“His Psychotic Ex Won’t Let Me Meet Their Child”

Even though I met “Brian” years ago, as our teen girls are best friends, we never really interacted until about eight months ago and we’ve been dating ever since. He’s been single for almost two years and has four children from two different women. His most recent ex, whom he has a 3-year-old with, does not want me around his daughter yet. This is understandable, but I am currently living with him so it’s difficult to avoid his daughter. He does not agree with his ex about keeping me away from their child, but he’s scared of her psychotic eruptions and goes along with it. I have met the rest of his family and have been around his other children numorous times and I am really close with his daughter who is best friends with my daughter. I have even met the daughter I’m not allowed to be around months ago without his ex knowing.

About a week ago, out of the blue, Brian suddenly changed his attitude toward me. He is no longer affectionate and stopped telling his T-Rex ex that she and I need to meet so I can be allowed around their daughter. When I asked what was going on, he just said we were moving too fast and he wanted to slow things down. I assumed this was a breakup speech, but he insisted it wasn’t.

Are things slowly grinding to a halt? Should I pack up my bags and move on? It seems like he is not working too hard to keep me around. I think I can understand and deal with the daughter issue although it is tough, but the no affection makes me insecure. I have never felt so unattractive and unwanted than I have these past few weeks. I miss the sweet, caring man I fell in love with. And, yes, we have already said “I love you.”

I know he is not cheating on me and I know how much he hates his ex, so there is no problem there. Could he possibly be letting me go to avoid drama with his ex? I love this man completely and, until a few weeks ago, I thought he loved me too. Now I can barely get a kissy face in a text message or a peck goodbye. Am I wasting my time or should I stick it out? This man is exactly what I’ve been looking for and more, and I would really hate to give up on him. — No Kissy Face for Me

You’re the mother of a teenage girl and not one yourself so quit acting like it. Moving in with a man — a man who has four kids with two exes, no less! — only months after first talking to him, meeting one of his kids against the mother’s wishes, and worrying that your relationship is grinding to a halt after a week of no kissy face text messages is super immature and borderline destructive. And, actually, when a man hates his ex — an ex who happens to be the mother of his daughter — there IS a problem, contrary to what you seem to believe. Because people who hate each other don’t co-parent or communicate well and that wreaks havoc on the other relationships in their lives, as you are now learning.

You should not be living with this man — not when your relationship is still so new and, frankly, unstable enough that a week of no affection makes you question everything. Before you move in with someone — especially when there are kids involved! — a relationship should be strong enough that, if you don’t receive a kissy face text for a few days, you don’t start wondering where the love has gone. Your relationship is not that strong yet. Does that mean you’re doomed? No, not necessarily. But it does mean you should slow the hell down.

Yes, pack your stuff and move out. Date this father of four for a full year — experience all the seasons together, and all your kids’ birthdays, and all major holidays and special occasions — before you even discuss living together. Get his ex’s permission — if not her full-on blessing — to be around their daughter before you move into the home where her father lives and where she will likely want to spend some time. I mean, really — what kind of father moves a woman into his house to live, after a few months of dating, when that woman is not yet allowed to be around his child?!

And, you. You should aim higher. To think this is a man who is “exactly what you’re looking for and more” is pretty sorry. Maybe you should start looking for a few additional things, like: doesn’t hate the mother of his child; doesn’t have multiple children with multiple exes; acts like a grown-ass man.


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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. *slow clap*

    2 for 2 on crazy letters this week!
    Good advice. I have no words.

  2. artsygirl says:

    I completely agree with Wendy. I was keeping up fine with the letter but was not expecting the living together thing – I actually jumped back to the beginning to double check the timeline. LW – You should have taken more time before jumping feet first into co-habitating with a man when both of you have complicated family obligations. Of course now you are living with him and moving out will cause more chaos for your and your BFs children. I would suggest that you sit down with your BF and hash out long term plans and talk about how you will deal with problems that arise (i.e. is there a time line for meeting the young child, how are holidays/birthdays/etc going to be organized, who attends PTA, etc). I would also figure out an exit strategy in case it goes south that will disrupt your and your BF’s children the least. On another note try to be respectful of his ex. Despite there being animosity, she is the mother of his young child and honestly if I were in her shoes I would not likely be happy that my ex got serious with a woman so quickly and moved her in.

  3. Without commenting on whether it is a good idea or not, how can the mother keep the father from introducing the daughter to his girl-friend? Doesn’t he have joint custody or at least his own parenting time with her? Or maybe this is a “boundry issue” that is discussed so often here.

    1. artsygirl says:

      It is likely the the BF does not want to make his ex upset so he is agreeing to hold off the meeting – it is not likely legally binding. In my mind the ex is not being ‘psychotic’ but perhaps protecting the child (there might also be part of her being vindictive but who knows).

    2. lets_be_honest says:

      That’s one thing I’m so glad I don’t have to deal with! Because you’re right-you can’t really stop the dad or mom from introducing the kid to new bfs/gfs, even if it wouldn’t be good for the kid. At least this dad seems to agree, or respect, the mom’s wishes.

    3. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      My Uncle is dealing with a semi-related thing. His soon to be ex wife, with whom he has 2 children with, has had it written into their custody agreement that the two children can not a- meet/interact with my Uncle’s new fiancé and b- can not meet/interact with my Uncle’s newest child. The children are old enough that mom can ask who they interacted with and then take that to the court. (I’m not really sure of the legality here, just going off of what my Uncle and mother say. But my mom has seen documentation.)

      1. I’m surprised they can do that. Especially with the half sibling.

      2. artsygirl says:

        Wow – never heard of this and have a hard time seeing how it could be legally binding.

      3. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Like I said, I’m not 110% sure of the legality. They are going through a nasty nasty divorce and she’s in contempt of court for with holding information and he is just plain crazy. I don’t know the details exactly, but I do know my mom has to supervise the visits and is “supposed” to report it if the new baby or lady come around. Who is mandating the reporting…well I haven’t seen the docs…

        I’m also not sure if there has been a DNA test for new baby (yes, I said that) so maybe that’s why she isn’t supposed to come around.

        I zone out when my mom vents about this, I just can’t wrap my head around adults acting this immature and well, bat shit crazy.

      4. EscapeHatches says:

        It’s one of those things (my husband’s ex tried this) that the court would throw out if challenged in the mediation/development process, BUT BUT BUT if both parties agree to the terms beforehand then it can be enforced.

        Basically, the ex could write up a plan that says “you will never own a blue couch” and even though that’s nutty if he signs and agrees to it, he’s setting himself up.

        *stress flashbacks to my husband’s ex-wife’s full nuttiness*

      5. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Yeah, my uncle isn’t the brightest nor does he have the best track record. So he is probably just screwing himself with out even knowing it.

    4. I think responsible co-parenting includes being able to come up with rules that ~each~ parent can agree upon. If the relationship between father & mother in this situation were more–ah—copacetic? then maybe there’d be a compromise in place like, “No introducing new girlfriends/boyfriends to our child until x number of months” (instead of some “keep her away from my child!” “fuck you, she’s living in my house!” power play)

      1. Unfortunately, sometimes one or both parents are not responsible or reasonable.

      2. EscapeHatches says:


      3. Unfortunately I know a few women that are just this vindictive. It is sad for the children, always.

      4. And a few men….ugh

    5. Yeah.
      My ex and I had the opinion either we trusted one another to know who was safe to bring around or kids, or we didn’t, whether that was the mailman, his (literally) insane father, various lovers on either or our parts, sitters, etc. All this “no meeting X” is just a control thing.

  4. lets_be_honest says:

    Ugh, trash. Where is your daughter during all this? I really hope you didn’t bring her along to shack up with your boyfriend of 8 months.

  5. Love this response! Directly to the point, and really not as mean as the commenters are going to be! Nice job Wendy!

    1. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

      Unrelated note…loving the dog picture!

      1. Thanks! She is just so cute, happy, and old. She got some sort of italian old lady mole behind her ear, and scratched it off, and then wouldn’t stop scratching it so we had to bring her to the vet to get it stitched up, and a cone put on so she would leave it alone.

      2. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        It’s sad, but I love looking at a dog in the cone of shame…they are all awkward and clumsy and it’s just so cute! Hope she heals soon

      3. I love sweet old doggies.

  6. WWS. UGH. All of these other glaring issues, LW, & you’re worried because he’s been less affectionate? You should be more worried about the trail of ex-girlfriends & children he leaves in his wake. And you should be worried about yourself, because why are you acting like this? Why have you moved in with a man after only 8 months of dating? Why are you undermining another woman’s boundaries about her child, by going behind her back? Why do you think a man “hating” his “psychotic” ex is a ~good~ thing? Because you believe it lessens the chances of him cheating on you? Do you realize how fucked that sounds?

    Get it together. Tell this guy you made a mistake by moving too fast, & move out. And next time don’t get into a relationship when the surrounding circumstances are this crazy.

    1. The whole letter, including the extreme upset in not being able to meet the daughter, the rush to move in, and the craving for kissy faces reeks of a desperation to cling to signs that her relationship is strong and ‘official’. This usually comes from a sense that the relationship is not very strong at all. I’m guessing the reduced affection comes from reduced interest on the part of LW’s bf as the realization has crept in that he is dealing with another immature ‘crazy woman’. A relationship cannot be forced into being real and permanent by forcing your partner to walk by some signposts with you. LW needs the patience, self control, and self love to allow things to develop (or not) normally. She also should think a bit more of what is best for her daughter. Aloneness isn’t the worst thing in the world, especially since she has a daughter.

  7. i hate when guys always but blame on their “crazy ex”….are there that many psycho women out there….i think not….LW the guys is handing you a complete line of bs….if a guy is pulling away it means He is pulling away from you….not because his “psycho” ex is making him….especially since he is also being less affectionate…..sorry LW but it looks like the relationship may be coming to an end

    1. He did not blame his ex for the reduced affection. He apparently didn’t mention anything other than he thought they were moving too fast. Which translates into either he no longer cares that much for LW or he feels that she is just too pushy to be totally official and into every aspect of his life. Clearly LW has been unrelentingly pushing the guy to force his ex to allow LW to have a relationship with the 3-year old. The ex’s concern doesn’t appear irrational. This guy doesn’t seem to do super stable relationships, this one is only 8 months, and it must look awfully rushed to an outsider. Ex must also be wondering why LW is pushing so hard to be a part of her daughter’s life. LW likely isn’t the first or second woman that this guy has been dating since his divorce. Maybe not the first he has lived with. Rather than being crazy, the ex may just want a little stability in her daughter’s life at a time she is still feeling the affects of the divorce. The last thing the kid needs is a continuing stream of substitute Mommies.

      If LW knows the guy because his daughter from first marriage is a friend of LW, then L

    2. Lily in NYC says:

      I used to think the same thing until I dated a divorced guy with a terrible ex. She actually called 911 on him because he was 5 minutes late returning them from a weekend visit. During a snowstorm. The police laughed in her face, thankfully. But it was like this non-stop; I felt so bad for the guy because he tried so hard to keep things cordial. Oh god, I forgot she sent me a certified letter accusing me of giving her kids the flu – which was hilarious considering I hadn’t met the kids yet at this point.

      1. EscapeHatches says:

        Precisely. Most of the time “crazy” means “disagreeable.”

        Sometimes “crazy” means bat-shit-fucking-bonkers with a side of narcissistic delusion.

        My husband’s ex-wife tried to turn part of my job in emergency utilities response (managing a HUGE watermain break, in an intersection) into prostitution, claiming I was “working a street corner, UNASHAMED. I brought photos from the job site into the emergency custody hearing she managed to pull. The judge was wiping tears by the end at the photos of my mud-spattered, sunburned, hardhat wearing self standing on the sidewalk in ankle-deep water with what is clearly a look of “fuck my life” on my face.

      2. Lily in NYC says:

        Wow! I can’t believe it turned into a custody hearing (I believe you – you know what I mean). I wonder if there’s a market for hard-hat wearing ladies of the evening.

      3. omg….that is hilarious! geeze!!!!

  8. sarolabelle says:

    LW, does your boyfriend have a cold? My husband had a cold a few weeks ago and didn’t kiss me at all for a week. Men are babies when they get a cold too.

    1. So true! Mr. Othy is the worst when he’s sick. And he gets sick about 4x as often as I do.

    2. This is my favorite response, haha

    3. My boyfriend has a cold right now. He is pathetic at the moment.

      As for you LW, oy vey. I don’t have anything more than that.

      1. Avatar photo mrmidtwenties says:

        I totally milk the “man cold” stereotype when I get sick.

  9. It’s not a good thing that your bf hates his ex. Not at all. Especially given that he has children with her. Yes, breakups are hard etc. and it’s understandable if he doesn’t like her much. But hating her, and even expressing that? Not cool.

    1. I am torn on this one…I have a horrible ex. I tried for years to be as civil as possible, always giving the benefit of the doubt. After 12 years, I’m done not saying anything. Long, long story short, when he started hurting our girls emotionally, I was done.

      1. And I do realize this is completely different than the LW’s situation. I just mean in general I am torn with this kind of thing.

      2. Yeah, OK. I can totally understand that if the ex is abusive. I think on second thought I’m also more concerned about voicing hatred for an ex to others than to simply feel it.

      3. I agree…that’s what your therapist is for, not your friends and family

  10. You’ve been dating him for only 8 months and you already live with him? You DO need to slow down. You both have children. What are you thinking?

    Be a stable parent for your child. Give her a stable home, and a stable life.

    1. Just ready Wendy’s reply. WWS 100%.

  11. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

    OMG, Wendy that you for the first paragraph. Holy cow, get a grip woman.

  12. Oh and before I forget. BIRTH CONTROL PLEASE!!! Before you become crazy ex #3 with child #5.

  13. So many things wrong here. So. Many.

    I get the psycho ex, I have one and my husband has one. And yes, I hate my ex-husband because of what he has done to our kids. Hate isn’t even a strong enough word!! But if you have a reasonable request, and not meeting the new gf at 3 yrs old IS reasonable, don’t be a dick and do it anyway. RESPECT the parents, both of them. It can’t be prevented forever, but dang…she’s only 3!!

    you know what, you DID get a “breakup speech”…you just haven’t figured it out yet. THAT’S why there are no kissy-faces…

  14. Painted_lady says:

    Um, does this woman actually exhibit signs of mental illness? Not just inconvenient desires and emotions but true, dyed-in-the-wool mental illness? What’s the example from that gaslighting article? If you don’t call your girlfriend of six months for a week and she shows up at your house yelling, she’s not crazy – she’s angry. But if you don’t call her for a week and she thinks she’s a lighthouse, then yes, she’s crazy.

    If a man is calling an ex crazy, you can guarantee that’s how he thinks about you when you’re upset, and you can guarantee that’s how he’s going to talk to you when you’re gone.

    1. Lily in NYC says:

      Wait, are you saying lighthouse I’m dating might not be real? But he’s tall, dark and handsome and looks great in stripes!

  15. Painted_lady says:

    *talk ABOUT you.

    Time for more coffee.

  16. I have nothing constructive to add to this. The “T-rex ex” thing keeps cracking me up and that’s all I really wanted to say. 🙂

  17. landygirl says:

    Facepalm. My forehead hurts.

    1. Yes! And mine was already bruised from Monday!

  18. ugh yea WWS and WEES. i read this letter and then had to make a big batch of cream cheese filling, and then i come back and everyone beat me to it!! haha

    parents: STOP SHACKING UP WITH EACH OTHER WILLY NILLY. you are not allowed to. not that your not allowed to date, not allowed to live with an SO, not allowed to marry again, and live a nice life, ect- but my god please be smart responsible adults about the situation.

    LW, you have your own issues. wendy outlined them nicely. address them.

  19. And stop blaming the ex for how you’re being treated. Blame your partner – he’s the one who allows it.

  20. Bittergaymark says:

    Nevermind the crazy ex… What about the total whackjob he is presently dating?

  21. I’m always amazed by parents who seem to have no problem moving in with or even marrying (I’m sure that I’m not the only one who is haunted by the LW who married the creeper who took pictures of her teenage daughter coming out of the shower) someone they don’t know. What is the thought process there? How do they conclude that it’s a good idea to move their children in with a stranger?

    LW, I don’t know WTF you are thinking, but it’s time that you act like an adult. Adults provide a stable, loving home for their child(ren) and in general, don’t act like teenagers that crave drama. Aim higher for yourself and children.

    1. landygirl says:

      Thank you. Neither of the adults in that relationship have their head on straight.

    2. tbrucemom says:

      I remember that story very well. However, the LW was already married to him when he took the pictures so I’ll at least give her the benefit of not marrying him afterward. She was questioning about whether she should stay with him and my response was “the question wouldn’t be whether to leave him or not, it would be would he live to see another day”.

    3. “I’m sure that I’m not the only one who is haunted by the LW who married the creeper who took pictures of her teenage daughter coming out of the shower”

      Yeah, I REALLY wish that LW would update (although if she ever updates to say she’s still with the guy, my head will explode)

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Yea, I don’t know that I want to see that update. That letter really was upsetting.

  22. Sophronisba says:

    If new man is always on about his crazy ex and all the things that must be done to accommodate this woman, move on.
    Move on, knowing that if you were to stay for the drama, in time you would be the new crazy ex…

  23. Avatar photo MackenzieLee says:

    Isn’t there an old AP rule about mentioning texting in a letter a certain number of times. Can we add the mention of emoticons (especially the “kissy-face” ones) calls for an automatic grow the eff up

  24. landygirl says:

    Also, this dude is no prize either so the onus isn’t all on the LW.

  25. Lemongrass says:

    Beware any man who describes his ex as ‘psychotic.’

  26. Can “T-Rex Ex” go on the next Dear Wendy mug?!

  27. I would live to hear a letter from the guy’s point of view here. Something like:

    “Dear Wendy, I started dating my teenage daughter’s best friend’s mom, and asked her and her daughter to move in with me after a few months. Now she’s acting crazy just like all my other exes! She’s upset that I haven’t sent her a kissy face text message in a few days, and she’s threatening to move out! Should I let her go? And how do I keep ending up with these psychos?”

  28. I like the way Wendy laid out the situation. Of course the ex is going to be concerned if this dude moves in his daughter’s best friend’s mom after a few months of dating. Most people would have their own boundaries in terms of when a child should start spending time with a significant other, and because he appears to have none, it seems like she’s taking it into her own hands. I think you should be relieved that this guy has finally realized you’ve been moving too fast. And regardless, I think if you don’t back off (and I mean in a real way, not in a snotty, I’m-ignoring-you way), then this is going to seriously deteriorate.

  29. Just one logistical point- why the heck would you guys move in together when he doesn’t want you around his kid? What world is this where we’re willing to share a home with someone that we don’t want our kids to know? I realize that’s one salient point in many many issues of this letter but I think everyone else got to those already…

  30. Wilma Nelson says:

    Dear Kissy Face

    By the tone and hysteria of you post I assume that you are significantly overweight and thus desperate for love and affirmation. Read your letter back to yourself aloud and you can see that you will be the goat in this rodeo. Get out now, lose some weight, get some self respect. Think of the wretched example you are setting for your daughter.

      1. Losing weight solves all our problems, donchaknow.

        *heavy, heavy sarcasm*

  31. The mom probably doesn’t want you around because she knows what a non-prize he is and assumes you’re equally non-prize material for dating him and moving in so fast OR that you too will realize his non-prize status soon enough and be gone, thus upsetting her child. There were likely a few before you.

    I’m torn on the meeting behind the back thing. That’s on the dad here not on the LW. And I have a huge issue about one parent making a unilateral decision like that to essentially be an ass to the other parent. Now if it’s rooted in good reason, fine. For example, my former FIL lost his damned mind when his wife died, and threatened to kill himself, his disabled daughter, and my autistic son. He was NOT going to do this. He was saying this to reach out for help. But my mama tiger did not care as he was not MY father and I gritted my teeth and told the ex to not bring our kids around his dad. Ex nodded and agreed, and truth be told I did not need to tell him that because he already knew. Former FIL got the mental help he needed and it’s over 10 years later and they are all close now and we never told the kids this because he was sick at the time and needed help. But that was a good reason to not have him around. I wasn’t just trying to dictate my ex’s life and/or punish him for not being with me. Unless they’re behaving mentally/sexually inappropriately (big make out sessions in front of the kids, moving in after say, two weeks, letting the new SO do “parenting”), it’s usually just a control thing.

    So I don’t think it’s fair mom can just “say” and dad’s some jackass for not going along. He’s an adult and has the right to decide who his kids may visit or not visit as well. So I can’t blame LW for this, if anyone it’s on the dad.

    Also, I have issues about dating the daughter’s best friend’s dad more than about anything else. That’s gonna be some fine mess when either the BFF kids have a BFF break up, or the adults have issues :-/ I mean that’s a couple that needs to take time and really evaluate what is up and how their relationship works out long before moving in. That said, I strongly suspect many couples today move in quickly because of economic reasons more than anything.

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