Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Boyfriend Of Six Months Sleeps In Another Room”

No satisfaction

I’m 35 and have been with my boyfriend for six months. I never had kids because I was waiting for that special someone I could share moments and grow old with, but my boyfriend has three beautiful girls. It took a while for them to warm up to me, but today we all get along very well. My boyfriend shares 50/50 custody with the kids’ mom so he has them for a week and then she has them for a week.

The week that we don’t have them it’s easier to get attention from my boyfriend. When we have the girls, I feel left out and don’t get much attention from him. We don’t sleep in the same bed because, when they are with him, the younger girls sleep in his room, but, even when they are gone, he has told me that he likes sleeping in his own bed in his own room so I sleep right across the hall in my own room. I hate this so much because I feel we don’t connect like most couples do. We both work-out pretty hard, so at night he likes to get comfortable and sleep the best he can.

I have come to understand that having your own space is good for a good night’s rest, but I am a cuddle fan and like feeling him next to me. I don’t get to do that — his girls do. Today, I broke down and told him I get upset when I don’t get attention from him or get to lie with him. I know his girls come first and require more of his attention…I understand that 100%. But I get my feelings hurt when I want some attention. I don’t nag or pout at him. I am a very mellow girlfriend. I love to cook and clean for his family. I just feel like I give more than what I am hoping for in return. I could really use your feedback on this!! — Cuddle Fan Dating a None-Cuddly Man

You say it “took a while” for your boyfriends’ three kids to warm up to you, but, considering you already live with someone you’ve been dating a mere six months (I have condiments in my refrigerator older than that), what do you consider “a while”? Like, a week? Frankly, this is the point when your boyfriend should just be starting to think about introducing you to his kids and here you are already living with them and complaining about not getting enough attention from their dad when they’re around or getting the intimacy you’d like.

Everything you mention in your letter, from the speed at which you moved in with this guy, the separate bedrooms, the competition you feel with three little girls for their father’s attention, expressing that you are a “mellow girlfriend” and don’t “nag or pout” (as if being as silent as you can about your feelings is something to aspire to or feel proud of), and bragging about how much you love cooking and cleaning for this family you’ve just met is very troubling. This is not what a real loving relationship looks like (especially six months in!!). You are not this guy’s girlfriend. You’re the live-in maid and cook. Your “boyfriend” found himself the single dad of three girls he loves and has custody of 50% of the time and he felt he needed some help taking care of them. You fill that role. You’re nothing more than that. He’s using you. And you are so desperate for the attention, affection, and love of a man and family that you’re blind to this exploitation and are willingly letting it happen almost without question. In fact, the only question you seem to have is: “Why don’t you cuddle with me as much as you cuddle your kids?” When the question really should be: “What the fuck am I thinking?”

Please, see this for what it is. Take my word for it. Take the commenters’ word for it. You are being used. Get out. Get some therapy. And don’t date anyone else until you’ve worked on your self-esteem and feel much more confident about expressing your needs and not settling for less than what you want and what you deserve in a relationship.

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].

7 comments… add one
  • avatar

    keyblade June 21, 2016, 9:31 am

    I’m curious how long you’ve actually been living together. I’m thinking back to January and trying to imagine what it would be like to try to blend into a family situation with a man I had just met at that time.
    To me it sounds like you want to be part an instant family because you feel like you’ve run out of time to make your own. But who was your family and what was your life like before you started dating this guy (just around Christmas)? It sounds like you are very wrapped up in this relationship and like it takes up most of your life. That is what marriage feels like. But a marriage and family with three kids doesn’t just happen after six months.

    I am used by my family some times because I have years of trust established with my spouse. My husband has leaned on me and I’ve leaned on him, and we continue to manage our balance as individuals, a couple, and as parents.

    You didn’t ask about this; you asked about sleeping arrangement when his daughters are around. This guy has been clear that you aren’t a full-fledged member of his team, yet. Your place is conditional. This is why in my opinion, it would be better if you weren’t living together, yet. You are acting as though this is a try-out and he gets to call the shots.

    It’s true that that he gets to call the shots when it comes to the already established team of him and his daughters, but you should both be on equal footing when it comes to your relationship. You should be able to establish true intimacy between yourselves.
    I don’t know much about the dynamics of divorce, but from this layperson’s perspective this is why it is a BAD idea to date a family. And when you move into the family’s communal space, that is what you are setting yourself up to do.

    About the cuddles, people usually like to night-canoodle or they don’t. Parents will sometimes do this for their children who come to their bed to help them sooth or feel secure, but it is not usually for the parent, it is for the kid. Step back from examining family dynamics and think of this as a couple’s issue. It is an incompatibility and it isn’t likely to go away.

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  • Monkeysmommy

    Monkeysmommy June 21, 2016, 10:48 am

    My husband and I moved in together after only a few months also. We have now been together 7 years and have a child of our own (I had a 4 and 7 year old at the time, he had no kids). I don’t always discredit a fast relationship; however, what I would discredit is a 6 month old relationship that is lacking intimacy. If your boyfriend is cool with his kids sleeping with him, then the problem is not with cosleeping, it is with you. I am not a cuddler, but my hubby is, so I make the effort at night to meet his needs too; I cannot imagine asking to sleep in my own room. I know couples that so sleep apart, but not typically at 6 months… you also don’t tell us what this guy does do for you that makes any of this worthwhile for you. I would put the brakes on, move out (or toss him out, whichever the case may be) and see how things go when you are functioning as separate people again and not some twisted and forced family.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark June 21, 2016, 10:55 am

    You can’t handle dating / living with somebody who has kids. Your (admittedly restrained) resentment comes through here loud and clear in your letter. Honestly? Whiney partners who whine about not getting enough attention like whiney little children — when REAL children are around drive me fucking batty… But seriously. Do yourself and EVERYBODY else a favor and amicably break things up…

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  • avatar

    Convexed June 21, 2016, 11:35 am

    Wendy I wish I too had condiments in my regenerator! I wish I had a regenerator at all! 🙂

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  • avatar

    dinoceros June 21, 2016, 4:28 pm

    There are a lot of competing issues here. I do think it’s way too soon to be living with him. Particularly since he has kids. Any parent who moves their partner in after six months would raise red flags for me regarding their judgment (and honestly, I’d feel the same way if they asked me to move in after that short amount of time, with no kids). I’d agree with Wendy that you seem a little desperate. Why? Because I think a lot of people would see him rushing the relationship and be concerned. Or they would be like, Why the heck am I doing all the chores for a guy I have only known for six months? Or they’d want to find out how the whole blended family thing would work BEFORE jumping into it. The fact that none of this crossed your mind and you just went straight in to living with him without addressing any of that tends to imply that you just had tunnel vision. You wanted something serious with this guy and nothing was going to stop you.

    On the other side, if you do plan to date men with children, you’re going to have to get used to the fact that their children will often take priority. If their kids are around, you will not be getting the most attention out of everyone there. You can’t just move in and be someone’s girlfriend for six months and then automatically get treated like a stepmom (and you don’t need to put yourself in that role by cooking and cleaning for them all). It makes sense that he would be distancing you from his kids at this time because many people wouldn’t even have their kids meeting their SO at six months, so it’s not weird in that regard. The part that makes all this weird is the fact that you two went at warp speed. At this time in your relationship, you should be living at your own home and thus maybe not sleeping over on the days when he has his kids (but maybe still going and eating together or something), and none of this would really be an issue in the same way. So, I think you need to talk to him and get on the same page, but be prepared if you find that your views of how things should be might not be compatible.

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  • FireStar

    Firestar June 21, 2016, 7:17 pm

    Wendy is right. Cuddling isn’t the problem. Not even A problem since he is okay sleeping with his girls. You are just a convenient roommate who cooks and cleans and I’m sure has sex when he wants. You might feel a time crunch a little and feel that you have to fit him into your future but he’s not the guy. If you told me you have sleep apnea or something to warrant his good night’s sleep then fine. But you don’t. So the reason he gave is BS.
    You both moved fast. His reasons are clear and his needs are being met. Your reasons are clear too (though misguided) but your needs aren’t being met at all. Move out. See if you even have a relationship without you constantly pushing work for him and his family.

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  • Raccoon eyes

    Raccoon eyes June 22, 2016, 7:04 am

    WWS.
    *
    Sooo… your needs are not being met and his are… you are not happy and he is? Huh, yeah. I think it is time to have a serious talk. And also get yourself to therapy to figure out why you were so willing to try to integrate yourself into another family in 6 months. Slow your roll, girl! Dont make a man fit into the cookie-cutter shape you want him to be- as you can see, it tends to not end well.

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