Advice on marrying a dad with-child in group home

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Loveable, Nov 15, 2010.

  1. Loveable

    Loveable Guest

    I have been dating for 5yrs this amazing guy, who is the divorced dad of a teen son living in a group home. I love the dad for who he is, and I respect him for being a supportive parent maintaining a steady presence in the life of his child to this day. Thing is... we've been talking marriage for years now (he started)- even broke-up for 2 months in past talking about this bc he was reluctant and evasive not liking my answers to his questions of what I thought a joint future could be like for us. But we got back together without the pressure of talking marriage- that was 3yrs ago.

    There is a scenario whereby his teen living in group home now and I hear that for the child's "best interest" that 1) he never be told about our marriage, and 2) that I "never" met him (even when married). I am all for doing what is right for the child first, but I ask myself: if this is truly the best approach... a life of "secrecy" for the dad, and exclusion for the child? And aren't we in essence creating a worse-case scenerio for the day the teen finds out about having been "lied" to? As someone who will leave group home when adult, I think... are we really preparing this teen for the real-world by hiding things from him as opposed to dialoguing and helping him adjust to real life? Not looking to be an additional opinion to the biological parents, but looking to maintain as clear a conscience as I can with myself truly...

    Thoughts on the above, please?
  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    What are Dad's reasons for such secrecy?

    Because in all honesty.............. It sends up red flags all over the place to me. And I doubt there could be a reason good enough to keep my relationship a secret.

    For the child........ I can't imagine it would be healthy, mentally or emotionally. The child will discover the truth........then he will not only have to deal with the fact he suddenly has a stepmom who is a complete stranger......but that he was lied to on top of it by people who propose to care about him.

    Obviously you're feeling ill at ease with this. I say trust your instincts
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Something smells fishy here.
    I think this dad is using his son's group home experience as an excuse. It just doesn't make sense.
    If you're in love, and you respect one another, and you plan a future together. there you go. It is what it is.
    To lie to group home kid about it is nothing but a lie.
    We board members have kids who are schizo-affecftive; biploar; borderline; Autistic; you name it; and I cannot think of any reason why these kids should be lied to. Some of them do create their own realties, but layering their misperceptions with-yet another deliberate lie is dangerous.

    Just my 2 cents worth.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I would never marry a man under those conditions. It's like maybe the kid has something to tell you that you don't know and that he doesn't want you to know. Or maybe the child has worse issues than you know. How can he hide a marriage forever?? What if the two of you have kids? They never get to know their half-brother?

    Can you tell us what he said is wrong with the boy? Is he ashamed of him? Are your boyfriend and his ex going to pretend to be married when/if he gets out of group home? How will THAT work out? I forsee a lot of times when he will have to be with the boy and not you...I don't like the entire situation. If this is in the best interests of his son (assuming it isn't something else) then in my opinion he should remain single forever. But something tells me this man is lying to you. This doesn't make any sense.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2010
  5. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Do you know why son is in the group home?
    Where is bio mom?
    Obviously the secrecy is a little disconcerting. It's not like people don't divorce and remarry. It's pretty common.
    Has he told you why he thinks there has to be such secrecy?
    The idea of never meeting the son for the rest of your married life is a bit ridiculous to tell you the truth. It's probably not even doable.
    Is he going to tell his parents, ex wife or any of his friends that he is married? Are you going to be someone who is hidden from others in his life?
    It's a strange situation and I would be trying to look at his behavior realistically. His demands are pretty out there.
  6. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I have to agree with others that say the secrecy is a red flag. Who else is he planning on hiding this from? Just the son? If so, why? Is his son's mental state that delicate? Hiding it from his whole family? Major red flag. How well does your family know him at this point? How well do you know his family?
  7. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I can not imagine ANY scenario where lying to the son is a good idea, and I've got some pretty horrific ideas floating thru my head.

    If you are concerned about his reaction, you introduce him slowly to the idea, get his treatment team involved, but secrecy for life? Nope.

    Trust your gut. Mommy guts (bio or otherwise) are rarely wrong.
  8. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Another one who feels there is something really fishy here. Why is the son in a group home? Does dad ever visit the son? Something is a tad smelly in Denmark I'm thinking......

  9. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Guest

    Yes, very wierd to me, too...
  10. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    My first thought was his this is some requirement of his ex-wife. Like others I think it is an all around bad idea, in particular because it puts you into a really bad position....kind of a 2nd class citizen.

    I would be interested in knowing why the son is in a group home and why anyone there would think this is a good idea. My guess is the sons therapists don't know this is going on.

    So find out more or don't marry him under these conditions. Secrets never work well in families.
  11. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    I'm not liking the scenario that he is presenting to you, either. What is the point of hiding the fact that he is marrying you? Does the son think that his parents will get back together someday and the father does not want to burst that bubble? That does not sound doable to me. At some point it will come out that you married his father and I think that the poop will hit the fan at that point for everyone involved in the lie and the cover up. Why is the son living in a group home? How long will he be there?

    Have you asked your boyfriend why he wants to keep his marriage to you a secret?

  12. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Without having a lot of other background, I am inclined to believe that Dad is a difficult child all round too.

    Fishy is an understatment. This is NOT. GOOD. I'm not sure that ANY reasons he could come up with would be good for me.

    ...Unless he WANTS the child to hate him, and you?! That's an AWFULLY BIG LIE to live...

    I agree... You should have ALL the rights of a spouse, including being a PART of the FAMILY. The WHOLE family.
  13. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    I think the answer must lie in the REASON the child is in the group home.

    I have a brother in law who is mentally challenged. He has to live in a group home because he is absolutely incable of living independantly....but he is a very sweet person.

    He has met me on numerous occassions, but really does not understand who I am - or why his brother keeps hanging out with me. My brother in law does not realize that I am a part of his family. This is OK. I do not take offense.

    IF the son is living in a group home for similar reasons, it might be better not to meet him if he is incapable of understanding who you are and your relationship with his Daddy. It is entirely possible that a mentally challenged individual would react violently to a new woman replacing his Mommy. And IF this is the case, I cannot imagine the family trying to push your relationship onto the son, or even let him know about it.

    I think you need to find out WHY the son cannot meet you.

    Some things may be more clear to you after you find out the reason behind the strange request.
  14. After investing five years into a relationship, people are often very reluctant to walk away from it and will tolerate behaviors and demands that they would never consider had they been presented at the beginning of the relationship. [The frog-in-the-boiling-water analogy, if you're familiar with it.] Clearly, this isn't how you want to live your life -- and I doubt you really thought this group would come up with enough reasons to quell your doubts and let you have the clear conscience you want. Here are my thought (since you asked us!): Five years is a long time to invest, but if you want to be married, I would suggest you find someone whose idea of marriage is more like your own. If you really want to be with this man, then give up the marriage idea -- he doesn't really want it to happen. The red flags all over are telling you there is something you don't know about and that he doesn't want you to know about. Although we can speculate all day, in the end, you don't have a basis for a healthy marriage. Walk calmly to the nearest exit and in a year from now, you will not regret it.
  15. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    In five years he has never explained his son's problems, never shared that he alone needs to be in contact with him, never
    turned to you for support in dealing with a difficult situation?? Truthfully, if that is the case, I think you have been short changed for a long time. You deserve a life partner who meets your needs and who turns to you emotionally with trust.
    In your post you ask "are we really preparing this teen for the real world..." Unless I've misinterpreted your post Loveable I
    don't think "we" is the correct pronoun.

    I agree with the majority of the replies. You deserve better. Sharing life means comfortably sharing all of it. The fact that you sought out this forum shows you are a caring person. Painful as it may be for awhile free yourself to find a caring and trusting partner. DDD
  16. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Many years ago, when husband was a friend I saw sometimes who had another girlfriend, I was going out with a guy who said he wanted to marry me. But I was still young (just 18) and he was 23. We were both studying and he didn't want anyone to know we were engaged. So - no ring. No telling anybody. No setting a date - we had plenty of time.

    Looking back, I realise this guy was dangling marriage in front of me to try to get into my pants. He did not succeed - but that is another story. The thing is, there were lots of little secrets I never really recognised until after I was out of that relationship.

    I'd like to say I was the one who walked away, but I was not. He broke up with me, not the other way around. I was devastated - we had so much in common. Or so I thought. Until I was able to take a few steps back, take off the rose-coloured glasses, and realise that I had invested far more in the relationship than he had.

    It's like investing in a business. If you have a partner who is also investing in the business, and if the business is doing well, then there is no problem. If the business is not doing so well, then you meet with all involved and discuss what to do - keep the business afloat, or cut losses? But what if the business seems to be doing well, but is in reality a ponzi scheme? At first you pour in more money to try to salvage it, thinking that having already invested so much, you want to at least give yourself a chance of getting back something on your investment... if the business is legit then you have a chance. But if you are pouring money down the drain, you only end up losing more.

    It is possible that someone in the boy's group home has actually advised the boy's father to not remarry; or if he does, to keep it from the boy. But I cannot see how such advice could be countenanced, ever. We on this site have heard some horror stories at times of professionals at various places breaking the rules badly, or doing/saying some darn fool things. But really - if they genuinely said that to this man of yours, and he has NOT argued back but simply shrugged and said, "OK..." then I seriously doubt that any marriage you have with him would be a real commitment form him.

    Before you marry him, check that his divorce degree is genuine.

  17. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    A whole lot would depend on what was the reason the child was in the group home. Is the child dangerous or aggressive? We have had parents here who have had to move and not tell older teen kids because the kids were a danger to the family - a real physical danger. At one point we were afraid that we would end up having to do that with Wiz, but he was able to turn himself around.

    Unless it is that extreme a situation, AND you can speak to some people at the group home and verify this, there is NO WAY that I would continue a relationship with this man. He does NOT want a life partner, an equal. If he did you would have met his son or would have some very clear reasons why it was not possible. If it is not possible he would still have a lot of emotions and stress over this and would communicate with you and need your support to help him with them. That is not happening.

    Your instincts are sending up red flags in a very real way. NEVER distrust your instincts. PERIOD. They are the way the universe guides us away from things that are completely wrong for us. If you go against your instincts you will wind up making the biggest mistakes of your life.

    This man has not made you his partner. He has kept you completely out of one entire area of his life. People who want to create solid marriages do NOT do this. there is no way a true marriage can exist with one partner excluding the other from an area as large as the one that his son is in.

    What would happen if you married and had children with him? Where would he spend the holidays? What if your child had the same birthday as his child? Which child woudl be the priority? How would you feel when you and your kids came up second to his child in the group home and you could never interact with this child to see why you couldn't have him as part of your family?

    Cut the relationship off now if you have any desire for a true relationship. This man is NOT willing to be a real partner/husband to you.
  18. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I asked my teen daughter, who is most certainly a easy child with very few even typical teen behaviors, how she would feel if she was in a group home setting and then learned that her very involved parent had a wife and potentially another entire family that she didn't know existed. She thought she would feel betrayed, hurt, angry and very much excluded. She said she might even feel she was "thrown away" by her parent.

    I can only imagine that a difficult child would feel these things FAR more intensely because difficult children tend to be incredibly intense about their feelings, esp if it is something that hurts them or is "done to them".

    I asked her how she would feel in your shoes, loveable, and she said that no way would she continue the relationship no matter how great it was. She would not feel the man could be open and honest with her, or trust him to be a good father to her children. His son in the group home would likely always come first and would take away from the other kids in a way that would be unhealthy.

    in my opinion your relationship is NOT one that you should continue.
  19. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Hon, you called yourself "loveable". That tells me that I think you already suspected what our answers would be and you needed validation.

    You deserve a full relationship and to be loved unconditionally.