My boyfriend’s daughter is almost 18, so he has minimum contact with her mother. However, his son is only 8, and so he has to communicate with his son’s mother from time to time, which is business he says, and I think, is totally appropriate. He would originally take her calls in my presence and I could hear that it was just arrangements being made. Over the last few months, I’ve noticed that he seems to be texting all the time, and, when she calls, he leaves the room to take the call. It’s been a bit odd, so a few times I snooped and looked into his text messages. He has been sharing random pictures and texts with her that have nothing to do with their son. For example, he went for an art show and sent heaps of photos to her (none to me), and she replied with an “xoxo.” And just a few days ago, I saw a text from her thanking him for something that she promised to wear “all the time.” He replied, “I’m glad you like it: It’s “tres stylish.” He obviously bought her a pretty gift.
I don’t know what to make of this, but I’m finding it hard to get past it and be my normal self. I know I need to talk to him, but he has a temper issue and has been in and out of anger management, so I can’t admit I snooped. Plus, I know he’ll just say that I’m being unreasonable and twisted, which is his standard response to most issues I discuss with him. What should I make of this? — Not So Unreasonable
Let’s count off how many red flags are mentioned in your three-paragraph letter, shall we?
1. Your boyfriend has not one, but two ex-fiancées, both of whom he shares a child with.
Now, having one ex-fiancé is not such a big deal, but TWO? He has two women whom he has gotten serious enough with to plan marrying and then not gone through with it despite having children with them? Dude has commitment issues. Or, just issues, period.
2. He has had “constant court cases, mediation, and volatility,” with each of his ex-fiancées.
What’s the common denominator here? Oh, yeah, HE IS. If he can’t reach compromises with the mother of his children without “constant court cases” — not just one or two, but CONSTANT court cases — “mediation and volatility,” issues, man, issues.
3. He calls these exes, the mother of his children: “petty, selfish, and untrustworthy and he referred to them both as b****es.” Again, who is the common denominator here? HE IS. These women are so awful, yet he chose them… and, somehow, both of them have gone on to marry other people.
4. Your boyfriend is acting untrustworthy — you know, that very characteristic he claimed his exes were guilty of being — in regard to one of his exes, leaving the room when she calls, texting her inappropriate comments, and buying her personal gifts. The reason you’re finding it hard to get past this and “be your normal self” is because THIS ISN’T NORMAL. This is fucked up, is what it is.
5. Your boyfriend has “a temper issue and has been in and out of anger management,” so you don’t feel you can communicate openly with him. Because you’re afraid of him, I guess? Yeah, red flag.
6. His standard response to most issues you discuss with him is to say that you’re being unreasonable and twisted. You know, kind of like his standard response to any issue with his exes is to say they’re being petty, selfish, and untrustworthy bitches.
This is not a man who takes personal responsibility for his behavior or his choices. This is not a man who has respect for women. And this is not a man who is currently capable of a healthy adult relationship. This is a man who has lots of issues, none of which he seems interested in addressing or even discussing in a calm manner. You’ve spent five years with him and are scared to talk to him? Scared of his anger and temper? Oh, honey. It’s time to MOA.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.