“He Wants to be Buried Next to His Ex-Wife”

I have been with my boyfriend for six years, and for the last year we have lived together. He divorced his ex-wife sixteen years ago after she cheated on him. He helps out his ex a lot, and I understand that. But his two kids are now 19 and 18, and, to this date, I am not allowed to go to any of their events — birthday dinners, graduations, even most football games — although I did go to two games his son played in only because they were out of state and his ex-wife couldn’t make it to either.

His children do not want me at their events; they only want their mom and dad. He tells me that one day I will go to their weddings and things will be better, but for now this is what it is. The ex has no boyfriend and, if she did, he would also not be welcome at events.

Am I wrong to feel left out? When I try talking to my boyfriend, he says things will change and to give it time. I am trying very hard to have patience. He tells me that eventually we will get married but money is an issue right now. They used to do family nights once a month up until a few years ago; he says he wanted the kids to grow up more normal and to have a good relationship with his ex without all the fighting that goes along in some relationships of divorced parents. I know I am not his kids’ mom nor have I ever acted like that; I have always acted like a friend when I have seen them. They tell everyone else in the family they like me so I do not think my exclusion is personal and I try not to take it personally. He tells me that if his ex-wife ever got sick, he would be there for her and I could live with that. He is even talking being buried all together one day because he says she now has no one and he feels sorry for her. I have asked him if he ever thought about going back to her, but he says his happiness is not there although she is a great mom to his kids and he never wants his kids to think Dad treated Mom badly. I sometimes worry about the future. — Feeling Left Out

You say the “children” (who aren’t really children anymore, but whatever) don’t want you at their events, and you need to respect that. But what you don’t have to tolerate is the fostering of this alienation by your boyfriend of six years. If, after all this time, he’s barely even giving you lip service, telling you “eventually” you’ll get married and things will be different, with actions that say something quite different, the sad truth is that he has no interest in anything changing. This situation works for him. He gets the family unit he desires with his ex-wife and kids without the baggage of being married. And he gets companionship and intimacy with you without the baggage of integrating you into his life and family. It is win-win for him and he’s not going to change that. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s even making up that part about his kids not wanting you at their events. At the least, I bet he and his ex convince them not to want anything to be different because everything is already working so well for all of them.

Honestly, if you ever hope for more out of a relationship, I’d get out of the one you’re in. You’re dating a man who has no intention of marrying you and who is explicitly telling you that, when he dies, he wants to be buried next to his ex-wife. He is literally alienating you not just from his present and his future, but from his death, too. That’s intense.

It’s admirable when a divorced couple strives for some unity for the benefit of their kids, but what you’ve described here goes well beyond this. Your boyfriend doesn’t want to marry you and he’s using his family as an excuse. He’s using his children to justify disrespecting you and lying to you. MOA, and find someone who is emotionally and physically available to you in a way this man isn’t.


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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. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

    What you see is what you get. After six years you are as integrated as you ever will be. Someday is today. Six years is more than enough time to bring you into the family and it hasn’t happened. If you don’t want this to be your permanent future you need to move on. Don’t look back.

  2. artsygirl says:

    LW – If you had only been with your BF for six months, then yes it would be fine. But you have been with him for six years and share a house. He is not going to change and likely doesn’t want to change. Perhaps he still holds a torch for his ex wife, perhaps he still romanticizes their relationship and his family despite the cheating, perhaps he is a wimp whose wife still keeps in balls in her purse. No matter what – you need to end the relationship. The fact that he won’t let you at events because it would upset the ‘kids’ is horrifying since they would have been 2 and 3 when their parents were divorced – they would not remember a time when their parents were ever a couple. Seriously – break out of the cycle where he puts you as an afterthought of his life.

  3. Northern Star says:

    Your boyfriend wants to be buried next to his ex-wife—not his first wife who passed away or something (understandable), but his EX. That’s a major statement.

    This guy’s fantasies about being buried “all together” are merely fantasies, because his kids will (hopefully) form their own family units and choose funeral arrangements with their partners. So, he really just wants to be buried with his ex. Quasi marriage maintained “for the kids” through eternity.

    The other items in this letter are more obvious problems, but this sticks out to me as extremely hurtful and a clear signal of this man’s regard for you. You are third in line, behind his kids (OK) and his ex (NOT OK). He thinks he can keep his family unit intact, while having a whole different life elsewhere. This behavior makes you feel left out and worried about the future. It would make ME feel like a mistress. I’m sorry.

  4. It’s been 6 years. This is it. This is all you get. There is no waiting and being patient anymore. You’ve done that for SIX years with nothing to show. This is your past, present and future. Sign on to this gong show or leave and find a real partner to you. Because I see no evidence of him treating you like a partner. With the respect and dignity you are due. Probably because he’s to busy treating his ex like that.

  5. Yes, MOA. Also, you have only this guy’s word on all of this and from what you write he is a manipulator. No evidence his wife actually cheated on him. His strange continued attachment suggests that she dumped him, rather than other way around, and he is still carrying the torch. Likely he’s the one who doesn’t want you interacting with what he still regards as his real family. I agree with the others that he has no intention of ever marrying you. If his ex offered to take him back, he’d be there like a shot. Really, from the way he’s manipulated you, it is extremely likely that he did the same with his ex and that’s why they’re separated.

    1. RedRoverRedRover says:

      My guess is she cheated on him AND dumped him, and that’s why he’s all messed up. He probably still wants her back. MOA.

      1. But the ex is the one without a current love interest and LW does not indicate that she has had one since the divorce.

      2. RedRoverRedRover says:

        I didn’t mean she was still with the guy she cheated with. The LW’s only been around for 6 years, so the wife could have easily dated the other guy for awhile right after the marriage ended. Or, maybe she cheated just as an excuse to break up. Or maybe she just wanted to sleep around. We don’t know. But I agree with you that the LW’s bf was probably the dumpee, rather than the other way around. Or, maybe he did dump her for cheating, but in his heart still wishes it never happened and that they could go back to the way things were. Either way, doesn’t matter, it’s not going to work out with the LW.

  6. SpaceySteph says:

    Yeah after 6 years it’s reasonable to expect to be more integrated into their lives. Sure his kids are adults and can decide not to invite you to things they have control of, but if your bf is throwing a party for graduation then he can invite you, and they certainly can’t keep you out of something like a public sporting event. Your boyfriend could have you around more if he wanted you to be. He doesn’t.
    And I have no expectation that you will be invited the their future weddings (which could be 10+ years away for someone who is now 18) because they don’t know you and don’t want you around. Why would that change for their wedding?
    Also, the “money is tight” excuse to not get married is BS. A wedding can be had for about $100 at the county courthouse. You’re not engaged/married because he doesn’t want to marry you, money is just an excuse.

  7. Not trying to judge here, but LW seems like she’s being treated more like a mistress than a girlfriend. I totally get wanting to keep some ties strong in spite of a divorce, but did this divorce actually fully stick? I just can’t understand why she’s excluded from activities from people who have said they like her.

    And yes, if this has gone on for 6 years, it’ll still be happening 6 years from now. If marriage is a top priority to you, then I’d reconsider whether this current arrangement is something you want to continue with.

  8. dinoceros says:

    He can’t give you what you want in a relationship. I’m not even fully sure that he wants to give you those things because he’s repeatedly keeping you at a distance and then blaming external factors. Don’t hold your breath for it to get better.

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