Writing left handed

The Non-ultimatum Ultimatum

Fear is a powerful motivator.  I know this because for the first time in my relationship with The Wedding Date—actually, for the first time in my life—I find myself afraid of losing someone.  In the past, I’ve always been the one to walk.  The one to decide that this relationship is going to take a lot of work and the reward (the relationship itself) isn’t worth it.  But now the tables are turned.  Now The Wedding Date is telling me, “Listen, I don’t want this to sound like an ultimatum but I need to know: do you want to be with me?  And if you want to be with be, can you handle being with my kids?”

It seems like such an unfair question.  Especially when my preschoolers have their final concert of the year tomorrow which means I’ve got to finish laminating their class project today, stuff all of their year-end goodie bags, transport all of their music and props and mats from the studio down to the auditorium, spike the stage, set up the lights, label all of the chairs and—oh yeah—keep 30 little beach balls engaged long enough to conduct their one and only onstage rehearsal before the big day.

I want to tell The Wedding Date “Can’t this wait?”  But let’s be realistic.  He has a right to know.  And after tomorrow’s concert, I have just one day to pack before I’m off to Denver for the weekend, then after Denver I’m back in the studio to finish getting ready for my other student’s recital.  And as much as I’d like to think that my life is going to calm down once the school year is finally over, I know it won’t.

Which brings me back to my original point: life isn’t fair.  If it was, it would have been me and not Kate Middleton wearing all of those cool hats and hanging out with the Queen for last week’s Diamond Jubilee.  And Prince William would still be good looking (as opposed to ruddy faced and bald) and he would be an expert salsa dancer and I would be a billionaire because I’d be able to sit around writing books all day and— as the wife of the future King of England— I’d be an instant best seller.

Instead I’ve fallen in love with a man who has two children.  A man who loves me back and happens to be an expert salsa dancer for real.  He tells me that he knows he’s got baggage— that he knows it’s a lot to ask—and that he just wants me to be myself, not some diligent daughter-in-law to be or step mom extraordinaire.   Why on earth does it have to be so complicated?


21 Responses to “The Non-ultimatum Ultimatum”

  1. Amanda

    Honestly? If it was, it wouldn’t be nearly as interesting. Complications are what keep life from being boring. My advice (which you can take or leave) would be to just enjoy yourself now. Don’t worry so much about what’s going to happen with you and TWD in the future (because you’ll only drive yourself nuts). It’s hard, going day to day in a relationship like that, trying not to think if you’ve got a future together, and it may not work for you. It did for me, and I’ve been with my BF for six years (and yeah, it took us a while to figure out how to sleep together 🙂 )

    • Kat Richter

      Hmm… this is worth considering. I have told him he needs to stop teasing me about what songs we should dance to at our wedding because being the “Single Bridezilla” that I am, I’m basically a powder keg just waiting to explode when you mention the “w” word!

  2. susan

    don’t give up on this. you have worked hard, but you still have an unrealistic vIew of life. Tell him yu are in it for the long haul, but BE yourself. It might not hurt to slow down a little, too.

  3. Landlord

    Remember, little bites so no one gets cranky, small steps all going forward–and also remember that I am going to invest in this relationship by buying “Settlers of Catan”. I found a travel version, and someone posted tweaks for this version so that “purists” like TWD will like it too–we can play outside! With wine!

  4. Jenny Romalis Winters

    I agree with taking it slow. I’ve found that relationships with anyone can get complicated (including family) but then the knot works itself out and it goes back to being ok–as long as you are dedicated to working out the knot. If you can stop and ask yourself if you’re dedicated to it, and you tell yourself “yes”, then you know what to do. If you tell yourself “no” then you have that answer too. Go for whatever your heart of hearts tells you.

  5. Chauffeur

    It does not necessarily need to be so complicated. Just take it slow and ez, let his kids set the pace and like landlord suggests, smaller bites. shorter and less stressful times all together to begin with wil bring better results.
    Having gotten to know TWD, He is a keeper and seems extremely patient, more so then you or the people you live with, so take a page from his play book. Slow and patient, but open to all experiences.

  6. xclampa

    These kind of questions wouldn’t be easily answered even without the quick tempo of your life. You’re scared, and soul-searching would make you probably even more anxious.

    Remember your first water-jump? Your first time? Your first bike-ride without the auxiliary wheels (spare wheels?)? You take a deep breath, and do it. Because life would be poor without new experiences 🙂 And this time – you’ve got a great person to share this experience with – TWD. He’s been supportive, understanding and helpful. He seems like the one it could work out with, like the one who would work for it to work out. He just needs you to believe in it and him, and not second guess yourself.

    🙂 I believe in you.

  7. Katie

    Kat, there’s a difference between listening to your gut and just getting scared. You have to figure out which this is. The first step is to just be yourself. You don’t want to spend the rest of your life “faking” it, do you? Sounds like TWD doesn’t want that either (smart man). So be yourself. And if your true self no longer fits with his true self, then you’ll have your answer.

    The second step, if your true self does in fact fit with his, is to stick it out. Every relationship is full of ups and downs. There’s this quote/story that’s incredibly cheesy, but I like it. Basically, it goes: Someone from our generation asked an old man how he managed to keep his marriage together for over 50 years. He said, “Well, your generation has grown up thinking that if something is broken, you replace it. My generation grew up thinking that if something is broken, you fix it.”

    If you’re wrong for each other, you’re wrong for each other. That can’t be fixed. But if you’re just going through a rough/confusing/sh*t-or-get-off-the-pot existential crisis, the key is to hang in there and wait it out. If he really is your best friend, you’ll be happy you did.

    It doesn’t have to be complicated. You’re just making it that way.

    • Kat Richter

      Me? Making things more complicated than they need to be? NEVER! But um… yeah… I’m pretty sure this is just being scared + confused + will the school year EVER END??? And I’m also pretty sure that these are just growing pains: growing pains of the fixable variety.

  8. Wilma

    Kat, obviously, I’m getting caught up. This time I agree with Katie. Her comment syncs up with my comment from the last post pretty well. Be yourself, let the kids set the pace, be yourself, don’t try to be perfect, be yourself….there’s a theme here.

  9. carfreeinthechristmascity

    My husband and I were terrified when we embarked upon life as a couple. We had no idea what it was going to be like, or what it would take, or if we could muster the strength to handle any of it and each other. We fastidiously agreed to show up in honesty and love, to remain open, to say what we needed to say – even if it made us uncomfortable, and to listen to anything the other needed to say – even if it made us uncomfortable. One day at a time, we have grown in love and grace. We feel blessed to have made the decisions we have made coming from our commitments rather than our emotions. And I still wonder how he ever has the patience to deal with me. And he still wonders when I’m going to stop wondering. What is my point? My point is to relax. Be at ease. Trust guidance. Be clear about what you ultimately want. All of the details fall into place on their own.


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