“My Boyfriend is Raising His Ex-Girlfriend’s Kids and He Won’t Get Rid of Them”

I just reunited with my first love after 30 years. He has never married but has two kids from a previous relationship whom he’s raising. That’s all wonderful, but here is the kicker: When he got into a relationship with the woman, she already had three kids who were from multiple men! They became “blended” and then had their two kids together. Well, that didn’t last long before she bailed and left them for a life of drugs and men. He stayed with all the kids. Now, fast forward to today: The oldest is 19 years old and has moved out, but that leaves four kids living with my boyfriend, aged 17, 14, 11, and 8. They all live in a two-bedroom apartment!

He claims he wants a life of his own and that he knows those “other” kids aren’t his responsibility, but no one will step up. The two older ones are rebellious and don’t mind him at all. He’s not a very good discipliner. One more kicker: The mother has since had two more kids (ages 5 and 3), and they all — and I mean all — call my boyfriend “dad”!!

I know that they don’t want the kids to be sent to foster care, but he just can’t handle them. I love him so much, but I refuse to raise that woman’s kids!! I would help step-parent his two, but I’m not taking any responsibility for the others.

I feel angry that he would keep all this up. I accused him of keeping all the kids together because he was waiting for her to come back! He said no — he claims there is nowhere for them to go, but I know they have other family. Am I wasting my time?? Am I wrong for despising these kids? — Reunited and it Feels So… Not Good

Oh gosh, I was almost sympathetic to you — but not really — until I got to the part where you accuse your boyfriend of keeping his ex’s three kids because he’s waiting for the ex to come back. And then you completely lost me when you said you despise the kids. Really? You despise kids whose mother abandoned them for a life of drugs when they weren’t even in high school yet? They’re CHILDREN! I don’t care how rebellious you think they are — you’d probably act out a little bit too if you were abandoned by your mother (and, for some of them, father) — they don’t deserve your hate. And your boyfriend doesn’t deserve your contempt and judgment for stepping up and giving these kids some semblance of a family and a home. Has he done so without flaw? No, I’m sure he hasn’t; none of us would. But he’s trying to care for them better than anyone else in their lives has offered to do. That counts for a lot, and you have no justification for being “angry” with him about it.

Look, his lifestyle is not a match for you. That’s no one’s fault, and it’s certainly not some act of aggression against you. You simply are not well-matched. You can piss and moan and claim that you are — that it’s just this one little thing in his life that needs to be different and everything would be great. But it’s not different. And making it different would mean breaking up a family and taking children from someone they consider a parent figure — they call him “Dad”! — and sending them to homes they haven’t been actively welcomed into in the more than five years since their mother abandoned them. And, really, what kind of woman are you that you think your desires are more important than the needs of those kids? Who are you to say what is best for them? Or even what’s best for your boyfriend?

Let this man and his family be. MOA.

I am a 72-year-old man who has been having an online affair with a 40-year-old lady. We have been communicating both online and on the phone for about a year now. I’m retired and not making a bundle, so the attraction is not because I’ll be her sugar daddy. She has, unfortunately, picked some real losers in the past. I was married 30-some years ago and haven’t found anyone I could really get serious about in a very long time. But, number one: I sure as hell don’t want to be this lady’s fourth bad relationship because of our age differences. We discussed this and she gets a bit miffed if I mention it, saying “age is only a number.” And, number two: I love children — and never had any while I was married—-my wife of 10 years didn’t like sex at all; my new friend has two kids — a 10-year-old and a 6-year-old.

Now, if you were a betting woman, what do you think would be the odds of our maintaining a happy relationship? Thanks for all you do. — Not a Betting Man


Well, as it turns out, I AM a betting woman, and I’m betting that you’ve never met this woman in person, have you? And in that case, I’d say it’s probably a little premature to talk about the odds of maintaining a happy relationship with her. (Also, side note: When you say that you didn’t have kids and that your wife didn’t like sex at all, are you trying to say that you didn’t have kids because you never had the sex to make the kids? In ten years?) At any rate, 32 years is not an insignificant age difference, but that doesn’t mean a relationship between a 40-year-old and a 72-year-old is doomed, by any means. But in order for the relationship to be successful, a couple has to be well-matched, and while you can pretty easily determine if you are NOT well-matched with someone you haven’t yet met in person, it’s impossible to know for sure if you are until you do. And if you both aren’t on board with making the effort to actually meet, then the answer about being well-matched should be pretty clear, because while age may “only be a number,” so is the price of some gas or a plane ticket…you know?


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


  1. So LW2, is she married? Because you say affair And three bad relationships? In a lifetime? Was she married three times or just had 3 bad relationships? Good lord I’ve had way more than that and I didn’t even date that much considering how long one relationship was. LW comes across very, I can’t even think of the word, judgemental maybe? Also, if you haven’t met, you aren’t in a relationship.

  2. Bittergaymark says:

    LW1) Yes, you are wrong. More — you are simply a vile and distastful human being. Seriously? Go fuck yourself.
    LW2) Don’t be a gullible fool! Wait… too late. Okay… STOP being a gullible fool. Unless you quickly want to be he who parts with his money…

    1. You’ve summed up my response to LW1 perfectly.

  3. LW1 – are you for real? How do you despise kids that literally have no choice in the manner or their upbringing? There is something deeply wrong about somebody who despises children for the sole fact they aren’t biologically related to their boyfriend. Most people would see your boyfriends willingness to step up when others won’t as a positive thing.

    You guys aren’t a match – he’s mature and you’re just vile. Seek counselling.

  4. LisforLeslie says:

    LW #1 – “Oh wah wah wah , I love a man who has such a big heart and sense of responsibility that he’s taking care of kids who have no one else in their lives and would end up in foster care or on the streets but I haaaaate that he’s so kind! Why can’t he toss them out on their asses?!”

    Go away. Seriously, go away, find someone who has no heart like you.

    LW #2 – yeah, she’s probably stringing you and several other men along, getting gifts and things along the way.

    1. LW2, literally gave us no indication this is happening. All he’s stated about their relationship is 1) their ages 2) how long they have been communicating 3) the ages of her children

  5. The fact that LW1 is in her boyfriend’s ear whispering about how his step kids aren’t his real kids and not his responsibility makes my blood boil. He’s likely been their dad since they were quite small, and far before you wandered into the picture making demands. Family is not just about blood. It’s about who loves you and shows up for you. You’re talking about breaking a family apart. I hope he dumps you. Truly. How awful.

    1. Also, doing some math on this: his step kids were at most 8, 6, and 3 when he came into the picture. They call him dad bc he IS their dad.

      1. Bittergaymark says:

        EXACTLY! Thanks for doing the math here. The numbers are so damning! It really makes LW1’s behavior all the more shocking. It’s amazing how LW1 clearly think she’s right and has a point…

  6. anonymousse says:

    Cold and heartless monster award winner. Ding ding ding.
    Do this family a favor and kick rocks.

  7. Bittergaymark says:

    Seriously. People like LW1 should all just naturally die horribly and hideously awful deaths. Tragically, Karma is about as real as Santa Claus. Oh, well. Meanwhile, Trump is still President… PS — 10 to 1, LW1 voted for him. LW2, too.

    1. LisforLeslie says:

      You forgot alone. They should die hideous deaths, alone.

      1. Bittergaymark says:

        Eh, honestly? I’d like to witness it. 😉

      2. LisforLeslie says:

        See I’m thinking being at one’s bedside while you’re thinking execution-side like the wonderfully evil Dr No -type villain that you are. I can get with that. I’ve always wanted henchmen.

  8. Northern Star says:

    Despising kids whose only “crime” is existing is disgusting.

  9. Wondering why LW1 even got involved with this guy. The kids were there the day she met him. What was the point? She’s an idiot all around.

    1. She says something about him being her first love, so my guess is that she is less interested in this guy as he is currently and more interested in the fantasy from back in high school.
      This guy isn’t that guy anymore. Now he’s a dad to like 8 kids. You can never go back to how things used to be.

      1. I clearly missed that due to my horror over the other crap she wrote. I mean, if it was just not wanting to be with someone with 8 kids (I sure as hell wouldn’t) that would be one thing but this chick is bonkers.

    2. ele4phant says:

      I mean people do this all the time. They start dating someone with kids, and they’re like “They’re great, but for the kids. If the kids were out of the way, everything would be perfect. How can I get the kids out of the way? If I can’t, I’m going to make these kids’ lives miserable”.

      Far too many people forget kids are part of the deal, and you either take it all or you go find someone who doesn’t have them.

  10. Juliecatharine says:

    LW1 you’re a horrible person. Horrible.

  11. LW, you must take your BF as he is, a package that comes with multiple children. Or leave him. Considering your resentment of his kids, in fact I suggest that leave him.

    But you can’t really change him to suit your convenience. And if he is giving you the false hope that he is going to make changes in his life that will suit you, please disregard the same.

  12. wobster109 says:

    LW1 – They are all his real kids. He loves them, he feeds them and shelters them, and they love him. You see them as pieces of the other woman, but to him they are themselves – each a unique child, each a piece of his heart. Imagine asking a dog owner to give their dog to a shelter, and multiply that pain by 100. Imagine asking a grandparent to give their grandchild to foster care, and multiply that pain by 10. Please don’t ask a father to give up his children.

  13. dinoceros says:

    LW1: If you don’t want to be with someone who is raising children from another mom, then break up with him. This isn’t Build a Bear. You don’t get to just customize a boyfriend’s life to be exactly how you want it. If you don’t like it, then leave. Your implication that they should go to foster care because you, the girlfriend, don’t like them makes you sound super selfish and cruel.

    LW2: I think you’re jumping the gun here. You only know her online. Anybody can say anything online and have it not be true. No one, including you, can determine how a relationship will go if you don’t actually know them in person. I think this lady you’re talking to has a lot of problems and going after a man 30 years older than her who she only knows only is just another example of it. Meet someone your own age in person. Maybe go to some senior events in your area or something.

  14. LW1. I am glad you are past the age where it is likely for you to have children. You are not cut out for it. You want to send the two older kids to foster care or back with their beyond deadbeat mother. These are the siblings of his children with whom they have lived all their lives. The only thing wrong with your boyfriend is repeated bad choices in women.

  15. Am I wrong for despising these kids? What sort of person even asks this question on an advice blog and expects other than being totally shelled? Of course you’re wrong! You’re selfish and unfeeling and taken this obstacle to your fantasy desires out on innocent children. that’s abhorrent.

    Am I wasting my time? That depends upon what you want and what your bf is able to tolerate. Certainly you can’t live with this man and his children. Certainly you’ll never be able to marry him — his connection with these children won’t end when they turn 18. If you are happy just dating and he can tolerate his gf’s disgust at his children, then the dating may be able to continue.

    1. dinoceros says:

      Also, she needs to learn to google. I feel like there’s a question on here once a month where some woman hates her boyfriend’s stepkids and insists that he abandon them.

      1. LutherstadtWittenberg says:

        I’m shocked she hasn’t left them in the Black Forest yet.

  16. Think about someone other than yourself here LW. You say you care and want to step-parent his 2 biological children, so lets think about whats best for just those 2 children. They were born into a family with a mother, father, and 3 half-siblings. Then their parents split up and their mother abandoned them. You then want their father to separate them from their half-siblings who they grew up with, to tear apart the last little bit of a family they have? Obviously this guy is doing whats best for his own kids here.

    And then, on top of that, he was step-parent to her 3 older children for several years. He clearly still cares for them as a parental figure, and since they also have been abandoned by their mother and don’t seem to have their fathers in the picture he is pretty much all they have. Its a sign of a good man that he didn’t just abandon these kids when he split with their mother. Some would find that attractive.

    You’re basically the very definition of homewrecker here, trying to rip a family apart and being so particular that you’ll step-parent his kids but not her kids, when he seems to consider them all his kids in practice if not in biology. Just move on and let them be.

    1. LisforLeslie says:

      I have a “half sibling” and she is my sister. No half. I used the term once and my mom looked at me and said “point to the half that’s your sister”. Shut me up pretty quick.

      I understand the notion of calling out parentage tho. But they’re siblings, plain and simple.

  17. Howdywiley says:

    The guy from L1 is a saint

    1. Juliecatharine says:

      I’m not going that far. He’s got terminally awful taste in women and taking care of your kids and step kids (who are half siblings to your bio kids) is just the decent thing to do. He’s certainly too good by far for OP though. Hopefully he wakes up to the toxic trash can he’s exposing his kids to and DTMFA.

      1. LutherstadtWittenberg says:

        Agreed. He deserves better. The kids deserve better. They’re the most important thing in his life, and they should be.

  18. From LW2:

    ““(Also, side note: when you say that you didn’t have kids and that your wife didn’t like sex at all, are you trying to say that you didn’t have kids because you never had the sex to make the kids? In ten years?).”

    In those 10 years my wife never made any advances toward me, on the night we got back from our honeymoon I was told “I don’t like sex and you better get used to it”. Now at that time I’m 25, Catholic and because of my religion divorce was out. I lay in bed looking at the ceiling saying to myself what the hell have I done. The few times we had sex ( and I mean FEW) it was miserable, no passion, no interest, and always hurry up I want to go to sleep. She sure wasn’t that way before we got married. Anyway I stayed in that marriage for 10 years and then she left me for a guy 10 years younger than she was. I guess I was the sucker in that case. So I recon I’ve been scared to ever get into a relationship that would or could end in marriage again.

    Thanks for your response and I’ll let you know what happens..”

    1. Well you could’ve annulled it legally. Should have.

    2. Bittergaymark says:

      Yikes. That is one hell of an awful bait and switch. To have that pulled on you. And due to your age and the state of the world all those years I can see how you feel you were duped. YOU WERE. Please don’t be duped again…

    3. anonymousse says:

      But- have you met this woman in person, ever?
      Is she married? Is that why you call this an affair?

      30 years is a significant age gap. I think it’d be wise to look at this with a skeptic’s eye.

    4. LisforLeslie says:

      Oh man, your ex is awful. That’s terrible that she did that to you. I truly mean that. Intimacy is a big part of a relationship. But I’m sure you could find someone who is not virtual with whom to be.

  19. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

    LW1 Besides the fact that you would feel fine ripping apart siblings based on whether he was the biological father or not you don’t feel someone should raise children that aren’t biologically their own. That means that if you were with your boyfriend and something happened to him you wouldn’t want his kids because you aren’t the biological mother of any of them. He should run. You’ve made it perfectly clear that you’d dump his kids if something happened to him. He needs a partner who is stable and values commitment, not just to their partner but to their dependents. All of those kids are his, even the ones that aren’t his biological children. All of them are siblings. All of them need an adult who cares. All of those kids need someone and he is their someone.

    Next time just find a man who doesn’t have kids.

  20. LW1, I’m not going to waste my time telling you why you shouldn’t have asked your boyfriend to give away those kids. Any decent human being wouldn’t have to have it explained to them.

    What I will tell you is that you should break up with your boyfriend today. Or, just wait for him to dump you, once he gets over being stunned at what you’ve said to him.

  21. ele4phant says:

    LW1 – I can totally understand that you wouldn’t want to sign up to be a stepmother to four (five really because 19 is barely grown, even if they’re out of the house) kids, some with behavioral issues, particularly if your soon to be co-parent has a different parenting philosophy than you would, particularly if there is going to be drama with the bio mom. That’s a lot to take on, many (most?) people wouldn’t be willing too do it.

    But the answer is not to needle him into dumping off half his kids. And they are his kids – whether he’s the biological father or not. He raised them from very young. The kids, all of them, are part of the package, take it or leave it.

    You wouldn’t be a shitty person for leaving it, but it is pretty shitty to try to shunt some out of the way.

    This isn’t the guy for you. There is no version of him where he isn’t the father to five kids. Move on.

  22. mellanthe says:

    LW1: These children are siblings – to separate them would be pointless and cruel. What they most need is a loving home and stability in their lives. And it sounds like they have a wonderful father figure. I mean, he is actually their dad. He’s adopted a couple of kids in addition to having a couple of kids biologically. They are his children – legally and clearly also in his heart.

    he’s a good dad. It’s amazing for kids to have a stepdad who loves them and is their actual dad. My boyfriend’s step dad was an aloof figure who made it clear he’d rather spend time with his ‘own’ kids than those of his wife – and no kid should feel that rejection from a grownup. It breaks my heart to think of how many kids aren’t given the love they need and deserve by parental figures who want the partner but not the full package.

    You say nothing about why you despise the kids – nothing to imply they are rude or terrible. And even if they were, they don’t warrant being despised- they are just kids who have been through a lot and who need support. It sounds like you despise them simply because they aren’t yours – and you’d only tolerate the ones that are ‘his’ (in your eyes) , but the kids (and your partner) deserve better than being tolerated.

    If you don’t want to be with a man who has kids, don’t date one. But don’t get involved with him then dictate which kids he gets to keep!

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