It’s time again for Shortcuts. For every question, I’ll give my advice in just a few sentences because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great that being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go.
I met my 33-year-old boyfriend three and a half years ago; I’m 48 and have two boys, 14 and 10. My boyfriend made it clear from the start that he didn’t want the role of stepfather, and I kept both parts of my life very separate as my children’s dad was very much involved at that point in their lives and I was able to see my boyfriend without the children. Moving forward, their dad has moved out of their lives, and gradually I introduced them to my boyfriend. He struggled a bit, but eventually we sort of got into a routine and the four of us did more together — holidays, days out, etc. Now that my children’s dad has pretty much removed himself completely, I feel very much alone in parenthood, and since I also had to stop working because of a long-term health issue, things are hard financially. So, I recently asked my boyfriend, whom I still don’t live with, if he was ok being a step-parent now, and he said that if I’m looking for somebody to take them them to the doctor, go on family holidays, and support them financially then, no, he didn’t want that. He then went on to say he has his own life to live and seeing me every weekend is too much. I feel totally confused, let down, and really hurt that for all this time I thought we were evolving into a family when he was actually still sticking by his “I don’t want to be a stepdad” line. We do love each other very much and are truly best friends, but I feel this has to be the end… but then I am totally without support. What should I do? — Needing a Stepdad For My Kids
I’m not sure what’s so confusing about this. Your boyfriend told you from the very beginning that he had no interest in being a stepdad. Now, three and a half years later, it turns out he was being upfront and honest all along. I’ve heard a lot of relationship stories that are confusing; this is not one of them. This is about as clear-cut as it gets. You want a co-parent and your boyfriend doesn’t want to be one. MOA. Sue your kids’ dad for child support, look into what kind of government assistance you qualify for, and do some research into employment that might work around whatever longterm health issue you think precludes you from working.
I am engaged and living with my fiancé. His female friend does not like me very much, but we have both been invited to her wedding which is in six months. I have also found out that my cousin’s baby is due the same day, so what do I do?! — Two Events, One Date
The female friend will like you a lot less if you skip her wedding because you know someone who has a baby due on her wedding day. Not only would you not be expected (or likely even wanted) at the hospital for your cousin’s labor, most women don’t actually have their babies on their due dates. Go the wedding, be gracious, and have fun. Then visit the baby once the vernix has been washed off.
I am 19 years old and in my first year of college. I have been with my boyfriend for a year and a half, and his mother absolutely hates me. She won’t talk to me when I’m around her and she kicks me out of the house whenever she is mad. She claims I use her son for money even though I started dating him when he didn’t have any. He has been doing well at work lately and he spoils me with dinners out and gifts, but I never ask for any of it. His mother says that I am a snob because I avoid her whenever I am at his house. I literally walk straight to his room, close the door, and crawl under the covers because I am not comfortable around her. She is rude and calls me a bitch and a whore. Can our relationship work? I want to marry him! — Not a Bitch
If you don’t want to have a horrible relationship with your potential future mother-in-law, you need to stop acting like a little shit every time you walk into her home. Bypassing her when you’re in her home and going straight to your boyfriend’s room where you shut the door and crawl under the covers is rude, bizarre, and troubling. Are you ill? Extremely cold? Bring a sweater and start sitting with the mother for five minutes before escaping to your boyfriend’s bedroom. And instead of your boyfriend spending his money on gifts for you and dinners out, perhaps you should suggest he spend it on rent for his own place where you won’t be forced to be decent to his mother every time you visit.
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.