I didn't mean to be a jerk. Cliche as it sounds, I never wanted to hurt her. I swear, half of what's tearing me up about this is just knowing how hard it is for her, seeing her go through this. I hate seeing her hurt more than I hate my own pain.
Yes, a big part of why this is ending is because I don't want kids, and yes, the kids were there the whole time, but that doesn't mean that I was just dragging her along to be an asshole. It doesn't mean that I knew the whole time it wasn't going to work out. I wouldn't have proposed, I wouldn't have agreed to marry her, if that had been the case. I'm not that much of a prick.
When we first met and started dating, when I first found out she had kids, my thought was "Well, I've never dated anyone with kids before, I guess it will be something new and different and we can see how it goes." And that was exactly my feeling. I was open-minded to it. Yes, I knew I didn't like kids as a general rule, but this was a new and different circumstance and I thought maybe my feelings about kids might change, at least about her kids.
As the relationship progressed, I kept waiting for that change to happen. And since I actually liked her kids most of the time, I thought maybe I was changing. I thought that, slowly, my feelings would change about kids.
It just took a long time to realize that they weren't going to change. After a while I realized that the way I felt now wasn't going to change. I wanted to like them, and I did love them in an "I care about what happens to you and about your well-being" way, but I just couldn't make that special connection to them in my heart. I realized that the way I felt was stagnant and was not improving. And I knew that it was the wrong thing to do to try to "look past the kids" in order to be with Tandra. That was the wrong approach to take - it wouldn't have been fair to anyone involved. Tandra and the kids deserve better than that.
I'm not trying to sound all altruistic. I'm not trying to say that breaking up with her was right and good and noble. I know that the way things worked out was shitty and I know I'm the asshole in this; I'm the fucking jerk. I know I am. Believe me, it fucking sucks to know that. It could be argued that my decision to go into this relationship in spite of her having kids was fucking stupid, not "open-minded". It could be argued that I should have known better. That's not my position, nor will it ever be, but I have no valid defense against that argument - nothing that can be proven. It's subjective. If your opinion is that it was stupid, you're right. My only defense is, how was I supposed to know that at the time? I was trying to be a good guy, and I wanted to be with Tandra, and I was willing to make sacrifices to do it.
I guess I'm just too selfish to have kids. I'm probably too selfish to be in a relationship at all.