Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Live-In Boyfriend Makes Me Stay in a Hotel When His Kids Visit!”

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I have known my boyfriend for three or four years now, and we’ve been dating for a year and a half. We moved in together a year ago for a few reasons: we really loved each other; I was having trouble with a roommate; and he was about to get divorced. I did become involved with him while he was still married, because he was clinically depressed in that relationship and near suicidal. We found each other and made each other happy. He calls me his soul-mate.

Long story short, his ex found out about me two weeks after we moved in together, blames me for the divorce (though she already wanted to get separated for different reasons and had kicked him out of their house) and despises me. He and I live together happily, and he pays child and spousal support to her. It’s been a full year of us living together, and I have not met his kids.

He gets three visit days a week, two of them at our apartment, which means I have to leave for five-six hours on Tuesday afternoons into the evening, and five-six hours every Saturday. I am getting tired of having to leave my apartment (and hide our picture and anything that’s obviously mine, like jewelry) and I think it’s time to meet the kids, but he refuses. He occasionally has sleepover nights, too, and on those nights I have to get a hotel room. (I have no close friends or family to stay with here).

The parents together never explained the divorce to the kids and I don’t know what the ex has said, but my boyfriend insists that the kids only know their parents are getting divorced and that he’s afraid that, if he introduces me, they will hate him for having a girlfriend. They are nine and six, and, while I understand hesitation with the six-year-old, I think the nine-year-old would understand. She once said to him during a visit, “It’s okay if you have a girlfriend. You’re old enough.”

This is the biggest thing interfering with our relationship, as I have to pretend I don’t live there, I have to leave whenever he needs me to, and I can’t go to any events with him where his kids might be. Living together is all either of us wants out of life — no marriage, no kids, just living happily as a couple in love, and that I feel that way is something he loves that about me, but I think his knowing that might also be contributing to this problem.

I would never be mean or dismissive to his kids, and I’ve told him that – I even said he should introduce me as a friend and let us ease into it–but he won’t listen to me. He gets upset whenever I bring it up. He loves his kids more than anything else in the world, and I’m not trying to interfere, but I feel like it’s time. Am I asking too much? — The Father’s Girlfriend

Woah, one of the main reasons you moved in with your boyfriend was because he was “getting a divorce”? Um, that’s not a good reason to move in with someone. “Already divorced” is a little better. But even then, what does that have to do with YOUR relationship with him? And then one of your other three main reasons for moving in with this man, who was actually still married and the father of two young children you had never met, was that you were “having trouble finding a roommate.” Seriously? You disrupted the lives of several people, two of whom are young children, because you couldn’t find anyone else to live with?

I’m sorry, I just don’t have a lot of sympathy for you, unless you yourself are a child, because I can’t cut slack for anyone who is an adult and actually gets involved with a married man, moves in with him before his wife — HIS WIFE — knows about the extramarital relationship, and then feels put out that his relationship and visitation schedule with his children is inconveniencing her. You made your bed and now you have to lie in it. Actually, you didn’t really make your bed, did you? You sort of jumped into an unmade bed and now you’re complaining about it being a mess. I mean, no shit, it’s a mess. You moved in with a married man and father of two children because you were having roommate trouble.

And, look, this isn’t all your fault. Trust me, there’s plenty of blame here for your boyfriend and his idiotic, irresponsible, thoughtless behavior. How on earth he thought it was a good idea to move in with a woman without even telling his wife and mother of his two children what he was doing is really incomprehensible. To, you know, touch base with the other parent of your children whom you are MARRIED to and living with to tell her that you are leaving her for another woman is just the most basic of things on the “Leaving One’s Family” to-do list. Also on the list: work out a custody and visitation schedule; agree on spousal and child support; INTRODUCE THE NEW WOMAN TO THE KIDS AND MAKE SURE EVERYONE GETS ALONG AND IS AS COMFORTABLE WITH THE TRANSITION AS POSSIBLE. God, that this guy couldn’t even do these basic things for the benefit of at least his kids, if not you, says so much about his character and his utter selfishness (and, frankly, his disregard for you).

If you want to continue in this relationship, know this: your boyfriend is really fucking selfish. He leaves his wife and two kids to move in with another woman and doesn’t even have the most basic of human decency to tell his wife what he’s doing?! And THEN he expects YOU to leave your own home at least twice a week for five to six hours at a time–and even sometimes overnight?! Does he even offer to pay your hotel bill when you have to skedaddle for the evening? Does he pay a greater portion of the rent since he expects you to vacate your home 40+ hours a month? What a jerk.

And you’re in denial if you think this relationship is simply about living together and not about getting married and not about having kids. YOU ALREADY HAVE KIDS. Two of them, as a matter of fact. They very much exist, they very much are a part of your lives and your relationship, and they very much are not going anywhere. If you want a future with this guy — and you’re kinda crazy if you do — you need to demand that you meet these kids as soon as possible and that they become aware that you live with their father. If he’s not ready to do that — if he thinks it’s too soon for his kids to know you and that they will hate him for having a girlfriend already — then, guess what? It’s too soon for you two to be living together. Even if you do “really love each other” and even if your boyfriend is “getting divorced” (and he’s still not divorced yet after dating you for a year and a half?) and even if you do have “trouble finding another roommate.” You know what else is trouble? Leaving your home for hours on end every time your boyfriend’s kids come over.

Anyway, good luck with all of that. If it were I, I’d tell the boyfriend to move out and I’d either keep looking for another roommate or I’d move to a smaller place that I could afford on my own. Some things, like living with a selfish boyfriend who’s married to another woman and can’t bother introducing you to his kids who come over twice a week, are just not worth the price and hassle. No matter how much of a soul-mate he is to you.

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

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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.

32 comments… add one
  • niki

    niki October 21, 2014, 8:38 am

    OMG LW, I just can’t with all this. I think my favorite part is how you act like you had no choice but to get into a relationship with him because he was “depressed and near suicidal.” You are a real humanitarian. I promise to call you if my husband ever needs your brand of help.

    Seriously though, this man has shown you that he doesn’t give a crap about anyone but himself. He didn’t leave his bad marriage until he had someone to shack up with, probably to save himself from being lonely, but destroying his wife and hurting his children. Now he is willing to hurt you so as not to have to deal with an uncomfortable situation. Don’t think for a second it has anything to do with the kids. It’s about him and how HE feels. Walk away now and maybe you can get back a shred of the dignity you lost when you got into this situation.

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    • avatar

      ktfran October 21, 2014, 9:50 am

      “He didn’t leave his bad marriage until he had someone to shack up with, probably to save himself from being lonely”
      .
      I was going to say pretty much the exact same thing….
      .
      This dude is a coward. And the LW is pretty gullible, or something. That’s the nicest descriptive word I could think of on the fly.

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  • Raccoon eyes

    Raccoon eyes October 21, 2014, 8:50 am

    WWS.
    *
    Ugh, LW I prefer not to pile on all the negativity here, but…I dont see much positive here. You are with a divorcing man who has not “explained the divorce to the kids” with his wife who also “despises” you. Additionally, your grown-*ss boyfriend is afraid of his six and nine year old kids hating him over having a girlfriend. DUH WHAT?
    *
    All three of the adults in this situation need to pull on their big kid panties and act like the adults they are. That might involve some kind of mediation or therapy or something. Some Big and Important Talks need to happen. Yesterday.

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    • niki

      niki October 21, 2014, 8:57 am

      I wondered about the “explained the divorce to the kids” part of this. Does the LW mean that mom and dad haven’t given the kids the dirty details of the divorce? LW says that the kids know that the parents are divorcing. They are children. They don’ need to know anything more a mom and dad aren’t together anymore, but love them and are always here for them. If this LW thinks the kids need more detail than she needs someone to straighten her out.

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    • avatar

      mertlej October 21, 2014, 10:36 am

      I bet the LW wants her bf to “explain” that the divorce is their mom’s fault (i.e. “she already wanted to get separated” and “had kicked him out of their house”). That way, the mom is the bad guy and the dad is completely justified in having a girlfriend and introducing her to the kids.

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      • Raccoon eyes

        Raccoon eyes October 21, 2014, 12:46 pm

        Good catch- I read it as he and wife hadn’t had the “Mommy and Daddy are splitting up but that doesn’t mean we love you any less” kind of conversation…but I have a feeling LW wants a more anti-mommy/pro-LW discussion to occur.

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  • avatar

    2_J October 21, 2014, 8:56 am

    Side note…Unless i can’t read , doesn’t the sentence about the roommate issue say “I was having trouble WITH a roommate? Not having trouble Finding a new roommate?

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy October 21, 2014, 9:05 am

      Ooh, you’re right. That’s even worse, really.

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    • avatar

      SpaceySteph October 21, 2014, 9:15 am

      Well, I mean, if you are having trouble with your current roommate, the simple answer is to Find a New Roommate… So I think it works either way.

      Problem: I hate my roommate
      (Good) Solution: Find a new roommate/place to live.
      (Bad) Solution: Choose married man with 2 kids as new roommate.

      ..Right?

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      • othy

        othy October 21, 2014, 10:42 am

        Well, technically he *is* a new roommate with a new place to live. And he even does the kid-friendly equivalent of sexiling her. (On a side note, I haven’t thought of sexiling since college).

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  • FireStar

    FireStar October 21, 2014, 8:59 am

    Wow. How would he treat you if you weren’t his soul-mate? Your boyfriend seems pretty consistent to me. He didn’t act with integrity when he left the wife and children to immediately live with you and he isn’t acting with integrity now keeping you a secret from his children and forcing you out of your own home. This is who you picked. You were fine with him treating other people poorly – why so upset now? Because the consequences fall on you? Shocking. You’ve spoken to him and he is uninterested in your feelings. Either live with it or pick better next time. This clearly is just who he is.

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    • avatar

      raziel1687 October 21, 2014, 9:32 pm

      Lol Totally second your statement. If he treated his last wife like crap by not even divorcing her first before finding another woman, why would you expect him to treat you better? It’s like my first boyfriend, whose ex told me he was a liar and cheater, and low and behold I encountered his lying and cheating first hand months later. The wife obviously wanted to leave him for a VERY good reason if she was already kicking him out. Because obviously he’s not that decent of a person.

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  • avatar

    jlyfsh October 21, 2014, 9:26 am

    I’m so confused for the kids. They never explained the divorce to the kids? But, he wants them to just know he’s getting divorced. Why would he need to explain the gritty details to a 9 and 6 year old? I also agree with FireStar when you weren’t on the receiving end of his crappy treatment of other people you were fine with it. What made you think you would be different? Because he called you his soul mate? I would take some time to figure out why you were ok with being a part of this drama. And then figure out ways to avoid it in the future.

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    • avatar

      MsMisery October 21, 2014, 1:56 pm

      If dad was suicidally depressed and if the marriage sounds anything like the break-up, I bet these kids know a lot more than these adults are giving them credit for. They may not UNDERSTAND what they know, but it is in their heads, doing damage and making them dislike and distrust the adults in their lives. My parents got divorced when I was in 5th grade. They gave me the “we’re splitting up, it’s not you, it’s us” talk, but before that, there was YELLING. LOTS OF YELLING. I knew divorce was imminent.

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh October 21, 2014, 2:40 pm

        Yeah my parents divorced when I was 10 as well. But, I didn’t know the details of the divorce past the they also yelled all the time I knew they were miserable, I was miserable, etc. But, I’m thinking he’s talking about the cheating. No, a 6 and a 9 year old don’t need to be brought in to that drama. They probably do need therapy, I feel very bad for the kids. I’m going to guess the comment from the daughter also came from something the mother said. Which is sad for the kids again.

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  • something random

    something random October 21, 2014, 9:26 am

    You became involved because he was “clinically depressed and near suicidal”? Six months later he and his wife separated and he moved directly in with you but felt he should keep his affair a secret? Than two weeks after he left her, she found out about you and your involvement for six months during THEIR Marriage?

    No shit his wife blames you for the divorce. Whatever crap he was was going through in with his wife, it would have been more decent and kind to work through to the end. Instead he found solace outside that allowed him to build up the strength to abandon his marriage. You were a major contributing factor, here. Lives were changed because of your own wants and choices.

    That’s not to say this is an ending. Life goes on. But now you are facing the consequences of a man who doesn’t want to own up to his shitty choices. He thinks his kids will hate him because he knows he acted really poorly and without regard to how this relationship would end up affecting them.

    I suggest you move out. Take a leap of faith that if things are supposed to work out you will be able to assimilate yourself into his life in a way that is fair to both of you. Suggest he goes to counseling. He obviously lacks problem solving skills and has a difficult time reconciling his actions and emotions. I imagine this makes it hard for you to have faith in him. He hasn’t acted worthy of it. If you are willing to make this work its going to take a lot of effort from you both. It might not be worth it for you. You sound like you have a lot less at stake, here. But that’s what happens when there are kids and a life can’t just be left behind to start something new.

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  • Lianne

    Lianne October 21, 2014, 9:31 am

    Yeah, definitely WWS and WEES…And you know if the LW leaves him, he will go back to his wife. No doubt.

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  • Diablo

    Diablo October 21, 2014, 9:47 am

    Whenever someone says something like “my bf MAKES me go to a hotel,” I always bristle. He makes you leave your own home? How does he do that? I wouldn’t stay one more day with someone who MADE me do that. Ask yourself why YOU ACCEPTED the situation for one second. Wendy’s right about all the kinds of wrong this relationship is, but that being said, you are volunteering to be treated like crap here. So change it.

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    • avatar

      Lili October 21, 2014, 12:46 pm

      that bothered me too he obviously hasn’t been physically removing her from the place, I have to wonder what he would do if she just refused to leave, sat herself on the couch turned on the TV and just stayed there? My guess is he would probably throw a tantrum and really show his true selfish colours. you have agency here LW use it, no one should “make you” lave your home, least of all someone who supposedly loves you.

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  • Addie Pray

    Addie Pray October 21, 2014, 9:48 am

    Wendy’s advice for the win!!

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  • avatar

    Essie October 21, 2014, 10:10 am

    Leaving aside for the moment your role in the damage to his family…..

    What you’ve got here is an avoider. Someone who runs away from problems instead of standing up and solving them like an adult. He has problems in his marriage? He finds himself a honey on the side instead of dealing with the marital issues. The marriage is breaking up and he’s moving in with the above-mentioned bit on the side…..and he avoids telling his WIFE that important little detail. Marriage is now cratered and Daddy is out of the house? He’s a-skeered to tell his kids what’s really going on. BTW – the “detail of the divorce” that he doesn’t want to tell the kids? That he cheated on their mother.

    And now that he’s done all this, and set up housekeeping with you? He’s still running away from his problems by making you hide. You’re his ‘soulmate’ and he can’t even stand up for you.

    Consider this a window into your future. Anything that’s at all uncomfortable for him to deal with, he’s going to weasel out of. He’s going to lie to you the same way he lied to his wife, and is lying to his kids. He makes a mistake with money? He won’t have the guts to tell you. Be prepared to find out about a lot of things after the fact.

    What a prize you’ve got there. A weak man who doesn’t have the (parts) to stand up for himself, his kids…..or you.

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    • avatar

      Cleopatra Jones October 21, 2014, 11:25 am

      He finds himself a honey on the side…
      Ha ha, around these parts…we call that a side-piece.

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      • Raccoon eyes

        Raccoon eyes October 21, 2014, 12:31 pm

        Cleopatra, that was awesome

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      • bondbabe

        bondbabe October 21, 2014, 3:15 pm

        Love the “side-piece” term. I’ve always called them a “side dish.”

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  • avatar

    jbk80 October 21, 2014, 10:15 am

    This guy is all kinds of trouble. He’s shown you through his actions that he is not trustworthy. A guy like this is just going to waste your time and break your heart by betraying you sometime down the road. Run away! Run away!

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  • Kate B.

    Kate B. October 21, 2014, 10:17 am

    Feeling good about my life again.

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  • kare

    kare October 21, 2014, 10:35 am

    I never realized clinically depressed, suicidal, and married were such big selling points.

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  • avatar

    thatgirl October 21, 2014, 11:02 am

    Wow, this all sounds soooooo familiar, and not in a good way. LW, your soulmate wanted an out, and you gave him one. Then he wanted to pretend he wasn’t at least part of the reason his marriage ended, and you let him. Now, he doesn’t want his children to know he is shacking up with the home wrecker that helped ruin his marriage because they will hate him, and that’s your main concern? His children?! Perhaps if you both had been a little more concerned with the welfare of his children, you wouldn’t need advice on how to make your boyfriend treat you with the respect you so obviously have earned….

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  • avatar

    Cleopatra Jones October 21, 2014, 11:22 am

    Sweet Lord Jesus *smh* .

    That’s all I got 🙁

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  • avatar

    Kalu October 21, 2014, 1:12 pm

    I think this guy needs therapy
    Couples therapy too
    Reasons:
    1.He was depressed and suicidal, I get that maybe you are the reason that stopped and you’re committed to him now, but it doesn’t sound like the most stable state of mind
    2. Irrational fear of his kids not loving him
    3. It’s disrespectful and mean for him to not discuss this with you in detail and with empathy when it hurts you so much.

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  • avatar

    Knives October 21, 2014, 4:47 pm

    Wow LW, you are in a real predicament. Wendy is spot on. I would like to add that you do have an option here that neither him, the ex wife, or the kids (sadly) do not. That is to run for the hills and never look back. You have entered the lives of the ex wife and the children in the most dastardly way possible. You knew that this woman’s husband was married. She knows that you knew. Good luck ever winning an iota of her trust or respect. If she is at all human, she will probably vent in front of the kids. You won’t be their favorite either. We could go back in time and analyze how your decision to willing take on the role of ‘hidden mistress’ lead you being treated like… a hidden mistress, but that doesn’t help you now. You let him make you this secret, shady person in his life and now you want to change the script. If for a second you thought that things were going to change at all after the divorce, he’s making it clear to you that you are wrong: he does not want anything to change.

    Also, not be mean, but how often do you think married men call their mistresses their soul mates? Hint: I’ve seen and heard it numerous times from mistresses. Look at how he treated his ex wife. He married her, moved in with her and didn’t have one, BUT TWO kids with her. As for you? He doesn’t want to marry you, he doesn’t want kids with you, he doesn’t even want to live with you full time. I’m not saying the ex wife was his soul mate, but I am saying by comparison you are definitely not. (Personally I get the vibe that you are just capitulating to him not wanting to get married or have kids, but that’s purely conjecture at this point.)

    Anyways, short story short, run for the hills kid. Also, avoid married men in the future. Not because it’s wrong (even though it is) but because why would you want to start a relationship with someone you know for fact does not value commitment and has no issues cheating? Being a mistress doesn’t mean that you have a special bond with the man, or that you understand a man better than his current mate. It means HE is emotionally lazy and bails when ish gets hard. You deserve better.

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