Can a big, noisy family ruin a relationship? He has 4 kids; she has none. She wants more of his time. Will incompatibility create a split?
By Tom P Blake of Finding Love After 50
Harry is 55; Alice is 44. They've been together three years, having met while he was going through a divorce. Harry said, "We get along on so many levels, intellect, hobbies, movies, fine dining, cooking, nature, and many other personal things, including our intimate lives. We once spoke of marriage and maybe a child of our own."
With all of that compatibility, it sounds like a match made to last. But-and there always seems to be a "but"-there is a major incompatibility in their relationship.
Harry explained, "I have 4 grown children 19-25. The kids accepted my partner pretty much right away. Alice never had children. Therein lies part of our problems.
"I lived a big life with my kids, very involved, traveling baseball, private Catholic education for all 4, soccer, football, vacations (often with just me and the kids,) and I have truly been close to my kids from day one! Still am!
"I have a daughter 24 who is a single mom with my grandson who I adore and is 5 years old. He often visits.
"I have 4 brothers most of whom I played softball with, fished, etc. and we enjoy each other's company, along with Sunday dinners with my mom who is 88. In general, we have a big noisy family, that enjoys each other's company and when I met my girlfriend it was just the two of us much of the time."
It's obvious that Harry is a devoted family man. He tells us Alice has trouble fitting into the family.
"As time went on, Alice thought I had needy kids, especially my daughter with a kid, and wanted more structure as to how often I spent time or how they showed up at our home (they never barged in, always called first). My kids no longer ask for money, or live with me, or cause either of us any trouble. Alice has stated many times, that they have been nothing but kind to her, but she does not want to hang with them or be real close to them.
"She feels under-appreciated and unwanted when I go away to work in my home town for a day or two (which my work allows) and spend time with family as well. I have made it no secret: I like to get away and she takes it personally."
Harry went on to say that he's tried to welcome Alice into his "big, noisy, family," but Alice is shy and instead sometimes gets irritated and feels uncomfortable and left out.
Harry said, "I am nagged and confronted in negative ways when I am away. I am increasingly finding this to be our deal breaker. Is there hope for us?
"I am in real estate sales and part of that is very social, combined with family, other friends, etc. it does stretch my time with her.
"Lately she is driving me to where I feel I have to choose family or her and my response is why not both? But, it increasingly seems that my time away from her bothers her."
And then Harry admitted that Alice may have a trust issue with his being away. "During this rough patch, I had a drink with a former girlfriend and even though nothing happened, Alice found out and I sincerely view that as a mistake and will never do that again, as it was inappropriate and I admitted that to her. However, the problem with family existed long before that incident and I don't want to exclude my family and kids."
"I told her I would celebrate another kid in my life but increasingly believe this might be a mistake as I think she would be doting much of the time over our new child."
Another child to add to his "big, noisy family?" Is Harry nuts? That would be a huge mistake. Besides being too old, how would Harry find the time to raise the child? It would take him away from his "big, noisy family." And he is concerned she would be a "doting" mother.
Harry said, "We both are ready to give up which is sad, because I love her, but need space for all the others I love. Perhaps there is not room."
Perhaps not, Harry.