Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Morning Quickie: “My Boyfriend Is Spending Christmas and NYE with His Wife and Family Instead of ME!”

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My boyfriend and I have be seeing each other for seven months. When we met, he was still living in his family home but assured me that his marriage was over and had been for 18 months. His wife asked him to move out after a few weeks of us seeing each other although she didn’t know about us. Since he moved into his own place, she now knows he’s seeing me and so do the children, but I’m still not allowed to call him if they are coming over or leave any of my stuff at his house (and, if I do, he hides it).

He plans to spend Christmas day with them, but now he wants to spend NYE with them, too. I just feel that’s giving his ex and the children the wrong message. He doesn’t get it and says he doesn’t want to hurt anyone. The whole New Year thing came about because she asked him what he’s doing and he says says didn’t say anything, but I believe he committed to going with them. (He doesn’t always tell the whole truth straight away and I have to gently tease it out of him as he is not used to communicating properly). I want to be patient and it is early days still, but I feel like the other woman and not a girlfriend. — Like The Other Woman

You feel like the other woman because YOU ARE. Wake up and smell the fruit cake and sugar cookies, honey — this guy is still very much married and not available for a relationship. That he STILL LIVED WITH HIS FAMILY when you started dating should have been clue #1. The next clue that he plans to stay with his wife is that he’s keeping you a secret. You aren’t “allowed” to call when his family is over or leave any of your stuff over at his place? BECAUSE HE DOESN’T WANT HIS WIFE TO KNOW YOU’RE IN THE PICTURE. He got caught cheating with you, got kicked out, and is now trying to win his wife’s forgiveness and move back home. That’s why he’s ditching you for the holidays. Because you don’t matter as much as his family does. NOR SHOULD YOU. Why? Because you’re the other woman!

Make holiday plans independent of your boyfriend and, while you’re at it, make some New Year’s resolutions. Here are a few to get you started:

1. Stop dating married men.

2. Stop dating men who live with their partner and kids.

3. Break up with anyone who says you can’t call at certain times or leave anything at his place.

4. Stop dating anyone who needs to have the truth “gently teased out of him.”

5. Eat more tacos (because life is just better with more tacos, amiright?).

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

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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.

40 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Laura Hope December 9, 2014, 9:01 am

    Tacos! That’s what I’ll make for dinner! Thanks, Wendy. You just solved my problem too.

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  • Miss MJ

    Miss MJ December 9, 2014, 9:04 am

    Of course life is better with more tacos! As for the rest, Wendy, you nailed it. Good grief.

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  • avatar

    jlyfsh December 9, 2014, 9:12 am

    I think maybe eating more tacos with friends and taking a break from dating might be good for you. Especially if you actually think you’re this guy’s girlfriend. Girlfriend implies some sort of commitment to the other person, which it seems like the only commitment he has is to his wife and family.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom December 9, 2014, 9:21 am

      ” it seems like the only commitment he has is to his wife and family. ”

      Even that commitment is appallingly low or he wouldn’t be having an affair.

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh December 9, 2014, 9:28 am

        That is true, but whatever commitment exists in whatever form, is for them and definitely not her.

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  • avatar

    ktfran December 9, 2014, 9:31 am

    Before I read a thing, this is the BEST HEADLINE EVER!

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    • avatar

      ktfran December 9, 2014, 9:35 am

      Ok. I read the letter and Wendy’s response and laughed for a second time today. TACOS?!?! Hahahaha. Wendy, you are on today.

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  • Crochet.Ninja

    Crochet.Ninja December 9, 2014, 9:50 am

    If he wants to be with you, he will get a divorce and completely leave his wife. He will not however stop spending time with his children on holidays.

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    • suzyinthesky

      suzyinthesky December 9, 2014, 9:52 am

      Yes! this! His kids will always be his #1 priority

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    • avatar

      SpaceySteph December 9, 2014, 10:41 am

      So true. Also, idk how old his kids are, but really a parent’s days are numbered of their children wanting to spend NYE with them.
      Before too long it’ll be dates and parties for NYE… and then not too long after that, spending half of the holidays visiting their SO’s family. This guy seems to have done some questionable things, but he is absolutely correct to soak up family time.
      Also, good for his kids that he and his wife had a seemingly amicable split and they can stand to be in the same room together for holidays and stuff. Don’t you try to screw that up, LW.

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray December 9, 2014, 10:43 am

      Yes that’s just it; I can’t believe she expects him not to spend Xmas day with his kids. He should always spend at LEAST Xmas day with his kids. Even if LW is not just “the other woman” and even if the boyfriend was doing more to make her relationships serious/official/whatever (i.e., actually get the divorce, hold her LW out as her Girlfriend, introduce her to the kids, let her leave stuff around and call when she’d like, etc.), I still think because he has kids it’s a little soon to expect to spend the holidays with him and the kids. (And she should never assume he should pick her over the kids on the holidays – I figure the options are girlfriend+kids or just kids for he holidays). Maybe give it more time? Also find out how the divorce proceeding is going and if it’s not going why he hasn’t filed yet….

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    • avatar

      SasLinna December 9, 2014, 10:58 am

      I’m thinking that maybe what LW means is that spending the holidays with the kids and their mother will make the kids think they’ll reunite. It depends on how old the kids are, but I could picture a scenario where it would be more reasonable for them to have two christmas celebrations, one with mom and one with dad.

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  • avatar

    Essie December 9, 2014, 10:09 am

    What’s that old saying about listening to what people are telling you? His actions are telling you that a) he wants to stay married, and b) he wants to keep you on the side. He gets the respectability of marriage, a wife to take care of him, and easy, commitment-free sex with you. Why would he want to change anything?

    And that bit about sending the children the wrong message by spending the holidays with them? He’s their father. Always will be. Even if his wife finally dumps his weaseling a$$ and you get him all to yourself (gee, what a prize), those children will always be in his life. And he will always be spending time with them.

    Seriously….MOA.

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  • avatar

    RedroverRedrover December 9, 2014, 10:24 am

    She did say that the wife and kids know about her. I don’t think it’s necessarily an affair, it could be true that the marriage was over and they were just trying to figure out what to do when she showed up on the scene. The hiding of stuff could be that he just doesn’t want to deal with his wife getting upset if she sees it, or with giving extra details to the kids. Not a great situation, but not necessarily an affair.
    .
    Regardless, LW, his kids come first. If you have an issue with that, now is a good time to leave. Why do people always see it as a contest between them and the ex? It’s about the KIDS. Maybe he wants to have a good relationship with his ex, for the kids. Maybe they’ve always done stuff together as a family on New Year’s, and they want to keep that stability for the kids. If you’re getting together with someone who’s a parent, you will rightly come second. If you can’t handle it, then go.

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    • Kate B.

      Kate B. December 9, 2014, 10:39 am

      I don’t buy it. If the wife was okay with having a girlfriend, he wouldn’t have to hide anything, he’d be out and proud with his new girlfriend.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph December 9, 2014, 10:48 am

        Well, there’s “yes we’re separated and you’re technically allowed to date” and then there’s “I’m actually ok with my soon-to-be-ex husband, father of my children, having a girlfriend and introducing her to the kids.” One is rational and one is emotional and just because the first is true doesn’t mean the wife has to magically get over your feelings for the guy.
        I can see a path in which their relationship is not an affair and yet she is still not exactly thrilled at the thought of it. Also, given that they started dating early in the separation (before, you know, he actually moved out– bad on the bf’s part, for sure) they probably hadn’t figured out exactly how they would deal with the inevitable starting to date again… how long before they’d introduce to the kids, would they start by introducing a “friend” and then move to “girlfriend,” etc. Plus there’s the other component where gf leaving stuff over indicates a sexual relationship and not being sure how old the kids are, it might be best to keep that part on the DL until they are old enough to understand.

        My point being the wife seems to be reacting normally (not rationally, but normal human) to a separation and husband’s new gf, the bf/husband is a bit of a dick for the way this is all playing out but not necessarily a dirty rotten cheater, and the LW needs to get on the “kids come first” train or MOA.

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      • avatar

        SasLinna December 9, 2014, 10:52 am

        Yes, this. While there’s not necessarily any wrongdoing, it’s still a very complicated situation, and that’s in part because they started dating just as he was separating from his wife (or at least when he was only in the process of moving out, possibly they were already separated earlier). It would be understandable if it’s too early for the guy to make it official with LW, but it’s also understandable for her to MOA.

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      • avatar

        RedroverRedrover December 9, 2014, 10:58 am

        This was exactly what I was thinking. It’s still a delicate situation, emotionally, for the ex-wife. Just because they’re separated doesn’t mean he doesn’t care if he hurts her. He could be doing it out of solicitude, or he could be doing it because he doesn’t want to talk about it, or he could be doing it because she’s crazy jealous and will go nuts on him if she sees that stuff. But none of those scenarios mean he’s cheating. They’re all fairly common reactions to a breakup.

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      • avatar

        ktfran December 9, 2014, 11:48 am

        Right? I’m pretty sure if I were married and had children then got a divorce, I wouldn’t want my ex to be shoving a new girlfriend down my throat. And it might not even mean that I’m jealous. I would show some respect for my children and their father and I hope I would be shown the same. I’m sure that would help A LOT in keeping the peace for the children.

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      • suzyinthesky

        suzyinthesky December 9, 2014, 10:58 am

        LOVE the “kids come first train”. Seriously though, the LW absolutely has to think this through. Should this relationship work out, she’s not getting a “boyfriend”, but a complete package deal, with kids and an ex.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph December 9, 2014, 11:16 am

        Yeah, it doesn’t sound like the LW wants to be a stepmother-type. Which is ok– there’s nothing wrong with that and it doesn’t make you a horrible person, LW. But you need to own it… and then choose not to date men who have children.

        Know thyself LW. If you won’t be happy coming second to a man’s kids for probably the rest of his life– and definitely at least until they turn 18– then you are not a good fit for a man with kids, and he’s not a good fit for you.

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    • avatar

      SasLinna December 9, 2014, 10:49 am

      I don’t think he’s necessarily cheating or that he wants to go back to his wife. What’s clear is that he isn’t ready to have LW play the role of a girlfriend, and that he’s still involved with his family (which makes sense because of the kids).

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  • Kate B.

    Kate B. December 9, 2014, 10:37 am

    And once again we see the perils of dating a married man. He said his marriage is over? Oldest lie in the book. Unless you see a signed divorce decree, it isn’t.

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    • honeybeenicki

      honeybeenicki December 9, 2014, 10:42 am

      But he loves ME! Not her! And he’s going to leave her, it’s just not the right time!!!

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    • veritek33

      veritek33 December 9, 2014, 2:26 pm

      When my dad told my mom he was divorced on their first date, she asked to see the papers and he showed them to her. It was a small town and she’d actually attended his first wedding as a date of one of his groomsmen. She wanted proof he was really divorced, lol. Seems to have worked out.

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  • Addie Pray

    Addie Pray December 9, 2014, 10:44 am

    Don’t get me wrong, I’d never turn down a taco. But given the choice I’d always go for a burrito. Mostly because they’re bigger.

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    • othy

      othy December 9, 2014, 10:52 am

      I concur. Burritos > tacos. Especially when smothered with enchilada sauce and cheese.

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    • avatar

      jlyfsh December 9, 2014, 11:07 am

      Hmm see I don’t like how burritos are usually all one consistency. I like the crunch of a hard taco shell!

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph December 9, 2014, 11:16 am

        Put tortilla chips in your burrito. No, seriously.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray December 9, 2014, 12:01 pm

        oh you silly good, for each bite of burrito you have to take a bite of a tortilla chip. how have you lived this long?!?!

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray December 9, 2014, 12:01 pm

        *silly goose

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh December 9, 2014, 12:10 pm

        Apparently I’ve been sheltered from the burrito/tortilla chip combo. I promise to do better!

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      • othy

        othy December 9, 2014, 1:17 pm

        Sometimes I cut my burrito up and eat it using a tortilla chip as a spoon.

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      • Nookie

        Nookie December 9, 2014, 12:18 pm

        I concur. Also burritos are sometimes TOO big. There, I said it and I’m not going to take it back.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray December 9, 2014, 12:47 pm

        A burrito that is too big? Oxymoron.

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      • Stonegypsy

        Stonegypsy December 9, 2014, 1:19 pm

        I like the variety of a taco also. They are made of deliciousness. What I normally do is take a soft flour tortilla and put a hard taco shell inside of it, and then all of the taco fillings. Makes it even better

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    • honeybeenicki

      honeybeenicki December 9, 2014, 11:22 am

      Now see… I’m picky. I don’t particularly like burritos. Because I don’t like most of what is in them. I do however love tacos. As long as its only meat and cheese. And onions. And maybe green peppers.

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  • muchachaenlaventana

    muchachaenlaventana December 9, 2014, 10:45 am

    So although I don’t know this dudes story one of my best friend’s fathers continued living with his (not divorced) wife although they were separate for like 5 years post their separation and when they were eventually divorced. Even though they weren’t together, you better believe he spent every holiday with his family and made that his ultimate priority. Him and his wife made it a point to work together and maintain a family type atmosphere. Even now probably 4 years after he has moved out and they are divorced he goes over on weekends to do the yard work, spends holidays with the whole family etc. So these situations can happen.

    Either way LW don’t date people married/just getting out of a marriage because typically this is what happens-they are unavailable and you aren’t really going to be a priority. Also if you do date a recently divorced person with children, you need to understand that hopefully if they are worth a shit, their kids will ALWAYS come first. So really spending NYE and Christmas with them are the basic decent things he is doing as a father-no shit he is spending his holidays with his family , instead of giving him shit about it get over it and realize it is a good thing. (Assuming this dude really is separated/divorced and not just lying and having an affair)**

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  • avatar

    Laura Hope December 9, 2014, 11:09 am

    Let’s say for argument’s sake that he really is divorcing his wife for you. He’d have to be fool to piss her off any more than he has to. There’s a lot at stake, at least until the divorce is final– like custody agreements and his bank account. Choosing to spend the holidays with his family to keep the peace is a wise choice.

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  • avatar

    milka December 9, 2014, 11:58 am

    You mentioned your boyfriend is not used to communicate properly, and so it’s really important that you talk to him and explain how this makes you feel. Stress you understand it’s very important for him to spend time with the kids and have a good relationship with his wife/ex-wife, but say that you are worried they might interpret this as him wanting to get with his wife. Ask him how he feels about this, not in an aggressive way, but still assertive. Is he considering this as a possibility? Is he afraid of asking for a divorce? Is he convinced the relationship is over? Perhaps the problem is not so much him spending time with them, but that you are insecure about what this means. I completely understand you’re in a very difficult situation and it seems you are very much in love with this guy, so maybe you are a bit afraid of addressing this directly. Don’t be afraid of what he might say, it’s better for you to have a good understanding of the situation so you can decide whether you’re willing to wait for him to settle things with his wife.

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