I’ve got three letters for you today:
Rachel has called me and told me she and Robert are in an open relationship. I told him this would not work, I can’t do it, and I would need to let him go. He begged me to stay, promising that he wants me and he will figure a way to end it with her. His family members all know Rachel, and while they don’t like her, they have accepted her. He wants to break it to his family first and then have them meet me, before they find out from her. So, in a few days I’m meeting his entire family. He still has not figured out a way to explain me to them, though. He says that he wants to be with just me, that we are a better fit, and that he cannot go back to sharing a girlfriend. He does not bat an eye when she goes out with her boyfriend every weekend, but he cries when I tell him I should go out and date, too. It hurts him to think about.
My question is: am I just being conned like every other girl out there whose guy says he will leave the “other” girl? Since I’m meeting his entire family, should it count for something? I should mention that she originally planned to move here in August to live with him, but he told her on the phone in front of me that it was no longer possible and that he could not live with her. Please give advice. — Not Into Sharing
I absolutely would NOT meet any of his family, let along his entire family, when the state of your relationship with him is so ambiguous and he’s still involved with another woman. Why on earth does he need to “break it to his family” in the first place? I am assuming you all are adults here; there’s no reason to pull moms and dads and aunties and whomever into your love life, especially when a relationship hasn’t even begun.
Honestly, there are enough red flags here that you should be pumping the brakes pretty steadily. The whole “I’m so needy” line is bullshit, too, and it sounds like you’re both using it. His tears over your saying you want to date someone are disingenuous. Your “neediness” is disingenuous. Everyone needs to grow up and say what you actually mean: “I don’t have the emotional wherewithal to date someone who is also dating someone else.” It’s not needy to express your boundaries, and if your boundaries don’t include open relationships of any kind, you sure as shit should not be heading to some family reunion as the new girlfriend of a guy who’s in a relationship with another woman, stop the madness.
I’m not sure I understand why Robert hasn’t broken up with Rachel? He says he’s in love with you and wants to be with you and that he does not want an open relationship or to share a girlfriend with other men, so there’s literally no reason for him to still be with Rachel. If he can’t dump her, he’s not being totally honest with you about something, and you should run fast away from him. If he CAN dump Rachel, and you two pursue a relationship together, you need to give it some time to develop before you commit to him and before you go meeting his whole family.
So, my question is: Should I take my sons and run or continue to fight it out? We are not married but I know that, without me and her boys, she will fall into drugs and die or just kill herself straight out. Is it right to stay for the love of my sons and to keep them with their mother? She is a better mother than spouse and none of this has affected them. — Desperate Dad
You are in denial if you think their mother’s being an addict and an active alcoholic with DUIs and the threat of imprisonment isn’t affecting your sons! You’re in denial if you think the cops being called to your home on a regular basis doesn’t faze them. It absolutely is having an effect on them, and just because you can’t or won’t see it, doesn’t mean this behavior and environment isn’t damaging them. It is.
And, you know, at a certain point you have to change the narrative from “I love her so I forgave her and I stayed” to “I love her, but I love myself and I love my kids and need to protect us and keep us safe and happy, so I am leaving.” And then you do your very best to create a safe and happy home for yourself and your children and let their mother focus on herself and maybe use a breakup and loss of her children as a motivator to finally, really get the help she needs to turn her life around. If losing her children won’t motivate her to do/be/get better, I promise you: your staying with her sure isn’t going to do the trick.
You have to prioritize the well-being of your kids, and their staying with a deeply, deeply troubled, out-of-control mother is not the way to do it. It’s time for you to end your romantic relationship with her, take her boys away, and focus on being the best dad you can be, relying on whatever support system you hopefully have in place to help you. You can’t control what happens to your sons’ mother, but you can control your own behavior and decisions, and your staying with with this and keeping your children in such a volatile environment is NOT the right decision.
Recently, she has experienced a lot of difficult life changes which makes me think she may have forgotten about our original agreement. While I feel like it may be impolite to remind her, I also feel uncomfortable being out the money I spent on her request; it was more than what I can afford to spend on a friend. Do you think I should remind her to pay me back and risk things potentially becoming awkward in our friendship, or should I simply let it go? — Out Money and Uncertain
If reminding someone to reimburse you for items they promised to reimburse you for will threaten your friendship, then your friendship wasn’t strong enough to withstand much more time anyway. Shoot your friend a note or call her up and say: “Hey, I’ve been thinking about you because I know you’ve had a lot going on in your life and I hope you’re doing ok. I’m here if you ever want to talk. Also, with everything on your plate, you probably forgot about reimbursing me for those items I sent you a while back. Things are a bit tight for me financially, so when you have a chance, please send me Blank Dollars. My Venmo/Paypal is Blank. Thank you! And, again, I’ve been thinking about you and am here if you ever want to talk.”
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.