I met my now ex-fiancé about two years ago. He quickly moved in with me and my son because the couple he was living with got evicted. About three months into our relationship we found out that we were having a baby — my second child and his first biological one. (Even though we aren’t together, he still considers my son his son.) When I was around five months pregnant with our little girl, my ex rounded up the help of my son and proposed. He was the best man I had ever been with. I never had to worry about other women, and he was always so loving and affectionate. Then my daughter was born and something changed in him. He started staying out drinking, partying, and doing drugs while arriving home anywhere from 2-5 AM. He cheated and one of the girls that he cheated with actually threatened my children’s lives and my life. Now he is in a new relationship with a woman who is twelve years his senior and who has no stability in life just like him. I am his primary source of transportation still. He has been staying at my house because it saves me in gas since I have a Jeep Wrangler. He still sleeps in my bed and we still have sex all the time. I remember how hurt I was when he was cheating on me and now I’m that woman. I really want to be with him, but he obviously hasn’t changed at all. I don’t know what to do anymore! — The Driver
Kick him outta your bed, outta your house, outta your car, and outta your life. I’m not even in the camp that he should be in your kids’ lives. He’s not the father of your older one, and he’s the father in DNA only of your second. He’s dead-beat druggie who’s sleeping around with who knows how many people. Good lord, kick him outta your life, get yourself tested for STDs, change the locks on your door, and don’t move some random guy into your home with your children within weeks of meeting him ever again. What were you thinking?!
I met this awesome guy, and I’ve never felt more connected to another person. He hits all the checks on my list, he understands me, and we have the same sense of humor, which is huge for me. Around the second week of December he told me he wasn’t ready to be exclusive but liked where things are going and wanted to take things slowly. I agreed, but I have felt him distancing himself since then. Right before Christmas he stopped by and gave me a Christmas gift and things were good again, but a week later he told me that he wasn’t ready to be in a relationship, work is overwhelming (he’s a location out and works insane hours), and some personal things had built up to the point that he doesn’t think he can be a good boyfriend to me. He wishes that circumstances could be different and that the timing wasn’t off, but maybe we could try again when things settle down. And he hopes we can still be friends and hang out. I flat out asked him if he had lost interest and to be straight-forward with me, and he responded by saying he simply didn’t know — he doesn’t know how to be a good boyfriend and that he’s got things to figure out and that he wants to keep the door on us open. He still wants to be able to see me. Our relationship was not sexual, so I know that he’s not just keeping me around for sex. I’m broken-hearted. Any help and advice would be great. I really don’t want to lose him. — Not Ready to Lose Him
Honey, he’s not yours to lose, and he’s already gone anyway. How many different ways does he have to say he doesn’t want to be your boyfriend? He doesn’t want to be your boyfriend. Maybe he doesn’t want to be anyone’s boyfriend. Maybe he likes being a free agent and going out and hooking up with whomever he wants. Maybe he’s met someone else he wants to pursue and he wants to “leave the door open” with you in case things don’t work out with that person. Either way, you’re seriously disrespecting yourself “leaving the door open” for some guy who peeked in, shrugged his shoulders, and was like, “Eh, lemme see what else is out there first and maybe I’ll come back, check things out again some time.” MOA.
My fiancé and I are at the stage in our relationship where we need to agree on where to live once we get married. We currently live thirty-five miles apart. My children are all young adults, and he has one adult child and one child who is a minor, an 8-year-old daughter. He and his daughter’s mother live five minutes apart, and they co-parent fifty/fifty. They have been doing this since they separated five years ago. All of my family live within five miles of me. I own a home and he rents, so the decisions need to be made sooner rather than later. I’m torn because my children have never been far from me, are a big part of my life and I have grandchildren who want to continue to see me just as much as they always have. My fiancé is adamant about staying five minutes away from his daughter and has reminded me that she is his first priority, and I don’t think he is willing to compromise by moving to a city where we will live halfway from his daughter and halfway from my family (17 miles from each). He has asked that I move in with him so that he remains living five minutes of his daughter, which would mean that I would live thirty-five miles (forty minutes) from my family. Is this unfair? — Looking for a Halfway House
He has a young child he’s still raising and you don’t. Seeing grandchildren and your grown kids is not the same as raising a child. Your fiancé is likely shuttling his daughter to activities, birthday parties, back and forth between his house and her mother’s — it’s important to live near all of that. You, on the other hand, don’t have that kind of responsibility and can still see your family plenty being forty minutes away. Do you have any idea how many people would give anything to be a forty-minute drive from their family? That you seem unwilling to make the move for your fiancé out of respect for the responsibility he has as a father of a minor suggests that perhaps you aren’t really ready to marry him. Marriage takes compromise. Marrying a single parent and becoming a step-parent to a minor takes an extra dose of compromise and sacrifice. Not everyone is cut out for that role. You need to be honest with yourself if you are, and then take the appropriate steps if you aren’t.
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Ashley January 12, 2018, 9:35 am
LW 3 where do you live because here in Texas a 40 minute drive is nothing. You are still extremely close to your family. As a matter of fact, I bet your young adults wouldn’t mind you being a bit further away. It’s completely reasonable to put an 8 year olds needs first. Lastly, I remember reading a looonnggg time ago about a couple in New York who were married but lived in different apartments, due to their wildly different tastes and needs. It worked for them apparently
brise January 12, 2018, 9:58 am
LW1: why on earth do you “transport” him? You are not his mother. How low do you want to go?
LW2: it is over, he is not that into you
LW3: either find a tenant for your house and join your fiance, or stay where you are if you are not ready to move and live separately. But don’t ask him to move away of his 8 years old child.
Northern Star January 12, 2018, 10:48 am
LW3 irks me. (I won’t even touch on the foolishness of the other two.) Many people commute an hour each way every single day—yet 45 minutes is too far to drive to visit her grown kids, so her fiance should move away from his grade-school daughter? How selfish. And her suggestion of moving midway between everybody was rightfully shot down by the fiance. Making sure it’s “even” in inconvenience is so stupid when you’re talking about a 45 MINUTE DRIVE. How petty.
Don’t get serious with somebody who lives too far away. Apparently, 35 miles is too far.
Louann January 12, 2018, 11:36 am
The thing that gets me about LW #3 is that you were perfectly fine commuting and being that 40 minute drive from your boyfriend/Fiance for however long you’ve been dating (has it been a while? Or maybe not that long after all….). So, 40 minute drive is not a dealbreaker for you in respect to a partner, but it is for visiting family? Isn’t one of the points of getting engaged and married so that he becomes part of your family? Maybe start thinking of him as your family, or at least a part of it. If that doesn’t sit right, then maybe you shouldn’t get married.
dinoceros January 12, 2018, 12:22 pm
LW1: It’s not truthful to say that you don’t know what to do. You know what to do, but you don’t want to. I believe your issue is that you like instant gratification. But as an adult, sometimes you have to give up the instant gratification in order to do the right thing and to do what will help you most in the long-term. But don’t pretend like you don’t know what to do.
LW2: The first thing on your “list” should be whether the person actually likes you as much as you like them. If you can’t check that box, then the rest don’t matter. I mean, really, who cares if someone is smart, funny, and cute if they don’t want to be with you?
LW3: For real? It’s just 35 miles. I don’t see what the big deal is. Some people drive farther than that to work every day. You have adult children. You don’t need to see them as frequently as he needs to see a young child. I live 750 miles from my family. It could be a lot worse. I can’t tell if you’re just super, super, super close to your kids or if you don’t like compromising.
K January 12, 2018, 12:22 pm
Ditto to what everyone else has said about LW 3. I can’t believe she thinks 40 minutes is too far away. And it’s way more important for him to be near his 8 year old than for you to be near your young adult children. She *needs* him as she is still growing and in her formative years; your children don’t *need* you.
Tats January 12, 2018, 12:22 pm
LW1: What…The…F**k. Weird how you “never” had to worry about “other women”, but as soon as you give birth he’s out & cheating? I have a feeling something is missing from this story. Also, he sounds like a trash pile that doesn’t deserve your time & energy.
Lianne January 12, 2018, 12:39 pm
LW 3 – my MIL lives about an hour and 15 mins from us (usually the drive is longer because of Boston traffic) and still comes once a week to watch our son just to spend time with him. It’s inconvenient, but worth it to her to bond with him. This is not insurmountable. Stop being selfish.
Sue January 12, 2018, 12:51 pm
#1) Don’t allow anyone to use you and treat you so shabbily
#2) Watch that movie, “He’s Not That Into You”, sort of sappy but it does make the point
#3) You are looking at 10 years + of having that child be his first priority, you will always come second. You don’t sound ready for that. At all. Please think it all through very very carefully before you disrupt your life with a move that leaves you bitter and/or a relationship that leaves you unhappy. The child has already been though a family break up, the last thing she needs is a troubled home with her Dad because you two have such different priorities or because of your need for things to be “fair”. They won’t be, she will always be his priority, keep saying that to yourself until you believe it and then decide if you are in for that
MMR January 12, 2018, 1:07 pm
LW3: You don’t seem to even be considering the fact that it’s not just about where you and your fiance live. It’s about where you, your husband AND your stepdaughter live. He doesn’t live 5 min away from his daughter. He lives WITH his daughter 50% of the time, in a home that is close to her mother (and probably her friends and her school and after-school activities).
Have you considered that the amount of time that you spend with your children and grandchildren may need to be reduced to include your new child, regardless of where you live? How will moving impact how she gets to and from school when she’s living with you? Do your fiance and his ex rely on each other for flexibility in their custody arrangement? There are so many questions to consider that revolve entirely around his daughter. Choosing where to live is his decision to make, and he’s made it: he’s not moving. It doesn’t matter if you or Wendy or I or literally anyone else doesn’t think it’s fair.
My biggest concern about your letter is that you don’t mention the impact of moving on your soon-to-be stepdaughter, or the fact that you’ll have a young child living with you 50% of the time. THAT should be the focus here. Your life will change dramatically from what it is now, even if you split the distance, because you’re going to have a child living with you.
dinoceros January 12, 2018, 1:24 pm
I would agree with your concern. Personally, if there were a child that was my soon-to-be stepchild, I would also have thoughts about what things were good for her. She’s going to be family, and I’d hope that you would care enough about her to want things to work out well for her too.
SpaceySteph January 12, 2018, 1:19 pm
35 miles from your grown kids with kids of their own sounds like nothing to me. (My parents and in-laws each live 1000 miles away) I always thought the ideal distance from my parents (as an adult) would be in the 2-3 hour range… so they could visit easily but not TOO easily.
A 40 min drive is still a doable regular visit, especially for someone who managed to keep a romantic relationship going across that distance.
Moneypenny January 12, 2018, 1:38 pm
LW3… I drive 35 miles to work every day! Which usually takes about an hour. I really can’t have any sympathy for this person. His daughter *should* be his priority- she’s only 8! LW’s adult children can also make the 45 minute drive as well to visit *her* – or they can meet in the middle. My sister lives 2.5 hours from my parents and they’ve done that a few times. There are so many ways to work around this, aka compromise! Ugh.