We were told that it was going to be tough on our relationship, that it would add stress and could highlight issues that maybe we were unaware even existed and that most certainly it would bring any festering issues to the surface and make us confront them head on. We were warned that adopting – particularly adopting more than one child – could indeed destroy less well established, less secure relationships.
We had been together for the best part of two decades and felt that we had grown into a great, honest, committed and totally secure relationship. We had never had any serious issues as a couple and had relatively easily got over the odd argument or disagreement along the way.
We (quite smugly) felt confident that it didn’t apply to us. We were good at this relationship malarkey and how could bringing two little children into our lives undermine or threaten the love, the respect, the history that we had?
And thank goodness our relationship is so strong, because they were right!
Our sons coming into our world has changed our lives beyond recognition and indeed our relationship too and yes it has dramatically impacted on how we are as a couple.
The need to focus so singularly on our sons, the need for my partner – the stay at home parent – to dedicate EVERY ounce of energy, every thought, every consideration on them, on meeting their needs and on working so tirelesly at making them secure and settled in their forever family – means there has been little if any time for me, little time to even acknowledge our relationship, let alone work at it.
And that’s OK. Perfectly OK.
Thankfully we are secure enough for it not to make me question where I am in his world now, from being his number 2 (being gay and Latin American let’s face it, his mother is always going to be no 1), I am now clearly No 4 – which is exactly where I need to be.
Our children need him to be there for them first, they need his love and his attention ahead of me in every way and of course they so deserve that.
There have been times when I have felt that I hardly exist in his life anymore and if anything I just seem to add to the stress and troubles of his day and that has not felt good and I can see that for less secure partners that could create a divide in a relationship – possibly even a divide too big to get back across.
It has been 4 years since our relationship expanded and we became four, as the boys have settled and as they have matured their demands have started to change and now my partner has a little space for himself again and I sense that there is now some energy and a little time for me and I can see that it will grow as we go forward.
It’s evident that I will never overtake the place our sons have etched into my partner’s heart and I can say that with nothing but contentment and pride – as surely that is just the way it should be. Equally of course I am sure that my partner is just as aware that he will never overtake the place that they have etched into mine and that he is just as satisfied with that.
It is anything but a competition and nobody is winning at the expense of anybody else, it’s just a reality that is brought about from necessity and from love – love for our two amazing sons and indeed our love for each other. It is just the reality of being a family.
We both know that we are loved and needed and appreciated and respected and that the other will always be there when we need him to be.
Meanwhile the need is greater from our children and we will get on with being ‘good enough’ parents in the safe knowledge that we are indeed good enough partners.