“He Acts Like My Daughter is His, So Why Can’t He Call Me His Girlfriend?”

It’s time again for Shortcuts. For every question, I’ll give my advice in just a few sentences, because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great, being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go.

I have been dating a great guy for the past eight months. I am a single mom and he has accepted my 1-year-old daughter as his own. But I want him to call me his girlfriend and he doesn’t want to label our relationship. My daughter’s father, who is my ex, does currently still live at my house. It’s up for sale and he won’t move out until it’s sold. So the guy I’m dating says he won’t call me his girlfriend until my ex you moves out. But what’s that going to change? We already do everything a boyfriend and girlfriend does. I just feel maybe he is embarrassed to call me his girlfriend. Help!! — Label Lover

Yeah, he probably is embarrassed to call you his girlfriend because you share a home with another man whom you also have a baby with. If you already “do everything a boyfriend and girlfriend does,” then quit making an issue where there isn’t — because, honestly, is sounds like you already have your hands full sharing a home with a man you are no longer romantically involved with while dating someone else and, oh yeah, taking care of a 1-year-old. Slow down and enjoy the companionship you have with this man and quit trying to force an insta-family. Your relationship and his role in your daughter’s life will sort itself out eventually. What’s the rush?

From the forums:

I started dating my boyfriend about three weeks ago. We enjoy spending time together and have slept together. (I know it’s a little soon). He has been having issues with his car so I offered to loan him money for repairs. This past weekend at dinner, he told me I was too nice, that he felt like he wasn’t good enough, and that I was holding back emotionally and physically. But I do see potential in the relationship and he does too.

I was supposed to help him in regards to the car yesterday morning. I called twice and never got a call back. I texted him last night and he finally responded that he had been sick in bed all day. I offered that if he needed anything to let me know and he just kept apologizing. He texted me this morning wishing me a good day. I asked him if he needed anything from me. No response. I said,”Maybe like some soup or something.” No response. I told him I was there for him if he wanted company this evening and that I didn’t mind driving. No response. I haven’t said anything more and don’t plan on offering anymore. I feel like my being too nice is pushing him away. Is there any damage control I can do now and what advice would you give to help get things back to where they were before all this? Thanks! — Texts-a-Lot

Jesus, quit loaning him money after only three weeks of dating and back the eff off. One single “Hope you feel better, let me know if you need anything” text is enough at this point in your very short relationship. The best damage control you can do now is NOT to text again. When/if he reaches out again, you can ask if he’s feeling better and he will likely tell you he is and you can say, “Glad to hear it.” THE END. And then give him some breathing room and a chance to pursue you a little bit. It sounds like you’re kind of suffocating the guy.

My boyfriend says he does not see us getting married. I love him so much and I know he loves me, but he is an introvert and most times prefers to be alone. What should I say or do? — Marriage-Minded

He says he doesn’t see you getting married. If what you want is marriage eventually, thank him for being honest and MOA, ’cause it ain’t gonna happen.


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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. YAY it’s FRIDAY! AND my birthday!

    LW 1, Sounds like you have a good guy who’s actually using common sense and thinking logically. He’s good to your daughter and wants to be with you, sans ex-bf. I would do exactly the same thing were I in his shoes. I’d probably even wait to date you at all until your ex was out of the house.

    LW 2, Stop. Just. Stop. He’ll contact you when he’s ready. I’m sure he appreciates your kindness and generosity, just not so much when it’s being shoved down his throat.

    LW 3, MOA. If you’re looking to eventually get married, this is not the relationship for you. Don’t invest any more time and effort into someone who has clearly told you his outlook for your future relationship does not match yours.

    1. Happy birthday!!

      1. Thanks Fabelle!

    2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      Happy birthday! How old are you? (I can ask that right?)

      1. Haha! You can definitely ask….I’m 49 years young! 🙂

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        Are you really 49, or 49 for the fourth time? 😉
        I’m 29 for the 3rd time.

      3. Haha! This is my first goround on 49…I might have to start getting creative next year tho. 😉

      4. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:


      5. fast eddie says:

        I’ll be 72 next month and please no party this year, OK?

    3. Avatar photo kmentothat says:


    4. lets_be_honest says:

      Happy birthday eljay!!

    5. Happy Birthday! it’s my wife’s birthday today, too.

      1. That’s awesome! Are you doing anything special for her today? I got unceremoniously dumped on Monday, so I’m treating myself to a bowl of Raisin Bran and Netflix this weekend. Joy.

    6. Happy birthday!

    7. Thank you guys! I love the love!

    8. Happy birthday!!!

  2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

    Oh texts-a-lot, don’t you know the rule?! … Actually I forgot it even though I made it up. What was it, three text in your letter and just move on?

    Thread jack: I just yelled at a girl on the bus for not giving up her seat to this woman standing with a baby. And this dumb idiot was making faces at the baby so it’s not as if she innocently didn’t realize there was a woman standing with a baby. What the hell is wrong with people!? Ok I didn’t YELL yell but I did say “do you think she’d like to sit?” I’m getting bolder in my old age.

    Ok, back to short cuts!

    1. I’m assuming you were already standing, too??

      1. PS- Way to go. Some people need to be reminded about common courtesy now and then.

      2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Yes the bus is a hot crowded mess after 8 am.

      3. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        No actually I’m laying across 3 seats because I’m tired. What that’s ok!

    2. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      Good for you. I swear people aren’t taught manners anymore.

      1. One of my friends is pregnant and people never give up their seats on the bus for her. I told her to start asking people for their seats but she feels uncomfortable doing that…which I also think is ridiculous. People are assholes.

      2. I should mention that she is very visibly pregnant.

      3. Has she tried to quickly make eye contact, smile, then look away? (I.e. no creepy “gimme that seat already” staring, but just ensuring that they’ve seen her). I think that often works to make people aware. And if she’s really feeling bad then I think she should maybe just say to the whole group of people “I’m not feeling good, can anyone give up their seat?”. That way it’s not directed at one specific person.
        But I agree that people should just give up the seat without having to be prompted to do it.

      4. Avatar photo Pamplemousse Rose says:

        On my way home yesterday, someone got out of their seat to get off the bus, and the fellow who was standing closer to the empty seat offered it to me, instead of sitting down. It kinda made my day.

      5. Avatar photo Pamplemousse Rose says:

        And I’m pregnant, but not visibly yet, so it was even nicer to get offered a seat.

      6. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        Congrats on the pregnancy!

      7. Avatar photo Pamplemousse Rose says:


      8. I’ve lived in both NYC and Chicago (for over 15 years in each), and I’ve never seen someone NOT give up their seat for an elderly, disabled or pregnant person. In fact, I’ve seen people take great pains to accommodate others who need a seat more than them. I agree that those people who do not give up their seats are assholes, but I think it’s weird that people claim this happens ALL THE TIME OMG HUMANITY, and yet I’ve never seen it despite living in two major metropolitan cities for over a decade. Very odd.

      9. Yeah, same. I’ve seen it happen a few times (that people don’t give up seats) in NYC, but for the most part, they do. The big problem is when the subway is so crowded that most people who are seated have people in their faces and can’t see who just got on.

    3. Please don’t do that. You have no idea if there’s some reason that young woman also needed to sit on a bus. Just because she’s young and visibly healthy doesn’t mean she doesn’t have some disability or condition you can’t see. As some who does, and who has been called out on a bus for sitting (actually it was the DC metro, but details), it is incredibly embarrassing to a) just ignore it but know that everyone else on the bus is now wondering why you didn’t get up b) Have to explain personal medical information to a total stranger when it is really none of their business or c) Stand up and suffer in pain.

      So make a general comment to the seated area in general that maybe someone should let this woman sit with her baby, but please don’t call out one person in particular just because they seem young and able bodied.

      1. I sort of agree with you. I mean, I frequently give up my seat for people who need it. But it has happened to me a bunch of times that I was on a bus practically fainting or throwing up and really needed to sit and couldn’t give up my seat. And I wouldn’t have wanted to have to explain that.

      2. kerrycontrary says:

        Yeh I wouldn’t specifically ask one person to get up, you never know why someone is sitting. Usually a bus driver will say “can anyone get up for this woman” if someone should be sitting but there’s no room to them. I have a coworker who is mid-fifties, so young enough to stand, but she has trouble holding on to a bar because of a wrist injury (which you would never know), so she needs to sit. If someone asked her to get up that would be hard for her to explain.

      3. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        That’s a really good point. In my defense, there were two girls sitting on that side (only two seats) and the pregnant woman and I were in front of them, and I said it toward them both but made eye contact with only the one girl because she was paying attention and making googly eyes with the baby.

        It was ridiculous how many people were conveniently busy texting to notice.

      4. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        It was just insane how clueless she was. “Oh yea totally do you want to sit??” I can’t really blame the people in the other seats because all the people standing inbetween them and the lady with the baby. But those two were both just sitting there, one engrossed in her cell phone and the other texting, then making googly eyes at the baby, then texting, then making googly eyes at the baby. Yea, I”m not sorry about saying what I did.

      5. I agree with Morgan’s general rule of not saying anything to a specific person, but I think you assessed the situation correctly in that particular case.

      6. lets_be_honest says:

        Well at least she was just being clueless and not intentionally rude. I could see myself being oblivious and caught up in whatever I’m thinking about and probably would appreciate someone like you pointing out to me that preggo would like to sit.

      7. Here people miraculously fall asleep when a pregnant/handicapped/old person gets on the bus. It sucks.
        When I used to use buses in my 1st pregnancy (thank goodness for the 2nd I knew how to drive), I´d ask the bus driver to ask people to get me a seat. Here it´s actually law that the 1st 2 rows are reserved for people with lower mobility, which of course helps.

      8. lets_be_honest says:

        Do you guys have parking spots reserved for pregnant women or women with babies? We have that here. I think its awesome.

      9. Yes, at supermarkets/malls usually. Larger supermarkets usually have queues especially for pregnant women etc. as well, which is good.
        And at banks people with lower mobility get to skip queuing up,which is cool, except people totally take advantage of the fact.

      10. Whoa!! That sounds pretty awesome!
        @LBH, is that a state or county thing? Is it just like mixed in with the disabled parking spots?

      11. Yeah, I have to agree with you here.

      12. I have been on both sides of this. I had an ankle injury that wasn’t obvious to anyone else. I wasn’t walking with a cane or anything, but the back and forth movement of the train caused me a lot of pain. I would’ve loved to have sat, but because I wasn’t obviously disabled, no one offered me a seat and I was too embarrassed to ask. Result? Painful, swollen ankle that took longer to heal. On the other hand, I called someone out after we had a gas line explosion. A lot of people were displaced, eight people were killed and houses destroyed. Some displaced folks were sitting in a pizza parlor watching the news, and a lady and wanted to watch a tennis match. When the TV was changed, one lady became hysterical. She didn’t know if her house was still standing and this other lady wanted to watch tennis. I got so mad I told her if she wanted to watch tennis, she should go back to her intact house and watch it and leave these people alone. I said it would be the nice thing to do. She got all huffy and said I didn’t have the right to speak to her that way. I told her I cared as much about her feelings as she cared about the other peoples’ – not at all. She protested that the news was not even talking about which houses were intact. I said, well now they’ll never know, will they? Because you want to watch tennis. She changed the channel back. My work was done.

      13. If it helps any, I tore my LCL recently and the bratty little high school assholes on the bus decided they didn’t have to get up for me. Or they would be sitting on the outside seat of 2 seats with their backpack on the inside one. I said something many times. And mostly I was comfortable with that because I ride with the same people every day and know they don’t have mobility issues. And I was on crutches with a giant brace on my leg. I usually don’t call anyone out specifically, but I do when it is someone taking up more than one seat.

    4. lets_be_honest says:

      Good for you!

      1. It had been a long night for everybody and I just blew. Some people have no compassion.

  3. LW1: This doesn’t sound like a typical “Labels are for losers man, only soup cans need labels” (? I don’t know) guy. He’s thinking sensibly. And he’s even given you a logical reason & time frame for when he’ll be ready to consider you a “girlfriend”— when your ex moves out. Chill. Just, chill.

    LW2: okay, we already talked to you in the forums, & I think you’re good.

    LW3: The fact that he’s an introvert has nothing to do with his lack of desire to get married.

    1. Re LW3 if she blames it on that then she can fix him and abracadabra! he’ll want to get married!

  4. In regards to LW2…I too have been totally guilty of trying to be overly helpful and overly lovey at the beginning of a relationship. I tend to get really excited to have a new guy that I forget that we’re still at the beginning stages and try to be the best girlfriend everrrr. I get how you’re feeling. Slow down and let him reach out to you. (Which is advice I should have taken a couple different times…)

  5. LW1: It’s only been 8 months, and your daughter of only a year is already treating another man as a father figure when she is actually already living with her actual father. You need to slow things down and think things out better.

    LW3: You can’t change him so don’t try it is just going to be a lot of heart break for you, so cut your losses now before you invest more time into something that doesn’t work for you.

  6. LW1 should slow way down. If I’m getting the timeline correctly, she started dating this new guy when her baby was four months old. When did she separate from the daughter’s dad? Probably sometime between the baby was conceived and when she was 4 months old, right? And they’re living together still, yet she calls herself a single mom? What’s the father’s role here? Also, I’d like to know why the ex won’t move out and she can’t influence that when it’s HER house? So many questions.

    1. AllegroFox says:

      I’m going to give LW3’s ex the benefit of the doubt and say maybe he has equity in the house that he needs before he can get another place. Otherwise, why would the LW be selling it, instead of just asking him to leave? I guess it could be coincidence, but I think it’s far more likely to be tied up with their breakup.

      1. Good point. I’m going to quibble and say if that’s the case then it isn’t really her house, or hers alone. Probably neither can afford the house without the other.

      2. AllegroFox says:

        Whups, LW1. Forgot to check before posting!

      3. AllegroFox says:

        And yes, you’re right – if that’s the case it isn’t her house, it’s their house. Though maybe it’s a house that she bought before and then they put his name on it later? In which case she may feel it’s “her” house (so would I) but he still has equity, or he put a lot of money in it for renos or something so he’s claiming equity….shit like that can be so weird.

      4. Skyblossom says:

        Maybe he also wants to live with his daughter and has an excuse until the house sell, especially if he is a co-owner.

    2. lets_be_honest says:

      Its probably not her house, I’d guess its both parents house. While I can’t even imagine sharing a house with an ex, if they are not wealthy and are trying to afford a baby, its probably wise to share one until it sells rather than pay a mortgage and rent on two places. Far from ideal, but a chance this is a smart decision?
      Its also very possible the parents split before the baby was even born.

  7. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

    Thread jack part deux: my condo building was broken into AGAIN last night. Except this time the scumbag got caught on video! (Last weekend we installed security cameras.) Boom! What’s scary is how quickly he got in. The cameras show him walking up to the front door, slipping in a long metal rod, and boom he was in, faster than I can give get my key to work. The other scary thing was that he was in the building for 1.5 hours. My unit is fine. He keeps targeting the unit below me for some reason. Wtf?

    Really, no more thread jacking.

    1. Holy crap that’s scary! I’m already a paranoid wreck, that would just send me right over the edge. You should put cameras in your unit as well. And, what time of day/night is this happening?

      1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        I can tell you specifically: he entered at 10:55, exited at 11:41, entered again at 11:46 and left at 12:15.

      2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        (in the late morning)

      3. Damn! This guy has the run of the place! That is scary shit. He’s just waaay too comfortable and seems to do this with such ease. Scary indeed.

      4. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Also he was wearing a New Kids on the Block – Backstreet Boys concert tee shirt. That was the best part.

      5. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        And a NY Yankees ball cap. If you see him, call 911.

      6. I suspect it’s someone who knows the person he’s targeting.

    2. Whoaa, I’d be so scared!

    3. At least now they know how people are getting in and can change the door, so they can’t break in. I’m sorry this is happening to you!!

    4. Scary! Can you get some kind of alarm installed?

    5. Skyblossom says:

      My brother’s home was broken into four times in a row by the same buy years ago and it was because they knew what was there and his schedule. They would give him enough time to make an insurance claim and replace the stolen items and then go back and take the new ones.

  8. sophronisba says:

    LW2, don’t know what was said in the forum, but any dude who tells you you’re not opening up enough emotionally and physically after only 3 weeks is an idiot who should be avoided. You hardly know each other and clearly he’s not in the cloud-nine stage at all to be picking at you already. Calling him your boyfriend and going overboard with the love and support will likely leave you feeling like a chump in the end because this dude’s just not that into you, IMO.

  9. starpattern says:

    Re LW1: Is this a thing? Do people really try to date while living with their exes? If I met a guy who was like, “Oh, this is my ex, it’s fine… she’s just living here until the house sells,” I would book it out of there so fast. Who in their right mind would want to deal with that?

    1. There are even people who continue living together longterm with an ex they have kids with, so that the kids can live with both parents. And both parents have new partners. It happens. I don’t think I could do it, or date someone who did it, but it’s a thing. But in that case, none of the parents would call themselves a “single parent”. It’s really off that she says that when the ex still lives there.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Why is that “off”? She is technically a single parent.

        Related story: I know a couple who divorced with 2 kids and bought a duplex together. He lived in one half, she in the other. They both dated but remained co-parents and were super friendly. I thought that was so awesome.

      2. starpattern says:

        Well, the term “single parent” is usually used to describe a parent who is running a household on his or her own. Even though it is technically correct in this case, it implies a hardship that is not necessarily true (since her coparent is living under the same roof and presumably also helping with the bills and childcare)

      3. Yeah – either she’s not parenting alone or the guy is a douchebag for living there and not parenting.

      4. lets_be_honest says:

        Is it? I mean, that makes sense, but I thought it could also apply to a parent who literally is single.

      5. yea, thats what i always thought. like you can be a “single parent” in a committed relationship. and once you are in a committed relationship, we dont start to call single parents “committed parents” or anything…

      6. lets_be_honest says:

        Hmm, I guess I still would refer to myself as one, but that doesn’t seem totally accurate anymore. I just stick with mom.

      7. starpattern says:

        I guess it could work with the right people involved. You’re right though, it is odd that this LW calls herself a single parent when she does have a coparent living with her and her child.

      8. So… does the “single” in single parent mean… single as in no co-parent, or single as in available to date?

      9. I thought she meant the former since she’s saying in the same sentence that she’s been with this guy for 8 months?

      10. That’s right – she doesn’t fit w/ either definition of single parent!

  10. lets_be_honest says:

    lw2 – I never thought someone offering help could ever sound so much like harassment.

  11. WWS to LW1: “Quit trying to force an insta-family.”

    Why does it seem like so many LWers are trying to do this? I understand that you want someone who meshes well with your family, but christ, this kid HAS a dad who’s currently living with her!

    “I am a single mom and he has accepted my 1-year-old daughter as his own.” That sounds like so much overkill to me. It’s only been 8 months! AND, you’re technically not even his “girlfriend.” So there! Settle down, LW1.

    1. AND, if I was the ex/dad, I would have issues with someone else getting SO involved in my daughter’s life in such a short time span.

    2. thats what i thought too! i was wondering why no one really was talking about this…?

      LW1, how about you dont form a family until you have a very stable foundation, which is kind of something it seems you missed the boat on the first time? do not rush into making a casual boyfriend a father to your daughter.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        It would be nice if people would just allow that person to be what they are, meaning its ok if he’s just mom’s boyfriend for a while, not baby’s new dad.

      2. Exactly. It’s OK to date, but the new guy doesn’t need to become a father figure anytime soon. I’m guessing that since LW is a mom with a young child, she wasn’t really able to date him without bringing the child along with her.

      3. well, and the baby is only one, now, so while they were dating she was a little baby. and i dont see an issue with bringing a baby with things like this, because its not like she will really remember and/or care if the guy never comes around anymore…. but, now that she is one, she is getting to the age that she will remember and it will affect her if a breakup happens. now is when mom has to start being more careful.

      4. Yeah, I don’t have a problem with her dating, it’s just all the RUSHING and the forcing of father-figureness.

      5. lets_be_honest says:

        That’s a good point. I can’t imagine having the time to date as a “single” parent with a baby. I guess if you have plenty of $ for a sitter…

    3. I don´t know how the hell LW1 had the energy to meet a guy, having a 4 month old. I mean seriously???

      1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Ha your math is better than mine, I calculated she started dating when the kid was just 2 months old.

      2. Better practice before quitting it all to be a math teacher then 😛

        But seriously, when the girls were 4 months old I considered it a good day if I managed to shower. Thinking about dating on top of that? wow.

    4. Yeah, how does one accept a child as their own when they don’t even live there? You can just say that he treats your daughter well. It doesn’t have to be that he thinks he’s her other parent.

  12. Avatar photo landygirl says:

    I think my palm my be permanently attached to my face after these three letters. I can’t even express my thoughts without being mean and inappropriate so I’ll keep my mouth shut.

  13. Avatar photo theattack says:

    I think everyone else has thoroughly covered these letters, so I’m going to use this opportunity to say I GET OUT OF WORK AT NOON TODAY JUST BECAUSE! All of you suckers who have to keep working, haha! In your face! BAM!

    Just kidding. I hope everyone has a really good afternoon!

  14. It’s just another Facepalm Friday (whoaaa-ohhh),
    another rolling-eye day (whoaaa-ohhh)
    It always makes me say (whoaaa-ohh)
    I guess my life is okay! (whoaaa-ohhhhh)

    It’s just another Facepalm Friday…

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