Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Boyfriend Has a Wife and Four Kids”

Nearly a year ago, I met a guy, and instantly fell for him. I was in a relationship at the time that I was relatively serious about, and in turn pushed the thoughts of him out of my mind. He was married at the time, with three step-children, and one biological child. Fast forward over six months. My relationship had ended. His marriage fell apart after several years of turmoil (his wife had a boyfriend of two years, he stayed to care for the children). We crossed paths, and began seeing each other. His ex, whom I’ve never met, is a very vindictive, jealous person and told their children (all of whom he has maintained a very close, functioning relationship with) that I destroyed their family.

Now, I’m not the biggest fan of kids, but this guy is so worth taking on whatever comes my way. In four months together, I never met his children (he says they’re not ready), and was always comfortable with the fact that they took priority over me. If they needed anything, if they wanted to spend an extra night with their dad, our plans were postponed. While it did sometimes frustrate me, I always accepted it with a smile because he was doing the right thing.

Nearly two weeks ago, he disappeared, which is very unlike him. Nine days later, I went looking for him, because I had no idea what was going on; I didn’t even know if he was OK. I was greeted by a very long hug, and tears, explaining to me that his high school-aged step-daughter had tried to commit suicide, her reason being that he didn’t care about them because he was with me. This obviously crushed him, he spent days in the hospital with her, and then she stayed with his (retired) parents while they (he and his parents) tended to her.

He says he loves me more than anything, and wants to be with me, but doesn’t know how to juggle everything. He says he worries that restricting time with me is unfair, and I shouldn’t have to deal with it. He justified his disappearing act by saying he was too afraid and too hurt to tell me he couldn’t see me anymore, which is very unlike his usual ‘taking care of business’ attitude. We spent that night together — we talked, cried, laughed. Now, a couple days later, he’s in and out. Always very sweet with me, but I can tell he’s hurting so much, and is so over burdened.

What I want more than anything is to help him feel better. It’s so hard when someone you love is hurting and you can’t help. While I’d love to see him more, I’m more than willing to take a back seat to this crisis for now. It’s not every day, or even every lifetime that we meet our perfect match. However, when he disappears, I feel frustrated. I want to know how to help, and how to do the right thing, without being overbearing, and without putting too much pressure on him. — Off Kilter

Your boyfriend is a big liar. He says he loves you “more than anything”? Bullshit. He doesn’t love you more than he loves his kids (nor should he!), or he wouldn’t have disappeared when his step-daughter attempted suicide (if we can even believe that’s what happened). He wouldn’t have decided he couldn’t see you anymore because he can’t juggle you and his family, and he sure as shit would have at least had the decency to tell you to your face instead of just disappearing with no word whatsoever. So, we know he’s lying when he tells you he “loves you more than anything,” and if he’s lying about that, what else is he lying about?

For one thing, I wouldn’t be surprised if your relationship with him did break up his family. I wouldn’t be shocked if he lied about his wife’s affair to justify sleeping with you (or to convince you to sleep with him). He could very well have lied about his wife being “very vindictive and jealous.” You never met her, after all, so you have only his description to go by. And so what if she is vindictive and jealous? You’re sleeping with her husband and father of her children — she has a right to feel vindictive and jealous!

And even if he is telling the truth about them being broken up before you started seeing him, this whole thing still sounds like way more drama than it’s worth. A step-child who’s attempted suicide? Three other children to take care of (and you don’t even like kids!)? Step-grandparents who are now involved? And a vindictive, jealous wife to boot? Oh, darlin’, just be glad you only wasted four months on this affair, and MOA. No good can come from sticking around. The guy’s already made it clear he doesn’t want you. He made that decision when he disappeared without a word. He had a choice between you and his family and he chose his family. You want to help him now? You want to make him feel less burdened? Then MOA before you cause any more grief and drama in his life. You may very well have a “perfect match” out there somewhere, but I assure you it isn’t a married man with four kids.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter.

99 comments… add one
  • XanderTaylor May 23, 2011, 3:07 pm

    Amen, Wendy! MOA

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  • PFG-SCR May 23, 2011, 3:09 pm

    “His ex, whom I’ve never met, is a very vindictive, jealous person and told their children (all of whom he has maintained a very close, functioning relationship with) that I destroyed their family.”

    She’s not his ex, she’s his wife still.

    My gut says that he’s a liar too, but it’s more that I think he’s lying to you about the state of his marriage in order to get you to think he’s “almost” available. Personally, I wouldn’t believe anything he says to you, and his behavior only indicates that he’s only telling you what he thinks you want to hear.

    Cut off all contact with him – MOA and don’t waste anymore time on this guy.

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    • callmehobo May 23, 2011, 3:50 pm

      Yeah my first thought was, “This dude is totally still married.”

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      • Maracuya May 23, 2011, 4:47 pm

        Yeah, same. Disappearing act for a week = his wife found out.

      • Britannia May 23, 2011, 4:56 pm

        I agree. If it had been him taking care of his daughter who tried to commit suicide, it may have been the last thing on his mind to shoot LW a text, but he would have been able to find the 10 seconds to do so once the initial hurricane of drama subsided — he would have had plenty of time while in the hospital waiting room to send a text, at least. NOT having access to his phone tells me that someone (his wife) was watching his every move.

      • Spark May 23, 2011, 6:26 pm

        Yeah–and if he truly cared about her, I’m sure he would have wanted her support in such a horrible time. Even if it was just to hear that she was thinking of him and his step-daughter.

      • HM May 23, 2011, 8:18 pm

        100% agree with this. I’m not going to point and yell liar (yet) but there is definitely an oddity with him not reaching out from support from LW.

        LW, I know you think he’s great, but that’s because you’re in the “honeymoon” stage of the relationship. Which is shocking really since it has obviously been a very stressful and complicated first few months. No one is perfect, even the right guy.

        I have a friend who ended up married to a guy with a couple kids and a messy divorce. She absolutely DID NOT cause the divorce, but she was with him during the rough times associated with it. She tells me now that she wishes she had stood back and let him take care of his life himself first. That is not YOUR fight and it is not your responsibility to take care of him or blindly support him. He made decisions to get himself there and he should be able to take care of himself. You don’t want to be the only support in his life.

        Also, if he is lying, it would still be best to take a step away and see how things pan out. Don’t be willfully blind and waste your time ignoring the red flags.

  • cmarie May 23, 2011, 3:10 pm

    Agreed. This guy sounds shady and even if he isn’t this isn’t the type of relationship you want to be in. MOA

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  • kerrycontrary May 23, 2011, 3:13 pm

    Even IF the guy is telling the truth the situation is too crazy to stay in. Get out for your own sanity! Plus, this guy is making it clear that he doesn’t have enough time to spend with you. That’s enough of a reason to MOA.

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    • Britannia May 23, 2011, 4:58 pm

      If he IS telling the truth, it would be in both of their best interests (the guy AND LW) to cut ties. He doesn’t need to the added stress of a girlfriend on top of family matters, and she doesn’t need the added stress of crazy ass family drama.

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  • ReginaRey May 23, 2011, 3:14 pm

    I’m completely with Wendy on this – this man is in NO PLACE to be in a relationship right now. After any relationship dissolves, no matter whose fault it was, people need a lot of time to process it, get over it, and become healthy again. I would say that after a marriage ends, the time needed to do that is considerably more.

    Just as everyone needs time to deal with a marriage ending (and the inevitable fallout involved), everyone also deserves to START a relationship on a healthy footing. In life, even two people who start off on a completely healthy footing don’t have a great chance of working out. What do you think the chances are of someone currently in a VERY tumultuous period of their life starting a healthy relationship? And his situation is about as tumultuous and unhealthy as you can get – a member of his family trying to commit suicide??

    Wendy always advises LWs to believe someone when they tell you who they are. I would say that this is just as accurate when someone is SHOWING you who they are. This man is telling you one thing – he loves you, he wants to be with you, and showing you something completely different – disappearing, having extreme problems with his ex-wife and family. If you are meant to be with this person, the best thing you can do is to leave him alone. Perhaps after he has worked through his family issues, which SHOULD be his number one priority, and processed his divorce, THEN you two could give a relationship a try. But trying to have one now is asking for even more trouble than he already has…and that is a scary notion!

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    • PFG-SCR May 23, 2011, 3:24 pm

      Am I missing something – he’s not divorced, is he? Are they even separated – physically or legally?

      Everything that he’s done seems to indicate that he’s holding her at a distance using his family as various excuses. I think the reason being is that his marriage and family life aren’t what he claims them to be, and what he’s found in her is someone who is willing to be “patient and understanding” with everything.

      It’s too bad for her because she clearly cares about him, and I’m not saying that he doesn’t care about her on some level. But, there are too many things about this that just aren’t right.

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      • ReginaRey May 23, 2011, 3:30 pm

        Well it says that “his marriage fell apart” so I am assuming that he is either legally separated or in the process of getting a divorce. Though if he is doing neither of those things, this situation is worse than I even imagined.

      • SpaceySteph May 23, 2011, 4:26 pm

        Seriously. LW if you are in any way contemplating not doing what we are all suggesting (which is to run, don’t walk, away from this guy) then at least PLEASE look for independent proof of his divorce. A little internet sleuthing should get you a court record of the proceedings.

      • Anne (I Go To 11) May 24, 2011, 10:31 am

        When I caught my ex cheating on me, I asked him if she knew he was married. He told me, “She knows I’m going through a divorce.” Which was interesting, because NOTHING had been filed at that point. He just WANTED a divorce, which despite his twisted logic does NOT mean the same thing as actually going through a divorce. Manipulators will say whatever they want to get what they want.

        LW, get out NOW. NOW NOW NOW.

      • RoyalEagle0408 May 23, 2011, 7:41 pm

        She referenced the kids wanting to stay an extra night with their dad, implying he has his own place.

  • leilani May 23, 2011, 3:16 pm

    Well he’s being honest or not, this guy is clearly not in any place to be having a relationship. He’s even told you that. If I were you, I would hightail it out of this guy’s life. If your connection is really that amazing and important to him, he’ll find you when he’s ready.

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    • leilani May 23, 2011, 3:52 pm


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  • Amber May 23, 2011, 3:40 pm

    Even if the bf is telling the LW the truth and the wife had an affair and the marriage is over this guy is obviously not ready for a relationship. That’s assuming he’s telling the truth, if you were really in a relationship wouldn’t he have called, let you know that one of his children was in the hospital and he was going to be MIA for awhile. I realize that dealing with that would take a lot of emotional energy and time, but he couldn’t spare 5 minutes to make a phone call? While there might be shades of truth to what he told you about his marriage and family, I doubt it’s the full truth. Attempting to stay in this relationship will only cause you heartache. TIme to MOA.

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  • Guy Friday May 23, 2011, 3:41 pm

    Wow. Hold on now. I’m not saying I don’t agree with the end decision (that this guy may not be in the right place to be in a relationship with you right now), but saying that the guy’s a liar is, in my opinion, over the top. We have no evidence that he’s making up the suicide thing. And, honestly, I’d like to think that I’m a loving guy who tries his hardest to make his SO feel loved and appreciated — and I admit that I don’t have kids right now — but if my daughter tried to commit suicide, my focus would be 100% on her. I’d take as many sick days from work as I could, and I’d spend every free moment I had to make sure she was stable, and, frankly, I’d probably be a little terrified to walk away for even a minute for fear that she’d try it again. And I’d be ripped apart inside, replaying every second of my interactions with her and making every deal I could with every deity I could think of to keep it from happening again, praying that I wasn’t even a little to blame for that. Because if I was, I don’t know how I’d be able to forgive myself for doing that to my own flesh and blood. And any father who says he would do otherwise is either lying or should have DCFS coming down to check on them.

    If you want to argue that she shouldn’t wait around for him, then I’d say you make a fair point. But we’ve had any number of letters come in from people talking about SOs who’ve had family members die or go through serious traumas, and the advice has always seemed to be that the LW in question should be patient, give the SO space and support when needed, and — if the LW can’t wait any longer, or doesn’t feel like he/she’s strong enough to keep waiting — that he/she should be honest with the SO and allow themselves to feel no guilt for needing to walk away. And I support that advice 100%, and I think it absolutely applies here. But to rip this guy a new one in a 4 month relationship because the LW hadn’t met his kids and he dropped everything to care for his suicide-attempting daughter, and then apologized and acted like someone who had been through a major trauma . . . sure, he could be lying, but he could well be telling the truth, and certainly his tunnel vision if this is the truth is arguably forgivable. And I understand that this is just your opinion, and I’m not trying to begrudge you it, Wendy, but I just think that jumping to “he’s a liar” is unfair.

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    • Amber May 23, 2011, 3:49 pm

      I think the issue I have with believing this guy is the reason he gave for not calling was not that he was so busy taking care of his daughter he couldn’t get away but that he was afraid to tell her that he couldn’t see her anymore, when in every other instance that the children needed attention he was upfront. It makes me wonder if she hadn’t gone over there if had would have ever contacter her again. And there’s the fact that he is still married. I think in general this relationship has a ‘shady’ feel to it, which makes people infer that this guy isn’t telling the whole truth.

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      • TaraMonster May 23, 2011, 4:10 pm

        Exactly. And, as I pointed out below, he told the LW that his step-daughter tried to kill herself because he had abandoned them for the LW. That’s just all sorts of manipulative. Even if that’s true and the guy is actually separated, why on Earth would he tell that to the LW? It reeks of manipulation. Sorry, this guy sounds like a huge liar to me.

    • Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com May 23, 2011, 5:36 pm

      Right! I’m not saying Wendy’s 6ths sense is off. I had the same suspicions. BUT, the LW doesn’t imply uncertainty. There may be mutual friends or other factors that have entirely verified his story. Maybe not but we can’t assume. Hopefully LW jumps in with some clarification.

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  • honeybeenicki May 23, 2011, 3:41 pm

    I definitely agree with other commenters that this is a) shady and b) not the time to be starting a new relationship for the LW’s “boyfriend.”

    I have to wonder if LW knows for sure where he is living. Has he moved out? Is he separated? Are divorce papers being started or processed? And anything he knows about his wife is completely hearsay and definitely could be just a justification for him to sleep with her while he’s still married.

    LW, for your own sanity and his you need to MOA. He needs to be able to move on from his marriage (if that is, in fact, what he is going to do) and then heal before moving directly into another relationship. He also needs to sort out anything that needs to be sorted out, especially since 3 of those kids are not biologically his and it doesn’t seem like he has legally adopted them. The whole thing WILL be a mess. You need to step back and let him do his thing.

    In the event that you stay with him or even if you break it off but later get back together, you need to know what a huge commitment his children will be for YOU. My husband has 2 kids from a previous marriage and I love them as much as I could ever love my own children, but it is not without its challenges.

    I got lucky that my husband’s ex and her new husband are on the same page as we are and we have ground rules (no badmouthing the other parent/step-parent in front of or anywhere near the kids, same basic rules at both houses, co-parenting in decision making, etc). You might not get that lucky (especially if it is true that she is vindictive and jealous). You will have to deal with “I don’t have to listen to you because you’re not my mom” and all kinds of button-pushing. Kids will always push buttons and test limits to see how far they can get, especially with new people and even more so with new step-parents. And if you don’t actually like kids but you tolerate his kids (well, the idea of his kids since you haven’t met them), you have no business being involved in their life. You need to do more than tolerate them, especially if you intend to be with this man for an extended period of time. While you won’t have the same responsibilities as a parent, you will be involved in their life and I know what its like to have a step-parent who merely tolerated me (and sometimes not even that). It’s miserable. Fucking miserable. So PLEASE, if you intend to just “tolerate” them, leave now and never look back. Those kids deserve better than someone who loves their dad but just tolerates them.

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    • Quakergirl May 23, 2011, 3:55 pm

      Just wanted to say I wish I could give you more thumbs up for this.

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  • cdobbs May 23, 2011, 3:42 pm

    this guy is totally full of crap! LW run as fast as you can! this guy is not worth another second of your time!

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  • MAC2011 May 23, 2011, 3:43 pm

    LW run from this man. As if relationships aren’t complicated enough throw a wife and 4 kids in the mix. Even though this man seems like a perfect partner, he’s not. A perfect partner would make room for you in his life, all parts of it. He would turn to you with something as terrible as his child trying to commit suicide. Being partners means just that, you take part in one another lives, the good and the bad. You deserve to have someone completely not sometimes. Good luck!

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  • va-in-ny May 23, 2011, 3:47 pm

    This stressed me out.

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  • silver_dragon_girl May 23, 2011, 3:49 pm

    It does not take 9 days to call your SO and say, “I need some time to deal with some family stuff right now, so if you don’t hear from me for a while don’t worry. I’ll call you when I can.”

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    • TheGirl May 23, 2011, 4:31 pm

      Seriously! If you can’t get away to call you can certainly text. Not that it should be THAT hard to get away for a few minutes and call…

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      • SpaceySteph May 23, 2011, 4:51 pm

        EXACTLY. I’m sure they found time to use the bathroom- you can text from the toilet! But also I’m sure they found time to call grandma and grandpa to tell them what happened, and to call the girl’s biological father, maybe even some aunts/uncles. If he really loved you, he would have found some time in 9 days to call or text or email or smoke signal you, too. He didn’t. That’s your answer.

      • Hana May 23, 2011, 7:11 pm

        I would think that if he was really serious and loved you he would want you to support him through such a difficult time, whether it be a few rushed phone calls or actually helping in person. He definitely should have contacted you at some point about his step daughter. I know I would have been at the very least texting my boyfriend from the hospital or before I left to go there and he would have definitely been calling me just because we support each other.

    • summerkitten May 23, 2011, 8:34 pm

      THIS. I’m dealing with a long-distance (plus two young kids on his end) and yes, any reasonable woman (as the LW seems to be) would understand a quick text to say “family emergency, i’m sorry if i’m awol for a bit but i still love you.” anything less is inexcusable and I’d be suspicious too.

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  • Quakergirl May 23, 2011, 3:51 pm

    Wow. No matter what the actual situation is (he’s divorced/separated/still married) this is not a good situation. In the absolute best case scenario, he’s a recently divorced loving father with four minor children, at least one of whom is suicidal, who depend on him completely for love and support and absolutely hate you because of their vindictive, jealous mother, leaving no room for you in his life. Read that out loud, LW, and tell me if that sounds like an insane thing to walk into. If it doesn’t, I don’t know what else to say to you to get the point across.

    If he’s telling the truth, and you genuinely want to do the best thing for him because you love him, walk away. The best thing for him is to give him the time and mental energy to look after his children, get his life back together, and try to process the end of his marriage. If he’s lying, well, then screw him and do what’s best for you– walk away! In either case, this is not a relationship you should be in. Seriously.

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    • silver_dragon_girl May 23, 2011, 4:10 pm

      I love this. I think this might be the best advice so far from the comments. You’re right, even if the best-case scenario is true, this still isn’t a situation she should be in…

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  • Sarah May 23, 2011, 3:55 pm

    I feel like there are so many holes in this story from all parties. When the LW ‘instantly fell’ for this man, was there an affair, however brief? Because it doesn’t make sense for even the craziest of exes to blame the gf if the marriage is already broken up and she has a boyfriend. The math doesn’t add up. What does “the marriage fell apart” mean? Sounds super vague as to what his relationship status is. And what kind of guy stays in a marriage when the woman has a boyfriend? Did he really sit and home tucking his children in while he waited for his wife to get home from a hotel? I don’t believe this. And why would his wife blame him for breaking up to the kids when she knows he could bring up her boyfriend? And why would a step daughter try to commit suicide because her dad has a girlfriend post breakup, especially when he was “supposedly” the one there to care for his children while their mother whored it up with her lover and he drops every plan to be with them? And how would she even know when he sees LW unless he still lives with her at home, with his wife? Nothing makes sense. I get the feeling all these situations are the convoluted stories of a man who wants everyone to think he’s the victim.

    This guy is your only portal to this situation, and a person only purposely sets themselves up this way if they’ve got something to hide. My guess is, he cheated with you (one of many I would guess from his level of BS) and he wants to dump you. Think about it, he disappears and then tells you that you’re to blame for his step daughter’s suicide. Who would say that to the woman he loves, even if it was true? He wants you to be shamed enough so you’ll leave on your own, and he doesn’t have to do it. Cheaters are notoriously afraid of confrontation.

    Also, he has already tried to dump you. “restricting time with me is unfair” and “I shouldn’t have to deal with it” and “he was too afraid and too hurt to tell me he couldn’t see me anymore” is fancy talk for I want to dump you but not be the bad guy. That is guy code 101. The night you guys talked and cried and laughed you convinced him without knowing it that you’re willing to believe his excuses. NO GUY that loves you disappears on you for two weeks without a ransom call from the Iranian border. He’s a loser and a liar. MOA. Also, stay away from men who claim that a divorce was all his wife’s fault because she’s cray cray and all he did was care too much. Fast forward and you’re the next “vindictive jealous ex-wife”.

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    • silver_dragon_girl May 23, 2011, 4:04 pm

      I don’t think the Iranians would want to deal with this guy long enough to collect a random…

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      • silver_dragon_girl May 23, 2011, 4:07 pm

        *ransom. Sheesh.

    • HmC May 23, 2011, 4:23 pm

      “Also, he has already tried to dump you. “restricting time with me is unfair” and “I shouldn’t have to deal with it” and “he was too afraid and too hurt to tell me he couldn’t see me anymore” is fancy talk for I want to dump you but not be the bad guy. That is guy code 101. ”


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    • Laurel May 23, 2011, 4:48 pm

      Comment of the week, the whole thing!

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    • Amy May 23, 2011, 4:55 pm

      I vote these for comment of the week!

      NO GUY that loves you disappears on you for two weeks without a ransom call from the Iranian border.

      Also, stay away from men who claim that a divorce was all his wife’s fault because she’s cray cray and all he did was care too much. Fast forward and you’re the next “vindictive jealous ex-wife”.

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      • TaraMonster May 23, 2011, 5:17 pm

        This is exactly why I agreed with Sarah’s comment. It reminded me of a letter from last week where a guy used the excuse that he’d been hurt by women in the past to justify testing her about whether or not she’d slept with anyone other than him recently. People like this can’t take responsibility, so they paint themselves the victim rather than owning up to their actions. This guy is manipulating the LW to get what he wants, which is probably sex and sympathy, I don’t know. LW, what you see is what you get!

    • Britannia May 23, 2011, 5:03 pm

      You said it PERFECTLY.

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    • Budjer May 24, 2011, 9:35 am

      I can’t comment other than to say good call…you said it already.

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  • spanishdoll May 23, 2011, 3:56 pm

    LW, I can’t see any positives for you in this situation! You deserve a complete, fulfilling relationship with someone who can actually give his love and attention to you without guilt trips or half-truths.

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  • leilani May 23, 2011, 3:56 pm

    The more I read this, the fishier the situation sounds with his family. You say he maintained a close, functional relationship with his kids, but his daughter tried to commit suicide because you had stolen him away? That seems a little off.

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  • HmC May 23, 2011, 3:59 pm

    “For one thing, I wouldn’t be surprised if your relationship with him did break up his family. ”

    I had this exact same thought, but worried I was being too presumptuous. So I’m glad Wendy said it first, because I agree. Even if the wife is a “vindictive” person, that’s pretty extreme for her to have completely fabricated a story about LW breaking up her marriage when the wife was supposedly cheating. Something just struck me as false about this part of the letter. My gut is telling me that LW was at least partially responsible for ending this marriage, whether knowingly or unknowingly.

    LW- get out now. This guy is not worth taking on whatever comes your way, as you put it. He’s already proven to not be worth what has come your way.

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  • AnitaBath May 23, 2011, 3:59 pm

    I agree with everyone else that this isn’t a good situation, but I think it’s a little presumptuous to automatically jump on the OMG WHAT A LYING DOUCHE RUN AWAY band wagon. She said he was married “at the time,” suggesting he’s not married now. She says when they crossed paths again the relationship was over. He said his daughter just tried to COMMIT SUICIDE.

    I’m sure the LW is in a really tough spot and is really hurting right now. Making her feel like an idiot because she’s just soooooo obviously not seeing the “truth” seems a little overboard. At least entertaining the idea that he could be telling the truth might be more useful in doling out advice, if only to make the LW more receptive. Something like, “I’d be leery of position, but regardless of whether or not he’s telling the truth…”

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    • BoomChakaLaka May 23, 2011, 4:58 pm

      I thought the same thing, but I think that ‘OMG WHAT A LYING DOUCHE RUN AWAY” is the only advice you can give someone in this situation. Just from the tone and wording of the letter, I think we all get the impression that the LW has sadly been duped/blinded by “love”, but she doesn’t know it yet. If it isn’t for caps, I/we don’t know if she’ll be able to see the truth.

      My advice to her would be to talk to him. Honestly, we could tell her that he’s lying, but she’ll still believe that maybe we’re just jealous, vindictive people. If its true that the dude wants to break up with her, LW should give him that on a silver platter: Ask him why he didn’t call? Ask him all of the questions that we have about the holes in his story? And when he’s answering, read his body language. Listen to the words. Are the stories even matching up?

      That right there is the best thing you can do before you decide for yourself whether or not he’s a liar.

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  • SGMcG May 23, 2011, 4:04 pm

    LW, you’re probably a little overwhelmed with all the shouts of MOA to clearly recognize that what your boyfriend is telling you about your kids is something you want to hear – a man who is a good father to his kids can truly be a wonderful man for me. Yet if he loves you more than anything, and TRULY wants to be with you – your love would not be hidden to his own parents and his children, whether they were his wife’s kids from a previous marriage or biological. If they’re not ready to meet you now, they will never be ready to meet you. You cannot separate the man from the father, especially since the man IS a father.

    Do yourself a favor and look up your boyfriend’s name in the court registries and see if there are separation or divorce orders or even custody papers filed. Because if he really wanted to be with you, this man would be doing everything he can just to be with you. The fact that he can’t because he has too many other things to address with his children, his wife and his parents just means that you are currently not a priority to him. It further emphasizes the point that he is not the man for you – so please MOA already.

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    • bluesunday May 23, 2011, 4:34 pm

      I believe the general rule is to wait 6 months after separation to introduce your kids to your new significant other. We don’t even know that he’s separated.

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    • Teresa May 23, 2011, 5:48 pm

      If I were ever single again, I would not introduce anyone I was seeing to my daughter until I knew it was going to be a long-term committed relationship. This is just my opinion, but 4 months doesn’t seem like enuogh time to determine whether a guy is going to be around long enough to bother introducing him to my kid. So, from what the LW says, I agree that the guy is a douchenozzle and probably a liar – but not introducing his kids to her is not necessarily a bad thing. Especially if the kids have indicated that they aren’t ready to meet her.

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  • sarolabelle May 23, 2011, 3:20 pm

    Oh yikes – what is up with everything being italized? I’m not liking it…

    btw LW – MOA.

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    • SGMcG May 23, 2011, 3:24 pm

      I’m guessing the italization is to further emphasize the point that what this woman is going through for the sake of “lo-ove” is complete bullshit. There is sacrificing things in the name of love and being walked all over like a doormat in the name of love. LW – take the back seat in this guy’s life and let him pilot his way out of the personal storm he created. You need to do the same for your own life.

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    • Wendy May 23, 2011, 3:25 pm

      It was just a simple coding mistake…

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  • spaceboy761 May 23, 2011, 4:27 pm

    Every word out of his mouth printed in the letter indicates that he never wants to see you again. He is dropping every single line in the book for “Banging you was fun, but I’m too much of a pussy to break up with you so I’ll just do and say hurtful things until you end it for me”. Whether he’s telling the truth or not is surprisingly irrelevant… he wants out and you can’t detain him in this relationship. Feel free to stick around and get hurt for as long as you want to.

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    • LTC039 May 23, 2011, 5:03 pm

      Your comment is so right on & exactly what the LW needs to hear. The truth is painful sometimes…

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  • SpaceySteph May 23, 2011, 4:43 pm

    A friend of my mom’s has a 14 year old and an 8 year old. She got divorced from her husband in a messy situation. Soon after she went on Jdate, met a guy, and is now married to him. She’s about 45, divorced, with 2 kids. He’s 40, never married, never even so much as had a pet. While I do believe he loves her, and I think he’s overall a nice guy..
    …he HATES her children. He complains about their neediness all the time. How she has to drop everything to pick Rachel up from school because she got sick or cancel a date because Zachary has a saxophone recital. Do you know what its like to be responsible for children? They need things, all the time. They need to be picked up from Susie’s house, dropped off at the mall, they need 3 meals a day plus maybe a snack- and unlike a single person when they don’t feel like grocery shopping, you can’t just feed a kid a lean cuisine for dinner and call it a night early. They need to be clothed and bathed and taken care of.
    Please please please even if you love this man, even if he isn’t lying to you, even if his “vindictive” wife gets over it, even if the kids warm up to you when they meet you… if this all works out and you stay in this, you become a permanent fixture in their lives and they become a permanent fixture in yours. And then you are at least partially responsible for at least 3 children? You don’t want that. Its obvious from your letter that you aren’t interested.
    You don’t want to be cleaning runny noses, teaching Billy how to drive, cleaning up vomit, picking up toys, tripping over abandoned shoes, finding your makeup missing because little Jenny borrowed it. You do not want to be a mom, you do not want to give a damn about his suicidal step daughter (poor girl has seen her parents break up, and then her mom break up with her step dad, of course shes messed up) or his 3 other children. Regardless of all the other crap in your letter, THAT is reason enough to walk away.

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  • MiMi May 23, 2011, 4:45 pm

    “Then MOA before you cause any more grief and drama in his life.” Huh?
    Causing grief and drama in HIS life? He appears to be the source of all the drama and grief, as the LW doesn’t know what his life is, who’s in it, who’s not in it, who may or may not have made a suicide gesture, etc. and neither do we. Her only guilt is in believing everything he’s said, even when it defies common sense.

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    • Wendy May 23, 2011, 4:55 pm

      Hmm, poor word arrangement on my part. What I meant is that her presence in his life is creating grief and drama for the other people — his wife and kids — in his life.

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  • sobriquet May 23, 2011, 4:46 pm

    There is just no excuse for disappearing from your girlfriend’s life for 9 days, unless you are dead, in a coma, or have amnesia. It would have been even LONGER had she not gone out looking for him! I don’t even let guys I’m casually dating go longer than a week without returning a phone call. Text 2 weeks later asking me out for a drink? Nope, sorry, move on.

    He couldn’t even find the time to send a simple text message that said, “Family issues, need some time/space, we’ll talk in a few days.” She wasn’t even worth the 30 seconds of his time that would take. God, this is the only reason I’d need to MOVE ON from someone.

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    • va-in-ny May 23, 2011, 5:18 pm

      It wouldn’t even take 30 seconds! That was my complaint with a former boyfriend.. “how long does it really take to send a text message??” Shoulda’ known!

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  • TaraMonster May 23, 2011, 3:52 pm

    “his high school-aged step-daughter had tried to commit suicide, her reason being that he didn’t care about them because he was with me”

    His step-daughter felt her single step father left their family for YOU so she tried to kill herself? What? Why would he tell you that if not to break up with you? He sounds like a huuge douchebag who can’t take responsibility for his own actions- so much so that he’s outwardly blaming YOU for his step-daughter’s attempted suicide. He’s either made that line up to ditch you or he’s made that line up and believes it. Both of those explanations means he refuses to take responsibility for hurting his family (and you). Even if his step-daughter specifically pointed the finger at you (doubtful), he should be man enough to realize that’s her way of feeling betrayed by HIM. You didn’t force him to cheat on his wife with you because I’m with Wendy, it doesn’t sound like they ever actually split.

    This guy is manipulative and irresponsible. What concerns me most is that he’s convinced you he’s a victim. Honey, that’s what pathologically manipulative people do- they trick other people into believing their BS to get what they want. And this guy doesn’t care who gets hurt in the process. It’s hard when you’re mired in a situation to see the forest for the trees, but you need to cut off contact because manipulators are extremely difficult to get away from- they’re like quicksand and will only pull you down. Cut him off, and don’t half ass it. No texts, no calls, no emails, no FB. RUN!

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    • spaceboy761 May 23, 2011, 4:39 pm

      Let’s assume for a second that this guy is telling the truth… WHY THE FUCK would you ever say that first quote to anyone you presumably love? That is about the most cold-blooded thing you ever say to anyone.

      “Oh, hello. A young girl just tried to kill herself rather than have you as a part of her live. But it’s cool.”

      At that point, I would almost hope that the guy is lying because that would at least leave him as a garden-variety womanizing asshole. Having him say that and actually mean it is ridiculously worse.

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      • Hana May 23, 2011, 7:25 pm

        The way it was written I don’t think it was meant to come off that way. It was still terrible thing to say, but I think it was meant more to make her feel guilty for taking up so much of his precious time. Like, because I’ve been with you so much I have ignored my family. Not that the girl doesn’t want her in her life. I strongly doubt a daughter would try to kill herself because her father was dating a women if he were truly single.

  • LTC039 May 23, 2011, 5:02 pm

    So, you’ve never met his children, his wife, you’ve only been seeing him for four months & he disappeared on you to the point where YOU had to go looking for him?? Um…drama much???? Even if all this stuff is true (which I highly doubt it is) this is WAYYYY too much drama for the start of a relationship & this man should not even be in one to begin with. The beginning of a relationship is supposed to fun & exciting & if you do find your “perfect match” I guarrantee there won’t be any of this run around as this guy has given you. PLEASE take Wendy’s & pretty much everyone else’s advice & MOA!
    If you want to stick around because you’re so dead-set on this guy being your soul-mate, all you have to look forward to really, is a bunch rejection & misery. Is that worth it? Especially if you don’t even like kids to begin with! & I’m finding it really hard to believe he was really with his kids on those “extra nights” they wanted…Cut your losses & find someone that doesn’t have 13,000 tons of baggage & will give you what YOU need to feel satisfied in a relationship, because honey, as much as you think this little “crisis” will end & you guys will be “happily ever after,” 98% chances that’s not how it’s going to turn out…

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  • MissD May 23, 2011, 5:02 pm

    I have to say, I agree with everyone who says there are too many inconsistencies in the BF’s story for it to be believable. It would help matters if we knew the status of the couple’s marriage, but I think what Sarah said really hits home for me: “Think about it, he disappears and then tells you that you’re to blame for his step daughter’s suicide. Who would say that to the woman he loves, even if it was true? He wants you to be shamed enough so you’ll leave on your own, and he doesn’t have to do it. Cheaters are notoriously afraid of confrontation.”

    Cheaters are definitely eager to avoid confrontation, and to paint themselves as the victim in the situation. I’m dealing with this right now as my marriage is dissolving; my husband of less than a year (at the time) began an affair with another woman who had four kids and was herself in the middle of the divorce. When I could tell he wasn’t being upfront with me after I confronted him about the affair, I contacted her myself. Of course he didn’t like that, but she actually told me (much more) of the truth than he ever did. He told her that our marriage was basically over, that he wanted a divorce, that we hadn’t slept together in almost a year (when they started the affair, we hadn’t reached our 1-year anniversary yet), and basically wooed her with gifts and expensive weekends at hotels and casinos. He wooed me similarly way back when. So his M.O. apparently hasn’t changed. It makes me wonder if there were other women, though he says there weren’t.

    He lies to me so much now, even about inconsequential things, that I don’t think he knows how to tell the truth anymore. I also get the feeling there is some pretty significant stuff he’s still hiding from me-he’s alluded to it several times now. I found a child support card in our office last summer, and saw several withdrawals from his accounts (that he never wanted to put me on-I checked old bank statements lying around the house) for the amount of the child support order. He said he didn’t know who it belonged to, then said it fell out of his girlfriend’s folder of her child support paperwork when she came over to use the computer once. He seems so unable/unwilling to separate from her, it makes me wonder if they might even have a child together.

    The longer this whole mess drags on, the more I realize he is lying. He told me he was leaving because he was “going through a dark time in his life and didn’t want to drag me down with him.” I felt such sympathy for his pain, and worried about him. He said the divorce had nothing to do with her…until I found out he’d basically never stopped seeing her, even during the brief period when we were attempting to recover our marriage after the affair. He is telling everyone we are getting divorced because he is too messed up from what he had dealt with as a combat vet (he has been diagnosed with PTSD, and it is genuine), and that he is leaving me to avoid hurting me, both literally and otherwise, in the process of his recovery. But this weekend, he moved out of our apartment…and into her house. I guess my point, eventually, is that cheaters will do whatever it takes to get what they want, and make themselves look good in the process. And even if this guy isn’t a cheater, still, MOA. At the very least for right now. You deserve to be with someone who is whole and in a healthy place and can really love you back.

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    • Britannia May 23, 2011, 5:07 pm

      I’m so sorry you’ve had to deal with such a douchebag 🙁 I hope you find someone wonderful, but deserves you!

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      • Britannia May 23, 2011, 5:07 pm

        *AND deserves you >.>

    • Desiree May 23, 2011, 6:15 pm

      That sounds really rough. Looking back on it, were there any warning signs? Usually when my friends and I view our relationships/marriages retrospectively, we can see the signs of unraveling. Every once in awhile, though, there is one that still seems out of the blue.

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      • MissD May 23, 2011, 8:46 pm

        Looking back-yes, there were warning signs. I caught him in little white lies about random, unimportant stuff. He didn’t want to join bank accounts and had no good reason behind it. He never wanted to go out with me anymore. He complained about my job, and was very unsupportive of me as I began my career. I just chalked up the changes in our relationship to the difficulties he was having adjusting after getting out of the military, because he was very depressed and felt like his life had no meaning anymore. He had been such a generous, sweet, upstanding guy who always said he would never cheat because that was the worst thing you could do to someone. And honestly, the person he is now is so completely different from the person I fell in love with. It’s like he’s done a complete 180 and I feel like I don’t know who he is at all anymore.

      • HmC May 24, 2011, 1:07 am

        I agree that’s usually true about there being warning signs. But… I wonder, if sometimes that can be a case of hindsight being 20/20. People aren’t perfect, nor is any relationship. There are tiny cracks in every foundation. Some are insurmountable, and can clearly be seen as such once you know the outcome. But sometimes yellow flags don’t even become red flags until you know the ending. It’s funny how that works.

      • leilani May 24, 2011, 9:30 am

        I agree. A lot of time the “warning signs” could have been easily explained away by something less serious or more innocent. Usually when you love someone, you can’t help but give them the benefit of the doubt.

      • MissD May 24, 2011, 5:54 pm

        So true. All the warning signs were things I attributed to other causes; even now, I still don’t think I have the whole picture. But like leilani says, if you love someone, you give them the benefit of the doubt. Otherwise, what’s the point? You take a risk in all relationships, hoping for the best outcome. As long as the person presents themselves as worth the risk, you have no way of knowing how it will turn out. Marriage is like sky-diving: you jump, hoping like hell your partner packed the parachute in your bag. The only way to know if they did is to pull the cord, and have faith.

      • HmC May 25, 2011, 1:10 am

        Very profound thoughts.

        I think that *over* emphasis on red flags can sometimes be comforting too, because it makes us feel like we have control. No matter how few “red flags” you are careful to spot, no on is immune to heart break.

        I’m sorry about what happened to you MissD.

    • Skyblossom May 23, 2011, 8:52 pm

      So sorry that you’ve been going through this. HUGS.

      Check out http://www.survivinginfidelity.com

      I’m hoping it can be of help to you.

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      • MissD May 23, 2011, 11:14 pm

        Thanks, Skyblossom. He just moved out this weekend, so it’s been pretty hard. Not to mention, I moved to where I am to be with him…leaving all my friends and family behind. They are only about 2 1/2 hours away, and I have made some good friends here through work, and his family’s been really sweet to me…but I still have felt pretty alone sometimes. But it is getting better, bit by little bit. I’ve been through a great deal in my life, and I’m pretty strong and able to get through this. It just doesn’t make it suck any less, going through it.

  • Landy May 23, 2011, 5:04 pm

    I dated a man with an ex-wife that was pretty much evil incarnate and kept trying to get him back even though she was the one who left him, so I know women like this exist. That being said, this guy is so not worth the effort and pain that the LW is experiencing.

    LW, you don’t really know this man, so take him down off his pedestal and see him for who he is, not who you’d like him to be or what you think he is or represents. If his story is true, you’ll never have a healthy relationship due to his family obligations.

    Unless you are a glutton for punishment, MOA.

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  • MissD May 23, 2011, 5:10 pm

    I agree with Landy-it is entirely possible his ex is crazy and vindictive…especially if his relationship with the LW was responsible for breaking up the marriage. And I also agree that you should MOA, unless you really want to go through all the upcoming drama. SO not worth it.

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  • MissD May 23, 2011, 5:14 pm

    Thanks Britannia. I think that applies to both me and the LW!

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  • Off Kilter May 23, 2011, 5:16 pm

    This was my letter, and here are a few clarifications, followed by the update.

    1. He was legally separated from her, and had moved into his friend’s house. I know this for fact.

    2. I know, despite never meeting the wife, that she was pretty insane. She got her hands on my phone number and texted and called me several times a week for months. She let their 16 year old daughter follow him from work to my apartment one night, and then informed me that she knew where I lived and threatened me.

    3. His strong commitment to those children is due to tragic circumstances involving their biological father, and the mother’s inability to care for them herself.

    The update: I saw him one more time a couple days after I wrote the letter. He showed up drunk at my house at nearly 3 am. I was so angry and so upset, that even after all his boo-hooing and I love yous, I still made him sleep on the sofa. He left the next day promising he’d never disappear again. Didn’t call. 3 days later he called to inform me he’s moving back in with his family. Now, 3 weeks later, I only get the occasional “I miss you so much and love you” messages, to which I respond something a long the lines of “Bullshit. If you did, you’d be here with me.”I am absolutely crushed. But I know that this whole situation is more than I can handle, therefore I refuse to do so.

    I appreciate everyone’s comments. I do think he’s very manipulative, and he absolutely did make himself out to be the victim.

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    • LTC039 May 23, 2011, 5:29 pm

      I can’t say I’m sorry for you that the light finally shone through because I think had it not, you’d still be putting yourself in the same situation. Having their 16 year old follow him to your apt is UNACCEPTABLE! No wonder the girl tried to commit suicide…
      I’m glad you’re being appreciative of the comments & not defensive. I hope if a guy ever treats you like that again you’ll be able to spot it immediately. Good luck to you & rebuilding your life again. You are MUCH MUCH better off, even if you’re crushed now.

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    • PFG-SCR May 23, 2011, 5:30 pm

      Thank you for updating us – I’m sure it was painful to do that. I wish you the best, and I’m very sorry that you went through that.

      A piece of unsolicited advice – to help you get over him sooner, don’t even respond to his messages. It will just encourage him to send them occasionally, and I’m sure every time you get one, it hurts very deeply.


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    • MissDre May 23, 2011, 5:49 pm

      “to which I respond something a long the lines of “Bullshit. If you did, you’d be here with me.”

      Girl don’t even reply with that. Don’t reply it all. What you just said right there makes it sound like you’re still hoping that he might change his mind to “be there with you”.

      I know you’re hurt but just cut off contact altogether. Delete his number from your phone or change his name to DO NOT ANSWER. Spend some time with your girlfriends. Cry it out. Look after yourself. Then move on.

      You deserve better.

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      • spaceboy761 May 25, 2011, 11:59 am

        So true. Don’t even leave the door open that much for him.

    • Landy May 23, 2011, 5:51 pm

      Thank you for the update. I feel your pain regarding the ex-wife and know how unnerving it is to have her be so obsessed with you and blame you for the breakup when she was the one who brought it on.

      You are so much better off having that crazy removed from your life. Good luck.

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    • va-in-ny May 23, 2011, 5:52 pm


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    • Desiree May 23, 2011, 6:12 pm

      I am sorry that he turned out to be a jerk. I am so glad that you recognize it, though, and are strong enough to resist his pleas. Staying away is the best possible thing you could do for yourself.

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  • MissD May 23, 2011, 5:41 pm

    Off Kilter-I am so sorry things didn’t turn out for you. I know how hard it is to have someone go back and forth between you and someone else. My ex actually wanted to continue living together and acting married, and “be friends” with his girlfriend…and tried to convince me I was over-reacting when I said no way and asked him to move out. He also kept acting like he didn’t want to let me go…but he didn’t want to let her go, either. He asked to come back home a couple of months after he asked for the divorce and had moved out, saying he would do anything to get me back and that even if I didn’t take him back, he would do the right thing to show me how sorry he was. By “do the right thing,” he meant that he would delete my friends, family and me from his FB page, and end up back at her house. Within two weeks. Clearly he was being manipulative, too, and even after all that, I found it heart-breakingly hard to keep moving forward with the divorce. Good for you, being strong and doing what’s best for you, even if it’s hard. You will find someone who can love you the way you deserve to be loved.

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  • Sue Jones May 23, 2011, 6:13 pm

    Um, one moment. As the stepmother of a mentally ill son whom I have known since he was 3, the kids do take priority. And I know that teens etc. can create a shitstorm of drama. I am not sure if the guy is lying or not, but I may give him the benefit of the doubt… a “that’s one” so to speak. Watch, wait, listen. If the kids are older, they often do not take to a new “step-parent” very well as if they were, say , toddlers, and all the bio-mom has to do to fuel the fire is to make a few manipulative comments….
    Still this is a difficult situation. If it were me I would take a step back, give the guy space, take plenty of space for myself. Consider the relationship on hiatus and perhaps once he has it sorted out more the relationship can continue. You can chalk it up to bad timing. You can insist that he do some family therapy. You can go about your life and let him know that if and when he is ready to give you a call and you MAY be available. Tell him that you still love him, always will perhaps, but until things calm down you realize that he is not available right now because he has too much on his plate, AND , most importantly, do those things that nurture yourself. Sometimes these blended family scenarios run into some hiccups.

    Also I think it was entirely appropriate that he not introduce the kids to you yet. If I were in his situation, I would also wait until things were really solid. It can be hard on children to bond with a new person only to have the relationship not work out.

    So, if you decide to stick it out with this guy, you will need lots of patience, you will need to cultivate non-attachment, and perhaps at least psychologically MOA. If this is too hard to do and creates too much confusion and cognitive dissonance, then perhaps it is not the right situation for YOU!

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  • Sue Jones May 23, 2011, 6:16 pm

    OK I just scrolled down and read the update. Clearly this guy cannot manage his lie. The dealbreaker was showing up drunk at 3 AM. MOA.

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  • RoyalEagle0408 May 23, 2011, 7:45 pm

    Be glad you aren’t with the guy anymore. Regardless of the reasons why, he is not in a position to be in a healthy, adult relationship with you right now.

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  • fast eddie May 24, 2011, 5:50 pm

    Is this a reprint? I remember almost exactly the same letter months ago. In that follow up she dumped him after confronting the wife who had no idea what he was doing.

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  • bittergaymark May 25, 2011, 4:17 am

    Egads, lately this place is just letter after letter of pathetically desperate women willing to do ANYTHING — to put up with ANYTHING — just to be in a relationship. Sad. What a mess. Walk away, LW. Just walk away. Seriously, what is your problem? Do you really think you can’t do any better? Trust me, sweetie darling, it’s actually the exact opposite, meaning that there is no way you could possibly do any worse.

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    • KCL October 19, 2014, 6:47 pm

      Why do you keep coming to this site, then, if you have nothing but contempt for every. single. LW?

      And did you notice, before posting your standard screed, that the LW has left an update in the comments and has walked away?

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  • spaceboy761 May 25, 2011, 12:02 pm

    “there is no way you could possibly do any worse.”

    Not true. He could have done all this shit AND given her herpes.

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    • cmarie May 25, 2011, 12:10 pm

      She should get herself checked. He seems the herpes-giving type…

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  • Black Iris May 27, 2011, 1:33 pm

    I think the guy is probably lying. Clearly he is still married to this woman and his affair is hurting the marriage.

    The bottom line, though, is this – the best thing you can do for this guy is to break it off. Your affair is causing more heartache to him. The turmoil for his kids is horrible and hurts him too.

    Please get away from the idea that you’ve found true love and won’t have another chance. You’ve only known him a short time in a strange relationship. You don’t get to see him that much and nothing about your time together is real the way it would be if you were married and trying to get along with his kids! This is not true love. True lasting love takes time to grow and has some basis in real life. Find a guy who doesn’t lie and cheat and work on creating some real love.

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  • anna728 June 1, 2011, 3:42 am

    I feel like it’s kind of weird to decide to commit suicide for no reason other than your step-father having a girlfriend… and he couldn’t call?

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