Friday, February 12, 2010

A Child's View

A few weeks ago J and I met with a friend, her kids and her boyfriend for dinner. Like me, the woman is desi but unlike me she has dated and continues to do so hoping that will in time, lead her to the right man. We both came out of arranged marriages that did not work out. Her position (and it is a fairly common one in the circumstances) is that not spending time together ahead of time was the reason that marriage did not work out. This time around, she will not be rushed or rush into things. 
The man has been part of her household for the last couple of years, the kids like him but do not want her to marry him. That makes things complicated for her because at some point, they have to take the logical next step with their relationship or end it. I was curious about J's take on what she saw - specially because she can relate to the woman and kids very directly. This is a lot different from seeing an American single mom and her household - there is an expectation that the cultural difference will account for the unfamiliar life style choices even if that were not true.
J said what she has said before "I want you to have a husband and me to have a daddy but I don't want you to date - a boyfriend would confuse me" I found it surprising how the same situation can lead kids to have entirely different ideas on how they would like to see things unfold. In a sense, our kids are being supportive of the direction we have chosen to take.
Since L, my friend has dated men in the past and continues to do so, her children want her to remain in that pattern and not disrupt it with a marriage. They have grown comfortable seeing their mother move in and out of relationships and have come to accept it as the natural order of their life. J on the other hand, has never seen me be in a relationship but wants to have a family. In her mind, that can happen only when I am married. Me having a boyfriend does not give her what she wants and she extends that to mean it is not what would serve me well either.

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