I love my boyfriend… But his kids are hard work.
Disclaimer: I’m not a trained relationship expert - so please, take any advice with a pinch of salt.
Firstly, don’t you live in England? The home of boarding schools? OK, I’m only slightly joking. I went to three, and I was expelled from two. So make of that what you will.
But yes, I get it. Kids can be hard work. Especially if they’re not your own. And it also depends what stage they’re going through; I mean, I was an absolute monster as a teenager going through puberty. (An adorable one, but still.)
Adding children to a relationship is a lot to contend with. You obviously want your partner to be happy, and your partner wants their kids to be happy. If you choose him, you’re also going to have to choose the Kinder. As they’re (hopefully) the most important thing in your partner’s life, it’s a package deal. A Kinder Surprise, if you will.
Disney might have messed us all up, but true love isn’t a fairytale; it’s all about compromise. Sometimes you just have to channel your inner-Oscar winning actress, and bite the sour apple - Snow White style - and try your best to make it work.
If his kids are the only significant problem - honestly, modern dating is a nightmare, and I’m close to giving up on men entirely - then count your blessings.
And speaking from the other side, coming from a family where my parents were divorced, I think it’s worth putting yourself in the kids’ shoes. Both of my parents moved on to new partners, and that was really, really tough. Growing up, I didn’t necessarily get along with the step-parents.
But as a child, it’s a massive deal meeting your parent’s new girlfriend/boyfriend - so you’re obviously a big part of your partner’s life.
(As a side note: meeting the kids should only ever happen when the relationship is serious enough. I was dating someone last year, and he introduced me to his three kids, all under the age of 10, on our second date. It was after a fashion show, and I was dressed like Shakira during the Superbowl: I thought the children were going to ask their father why he was dating an exotic dancer.)
If you think he’s the right person for you, your Prince Charming, you just need to make an effort with the children. Even if you really don’t want to. Obviously don’t try to become a replacement mother. You can’t (and won’t) be able to compete. But no matter how hard it gets, please don’t be a complete Bratwurst either. (Believe me, nobody will want to bang evil-stepmommy.)
Instead, you can always try to be like the cool friend, or aunt, who the kids want to confide in, when they have problems about girls/boys that they wouldn’t go to their father about.
I wish you the best of luck in your relationship. But if you’re lucky enough to have the fees for boarding school, I’m just saying it is an option.