“My Fiancé Takes Advantage of Me”

My fiancé, “Mark,” lost his job about 18 months ago. He moved into my house with me. He gets some money from renting his old house for now, and some minimal money from odd jobs. Only recently has any of that money gone toward family finances. He has a son and we have a baby together. My full-time income barely covers the bills, but he has applied to only a handful of jobs in the entire 18 months he’s been unemployed. He has costly hobbies (where his little bit of income goes), which involve a lot of driving (my money pays for gas).

I work nine-hour days, and he is home, but our baby goes to a sitter because he “gets overwhelmed.” And honestly, I set up the sitter so he could look for, and find, a job. He watches his son some days as well. However, he does little, if any, cleaning or cooking at all. He doesn’t do much baby care unless I badger him to do it.

I feel like I do almost everything. I work nine hours, come home, clean up, make dinner, feed everyone, clean up dinner, clean up the baby, get the baby (and sometimes my husband’s son too) ready for bed, put her (and sometimes him) to bed, etc. Heck, his son doesn’t even have a bed because Mark lost the money he got (a gift to buy him a mattress). When his son is with us, I sleep on the couch so he can sleep with daddy.

Mostly, Mark plays on his computer or watches TV this whole time, claiming to “watch the kids” for me so I can do all the house work. Sure, he does a load of laundry or empties the dishwasher when I specifically ask. Sometimes. And because he does SOMETHING, he is flabbergasted when I tell him I feel like he is being a lazy lump.

He actually told me the other day that he watches youtube/porn/facebook/etc. all day long because, “I’m not working, what else is there to do in this house?” OMFG! I flipped out on him. We are halfway to looking like a house on “Hoarders,” and you can’t find anything to do? Your dog hasn’t gotten a proper walk in MONTHS, but you’re bored? I tell him that if the roles were reversed, he would probably flip out on me if he came home from work and the house wasn’t clean and dinner wasn’t on the table, right?

Somehow, though, he always rationalizes that he isn’t lazy, he isn’t taking me for granted, and that “we” need to work as a team to clean the house and pay bills, etc, etc. He makes me feel like an asshole, and I end up crying, and he hugs me and tells me it’s OK, we just need to work together. Which we never do. I end up doing shit for a few days, then we have another fight over the same shit because he never, ever follows through. But every time we fight, he promises to get better. And every time I believe him. — Had it Up to Here

Do you really believe him? Or are you just too exhausted — physically and emotionally — to fight him anymore? Because, honestly, there’s not one thing in your letter than indicates you have a shred of faith in your fiancé. There’s not even a hint of love here. What I see in this letter in utter hopelessness, fatigue, anger and depression (yours, and possibly his). It seems like you’ve given up — on the relationship, on Mark, and on yourself — and after working full-time, doing 98% of the house work, all the child care (for your kid as well as one that isn’t even yours), AND feeding a grown-ass man who’s too busy watching porn all day to make his own food or clean his own mess or pay attention to his own children, you don’t have even an ounce of energy left to fight for a better life.

But, you have to fight for a better life. If not for yourself, then for your baby. Forget your relationship for a minute. This is way beyond repairing a failing relationship. This is about saving a few lives. You cannot keep living as you are. You have GOT to stop enabling Mark to take advantage of you.

As long as you allow him to spend his days ignoring his kids and jerking off to XTube and old girlfriends on Facebook or whatever he’s looking at all day, he’s going to keep doing that. And why wouldn’t he? He clearly has no interest in being a productive member of your family, let alone society, and, as long as he has someone who is willing to pay his bills, clean his mess, feed him, and SLEEP ON THE SOFA so he can have the bed — oh my God — he will take advantage of that. Because that’s the kind of man he is.


Kick him out. And go see a lawyer about filing for child support. Call off your engagement and box up his shit and leave it on the door step for him to pick up.

I mean, what do you need him in your life for? What does he provide that you can’t find elsewhere? Does he help out with your baby? No, he does not. Does he help around the house? Clearly not. Does he contribute financially to your household? No! Does he make you feel loved, cared for, appreciated? Does he? Because it doesn’t sound like it. And if this is what you think love feels like, I urge you to seek therapy and work through whatever issues are keeping you from aiming higher. Does he give you companionship? Make more friends. Join a moms’ group, a women’s circle, or a religious organization. Go out with your colleagues. Invite family members over for a potluck. Find out what true, caring companionship should really feel like.

I can imagine there’s loneliness in your life. I can imagine it because I know it myself. Most of us do. Life is lonely. It’s filled with tricky detours we think re-route us around loneliness but only take us much deeper into the darkness. At the top of the list of detours are addictions and bad relationships. Some people even have addictions to bad relationships. (In fact, lots of people do). These detours don’t take us around the loneliness though. They only take us further into it.

I know you probably feel like you don’t have options or like you can’t possibly be happy on your own. But you do and you can. You can certainly be happier than you are now. But you have to work for that happiness. You have to do some things that will be hard and feel uncomfortable. You have to allow yourself to feel some loneliness and you pull out of the detour and find your way back to the path you’re meant to be on. (The one you’re on isn’t it).

I know being alone seems scary, but you’re a strong woman and you can handle it. You’re already supporting yourself and your child. You don’t need Mark’s assistance. You haven’t had it thus far. And you will have an easier time of it on your own, without Mark dragging you down. Let him find his own way again. He’s stuck on a detour, too. And he’s not going to find his way back to the path he’s meant to be on when you make it so easy to stay where he is.

Let go of this relationship — at least in its current incarnation. Get out of this detour and back on your right path. Do it for yourself and do it for your baby. It’s time. Nothing is going to change until you make it change.


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


  1. WWSx1000. Stop enabling this man-child and do what’s right for you and your baby.

  2. FossilChick says:

    This is one of the clearest “MOA” situations I’ve seen on DW in awhile. While it’s unfortunate to contemplate because they have a child together (and there is another child involved — while he’s technically “not hers” like Wendy points out, she is engaged to Mark and ought to have begun to thinking of this child as “hers”), the fact is that he ignores the children, spends with abandon at the expense of those children’s and her comforts and needs, and makes her feel like crap for not working as a team when in reality she seems to be the only one on the team. LW, these are not things you can wait around, hem and haw, have a few conversations and hope they change in the future. They have to change now, and because he’s unwilling to compromise to meet any of your needs, you’ll have to be the one to change the situation.

    1. WFCS!
      This letter has left me speechless, I really don´t know what to say. LW please wake up and see your fiance for what he is.

  3. Amazing advice Wendy! This guy sounds like a huge douche, and if he’s already behaving this way imagine how much worse it will be when you’re married!

  4. WWS! You have the ability to stop this. Stop accepting so little from your fiance in terms of a relationship and partner.

  5. I absolutely love Wendy’s advice here. It may be her best advice ever! LW, listen to Wendy and take her advice.

  6. This is absolutely disgusting, and Wendy nailed it: This women is probably too exhausted to even contemplate adding something else as time consuming as a breakup to her already full plate.

    LW, you’re right, that would probably be the straw that broke the camels back. But the good news is there are a few other tasks you can put on hold for a while. Cooking for this freeloader, doing his laundry, walking his dog, taking care of his child (tell the mother that you are no longer willing to have him over to YOUR home,) paying for his hobbies (actually wtf.)

    Drop your child off somewhere safe, box his shit up and let him know he has 48 hours to find another sucker or you’re calling the cops.

  7. crazymary says:

    I. LOVE. WENDY. Do as she says and MOA…

    That is all.

  8. Wendy’s last line is really important- “Nothing is going to change until you make it change”.

    lw, you HAVE A CHOICE. this is your life! you have choices, you have options. if you dont like something, take steps to change it!

  9. Wendy is spot on here. You need to send a message to this guy, and the only way to do it is to kick him out. See how quickly he finds a job when he has no where to go, and he has to pay child support. When he does, you are probably going to want to take him back for the child’s sake, but just think this could all happen again if he loses his job again, which is very likely, because he clearly doesn’t know how to act like a grown up.

    1. I completely agree with this. This guy needs a very clear and decisive ass-kicking. He is nowhere near “fully cooked” as my grandmother would say. He is doing nothing for himself, his children and the lw. MOA and don’t look back.

    2. Not to mention, he probably prefers to not have a job because it means he can laze around all day.

      1. One of my cousins was in almost the exact same situation as the LW: Her lazy hubby would sit around the house and play video games all day, so she would come home from the three jobs she had to work to support them and have to cook, clean, do dishes, do laundry, etc. He would get a job, and then within a few weeks or months he would quit or get fired and go right back to sitting on the couch watching TV. And this was in the late ’90s when the economy wasn’t totally crappy and there were actual jobs to be had! She finally divorced him after seven or eight years. They have a kid, and I don’t know what their situation is like in terms of child support, but she’s much better off without him!

  10. Guy Friday says:

    I think — and this is less a comment on the letter itself than on the theme of it — it’s really interesting that this letter came the day after yesterday’s update. Because while yesterday’s LW was obscenely self-absorbed, this LW is almost the polar opposite: so selfless that she lets herself be walked upon unfairly. I think it paints a picture of the range relationships can go by, and I think it’s important — as many have said here — that you don’t let yourself get too far toward either extreme.

    If any of the variables were different here, LW — if, say, he had only lost his job a month or so ago, or there had been serious health issues all his money had to be diverted, or if he had been applying to tons of jobs a week and just couldn’t catch a break — I’d say it’s worth trying to remedy. But I do think it’s OK to walk away from him for a while if you want to. And even if you don’t want to outright break it off with him, it’s OK to tell him that, for the sake of your relationship, he needs to live elsewhere for a while to get back on his feet. I know you’re going to worry about the shape of your (for lack of a better term) “stepson”, but Wendy’s right: right now, you’re not doing any good for anyone — least of all yourself — by letting this continue as is. You can always call the mother of the child to give her a head’s up as to what’s going on if you make them leave; I don’t think that’s out of line.

  11. LW, your fiance needs a kick in the ass, aimed towards the door. Trust me, you’ll actually be doing him a favor. He is NEVER going to get his shit together if he has you to cushion him.

    And of course, do it for yourself, also. Like j.walker mentioned above, I know a breakup probably seems like something too heavy for you to deal with right now, but the positive is that…you won’t have to deal with this man’s incompetence anymore.

    1. And honestly, your letter does not even have a question in it! You know what you need to do.

      1. Nice catch! Yeah, I think you’re right, she knows what she should do. The only question is whether she is actually trying to find the strength to change her life, or just trying to find somewhere to vent so that she can put off making that decision for awhile.

  12. lucyskybiscuits says:

    I never comment on things but this just broke my heart. I was married to a guy like this. We didn’t have kids, thank god, but even then, I was so exhausted from working, paying, cleaning, cooking, etc that I just didn’t have the energy to fight anymore. It was so hard to finally say enough and go through the physically and mentally taxing exercise to get him out of my life. In my mind, it was easier to just keep things the way they were and avoid the drama. He actually left on his own after many ultimatums on my part and after I became ill and physically couldn’t take care of him anymore. It was the confirmation that I was nothing more than a cushy pad to land on for him. Even years later I still wish I had been able to kick him out myself. You deserve so very much more for you and your daughter.

  13. Wow, you’re living my version of hell. Please, for your sake – and mine – make it stop!

  14. PS – I have not read Mark’s definition of team that = you do all the work.

  15. It’s hard, but like Wendy said, at least you don’t really need your fiance for anything. And if you boot him out, then you will probably be in better shape because you won’t have him spending your money on gas and hobbies, you won’t have to do more chores to clean up after his mess, and you won’t have to sleep on the couch because of his son.

    Anyway, I found it interesting that you never asked a question at the end of your letter. At least you’re not asking how to put up with him, but it also worries me that you’re not asking how to get rid of him. I hope you’ll take Wendy’s advice to heart anyway.

  16. LW, this situation sounds pretty bad. I agree with everyone here about getting out unless the following is true. Have you really sat down with your fiance and talked about expectations. With cool heads. My parents once said, “when voices are raised, all reasonable conversation stops.” So have you spoken about goals and expectations? Have you asked him what he believes his role is in the house?

    I have a feeling that he has fallen into the trap that many retired people do. Because there is no structure to his day, he wanders through it. Maybe have a to do list then politely hold him accountable. Give him homework. see if that helps. That he needs to get up, work out, shower, dressed every day. It might help because he hasn’t had a purpose in awhile.

    If you have tried all of this, then kick him to the curb.

  17. I actually have a friend in this very situation. Four kids, great job, a stepson that she allows to practically live with them, and a lazy ass, no good husband dragging them all down. I’ve been trying for years to make her see that she has FIVE kids, but she is convinced that she can’t “do it alone.” The point I try to make to her is SHE IS DOING IT ALONE!! He is just adding to the stress and not contributing one single thing to that household. He doesn’t work, goes out clubbing every weekend, buys other women gifts (her money!!!), and gambles like they have unlimited money. It is so difficult to watch her struggle day in and day out, knowing that things would be so much easier if she dropped the dead weight. But she can’t separate herself from the situation long enough to see that. It’s so difficult to see what’s right in front of you when you’re so close to it.

    LW, please please take a step back and see this situation, and this guy, for what it really is. You ARE doing this alone right now. You CAN do it – for yourself and your child. Find your inner strength and get yourself on the path that Wendy referenced. You owe it to yourself, your sanity, and most of all, your child.

    Good luck to you!

    1. I do like your point, but I just have to say that at the point you’re living with the child’s parent, you’re no longer “allowing” his or her child to live with you. Where else is the child supposed to live as opposed to with his or her parents?

      1. the attack says:

        I assumed maybe it was an already grown child

      2. Great point. Her stepson is the same age as her youngest – about 9 now. I say “allow” because he has a mother, but she, like Mark, does everything in her power to NOT take care of her son. It’s difficult enough for my friend to feed, clothe & entertain her own kids, without any help whatsoever from her husband, and he does absolutely nothing to contribute. I am all for visitation and extended stays, but neither his mother or father are willing to help out in any way. They have both basically given up and let my friend do it all without so much as recognizing the sacrifice and effort she puts forth to do so. So, when I say allow, I mean that for both mother AND father. Someone has to look out for the well being of this child, and it looks like my friend is the only one willing to do that. I agree that the child has to live with one parent or the other, but by the same token, ONE of them actually has to step up and BE a parent.

  18. You need to do better – for you – but also for your daughter and the little boy that visits and sees the dynamic of your relationship. Children learn from examples around them – is this the lesson you want to teach? Maybe there is some good to Mark – I can’t see it from what you’ve written – but even if it exists, it is not enough to make up for the nonsense he is dishing out and you are taking. Do you need encouragement to do the right thing? Consider yourself encouraged. If you aren’t ready to tell him it’s over – though really isn’t it – tell him you can’t turn your mind to the relationship now but your living together has to end right now. This is what you need for your sanity and it is not negotiable. And then kick him out.
    We expect an update shortly telling us he cried, he made promises, he got a part-time job and you made him leave anyway and it was the best decision ever and you can’t believe how you lived like that for so long.

  19. This is why people marry inanimate objects or animals – because the human alternative is so much worse

    1. Haha, like Real Dolls! I watched a documentary on that once. There are some moments in life you can never take back.

  20. Wendy (not Wendy) says:

    While I, like everyone else, agree with everything Wendy has to say and think it was wise and well-stated… I’m willing to have some sympathy for the guy, or anyway, to give him some benefit of the doubt.

    I remember being unemployed while my partner was at work. It lasted for two years. I applied for jobs when they came up, but the economy was terrible and nothing came up very often. I spent a couple of hours looking for jobs every day, but after I’d exhausted available resources, that pretty much amounted to hopeless internet searches.

    Then I had to fill my day somehow. I didn’t think I was depressed at the time, and looking back I’m still not sure I was, but I sure didn’t do very much. I used to despair over that, privately. It wasn’t that I ENJOYED spending every day watching TV and messing around on the Internet, but somehow it was really hard to make myself do anything else. Maybe I felt bad or guilty about doing anything that was more interesting because I knew my partner was at work. I structured my day around my trip to the gym. Otherwise… I don’t even like to think about it. I didn’t realize until later, after I’d gotten a job, exactly HOW little I was doing. Before I’d been a person with a lot of activities and interests, but for some reason, once I had all the time in the world to knit I ended up doing it even less than before.

    I remember vividly putting off housework all day and then rushing around in the last hour before my partner came home to make it look like I’d been doing something all day. I tried to think of one thing every day that I’d be able to use as an answer to “How was your day?”. Usually I made whatever it was sound like a bigger deal than it really was. And silently I would think “What is WRONG with you, Wendy? Why don’t you DO SOMETHING?” But the next day there I’d be, watching soap operas and reading message boards and throwing dinner together at the last minute.

    There were some key differences between me and the guy in the letter, I’ll admit. We didn’t have any kids. My partner expressed specifically that she didn’t want me to take a job that wasn’t in my field (we didn’t need the money to survive). And I did do all the housework, even though I did a half-assed job at best.

    But before throwing in the towel with someone you have a child and a stepson with, I’d consider: is your fiance depressed? Could he be helped with medication or therapy? Is this a temporary (if prolonged) thing? Being unemployed is HARD. Being unemployed for a long time is CRAZY hard.

    I can see that you’ve tried to talk with him about stuff, and I don’t think it’s your job to do all the work of fixing the situation. I know money is tight, but I wonder if a one-time visit to a couples’ therapist could help you both make a plan that you can stick with. If I’m at all reasonable about giving him the benefit of the doubt, I think he needs some structure imposed on him. I bet things will get better if he is tied to some structure. It’s incredibly difficult to do on your own, especially when you’ve got eighteen months of bad habit to break.

    Good luck to you both.

    1. Yeah, but the one glaring difference between you and Mark is that you made a concerted effort to do your part around the house. Even if it was half-assed, you did SOMETHING. You WANTED to do something, even if it was at the last minute, you wanted/needed to contribute in some way. Mark just seems content to let LW do everything. He seems perfectly ok with the house being a mess, not taking care of the kids and doing nothing to help/prepare for dinner time. He’s perfectly ok with LW coming home to a filthy house, filthy children and no dinner in sight.

      1. And don’t forget, he then has the gall to tell her that they need to work on it together, which is basically an outright statement that he refuses to take it as his responsibility.

      2. Exactly!!

    2. Rangerchic says:

      You state your partner didn’t want you to get a job in a different field. I think that is key and a little different. It doesn’t sound like this guy has a field and that even when he has a job it doesn’t last long. I mean, if he really wanted too he could go get a job at a fast food joint. yeah the work isn’t great, probably minimal wage, but at least it would contribute.

      But I’ve been underemployed as well. ANd it can suck the life right out of you – at the end of the day though I went and found a low paying job while I looked for a more professional job just to help out and keep from spiraling downward. I think he could at least do this.

      1. Rangerchic says:

        *Supposed to be unemployed* UGH!

      2. Trixy Minx says:

        sounds like you were under employed too!

      3. the attack says:

        Just want to say that while I agree with what you’re saying, it is NOT easy to find even a part time minimum wage job right now. Not that this guy is trying at all. I’m in the slump that was described so eloquently by Wendy (not Wendy) and I have people say to me all the time “why don’t you just go get a job at Walmart or McDonald’s until you find something with your degree?” Guess what? I’ve already applied to and been rejected from practically everywhere i could get a part time job like that. It’s not as easy as that.

      4. Wendy (not Wendy) says:

        Very true. And even when I looked into just VOLUNTEERING, it wasn’t as easy as I expected. I didn’t want to take on anything with a long-term commitment, because I hoped to find a job–and anything that seemed worth doing (as in, would actually be a help to anyone) seemed to require, or at least request, a long-term commitment. Best of luck to you.

      5. That is exactly how I feel too. I don’t want to take on a commitment like volunteering that I might have to bail on soon, but I’m miserable just sitting around. I don’t leave the house that often because pretty much everything costs money, and then I find myself sitting around without any motivation and tired and sad and I can’t get myself to do anything.

        Unemployment sucks. When I finally get a job again, I will never ever take it for granted.

      6. UGH! I completely agree! I am extremely under employed right now and all I get from people is “why don’t you just get a job at walmart or target??” I just want to scream! I’ve tried (and been rejected) from just about every retail/big-box chain there is, yet somehow people think that all you have to do is apply and viola! instant job!

      7. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Yup! There are no instant or easy jobs! I’m really starting to regret going to college, because I think I was much more marketable for employment before I got my degree. Now I can’t get jobs with my degree because I dont’ have the experience, and I can’t get retail jobs because employers don’t want someone who’s going to leave when they get another job. It’s hard for anyone right now, but I feel like I’m stuck in a giant ditch of undesirability for either side of the spectrum.

      8. Oh dear. I hadn’t really thought of that particular conundrum. All that time (and money!) and you can’t do anything with it. Hang in there, I hope things turn around for you very soon.

    3. I agree with the others that this situation seems pretty different. Like you said, there were no kids involved. This guy also apparently lost enough money to not be able to buy his son a mattress and spends tons of money on his hobbies, when they barely have enough at all. Barring disability, there’s no reason a person who doesn’t have a job can’t take care of their children. I understand unemployed people being depressed and losing a sense of perspective when it comes to how they fill their hours, but this guy sounds like he’s purposely mooching.

    4. the attack says:

      This is so perfect. It’s exactly how I’ve been feeling lately. I’ve been feeling so worthless lately that it really helps to read about someone else having gone through the exact same thing

      1. Rangerchic says:

        @the attack…I’m sorry your having a hard time. I am looking for a new job and it does suck right now. When I took that one job it was over 4 years ago so was a little easier – or maybe I just lucked into that job. I left two weeks later and felt bad about it (the job I had interviewed for offered it too me – I waited and waited and since I didn’t hear anything for a month I assumed I didn’t get it).

        ANyway, I am being forced to go part time next month because of the low sales of the company I work for. So I do know what you are going through and how difficult it is…I’m sure I’ll be laid off in the next couple of months and hopefully will have something else before then.

  21. I’m going to print this letter and bring it to my dear friend SM, and highlight this: “I know being alone seems scary, but you’re a strong woman and you can handle it. You’re already supporting yourself and your child. You don’t need Mark’s assistance. You haven’t had it thus far. And you will have an easier time of it on your own, without Mark dragging you down. Let him find his own way again. He’s stuck on a detour, too. And he’s not going to find his way back to the path he’s meant to be on when you make it so easy to stay where he is.”

  22. OHHhh god, I lived with a guy like this, except we didn’t have a baby together, thank the lord. It was AWFUL. Wendy is right – I know I felt utterly defeated and had the “fight” drained out of me. Trust me, LW, I felt sooooo much better once I kicked his sorry ass to the curb. My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner!

  23. I lived in this situation, while pregnant, for a short period then got divorced. My ex thought he didn’t have to work after we got married because my grandparents had money. Of course he didn’t tell me this until he quit his job. His mom actually made his car payment for him at age 34 because he “couldn’t” find work, right.

    Anyways it turns out that he was a man-child and not emotionally mature. He never matured because he thinks he’s just fine. He disappeared from our son’s life a few years ago and truly that’s probably for the best. Get out while you can and do not marry this guy.

  24. CattyGoLightly says:

    Oh dear. Ohhhhh dear. I know this article has been passed around more than the town hooker, but you need to read it:

    Your fiance is gaslighting you! You are doing ALL of the work, and he is going to keep riding this gravy train as long as you let him. There is no “team,” only you doing everything and him having unlimited masturbation time. He is lazy, and he knows exactly what he is doing. He doesn’t think that you aren’t being a team player, but he’ll say that if that’s what it takes for him to be able to continue doing what he’s been doing. And I agree with Wendy. You are too tired and stressed and miserable to even think about changing this, but this guy is only adding to your stress. He takes up some of the precious little money you have, won’t take care of his own children, won’t help around the house, and then has the gall to tell you that YOU, in fact, are the one with the problem.

    What about that makes sense?

    It doesn’t, so get rid of him. You’re already paying for a sitter, so getting rid of him will only free up expenses for you. All of a sudden, you won’t be caring for three children, just one! So get to it. Kick him out. Take your baby somewhere safe as someone said, maybe have a family member come over while you kick him out, and begin your new life. It will be better than the one you have now.

    1. AliceInDairyland says:

      Love this article. I always re-read it every time someone posts it anywhere…

  25. lemongrass says:

    If you can’t leave him for yourself, do it for your baby. I know that you don’t want your kid to grow up thinking that this kind of relationship is healthy, normal or right. You don’t want your kid to feel the tension in the household or go without knowing that their father couldn’t put their needs first. And you certainly don’t want your kid to grow up and seek this kind of relationship for themselves. What you do want is your kid to know that they deserve good treatment and not to be walked all over and the way to teach that is by leading an example. You can do that and the benefits to you & your kid with be overwhelming.

  26. Rangerchic says:

    Yes, LW please take a step back and realize you would be better off getting him out of your life. When (not if) but when you ask him to leave be prepared for all the snarkiness, anger, and manipulation he will try so he can stay. Be ready for it so he can’t convince you to let him stay – be firm and keep saying no. After a few days you will be re-leaved and wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. I think with all that you have to keep you busy you won’t even miss him. Good luck.

  27. I think this is one of Wendy’s best responses. The theme I got from this LW was that she doesn’t have a partner, she has a third child. A horny ornery lazy teenager third child. He’s a user. He’s never going to stop doing this bs on his own and frankly, the most work he’s put at anything in the last year and a half is to convince the LW that he’ll do better next time, and he only does that to keep things the way he likes them.

    18 months is a LONG time to have to put up with this, but LW, if you aren’t careful, you could convince yourself to do it for years. So many women and men do that. They think its noble or that they deserve to stay in a one sided marriage that drives them to depression and loneliness. By the time they realize the mistake they’ve made, they’re stuck in a relationship that would be very hard to unstick.

    I think you should get a journal, and each time your fiance’s actions don’t match his words, note it. Each time he doesn’t hold up his end of the house/parenting work, note that too. Note when he blames you for a problem, and when he makes you feel like you’re overreacting or too emotional. You don’t even have to write down words, just write a notch each one of these times he makes you unhappy in a day. I think even in a week, the results will terrify you. In a month, it will give you the strength to really examine if this is what you want the rest of your life to be like. Because unless you drastically change something, this wont get better, it’ll just be a harder burden on you.

    If it were me, I would break up with him. If you want to work it out, I say at the very least have him move out and seek couples counseling once he’s left. Do not listen to his “I don’t have money or a job I will be destitute” excuses because he is an able bodied man who can find a job and living situation like the rest of us have to and you pushing him out will only help him figure out his sh*t. Do NOT marry this man until you can be sure that he’s willing and happy to spend the rest of his life being an equal partner with you and for you. I have to say though, I don’t think this will happen. It will definitely NEVER happen if you let him stay in that house and let him live like the rat from Charlotte’s Web.

    Do not stay in this situation, LW. This man will break you. He will break your spirit and then convince you that your spirit was broken to being with.

  28. LW, as hard as it is, you are enabling him and need to kick his lazy butt to the door. One of my exes did the same thing to me… thankfully, we didn’t have a child together, but this happened when I didn’t have much money, had a child to take care of, then him. He was a lazy, selfish, good for nothing jerk that stole from me, cheated on me, had no job, and I let it happen because I enabled him for almost two years.

    Your letter is comprised of statements with no real question. Are you just looking for validation to let this toxic relationship go? If you are, you have Wendy and the DW community giving it to you. As unfortunate as it is to have a freeloader of a fiance that you have a child with, you’d be much better off alone and raising your baby the way you want to without having to worry about three children – one of which is a grown-ass man – sucking you dry.

    If you are too afraid or worried about getting rid of this freeloader, perhaps you should tell him to grow a pair and get his shit together and take care of his responsibilities – himself and his family – or GTFO.

  29. Meg Murry says:

    Big red flag to me – “he lost the money to get his son a mattress”

    LOST it? How do you “lose” this money? Did it fall out of his pocket somewhere, or does Mark have a gambling problem? If so, he needs to get help NOW – losing the money to buy his son a bed is falling pretty deep to me. Check out http://www.ncpgambling.org for more info on problem gambling and how to find help. However, if he isn’t willing to admit he has a problem, nothing you do can help, and you need to kick him out, as others have said.

    If you think he has a gambling problem, is depressed or have other issues to deal with (does his son live with you most of the time and is he receiving any support related to that?). Or do you just want to talk to someone? See if your company has an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Many companies have them now, and they can help you find a counselor to talk to (often the first 3 visits are free), a lawyer to talk to about child support, gambling addiction programs, etc.

    Good luck to you LW, I hope you can either help Mark get some help or kick him out. I hope we hear back from you on how its going.

  30. quixoticbeatnik says:

    LW, this situation is NOT okay. You are miserable, absolutely miserable. You fiance should be doing more to help out. If not by getting a job, at the very least he should be watching the children during the day. I mean, my god, really – it’s too much for him to watch the children?? At least get a job working from home – or start an at-home business – anything. He just needs a job, period. It’s much harder to find a job while unemployed. Employers are going to look at that gap in his resume and wonder what he’s been doing. Sorry, but masturbation is not gonna get him hired.

    It is not fair for him to expect you to do everything and not do anything. I don’t even care if he’s depressed – although if he is, he should get help – because he should be doing something. If he really loved you, he would do everything he could to make your life easier. He would! Two people who love each other do what they can to make their lives happy. It doesn’t sound like he’s doing that. And it sounds like you really resent him. I don’t think anything could save your relationship.

    I think you should sit down (if you can make time) and figure out if you can live your life without him. Honestly, you probably could. You would only have to feed two people, you wouldn’t have to pay for his expensive hobbies, you’re already paying for a sitter. You could probably find ways to cut costs if you really needed to. Perhaps your job will let you work from home a few days a week to save on gas? Can you eliminate cable and get netflix and hulu plus instead?

    I just worry for you. I don’t want you to wake up years from now and wonder how this all started. You’re not married yet. You have no legal ties to each other (unless his name is on the lease of your house – but he probably isn’t) and it is easier for you to cut ties to him. Emotionally, I’m sure it will be hard. Very hard. But it will be harder to keep making excuses for this man who refuses to make any useful contributions to the household. You can do better. If you get lonely, then turn to friends and family. YOU DON’T NEED HIM.

  31. SixtyFour says:

    While I definitely agree with what Wendy said that you need to leave him, I just want you to know LW that I won’t judge you if you end up getting back together with him. You guys are engaged so I’m assuming that before he lost his job and slipped into depression and this manipulating behaviour, that he was a good guy that you were excited about spending your life with. You also have a child with him, so no matter what, you two are going to be linked for life in one capacity or another. But he is not the same person that he was when you got engaged. His has become a terrible incarnation of himself and he’s not going to get better until you leave and stop enabling him. Maybe that will cause him to change back to the man he was before. If that happens and you decide to try at your relationship again for yourself and for your child, I won’t judge you, and I hope that it gets better.

  32. I could not agree more with Wendy and all of the other commentary. (Bravura performance, Wendy!) I would underline what a few other people have said: DO NOT marry this guy. You don’t want to be legally entangled with a person like this. Also, until you can get him out of your house, get him out of your finances. If he has access to your bank account, revoke it. Don’t give him money for his hobbies! It’s unreal to me that a “man” who LOSES the money to buy a bed for his child to sleep in will spend on his own interests without a second thought.

  33. SweetPeaG says:

    I have not read any responses yet. Sorry if someone already made this suggestion.

    I think that the LW and the Mom of the fiance’s other son should move in together. They can join their finances and help each other with housework, meals and taking care of the kids. You can bond over the fact that you’ve both been screwed over by a big lump.

    Whatever you do, ditch this guy. Maybe he will man up and one day be a good father. But, right now he’s not being a good anything. Let him go. And please update us because I’d love to see how much better you’re doing in a few months time.

  34. Add in abuse and you’ve just described my 1st marriage.

    Wendy said it perfectly and you do need to get out of this joke of a relationship. You aren’t his girlfriend, you aren’t his fiance. Marrying him will only make you legally responsible for whatever debts he starts racking up. You are nothing more than a Sugar Mamma to him. He isn’t going to change unless you give him a real reason to, and as long as he can wear you down (and he knows he can) he will not change. Move on. The relationship can’t be saved. You will probably see him play this same routine out with other women for the rest of your life. Expect your child to end up with multiple half-siblings. My son with my 1st husband has 3 half-siblings (that I currently know of) by 3 other mothers. Once we all compared notes, the pattern was startling.

    1. Avatar photo theattack says:

      Even though there’s not physical abuse here, I would definitely say there’s emotional abuse.

      1. I agree, there is emotional/mental abuse going on. Unfortunately, she won’t see it until she’s well away from it. She’s too tired/worn down to see it clearly. I had to get out of the situation I was in before I could see the full picture. I was too close, I was too tired. I had no self-esteem left.

  35. Avatar photo theattack says:

    Honestly, you need to kick him out. It’s as simple as that. This relationship needs to be ended a year ago. I do not agree with commenters that say you could go back to him or fix the relationship or whatever. No. This is more than him being lazy and using you. I think you understand very well that he’s taking advantage of you. This is going to hurt, but it’s true: He cares about his time on the couch more than he cares about you. I would go as far to say that he doesn’t care about you much at all. He proves that he doesn’t by emotionally manipulating you, gas-lighting you, and trying to make you feel like crap. These are things that emotional abusers do. This goes far beyond neglected dishes in the sink and goes into the depths of who he is as a person. Get far away from this man. He is not husband material, and he’s not father material. Hire an attorney that deals with child custody and get this over with.

  36. This paragraph is one of the best things I’ve ever read here:

    Life is lonely. It’s filled with tricky detours we think re-route us around loneliness but only take us much deeper into the darkness. At the top of the list of detours are addictions and bad relationships…These detours don’t take us around the loneliness though. They only take us further into it.

    Sometimes the detours feel like the only thing we have to cling to. Thank you, Wendy, for this reminder that detours are a false remedy. And I guess I should also thank the LW for being the catalyst to this observation.

    1. I love that one too. I’ve added it to my list of “Dear Wendy-isms.” 🙂

  37. I was all DIVORCE DIVORCE DIVORCE!! Then I remembered they aren’t even married yet! GTFO GTFO GTFO!!!

  38. 1. DO NOT MARRY THIS MAN EVER!! Worse than taking care of a manchild is being legally responsible for his debts and/or crimes.
    2. PLEASE KICK HIM OUT – do it dramatically by throwing clothes on the front lawn, box his shit up and leave it in his house’s driveway, ask a friend to help – whatever works for you, then change every lock and secure every window, etc.

    This song came to mind when I was reading through the comments, you can do it LW! It’s like getting a full-grown man size tumor removed, might hurt but definitely worth it in the end for you and your child 🙂
    You Just slip out the back, Jack
    Make a new plan, Stan
    You don’t need to be coy, Roy
    Just listen to me
    Hop on the bus, Gus
    You don’t need to discuss much
    Just drop off the key, Lee
    And get yourself free

  39. The guy sure sounds a manipulative, lazy ass. But you have a child with him, so rather than kick him out without giving him one last chance, I propose one chance at an ultimatum – he goes to a shrink to be screened for depression, and he does all the housework and cooking until he finds a job. Take it or leave it. If he goes back to his same old bag of jedi mind tricks, toss him out. If he agrees to your terms but then doesn’t follow through, toss him out.

  40. Wendy, you did an awesome job responding to the LW! It was really clear, touching and profound. Bravo to you 🙂

  41. Pant-less drunky says:

    Like everyone else said LEAVE HIM!!!!!!
    This guy sounds almost exactly like my father (even down to the name) and even though it hurt not having father in my life, the best thing my mum ever did for us was leave his sorry ass.

    1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      You said “mum”! You are… Cara!

      1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Fine, or one of Wendy’s many other non-US readers.

      2. Pant-less drunky says:

        No, I’m a relatively new poster. I was recovering lurker before but I’m recovered now.

      3. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        You were landygirl right? You’ve been around for a pretty long time!

      4. Avatar photo theattack says:

        That’s who I thought it was! But I think landygirl has been around since The Frisky days, so surely that’s not it…

      5. Pant-less drunky says:

        My screen name was “recovering lurker” but I’ve only posted with that name a couple of times but luring for over a year. I didn’t think that changing my name would cause this much of an investigation…

      6. Nookie, right??

      7. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Man recovering lurker is such a good one too. You’re taking all the good ones!!

      8. Pant-less drunky says:

        I’m sorry? I’ve been trying to find one as good as the one I’m insanely envious of, “you, sir, name?”

  42. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

    Mark is CLEARLY depressed. The fact Wendy only barely even so much as suggested as much amazes me… Being out of work is hell. It really is. And it takes a toll that few on here seem to realize. Many of you sound so Pollyanna about how easy it is to just magically get a job — it’s absurd. The thing about looking for employment? Its very hard to quantify just how much you have been looking, too. Also, often people LIE about just how much they are actually looking. WHY? Because then their inability to land a gig isn’t quite so awful looking… if they haven’t applied for so many things… I know I did this during those first few months where I was all GUNG HO and making cold calls, calling everyone and going out on interviews… Nothing was sticking. I heard I was “overqualified” so many times I started dumbing down my resume. Then I needed more experience. It was a catch twenty two… And all the while, I’d hang out with friends and totally downplay how many interviews I’d been on. “Oh, one or two. But I’ve been so busy with x, y and z… I’ll get to it more in a bit…”

    And in the end, yes. It is VERY easy to just give up.

    Mark is depressed. VERY depressed. And obviously so. Painfully so. How do you fail to see this, LW? Honestly, it astounds me. Maybe instead of bitching about the housework you should see that he actually gets some help. Or MOA already. I’m sure the children will just LOVE you for it…

    1. Avatar photo theattack says:

      Very, very good points. I said this above, but I am right there with you on the train of people who can’t find any jobs whatsoever, and it rings of ignorance when someone says something like “Oh, just go get a job at Walmart in the mean time.” Uhh, it’s not that easy. Mark is definitely depressed, which is why he’s in the slump that he’s in for sure. I don’t think he’s bad at all for not having a job, unless he has really just not even tried. I do have a major problem though, with the way that he treats the LW at home. Being depressed doesn’t make anyone as manipulative as he is. It can make you not want to do anything, and it can make you snap at people sometimes and be kind of a shitty person, but he’s very deliberately trying to manipulate the LW into doing everything. He needs treatment, and I can definitely empathize with him on the depression and the unemployment bit. But I think his true character is showing through here as well, and it’s not pretty.

    2. Temperance says:

      Maybe because SHE’S depressed with having to deal with the stress of supporting a household (which, from the letter, sounds like they are strapped for cash due to him not working and them sending the baby off to a sitter when they don’t need to), doing all of the parenting, caring for her stepson, and the gaslighting from her fiance, who keeps trying to convince her that they’re a team, but isn’t doing anything but watching porn all day while their baby is with a sitter?

      It sounds like her life is incredibly stressful and difficult, and it seems grossly unfair to just paint her as some woman whining about her man not pitching in with housework when that isn’t even close to the whole problem with this dude.

  43. I do agree that Mark is indeed depressed. I am shocked that this has been the case for 18 months and the LW just now seem to be trying to do something about it. LW, this is not a good relationship for either you or for your fiance. Look, you’ve been his crutch for the past year and a half. Instead of getting help dealing with this, he has been making you miserable by taking advantage of you.

    Obviously we don’t know your entire story here, but if (and that’s a BIG “if”) you stay with this guy, you need to get him help. I’m not talking about being his crutch and doing everything for him, I’m talking about getting him help for his depression. If you end up staying with him, you need to get him into his own place so he can re-learn what it means to support himself. He won’t be able to pull himself out of this rut if things stay the way they are.

    Personally, I think you should MOA from this guy because I honestly think things are irreparable between the two of you. It’s not your job to be his mother.

    1. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

      Oh, and having a baby with him in the middle of all this? FUCKING BRILLIANT!!

      1. the attack says:


      2. Temperance says:

        Because that was all her fault, too?

  44. Temperance says:

    LW, I’m sorry.

    He’s convinced you that you are part of the problem – that the problem is that YOU aren’t pitching in enough as part of the “team” to keep the house clean, or the bills paid, or what have you, so that he doesn’t have to change his behavior, because, well, he’s getting a free ride and watching porn all day while your kid is with a babysitter that you’re paying for.

    You’re doing everything yourself now, so why not kick him out and hire a housekeeper with the money you’ve been giving him for his hobbies? You and your baby deserve better. At least if you throw him out, he’ll have to actually find a job instead of watching pornography all day, and you will have one less person to clean up after.

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