“I’m Jealous of My Boyfriend’s Kids”

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I am 28, never been married, have a great job, a masters degree, and have been told I am “attractive.” I have been with my 38-year-old boyfriend for about 13 months now. He was married for 13 years and has three biological children (21, 19, and 17) and an adopted daughter turning 7 (he is divorced because his ex cheated on him and got pregnant but he decided to adopt the child so that she would have a father and to maintain parental continuity in his family). He has been divorced for six years, I’m his first serious girlfriend since, and we talk about marriage all the time.

Initially, I never thought I could date someone with so many kids. But I fell for my boyfriend because he was funny, had a good heart, was a great father, and a loyal son. The problem is that he just might not be that great of boyfriend at his current stage in life.

Right now, I feel like I am doing anywhere between 70-90 percent of the effort in maintaining our relationship. Whenever we make plans, something always comes up with either his kids or work. I still have yet to meet any of the children after 13 months of dating. I ask to see his kids all the time and think of fun things we can do for a “least awkward as possible” meeting. I especially feel that I need to meet his young daughter because she is the reason I get very little time with him on the weekends, and maybe if I met her we could do things together.

I have met his brother, his dad, his nephew, and his best friend once briefly for about 5 minutes each, but other than that, I have never been included in anything with other people in his life. How can we plan a future if I cannot see how I interact with his kids, family, and friends? (He has met my entire family and some of my friends and is always invited to holidays with all my family and friends.).

When his kids or ex-wife call him for anything, he drops plans with me and when I balk, he says I’m “being selfish and overreacting.” His ex can just call him and say “you need to come get your kid,” and boom, my whole planned day with him is gone. He still has yet to give me a key to his house so I end up waiting outside his house a lot if he gets stuck in traffic driving his kids some place. It’s now to the point where I get terrible anxiety when I try to make plans with him in advance.

Over time, it has really affected me and we have been getting in huge fights because of it (but, of course, I’m “nagging” and being a “drama queen”). I almost always drive to him and especially, lately, I have been paying for all dates and anything we do because he had to pay for a bunch of stuff for his kids. I feel guilty for trying to take time or money away from them, but at the same time I feel like I’m always the one sacrificing.

He always tells me he loves me and can’t live without me but I always come last. For example, when I was really sick he couldn’t be there for me cause he had to pick his daughter up, yet I was there for him when he was sick. He missed my birthday for a doctors appointment (I know he has kidney stones, but come on). This weekend I asked him if I could spend the entire weekend with him with no interruptions (this has never happened) and he said yes, but the next day he told me he forgot about his daughter’s birthday party at his ex-wife’s house. I asked if I could come he said, “Sorry, but NO way.” I even suggested just us taking her out for her birthday separately so he didn’t have to go to her party, but he wouldn’t hear me out. So once again, I was left alone on the weekend with broken plans.

I want to note that our personalities are a great match and that he’s a great father. I feel like a terrible person for being jealous of his kids and ex who uses him as an on-call taxi and babysitter; I feel terrible about all the arguments we have had over this, but he makes continual promises that he just doesn’t keep, and I’m so sick of hearing “We will eventually” and “I’m not dying tomorrow” and “I’m not going anywhere” and “I’m sorry I can’t control the situation — it just came up.”

I really need some unbiased advice. What would you do? What are your thoughts, opinions, and suggestions. I’ve tried to move on several times but he always ends up convincing me to stay or to give it another shot. How do you move on from someone you completely love, whom you have told everything to, who’s a great father, a generally good person? I feel like I’m in limbo. Please help! — Dating a Great Dad, Bad Boyfriend

Throughout your letter you kept waving that “great dad” flag like it means something, but what does it mean? For you, I mean? For your relationship? Jack squat, that’s what. Unless you think his role as a “great dad” is indicative of his role as a boyfriend — and it surely doesn’t seem to be! — or as a husband or as a father to your potential kids together, it doesn’t mean diddly squat except that there’s one role in his life he doesn’t suck at. Too bad for you that role isn’t “boyfriend.”

Honestly, unless you are considering having kids with this man some day, the idea that he’s a great father has pretty little to do with you, especially considering he has yet to even introduce you to any of his four children after 13 months together. And if you ARE thinking of having kids with this man, does he know that? In all your discussions about marriage and your future together, have you broached the topic of future children? Does this 38-year-old man who already has four children, three of whom are practically grown, even have the slightest interest in starting all over again with more babies? Because if he doesn’t, and if you, at 28, want your own children eventually, this relationship is pointless.

But beyond the idea of future kids, it just doesn’t sound like this is the man for you right now. You said yourself, he may be a great dad and a great ex-husband and all that, but he’s a pretty terrible boyfriend. He puts almost zero effort into maintaining your relationship. He cancels plans on you all the time. He doesn’t integrate you in any parts of his life. He keeps you in a box, separate from his family and friends. Does he ever even make you feel special? Why are you with him? Because he has a fun personality that meshes well with yours? That and a dollar won’t buy you a styrofoam cup of coffee.

There has to be more to a relationship than well-matched personalities. There has to be loyalty and commitment and shared values and goals. There has to be genuine support and love. You need to feel important.

You asked what I would do and it’s this: I’d break up with him and tell him exactly WHY I was breaking up with him. I’d tell him that while I greatly admired his commitment to his children and family and work, I was tired of feeling last on his list of priorities. I’d tell him that I felt so unimportant, that I was even jealous when his kids had birthday parties he wanted to attend, which is pretty pathetic. I’d tell him I was tired of feeling pathetic and tired of being jealous of a 7-year-old and that, if he wanted to be with me, he needed to prove it by making me more of a priority and by integrating me in his life and by making plans with me and keeping them. I’d tell him I was going to do my own thing for four months and that we could re-evaluate our relationship in the new year, after the holidays. If, by January, we both felt like we were meant to be together, he would have to prove his commitment to me, and, if he couldn’t do that within a few weeks, we were done forever.

My hope for you is that you break up with your boyfriend and eventually find someone who shows you what a real, loving relationship looks like. I’ll tell you what it doesn’t look like: it doesn’t look like constant broken plans and a box on the shelf labeled “girlfriend” that you’re expected to fit into neatly, no questions asked.

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.


  1. Really great advice, Wendy. Sometimes a guy can be a “great person” and a “great dad” and you might get along well personality-wise, but that doesn’t mean he’s great for you. Move on and find someone with shared values.

  2. WWS. It sucks if he’s awesome at everything, but if he can’t treat you the way you feel you need to be treated, you should leave. I like the break idea, because it is something he could change. But you will not wait around longer than a few months for the change, and the change must be real!

  3. artsygirl says:

    In my mind you should have at least met the three older kids because frankly they are adults. I can understand being cautious with the youngest but protecting a 21 year old is beyond crazy.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      Maybe they don’t want to meet her.

      It wouldn’t be all that unheard for a 21 y/o to not want to meet Dad’s 28 y/o girlfriend.

      1. artsygirl says:

        Perhaps, but it sounds like the BF is the one that is resisting contact between his kids and the LW. Also, since it has been over a year, you would think someone should take the initiative – namely the BF – and work on trying to blend his family and ease his GF into a more visible presence in his life.

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        It does sound like that, so I def can’t disagree with you there.

    2. There’s also the possibility that he doesnt even have a 7yrs old or any kids for that matter!! Maybe you’re getting played and there aren’t any kids to meet they are just his made up out. He cant let you meet his friends and family because then they’d know what a jerk he was! You might be the side piece..kids or no kids he’s not considering you at all, not even a little. find a man that can treat you right and be a great dad to your future kids 🙂

  4. FossilChick says:

    So I know it’s a minor point in the letter, BUT on the kidney stones thing: I would have missed my own birthday, the Aurora Borealis, a chance to sleep in the Cinderella castle, a live concert by resurrected Elvis — pretty much *anything* when I was on the mend from a single kidney stone. So, LW, you’ve got 99 problems in this relationship but I think that one was of your own making.

    Everything else, WWS.

    1. SpaceySteph says:

      I don’t know from kidney stones but I’m not entirely sure how he missed her birthday for a doctor’s appointment. I mean an appointment is an hour tops, and your birthday is 24.
      Unless he was like in the hospital in which case… get over your damn birthday.

      I mean he sounds like a shitty boyfriend still, but something about that particular gripe rubbed me the wrong way!

    2. The only thing I’ve ever gone through that was more painful than kidney stones was having two of my fingertips amputated in an industrial accident. When i was passing kidney stones, the hospital had me on morphine and demerol for days.

      So in my view, he gets a “pass” (haha) for the kidney stones, but that doesn’t excuse anything else in the letter. Either you are important enough to be the center of his life or you are not. If not, why make him the center of yours.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Wow Diablo! Same thing happened to my grandpa and my stepdad. My stepdad, twice actually. OUCH!

      2. Yes, i definitely recommend against either kidney stones or amputations. In case you couldn’t guess.

      3. Huh, I was thinking about getting my toe amputated, but I suppose I”ll pass now. Thanks for the word of warning 🙂

  5. Really, how does LW even know this guy is a great father, if she’s never met the kids and hasn’t seen him interact with them. There really are only two possible explanations for this odd statement. First, he tells her what a great father he is. What he says may or may not be true. Second, he continually breaks plans with her to respond to a request by his ex to do something with/for the kids. This seems a great rationalization. He puts LW last, so the only reason for that must be that he devotes his whole life to his kids, otherwise, his treatment of LW couldn’t possibly be justified as even minimally acceptable. For all LW knows, her bf could be running off to get it on with his ex.

    I don’t get the adoption ‘to maintain parental continuity in his family’. He adopted this child and then less than a year later he is divorced?

    This guy is in LW’s life when he chooses to be and has met her whole family and friends. She has spent 5 minutes with four people in his life. This tells me that all she knows about this guy is what he tells her. That is a perfect opportunity to develop a phony identity and sell the phony self to LW.

    LW pays for everything they do together, plans everything, waits outside his house when he is late, and basically settles for the merest scraps of a relationship. She is being used. Time to figure out why she is willing to settle for this ‘relationship’.

    1. Yes! I was thinking the same thing. If she’s never even seen him around the kids, she doesn’t really know he’s a great father.

    2. Second on the still getting it on with his ex possibility. Being able to make last minute arrangements in an emergency = good parenting after a divorce. Clearly allowing the kids to be punted whenever ex feels like it (which is the best scenario, I still think he’s with his “real family” which is why LW is never going to meet any of them) is not good parenting! It’s jerking around a 7 yr old and not being consistent…

    3. YES. This x1000. There are guys who I can tell have the qualities it would take to be a good dad, BUT you really don’t know if they would be or not until you see their interactions with kids.

  6. LW, So I was with you until the third paragraph. Kidney stones are awful. just awful. Then he didn’t blow off his daughter’s birthday to hang out with you? No, if you have a good enough relationship with your ex, you both should come together for a birthday.

    However, there is a reason this guy has an ex wife. maybe she cheated but maybe he doesn’t know how to be emotionally available. If it was me, I wouldn’t initiate contact with him and see how long it takes for him to contact you. Is it one day or two weeks? that will tell you where you are in the relationship.

    1. I’m glad you mentioned the birthday party thing. I would NEVER ask a guy to ditch his kid’s birthday party so he could hang out with me, and I certainly would NEVER EVER ditch my own kid’s brithday party to hang out with a dude. Period.

      Everything else, I completely agree, he needs to step it up.

      1. I didnt want to be picky but I was thinking the same thing. Its a birthday party for a 7 year old. Remember how shit you felt when he missed yours, and you’re an adult. Imagine being 7 and him missing it!

      2. Oh yeah, the birthday party thing made no sense. I’m guessing she was like desperate by the point, & acting out the frustration of a million other broken plans, but you don’t tell a father to miss his kid’s birthday party. The “compromise” of them taking his daughter out doesn’t work either, because then you’re removing the child from her mother & the mother’s planned party. No buenoooo

      3. It’s definitely a bad idea to ask him to miss the kid’s party. However, it’s understandable she was frustrated that he had to cancel on her last minute because he FORGOT about the party.

      4. Right? dinner is fine for adult children but not the 7 year old.

      5. Maybe it was one of the older kids’ birthday? That way the dinner would make more sense. But only if she intended to do the dinner on a different day. But I definitely do not think she should expect to come before any of his kids’ birthdays, regardless of age.

      6. you are right, it could be different if it was an older kid but if he already promised, then he might not want to break his word. Or if all the kids are getting together, he would still want to be there. I think family birthday trumps “hanging out” any day.

      7. lets_be_honest says:

        eljay AND jk in one day?! Its like the old days here!
        How have you been?

      8. Haha! I’ve been doing MUCH better thanks! I’ve missed you all!

      9. Right, but my question there is – he really forgot his own kid’s birthday? That sounds shady to me, especially from such a “great dad.”

      10. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        My dad’s a great dad, but dates and things like that? Totally easy to slip his mind. And he didn’t forget her birthday, just that her party was that day.

      11. I’m not sure he forgot her actual birthday, just the date of the party. My birthday is the week of the 4th of July, so I always had my parties at least a week before or a week after when I was a kid, because otherwise all my friends would’ve been on vacation.

      12. Well, he might have forgotten the dates when they were talking. But the idea to miss a little kid’s birthday and just go out to dinner with daddy and his girlfriend sounds like a terrible movie plot.

      13. I forgot my daughter’s birthday this past week. And she has had 27 of them – not just 7. I made plans to do something else then cancelled them once I remembered. Then she made other plans that didn’t include me! Ha! Darn kids.

      14. YES to the birthday!

        So, earlier this year, I missed my niece’s birthday party but was home for her actual birthday. I was home a few weeks later for another event. When she and I were together, she asked why I missed her Pinkalicious Party and asked if I would come to her 5th birthday. WTF? Talk about guilt trip. Pretty sure I’ll never miss another party. EVER. And this was my niece, i.e., not child.

      15. That is what I was thinking.

  7. Wow. WWS.
    Lw, you´re seriously considering marriage to a guy when you haven´t met his kids?
    And seriously, if you´re jealous of a BFs kids, I would suggest not dating someone with kids. To be perfectly honest I would suggest not dating period until you figure out why youpve settled for this “relationship” for so long.
    Also, I think your BF is doig the right thing by not introducing his kids to you (especially the youngest). So many times you hear of single parents rushing to bring their new partner into their kids life, only for them to disappear once things go sour.

    1. painted_lady says:

      Yay! You’re back on here! I’ve missed hearing your take on things!

      1. I´m not sure if I´m totally back haha. I came to read the parenting essay and this caught my eye!

      2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        You’re baaaaaack, shut up already about it.

      3. Addie also told me that i could not “leave.” Hence my recent spate of comments where I have nothing useful to say. AP, I might be better digested in smaller doses.

      4. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Nope, we love it; you can’t leave, even if you only offer non-useful comments. New rule.

      5. its like the DW mafia! Once you get in you can’t get out…

      6. In the DW mafia, everyone is consigliare.

    2. JK! So good to see you on here!

    3. And actually re: the kids. Maybe take a step back and before ‘talking marriage’, talk meeting the kids. What is the time line for that? After a year you should be able to at least discuss that in a civil manner, and more than likely that conversation would help to shed some light on where both of them stood in the seriousness of the relationship. Because I mean let’s get real here no one is going to marry someone before introducing them to their kids. Or at least I’d hope not 😉

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        I’m lost as to how they talk marriage when she’s never even met his family. Very strange.

      2. She’s talking marriage and he’s saying things like “I’m not dying tomorrow” and “We will eventually” and “It’ll work out”?

      3. Yeah I think they need to have a lot of other actual communication before they talk marriage. Meeting kids, etc is just one of many. Although, I’m not sure communicating in this specific relationship is worth it at this point. Better, to move on and remember that for the next one.

      4. lets_be_honest says:

        Well, she did say WE talk about marriage initially.

      5. Right. She says she wants to get married and he doesn’t say “No way, never, not gonna happen,” but instead says something futuristic and appeasing. And she hears what she wants to hear. I don’t see how they can really be planning a future together if he’s actively avoiding introducing her to anyone he knows. I mean, sure, I get not introducing her to the 7 year old, and, I guess I can see the older kids, too. (Although after a year, if they were really serious, I’d think that she’d have at least met the older kids.) But no other friends or family? What’s that Chris Rock saying again?

      6. lets_be_honest says:

        Seriously. Unless it was silly cutesy talk about marriage, they are both pretty nutty!

      7. Agreed. But then, this whole situation is odd. I really want an update to this letter!

      8. See my clarifications post below, he brings up marriage more than me an has even said “he will propose before the en of this year” , I talk marriage but I am realistic about it, I do tell him all the time “how can we possibly get married if I’m not included in a good chunk of your life now and you don’t know how interact with your kids”. I have even told him if he proposed to me today I would say no because of this, I want to get married but in the right manner and will not get married just to be married.

    4. JK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      We missed you!

    5. I didn’t put this together until you said it. Yea, ready to build a life with a man who you have met his family for five minutes and haven’t met his kids once?

    6. Aww feeling the love, guys 🙂

    7. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      Hey guys, remember that one time JK left DW? That was so weird. So glad she’s here.

  8. So, I actually sort of have to disagree. Which is weird because I almost never disagree with Wendy. But, I have some experience here and though I’m not expert, I feel a different point of view could be relevant. And this is all about the young child–to have not been invited to meet the older children yet, well, I guess at 13 months it seems like she should have by now or that it should be coming soon.

    So, I have a child from a previous relationship and started dating a man when my son was about 2. I didn’t even entertain the idea of letting the two meet until I knew that it was very very likely possibility we’d end up together. It’s just not worth it to risk my child’s emotional stability by introducing him to someone who might be there for awhile and then disappear with no explanation (that would make sense to a young child, anyway). That meant availability ONLY when my son was with his dad (because I don’t want someone else watching my child when I already only have 50% of his time), a lot of canceled plans for last minute changes with my child whether he was sick or his dad needed me to help with something related to our kid. Do I care about my son’s dad and if he needs help or not or if he was considerate to give me decent notice or not? No, because my son’s well being is most important. I didn’t like having to cancel plans but I did it without hesitation if it meant something better for my kid. Not even once was it about helping out my son’s dad, it was about being a mom to my son the same way I would have been if my son’s dad and I were still together. My boyfriend–who may be a saint, I can’t be sure–never complained even once. He knew, no matter how much I loved him that my first priority—until the last day of my life–would be my child. And it’s BECAUSE he never questioned it, that we’re still together, married and now have a child together. Had he complained like the LW, we wouldn’t have made it. Not even close. As a parent (who may also be interested in having another child with a future partner) I was only interested in partners who see parenting close to the way I do–children are the priority, bar none. If he complained about it not being fair, well, that just told me he wouldn’t have the same parenting values as me and therefore, not good enough.

    I didn’t do any of that for my son’s dad, to make his life easier or to keep things simple between him and I, it was all to make my son’s life easier. He didn’t ask for his parents to be split so there’s nothing that I wouldn’t do to make sure he knew I was always there for him, no matter what, just like he would have known if his parents were still married. That I had a boyfriend wasn’t his problem, his complication or even a part of his awareness, as it shouldn’t be and wouldn’t be if his parents were together.

    I guess my take on this is the most important point of view and well being should be the kid’s and the grown ups around that can take it or leave it.

    Should the LW stay? Well, I’d say only if she can see why her role SHOULD and hopefully will ALWAYS be secondary to the child (and I’m saying the young one, this changes when the kids grow up and leave home). And if not, if she doesn’t see that or doesn’t agree with it then, yes I’d say she needs to move on. But I don’t think the boyfriend is a bad guy here, he sounds like he has the same dedication to his child as I did and I think I handled it the correct way. I hope it’s that he just wants his child to see both her parents the same way she would if they hadn’t divorced.

    I do have to agree with Wendy when she says it’s important the LW check with the boyfriend that he actually would want more kids in the future. Wouldn’t surprise me if he is not interested in that at all.

    Anyway, maybe that point of view can help the LW decide.

  9. Wendy, I need you to retroactively break up with some old boyfriends for me, ca 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2010. It would have been oh so much smoother. Thanks!

  10. I’d MOA, without the break. It’s great to be dating a guy who is good to everyone else, but you have to actually get something out of the relationship. And from what I can tell, all the LW is getting out of this is a fairly nasty case of resentment, if her being pissed her BF had to get treatment for kidney stones on her birthday and that he wouldn’t skip his daughter’s birthday is any indication.

    I’m also doubtful about how much of a nice guy the BF really is. Nice guys don’t routinely tell you that you’re “selfish”, “overreacting”, a “drama queen”, and a “nag” when you get upset about things like not meeting anyone in his family for more than 5 minutes after a year of dating and being annoyed that he bails on you all the time, nor do they brush off your desire to spend time together with “I’m not dying tomorrow” and “I’m not going anywyere.” WTF is that? Doesn’t matter what you want, I’ll deal with you later, more or less. Basically, this guy you’ve been dating for a year, LW, is telling you that you’re the last person on his list of priorities.

    And, since you ask “How can we plan a future if I cannot see how I interact with his kids, family and friends?” the answer is that you cannot and he has shown you no indication tha he intends to ever create that future with you. If he did, he’d have introduced you to at least one other person he cares about by now. You’re not a part of his life; you’re a convenience for him. Take you out when it’s convenient. Put you away when it is not. This is not how a relationship works. Find someone who wants you in their life, convenient or not, easy or not, other priorities or not.

    1. Yeah, I don’t like how the guy is trying to influence her view of herself (you’re a drama queen for wanting more of my time) and of the relationship (no, you should stay! it’s going to work!).
      I think this LW just needs to trust her own view of the situation, that she’s not getting what she wants.

    2. I agree with Miss MJ. It’s extremely manipulative for the BF to call LW “manipulative” and “selfish” when she asks him for basic relationship considerations. Would you remain friends with someone who left you waiting outside their house continually and constantly cancelled plans with you? I wouldn’t plan a future with this jerk. You might love him but are you more in love with him or what you hope he could be to you someday? You can find a great dad and a personality that is a great match for you in a guy who prioritizes you. What are you getting out of this relationship. You can do way better!! MOA, don’t waste anymore time on this loser.

      1. Bittergaymark says:

        WTF? How can somebody whine and carry on so that their BF won’t — you know — just skip his kid’s birthday party and NOT be a selfish drama queen?

    3. Yeah, I wouldn’t take a break either, just MOA. I feel like with this LW, telling her to take a break is just getting her hopes up that he can change when obviously he can’t or won’t. Just DTMFA!

  11. I stopped reading as soon as I saw “I always come last”. That’s enough for me. That’s the relationship in a nutshell right there. Any relationship in which I come last is not a relationship I want to be a part of. You say he’s been divorced for six years and you’re the first serious girlfriend he’s had since? Warning sign, perhaps? Maybe this guy hasn’t figured out how to balance being a dad, an ex-husband and a boyfriend, but until he does, nothing is going to change. MOA, this relationship is not right for you.

  12. WWS. This guy may convince you to stay with him, & talks about loving you, & marriage, BUT his actions show that he’s not really planning a future with you. If he were, he would integrate you more into his life. Also, the “you’re over-reacting”, “you’re a drama queen” thing is shitty & it doesn’t gel with the high praise you’re giving him. Ditto for the “I’m not dying tomorrow” bullshit— I mean, damn, what a line. It’s perfect; he gets out of making ANY PLANS with that line.

    With that said, a few things in here did bug me. The kidney stones thing, like others have mentioned, as well as the “ex who uses him as an on-call taxi and babysitter” bit. Um, no.. he is a co-parent. He is co-parenting with his ex, & he ~chooses~ to drop everything rather than work out a different system, so don’t pin his behavior on his ex. I mean, you weren’t bad-mouthing her throughout the letter or anything, but that part rubbed me the wrong way?

    Basically, don’t go down the bitter, blaming-others path— just get out of this relationship ASAP. If a relationship makes you feel like a terrible person—if you’re exhibiting signs of *thinking* like an objectively “terrible person” (i.e. being jealous of his kids, etc.)— time to MOA.

  13. Great advice, Wendy.

    Question, does the ex even know your BF has a GF of 13 months? Do the kids? Or are you a secret from them. If so, that’s an even bigger red flag!

  14. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

    Oh man I wish Wendy could do my relationships for me. I’d be so good at them!

    1. You’d just tag in for the sex, cuddles, and breakfast burritos, and make Wendy do all the hard work! Boo!

      1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Yes! When I get my own country and free reign on drafting the code, that’ll be one of the first things I draft into law: Wendy has do all my relationships – but just the hard work part; I get the sex, cuddles, hugs, support (emotional, physical, financial, mental, and any other -al), but Wendy has to have all the tough tucks and, you know, communication. I will let her have some of my breakfast burrito though, that’s mean to withhold that.

      2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        *tough talks, ffs

  15. Yup!! And not just that, but never date a guy who accuses you of nagging to get you to shut up.

  16. lets_be_honest says:

    Kinda wanted to tear into this LW, but sigh, WWS.

    1. I was surprised, too.

  17. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

    Some people can’t handle dating people with kids. That is okay but you need to own it and not date them. Throwing a fit because your boyfriend won’t ditch his 7 year olds birthday party??? You will always be lower on the totem pole than his kids. That is being a good father. You think it sucks because he’s putting you after them? Imagine how the kids would feel then. Oh, and it’s not babysitting if you’re the father.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      Like you read my mind!

    2. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      I really really really hate when father’s spending time with/taking care of their children is called babysitting. Irks the bejesus out of me.

      1. It drives my husband nuts too when his buddies tell him they’re “babysitting” their own kids.

      2. Rangerchic says:

        I have a cousin who has 1 child with her husband. The kid is about 18 months. She refuses to leave her son with his own father because she doesn’t trust him. How can you be married to someone like that??? I mean seriously…she doesn’t trust him to take care of his own son. EEK.

    3. I totally agree with you on this. But I think the other side of the coin is that a father of four then also shouldn’t try to be in a serious relationship, because to make that work you just can’t constantly cancel plans.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        I’m torn on that. Maybe he was clear up front. Maybe he reminded her kids will always come first. Why should he miss out on a relationship simply because he cannot offer full time, guarantee-not-to-cancel dates just because he’s busy with kids sometimes? Maybe he wanted an easy going relationship that isn’t super serious. Obviously that last one is a stretch since he apparently talked marriage.

      2. Right. It’s all about being upfront about what you can (or can’t) offer to a partner. It just sounds like this guy is constantly canceling at the last minute, and also being late for dates etc. Even someone who wants an easy going relationship probably would’t be OK with that. It would be different if he’d say “hey, I can only see you once or twice a week in the evening”, but then honored those dates.

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        All true.

      4. I just thought of my mom and how she’s been in a relationship with my stepdad since I was about 14. My father and her had joint custody, and we alternated between their homes. So she would spend time with my stepdad mostly when we were at my father’s. I can’t remember ANY situations where one of my parents had to urgently go somewhere to pick me or my brother up while we were at the other’s house. I doubt that my mother canceled on my stepdad on short notice more than a handful of times. If you have a good arrangement between the parents, it should all work fine. I think this guy is super disorganized.

      5. starpattern says:

        I agree that this guy is probably incredibly disorganized. Kids will get sick or have the occasional emergency where a parent has to come to the rescue, but should that be happening all the time? Plus the fact that this guy apparently forgot about his daughter’s birthday party… =/ I mean how hard is it to keep up with the big stuff on your phone’s calendar or something?

  18. starpattern says:

    This has got to be hard. I have never dated a guy with kids – honestly how do you deal with that like a reasonable person? I would be pissed at my boyfriend if he were always canceling plans with me at the last second for any reason, but my boyfriend doesn’t have kids, so.

    It sounds like the LW has gone out of her way for awhile to be super understanding about his obligations with his kids, and her boyfriend is taking advantage of that by never considering her feelings at all… and now she is going a little nuts. Like Wendy said, if it is making you crazy and desperate enough that you are jealous of a 7 year old’s birthday party… that’s pretty bad. (Note my assumption that LW wouldn’t be this crazy and desperate normally – she sounds like a pretty mature person otherwise.)

  19. LW, so do you realize you have been reduced to a grown adult who got mad at someone for getting kidney stones, and a grown adult who wanted a father to ditch his own 7 year old birthday party? Like, objectively, do you realize how shitty of a person you have become? All of the other issues notwithstanding, when a situation turns you into a monster, you get out of it. Walk away.

    1. Bittergaymark says:

      You are all making a rather big assumption that any of these behaviors or attitudes are, in fact, “new” for her…

    2. painted_lady says:


      I was with her till the kidney stones and suggesting he miss his daughter’s party. But I think she’s probably so sensitive to being the dead last priority that everything seems like a slight, even things that are perfectly reasonable. It becomes a “Little Boy Who Cried Wolf” situation, sort of.

      I know I definitely got like this in my last relationship. I was the last priority, and after him un-inviting me to a weekend trip in favor of going with his roommate and getting stoned, canceling date nights with me because work called him in last minute (he would tell them he was busy when he had plans with other people) and forgetting that I’d been looking for a job when a job teaching theatre at a friend’s school came open, by the end I was flipping out on him for going on vacation with his family or going to the movies with a roommate and not inviting me. I am not that person, and I’m ashamed to say I did that shit. I don’t know why it never occurred to me to dump his ass, but I do know that I was so used to being dead last, eventually everything that he did felt hurtful.

  20. 1. It’s not called babysitting, it’s called being a father.

    2. Have you ever HAD a kidney stone?

    3. Um, skipping his 7 year old daughter’s birthday to hang out with his girlfriend would be a shitty thing to do.

    4. Look, you aren’t a priority to this guy. His kids are and always will be his number one priority. AND THAT’S HOW IT SHOULD BE.

  21. landygirl says:

    Square peg, round hole. You can keep trying to shove that square peg inside that round hole, but all you’ll get is frustrated. You knew what you were getting into when you started dating a guy with children. If you don’t like it, go find a guy who doesn’t have any. He isn’t the last man on earth.

  22. Grilledcheesecalliope says:

    LW – Your boyfriend sounds like an asshole. I honestly think you’d feel unimportant and like not a priority even if he didn’t have kids. It would be his job, or friends, or his aging parents, his dog or whatever. Kids are just a convenient excuse because what person tells someone they spend too much time with their children, saying that would make you “crazy” and “jealous”. Nevermind that a little forethought would prevent all that plan cancelling while stll allowing him to be a father. Just break up, you have too much life ahead of you.

  23. Honey, at 13 months in, marriage shouldn’t be discussed if you haven’t even MET the damned kids.

    He isn’t willing to let you meet them, therefore marriage isn’t a serious consideration for him. It’s pillow talk, baby. Just something to say. Something to keep you hooked. (yes, I threw in an Army of Darkness line in there)

    If you don’t meet the kids within the next 30 days, walk away. Do you want kids of your own? If so, does he want more (can he have more?)? It’s time to start getting serious about your partnership. This is a lopsided partnership and after this long, I wouldn’t want to waste MY time.

    You aren’t being a drama queen, you’re asking for reasonable requests. Meet the kids, help plan things, stop dropping the outings, stop making you wait (and if so, let you wait in comfort). If he can’t do that, then the two of you don’t need to be dating, period.

    1. Oh, and any parent who CAN be at a birthday party WILL be at a birthday party. It’s just the way things are. You have to deal with that.

  24. Bittergaymark says:

    I thought the tone of Wendy’s advice was oddly hostile towards the father. FINALLY somebody actually puts his kids first over their piece of ass and he’s a terrible person? Really? Um, fuck no! If more people dragged their feet so about introducing their kids to their lovers — the world would be a much better place… Just go out and ask kids who’ve had the pleasure of riding the stepfuck of the week merry-go-round…

    This is who your boyfriend is, LW. This is presently ALL he can offer right now. Frankly, this all he SHOULD offer right now…

    NEWSFLASH: If you want to be the center of somebody’s fucking universe… DON’T go for somebody who has four kids.

    Jesus! This isn’t fucking rocket science people.

    1. landygirl says:

      Dear Wendy,

      What should I do, I keep banging my head against the wall but the only thing that happens is I get a headache. The wall is a great wall, strong and sturdy with nice pictures on it. Why doesn’t the wall understand that it hurts me every time I bash my head into it? I keep hoping it will change but nothing ever does and it’s as unbending as ever. How do I get the wall to change to what I want instead of it being what it is?

    2. FWIW – we don’t know if he is actually putting the kids first or using them as a convenient excuse. She’s never met them or experienced them in any setting… for all we know he’s just a selfish asshole who uses his kids as a get out of jail free card so that he can keep being a selfish asshole.

      One can be a great, focused parent without leaving their significant other sitting in the freakin’ car waiting for his precious ass to come home. He’s saying one thing and acting another way entirely… that’s why I at least am reacting somewhat hostile towards him. It would be one thing if the LW was entirely me me me… but she is suggesting ways to interact with the kids and grow as a couple and just getting the shaft.

      Dude isn’t serious and should stop pretending he is with all the marriage talk. LW should pay more attention to actions than words.

    3. After a year of dating, meeting the children is actually considered normal, unless he doesn’t actually consider her marriage material and he’s just stringing her along because he likes having regular sex.
      By a year, he would have figured out whether or not she is safe and stable enough to meet the kids, in which case, if she wasn’t, why is he still dating her?

      Yes, she has her flaws, but there’s something very fishy with him too. I just think they need to break up and find other people after some serious reflection.

      1. Bittergaymark says:

        Anybody who would even suggest that you skip your kid’s birthday party is NOT marriage material for rather obvious reasons…

  25. SpaceySteph says:

    I’m kinda torn. Like yeah he doesn’t seem like a very good boyfriend and the volume of complaints would indicate that obviously you’re not happy and should MOA but… some of the complaints are kind of ridiculous.
    I mean his ex wife asks him to “come get his kids” and he does; that’s kind of what happens when you have children, you drop stuff to take care of them. How lucky for him that rather than some messy court custody relationship he is able to see his kids all the time. And how lucky for his kids they have a dad in their life.

    And then you’re so mad he missed your bday for a kidney stone but yet want him to skip his daughter’s bday to hang out with you?

    But the fact remains, you’re not happy that your boyfriend doesn’t have the kind of time you want him too. That’s ok. But you need to break up with him and date people who don’t have kids from now on.

  26. LW, you’re not cut out for dating someone with a young child. There’s no shame in it. Your bf isn’t the bad guy here. He’s just got different priorities than you want him to have, and that’s his right. Just break up with him once and for all and find someone whose life is more compatible with yours.

    1. Bittergaymark says:

      Yeah. I remain astounded at how so here many think he’s a jerk. A sad commentary of the views of both men and fatherhood…

      1. Avatar photo meadowphoenix says:

        He’s not a jerk because he’s trying to father. He’s a jerk because he can’t balance family and dating AND when she wants to break up with him because it’s clearly not working begs her to stay like she should be fine with being ignored.

      2. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        No. But honestly? Much of complaints are such b.s. “how dare he NOT bail on his daughter’s birthday! he missed mind due to a lousy little kidney stone.” I have trouble taking her seriously… And don’t get me started on posters who think he is faking being a good dad just so he can be a jerk….

      3. See my clarification post below, he wasn’t passing a kidney stone that day, he was at doctors appointment for tests, which since he doesn’t work a normal schedule you would think he could schedule it at a different time, it’s more about the lack of respect for my own time and the broken promises, don’t tell me you’re going to for sure come or do something if you can not

      4. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        In the world of grown ups … Shit happens. Plans change.

      5. landygirl says:

        If it happened to you enough times you’d be annoyed too.

  27. sarolabelle says:

    you and this guy are on two different relationship stages. He is in the “Fun dating stage” and you are in “I want a commitment stage”….

    From right now do not text, email, facebook or call the dude. Let him do the work. Get pursued by him. Let him to make all plans. If he doesn’t, make your own plans that don’t involve him. If he just calls and texts you every now and then and his plans consist only of “come over and bone me” well then girl, you are his booty call and that’s it.

  28. I just want to give everyone some more info that seems to be the center of the conversation and an update (I’m the LW):

    I guess I should have been more clear on a few things :

    He wasn’t passing a kidney stone on my birthday, it was a doctors apt since he has frequent kidney stones, to do tests and check ups

    I was NOT asking him to skip his daughters birthday, I was askin him not to do it at his exes house where I was not invited yet his and her family was, I even offered to take his daughter out or said to have a separate party

    But one of the readers hit it on the head, it is building resentment and little things here and there will not solve it

    Also, short of following him around…no I don’t know what he’s doing “for sure” which is a point I have made to him several times as well

    When I say “on call baby sitter”, to me at least it seems like that because a lot of things happen last minute more than just an emergency that should have been planned in advance, for example, she doesn’t stick to the days that are supposed to be his, he may get his daughter on a Friday or he may not depending on “what she feels like” , then if she knows he has plans she will pick her daughter up 6 hrs late or even the next day with no notice (again I have no way of knowing anything for certain)

    I understand that kids do come first, that’s why I stated that I never thought I’d date someone with 4 kids, I mean it would be nice to come in at least 2n or 3rd (but with 4 kids I will always be 5 th) I have told told him if you ant handle me and kids and have adequate time for both then maybe we cannot be together

    I do not pay for everyone, just almost all for the past few months since his new contract doesn’t start till November, but it does get to me a lot which adds more resentment

    As for the adaption question. He divorced his ex right after he found her cheating but even divorced he adopted the child so that she could grow up with a father and the other kids wouldn’t treat her differently

    As for an update: after realizing how serious I was he gave me a key and let me meet his 19 year old son (it was however only a half hr car ride with not much dialog)

    Of course none of this will magically solve the issue and I still have a lot of pent up resentment. If I don’t text or call he definitely will text and call me that day if not the very earliest the next morning.

    I have a big decision to make right now and I know that, it’s just easier said than done to completely cut ties and walk away.

    1. I like the clarifications. But I would say that you need to realize that the ex-wife will always be there and she might not ever welcome you into her home. So with birthdays, holidays, graduations, you might not be there and you need to think if you can live that way. Think about this very seriously because it is not for the faint of heart.

      My husband had a step grandfather who was a widower just like his grandmother and they were married for 35 years before he passed away. In that time, the kids from their two relationships met twice and the last time they laid eyes on each other was at the wedding 35 years ago. At the funeral, I thought this was really weird because these were step brother and sisters but they kept the families and holidays separate. This might be extreme, but my point is that you may never really fit into the family that came before you.

      1. Avatar photo theattack says:

        What Bunny said.

        As unfair as some of it may be to you, for the most part it’s either something you can accept or you can’t. There’s not much room to change family dynamics as a step parent.

    2. Avatar photo meadowphoenix says:

      Don’t get involved with people who have acrimonious or no boundary relationships with their exes who they will be involved with, kids or no.

      Break up with him because he doesn’t know how or isn’t willing to balance his life, and you don’t have to wait until that happens before you can leave.

    3. landygirl says:

      I’m guessing his ex-wife knows he is dating you and is reacting to that. It doesn’t matter that she was the one to break up the relationship, she still wants him at her beck and call and he puts up with it or else she might withhold the child from him.

      Anyway, things aren’t going to change, he still has 11 years before his daughter is of age and she will always be ahead of you. Don’t stay with someone who doesn’t add to your life in a positive way. Also, if you want children, you should discuss this with him now instead of waiting a few years and then finding out he got a vasectomy.

    4. SpaceySteph says:

      “I was NOT asking him to skip his daughters birthday, I was askin him not to do it at his exes house where I was not invited yet his and her family was, I even offered to take his daughter out or said to have a separate party”

      I still think this is a ridiculous request, to change the birthday plans, to not have the bday party at the child’s mother’s house just because of you, to have the daughter swap a bday party at her mom’s house so she can go out to dinner with dad’s girlfriend?

      The poor girl has divorced parents who, luckily enough, can be in the same room as each other. But yet you want her to instead have separate birthdays for each parent for you?

      Honestly, it’s ok to not be a kid person. And its ok to not want to come 5th behind your boyfriend’s 4 kids, or to be selfish about your own needs. But that’s not what being a parent is about. I think you need to cut and run.

      1. OP sepeaking….really? its ridiculous to ask him NOT to go to his exes house with her family and his family where I am NOT invited? If I was invited I wouldn’t ask him not to go, be real, she made that decision not to allow me yet she dated one of his daughters 18 year old friends and she throws herself at him? Sorry I didn’t have kids irresponsibly, that wasn’t my relationship, she choose to cheat on him and have a baby with another man, so sorry if I think this child would be happy to have 2 parties the same weekend instead of one. I AM a kid person, but I am terrified of birth. I welcome kids into my life if I was INCLUDED in theirs and the family life. There’s a difference.

      2. Yes, it is ridiculous to ask a father to not go to his daughter’s birthday party. Period. Full stop.

      3. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        Nothing has changed. You’re being ridiculous and terrible.

    5. “I have told told him if you cant handle me and kids and have adequate time for both then maybe we cannot be together”

      You told him this, but you’re not sticking to your guns. He obviously has proven he can’t handle both. Don’t make empty threats you’re not going to follow through on. I think you’re expecting a reasonable amount of commitment and attention for him and it’s clear he’s just never going to give that to you.

  29. I was with you right up until, “He had kidney stones, but come on.” No, YOU come on, man. That isan unreasonable expectation, but everything else made it pretty clear he’s not capable of balancing the father roleand the boyfriend role. Or, possibly, he can but he won’t. Either way, it’s time to peace out.

  30. Lily in NYC says:

    Boy have I been in your shoes! Except that my BF and I never fought about it because it seems like he was a lot more considerate than yours – but I still ended the relationship because I knew I would always be his lowest priority after his kids and work (he is a journalist covering war zones and travels a lot). This guy is NEVER EVER going to make you his main priority. And it’s ok to want that in a relationship. Something just smells fishy with this guy – there’s no reason you should not have met his grown children after 13 months.

  31. I have to admit I’d be annoyed in your shoes. I had to institute a “thing” with my ex where his weekend was his weekend and no I didn’t care if he felt shitty or the kids did, he could parent them just as well as I could and I got to parent them when I was sick so he could too, etc. I was really firm that yes if you need a sitter when they’re with you guess what, that sitter is NOT ME because I was sick of being the default parent. He resisted for about six weeks, then after seeing how it was being the default, he got it and so now I’m more agreeable. But… that experience would lead me to find this arrangement impossible.

    And yeah I think he’s still with babymana. A year? That’s just ridiculous. He doesn’t need to introduce you as New Mommy but oh hey this is Jane who I work with we’re hanging out and hiking. Why is it people don’t want to model opposite sex friendships to their kids?

  32. Sue Jones says:

    If you are going to date a guy with kids, you just need to suck it up that they come first. Otherwise, do not date a guy with kids.

  33. I think she should expect to come after his kids …. I wouldn’t trust a guy who put his kids last. But he should include her they have been dating long enough. I also think she hasn’t met the kids, is not allowed to be around the wife that is a red flag. He could have other girlfriends and using kids as an excuse of why he’s breaking plans, he could still be seeing his ex or he’s just not really serious about her. If he was serious about her and thought they were going somewhere then after 13 months she’d have met the kids at least and be more intertwined in the life than kept separate.

  34. Avatar photo Cleopatra_30 says:

    Is it just more, or does this letter sound familiar?? i feel like there was one just like this a while ago…idk maybe i am just going through deja vu?

  35. How can you honestly think that a parent can just refuse to pick up their child or skip their daughter’s birthday simply because they want to hang out with their significant other? And why not just wait to go to his house until he’s home instead of waiting outside while he’s busy or in traffic?

    I get the point here, but the examples, IMO, come across as kind of out of touch. To me, it’s not about what the boyfriend does and whether it’s OK so much as that the LW is clearly not happy and is not getting what she wants.

    LW, you probably shouldn’t date someone with kids because it seems like you don’t want to share him. That doesn’t make you a bad person, but f you know that you can’t handle dating a dad, then it’s not fair to either of you for you to date him anyway and then bitch about him all the time.

    1. I get out of work around 430/5pm, he tells me he will be home say around 5 but then I end up waiting at times till between 530-6pm. I cannot simply just “go home” first since I commute an hr in the opposite direction to work, it doesn’t logically make any sense, so the options are wait around for him, figure out something else to do for an hr (which I have done but sometimes you just really want to go home and not do errands) or get a key so you don’t have to wait, after a full day of work I don’t think you’d be happy about wasting 30-60 mins a day either…by not finding a solution or arriving past the times he says he will be somewhere that to me (and maybe that’s how I was raised) is sayin that his time is more important than my time

      1. After waiting for 10 minutes, I’d say screw it and go home. He can figure out that your time is valuable.

        Actually no, I wouldn’t do that. I’d just stay late at work or read a book or something and not even notice that someone is late because I’m perpetually late and wouldn’t be phased unless there was some super important event going on.

      2. Well, yeah, I wouldn’t be happy about wasting 30-60 mins a day, so I probably wouldn’t do it. Depending on how often he does it, he might just be bad at estimating times or maybe he’s the type who is late a lot (you’d know that better than us), but regardless, it’s the situation where you should be given a key. Expecting you to wait outside his house for an hour is ridiculous, and I doubt that I’d be willing to meet him there after work anymore if he’d made me do it. Just because logically, it makes no sense for someone who gets off work at 4:30/5 to meet someone possibly at 5:30/6 at their home if they are not given a key.

        So, for me, if he wasn’t willing to give me a key after this had happened previously, then I’d expect him to come to my house instead.

  36. I find it super sketchy that you’ve barely interacted with anyone he knows. I dated a guy with a 7 year old daughter. We were never officially boyfriend and girlfriend, but I knew his closest friends and some of his family. I would go out with just his friends while he was working and meet up wit him later. I didn’t meet his daughter because neither one of us felt that was appropriate. (To each their own, but I don’t want to meet someone’s children unless I’m pretty friggin sure I’m in it for the long haul because it would kill me to lose them if we broke up). So yeah…I get why you haven’t met the kids. That’s not that odd, even after 13 months. But what about his friends and his family? Or coworkers? Or something that definitely says “I’m most certainly not banging my ex and/or still married”?

    And the forgetting the kid’s birthday party is sketchy as well. Well mostly that he’s canceling last minute for his kids. Again, this is based on my experience, but the guy I dated had things with his daughter planned well in advance. Obviously things come up – kids are an awesome upheaval to the most organized of schedules – but still. Especially if you’re splitting custody, you kind of have to plan ahead. This guy never cancelled on me once for his daughter. He’d always let me know when he had her for the weekend or was going to her Girl Scouts meeting or whatever the thing was. I didn’t resent that at all – honestly I would have been completely disgusted if he sacrificed time with his daughter for me. Family is forever.

    1. That’s exactly the point I was trying to convey while trying to manage to keep the letter at a reasonable length, if readers read what I wrote, I never said I asked him not to spend time with or see his kids, I wouldn’t do that, what’s disrespectful and what I am asking for is adequate time spent with me and the kids, better planning and foresight as to how to mitigate potential problems in scheduling ahead of time. If the days where each parent got the child was more strictly adhered to then I would know what to expect on a given day or if say the birthday party was remembered I wouldn’t have had a broken promise in the first place. I received many good pieces of advice on both sides and very much appreciate the insite to dealing w children and divorce as my family is unfamiliar with a lot of these issues.

  37. I missed this post before so maybe it’s all resolved now and everyone’s happy. But if not, and if you’re still wondering about meeting his kids…maybe they don’t want to meet you. Three of them are grown. Technically adults, who can make their own decisions. Look, I’m sure you’re a lovely person, but maybe they just…don’t care. And if he’s not making time to see you as well, well, maybe he just doesn’t care much either.

  38. Leslie Joan says:

    @Shannon, it’s hard to tell whether he’s just disorganized and forgetful as heck, or whether his ex is really not communicating well and keep deliberately (or not) springing stuff on him at the last minute. Maybe it’s a little of both, or maybe ex has a highly variable schedule. Certainly all the changes in pickup times with the 7 year old seem fishy to me, and I’ve done the single parent routine for many years. I was widowed early with 2 small kids, and I would never string someone along the way you are being strung. Even WITH kids, I’m sorry, that’s just inconsiderate, and unless there are some special circumstances, someone is either a piss poor planner, or may as well still be married since she still owns and controls him. If it is due to ex wife’s hostility or capriciousness, then this is different than he’s disorganized, though from a practical standpoint it may not make a difference to your relationship, what there is of it: if he’s continually on call and dancing to his ex’s tune, and isn’t allowed to have the time to have any kind of a life of his own, then there just won’t be the time to have any kind of relationship. I think it’s hilarious that people suspect he’s still schtupping her – as though it’s always gotta be about sex, or as though that’s the worst that can happen. I don’t think sex has anything to do with it, but he can still very much be “married” to her based on the fact that she’s leading him around by the nose, and he’s not insisting on having a more systematic schedule for the kids. And yes, this IS possible without shortchanging the kids. Maybe the two of them are both disorganized. I dunno. I just think that she’s got full control over his life and his schedule, and that’s fine with her and him both. And that would be a problem for anyone.

    I think that you have reason to feel frustrated because of how he’s dismissed your concerns all along. Although I will tell you one way to avoid feeling resentment is only to give what you feel comfortable giving freely, and then clearly state your choices. You can only control your reaction. In the case of getting hung out without the key, that would happen no more than 2 times before I would simply decline to do that again. If he doesn’t want to give me a key, that’s fine. I’ll be elsewhere, happily, because I value my time and detest being strung along. If you aren’t able to plan things in such a way as to avoid stringing me along, then it’ll have to happen some other time, if at all. Otherwise you teach people to feed you a bunch of excuses and to take you for granted. Not good.

    Even a single parent can know how to value and care for a kid while still having a relationship. They just have to want to. I don’t think he does, or he would have treated you with more consideration all along instead of just putting you off. And if he actually is deluded enough to think that you should eventually marry him, when he keeps you, not just at arm’s length, but in another friggen zip code, then this tells you something important about the way he thinks, and it’s not good. It says you’re a convenience and an afterthought and can’t balance multiple responsibilities for shit.

    You say that the divorce happened because his ex had an affair and a kid. But what was their relationship like BEFORE then? With kids so old, he got married very young. Just because he’s 38 doesn’t mean he’s had the opportunity to pick up any relationship skills at any point along the way. If he treated his ex the way he’s treating you, no wonder she was stepping out.

    My gut tells me that it may already be too late for you two. First off, I don’t know that you want to be with a partner who fills your ears with a lot of romantic bullshit but doesn’t put in the day to day work to listen to you when you’ve been there a long time. He’s VERY dismissive, which I think contributes to your overreacting. Not being heeded is fatal to relationships. And now he’s playing catch up – whoop dee friggen doo. Do you want someone who only acts when you’ve already got one foot out the door? Only you can answer that for you, but it will be a continual source of bitterness.

  39. Leslie Joan says:

    ….”and HE can’t balance multiple responsibilities…” Left out a word, sorry!

  40. LW, all things and all comments in mind, you’re this guy’s booty call, packaged in pretty “girlfriend” wrapping paper, with a bow on top. The only reason he hasn’t had a “girlfriend” between the divorce and you is that his previous dates all bailed PDQ after they scoped out the lay of the land.
    This man is SO stringing you along with words you want to hear. Wake up!!!: whatever happened to “Actions speak louder than words”? He doesn’t want you in his family – he merely wants you available for his leisure.
    I’m with the MOA camp. Not just because of how he’s treating you now, but also because the well’s already poisoned: no matter how long you were to stick it out with him (say, two decades?) he’ll always prioritize his kids, even as adults, over you. And he’ll continue to belittle your point of view. He’s already working against, not with, you. Do you really want to live a lifetime of that?
    Find yourself a single man closer to your age and definitely without kids.

  41. Questions says:

    Are you sure he’s divorced? It seems like he’s gone to great lengths to keep you away from his life and constantly cancelling on you for his family? I don’t think they know about you and I question whether or not he’s actually separated.

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