My gentleman friend and I had been dating for a little over a year. The first eight months, he lived within an hour's drive and we saw him on a very regular basis. The last portion of the relationship, he lived five hours away. We thought we'd be able to do it - each of us making the drive once a month. We hoped it would work. It didn't.
We took it slow. He didn't meet the kids until we'd been dating a few months. Still, they like him and his son, the three kids getting along well. Since they hadn't seen him that often over the last few months, he become more of an idea than a person with a daily impact on their lives.
Still, there was some explaining to do.
We'd planned on going up and spending a week with him and his son. Telling the kids our trip was cancelled was almost as difficult as him telling me it wasn't working out. They didn't understand and I couldn't figure out a way to tell them.
They were confused at first why our friend wasn't going to be visiting and why we couldn't visit him. Breaking up is such an adult concept. Children fight and make up on an hourly basis. The idea that no, we're never going to see him again was too large. I kept it simple and told them he was too busy and had moved too far away and sometimes, with grown ups, these things happen.
They ask about him sometimes, the words sending a stab of pain through my heart. I smile and say I be he and his son are doing great and miss us too.
In the meantime, I'm thinking a dating hiatus is in order. For the first time, I understand why some single moms decide to stay single.
Have you ever had to have this conversation with your children? What did you say?