Daily Archives: July 27, 2010

Relationships

A girlfriend of mine has been looking for her beshert (true love) for a long time. Finally a few weeks ago she went on a date with a great guy, and things are going well for them. They see each other often and as time passes she seems more and more sure that he is the one.

This friend is religious, and very much believes in not touching any men that she is not married to. She is extremely attracted to her “boyfriend” and knows that he feels the same way about her. His religious background is different, he didn’t grow up religious and has had girlfriends before and been physical with them. So he knows what he is missing, and is finding it difficult to refrain from touching her. (edited to clarify – he is currently religious and intends to stay that way)

She really wants this to work, but finds the yearning for his touch is clouding her judgment and taking over the time she spends with him. She knows not to be alone with him, however she wonders how she can truly get to know him without spending time with him. But when they spend time together she is hyper aware of him, tenses up even, and knows if she didn’t stop him, they would indeed have a physical relationship. She doesn’t want to be the one that is always saying STOP, or don’t touch me – that could totally lead to resentment on his part.

This is one of the reasons that religious people get married so quick – so that these temptations are not around for long, and the physical side can be consummated according to the law of Moses. But she wants to be sure about him before jumping into marriage.

What advice could you give her to help her through this time without compromising her principles?

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Blending in….

Sometimes I wonder what it is like to be you reading my blog. Do I present a well balanced picture of my life? I don’t think I do. I put my positive spin on everything – even the crappy personal times sound downright silver lining-ish.

I don’t want you all to think that blending our family has been plain sailing just because I never blog about our challenges and only seem to blog about the good times. We have charted many choppy waters and have plenty of stormy seas ahead, I’m sure. However, neither of us are planning on sending up flares anytime soon. I don’t blog about the specifics of the squalls and tempests because there are minor children involved and this is a very sensitive area. Navigating the sea of step parenthood and blended families is extremely tough and sensitive and oh-so-complicated.

I will say that having a positive attitude helps a ton, and that when there is mutual respect between kids and a parent / step-parent it helps the adjustment to go much more smoothly. I will also add that all the kids need to see that this new partnership between biological parent and step parent is a solid one, and that the couple need to present a united front. The worse thing is for a child to be able to play one parent off the other.

Blending families is certainly not for the faint of heart. There is much compromise involved – for all parties concerned, kids included. When there are other biological parents involved in the children’s upbringing it adds extra dimensions – rules in each house are bound to be different, mommy does things this way, daddy does things that way. We have house rules that apply to everyone, even if things are done differently in their other home. Sometimes these rules are tough to enforce, but we try to do so fairly.

I love the fact that my boys adore the KoD. They love and respect him and want to please him. This is a HUGE deal – so many step children resent the advent of a step parent, and feel they have to compete (sometimes negatively) in order to get attention. My boys, well, they tease us about making googly eyes at each other. It makes them so happy to see their Ima happy.

But still, they have had my undivided attention for years, and now, they have to share it. For me, I cannot unilaterally decide on a course of action in a specific circumstance (as I have been used to doing as a single mom) – I need to consider the KoD’s opinions and thoughts and feelings too. This is where communication is key. Sometimes I forget that the KoD cannot read my mind. We are soul-mates – so I occasionally assume he knows what I am thinking then get frustrated with him that he doesn’t. I’m working on it and I must say the KoD is the most patient man I have ever met.

Way back when they first met him, the boys made sure that KoD knew his place. They told him he would always be #5 on my list, that they would always come first. They said it more or less in jest, but there was a huge nugget of claim-staking there too. So long as each and every one of them feels that they are top of my list and not being neglected, I know I am doing something right.

It’s also important for the couple to make time for themselves as a married couple. When you become an instant family it is so easy for the couplehood to get lost in the shuffle of biological kids and step kids and visitation. Even if it is just a trip together without kids to the local grocery store to buy another 10 quarts of milk – alone time is a precious commodity but so important.

We are still finding our way, and I am sure it will take a while until all the big waves have settled into tiny imperceptible ripples – but we are all committed to making it work.

If any of you come from a blended family, or have one of your own – any tips you have to make this transition smoother for all concerned would be much appreciated.

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