ok well i finally told my might-have-been how i felt, and it did not go well. he's leaving for school in a few months, far away. but the reason why he rejected me hurt even worse than the news of his leaving. i've felt incredibly hurt about this all week, actually, and now i question whether we truly had a friendship. i talked to him i told him my experiences, good and bad, and i thought that he was listening to me as a friend. he was judging me. furthermore, when i told him of the rough times - yeah, i've failed in marriage, i've been on welfare in the past, and some of my family relationships leave much to be desired...well, that's all he saw. someone to pretend to listen to and feel sorry for so that he could feel all noble. he wanted to see me as a victim. he wouldn't even see my strengths. he wouldn't even see what i carried myself through, what i'm carrying myself through now. he wasn't even seeing me. and this is the worst part: he does not, cannot, will not see me as a whole person. i have children, therefore i am one-third of a unit. i am my children. we have no separate friendship, no separate relationship. he feels a woman cannot be separated in his perception from her children. not that he has a problem with children - he actually wants them, but either his own, or else adopted with no remaining trace of birth parents. he wants a blank page he can paint on, his way, with no pre-existing, outside influences. in other words, i am damaged goods. my children are separate, whole and unique people. as am i. should i find another relationship, then any relationship between my man and each of my kids is going to have to be it's own relationship, and form its own way over time. the presumptions my friend was making about my kids and his imagined responsibility and relationship with them were insulting, both to me and my kids. it is disillusioning. i thought i had so many important things in common with this guy. but it still hurts - especially the judgement, because i hate being judged. it leaves me feeling that i am somehow flawed by my experience, that proving myself through childbirth and motherhood instead leaves me somehow stained in his eyes, that surviving the challenges has screwed me up rather than making me stronger. it makes me feel like damaged goods. and that really hurts.