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.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.