Im a widower with 4 kids, ages 10-16 now. My wife passed away almost 6 years ago. My girlfriend is a widow with 4 kids, ages 14-24.
We have been dating for more than 4 years. A huge issue between us, is co sleeping. I think nothing of it, as its normal, for us. Any of my kids can sleep in my bed if/when they want to. Weather at bed time or durning the middle of the night, its alway an available safe place. When my girlfriend stays the night, and im needed by one of my kids I will go to their room and lay down with them, and sometimes fall asleep. To my girlfriend, this is the biggest problem, no details as why, just alway says its inapproriate. We are to the point that its leading to us breaking up. So poll time, is co-sleeping weird, if so why?
Im a widower with 4 kids, ages 10-16 now. My wife passed away almost 6 years ago. My girlfriend is a widow with 4 kids, ages 14-24.
Tw: unaliving thoughts, pregnancy loss
When I was 15 I was really struggling with depression, and the very dark thoughts that go with that. I transfered schools to get away from my tormentors halfway through the year, but I could not sleep. I had horrific night terrors, unless I slept in her bed. So at nearly 175cm/5’9″ and in 10th grade, I slept in my mom’s bed every night for a few months. If she felt my breathing start to get rapid, or me starting to tremble, she’d cuddle me like she did when I was little, and I stopped waking up in panic attacks, then I stopped waking up and would just relax in my sleep. Then she just could put a hand on me and I’d relax. Then I’d just lay in her bed and we’d talk, and she’d stroke my hair till I was tired and I’d go to my own bed. And I eventually didn’t need it at all. But lemme tell you when I had a miscarriage at 30, my stepdad gave me his side of the bed and watched my toddler and my mom held me while I slept.
Traumatized kids are kids. They need that tender comfort like they did as toddlers. I can’t imagine losing either of my parents in my 30s, but as a teen… I mean I’ve got tears typing. There’s nothing inappropriate about a kid who has lost a parent craving more physical closeness to their surviving parent. Sending you and your kids so much love. And honestly… it sounds like you and gf have very different core parenting beliefs…. it may not work out, and that may not be the worst outcome..
Ps you sound like a very loving dad who is doing his best to guide his babies through grief. I would like to give you a giant hug.
Sounds like she may not be a good fit for you and the kids.
I’m (28F) a widow with 1 child (3F). We co-sleep and have since day 1, and I definitely think this is largely due to her fathers passing and it being just the two of us. When I have tried to date, this has also been an issue for me. I think mostly out of jealousy; like, potential partners think I should be next to *them* all night every night and not my child.
Do you live with your partner? Have you blended your families?
You put in an earlier reply that there was therapy. Rather than leave it up to some stranger on the internet, why not discuss it with a trained therapist. I feel that you may be trading one problem for another, but I’m also just a stranger on the internet.
I don’t think it’s wrong or weird. If your gf is having a visceral reaction to it, that may be due to her own experiences with sexual assault.
If she was saying it because they need to grow up, that’s one thing. Calling it inappropriate but not wanting to explain further sounds like personal baggage.
My daughter had a brain tumor when she was three. After we got through that, she slept in my arms for the next four years. It was awesome. When I divorced her mom, we fell out of the habit, and she wanted to sleep on her own. That was also awesome. Unless it’s weird to you or the child, it’s ok in my book.
I will add, I can’t tell you how many people told me I’d be ruining my child if I kept this up. Including doctors! OP, as you know, going through an event like you did, rules change. What others think also becomes a lot less important. Just listen to your gut. If your kids want the bond, they want the bond. If it gets weird, it’s time to move on. Not sure ebat will make it weird, bur you will know.
16 is probably past cosleeping stage, but what do I know?
Not a widower. But married with our one child (9) we also have an “open door policy” as some were saying… he will literally crawl in bed with us in the middle of the night, ask to sleep with us, or come in, in the morning for cuddles. But then there’s some days, he sleeps in his room or the guest room….
I used to think it was weird, or at least complain because it was uncomfortable with little legs kicking my ribs, but my husband said something to me “one day he will grow out of it, and then that will be the last time he ever does it” something like that… so I don’t fuss. And to be completely honest, if I did become a widow, I would probably let him sleep with me whenever for however he wanted. _Because I know he would get comfort_
I don’t see an issue. And if your girlfriend gives you an ultimatum, always pick the kids.
Children shouldn’t be judged or punished on how they deal with and heal from grief. If they need you then they need you. But also encourage the kids to lean on each other and help with co sleeping. Your GF is sexualizing your relationship with co sleeping with your kids because of the ages. That’s why she thinks it’s inappropriate. You need to have an open discussion with her feelings regarding that.
My parents had a “family bed” where we could sleep there if we wanted. It was nice..
When my mom died, we did take turns to sleep with my dad; we were from 5 to 12. I don’t remember how much it lasted, it’s kind of a blur. If I had to think about why it stopped for me, probably that my dad snores way too much.
I do think you have to do some changes, mainly because they are getting older and they need to be able to sleep on their own. It’s a skill. You can help them create a sleeping routine, talk to them about how important sleep is. What will they do if they go to college? I’d look into trying to make them a bit more independent.
That said, you don’t say how often this happens. It’s different if it’s once a month versus a weekly thing.
I don’t think your GF should get into this. I mean, you cannot ban what your kids are doing because it’s not wrong. She is wrong to say it’s inappropriate.
Is it weird to love your child? If so yes. You been through a lot. Seems like your trying to be a good father.
I will say personally we are taking the route of not having kids sleep ever in our bed. Not sure if I would even sleep with them in there bed either but that doesn’t mean for a second what your doing is wrong or wierd. Just diff style. One it’s your kids if she can’t respect how ur raisin them that’s a issue in itself. Maybe compromise and say no more in your bed but it’s ok to go to there bed (given she moves in). but bottom line it not ok how she’s not respecting how your parenting YOUR children.
We also have an open door policy. My kids are always welcome if they need comfort and support. Literally any day now, they are going to decide they don’t want/need me anymore and that will be over for the rest of my life.
Like literally anything more than a quick hug might be all I ever can ask of them in a few years. And I won’t guilt them for that because it’s normal and healthy for them to be independent. But I’m going to take every chance I can now if they ask me for a cuddle, a hug, a bedtime song, a back scratch, or any other damn thing.
My guess is that your gf is just not able to articulate what she is concerned about, and doesn’t want to compromise her own chances for intimacy and privacy with you. Because that’s definitely a real thing. I haven’t had much chance at privacy at all donde i had kids, and I don’t expect to get it back anytime soon.
Every couple has to find their own balance, but in this case, you providing your kids with what they need is always always going to be in the #1 spot of priorities.
You are providing a safe space for your children. Anyone who can’t see and understand that may not be worth your time.
NTA. i am 50. My 30 year old son will still get into bed with me when he doesn’t feel good. His wife drives him and the grandkids over to my house and they all climb in. She thinks its “adorable”. I just think he wants soup and attention because he is so not that guy to ask for it. My 26 yr old daughter and 15 year old son still get in bed with me. Not all the time but ya know enough. My husband also finds this hilarious because I usually end up sleeping in my chair because its only a king size bed and i am menopausal. (My ladies will understand). Sounds like your gf is the problem here.
I’m currently lying on my bed with my nearly 16 year old asleep on my shoulder.
She’s sick ATM and it’s just comforting for her. She does the same thing with her father when she’s sick as does our youngest (11).
But I can see why some wouldn’t like it.
You have a 16 year old who comes to you when they are scared, worried, sad. I’d consider that winning.
You’ve all been through a ton of trauma losing your wife/their mom. If I was in your shoes, like hell am I going to risk the bond, the trust with my kids because the gf thinks it’s weird.
As soon as you significantly change how you interact and support your kids because of your gf, you’re going to push them away. They’re going to blame your gf for the rift and rightfully so.
Don’t stop loving your kids because they’re getting older, cherish it- it may not last forever that you’ll be they shoulder they cry on- but let them get to that point on their own. Oh also 10 is pretty young still- especially when their life has been turned upside down losing a parent.
Sounds to me like you’re rocking it as a parent- keep it up.
I can understand why you started co-sleeping and think at that time it was probably very important for your kids.
I think 10 is probably a good time to teach them to sleep by themselves. Anything older I think is getting weird.
Honestly, I’m curious to what your end game here is. Based on your responses it seems like you’re set in your way about this and have no intent of changing it. Did you come to Reddit just to get confirmation on your position, or did you want actual discourse around it? Are you looking for advice?
Personally, I think it’s endearing to have kids that age that trust/are comfortable with you to that degree, but sleeping with them intentionally for the full night/etc at that point is a little strange. For me once they fell asleep I’d leave the bed. I think part of it for me is why they need you to that degree when they’re in emotional distress, and why are they in distress so frequently that this has come up enough to be a point of conflict in your relationship? It sounds like it might be a little co-dependent, but we obviously don’t have enough information to make that assessment.
I think 7 or 8 is when Id probably put an end to sleeping the entire night in my bed.
I like that you’re keeping an open mind and generally curious. So here is my opinion. To me I don’t think it’s weird you’re just being a good father, but also maybe GF is trying to establish some sense of normalcy? Being pulled into your kids rooms at night to help them sleep might be getting old after 4 years to her. Have you thought about starting to set some boundaries with your children? I know that sounds like a horrible thing to say, but it’s just a thought. Possibly talk to GF and see what compromise you two can come up with.
I have been sleeping alone since I was 13 years old .
You are a good father but I think you should strive to make your kids more independent.
My bed is a revolving door. I usually cap the kid limit at 2 but sometimes they just need a hug and off they go. They’re only young once and physical comfort is a beautiful thing.
You’re being a great Dad. Your kids should be able to go to you any time. They’ve lost their Mum and you’re now both parents and their emotional support. Personally think it’s so lovely they need their Dad.
At 21 my Dad came and sat on my bedroom floor and stroked my face until I fell asleep after a nasty breakup and ensuing depression.
If you do feel the need to stop this please take the help of a therapist to do so, otherwise it could cause a lot of resentment.
Co sleeping is a normal and healthy parenting choice, and if it works for your family that’s all that matters.
Sounds to me like your gf is jealous of your children, in which case she’s not ready to date a single dad.
For the younger kids I think it’s not weird. For your 16 year old daughter…a bit different. Cuddling on the couch is one thing but if you’re spooning her…that’s a romantic position. As children age, particularly children of the opposite sex, healthy boundaries should be established. That doesn’t mean all affection has to go out the window, but teenagers should not be sleeping pressed up against their parents. There are sexual undertones.
Honestly? It’s not for me, I have bedroom boundaries because cosleeping for me just meant that I got zero sleep, which left me exhausted. I’m available for a crisis, a hug, tears, midnight period calamities, wake me up if you need me but no sleeping in my bed.
However, I totally respect anyone’s right to do it differently, families should do what works for them. What you have here is a compatibility issue. You need someone with the same parenting ethos as you xx
Lol no??? Your gf should understand better than anyone how heart-shattering losing a parent is for kids. For anyone. Your kids need you, they are comforted by the fact that they can always come to you, and you’re glad they feel that way. The only problem here is the GF’s attitude.
Seems like you aren’t really open to a discussion of your situation, just want validation that you are right and your Partner is wrong.
She’s also a parent, so knows about those times when “extra” is needed for kids. If she feels you’re overstepping, she might have a valid concern.
Cosleeping is only weird according to US cultural standards. There are lots of other countries and cultures that cosleep with their kids and it is considered normal. So I think for most people who’ve been raised in the US, it seems weird, and that might be what your girlfriend is feeling. She may also be feeling sidelined or left out. But ultimately, kids should always come first before adults. Hopefully you two can talk out what is best for the kids and your families right now. Sounds like your family has been through a lot, and I think it’s remarkable that you’re doing everything you can to be there for your kids. Being a parent isn’t easy it’s hard work. I hope your girlfriend can get on board and put the kids need ahead of both of yours. Good luck friend.
It’s a bit much to sleep with a 10 year old…. But I have no idea the harm caused by the passing of the parent.
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