Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“He Won’t Tell His Kids About Me”

I have been seeing a man,”Greg,” who is a great friend of my brother’s, for almost eight months now. His friends know about me because of my brother, but he’s uncomfortable telling his family about me. We are both divorced and both have children from our prior marriages. He is a bit older than I, but his ex-wife is about my same age so I know the age gap isn’t the issue. My three children know about him, not by my own choice — my oldest figured it out and confronted me and the younger two were told by their dad. Greg and I rarely get to see each other because we both have our children so often. We’ve gone seven weeks between visits due to being with kiddos. I’ve suggested that telling his children about our relationship would make it easier to spend time together, but he says his kids, ages 10 and 8, aren’t ready. He’s been divorced for around five years now. He’s never introduced his kids to anyone, but I’ve also been the longest relationship for him aside from his wife. He WILL NOT tell his kids and it’s really starting to bother me. I don’t believe he’s even told his parents. I’ve tried talking to him about it, and I basically get nowhere. Should I be worried? Am I asking this of him too soon? Should I walk away? I’m really at a loss here. Any advice would be appreciated. — Ready For More

I don’t know — eight months really isn’t that long when you factor in how little time you’ve actually spent with each other. You don’t explicitly say you’re long-distance, but you mention waiting up to seven weeks between “visits” to see each other, so I’m inferring that you do live some distance away and probably see each other on weekends, many of which are taken up with obligations to your respective kids. So, you’ve seen each other, what — maybe six or seven weekends in eights months? (I’m totally guessing here, based on the seven-week wait you once had between visits.) To me, that wouldn’t necessarily warrant a full introduction to major players in each other’s lives, particularly if you’re talking about youngish kids. (And, frankly, I’d take a dad’s word when he says that his 8 and 10-year-old children aren’t ready to meet their dad’s girlfriend of a few months.)

What it sounds like to me is that you’re wanting some reassurance that you’re on the same page — that this relationship is heading somewhere and it’s a place you both want to go. You can get that answer — or at least try to get that answer — without bringing your families into the question. Rather than framing the discussion around when Greg plans to introduce you to his kids and parents, you could ask him where he sees your relationship going. Does he even want a serious relationship? Maybe he’s perfectly content with a casual relationship in which you see each other one weekend a month or every other month, while raising kids as a single dad is taking up much of his time and energy. And maybe that’s not enough for you, which is fine, too. So, while eight months — or a handful or two of weekend visits — may not warrant meeting each other’s kids yet, I do think it’s enough time to discuss the state of the relationship, what you each want out of it, and where you see it going. From that, the topic of your families and when and how and whether to start integrating them into your relationship should develop naturally.

My boyfriend and I had been going out for a year and three months when we broke up. Our relationship was great, but his being away at college made the distance very difficult. We got back together three months later, as I got an unconditional offer to the same university and we were missing each other like crazy. Before we broke up, we used to say often that we loved each other, but we’ve been back together two weeks now and he hasn’t said “I love you” yet. When we were together before, I was the first one to say I love you, and I wonder if he’s just waiting for me to say it again. It’s been frustrating me and I’m tired of waiting for him to say it, but my friends are saying that I shouldn’t be the one to say it first. I know he does love me because why else would he have gotten back together with me, but I’ve been really paranoid about it and don’t understand why he hasn’t said it yet. I want to bring it up to him, but it feels awkward and I’m really not confident or comfortable with confrontation. Any advice you can give me? — Needing the ‘L’ Word

 
Oh, come on. This isn’t some new boyfriend. He’s someone you were with over a year and “missed like crazy.” Just tell him you’re really happy to be back together, you missed him, and you never stopped loving him. What do your friends think will happen if you say that? That he’ll evaporate into thin air? That you’ll start melting? That the karmic balance will shift in his favor and you’ll have seven years bad luck? I mean, what? Stop being silly and open up to the guy whom you say you’re say grateful to have back. This really isn’t a “confrontation.” It’s called communication, and if you can’t handle it in a serious relationship, you may not be quite ready for one.

I’ve been with my boyfriend four and a half years, and he still will not divorce his wife. They have been broken up for twenty years, but he still seems so obsessed — texting her and calling her every day (their children are all in their mid-twenties, by the way). Twice, when we’ve gotten into a fight, he’s slept over at her house. He erases texts that they send each other, and it really hurts me. He claims they are just friends, and he keeps saying he’s going to stop, but he doesn’t.

Now, come to find out he is also addicted to cocaine. He keeps telling me he is going to stop that, too, but he still keeps messing with it. He and his family all do it together — his kids and wife. I just don’t know what to do anymore. He seems to lie constantly. He hangs out with his friends almost every day. I keep trying to end it, but I keep going back. Please help me know what to do. — Broken-Hearted

 
If someone were holding her hand over an open flame for over four years, complaining about how hot her hand was getting and how worried she was about burning it, what would your advice to her be? Wouldn’t you tell her to move her hand away from the flame?

Your boyfriend is the flame. It’s time to take your hand away and MOA. You’re getting burned.

***************

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

15 comments… add one
  • avatar

    dinoceros April 18, 2017, 9:17 am

    LW1: What Wendy said. You’re talking about this as though you’ve been letting your resentment of not meeting the kids build up to the point where you’re now very frustrated. But it’s been eight months. This is the point where a lot of parents wouldn’t even have started thinking about introducing their kids to their SO. So, slow your roll a little bit. I think this is an appropriate time to BEGIN that conversation about your future together and how it involves the kids. For example, have you talked about when would be a good time to meet?
    I get that your busy lives have affected your time together, but not seeing each other for seven weeks also calls into question where you’re at in your relationship. Eight months with someone where you see each other twice a week is different than where you go months without seeing them. I mean, how many times have you actually been out together? I know that for single parents it’s a whole different ball game, so I’m not saying you SHOULD be seeing each other twice a week, but it still changes the dynamics.

    LW2: What Wendy said. I think you’re afraid that you’re not going to get the answer you want, but it would be there no matter whether you ask or not.

    LW3: There’s no magic fix. You have to end it and not go back. Nobody can do that for you. You have to learn to not give in just because something feels uncomfortable or painful, if it’s the right decision.

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  • avatar

    findingtheearth April 18, 2017, 9:44 am

    LW1: Long distance relationships (or any relationship) with children involved are very complicated. You need to communicate your expectations and where you want it to go. You also need to decide how often you will see each other. If you need more time then he can give, he may not be the one for you.

    My boyfriend and I live 3.5 hours apart. I spent a lot of time reviewing Wendy’s infamous LDR post before I agreed to an LDR. I think the most important part is knowing when you will see each other next before you leave a visit. It helps knowing a time frame.

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  • Kate B.

    Kate B. April 18, 2017, 9:46 am

    LW1: Most of my friends who have kids and date wait six months minimum before introducing SOs to their kids. The theory is that at six months you have an idea if the relationship is going somewhere. But, yours doesn’t sound like it is. I get that single parenting is hard, but seven weeks without a visit is a long time. With a timeline like that, eight months might be too soon. Slow down or MOA if this isn’t working.
    LW2: Ask him.
    LW3: MOA now. Not divorced and a coke addict? Leave now.

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  • avatar

    Ale April 18, 2017, 9:47 am

    LW 2: Jesus Christ, if you love someone just tell them.

    LW3: Dude is still married, like married married. Probably never really broke up.

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    • othy

      othy April 18, 2017, 9:57 am

      I totally agree that LW3’s dude is married married. I have an aunt who has been separated from her husband for 10 years now. They haven’t gotten around to getting divorced, but the live in different states, they don’t talk (aside from a “Happy birthday” on Facebook), and the only time they’ve seen each other in the last couple of years was for one of their kid’s weddings.

      She did tell me the other day that she’s likely actually going to file soon – his lawyer contacted her. Apparently there might be someone new in his life, which has given him incentive to start proceedings. Sadly, LW3’s man is still married, and LW3 is not worth breaking it off.

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  • Cleopatra Jones

    Cleopatra Jones April 18, 2017, 10:23 am

    LW #1: Greg is comfortable with keeping y’all casual. I think you’re in what is commonly called a situation-ship. It’s a thing, Google it.

    LW #2: Maybe your boyfriend was enjoying college life sans girlfriend. He may have gotten back together with you because 1) he feels obligated or 2) it’s access to sex. I really, really think you need to move the focus from your boyfriend to enjoying college and all it has to offer. I think you are homesick/lonely, and are trying to get your boyfriend to fill the void.

    LW #3: Girl…you have spent 4 years being the side chick to a quasi-married man. Seriously, move on! He’s still sleeping with his ex-wife/baby mama/wife…whatever she is. You are just the chick who fills in the gaps when the sex-wife doesn’t want to be bothered. Don’t do that to yourself, get out and find someone who wants to be with you without all of this drama filled drama.

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    • avatar

      em April 18, 2017, 2:15 pm

      situation-ship : learned something new today!

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  • avatar

    csp April 18, 2017, 10:44 am

    LW1: Wendy is so right. I think you want validation in your relationship. I think you need to evaluate what you want and when you want it. Do you want to get married again and move your kids in with this man? When do you want that? Is this something you want after your kids are older?

    I think a good starting place is asking if your can coordinate your respective shared custody agreements so you can see each other more. If he cannot even manage that, then I think he isn’t as invested as you are. I know many couples who coordinate so that they have two weekends a month together and one week night. See if you can start that and go from there.

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  • avatar

    Gwyneth6 April 18, 2017, 1:20 pm

    LW3 focus on your hopes for your future like having a partner who doesn’t have huge problems that hurt you. He’s been disrespectful to you for so long that I don’t think there’s any hope you can have a mutually respectful relationship in the future. And the kind of guy he is, disrespectful is not just you doing more house work or planning the date nights, it’s cheating and drugs and breaking big promises. Forever disappointing you. You’re lucky you’re not the one who has kids with him or kids who do drugs or a drug problem, you really can just walk away.

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  • avatar

    Ashley April 18, 2017, 2:00 pm

    7 weeks is a long time not to know when your going to see him again. i would be more concerned about that than meeting his kids. Maybe he decided to cool things after getting the feeling you wanted to move faster than he did.

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  • avatar

    Essie April 18, 2017, 2:53 pm

    LW1, you said that you’ve gone seven weeks without seeing each other. Is that routine, or is that just the longest you’ve gone between dates?

    I ask because, even if you’ve seen each other every 4 weeks on average, that’s just 8 “dates.” Even if you’ve spent eight entire weekends together….that’s not a lot. He probably wants to be sure this will be a committed relationship before he introduces you to his family and kids, and he just might not know that yet. He may not feel that he knows you well enough to make that kind of commitment. I know I wouldn’t be ready for that, after 8 dates.

    As for telling his parents, my post-divorce boyfriend was really hesitant to do that because he was afraid they’d hassle him about it – he was gonna make another mistake, he should be focusing on the kids, etc, etc. You don’t know how they’ve reacted when he’s dated other women.

    You say you’re ready for more. What “more” are you looking for? Do you want to see him more often? That’s reasonable and understandable, but it may not be possible with his kids being the ages they are.

    Do you want validation? Promises? Living together? I think it’s a little soon for all of that. Sometimes all the validation you get is that they keep wanting to spend time with you.

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  • avatar

    Anonymousse April 18, 2017, 7:34 pm

    Preach! Seriously, LW2. Spill it!

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  • avatar

    Anonymousse April 18, 2017, 7:35 pm

    Omg, LW3. He does coke with his wife and kids….not cool.

    Aim higher? There’s literally millions of better options.

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  • juliecatharine

    Juliecatharine April 18, 2017, 9:30 pm

    LW3, aim higher! A 40/50something year old married coke head is not worth crying over.

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  • avatar

    Brise April 19, 2017, 10:48 am

    LW1: take the kids out of the equation and reconsider the relationship. Can you make a week-end of vacation just the two of you? Or a week trip? If not, it isn’t a kids problem, it is a relationship problem. If yes, follow that way and construct a deeper bond. Don’t focus on the children. They always come first. Focus on the dynamic of your connection.

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