“Am I Wasting My Time with a Man Who Already Has Three Kids?”

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I met my current boyfriend eight years ago when I was 18. He was married at the time but going through a rocky separation from the mom of his three children. We were friends (just friends) for four years until we decided to start dating. Through the first year of dating he was still married to this woman to avoid going through court-mandated visitation for his kids as the agreement he and his ex had was much more beneficial to him. However, I realized if there was ever to be any chance of my becoming his wife, he would need to divorce her first, so I started pushing the subject.

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.


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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.


  1. What Wendy said. Including this child support business. If he has custody, why does he pay child support? Or is it just part time custody? Also, how rocky was his relationship, really, when you first met him if he has children the same age as when you met? It wasn’t rocky enough to have a third child, seeing as his son is 7 (now 8?) and you met in 2008…. I digress.

    Regardless. As Wendy said, communicate your needs and desires. See where he stands. And proceed accordingly.

    1. Something is definitely fishy here, and it doesn’t sound like the LW is getting the full story!

    2. dinoceros says:

      I don’t really understand the part about not divorcing because their arrangement was better than the court-mandated one. How did they know? Had the court already told them what it would be, but not enforced it yet? Better in what way?

      1. strawberrygurl says:

        I stayed married to my ex for 5 years for the insurance benefits; it’s actually not that uncommon. Eventually I got tired of managing that part of his life and after I met someone special, I ended that remaining connection.

  2. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

    Why push him to get divorced if the situation he had with his kids was better than the court mandated visitation if the two of you hadn’t talked about things like marriage and whether the two of you would have kids together? You were pushing him to change his life to benefit you without discussing the most basic things about what the two of you wanted for your future. Now you aren’t sure you want him with his three kids. What did you think would happen with the three kids when he got divorced? What did you think would happen to his income? You don’t seem to have thought through any of this and now you don’t like the situation that you pushed to get. Before you do anything the two of you need to talk openly and honestly about what each of you want and need. You also have to understand that these are his kids and they will continue to take time and money.

    1. Lala Smith says:

      I didnt push him to get a divorced, i pushed a subject that had been dormant for years. I asked him if he had plans to marry me which he said yes to. I asked him how will that haopen if he is married to someone else. The reson why we obtained custody of his children was because of something VERY unexpected where the childrens well being was in jeopardy. I feel like your questions and assumptions are premature and judgemental. Its not that im not sure if i want him and his kids, im simply unsure there is room for ME.

      1. But you are still in the position of wondering whether he will actually marry you and whether he actually wants to have another child with you. “When I have my finances in order” is such a nebulous time frame. If he is actually paying half his income in child support (which is so utterly unbelievable for a guy with 100% custody, that I wouldn’t believe it if I were you) then it is going to be at least 10 years until his finances are in order. So you may be able to marry and have a child when you’re 36, or you may reach that point only to learn that he has been stringing you along and lying to you all this time. He has a lot of incentive to use you to provide food and shelter and housework and mothering to his kids and himself. It’s the easiest thing in the world to say ‘sometime in the future I’ll give you what you want’. I don’t see what having his finances in order has to do with marrying you — you are already living together, and you are basically supporting his kids.

      2. dinoceros says:

        But the subject you were pushing was divorce. Most people who want to get divorced and move on with someone else get divorced on their own. They don’t have to be reminded or convinced of it. You imply that it didn’t occur to him that he couldn’t marry you while being married to someone else, but there’s no way he didn’t already know that. I imagine that there was a reason why he tried to bury the topic of divorce and only really pursued it once you pushed it was because he was going to lose his co-parent and home if you thought he wasn’t interested in marriage at some point in the future.

      3. Monkeysmommy says:

        I think it is actually a commendable thing that you stepped up for these kids at a young age. My DH was 24 (I am 3 years older) when he stepped up to be dad to my 4 and 6 year old kids. I am thankful for him every day, and I hope your bf is for you as well. If you are happy and love them, you aren’t wasting time. At 26, you still have time for your own child as well. Talk to him about your wants and needs. Make sure his plans still include you before you keep giving so much of yourself. Make sure you are happy and content with being a stepmother. Get an attorney and stop the support to the mother. If she isn’t raising them, she doesn’t get paid like she is!

      4. Nena Hari says:

        You deserve so much better than this. To me, it looks like he’s used you as a distraction or entertainment instead of dealing with his crap. And he preyed on a teenager who just became a legal adult. And now he’s using you as a nanny and bang maid.

        You deserve a good, respectable man who just doesn’t go around using women.

        You deserve to live your best life. Please don’t sacrifice it for some dippy man who is a user.

  3. I am coming out of lurkdom to say that I do not understand the desire to become a wifey to someone you aren’t married to. You are 26 and can provide for yourself. Why are you supporting him and his kids when it seems that the future of your relationship is so up in the air? You are doing all this, acting as his wife and the (step) mom of their kids when you can’t even talk to him about your relationship. I understand the pull to want to be everything to someone you love. But sometimes it’s just not healthy, and not the right thing to do.

    Just because something is hard (breaking up) doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. If you decide to end it and go through the process of breaking up, then yes, it will be hard, but you will be better for it and will learn lessons that you will (hopefully) take to your next relationship.

    Talk to him. If you can’t talk to him about these things now, how will it be better when you are married to him and have children of your own? It sounds like maybe your intuition is talking to you about your doubts but fear is keeping you from listening to it.

  4. This man has had zero time to transition from his first marriage and reflect on what went wrong before jumping into cohabitating with the LW. For the record, he started talking to/dating her while he was still married! Red flag! One would hope that the father of 3 children would make sure things are in order (with his kids and child support especially) before jumping into a relationship with a younger woman. He shows poor judgment and impulsivity. And I’m sure living on her dime is a nice perk. She should MOA.

    1. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

      “However, I realized if there was ever to be any chance of me becoming his wife, he would need to divorce her first, so I started pushing the subject.”

      She pushed to be in the place she is now. They’ve both been impulsive. I think she has been pushing for this and he has agreed more passively. Neither has thought about the kids enough or talked about their future. This is on both of them. Instead of continuing to act impulsively they need to talk about their future to see if they have one. To see if they have a shared vision and goals and wants. She needs to find out whether he wants to remarry. She needs to find out if he wants more children. She should definitely give him time to emotionally heal from his marriage before getting married to him. She needs to see if her and the kids get along well enough to become permanent family. She needs to decide whether she has the commitment to share herself and her money with his kids because they automatically come with their dad. She needs to ask herself why she never thought about these things before reaching this point so that if they end this relationship she doesn’t go blindly into another one.

    2. Lala Smith says:

      You must not have read my question well. We met in 2008, we were friends. We were co workers. We started dating un 2013. From 2008 to 2013 we were friends. I have my own relationships and he had his. We decided to date 5 years after his separation. How is that not enough time? Also, nowhere did i say we went from talking to dating. I said we became friends in 08 during the time where he was already separating from his ex wife. We didnt date until 2013, 3 years ago.

  5. Him I would be scared to bring up the whole baby thing, it seems like he might think having children with somebody fixes problems, since he had three when he was in a rocky relationship with his wife.

  6. for_cutie says:

    I get that the LW wants to be a wife and mother. But she’s doing it by taking on this man’s responsbibilities, instead of building a life of her own making. I agree that the LW should MOA, invest in herself, her life, her home, and try to find someone that fits into her picture to build this life instead of swooping into a wife swap with her boyfriend’s ex. It also sounds like the boyfriend needs a woman to run his life, and the LW has stepped into the role quite nicely (and immediately) giving him zero reason to be self-sufficent.

  7. Another Jen says:

    Hi, LW,
    Ask yourself this: Do you see yourself loving these children as if they were your own? If you marry this man, you have kids–three of them–in addition to any children you may have in the future. They will be a part of your life, your (their) home, and your future children’s (their siblings) lives.

    How does that make you feel? I’m guessing overwhelmed and unprepared. That’s how your letter sounds. It seems to me that you’re being taken advantage of…perhaps not purposefully, but it’s hard to know. You say “every other aspect” of your relationship is amazing, and that’s great. But a [good] man’s children aren’t other aspects!

    I think you should cut and run regardless of his intentions for the future. You’re ambivalent, unsure, and 26. Don’t throw away your youth in a situation that’s already so far from what you want.


    1. Lala Smith says:

      I was not referring to the children as other aspects. I meant our communication, responsibilities, respect and love for each other. Trustworthiness, partnership, etc. Everyone assumes that i havent talked to him about this, or that ive not given him time to heal. Im not sure how to get the point across that he was separated from his wife for 5 yeara before we ever became romantic with each other. For the first 2 yrs of our relationship we walked about marriage and we talked about having a child of our own. The last ywar of our relationship was been a difficult ine. We gauned custody of the children not because it was something we seeked out to get. Trust ne the court doesnt easily grant custody to a father unless the wellfare of the children is in jeopardy and thats exactly what happened. I love his children. Ive known them aince 2008. Im not saying i dont love them or want them in my life, i was just looking for the opinion of aoneone outside looking in to see if there is the slightest indication that i will also have my goals met, or if ill be the step mom forever

      1. dinoceros says:

        Of course people are going to ask if you’ve talked to him. Talking to him and then assessing his answer and his actions is literally the only way to answer the question you asked us. Try not to take all of this so personally. I assume you came here for different perspectives, and that’s what you’re getting.

      2. So, if the children were in such danger that the court awarded full custody to your bf, why is he paying half of his income to child support, in addition to supporting the kids full time. This makes zero sense. Also… if you leave major things out of your letter, you should expect people to ask about and react to those absences. Re-read your original letter. You never said what his position was on any of this. You now say that you get the kids ready for school every days, make their breakfast, support the family, etc. Again, never in any of your responses or original post do you say what the kids’ father brings to family finances and childcare, and keeping the household chores in order. I would think he would be the one getting the kids up and ready for school. He is their father. He has custody. You are his gf, even though you seem to be doing more parenting than he is.

        You can’t expect to lay out a totally implausible situation, like he contributes almost nothing financially, because he pays out half his pay in child support, when he has 100% custody. That makes zilch sense and commenters are going to hone in on that. What would he do if you weren’t in the picture — send his ex half his income, while not being able to put a roof over his kids’ heads and feed them. Which leads to people assuming that you are being used, because he has no other way for he and his kids to get by.

        We know how child support works and your story rings false.

  8. also a lot of this just doesn’t make sense, like a lot of people have said. Why is he paying child support if you have custody? Is he actually living with you? Why would you push so hard for this disruption of this man, and his kids life without actually talking about how to handle it, and where your future is going? Did you actually think the moment he got divorced he was going to go and get married again right away? What happens to the kids if they live with you, and you want out of this mistake you forced them into? Can he afford to be without your income?

  9. This is a total aside to your final paragraph, which I found off-putting. And, maybe that is because this is a sensitive subject for me because my parents are divorced, and I have step and half siblings… BUT since you state you want your OWN children and OWN family then it is time to move on from this man. I could be projecting but you don’t seem interested being a stepparent to these children, and that is 100% fine. If you want your own children and your own family, then you need to be dating a man that doesn’t have any children.

    1. AlwaysALurker says:

      SLS, I fully agree! I cannot fully relate to this situation since my parents aren’t divorced but my husband’s parents are and the MAIN reason his mom’s second marriage worked is because his stepdad treated him (and his brother) as his own. It is very sad that she talks about the kids as only a responsibility and they’re living with her so they must feel that. LW you should move on but not because you’re such a great catch but because his kids deserve better than to be seen as a burden by their father’s partner!

    2. Anonymous says:

      Agree 100%. It sounds like she is saying the existing children are “not my kids” which can easily translate to “not my problem” and “not my focus.” Why would a woman ever get involved with a man who has 3 children if she wasn’t completely ready to embrace the role of parent figure to those children?

  10. “We” do not have custody of the kids. HE has custody of his kids. And if he has custody, you either mean he pays his ex-wife alimony (not child support) or else you are being lied to about him being broke because he pays child support. Regardless, Wendy is spot on – you should have asked him all those questions she mentions BEFORE pushing him into divorcing his wife, but since you apparently didn’t, ask ASAP so you can make a decision about whether to stay or go. Better to live with the fact that you’re an asshole (for pushing him to do what you wanted and then leaving) than to stay and make yourself, him, and his kids miserable because he can’t/won’t give you what you want.

    1. Lala Smith says:

      You’re beung judgemental and calling me an asshole based on bits and pieces of information. I came looking for real advice not to be out down. We dated for two years when i finally sat down and asked him if there was a future together. He said yes. I told him i dont want to be the gf of a married man forever and if he was serious about us he would need to divorce her. They had been separated for 7 years as of 2015. You dont think id be giving myself some respect by telling him if he wanted a fyture with me he needed to start acting on it?

  11. If you don’t see yourself loving and caring for these three elementary schoolers AS IF THEY WERE YOUR OWN then this isn’t the situation for you. They will be in their father’s household for another 10-11 years, so be decent and let them all go if you don’t want to be instrumental in making their lives more stable, happier, more secure, and more loved than they’ve been so far.

    1. Lala Smith says:

      I wake up every morning and get them ready for school. I get their lunch ready and help them with homework, projects etc. The children eat every day, have a roof over their head and are in an abundance of love and positive environment. We took these kids from a situation were they were in DANGER. I have given them all my time and affection for the past 13 monthsm ive made sacrifices and i love every single one of them. My post has never been about whether or not im ready to parent these children. My post was about whether or not there is room for one of my own.

  12. Everybody is forgetting this part. The LW owns the house. So in effect it would be kicking the boyfriend and his children out of the home. I feel bad for the kids.

  13. Redhead_chicago says:

    Coming out of lurkdom as a step mom in agreement of all that has been said. If you marry someone and they had kids, you become a parent period. They are “your” kids. Even if both parents are involved, even if they are at their mom’s half the time, kids want, expect, and need you claim them as someone you love and they are important to.

  14. Curious if this man is older than you, and by how much? Personally, I’d say MOA. WWS.

  15. Ill answer some questions here. We met in 08 as we worked at the same place. When we met, he and his wife at the time were pregnant with their now 8 yr old boy. They separated sometime after the baby was born. Him and I remained very good friends through the years, he had some relationships and i had mine until we started dating in 2013. Fast forward to now, the reason he is still paying child support is a very complicated one which i chose to omitt from my entry because it is too personal, and irrelevant to my main question.

    To answer the questions about have I communicated my feelings to him, of course i have. We have a relationship built on communication. He knows i want a marriage and children of my own. I have asked him to let me know if he cant provide me with thise so that i can move on, but he says he can, just needs time to get the finances in place.

    To clear something up, its not that u have no desire to parent his three children. I love them dearly and have become an important part of their life, however i want to mother my own child as well and question whether thata something i can look forward to happeninf with him.

    When i started dating him i was 100% aware that he had these children, obviously, but i never once thought 2 years later theyd be living with me full time. I feel as if my family i had invisioned is being pushed behind because theres no room.

    1. So you are being strung along, waiting for him to provide the promised impossible thing. How can he possibly get his finances in order if the problem is half of his income going to child support? That child support has at least another decade to go. Is he magically going to land another job that pays much more than his current one.

      You say the reason for the child support is complex and too personal to mention, but it still sounds off. Child support is set to support the children. It doesn’t go to a non-custodial spouse. Is this a deal where he is paying his ex for her to surrender custody rights and his ‘getting finances in order’ means he’s trying to weasel out of his deal with her, while retaining full custody? Good luck on that one.

      1. Despite having full custody he probably still owes back child support/arrears. Either to the Mother or to Social Services. If those arrears are set to Money Judgments then they’ve probably been accruing interest for several years and will continue to do so until paid in full. If there was a bad home situation where the mother lost custody, my educated guess is that the kids were in Foster Care which means that child support payable to social services was immediately ordered. Who knows how long it took for the father to get custody? Therefore all the time the kids were in Foster Care he had to pay support. Since it seems he didn’t pay in full at the time, he now has to pay the arrears plus interest. This is just one possible scenario. He could also owe support to his ex or any other person who might have taken custody of the children before he obtained it.

      2. Okay, that actually makes sense.

      3. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

        I was thinking the same thing. He didn’t pay child support when he was supposed to and now he is being required to pay it by the court.

        Unless his ex is unemployed she should be paying child support to him.

        He doesn’t sound like a good potential father for her own child. Either he didn’t choose to pay child support or he couldn’t get his act together enough to pay child support. It doesn’t matter which it was he wasn’t financially supporting his own children when they needed him.

      4. But they just recently got divorced, and right after that they got full custody, so I’m not sure how much he would have to pay.

      5. But it seems they were separated for about 8 years. Even without an official divorce, the ex-wife could have obtained a Family Court Order for Child Support or DSS could have obtained one, if the children were on Welfare or in Foster Care. So he could have 8 years worth of child support arrears. Plus interest of 9% annually if those arrears were set to money judgment. I can see how he still might have to pay support. He can (and should) obtain an order against the mom but if she is below self support or on SSI, then he won’t get anything.

    2. Well I mean that’a always a possibility isn’t it? Custody arrangements change, parents may even pass on. Those kids are there and it sounds like they need to be. That’s what life with your man is like now, if it’s not something you can handle it’s entirely your prerogative to leave. It’s a lot to take on.

    3. I’m not sure the financial part makes sense to me. If you are living together, and you make plenty of money between the two of you, getting married isn’t going to cost you anymore than you are already paying, and if you really love each other that financial part shouldn’t matter if you are already living comfortably.

  16. You have been a part of this new family for a little over a year. You should be over the moon happy in this new honeymoon period of your relationship, in which the guy got the divorce you wanted him to get and you are living together, as you wanted to do. You don’t seem over the moon. You seem to have regrets and a thought that this may not be the future you want. I don’t see how this reasonably is going to improve with time or with him marrying you. The problems and responsibilities you are experiencing with your instant family and his being financially strapped are not going to go away with a marriage. They’ll only get worse, when you and he have a child of ‘your own’. Getting married and having a kid aren’t a panacea — more likely they will be sources of more stress. It sounds as though you aren’t really happy with this guy and are grasping at straws to make it work.

    You seem to know what you want, but be afraid to talk to this guy about it. You don’t even say how old he is, but he’s definitely older than you and likely old enough that adding a fourth child is not part of his preferred future life. It is odd that you write as long a letter as you did with no mention of his views or even a discussion about what you say is most important to you.

    You say you strongly want to have your ‘own child’, but don’t say what sort of mother you dream of being. If you dream of spending significant time with your baby/infant, I just don’t see that happening given your precarious financial situation and the demands of the other three young kids. With this guy not being a significant financial contributor, even a couple years as a SAHM seems impossible.

    Your letter suggests that you already know that it is almost certain that you can’t have what you most want if you stay with this guy. So, why are you staying. As Wendy says, fear of being alone or fear of finding a better match than this guy provides, are very poor reasons for marriage and having a kid with basically the default choice guy.

    A family of 3 kids is actually a fairly large family. If you view that as clearly not enough for you, then it seems you need a guy who can be more of a financial contributor than this guy is, because you are going to quickly burn out as the major bread-winner, plus mothering a new-born child and 3 other still very young children.

    You don’t seem to be getting a whole lot of pleasure from being a stepmom, so why are you willing to take on that role x3? You say your guy isn’t a big financial help, but how much of a help is he in parenting and household chores, or is this all mainly falling on you. As Wendy suggests, it really does sound as though you’ve volunteered to be taken advantage of and assumed this guy’s responsibilities. Why doesn’t he pop the question? It sounds like he doesn’t want to be your husband and co-parent another baby with you. It sounds like you are already giving him all the help, support, companionship, and love he is seeking and he doesn’t see any benefit to himself from marrying you.

  17. “When i started dating him i was 100% aware that he had these children, obviously, but i never once thought 2 years later theyd be living with me full time.”

    Not to be unpleasant, but if you really felt that way, you had a very, very naive view of what it means to be the girlfriend/partner/wife of a man with children. The kids (and, usually, the ex wife) are a huge part of your life, until you die. End of story. You may not have expected him to get full custody, but that can happen anytime when your partner has kids. It’s something you have to be prepared for.

    He has kids that are already here, and they are much more important to him than any imaginary future baby he may have with his (relatively) new girlfriend. They need his time, attention, and funds now, and he may not have the mental, emotional, or financial bandwidth to have any more kids. My BF was very clear from the time we started seeing each other that he didn’t want any more kids, and he would probably not want to marry again. Since I didn’t want marriage or kids of my own, that was joyous news to me.

    It sounds like you wouldn’t want to be with this guy if he didn’t want to marry you or have kids with you, so it’s best for you to move on, and in the future, date guys who don’t already have kids.

    1. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

      You are so right about the full time step-parenting. My cousin married a woman whose parents divorced when she was in elementary school and she lived with her mom. Her dad was in the military and she barely saw him and then when she was a teen her mom was killed in a car wreck and she was sent to live with her dad. Her step-mother wasn’t happy to have her in their family.

  18. Anonymous says:

    If you feel like you are “wasting your time,” you are. And you’re wasting his. MOA so he can find a partner who will completely love him and not discount his existing children.

  19. Bittergaymark says:

    The world would be better off if people STOPPED have litters of kids with each failed relationship… Have kids with one person. This his, mine, and ours is always just a fucking trainwreck. NEWSFLASH!! None of your genes are THAT great…

    1. Yes and moving in with people who have kids so quickly! These are things that should have been hashed out BEFORE you moved with him and his children became dependent on you for their care and support. That’s what pisses me off here, the LW decides this isn’t the relationship for her these kids are going to be uprooted.

  20. dinoceros says:

    The question of whether a person who is dating a man with three kids is wasting their time has many answers. The answer of whether you’re wasting you’re time is likely yes. It’s not enough to tell someone to just let you know if they can’t give you what you want. Because for him, if he just doesn’t say anything at all, you’ll still be around. So, if he doesn’t want those things, why would he say that and then become a single parent?

    And if he’s got to pay child support AND raise his kids, he’s never going to be financially ready to have more kids. Or if he is, he probably can’t afford to ever retire or anything.

  21. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

    “A huge part of me, though, wonders why he hasn’t popped the question if “I’m such a good catch.”

    Ask him why he hasn’t popped the question. I think you already know the answer. He says his finances aren’t in order. Ask when he thinks his finances will be in order and think about whether you think that is a realistic projection and whether you want to wait that long. Do you think his finances will change in the next few years? If they won’t you won’t get what you want in this relationship. Move on and find the right relationship for you. When one large aspect of the relationship isn’t working it doesn’t matter how well the rest works, the relationship doesn’t work. For you in this relationship there are multiple things that aren’t working. He isn’t proposing. He isn’t getting his finances into shape and you don’t want to be a 24/7 stepmother. Since the step-parenting situation isn’t going to change you should consider it a deal breaker and move on if you don’t see yourself wanting to be in this situation for the rest of your life. Even when these kids are grown they will still be his kids. If you don’t want to financial support him and his kids at this time and if you want a biological child you need to move on and find someone who is a better fit. Everything else may be perfect but the things that are problems are huge and not likely to change.

    Be cautious about getting engaged if and when he realizes you want to breakup. You don’t want to get engaged just because he realizes he can’t support himself and the kids unless he marries you. You want him to marry you for the right reasons and so you have to be wary that you will end up getting married for the wrong reason and then you will feel used.

  22. LW, I don’t know why at 18 or at 23 you felt the need to tie your self to a man with 3 kids and a lot more baggage. Unlike others, I am not going to blame you for the breakdown of your BF’s marriage. He is older, married and had 3 kids. If he did not have enough sense to try to reconcile with the mother of his 3 kids rather than hook up with the next available young thing, you are not to blame.

    I think you guys should breakup whether or not your BF is willing to marry you and have more kids. After all he did it once and it did not stop him from divorcing his wife.

    Personally I think this is too much for a girl of your age. You should enjoy life rather than cooking and looking after someone’s kids.

  23. Why on earth did you get so involved in this family’s drama? I don’t understand your letter, the whole description doesn’t make sense. Why do you want him to propose if you are already fed up with being a stepmother? To have more children would be heavier and more complicated for you all. You don’t seem to have the emotional capacity to treat these kids like your own. You said the kids were in danger but I find it hard/sad for a mother to lose access to her children. Anyway, move on. The court has to enforce a child support/alimony that is sustainable for him, without your financial support. If he has to pay for a flat, he can ask for a new court decision about his finances. That isn’t your business after all. But I guess you played a role in this drama, that is not impeccable.

  24. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

    When someone wants to get engaged they get engaged. When someone doesn’t want to get engaged but doesn’t want to change the situation they make excuses.

    There would be no change in your financial situation if the two of you were engaged or married. It would still be what it is now. Why is that financial situation good enough for living together and raising his three kids but not good enough to get married? Your boyfriend probably likes you enough to live with you and let you help support him and his kids but not enough to get married to you and have more babies with you.

    Right now you are like a free nanny to his children and keeping a roof over his head. He doesn’t want to lose you because you do too much for him but that doesn’t mean he wants to get married again, or married again to you.

    Think about what you want and if you decide he isn’t the man for you move on. At the point he realizes you are done he may try to get engaged just to keep you there because he needs the free childcare and the financial aid. Don’t get engaged for the wrong reasons. Also be wary of getting engaged without a wedding date. Sometimes people get engaged to keep someone but still don’t want to get married so can never find a wedding date. Don’t fall into that trap.

    If this situation continues for another five years will you be angry or regretful? How about ten years or fifteen years? Don’t waste your time waiting on a man to marry you who isn’t going to marry you. The longest I’ve seen a woman wait for a man to marry her when everyone knew he wouldn’t was ten years. He was quickly engaged to his next girlfriend. Are you willing to wait ten years before moving on? When someone puts you on hold and hold isn’t what you want you move on.

  25. Oh honey, I think you’re being used, both financially and as child care help. Maybe I’m wrong. I hope I’m wrong. Just… be careful.

  26. LW. In your letter you state that “everyone” is telling you are crazy if you do not leave. The fact that those closest to you are saying something is telling. Usually people have a tendency to just stay out of it. Listen to those that care about you.

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