My boyfriend’s ex is everywhere. Granted, they were married for fifteen years and have three children, so I am somewhat understanding of the circumstances. She is in a relationship and talking about getting married, but she always texts, calls, and talks to my boyfriend about unnecessary stuff. I understand if it’s about the kids, but she talks about random stuff with him. It is a small town, so she is at every event he is at. She seems very nice, but she is overcrowding at times. For example, if I am at the kids’ basketball game, she will come and sit in front of me even though a majority of the gym is empty. She talks to my boyfriend after every game and whenever she can catch his attention to chat. The only time she isn’t chatty is when her boyfriend is around. I am constantly annoyed with her presence because she always seems to be seeking attention from my boyfriend.
What makes things worse is that he gives in to her. If she asks for something, he does it whether or not it has to do with the kids. He still keeps boxes, pictures, love notes, and cards from her in his closet. I have mentioned to him that it bothers me and makes it seem as if he hasn’t moved on, but he still has done nothing about the stuff.
While this is all going on, I have also been having trouble finding a job because the area is so rural, and that adds extra strain on me. We live separately since there are kids involved, but it’s getting to the point of my wanting to move things along while he still is not ready. We hang out every day. Our kids get along most of the time, with only occasional arguing between his younger daughter and mine. Even though we live separately, I cook and clean for him and I help with his kids. Am I doing too much?
I have picked up my whole life to give this one with him a try, and sometimes it seems as if I am putting the most effort in. Am I naive to think that this will change over time and that I should keep trying? I don’t want to feel like I did all this for nothing, but at times I feel like it’s time to move on. Any suggestions? — Tired of the Ex-Wife
I’m in a rush this morning, so forgive me for keeping this short and sweet. YES, you are being naive to think this situation, which was set before you were in the picture, is going to change any time soon. You are ridiculous for cooking and cleaning for a man you don’t even live with. I mean, WHAT? You were foolish to move for someone without having a job lined up, or at least some idea of how long it would take to find a job (especially considering this is a rural area where jobs are apparently hard to come by, and especially considering you have kids! Or, at least one kid. Talk about burying the lede!!). How are you supporting your kid(s) without a job? I assume you’re living off savings? (Maybe, hopefully?). What’s the plan when savings run out?
All of this sounds so irresponsible for a couple of parents. You’ve spent so little time in this man’s world that you didn’t even have any clue how often his ex-wife is around (which is, apparently, always). And then, without knowing very much about this man’s world, you moved there without a job, with a kid in tow, without a plan or idea or time frame for a long-term commitment with this guy. I wouldn’t even pull that shit with NO kids involved, let alone multiple children. (For the record, here are the eight most important things you should do before moving for love).
Honestly, finding a job should be your top priority at this point. Cast a wide net and look anywhere you would feel comfortable living, including wherever it was you lived before you moved. What about your child’s father? Is he still in the picture? Maybe he would like for his kid(s) to live close to him (and vice versa). If so, look for work near where he lives. Look for work where you have friends and family and a support system. Don’t think this man you moved for is going to be your meal ticket if you don’t ever find a job. Don’t think that, just because you’re doing his cooking and cleaning and helping with his kids, he’s going to tell you not to worry about finding work, move you in, and support you and your kid(s). Even if that did happen, what’s your plan for when it no longer works out? I predict you’ll be like the countless number of women who email me saying they rushed into marriage with someone they didn’t know very well and now they’re miserable and want out but their husbands fully support them, they haven’t worked in years, and they don’t have a clue how to find a job.
Come on, you finished college as a single mom (a feat, I imagine wasn’t easy). And for what? So you could move to some small, hick town and cook and clean for some guy who has a closet full of photos and love notes from his ex-wife whom he sees and talks to every day while you take care of his kids?
(Also, so much for being short and sweet. Oops).
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.