Has anyone ever experienced these kind of boundaries, or have them themselves? I do not have any children of my own, so I don't know if this is something I would understand better if I were a parent, nor have I really ever dated anyone that already had children either.
Aye. Parent here.
And good for you in trying to understand that side of the coin though you are not a parent and have not dated parents before. Kudos!
I will assume all players are past the cheating start.
I will try to give you my opinion just on the kid thing. I don't know what might resonate or not. YMMV.
One of my main reasons for the thread was, like I stated, the idea of it being a 'family outing' never occurred to me because I had no plans to ACT like a couple in front of his son.
I don't think it could be about PDA or acting like a couple with Dad in front of the kid only.
I mean this kindly ok? But your POV is not the only POV. There's the kid's POV of it.
I think anyone (parent themselves or not) could understand that kids are part of the poly picture when you date a parent. Although children are not lovers, because the parent-child relationship requires intense time/energy/effort? They count in the "polymath/familymath thing." And because they are often underage? They usually come FIRST with the parents because they are dependents. At least until the children are grown.
When you date a parent, that's part of the package.
Sometimes people think they could be ok with this until they try it on and find it a drag to have to revolve around the child's needs. There could be feelings of "It's not my kid, I don't have to be dealing with this!" And this is totally true!
But it is part of the price of admission to date the parent. That is the reality. A parent in the "active parenting years" comes with limitations on their time, responsibilities and a lot of "on call." *shrug*
To me it seems to be about understanding the polymath of your particular configuration and how these particular parents expect to deal with the dependent kid(s) and where/how you as a GF could be willing to fit into all that at the present time and then later on. What are the hard limits that will never change? What are the soft limits that could change over time?
You could talk to R some more about it, AND you could talk to A about it. Separately and together to make sure all are on the same page and there's no triangulation.
Could make them each aware of your wants, needs, and limits. Ask what each of their wants, needs, and limits might be. And the parents could figure out what the KID'S wants, needs, limits might be even if YOU the meta help remind them. (Sometimes parents get so NRE nutty they forget to think about their kids well being. Sad, but true. They sometimes forget to think about spouses, so why not the kids?)
Jealousy is sometimes a BIG problem for adults in polyshipping. Don't need to look far in the forum to see examples of it.
Children are not immune to feeling jealousy or envy and they DON'T have adult emotional management skills or thinking skills to try to cope with it. They are still growing. It's rough for them to deal with getting attached to someone and if something happens later have them disappear. Or have a person around suddenly very intensely around causing the child wants to "compete" with that stranger person for the parent's attention. Polyhell
is hard for grown-ups. Imagine what it does to a kid? Esp when they don't choose to polyship. The parents choose and the dependent kids are along for the ride.
For now R is pretty clear that he's got to check in with his co-parent before making decisions that involved the shared son. He cannot make unilateral decisions on the parenting front for both parents. So good for him trying to do his parent job. And good for you -- trying to respect/help your partner having to meet his other obligations and respect the kid's needs for stability.
When you go out with just Dad, that's
[B + R]
Maybe the kid doesn't even know that's a dating couple yet "officially" but maybe the kid is getting vibes. Who knows?
At this time, when you go out with him and his kid? To the kid that is
[B + (R + son)]
That is you going out with the 2/3 of a family. Not all the family, since the other parent A isn't around, but the family nonetheless.
You have not been identified to the child as a GF so the kid could not be seeing this as a simultaneous
[(B + R) + son]
[B + (R + son)]
thing at this time.
And you are not close to him at this point in time so there could not be additional simultaneous
[(B+ son) + R]
dynamic happening because there is not even a
by itself at this time.
Kid could only see
[B + (R + son)]
Kids are very self-centered when little. They related the whole world back to only themselves.
In your writing you seem to perceive that when you go out with R and son there is a simultaneous tiers happening in such an outing. Even when you are not on an outing, you are IN this polynetwork where R has a son. These tiers of relationship exist.
[(B + R) + son] <-- "Be careful of PDA!" seems to be where your thoughts are on this tier.
[B + (R + son)] <-- "I need to respect his parenting turf" seems to the vibe of thoughts are on this tier. For now that's fine. What about later? Would you be expected to mind your own beeswax or expected to coparent somewhere along the line? What is your preference?
[(B+ son) + R] <--"I've just met this kid a few times" <-- seem to be your thoughts on this tier. What about later? What kind of relationship (if any) would you want with this kid?
For a polyship to fly well, all the "mini relationships" inside the larger polyship network have to be healthy and tended to and know what is expected of it. Or at least it does to me.
Because what happens in one area can and does affect others in another area. Like A's work shifts changing which pings R having to watch kid, which pings you and R's plans, right?
Serolynne does a nice job of writing out one take on the polymath
thing. When I write it out for myself, I happen add other tiers to include children and break up scenarios... but it's goes along the same lines of "More people? That's not merely additive -- it becomes geometric!"
At 4 months in, you are still building many of your tiers of relationships within the larger polyship. And nothing is built on ALL tiers instantly. Could enjoy the unfolding and let it be what it will be.
But yeah... choosing to date a parent definitely adds the kid layers in there, and being aware of that and what that might entail could help. Certainly R could appreciate you being willing to try to see that POV, and the challenges of polydating a parent, and polydating AS a parent.