Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Morning Quickies: “I’m Still Living with my Ex and I Feel Stuck”

Four years ago I got involved with a man in a relationship that went south very quickly. This man stole my concert tickets and then asked to borrow my car, only to cheat on me and ride another woman around in my car. I forgave him and put our past dealings aside trying to remain friends, but, two and a half years later, this man decided to end our friendship and stop taking my calls. I couldn’t figure out what I had done wrong. Six months after that he lost his job and got kicked out of his apartment. He had nowhere to go, so I decided to be a good person and let him move in with me.

It’s been a year and a half and he’s still living with me as my roommate. And I do mean roommate. I live in a house with four other people so this man and I are forced to share a bed. We fight all the time. Every time we’re together we fight. He wants me to cook his meals, wash his clothes, drive him to work, lend him money. I feel so trapped. I don’t know what to do. People don’t believe that we aren’t actually dating or that we aren’t having sex. The only thing going on in our bed is fighting and sleeping. He gets mad if I accidently brush against him in his sleep, so we end up fighting about that.

Please help me; my ex-boyfriend is driving me mad. I can’t kick him out; I promised that I would let him stay until he got himself on his feet, but every time he seems like he’s going somewhere he gets fired. Then I have to drive him around while he searches for a new job. He has a hard time finding jobs because of a past conviction. I bailed him out of jail twice back when we were dating, but it seems like he’s always getting into trouble. I want us to get along, but nothing seems to work. What should I do? — Tired of Fighting

Oh, honey. I don’t know at what point in your life you got the message that you were forever responsible for the happiness of someone you once loved, or who once loved you, but that simply isn’t the case. Even if this man had been kind to you (which he hasn’t been) and even if you two had a loving relationship (which you do not), you wouldn’t owe him what you have given him. There’s a word for the role you are playing in this man’s life and it’s “an enabler,” and there’s a word for him — well, there are several words for him, but let’s go with “manipulator.” He sees in you someone he can manipulate and control and bend to his whim. He does not love you or care about you. And yet, he has you convinced that you owe him something. He has you convinced you are obligated to provide him all the basic necessities of a comfortable life, but you aren’t.

The reason people believe you must be dating is that no one would put up with the shit you’ve been putting up with if they weren’t at the very least blinded by the promise of reciprocated love (even if that promise were a falsehood). You don’t even have that. This guy has already told you that you mean nothing to him. He cut you out of his life with nary an explanation, and, yet, you took him back. It makes no sense. What are you doing? What are you thinking? I can only imagine you’ve been brainwashed or you’ve had such a deficit of love in your life that the warmth of this man’s body next to yours in your bed brings you a comfort you don’t find elsewhere, and for that I’m sorry. There is richer and better and more loving comfort than this and you are deserving of it.

Please, kick this guy out of your bed and your home and tell him, finally, that his problems are his problems and no longer yours. You owe him nothing. You owe yourself so much more.

I stumbled on your website while sitting up waiting on my husband to return home from hanging out with his friends. We have been married two years and have both a 5-year-old child and a baby on the way. Three to four times a week my husband goes out with his friends. I feel like the kids and I don’t matter to him. I can text, call, and beg him to come home, but all I get is the “you’re controling me” line; I’m sick of it. I cry myself to sleep. We work together and he uses that as an excuse for wanting to be with his friends, saying that we see each other every day at work. His daughter will cry and beg him not to leave, but he walks out the door anyway.

Am I stupid for loving a man who acts like his friends are more important than his own family? He smokes cigarettes and drinks beer and, when I ask him to slow down on his habits so we can save for our daughter and new baby, he says he doesn’t have to give anything up. I left him once before with our child and he went to treatment. And today when we argue, he throws it in my face that he will just go back to treatment because he didn’t have any responsibilities there. When I want to go out with my friends, he throws a fit so I don’t go.

What should I do? I love this man so much. We have been together six years. — Sick of It

 
You should leave him. This is not what love looks like. He doesn’t love you. It doesn’t sound like he even loves your children. I don’t know what lines he’s feeding you to make you believe there’s a glimmer of hope for your relationship, but I can tell you there’s not. There is literally zero hope for your relationship. I’m sorry to tell you this. I wish I had a better prediction for you, but I don’t. The words and actions of your husband are not the words and actions of someone who loves and cares about you or your children. Please, get yourself to a family attorney, file for divorce, sue for all the support you are entitled to, and get on with your life.

Love is powerful. And I believe you love this man. But he doesn’t love you back. But I believe there is love out there for you that IS reciprocal. You won’t find it as long as you are tied to this man who takes and takes and gives nothing back. Free yourself of him. Open yourself to the possibility of more. Open yourself to the love of your children, to the love of your friends whom you’ve been forbidden to see, and, eventually, to the love of a man who genuinely deserves you and who will be happy to give you his love.

***************

Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.

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

27 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Ale July 31, 2018, 8:49 am

    LW1 “nothing seems to work” well, how about KICKING HIS ASS out? That could work.
    Like, kicking his ass out of your bed first. Why the fuck do you sleep in the same bed with him? Jesus Christ.
    Love yourself a little more. Just a tiny bit. Please.

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  • avatar

    Hannanas July 31, 2018, 9:31 am

    I love these thoughtful replies, Wendy! I just wanna hug these LW’s, grab their faces and go: GET OUT, GET OUT NOW!

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  • avatar

    CCL July 31, 2018, 9:39 am

    LW1 sounds like my friend who is doing almost the exact same thing and I just shake my head. Always such drama, but she invites it in. The guy she moved in, her ex, is such a douche that I can’t be around him. She talks about all the house drama and I want to tell her she knew what she was getting involved in. Good luck getting him out of the house now! Gah!

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  • avatar

    JD July 31, 2018, 9:41 am

    LW1: I’m sorry but WHAT? You can’t make him leave because you said you wouldn’t?? I said I was going to marry Prince William when I was 7 but here we are. Grow a set and kick him out. Good grief.

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    • honeybeenicki

      honeybeenicki July 31, 2018, 10:03 am

      Hell, yesterday I said I wasn’t going to eat a brownie for breakfast today, but here we are.
      LW – kick him out – of your bed, your house, and your life. This is ridiculous. You are not responsible for him. And then please block him everywhere.

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      • avatar

        JD July 31, 2018, 10:04 am

        Shit I ate a brownie too yesterday. I found it hidden (I hid it). It is also the only thing that stayed down yesterday as I was in bed vomiting with a crazy fever all day.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark July 31, 2018, 9:42 am

    LW1) why do so many people equate being a good person with being a fucking doormat? Seriously.
    .
    LW2) Eh… here I wildly disagree with Wendy… Something is missing from this story. Are you crazy clingy? How is your work relationship? Being together 24/7 is often a recipe for disaster. The constant texting and begging and pleading and even the enlisting of the children snacks of batshitcrazy behavior.

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    • avatar

      JD July 31, 2018, 11:03 am

      I agree that some part of the story is missing. I got a clingy vibe. Begging him not to leave to go out with his friends is over the top. I also think mother is projecting this to the child if the child is also throwing a fit when dad leaves. I am not saying he isn’t in the wrong in some way but a lot more information is needed to get the real story.

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      • othy

        othy August 1, 2018, 2:57 pm

        I get the vibe that the LW is mentally exhausted and has a husband who leaves all of the responsibilities to her four nights a week. I would be very surprised if she got to have even a day a week out with her friends.

        Either way, thought, it’s best they separate.

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    • avatar

      Northern Star July 31, 2018, 11:23 am

      “when we argue, he throws it in my face that he will just go back to treatment because he didn’t have any responsibilities there. When I want to go out with my friends, he throws a fit so I don’t go.”

      Unless this is just a lie, it’s pretty damning evidence that LW 2 is dealing with a man who regrets being a father and doesn’t want to have to deal with his kids on his OWN (what would happen if mom went out with her pals instead of staying home watching the kids while he parties).

      If this is accurate, her husband is a lame-ass excuse for a father and man.

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      • avatar

        JD July 31, 2018, 11:29 am

        Or he is responding any way he can to her insane neediness and controlling behavior. I’d want to get the hell away too if someone was up my ass every time I attempted to walk out the door.

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      • avatar

        Northern Star July 31, 2018, 11:39 am

        I don’t think an intelligent way to deal with a clingy wife is to drop-kick spending any time with your kid. And to get your clingy wife pregnant AGAIN with ANOTHER kid you intend to neglect. That makes you… a poor excuse for a father and man. Just like I said.

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      • avatar

        JD July 31, 2018, 11:44 am

        And my point was there is clearly some missing information.

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      • avatar

        ron July 31, 2018, 11:59 am

        I basically agree with Northern Star, but will add that it also may be evidence that this guy is still addicted to his substance(s) of choice and that LW made a very poor decision to marry and have children with an addict. Wasn’t the problem totally apparent after child #1? This guy is going out to get high/plastered and to avoid helping care for young children.

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      • avatar

        bondgirl July 31, 2018, 12:12 pm

        I’m with Northern Star. Regardless of how clingy LW2 could be, that still doesn’t excuse the husband of ANY parental duties. She didn’t hop on herself and get pregnant. He helped create these children and needs to take care of them as any father should be doing. But clearly that ain’t happening so divorce attorney and setting up custody payments would be in LW’s best interest. Hopefully she has enough family support to help her out, she’s gonna need it.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph July 31, 2018, 3:51 pm

        Yeah I’m with you on this Northern Star. Dude goes out 3-4 times a week and his spending habits interfere with saving for their children? She could be the clingiest shrew in the world, but that doesn’t excuse him from being a father.

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  • Copa

    Copa July 31, 2018, 9:46 am

    The idea of sharing a bed with an ex after we’ve broken up, and when I can’t stand him, really icks me out.

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  • avatar

    Northern Star July 31, 2018, 10:06 am

    “He had nowhere to go so I decided to be a good person and let him move in with me.”

    That doesn’t make you a good person. It frightens me that you think so. You get zero morality points for doing something so incredibly STUPID. Being a “good person” doesn’t mean letting someone use you and abuse you. I doubt your roommates are thrilled with having this useless slug taking up their living space—ask THEM if they think a “good person” does this to her roommates and herself.

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  • avatar

    anonymousse July 31, 2018, 10:10 am

    It’s really sad that these ladies have grown up to believe or conditioned to believe that any of this is okay.

    LW1 & LW2…you need to speak to a therapist.
    LW1: Talk to your roommates and have them or some friends help you to tell him he must leave. Now. Today. He is not your child. You are not responsible for him. From the beginning, all he has done to you have been bad things. He has used you. Why allow this man into your life? Give him a list of shelters and change your locks. Have the police predialed if you need to.

    LW2: If he cant be convinced to spend time with his child now, why are you having another with him? Think of the damage that’s being done to your daughter as she begs him to stay, and he walks out to get drunk for the fourth night in a row. This isn’t getting any better. He’s full of excuses and BS. Please kick him out.

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    • Cleopatra Jones

      Cleopatra Jones July 31, 2018, 3:16 pm

      He is not your child. You are not responsible for him.

      Even if he was her child there comes a point when a parent has to stop fully supporting a grown ass man! He has went way beyond that point. LW needs to pack up all of his stuff, and move him out. Give him until the end of the week.
      If he doesn’t have a place to go, give him directions to the local homeless shelter and tell him that they can help him get on his feet. If he doesn’t want to go there, it’s not your problem. It hasn’t been your actual problem since the day he broke up with you!
      .
      LW #1, I am so sad for you that you think being a good person means you have to put up with this crazy bullshit.

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  • juliecatharine

    juliecatharine July 31, 2018, 10:23 am

    Therapy. Stop supporting the dead weight men in your lives and funnel that money into the mental health care you desperately need. This is not love. These are not good men.

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  • avatar

    Bacon Mistress July 31, 2018, 10:35 am

    LW 1- I cant even feel sorry for you at ALL. I cant even summon the tiniest shred of compassion for you because YOU DID IT ALL TO YOURSELF. What is a nice way to tell someone they are a fool? Hmm- you have been taken to school numerous times but still cant grasp simple concepts.

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  • avatar

    brise July 31, 2018, 12:13 pm

    LW1: are you his slave? Because you act this way and you do it by your own decision. This is called masochism. Treat yourself because you are deep in this pathology.
    Explain the reality to your roommates and ask them to help you to get him out ASAP.

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  • avatar

    wobster109 July 31, 2018, 2:47 pm

    LW1 – I think you may have trouble actually taking the actions to kick him out, so here’s my recommendation for you. Do not ever communicate with him directly. Do not talk to him face to face. Do not take his calls. Do not send him emails. Do not send him any message directly, text, phone, email, or anything. I think if you communicate with him directly, he will talk you into giving him more of your time, money, and energy.

    Instead ask a roommate or friend for help. Look for a person who can be tough, no-nonsense, and business-like. Tell your friend that you want the ex out of your apartment and out of your life. From now on, your friend helps you avoid him. If he shows up at your door, your friend talks to him through the door. You stay in out of earshot where his manipulative words can’t reach you. If he wants money, or needs to be driven somewhere, he tells your friend, who ignores his request like the garbage it is. The request never reaches you. If he continues to try to get in touch with you, your friend helps you file a restraining order.

    This man has talked you into giving him more over and over again. The best way to protect yourself is to cut off all contact.

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  • avatar

    carolann July 31, 2018, 8:45 pm

    I agree with wobster109…LW 1 should talk to all the other roommates, change the locks and lock him out!
    LW 1s first mistake was trying to be “friends” with someone who treated her so poorly previously. Why? He didn’t deserve another thought, much less to still be an issue years later.
    LW 2 Obviously her husband doesn’t care. He probably just has the “cheaper to keep her” mentality and is staying with her only to avoid having to pay child support for his children. I would not call her controlling. Going out 3-4 times a week is ridiculous. She needs to start planning her exit. He is a douche.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom August 1, 2018, 6:54 am

    LW1 One thing it is critical to learn in life is that you can forgive without pretending that nothing happened. Forgiving is about yourself and letting the anger go and moving on with your life. You can do that while being fully aware of a person’s flaws and keeping your distance because they have proven that they don’t deserve to be in your life. When your ex stole from you and cheated on you he proved he didn’t deserve to be in your life. That’s when you draw a line that says you aren’t good for me. You can forgive and keep someone out of your life. You have no obligation to pretend that nothing happened and that everything is fine. You need to be picky when choosing and keeping both romantic partners and friends. This guy isn’t your friend. He was never your friend. It was always about what he could take but never about being your friend.

    He reached out to you when he lost his job and his apartment because he was searching for someone to use and you volunteered for it. You saw it as friendship but he was never your friend to begin with and he never will be. He will use you as long as he possibly can and then when he can get nothing else from you he will latch onto the next person he can use.

    Don’t feel any obligation to help a friend who has never actually been a friend. Help real friends. Help the people who are there for you when you need them. Help the people that you can trust and respect.

    It’s time to figure out how to get rid of this nonfriend. You need him out of your bed and out of your apartment and out of your life. He doesn’t have to have a job in order for you to move him out. He has had plenty of time to get a job. It isn’t your fault that he can’t keep a job. That is him. That is who he is. He is someone who treats people badly and steals. That’s why he can’t keep a job. You don’t owe it to him to give him money or drive him around or help him in any way. You have given far more than you should. He will continue to take as long as you allow it. This situation won’t resolve by him becoming an independent adult. This will only resolve when you move him out and quit taking his calls and quit lending him money and quit driving him around. This will only resolve when you quit allowing him to use you. Then he will disappear. He will resurface every once in a while when he tries to use you and then if you say no he will disappear again. You are being used because you allow it.

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  • avatar

    dinoceros August 1, 2018, 12:53 pm

    LW1: Most of the things you’re complaining about in your letter are things that you’ve chosen to do, but are acting like you HAVE to. When you’re ready to stop treating him like he owns you, then you can make that decision. The fact that he treated you so terribly and YOU were the one who was trying to stay friends with him is mind-blowing. Therapy might help you learn how to advocate for yourself and make decisions that are in your best interest.

    LW2: You’re not stupid for loving him. You can’t control who you love. But you CAN control whether you let that person ruin your and your children’s lives. Your kids will look back on their childhood and remember the fact that their dad didn’t care about them. Eventually, they may also connect the fact that you saw it happening and did nothing. Wouldn’t you rather be able to tell them that you put them before your “love” for him?

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