I guess that's the question we all have, isn't it? I've been dating a wonderful woman for the last few years. When I met her I thought her son was "merely" rude and insolent. As time went on I became more aware that he had serious emotional issues, something I had never experienced as a parent (my kids are pretty well grown and gone). Ultimately he was diagnosed with oppositional defiance disorder. After many court battles with her ex (who believes this child just needs more discipline) she has just now succeeded in getting him into a treatment program (age 13). We've talked about it -- his destructiveness, how me makes that household walk on eggshells, etc -- and the effect it has on our relationship. There are days I'm happy to have my own home to retreat to(we maintain separate households). We've talked and reached an accomodation that the next step in our relationship will have to wait. I'm used to seeing children hit 18 and go off to college and spread their wings and build adult lives. Do these children spread their wings? Is it realistic to think that 5-6 years down the road it's just (by and large) the two of us, or am I being delusional? That's what I don't know. I'm early 50s and will be late 50s by the time that I consider "wing-spreading age" for her children is reached. Am I being realstic or am I just kicking the can down the road? I know that I can't live with this child under my roof, it would drive me crazy and I'm sure it would alienate my children. Thanks for letting me vent.