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The divorce became final a year ago and it seemed like things were moving along. Soon after, we gained custody of his three children. My life has drastically changed since we got custody. I basically became the mother of two 8-year-old twin girls and a 7-year-old boy, at the age of 25.
I have a decent job in the insurance business and can make a good living for myself; I own my own house and don’t have children of my own. Because my boyfriend still pays child support on his kids, his income is cut in half so I’m basically supporting this family. Everyone tells me I’m crazy to stick around, and that any other man would be blessed to have someone like me, and deep down I think I know that; however, I’m scared to let him go because every other aspect of our relationship is amazing. A huge part of me, though, wonders why he hasn’t popped the question if “I’m such a good catch.”
I want my own children and my own family one day. I’m turning 26 in a few days and I feel like I don’t want to let my time run out just to be the stepmom of three kids and mom to none of my own. Am I wasting my time? — Would Rather Be a Mom to My Own Kids
Have you communicated with your boyfriend about any of this at all? Have you discussed why he’s still paying child support when he has full custody of the kids? Have you talked about financial planning and explained that you don’t want to support this family? Have you discussed your desire to have biological children and how you would afford them on top of the three children already in the picture, let alone whether your boyfriend even wants more kids? Have you told your boyfriend you hope to be married soon and have you asked whether that’s something he wants (and with you)?
If you haven’t asked your boyfriend any of these questions, you need to start there. You also need to seriously consider why on earth you would want to marry someone with whom you seem to have such a serious lack of communication. Are you really so worried about being alone that you sacrifice as much as you have for this man who has, apparently, given you zero indication he sees a future with you? Are you so scared of being alone that you’ve signed on to stepmother and support three children when it sounds like you have no interest or desire in being a parent figure to any children who aren’t your own?
You know what? Being alone isn’t that bad. You don’t have to clean up after anyone else or spend all your money on anyone else or deal with anyone’s financial woes or baby mamas or children from other relationships. You get to spend all your time and money on yourself and leave your heart and life open for someone who might be a great fit. That person might already be someone you know. Or he might be someone you’re about to know. Or he might be someone you could know if you were actively pursuing meeting new people. But your heart and mind and life are tied up in this guy who has made no intention of planning a future with you.
You ask if you’re wasting your time, and I’d say that, if your desire is to have a marriage and kids of your own and you are currently involved with someone who, in at least three years, hasn’t mentioned his desire to marry you or have a kid with you, then, yeah, you probably are wasting your time. But don’t take my word for it. Ask your boyfriend what it is he wants (and HOW he plans to make it happen). If you don’t get a clear and enthusiastic response with some sort of timeline and a financial plan in place, I’d urge you to move on because right now it sounds like you’re being exploited for the support you can provide while getting very little of what you actually want in return.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.