Dear Coleen: My new girlfriend has no interest in my children

Dear Coleen

I’m a man in my early 40s, divorced with two children aged eight and 10.

I’ve been seeing someone since the start of the year and it’s the first serious relationship I’ve had since my ex-wife and I separated three years ago.

My girlfriend is nearly a decade younger than I am and doesn’t have kids. When we got together I was upfront about having children and that they were my priority.

She was fine about it and pretty positive, but as time has gone on, she’s struggling with it.

She’s not really interested in the kids, which isn’t attractive. I’ve never expected her to look after them or forced her into coming out with us, but they do stay with me every weekend and she finds it hard.

She can’t cope with the mess, chaos and noise when they’re around, but it’s inevitable with young children.

She just kind of opts out and makes no effort with them, which they obviously pick up on. Then when they go back to their mum, she’s charming again.

What do you think?

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Coleen says

You have to think about the future and how realistic it is to spend your life with someone who is pretty intolerant of your children.

They’re not going anywhere and, if anything, you’ll see more of them as they get older and become more independent.

So I think you have to work out whether she’s someone you’re likely to settle down with or someone you can have fun with at the moment.

If it’s the latter, you can keep those two strands of your life separate, but if it’s the former, then you need to address the issue of your children with her.

The bottom line is, if she can’t accept your kids, then it’s never going to work.

You’re probably resisting having that conversation because you’re having a lot of fun with her and it’s the first relationship you’ve had since the divorce, but the problem isn’t going to go away.

You sound like a committed father and that your kids will always be a priority, so if she’s serious about you, then she needs to make more effort.

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