We recently spent several days visiting with family over the holidays, and we were invited to stay at Nina’s home. When we arrived, I learned we were assigned to sleep in a very small space in a room overloaded with items hoarded throughout the years. There was an old twin bed for one of us to sleep on, and beside the bed on the floor was an exercise mat, 1-inch thick. Both Bob and I have chronic health issues, and I asked if we could stay at a hotel for the four nights, even offering to pay. Bob refused out of concern for Nina’s feelings, so I spent three nights on the floor, with resulting pain and stiffness. By the fourth night, I had had enough and reserved a room at a nearby hotel. Bob refused to join me, and he was furious that I hurt Nina’s feelings and made him feel uncomfortable in front of his family.
Bob and I have barely spoken since returning from this trip, and he and Nina are occupied with the purchase of their shared vacation home. Nina is excited to plan their future vacations together and is looking forward to the time when they can use the house as their summer retirement space.
Bob says I’m reading too much into things and am making a big deal of nothing because of my jealousy. I think that it’s time to adjust my expectations and accept the fact that Bob may be a pleasant date but not a life partner.
What do you think? — The Unwelcome Guest
I’m thinking he can’t be too much of a pleasant date either if he makes his 50-something-year-old girlfriend with chronic health issues sleep on the floor because he’s too chicken shit to offend his sister who has no qualms offending her brother’s girlfriend by offering a dump of a room with not enough bed to sleep in. Ditch the guy and consider this a bullet dodged; I suspect you’ve only scratched the surface of the kinds of issues Bob’s relationship with Nina could present if you stayed in the picture.
Forget for now about whether there’s any hope for your relationship and focus instead on your kids’ welfare and well-being. What their father is doing is beyond irresponsible and is, frankly, reprehensible. You need to speak to a family attorney immediately about custody rights, child support, and what legal steps you can take to protect your children from their father’s incredibly poor decision-making. If he’s moving in with a woman he hardly knows, just weeks after breaking up with the mother of his two young children, who knows what else he’ll subject them to. He clearly does not have their interest at heart, so you need make their well-being priority number one. Supervised visitation may be in the cards; it’s certainly worth discussing with a family attorney. And if, down the line, he has earned your trust as a good father, ONLY then should you even entertain the thought of reconciling with him romantically. And if you do, don’t get back together without going to couples counseling together and working through the issues that broke you up in the first place.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.