Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Boyfriend Won’t Make Room for My Kids and Me in His House”

I just read your response to someone who had moved into her boyfriend’s bachelor pad after about two years of dating. I’ve also recently moved into my boyfriend’s home and need some advice. When my boyfriend and I started dating (in September, 2015) after our mutual divorces, he was in the process of buying a house and moving out of a rental. I helped “Rick” paint and clean and prep to move, but I didn’t move in with him until the following August, after living with my parents for a while to get back on my feet financially. I started staying at Rick’s house when I didn’t have my kids, and then I started bringing them there on my weekends. I slowly brought clothes and a few kitchen and decor items, and I recently changed my address to his address. The majority of my things are “in storage” at my parents’ house, and that is part of the problem.

The other part of the problem is that Rick has three kids and I have three kids, and though they get along great, Rick’s house is tiny, especially for eight people, and my kids don’t have their own beds. We have three bedrooms — they are not very big — one bathroom, and a partially finished basement. On top of that, Rick is a bit of a hoarder. He loves clearance shopping and a good deal. He has TONS of boxes in the basement that haven’t been touched in the year and a half he’s lived there. I would like to integrate my kids into the home, give them actual beds. Currently, his two girls share a room and his son has his own room. I have two boys and one girl, so it’s three girls and three boys. Though the rooms aren’t big, they could accommodate three and three with bunks beds and with moving all the kids “stuff” to the area of the basement we set up for them. I’ve showed Rick ideas on Pinterest, and have brought it up gently over and over about how it would mean a lot to have my kids feel like they have a bedroom or a bed or a space that is also theirs.

Rick has been telling me for probably nine months that he would clean out more dresser space for me, but I still have one dresser drawer, a nightstand with two small drawers, and maybe a quarter or less of his small closet while he has TWO tall six-drawer dressers, the top shelf of the closet, and the majority of the closet. The man has like 200 t-shirts and doesn’t want to get rid of them because there is “nothing wrong with them.” I’ve talked about donating them, etc… but that’s his frame of mind that he doesn’t want to get rid of stuff because he might need it, it was a good deal, it’s perfectly good, no reason to get rid of it. The garage is full, the basement is full. There are four garbage bags full of little girl clothes in the basement ranging from 24-months to 4/5T that he’s been wanting to give to someone he knows that could use it, but there is no one and his youngest daughter is 8! I Just finally last week got him to donate one box of his clothes and one box of kids’ clothes.

I’m not a patient person and it’s been nine to ten months of being patient… What can I do? I’m living with only what I needed from my mom’s, with none of my furniture, and I tend to feel “homesick” now and then because this doesn’t feel like my home. It doesn’t feel like we live “together;” I just live with him. My boys sleep on a fold-out mat in his son’s room, and my daughter sleeps on a futon in the partially finished basement. We figure we’ll be living in this house for about three to five years before we buy something else. How do I help him realize that it’s necessary to get rid of stuff we don’t use or need? And without being pushy or insensitive? — Spaced-Out

It sounds like you gradually moved into Rick’s home, first staying there on weekends, then bringing your kids when you had them, then slowly bringing over clothes and a few kitchen and decor items. You just recently officially changed your address to his after months of this gradual and casual moving-in. I have to wonder: Did Rick invite you to move in? Did he even want to share his space with you and your three kids? Did you talk before you moved in about how you would integrate four extra people into his small house? Did you discuss any of the essential topics a couple should discuss before moving in together? If not, then you have only yourself to blame for this predicament you find yourself (and your poor kids!) in. If you were invited to move in and you and Rick did discuss and agree on how best to integrate your family into his home, you can blame him for not sticking to the agreement.

I’m betting, based on the content of your letter, that no such agreement was ever in place, and that even a discussion about where your kids would sleep was probably not had before you slowly and gradually moved in. It sounds like everything just sort of happened organically, which sounds pleasant in theory, but even a vegetable garden needs thoughtful planning to thrive. And the truth is, it may simply be too late to have these discussions with Rick now. He seems stuck in his ways and not at all interested in making room for you, let alone for you and your kids. You’ve already been asking Rick for nine months to clear some more dresser space for you and he can’t even do that. What other recourse do you have here except to move out? And, frankly, that may be exactly what Rick wants. I get the feeling he may not have even wanted you there in the first place.

If I’m wrong, and Rick did — and does — want you in his home, you need to be firm that he HAS to make space for you and your kids. That means getting rid of shit, setting up a play area in the basement, and getting bunk beds. It means incorporating some of your decor and working with you to make a home that is both functional and comfortable for all of you. These are basic steps, and if he can’t comply, you need to pack up your one dresser drawer and tiny bit of closet space and get the fuck out of there because, when you aren’t wanted, the last thing you should do is force yourself — and your three kids — onto someone.

If your response to all of this is: “But I don’t have anywhere better to go,” or “I can’t afford my own place,” or “I’ll have to move back in with my parents,” my reply is: “Ok.” Because none of those reasons is reason enough to live with a boyfriend who is unwilling to make space for you or didn’t want you to move in in the first place. If, after thinking it all over, you decide that living with Rick, even with no space for your stuff, is still the best option, then that’s the choice you’re making, and Rick has the upper hand. He has the upper hand and he knows it. He knows you have limited options and won’t move out, despite how unhappy you may say you are with the lack of space, because you’ve got nowhere better to live. And then, that would be the kind of man you’re dating and living with: a man who doesn’t really care that much about your feelings. And then you have to decide: Is that what you want for yourself and your kids? A man who lets them sleep on fold-out mats on the floor so his 200 t-shirts have room to breathe? Your kids deserve better than that.

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

Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.

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

59 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Ashley March 17, 2017, 8:48 am

    Did you perhaps watch too much Brady bunch when you were a kid? Really, reading this made sick. You are more concerned about taking this next step in your relationship than providing a proper home for your family. Your boyfriend obviously doesn’t want you there, your kids probably don’t want to be there either, not to mention even if your boyfriend made space for you, that house is not equipped to handle that many people. I can’t imagine the morning routine. Move out. For your sakes and especially for your kids.

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    • avatar

      LisforLeslie March 17, 2017, 9:26 am

      On the Brady Bunch Mike the architect designed a house with room for six kids (although those 6 did have to share one bathroom). It doesn’t sound like anyone put much thought into this.

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  • avatar

    Essie March 17, 2017, 9:00 am

    You moved your children into a situation where they don’t even have proper beds to sleep on…why? So you could have convenient access to your boyfriend? Your sons are sleeping on the floor. Your daughter is sleeping on a futon in a partially-finished basement. For the better part of a year. Just so you get to sleep with BF when you want.

    How about you stop worrying about how much space there is for your clothes and start being a decent mother, and get your kids out of that situation? Like, this weekend?

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    • bagge72

      bagge72 March 17, 2017, 9:57 am

      What I’m really hoping is the kids think this is just a fun sleepover situation at her mom’s boyfriends house, and the father or other parent has full custody, that would at least make ME feel better to hope for.

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  • avatar

    csp March 17, 2017, 9:04 am

    LW, It is time for you to take control of your life. Whatever that means. If you are building a life with this man, then build it. Tell him you want to make this a home for the both of you. If he does want that, then set aside a weekend as clean house day. Heck, you can sell stuff on those facebook yardsale sites and pay for the new beds. You can sell the excess stuff at your parent’s house as well. If he does not want this, then move out and figure out how to provide a safe space for your kids and build your life the way you like it. This waiting for him to make a move is not working. Own it and take charge. I have posted on my wall at work and at home this quote: ” You are the cultivator of your life, not the manager of your circumstances.”

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  • avatar

    Essie March 17, 2017, 9:07 am

    Also…I see a whole lot about what you want in your letter. You started moving your stuff. You changed your address. You brought your kids. There’s no mention of “Rick and I talked about blending our families,” or “Rick wanted so badly for us to be living together.”

    Did you have those conversations? It sounds like you didn’t. Like you and the kids slowly started spending more and more time there, until you just…stopped going home.

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  • avatar

    dinoceros March 17, 2017, 9:20 am

    You’re not being patient — you’re being a doormat. Why didn’t you wait until you and your boyfriend had come to a concrete decision about blending families to move in? Why didn’t you wait until his house was appropriate for six children to live in? Or wait until the two of you could get a place together that had enough space for six kids? That’s a fine temporary arrangement, but surely you realize that you can’t have three kids sharing a room forever. What a huge disruption in their lives this is — not having their own beds, or if he ever makes room for them, suddenly having to share rooms with one or more other children that are not their family?

    I assume the reason you did these things was because you were afraid that if you asked your boyfriend what he wanted or if you told him what needed to happen that he wouldn’t do it or he’d be scared off and you’d lose him. But these shouldn’t be negotiables, and if he’s not willing to accommodate your family, you shouldn’t be with him.

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    • avatar

      csp March 17, 2017, 9:46 am

      I totally agree that she fears asking or demanding what she needs. So she just hints quietly and hopes he will notice.

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  • Monkeysmommy

    Monkeysmommy March 17, 2017, 9:20 am

    WWS!! My first thought after reading your letter was “when the hell did Rick agree to this combined living situation??” It sounds like he didn’t. Unless you are leaving out a lot, it sounds as if you moved yourself, your kids, and some of your shit in without really asking. You really make your kids sleep on the floor?? For what?? Unless this guy is willing to share, you need to be a MOM and put the kids in a healthier living situation, even if that means back with your parents.

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  • avatar

    LisforLeslie March 17, 2017, 9:29 am

    I’d also be really concerned with the shopping/hoarding thing. That doesn’t go away with nagging. He may be spending a lot of money on things he doesn’t need because they’re “good deals”. The reality is, if you don’t need it, you shouldn’t buy it. If he’s not using something it means he didn’t need it, which means he wasted his money. Not a good sign.

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    • avatar

      csp March 17, 2017, 9:43 am

      I totally agree that hording doesn’t go away.

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  • Kate B.

    Kate B. March 17, 2017, 9:50 am

    You really need to move out. Like everyone else, I suspect that there was never an actual discussion about moving in. It just sort of “happened”. This happened to a friend of mine. His girlfriend just started spending more and more time at his house, until gradually she lived there. Now they are married (that’s another story for another day) but they are miserable. Even if you and Rick did talk about it, this house is way too small for all of you. Surely you see that. Eventually, the kids are not going to be able share rooms anymore. Kids sleeping on the floor is not a normal arrangement, FYI. Move in to your own place with your kids, or move back with your parents. Those are your only options. If you lose Rick, well, at least your kids would be sleeping in proper beds.

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  • avatar

    Sue Jones March 17, 2017, 9:52 am

    Nope. Nope. Nope. You have 3 kids. He has 3 kids. You should live separately with each of your kids in your own places until the kids are grown and out of the home and then if you are still together, you can move in together. You just sort of gradually mooshed into his space with your kids when you should have taken care of your needs and your kids’ needs as a first priority. Move out and have your own place where kids can have their own bedrooms.

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  • bagge72

    bagge72 March 17, 2017, 9:55 am

    This is definitely the prequel to the Brady Bunch, now you just have to get Mike I mean Rick to design a new house!

    But really, if this was a mutual move in, then I don’t know why you have to ask permission to make your house livable for you and your kids. If Rick really did want you to move in, then why can’t you just go buy yourself a dresser, and some beds for the kids? Why can’t you help him pack his stuff up downstairs, instead of waiting on him, because it doesn’t seem like he wants to do it.

    I think you really need to look at the situation you put your kids in, and maybe they are to young to realize it, but it’s not a good one. Hopefully they have a real house to stay in when they are at their fathers which, in this case seems like he has them most of the time anyways so that’s good.

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  • avatar

    Vathena March 17, 2017, 10:05 am

    I can’t believe that a mother would let her kids sleep on the floor and in a partially-finished basement. What the hell kind of home is that? Why on earth would you move your children into a home where they didn’t have BEDS? That’s like, parenting basics, making sure that your children have a decent place to sleep every night. A fucking futon in a partially-finished basement filled with junk, possibly creating a fire hazard? A mat on the floor? Think about the kind of message you are sending to your kids – that they’re not worth the effort to ensure their comfort and safety. That your boyfriend’s kids deserve their own beds, but yours don’t. (I wonder what your kids’ father thinks about all of this?) Come on, your kids need more from you.

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  • avatar

    Sarah March 17, 2017, 10:22 am

    What I would like to know is what your kids’ father thinks of this. If I found out my kids’ father was making them sleep on a mat on the floor or in a partially finished basement you could be sure that I would have them taken out of his custody ASAFP. On the floor and in a partially finished basement?! Come on. Look at your choices here. Your kids deserve better than this, and if you can’t provide it in this situation, you need to find a new situation.

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  • Diablo

    Diablo March 17, 2017, 10:24 am

    I know we are all supposed to speak out against addiction, but it could solve so many societal problems. If the LW was addicted to heroin, none of us would think twice about her kids sleeping on the floor. We’d just be glad they were indoors. But just because she isn’t an addict, suddenly we want to hold her to this crazy standard of beds. So, LW, get yourself on heroin asap, and no one will split hairs with you on your parenting anymore. Boom! Case Closed!

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    • avatar

      RedRoverRedRover March 17, 2017, 12:30 pm

      A very salient point. I expect no less of Diablo.

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    • avatar

      Kate March 17, 2017, 1:27 pm

      Compared to heroin, anything else looks fine. That’s why I always try to stand near a heroin addict!

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      • Diablo

        Diablo March 17, 2017, 4:29 pm

        I’m sure you would look hawt next to a meth-head, too! (Look at me, really turning on the charm!)

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom March 17, 2017, 10:24 am

    It sounds like you wiggled yourself and your children into his home without asking or discussing it. Did you hope that if you just gradually moved yourself and your kids in he wouldn’t notice? Or maybe he’d decide he loved it and suddenly make room for you? The only reason I can think of for doing this on the sly was because you knew he wouldn’t agree to you and the kids moving in. Why else not ask? Why else not discuss? You crammed you and your kids into his life and he probably resents it. You’ve treated him and his kids and your own kids as irrelevant.

    If you did move in without any discussion I consider that a red flag for Rick. A partner, a true partner, doesn’t try to shove themselves and their three children into your life with your three children without discussing it at enough length that you figure out beds and dressers and bedrooms and space and finances and schedules and food, etc. before you move in together. Who treats a real partner that way, moving in without any discussion or agreement.

    Doing what you’ve done has crowded him and his kids and you and your kids. You are probably the only one who signed up for that.

    Move out and in the future do it the proper way. With lots of discussion and a mutual agreement, making sure the arrangement works for every individual involved in the home.

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  • avatar

    Anon from LA March 17, 2017, 10:25 am

    Your kids need a stable home, and you’re not providing that for them. Tell Rick he’s either gotta get with the program, or you’re moving out and finding your own place.

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    • avatar

      Ron March 17, 2017, 10:48 am

      Even if Rick gets with the program, it isn’t a stable situation and the whole housing arrangement isn’t acceptable. LW and Rick really don’t sound like they have a relationship which is going to go the distance. They have shown no ability to communicate or make decisions together. Those 3 kids have been dragged into mommy’s temporary relationship with current bf after she’s known him for about a year.

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  • avatar

    Jahaafincher March 17, 2017, 10:32 am

    My main problem is HE IS A HOARDER!! Have you not watched the show hoarders? Even IF he wants to make room for you he is psychologically attached to his stuff. If he throws out his shirts, you are throwing out a piece of him, or so it feels like to a hoarder.

    You knew he was a hoarder dude. He needs therapy before you can build a life with him. And im betting the fact he is a hoarder may be part of the reason he is divorced.

    The rigidity of hoarders and their needs is unmoveable until THEY want to get better. I should know. I fight the impulse every day.

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    • avatar

      quickstepqeen May 15, 2017, 11:37 am

      Amen!! Rick may genuinely want his girlfriend and children to all move in. But if he has an addiction, a hoarding addiction, then he genuinely won’t feel able to let go of his stuff, even if he is desperate to achieve his dream of a happy family life. The lure of the addiction is stronger than anything else in his life. It’s a tough one and it is brave of you Jahaafincher to post. Thankyou.

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  • avatar

    Ron March 17, 2017, 10:42 am

    Two very important facts you don’t mention: how often does Rick have his kids, how often do you have your kids? When was your divorce?

    Your description says he bought the house before there was any consideration at all of your possibly staying there. He bought a house sized for himself. It doesn’t sound at all like a house which can accommodate 2 adults and 6 kids.

    You aren’t even engaged to this guy. Why after less than a year of dating him would you force your children of divorce to live with him and his kids? They need stability. They don’t need to be blended into another family with a man and his 3 kids, who is your current bf, and judging from the tone of your letter is unlikely to be your bf a year from now. You are emotionally abusing your kids. Until you are in a smoothly functioning permanent relationship, you should leave your kids out of it.

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  • Cleopatra Jones

    Cleopatra Jones March 17, 2017, 11:00 am

    WWS & WEES!

    It really bugs me that the LW has essentially moved from a marital house, to her parents’ home, into Rick’s home without taking a breath. Whenever I see women do this, it’s always because they feel like they can’t take care of themselves OR their terrified of being alone. They move from relationship to relationship (dragging the kids along) until they find someone who can ‘take care’ of them, even if the guy is pretty ‘effin horrible to them.

    LW, don’t do this to your kids. All of y’all deserve better than this situation. You deserve to have a better relationship, and they deserve to not be crammed in someone else’s space so their Mom can shack up with a man who really doesn’t want her there.

    Please move back home to your parents’ house and work on saving money to purchase a home/apartment for you and your own kids. Life will be so much better for you & the kids.

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  • avatar

    Kate March 17, 2017, 11:01 am

    I’m sorry, your daughter sleeps on a futon in the partially finished basement filled with junk? How does she feel about that? I think it’s fucking gross. Figure this out, because that’s your job and this situation is unacceptable.

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  • avatar

    Janelle March 17, 2017, 11:53 am

    1.) Don’t move in with a hoarder. Surely you could see this before you moved in. Even if he said he would move the stuff you had a clear idea of how he lived and it kept not being moved so you knew that.
    2.) Like everyone else says, wtf are you even thinking in regards to your kids??? Them having a place to sleep is step #1. Also, let me tell you something that I see a lot of people ignore that is a fact! I speak from experience and just actually had a come to Jesus with my good friend about this regarding his own children. Your kids may like his kids fine, they may like him fine, but I promise they DID NOT want to move in to that home. Not even a little. No matter what they say they did not.
    On top of that they don’t even have rooms or a place to sleep. You have not only considered only yourself in this but also permanently caused damaged to your relationship with your kids, how they view you and you have shown them they don’t come first. Stop putting your relationship first, especially with a man who seems completely uninterested in having you there.

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  • avatar

    Lisa March 17, 2017, 11:54 am

    Ms Wendy, I’m gathering you’ve never known a dyed in the wool hoarder? This man the LW writes about isn’t “kind of” a hoarder. He IS a hoarder and hoarding is a mental illness. What he needs is to see a therapist and for her to get out now cause I can guarantee, he and is hoarding is only going to get worse. I’ve seen this behavior before, in 3 different members of my family.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy March 17, 2017, 1:15 pm

      I’m not sure what I wrote that implied I don’t know hoarders. Oh, if only you knew.

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    • avatar

      dinoceros March 18, 2017, 2:31 pm

      Except the boyfriend wasn’t the one writing in, so Wendy’s advice made a lot of sense.

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  • avatar

    Dora March 17, 2017, 12:02 pm

    I agree with all that’s been said regarding moving in too quickly without thoughtful planning…and will add this:
    I’ve lived with a hoarder. Unless Rick recognizes he has a problem and is willing to undergo intensive and highly specialized therapy for the problem, trust me…the junk is going to stay.
    Forever.

    LW, you really need to step back and figure out a better living situation for your kids. Rick might be the greatest guy in the world, but his not making room for you and your children isn’t a matter of you being patient or sensitive. You’re up against one of the most complex of psychological disorders that will not get better unless he and he alone, decides to tackle it and put in what will probably be years of therapy.
    You might want to do some research into the emotional issues that children who have hoarder parents develop. You also might want to put some thought into how your children must feel, perceiving that your relationship with Rick is more important than giving them a real home.

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    • bagge72

      bagge72 March 17, 2017, 12:22 pm

      So you didn’t find this hoarder you lived with adorable? Did you end up exploring those options for therapy? I think she should do some research into this, you can’t just put your headphones in and pop on pandora to make it go away. I think she should hop in her Ford Explorer and head back to her parents house for now.

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  • avatar

    Spaced-Out March 17, 2017, 12:05 pm

    This is me the column is about – here’s my response:
    Wow. Ok. Well I think now I’d rather have you take down that column.
    I didn’t give the full background, that’s my bad and much too much to write. He actually is a really decent human being, he cares about me, about me kids. I care about my kids. He was the one who kept telling me that I could bring whatever I wanted to the house, he OFFERED to clean out a dresser drawer when I first started staying there, there were discussions, he did want me to be there, but there’s just no action to move forward and make the house we have work for the time being – which can be done. Large families often live in small spaces, google it, check Pinterest. I think he has some issues with change, I think that for 4 years after his divorce (being with someone for 20 years) that he got used to and set in his ways and now it’s hard for him to transition back. I am not a bad parent. I have sacrificed and put myself in the back seat for years before my new relationship. I left a bad relationship that’s why I got divorced, there was zero communication, double standards, no help with the kids and the house and I was miserable and depressed. I have joint custody of my children and I made the choice I made because all of our time was being spent in a car going back and forth between houses, I had to drive 45 minutes one way to work, I made a decision to what was best for my kids for now. So I currently have them every other weekend during the school year. Two weekends a month they are with us and I go take them out to eat once a week, I call them, text them. No one has any idea what my life really is like. Being bashed for being a horrible mother is crushing when people don’t know me or the true situation. I guess I never looked at what I wrote and saw what other people would assume and insinuate. It’s awful. Thanks for your point of view but you’re SO off track. I didn’t push myself onto my boyfriend nor my kids… Thanks for making me appear to be a blind and complete moron and a horrible mother. Nothing like crushing someone’s self image and confidence all at once.

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    • avatar

      Vathena March 17, 2017, 1:27 pm

      Why are you settling for one dresser drawer in your shared home? I think the issue is that you decided to move in BEFORE all of these things were done. Sure, you can, in theory, make the house work. But he’s obviously not interested in doing that, or it would have been done already. How long are you going to hang around and wait for him to not be “set in his ways”? When you have children, these are the things you need to resolve before changing their living situation, not after. He’s a hoarder and it doesn’t appear that he’s all that committed to creating a stable, long-term home with you.

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    • avatar

      Janelle March 17, 2017, 1:30 pm

      You aren’t a bad parent but you are not making correct choices by having your children on the floor just to see your boyfriend more. 45 min drive sucks but know what sucks more, sleeping on a mat on the floor! You shouldn’t have moved in until your kids rooms were set up…..as most parent’s do before moving their children.

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    • avatar

      Lucy March 17, 2017, 1:31 pm

      You can’t complain when people draw conclusions and give advice based on the information you give them. Yes, you do need to consider your communication from the point of view of the other person. People aren’t psychic.

      And honestly, nothing you wrote really changes anything. Rick may be a decent guy but the end result is the same: your kids are sleeping on the floor. You have no space. Move back to your parents and tell Rick that when he’s ready to a) get help for hoarding, and b) actually work with you to make the living situation functional, he should call you.

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    • avatar

      Michele Em March 17, 2017, 1:39 pm

      So your ex has primary custody if you have the kids for an evening during the week and every other weekend. That leaves you quite a bit of time to work on yourself and for improving your kids’ lives. IMO, you are working too hard to make the relationship work. Focus on you and the kids. If things with the boyfriend work out later, that is great.

      Please really think about the advice offered on this site instead of taking it as a personal attack.

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    • bagge72

      bagge72 March 17, 2017, 2:04 pm

      I don’t see anything in this follow up that changes anything. You basically just added your struggles, but the situation never changed. You still chose to move your kids in with this guy knowing they didn’t have bedrooms, or beds, and you didn’t have a place for any of your things. You say it’s because of having to drive longer to work, and carting your kids back and forth between houses all of the time. Well it’s every other weekend so it’s not all of the time, and you don’t have to spend every single weekend with him. You are basically saying that you moved for your convenience, instead of making sure your kids had bedrooms and beds. If you truly saw this being long term, you would have talked about finding a place that suits both your needs, and if you didn’t have the money to do that, then you should have stayed with your parents until you did.

      Maybe you don’t see it this way, but that’s what it comes off as in both letters. I get it your other relationship sucked, but that doesn’t mean jump right into another one, and put your kids in an awkward situation. If life truly was so grand living in this tiny space that we should google it, then you wouldn’t have written in.

      Though I guess it’s nice he offered to clean out a dresser draw for you…

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    • avatar

      csp March 17, 2017, 2:37 pm

      LW, I think you should really look at what everyone is saying, understand that this is difficult, then start making the changes you want to see. You are right that maximizing small spaces is possible. But you have gotten stuck in a routine that has allowed you to stay in a situation that is not working. If your kids are getting shuttled back and forth and they don’t have a place in your home, it could make them feel like they don’t have a place in your life. If it is a money issue, start saving, start selling stuff. Heck, if you both have things overflowing in storage, then change it. But waiting for this man to make your kids welcome in the home is not ok, you need to make it happen.

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    • avatar

      Ron March 17, 2017, 3:00 pm

      You pushed back and got some responders to cringe and take a step back, but I think your reply makes things sound worse and makes you sound like a worse mother. So, I’ll say it straight up: you are behaving like a BAD, selfish mother.

      Why? You see your kids only two weekends a month and you are forcing that to be in the ridiculously awful housing that your bf provides for them. Sleeping on a mat in a bedroom with another child isn’t a horrible thing, but being the only person in the household consigned to a junk-ridden, semi-finished basement and sleeping on just a futon on the floor in that basement is truly awful and I think more than a little dangerous.

      If you only see your kids two weekends a month, then you need to do that at your parents house, where it is just family and where they have actual, safe beds to sleep in. How difficult is that. You’re away from your bf 4 nights a month and it sounds like no extra driving If you want to spend the rest of your time, apart from those two weekends with your bf, then that is your choice as an adult. From everything you write, it doesn’t sound like your bf is going to change. He won’t ever ‘share’ his house. There won’t ever be enough room for 8 people, especially as the kids get older.

      You describe how much you suffered being married to and living with your ex. You say he was no help at all in caring for the kids. Well, way to go mom!! — you’ve set things up so that 90% of their time is spent with their dad, whom you’ve just told us is an awful person who was a total non-parent during your marriage. That hardly sounds fair to the kids.

      You say that before you moved, your bf agreed to clear out a drawer. In your first message you complained how that was an unreasonably small amount of space, although now you say that’s all the space he agreed to give you. You don’t say he agreed to provide adequate accommodation for your kids.

      You are all ‘woe is me’ about how much you sacrificed remaining with your husband for years and now how you deserve some happiness with your new bf, but it’s your kids who are paying the price for that. The bf really doesn’t sound like a winner, either.

      My advice is unchanged. MOA back to your parents. If you aren’t willing to do that, please at least conduct your visitation weekends at your parents’ house.

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      Northern Star March 17, 2017, 3:10 pm

      Why hasn’t it occurred to you to spend those two weekends a month you have the children WITH YOUR PARENTS? Where the kids would have beds, and not be subjected to a hoarder who doesn’t give enough of a crap to make any space for you, let alone them? Gee, your boyfriend gave you a whole drawer.

      You leave your kids with a negligent father for the majority of the time, and you bring them to a crowded house full of junk where they have no room to play for the little time you have with them. You’re not doing right by your children. Your update doesn’t change that at all.

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      Ashley March 17, 2017, 6:24 pm

      This is America not Calcutta here we expect children to have a proper bed. You SHOULD feel bad. Your self image SHOULD be shaken. Oh you have to drive 45 minutes to work? Quit seeing your boyfriend so often. Find a place closer to work. You’ve put your needs in the back burner? Put them back there because your kids are living in practically a strangers home without proper privacy or comforts. You can backtrack all you want on the ” realness” of the situation, but the facts remain that you are trying to stuff 6 children into that home. But I suppose I’ll try answering your question. You sit rick down and say “im going to get my children a proper bed and I will move your crap on the front lawn. If you want to keep it that much, you’ll find a place for it. Here are some quotes on a storage unit.” Done. Oh and if he says no say ok I’m outta here. Your welcome.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom March 17, 2017, 6:33 pm

      Everyone came to their conclusions based on what you wrote. If you don’t like it take a look at what you wrote.

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      Kate March 17, 2017, 7:00 pm

      Yeah, your updates just make it sound worse, honestly. I’m so over divorced people with kids being like, “I put my needs on the back burner for years, so now I deserve happiness with my new bf/gf.” And it sounds like you decided to give up time with your kids, if I’m reading it right… you went to every other weekend and one evening per week because all the driving was too much. Your kids need to be your #1 focus after a divorce, not your relationship with some guy who at best is a “decent human being.” This is going to bite you.

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        Ange March 17, 2017, 8:04 pm

        Right? Feel free to do that if you don’t have kids but once you’re a parent that’s it. You made your choice to have them, they had no say in the matter so you damn well better do the best you can for them.

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        dinoceros March 17, 2017, 8:54 pm

        Yeah, I’m disappointed when people blame their kids for their needs being on the back burner. I think that a lot of parents CHOOSE to put their kids before them (including in ways that are excessive) and take on a martyr role, and then turn around and blame their kids for it. There are ways of prioritizing your kids while also treating yourself in a healthy way, so that you aren’t driven to totally steamroll your kids’ needs for yourself.

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      dinoceros March 17, 2017, 9:00 pm

      People live in small homes, yes, but you’re the one who wrote an entire letter about how your kids don’t have your own beds or an appropriate amount of space.

      It doesn’t matter how nice your boyfriend is or how much he wants you there — if he’s not making room for you and not acting to help you create a home, then it doesn’t matter how good his words or intentions are. Again, you wrote a letter about how he’s dragging his feet, and then when people comment on how you’re ALLOWING him to do so, you claim that there’s nothing wrong with him.

      You can’t write a letter asking for advice about things you think are wrong with your relationship and then take them back when you get negative feedback. I hope that you’re able to see beyond the items you don’t like and listen to some of what people are saying. You had the choice of moving in before the house was ready and after, and you chose before. You didn’t have to do that, and you did. I think it was the wrong decision, and now your’e seeing the effect of it. There’s no incentive for him to change because you’ve put up with it for months, so what reason does he have to make room?

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom March 18, 2017, 7:27 am

      You seem to have expected people would tell you some special wording or technique that would get your boyfriend to do what you want. That doesn’t happen in real life. He is who he is and you take him or leave him as he is. What you are getting is what you are going to get. For the sake of your kids you need to decide that what they are getting isn’t enough. You can cram them into a small house but they don’t have to like it. I know many large families cram their kids in and I know families that have done that and their kids all had small families because they weren’t going to do the same to their kids as was done to them. You don’t give the ages of your kids but by the time they are teens they will probably rebel and at some point refuse to spend weekends with you. We have two nieces who were forced to share their step-sister’s room when they visited their dad. The oldest started refusing to go when she was 14. She refused to stay with her dad in a two bedroom home that had no place for her. Nothing says no one cares more than not having a place in a home. It gives the sense of not being valued and that gives the sense of not being loved. A young cousin of mine had divorced parents. Her dad never had a bed for her until he had a girlfriend who insisted that he provide one. Then his next girlfriend decided that she wanted the bed for her own daughter who lived with her dad and so my cousin again had no bed at her dad’s house. She is an adult now and she sees very little of her dad. She is much more connected to her mom. Feeling wanted and valued matters tremendously.

      Live with your boyfriend if you want but leave your kids out of it. When you have them you should stay with your parents unless there is a strong, compelling reason why their home is even worse than your boyfriend’s. Let your kids know through your actions that they are valued. Right now they appear to be more of a burden and are more tolerated than anything.

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    for_cutie March 17, 2017, 12:28 pm

    LW, it sounds like you have gone from divorce, to living with parents, to moving in with a boyfriend. Please take some time off of make a home for yourself and your children. Your top priority should be getting back on your feet, not living out of one drawer in a hoarder house that is too small in the first place. Maybe if you worked for something for yourself, something you were proud of, you’d have higher standards – for yourself and as an example for your children. And no, 3 bunk beds with someone else’s children in them is not what your children need from you.

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    Ale March 17, 2017, 1:20 pm

    Oh, but you helped him paint when he got the house. That should be enough reason for him to give you and your three kids a roof.
    Rick must be an increibly patient guy.

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      faith March 24, 2017, 5:58 pm

      You are a fool and a complete idiot! I do not believe that Rick invited you in. If he really wanted you and your children to move in, I believe that he would have purchased a larger house. This man has three children of his own. Why would he want to be bothered with your three on a full-time basis. Go back to your moms’ house and save more money and get your own space. You are just trying to hold onto a man that is not making room for you in his life and home. DID HE INVITE YOU TO MOVE IN? I doubt it. You just eased yourself in and now ease yourself out.

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    Brise March 17, 2017, 2:36 pm

    You have to move out and take a flat for you and your children. There is no point in nagging him to give away his stuff. Just move out. Your family should be your first priority.

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    PurpleStar March 17, 2017, 7:48 pm

    I was very serious with a man several years ago – talking marriage. He had a middle school-er and a freshman in college. I had a senior in high school. We talked about blending homes – renting mine out and living in his since he had the middle school child. He had a 3 bed/2 bath home. He kept talking about just shifting rooms around and basically finding a space for my son to have. I kept talking about converting the stand alone two car garage into a a master apartment, leaving the main house for the kid’s bedrooms and family gathering. He didn’t want to leave his car in the driveway. So, okay, convert half of the garage into a master suite. But no, where would he store his stuff . Not to mention the blending of favorite furniture and accessories. It was resistance at every turn – the changing up of his home. It was a deal breaker. The relationship ended.

    Long way around the bushes to say – if there is no place for your children. YOUR CHILDREN. Then is no place for you in this man’s home. Because it is HIS home. You are just a bed warmer for him and an electric blanket could easily replace you.

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    Leslie Joan March 17, 2017, 8:37 pm

    LW, I don’t want you to feel attacked, but the reason everyone is coming down so hard on you is that you aren’t really seeing the truth that you are writing. You’re missing the logical conclusion to what you yourself are writing – and the update makes that especially clear.

    So, he said he wanted you there, and you could move whatever you wanted in – but nothing happens, even though you keep proposing to cull, and show him pictures, and have all kindza plans. Have you never heard the saying, “actions speak louder than words”? Because that’s what’s happening here. He’s. Just. Plain. Not. Going. To do it. Whatever the reason is (and you might want to read up on hoarding, because this is certainly a part of what’s going on, along with his little shopping addiction). He can be very nice. I’m sure he is. But he’s also gonna yes you to death, and then do nothing to make it happen. Please get the message he is sending you. He may say he wants you there, but he really can’t handle it. Please hear the message that he giving you, and understand that this is just not going to happen.

    It can be oh so tempting to believe that just because you’re capable, and Pinterest, and you helped paint, and bunk beds, that you can just dive right in and make this work. You can’t move the mountain. I don’t know if he actually wants you all there, or whether he’s tolerating you and just doesn’t have the stones to tell you honestly because he doesn’t want to disappoint you, or any one of a dozen other possible explanations . It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that he’s just not going to do it. And you need to hear and accept the message he’s REALLY telling you, because it’s his actions – or rather, his lack thereof, that are speaking volumes.

    I feel sorry for you that you are letting him snooker you. Or actually, you are actively helping him to snooker you, because you so very much want things to be a certain way. They aren’t.

    Keep him as a boyfriend if you want, but don’t be pushing to merge your households. He is resisting you with everything he’s got, and in the nicest, most passive way possible. Please be willing to hear the truth.

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    carolann March 18, 2017, 3:39 am

    He said she could move whatever in, but did that mean move everything including kids, dog, everything ?
    Or did he mean he cleaned out a drawer for whenever she slept over and he didn’t mind an extra toothbrush in the bathroom ?
    I feel for this woman because she obviously wants something this guy doesn’t want to give.
    I also feel for the kids because they must feel so displaced. It doesn’t seem like she has even been divorced very long. (Did she mention how long?) Seems like to much too soon. For everyone, including her. She never got to live on her own and find indepedence. (which is a pretty awesome thing when you have never had it.)
    I would never put my kid in the basement without radon testing and isn’t she scared all alone down there ? No way would I do that to my baby girl! And the boy can’t have an aerobed or something ? No rent and she can’t buy him something ? Ok let me be direct here :
    LW -You need to gently tell Rick that you are moving out and suggest a good therapist for his disorder. There are likely underlining issues he needs to address before you move forward. You will thank me later. Living with a hoarder is a nightmare and if you ever did decide to marry it needs to be handled before,not after.
    Buying a bigger house will not help because he will fill that one up too.
    Move out, if he really cares he will clean the place up , get help and make room, if not he didn’t care enough in the first place.
    And btw, if your ex was such an a -hole , why did you let him get your kids????
    SMH

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    Morecoffeeplease March 18, 2017, 7:04 am

    Wow LW, Your kids are being treated like chopped liver! This is how you should have done it: Before moving in with your boyfriend you should both have sat down and had a huge discussion about you moving in, about how to all be one loving family, logistics, what stuff/furniture of yours will be coming, what stuff/furniture of his will be sold to make room, about how to blend in your kids and make it their home too. Then you should have had a sit down with the kids and explain it all to them in happy terms. Then BEFORE moving in you two shoudl have gone to the store to buy bunk beds and dressers to set up the kids rooms so that they sleep 3 kids each. Each child has room in a dresser, each child has shelf space, closet space, etc. Then you set the bunkbeds up and get the rooms all set. THEN you move your kids in…wow! Look at your new room…isn’t this cool! It’s sad to me the way you have done this. I remember going to my dad’s house every other weekend and sleeping in one of my stepsister’s rooms on the floor. I didn’t get a drawer to keep stuff in. I didn’t get a bed. I always just felt like a visitor/outsider. As an adult I am NOT close to my Dad. Your boyfriend is placing more importance on his tshirts than on the people he supposedly loves. I would not want a boyfriend like this.

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    Gwyneth6 March 18, 2017, 12:21 pm

    You could rent a one bedroom apartment, and put 3 twin size beds in the bedroom, and a daybed for yourself to sleep on in the living room. It’s good that you clarified that he wanted you to move in but though he’s probably much kinder than your ex he’s not a great partner to live with (with kids especially) if he can’t be a minimally mature and responsible and move and donate his junk for you and your kids. If your question is how to make him do that how about being extremely direct about the kids needing beds , when that doesn’t work, ultimatum, then move out. Even if he means well, you need to do a bit better for your kids.

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