To all the girls he’s loved before…

First of all, thank you! Thank you for loving him and letting him go. Thank you for teaching him what he wants and doesn’t want in a relationship. Thank you for your part in his journey that ultimately brought him to me.

If you’re beyond the age of puberty, you’ve probably dated someone with a romantic past. Although there are definite advantages to taking what you’ve learned from previous experiences into your next relationship, it can also be challenging to fill the shoes of the significant other who came before you, especially if the previous relationship was long-term.

When you choose to enter into a relationship with an individual, you are also choosing to enter into a relationship with their children, parents, siblings, friends, etc. Those secondary relationships can also be complex and accompanied by multiple and varied past experiences with his ex(es) that influence how each of those individuals interacts with you.

I must admit, the whole concept of having “peripheral” relationships in the first place, is a bit foreign to me, as I’ve always made a conscious choice to have “segregated” romantic relationships. (Yes, those are my terms.) Meaning I would have romantic relationships, but I generally tended to choose men who did not have children or if they did, I would state upfront that I had no intention of meeting their children. My past relationships have also been short enough or casual enough to avoid being integrated into the extended families and, in a lot of cases, the circle of friends.

However, I now find myself in the fantastic, yet formidable position of navigating an “integrated” relationship with a man who has a young-adult son, an established network of friends and close extended family connections.

For the most part, it has been a wonderful experience, but I’m not afraid to admit, there have been moments I’ve questioned whether or not it’s all worth it.

Will his son ever accept me, let alone consider me a friend? Will I ever stand in my own right with his friends, not just the girl who replaced the one who came before me? Whom they adore, by the way, but why wouldn’t they? If he dated her, I’m confident she’s lovely and worthy of adoration.

Having said all that, at the end of the day, what really matters is that the two of us want to be in a relationship with one another and we must trust that our loved one’s simply want what’s best for us.

Incidentally, he has yet to meet my lovelies. This coming weekend, we will bring our respective little family units together to celebrate Thanksgiving. We each have one son, whom we both raised on our own, coincidentally enough. I’m sure meeting of my friends and extended family will follow, in short order.

I am very fortunate to be loved by a man who is aware enough to meet me where I’m at, instead of expecting me to meet him where he is at, before I’m ready. He encourages me to be patient and trust that over time those peripheral relationships will develop and grow, just as ours has and is.

I’m excited about the future, I’m learning as I go and I appreciate you all coming along for the journey.

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