The kids seem to interact well with me, so I don’t see the problem in just telling them we’re together, especially since I’m considered part of the family now as the “best friend.” She’s afraid that they might resent her or treat me differently, but considering the good rapport I seem to have with them — and based on what I’ve learned acquiring a masters in social psychology — I strongly disagree. I feel like I have to hide who I am, and I’ve expressed to her how uncomfortable that makes me feel, to which she’s replied to just “be patient” until she’s ready. What’s more confusing is she hints at the idea of marriage. I’m on the brink of wanting to move out (not necessarily break up) until she tells them, but she has told me I’m giving her an ultimatum.
Do you have advice? — Not Out in the House
Well, yeah, you are giving her an ultimatum, but why is that a bad thing? You should ask her that. Why is an ultimatum a bad thing? Obviously, she doesn’t want to feel pressured, she wants to take her time, she wants to wait until she feels ready to be open to be open… but in that case, why would she have you move in with her? And also: What about what YOU want? Why is this all on her timetable? Because she’s the one with kids? Because it’s her house you’re living in? Because she’s older?
Feeling like your relationship isn’t validated in the place you’re currently calling home is problematic, yes. But what I would feel even more concerned about is the dynamic that is being established where her concerns are worth more than yours, and that when you push for some kind of balance, she accuses you of giving her an ultimatum, like that’s a bad thing. It’s not a bad thing to want what you want and to take back what you’re giving if you don’t feel it’s being reciprocated. She can call it an ultimatum all she wants, but you should call it self-respect. So, yes, please tell her either she comes out to her kids about your relationship or you’re moving out. And please do not take such a big step of moving in together ever again until your partner is willing to acknowledge to the people closest to her that she’s in love with you. That’s kind of a bare minimum qualifier for moving forward.
He didn’t want to tell his ex about me and it bothered me, but what bothered me more was constantly seeing his phone light up with her name. Now we’re quarantined together and she thinks he’s alone and is constantly calling and texting to check in. He says he can’t ignore her or tell her about me, because he’s afraid she’ll kill herself. He also said he doesn’t really answer. I, of course, hacked his phone and know he texts her first every day and tells her he can’t answer because he’s working but he misses her and it will all be ok. My mom was an alcoholic who died, and I feel like an alcoholic is controlling my emotions again. Can I leave him for this??
We’re staying at his mom’s house. He moved in with her after breaking up with the ex. I’ve never met his mom – she just bought a house a state away and that’s where she’s been. She comes back in three days and he’s making me leave to go back to Harlem and the heart of the pandemic. We’re in Westchester, about a 20-minute drive from Harlem. We don’t live together, but he seems like he’d be fine with it once he has a job, but not in the city. What do you think? — Feeling Controlled
This is definitely not the time to be talking about living together. You’ve been dating only six months, you are not exclusive, he won’t call you his girlfriend, he tells you he can’t give you want you want, you don’t trust him, you have to “hack into his phone” to keep tabs on him even though you’re actually quarantined together 24-7, he’s in daily contact with an ex he says is a suicidal alcoholic whom he won’t tell about you, he has a history of looking like a not very good boyfriend (he spent a whole year avoiding his girlfriend of seven years and then left her when she went to rehab), and he seems unconcerned with sending you back to the middle of a pandemic outbreak (although, to be fair, Westchester was an epicenter just a few weeks ago when the lockdown – and I’m assuming your quarantine together – started). To be honest, the heart of a pandemic sounds like a preferable place to be than where you hope this non-relationship with a man who has literally told you he does not want what you want turns into a relationship.
You’re on a road to nowhere with this guy, and while none of us is going anywhere these days, most of us will get a green light eventually while you’ll still be driving head-first into a dead end. I think you already know what you need to do, but in case seeing the words from someone else helps them crystallize for you, here you go: it’s time to MOA.
I have red hair and, to my knowledge, my husband never dated a redhead before me. If he, after 14 years with me, suddenly asked me to change my hair to black, I’d have a lot of thoughts about it: “Who the fuck is he to tell me what to do with my hair?”; “I LIKE my hair color, so no”; “Maybe it’s time to introduce a wig and some role-playing into the relationship?”; “Oh man, four weeks of quarantine is making us all a little cray.” But none of them would be: “OH MY GOD, he’s not over someone from his past who has black hair!” And you know why that thought would never occur to me? Because our relationship is solid, and I am 100% confident in us (even – nay, especially – as we spend 24 hours a day together for weeks on end).
If your first thought, after being with the guy for eight years, is that, when he asks you to change your hair color, he’s pining away for someone else, then you are decidedly not confident in your relationship. And if, after eight years together on and off, you still have doubts, it is time to move the hell on and call it “off” for good. Whatever it is that keeps bringing you back together is not enough to hold you there and it’s not enough to override all the reasons you keep breaking up. Feeling like your boyfriend is trying to make you look like someone else he isn’t over should really be the nail in the coffin, don’t you think?