Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Morning Quickies: “My On-Again Boyfriend Hangs Out With His Ex-Girlfriend’s Grown Daughter”

Okay, this is very complicated to me. My daughter’s dad, “Carlos,” and I were together for nine years before we split in 2017. He left and started a relationship with a person we both knew, “Ginger.” He says he didn’t plan it that way, but okay. Well, while he was with Ginger, I also started a relationship with someone we both knew. I didn’t plan it like that either — we were supposed to meet and have sex and go our separate ways. But okay. It developed into a relationship.

Well, Carlos and I got back together at the end of 2018 and we are still together. Now my problem is this: Ginger has a daughter and the daughter has a son whom Carlos got close to. I recently found out that he gave Ginger’s daughter money to help her out. The daughter got her own place a few weeks ago, and now Carlos goes around and hangs at the daughter’s home. He says he loves me and he knows where his family, time, and money are. He says in so many words that I shouldn’t have a problem with this because his relationship with Ginger is over forever. He says he wouldn’t have a problem with me talking to my ex. I don’t think that’s true because he went through my pictures on FB and expressed that he didn’t like that I had pictures of my ex when he doesn’t have pictures of Ginger posted. So I got rid of them. I don’t think he is right, but what do you think? And what should I do? — On Again

His relationship with Ginger may be over forever, but it sounds like his relationship with Ginger’s daughter is just heating up. There’s literally no reason for him to be financially helping this woman or to remain in her life. She’s the grown daughter of a woman he dated for a year and he’s back together with you, the mother of his child. Telling you that you shouldn’t have a problem with his ongoing, inappropriate friendship with this woman, and making you feel bad about the photos on your Facebook page, is classic gaslighting. This guy is bad news. Focus on maintaining a positive co-parenting relationship with him for your daughter’s benefit, but cut all romantic ties with him. He’s not good boyfriend material at all.

My boyfriend of one year broke up with me on our anniversary when I got upset that he forgot it was our anniversary. It turned out that he was getting really stressed out at work and on top of that his grandfather died. He told me that he just wanted to be alone and that he was giving up on himself, not me. He said that he was doing what he always does, which is messing everything up. He said that’s how you know you truly love someone — when you can let them go, and that, despite what flaws I think I have, I’m perfect. I told him that that’s not true and that nothing was wrong enough with us to break up. I told him that if we cared about each other, nothing else mattered.

He then ignored me for a week, after which we went out to the movies (my treat in light of his grandfather passing). It literally felt like nothing had changed — he even held my hand accidently during the movies and let go multiple times. Then, after that, he became so mean to me when I called him on the phone, saying stuff like we were never going to get back together (in a joking manner), just doing everything that he knew would upset me, but stopping short of telling me not to call him ever again or hanging up the phone.

I then came up with a plan — I decided that I would contact him but only on Sundays to check in with him and that would be it. When I did that starting last week, he even asked how I was doing (shocker). This week I called him on Saturday, and he texted back that he was at work; I asked when he was getting off and he said late, and then I asked if he needed a ride and he said no and that he was ok. So I guess the point is at least he texted back and cared enough to tell me that he was at work instead of ignoring me completely. But then I called him twice and he never responded. I also sent him a gift of one of his favorite themes, but he never responded. What do I do? What are our chances? — Is There a Chance?

 
Yeah, he’s absolutely not interested in getting back together with you and he’s tried to tell you that in what he thinks is the kindest way, which you have read as a possibility that there’s a chance you two can work things out. There’s no chance of that. He really, really is not interested. You sound young and probably inexperienced when it comes to relationships, so please trust me — an older woman who knows what she’s talking about — you will only embarrass yourself if you try to push this. There’s no phone call schedule or gift or specific phrase or words that will win this guy back for you. He’s over it. You need to MOA.

P.S. If it’s truly a shock that someone you think loves you would ask how you’re doing, your relationship probably wasn’t as great as you think it was.

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

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.

16 comments… add one
  • avatar

    JD January 15, 2019, 10:13 am

    Ya Wendy is exactly right LW2. This guy is flat out being clear he isn’t interested. Also, the games with just calling him on Sundays. Don’t play games with relationships and jump through hoops like this. It is kind of weird and you need not do anything like that if someone is interested in you.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark January 15, 2019, 10:26 am

    LW1) Your story is damn near impossible to follow. Way too many extraneous details. I am not sure I think he is having some affair with Ginger’s daughter. It seem more like lingering step parent/ step grandparent relationship. How long were he and Ginger together? That said the Facebook drama is lame on his part. I dunno — because OF COURSE! you have a kid, try counseling…
    .
    LW2) Your chances are non-existent. Forgetting the anniversary of when one started dating has always struck me as rather easy as often the first date isn’t some super explosively memorable event. Meaning its not like a wedding anniversary.
    .
    Newsflash: You really blew it here. Carrying on about a stupid anniversary when your partner is dealing with a very significant death is — frankly beyond the pale. Why not plan a fucking celebration yourself?
    .
    Now he is OVER it and OVER YOU. Naturally, he has told you as much in damn near every way barring smoke signals and skywriting. Take a fucking hint already.

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    • avatar

      anonymousse January 15, 2019, 10:33 am

      Great point, Mark. If a one year anniversary was so important to you, why didn’t YOU plan something, especially considering the stress he wasn’t under and loss of his grandparent?

      Your chances are zero. When you call someone and they don’t answer and never call you back, it’s because they don’t want to talk to you.

      Stop contacting him.

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      • avatar

        anonymousse January 15, 2019, 10:33 am

        Was*

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    • avatar

      ktfran January 15, 2019, 11:01 am

      Agree. Excellent point BGM!

      LW – if you want something, a celebration, a recognition, whatever, let it be known. Don’t sit and wait for someone to plan or celebrate an event and then get mad when it doesn’t happen. Seriously.

      Also, if I was stressed at work and a grandparent died, I’d be pretty pissed at someone who expected me to plan a one-year anniversary.

      Since we started dating, the husband and I discussed how we’d handle all holiday’s and “milestones.” For example, we don’t do birthday gifts, we take each other to a “fancier” dinner. We don’t do Valentine’s day. We do Christmas presents. For our “first date” anniversary, he gets me gummy sharks because it’s an inside joke about our first date. For our wedding anniversary, no gifts but we do something to recognize it.

      If you set up expectations and have conversations about it, you won’t be disappointed. Life hack 101 for not getting upset about silly things.

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  • avatar

    dinoceros January 15, 2019, 10:30 am

    LW2: You’ve gotten to the point where you get excited and hopeful when a guy asks how you are and tells you he’s at work? Your standards are ridiculously low. He broke up with you, told you he wants to be alone, told you again that you’re never getting back together, and mostly ignores you, except for a few texts. He is very clearly not interested in being with you. Stop pushing it and leave him alone. Going to the movies with you is not some epic romantic gesture that you can use as proof that everything he has been saying and doing is untrue.

    I’m not even sure why you’d want to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with you? That doesn’t sound like fun.

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  • avatar

    AIM January 15, 2019, 11:25 am

    Both these letters mirror my life.

    I’m a fatherless daughter, my “real” dad left when I was five years old, only to return and make periodic, chaotic cameos in my life until I was about 16 years old. I haven’t seen him since, except the one time he threatened me, in front of my nine year old half-sister when I was about 21.

    In that time, my mother’s long-time boyfriend de-facto adopted me. I called him dad, I lived with him (he and my mother never lived together), helped with his business and he was so generous with his time and advice, and was the first man in my life that I thought I could count on.

    What happened next…crushes me. He started dating someone, and just like with my “real” dad, he no longer occupies that role in my life. I haven’t spoken to him since before his wedding, and his disappearance was at his now-wife’s insistence. I’m a grown woman, but our relationship was so valuable and important to me, and I’m truly devastated that the second man I called “Dad” is no longer in my life, simply because I am not his biological child. (For the record, I’m in a stable job, live out of state and we had a very healthy, loving, supportive relationship.)

    My point is – these relationships, while not biological, are incredibly important. And it is never correct to advise someone to abandon a person who has those close relationships. I am brokenhearted by his absence, and at 30 years old, my health is not good, my remaining family is toxic and my head is a mess trying to sort out a breakup, with the love of my life.

    We broke up in similar circumstances to LW2 (out of nowhere), and it’s just very difficult to erase the hope that you’re reunited. I guess I’m just suggesting a bit more compassion from everyone – nothing is black and white, and even though intellectually LW2 (and I) know that there’s probably little chance we will reunite with our partners, it’s still difficult to accept that emotionally. I have all the compassion for LW2, and hope the rest of you can manage that. She’s brokenhearted, and doesn’t deserve to be attacked. It’s hard enough to stay standing up and it’s hardly criminal to wish for your circumstances to be different. When it ends so abruptly, without discussion, with someone telling you that it’s all their fault for screwing it up, it’s so hard to accept that. It gives you hope because you still love them, you still think they’re wonderful and still want to continue your life together. The ambiguity of what her ex has said is the problem – and she deserves the time to process it. For me – I’m still in shock. I’m still processing and trying to cope, months later and my body is responding in a similar “shocked” way.

    It’s so hard. And LW2 – you’re not alone. Give yourself time to process.

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    • avatar

      JD January 15, 2019, 11:37 am

      Please don’t convince LW2 that she is right to continue nearly stalking this guy. That isn’t helpful. We are harsh because she isn’t seeing what’s right in front of her. He has been direct and she isn’t getting it so yeah is the only option.

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark January 15, 2019, 11:42 am

        Agreed. More: Her screw up ended the relationship! It sucks, sure. But she needs to learn from her mistakes. Not cling to some impossible dream that he secretly wants her back when he so clearly doesn’t.

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      anonymousse January 15, 2019, 11:42 am

      But this guy was with Ginger for maybe a year. Not exactly a lot of time for a father/daughter relationship building there.

      As for the second letter, they didn’t break up out of nowhere. He broke up with her when she got upset that he didn’t plan anything for their anniversary, despite his work stress and the loss of his grandfather. That’s pretty selfish and lacking a significant amount of empathy. Telling her it’s not her fault isn’t helpful. She should look at the facts of the situation so she can learn from this and have a better understanding of how give and take works in her next relationship.

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    • avatar

      dinoceros January 15, 2019, 11:43 am

      Sometimes being compassionate is being honest. I think we’ve all been in relationships where we’ve hung on too long and held out hope where there was none, and I personally would have LOVED if someone had told me to just stop. Instead, most of my friends did the thing that a lot of female friends do where try to convince you (inexplicably) that the guy actually does like you and that you should keep trying.

      I think a lot of folks have probably also been on the receiving end of a person who will not stop contacting you and that’s not fun either.

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    • avatar

      LisforLeslie January 15, 2019, 1:39 pm

      I’m sorry that you had to go through such difficulties, but I don’t think it quite comparable to the LWs. The first – it was only a year, so the ex girlfriend’s daughter was already an adult. If she’s viewing this guy as a father figure – that’d be really weird.

      LW 2 – she screwed up. She made silly demands on someone who was dealing with grief and work-stress. He said things probably to make her feel better – a “it’s not you, it’s me” but what he meant was “You’re great but you’re not great for me”
      Leave him alone.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom January 15, 2019, 12:02 pm

    LW2 Had he told you his grandfather died or that he was stressed out at work? If he hadn’t then being so insensitive wasn’t your fault. If you did know you were very insensitive. Expecting him to do something for your anniversary was just you expecting something without talking about it. In the future talk about it. You don’t ruin your anniversary by talking about it ahead of time. You ruin it by not talking about it ahead of time. He may not even have considered it an anniversary. I’m in my 50s now. When I was dating anniversaries were for marriages so there was no keeping track of when we first met or first went out or first decided to spend our lives together. We have one anniversary and that was the day we were married. I’m not saying that people can’t celebrate other anniversaries but you have to agree on what they are and when they are and you can only do that by talking.

    If he didn’t tell you about major things in his life like his grandfather dying and stress at work this is a relationship that would never work. You need your partner to be sharing their life with you. You need to know about major stressors. You can’t be their support if they refuse to open the door and let you in. If he kept these things to himself you are better off without him. It won’t feel better at first but in the long run you will be better off.

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  • avatar

    brise January 15, 2019, 12:10 pm

    LW1: Carlos and you broke up in 2017 because you had problems. You don’t say why broke and why you got back together. Now that you are on again, there are problems, brought by the separation. I would take Wendy’s advice and call the end of this on-again, off-again relationship. It does nothing good to you or to your son. Sometimes, it takes time to really achieve a split. Take counseling for yourself, or with him if you want to give a last try, in order to get some more insight in all this negative dynamics. You speak as if things happen in a relationship, like this, by themselves, ok.

    2. Yeah, he wouldn’t be my dream boyfriend, really not. He never asks you how you are? I wouldn’t give all the charge of the relationship’s end to the LW. He could have reacted differently to the perhaps displaced expectation of an “anniversary” at a difficult time. More nicely, more lovingly. He would have made up after the blow if he wanted to be with LW. He is in a bad place, over it, and the best you can do is to protect yourself, admit the loss, respect his decision and move on.
    By the way, I once forgot a boyfriend’s birthday. I couldn’t care less about him anymore. He blew out, I realised that it was over for me and we broke up. It is a mirror of the relationship, not such a mistake on LW’s part.

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  • avatar

    ron January 15, 2019, 1:18 pm

    This could be something unsavory, but I’m not going to assume that the bf is meeting with his ex’s adult daughter, rather than considering that he is visiting his ex’s grandchild. Not to say the worst isn’t possible and this guy isn’t the father of said ex’s grandchild.

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    • bittergaymark

      Bittergaymark January 15, 2019, 1:35 pm

      Please. Timeline for that doesn’t exactly add up. Child existed before they met…

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