a gentleman that isn't just out there to get laid... there are lots that are out there just for that if that's what you're only ready for

                        Be well and good luck.
                        "First off, welcome to the Relationship Forums, You'll come to understand that I don't pull any punches when giving my opinion/advice and I hope you're not so sensitive to what I see as the truth of the matter." Me!

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