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I am so perplexed. I have been dating my bf for about 2 months. We are both in our early thirties and have been falling for each other. He wants to marry me and for me to be the mother of his children. There is just one big hitch....

My intuition must have been working because after several questions the other night, I discovered (he reluctantly told me) that he has a child--he always led me to believe he didn't. He had an ex who basically tricked him and stopped taking the Pill...she got pregnant and had a miscarriage. She promised she wouldn't do it again and he trusted her naively. She lied again and got pregnant a second time and had the child. His child is now only a few years old. The mother tried to force my bf to marry her but he knew she wasn't the one so he wouldn't even though she used the child as bait. After that she was so angry that he basically only was there for the birth and then she shut my bf out of her and the child's life. He only has seen the child once since when the mother begged him to marry her again. She wants him to have nothing to do with the child.

I am so confused because I am single, never married, with no kids. I have always preferred to date guys in the same situation as me because I wanted to experience these things first with the other person and hopefully last with them. My bf has been engaged before and while that bothered me somewhat I could live with it. I could even live with it if he had been divorced. But a child is a lifelong commitment that ties him to the mother. I don't know what to do now because I love him alot but I would never have dated him to begin with had I known about the child. I guess I feel somewhat deceived but he said he was scared to tell me and wanted me to get to know him first before I had a chance to decide. He says he doesn't want to lose me and that his future is with me. Yet I can tell he wants to get to know his child. I understand this and think he should but he's also said if it meant losing me he would walk away from the situation since the mother hasn't allowed him to get to know his child. I don't know what to think of that because his child should be his main priority. At the same time, he says I am his future and he wants to have a family with me, and I want to be his main priority...not second to his child with another woman.

I don't know what to do because I don't feel I am ready to take on a child at this time, my own or someone else's. He has said he could just visit and we could explore custody later down the road so nothing is set in stone. I also worry that the mother will hate me since she resents my bf for not marrying her and poison the child against me. Or the child just might resent me as a stepmom. I think I am hesistant because life is already full of challenges and I can just see all the possible turmoil..the child might also hate my bf for not making more efforts to fight the mother to see him. Or if the child doesn't see my bf until he's 18, that might cause problems for my bf emotionally. I can tell my bf is already battling with alot of emotions. I don't want to be selfish because I grew up myself without a dad and my bf spent many years without one. Part of me believes this is my way to give back the love that I never received. Part of me wants to be selfish and have my own children and not have to be reminded daily of my bf's ex.

What should I do? Any advice? I do love my bf very much and realize life is not perfect. It seems that everyone I have seriously considered marrying has had a serious issues (last bf has herpes but we never slept together). I know I am not perfect--just feel that I have alot to offer--very successful, attractive, kind-hearted, and loyal person. This is not what I pictured for myself but I also realize it could open up my heart further and make me an even better person. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

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