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