Needless to say, my entire life imploded and I retreated even more into myself. Since 2012, I have been dealing with this and have come out of it pretty well due to my faith in God, along with a few great friends and family. I love my kids and I am their dad, no matter what.
I started dating a woman in the fall of 2013 and things started good, but, as our relationship progressed, I found that I had become clingy again. I always take the back seat to her job, kid, and family, and I feel that the only way to make her happy is to not bother her unless she wants it. She has told me lately that work and her kid are #1 and I am not part of the priority list, but she wants us to have a life together and she thinks she “hit the jackpot” with me. With this said, she blows me off when we are together with the kids and her excuse is it’s about the kids and not us when we are spending time as a family.
While she says she has never been in a caring, long-lasting relationship, is this excuse valid to neglect me emotionally and physically? I have been wondering lately what is the point, but I do love her and want to be there for her and help in any way I can. But she needs to be there for me too, right? Or am I being too serious with this and in need of relaxing a bit considering my past? — Still Clingy
So, you’ve basically been in a relationship (either with your ex-wife or with your current girlfriend) for 26 years, since you were 14 years old, without more than a one-year break to gather yourself? And you relied only on your faith in God and the support of some friends and family to pull you through the end of a 24-year relationship and the discovery that your wife had been cheating on you for years and that the two kids you believe were biologically yours belonged to another man? Don’t get me wrong — a strong faith and support of loved ones can go a long way, but given what you went through — your self-described life implosion and retreating into yourself — I’d say that professional therapy (years of it, probably), as well as some time to reboot, emotionally and psychologically, before jumping into a new relationship would have been in order. But it’s not too late now! I highly recommend you find a professional to talk to because it’s clear you need the kind of guidance and support that even the most loving family and friends aren’t capable or qualified to give.
In the meantime, dude, you need to drop the girlfriend. You’re obviously following a pattern, and the pattern needs to be broken. You’ve gone from one woman who ignored you and made you feel like you didn’t matter to another woman who does the same thing. I mean, she told you that you aren’t on her priority list?? Who cares if she thinks/says she’s “hit the jackpot” with you if all her actions indicate a total lack of regard for you? Get out of this relationship. Get psychological help to get to the bottom of your martyr complex, and, if you haven’t already, consider asking for a DNA test to prove the paternity of your two children. It’s wonderful that you will love them and care for them as your own no matter what, but I don’t know why you are choosing to believe your ex-wife that you AREN’T their biological dad. If you were sleeping with her around the time they were conceived, then there’s just as much chance that these kids are biologically yours as there is that they’re the other guy’s.
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at email@example.com.
TaraMonster April 30, 2015, 12:22 pm
TaraMonster April 30, 2015, 12:26 pm
Seriously, though, the timeline in this letter is so unnecessarily complicated. When did you marry your ex? Before or after your relationship “stalled” (whatever that means)? It seems like you knew all along that your relationship with your ex wife was awful, but kept moving forward with it. I mean, she’s a TOTAL d-bag for this whole situation with your maybe-not-biological children. Screw her, but you gotta get your shit together and stop being a doormat. Therapy. All the therapy. Pronto.
SpaceySteph April 30, 2015, 12:34 pm
1. Break up with her, spend some time by yourself.
2. Paternity test.
I have so many questions about the “my kids aren’t biologically mine” part. Do you share custody? Do you pay child support? Does the other guy take care of them? Do they know about this? Have you gotten a paternity test? How can she be so sure they aren’t yours? (Here’s a clue: without a paternity test, she can’t). He threw it in there in such an offhand way. The gf is small potatoes, won’t someone think of the children?
zombeyonce April 30, 2015, 1:02 pm
I feel so bad for the kids of both women LW has been with. They have mothers that really don’t sound like great people. Even the current girlfriend, while saying she is putting her kids first, is treating a person like LW badly. I’m guessing the kids aren’t learning how to treat people well from her.
AKF April 30, 2015, 12:45 pm
I clicked on a link to read this from my Feedly and ended up at instead of this page–just thought you might want to check that?
Dear Wendy April 30, 2015, 12:52 pm
Looking into it, thanks.
zombeyonce April 30, 2015, 12:54 pm
Happened to me, too, I was sent to some travel site when coming from theoldreader.
Sunshine Brite April 30, 2015, 12:56 pm
Wait, what? Why are you accepting of this behavior again? Your girlfriend told you that she doesn’t include you in her priorities. You’re letting yourself be neglected. Plus, for all you know, your ex is getting money for both you and the other guy for the kids if she’s managing to avoid paternity tests and court. Break up with her, paternity test, consider therapy, and seek relationships that actually meet your needs.
Seriously? Seriously! May 1, 2015, 11:53 am
I’m skeptical that she actually told him that she doesn’t include him in her priorities. I think she may have told him that her children and her career are her number 1 (and 2?) priorities at this point in her life, and he interpreted that, rightly or wrongly, as him not being included in her priorities.
I just doubt that, unless she is ruthlessly manipulative and cruel, she would tell him he isn’t a priority and then that she sees a future and thinks she hit the jackpot. I think it is more likely that she told him that she has to prioritize her career (and of course, her children) rather than a relationship right now but she knows she hit the jackpot and can see a future together. Which i think is kind of normal and not actually as dismissive as it sounds — it means working late is more important than coming home in time for dinner, and that business trips may mean postponing vacations, etc…., the things that happen when career comes first. It doesn’t mean that the person isn’t important or that that person shouldn’t be in a relationship, it just means sacrificing. The fact that he says she “blows him off” when they’re together, “focusing on the kids”– whatever that means — means he most likely cannot/does not want to be in a “compromise/sacrifice at the moment” relationships, which is fine and his choice, but let’s not demonize her for his most likely unfair description.
zombeyonce April 30, 2015, 12:59 pm
LW, of course she thinks she’s hit the jackpot; your relationship is conducted strictly on her terms and when you don’t like it, you think you’re the one doing something wrong. There are some serious self-esteem issues here and like Wendy said, a lot of therapy is needed here.
You’ve got to learn to stand up for yourself, but before you can do that you have to learn that your opinions, thoughts, and feelings are valid even if someone doesn’t agree with them. You need to trust yourself a lot more and listen to that inner voice that’s saying this is wrong and it’s not working.
And please please please get a paternity test no matter what you expect the outcome to be. I’m guessing you’re paying child support for these kids since you consider yourself to be their father (even if not a biological one) and you were married to their mother. If you’re really their bio father, awesome! If not, you may want to reconsider your relationship with their mother (mainly your financial relationship if there is one).
Laura Hope April 30, 2015, 5:00 pm
Believe it or not, there are plenty of women out there who will make you a priority and value your relationship and treat you with respect. But first you need to believe you deserve that.
Kate B. April 30, 2015, 8:53 pm
You are absolutely not out of line or being clingy. People make time for the “jackpot” no matter how busy they are. This relationship is not meeting your needs and you need to get out. It is easy for me to see why this woman has never been in a “caring, long-lasting relationship”. I once heard relationships compared to a garden: They require tending in order to thrive. This lady could not even grow crabgrass. MOA and find someone who will treat you right.
Portia May 1, 2015, 7:33 am
Man, I wish my plant-growing skills were equal to my relationship skills, I definitely do not have a green thumb…
memboard May 1, 2015, 6:30 am
I suppose the paternity test will work out if LW’s wife is lying. However it won’t change the fact that his name is on the birth certificate and in the face of the law he is the father with all the obligations that comes with it even if he isn’t the actual biological father.
Now kudos on the wife if she can get child support from both men but she isn’t entitled to it, the children are entitled from support from LW only.
Sunshine Brite May 1, 2015, 6:52 am
Not in everywhere, he would need to research the laws in his area since it varies. Besides he would like to maintain the connection with the children regardless, but a paternity test is helpful as he explores ways to finally stick up for himself and have some sense of closure around that relationship.
SpaceySteph May 1, 2015, 8:26 am
Yeah it does sound like he still considers the children his despite her telling him that they aren’t his and that’s awesome. If the paternity test says no, then nothing changes except he has actual confirmation of his story. I’m just thinking that there’s no way for her to definitively know who the father is if she was having sex with both men during the same time period. And she would have had to have been sleeping with the LW during the time she got pregnant for him to believe the kids were his in the first place.
No birth control is foolproof so even if she were slipping in a diaphragm on the sly or something (can you even do that? can a guy tell? I don’t know?) it might not have worked. The kids could still be his.
Dear Wendy May 1, 2015, 8:50 am
FYI: The LW emailed me and said that he HAS taken a paternity test in the past and the kids are not biologically his.
SpaceySteph May 1, 2015, 12:04 pm
Sad. I am glad he’s trying to do right by the kids and keep them in his life. You sound like a good father LW, maybe it’s time to step back from romance and focus on that.
chief10 May 1, 2015, 10:53 am
Of course she thinks she’s “hit the jackpot” she gets what she wants when she wants it or doesn’t want it and all on her terms! Definitely agree with what everyone else has recommended in seeking help to deal with everything and to break this horrible cycle you are in.
sarolabelle May 4, 2015, 11:25 am
I may be a little late to comment but what does he expect when they are out of the house with a child besides a simple holding of hands? If he doesn’t get that then yeah, maybe he should look elsewhere but if they are out and about, it’s not the time to have any long lengthy convos about anything other than what the kids or doing/the weather….
Rick March 26, 2017, 3:53 pm
I discovered my 2 sons weren’t my biological sons. I have been married for 25 years. My wife confessed to me when the oldest turned 18. She had a secret relationship with my cousin for years. DNA test confirmed that the boys are his biological sons. I was devastated initially, but over time I have forgiven her & him, & I remain married because I love my wife.
Ron March 26, 2017, 8:04 pm
She kept it a secret until the youngest kid was 18, because she didn’t trust you enough to believe that you would continue to raise and support your sons if you knew the truth. You are to be congratulated on your bigness of heart.