When the other woman is grandkids

by Dating Goddess on November 21, 2011

Most of us would be hurt and disappointed if our man cheated with another woman. We would feel betrayed.

But what if the object of our love’s attention wasn’t a woman — but his young grandchild?

We want to be supportive, as children can be magical. A grandparent’s relationship with their grandchild can be hugely important to both. But what if his affection towards his grandchildren overshadows his relationship with you?

When a man shares how important his grandkids are to him, I’m glad he has a good relationship with them. However, I’m a little cautious, as what if I’m not fond of them? What if he wants to spend all his (and much of our) time with them? Sometimes the kids are great; other times they are spoiled and no one sees it but me. That is not fun.

A gal pal shared that her 3-year relationship with a man she adored broke up because he wanted to be with his two small grandkids rather than travel extensively with her, as they’d done the last few years. She can’t be mad at him — of course his wanting to be with them at a tender age is understandable. But being childfree, she can only empathize intellectually. She’s fond of the kids, but doesn’t want to be with them 24/7 as he does.

She’s sad. Very sad. She still loves him, and he loves her, but they don’t now see a way around his wanting to see his little grands every day and her wanting to take extensive trips. Skype video chats between him and the kids doesn’t really do it, nor does it work well between him and her.

They are pulled in different life directions because of different priorities. Saying goodbye to the relationship they had is hard, even though they know they will still be connected, it won’t be the same.

Have you ever ended a relationship because of shifted life priorities? How did you make it as least painful as possible?

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Richard November 22, 2011 at 5:37 am

I have thought about this, but for a different reason. How do I envision life when I am 80 or 90 years old? A couple with a family to celebrate the holidays, or two people slowly fading into the night. Most of what I read about growing old is that family is most treasured. I can see myself cooking the holiday meals for the family until I can not cook any more.

Similarly, I have thought about non-local relationships (more than 1 hour away). Due to my job, she would be forced to relocate to where I am. I do not even have the flexibility to live 1/2 way in-between. The implication being: she may need to find a new set of day-to-day friends.

“But being childfree, …” Depends on why she is child free. It appears she is child free by choice. If so, she may want to find someone closer to her situation. That said, he may be too into his role as Grandpa if he can not take the time to travel. It depends on what she means by “extensive trips” – 1 month, 6 months? How about: 1 month traveling, then 1 month at home? Maybe spend the summers at home when the parents can appreciate the grandparents watching the kids during summer vacation. Maybe when the kids are a little older, taking them on an extensive trip during the summers.

I think seeing the grandkids every day is a little much. As a parent, I do not think I would want the grandparents over every day. If it is a child care issue, then that is a different question.

Life is full of changes. How you deal with them as a couple is what a long-term relationship is all about. Guys have had this problem since the beginning – Mother/child relationship can overshadow the husband/wife relationship. But, that is the way women are wired, and we learn to deal with it. Even as grandparents.

Carrie November 25, 2011 at 7:08 pm

I can certainly understand where your friend is coming from.

I, too, have no children. Love them, but only have my two nieces.

My sister (who is widowed) and I have discussed this at length. She prefers a man who has children (and more so a man who has custody of his children), and if I can have my way…I prefer one with either none or children who are pretty much on their own.

I was married for 11 years and he had two girls from a previous marriage. Loved them, but just don’t want to go through the ex-wife wars and all that goes with a split family.

Might be the perfect setting for some…but I’m just not sure that’s a party I want to go back to.

bookyone December 2, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Oh, wow, what a toughie. As a single child free by choice woman myself, I prefer to date men without kids or those whose kids are grown, though I dare say I’d make an exception if the right guy came along and he was willing to be a bit flexible as well. :)

Kali December 28, 2011 at 12:40 pm

I think it is only natural to drift your priorities but this can be a very delicate subject for both. It is important to do what your heart wants you to do but you have to think why your heart was there to begin with. Obviously you don’t want to miss a moment of your grandkids’ life but remember your own and where you are in your life. Becoming too involved in your grandkids’ life can lead you to stop living your own. You can’t live your life through your grandchildren you have to live it through yourself and surround yourself with the ones that love you too! That includes your significant other.

Rec January 21, 2012 at 8:13 pm

I have faced a similar situation. When we were separated in two different directions I used to think of the good things we enjoyed together and cherish it. I know he loves me lot but due to life circumstances we need to be away from each other. I cherished every moment thinking of in my each work i do. Thanks for the opportunity you have given to express myself through this blog.

Rohan August 19, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Wow, it’s great that he loves his grandkids and wants to spend quality time with them; however, he needs to work on different ways in which he can spend quality time with his grandkids as well as his soul mate as they are both equally important.

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