Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Shortcuts: “Will His Child Always Come Before Me?”

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 that being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go.

I’ve been dating this guy for like a week, and he is expecting a kid with his ex. They had a night and she got pregnant. He is 22 and gay, and I am gay as well. He says that he wants to be happy regardless of his ex expecting a baby. In case he is my “soul-mate,” should I ask questions like: “Am I gonna come first after your baby is born?” Also, regardless of his ex needing him, who should be first: she and the baby, or me? I want to have a family in the future and I want to be my husband’s priority. I’m 19 years old, by the way. I know it might sound selfish, but I want ME AND MY KIDS to come first. In the future I should be first in his life (in case there is really an “us” and if he is really who God wants me to spend the rest of my life with). — Always Comes First

Uh, no. I would not advise asking someone you’ve been dating a week who will come first, his kid or you. Instead, I would suggest simply moving on because you have an unrealistic expectation of dating a parent-to-be. You will never come before a parent’s baby, unless your partner is a shitty parent, in which case he wouldn’t/shouldn’t be the person you want to have a family with. If you were mature enough to handle the idea of coming second to a potential boyfriend’s child, then I’d suggest getting to know this guy — you know, longer than a week — and seeing if you even have a connection and mutual interest in building a relationship together and going from there.

I slept with a guy on the first date. He was talking really quickly about a future together and he invited me back to his place, which made me feel very comfortable with him. He was very sweet: he cooked for me, showed me family pictures, and told me family history. The day after, I texted him to let him know I had an awesome time with him and I looked forward to spending more time together. I sent two texts. I haven’t heard a peep from him at all… I feel like I got duped! I feel like he just said those things to get me into bed, like some sort of high school trick. I am very ashamed of myself because I do not normally sleep around. Was he just trying to get into my panties or did he feel a connection that scared him off? I feel like he just wanted sex! I haven’t contacted him anymore. — Duped

Yes, he did probably just want to get in your panties, but don’t beat yourself up about it. What’s done is done and you certainly aren’t the first, nor will you be the last, woman to fall for a man with a plan. Next time, don’t be so quick to believe a sweet-talker who discusses a future together before the main course.

My girlfriend of 13 months has just informed me that she is going on a 5-7 day vacation with her ex in-laws. On entering the relationship we had discussed her relationship with these people. We said that phone calls, lunches and kid grads and such is fine. We are expecting a child now and I don’t agree with her going away with them. I’m not invited on this trip. Am I being a jerk? — Not Invited

No, she is. It’s one thing to keep in touch with an ex’s family and to see them at the kids’ events and activities. To go on vacation with them is bad enough, but to not invite you is a real slap in the face. You need to remind her of, and you two need to re-discuss, your earlier position on boundaries and expectations when it comes to her ex in-laws.


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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.

45 comments… add one
  • Eljay April 18, 2014, 9:06 am

    So, I’m gonna answer the headline question before I even read the letter….YES, his child will ALWAYS come before you. And if you don’t understand that or can’t live with that, MOA with a swiftness.

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    • Eljay April 18, 2014, 9:12 am

      Ok, so, I read the letter and….wow. It gets worse. Soulmate? Kids? Family? Future? AFTER A WEEK? Slow your roll, LW, you are way outta control here. Get to know this guy, see if he’s a good fit for you. The last thing you should be thinking after a week of knowing someone is how you and your future children can edge out his current family.

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  • Morgan April 18, 2014, 9:26 am

    LW1: Yes, duh. That’s the way it should be, by the way. You’d be the step parent who makes it clear that the kid from the previous relationship, what? Doesn’t count? Is second class family? I’d say grow up but, well, you’re 19, so you will. You’ve been seeing this guy for a week. Go find one that’s less complicated.

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  • Amanda April 18, 2014, 9:27 am

    After reading LW2, I might just be odd but if someone started talking about a future together on the first date, I would politely excuse myself to the bathroom and disappear out the window.

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    • Lyra April 18, 2014, 10:04 am

      I wish more people realized this. Looking back at my past relationships, it’s kind of scary how quickly we jumped into exclusive relationships and how quickly we were talking about a future. Whirlwind romances may seem fun at the time, but they’re definitely not the healthiest.

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    • Miel April 18, 2014, 10:47 am

      That sounds like a joke I was making for improv shows. Approach a guy in a bar, let him buy me a drink, then start talking about marriage and kids.
      “So you like margaritas?”
      “And you, would you prefer one or two kids ? I would prefer two, one girl and one boy”

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  • GatorGirl April 18, 2014, 9:28 am

    The first letter thoroughly confused me. So it’s a guy, who’s bf of a week had a relationship with a woman and she is pregnant? I guess non of that matters because YES it is selfish!

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    • Morgan April 18, 2014, 9:34 am

      Correct on both counts, I think. Two guys, one with a pregnant ex, one horribly selfish.

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  • Fabelle April 18, 2014, 9:39 am

    Okay so first, with the first letter, LOL at “they had a night”. Just, I love that description (& not even being sarcastic). Secondly, LW, you seem to be trying to pin this kind-of-a-clusterfucky situation down to one worry? “Will I come before the child?” And no, that’s just not a good question to ask. Honestly, a week into any relationship—you shouldn’t be asking if you’ll come before ANYTHING in the other person’s life.

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  • joanna April 18, 2014, 9:43 am

    Welcome to Trainwrecks Anonymous.

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    • Eljay April 18, 2014, 9:47 am


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  • GatorGirl April 18, 2014, 9:50 am

    LW3, I don’t think you’re being a jerk at all. Per your account, she is violating your agreed upon rules. So I could nicely call her out on it and express your dissatisfaction.
    I wonder if the ex is going to? Or if it’s just vacay with this kids and grandparents (and mom)? Because my reaction of her going anyway (and disregarding the bf’s agreement) would change a lot if the ex is going too.

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    • Lyra April 18, 2014, 9:55 am

      Agreed. My ex’s aunt (who I was really close to when we were dating) recently reached out to me because she is in town often and wants to see me. I may catch coffee with her one of these days, but I would NEVER take a vacation with his family!! That’s so weird.

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      • GatorGirl April 18, 2014, 10:06 am

        Yeah, I could see this vacation making “sense” if say the kids are 3 and 5 and the grandparents are older but want to take them to Disney. They need help looking after the wild and crazy kids, father of the kids doesn’t get any vacation time from work…IDK, all hypothetical obviously. But SOME situations don’t seem too bad, other than the girlfriend ignoring boyfriend’s prearranged “rules”.

      • Miel April 18, 2014, 10:51 am

        I think what you describe would be much more acceptable if the boyfriend was also invited. Inviting only the mom and not the boyfriend makes it sounds like they are not seen as a couple.

      • GatorGirl April 18, 2014, 11:06 am

        I would think it was weird to invite the bf though. We don’t know much about how much involvement he has with the kids thus far, it has only been 13 months. But then again mom is pregnant sooooo who knows.

      • rainbow April 18, 2014, 11:21 am

        The LW’s need for validation doesn’t trump the children’s need for stability. The grownups are entitled to an opinion on when to introduce new people that is not about said people’s feelings.

      • rainbow April 18, 2014, 11:29 am

        I agree with this. Specially taking into account that this kids, who have already gone through their parents’ divorce, are now having to adjust to a new sibling too. They won’t get to see as much of their mum, or not in a way equally entertaining, when the new baby arrives. So this might be about closure for them, or about confirmation that even though their mom is starting a new family they will always be as important for her. (LW doesn’t mention custody, but this applies more if the kids live with their other parent). So I’m sorry if its sounds a bit blunt, but the more I think about it the more I believe this to be a case of “They’re kids, you’re not, fuck your feelings.”.

  • bagge72 April 18, 2014, 10:09 am

    LW1: Wow I hope you don’t mention all of this soul mates stuff with this guy already, it’s only been a week! You can tell how young you are by the way you are acting, why don’t you actually get to know this guy before you go and marry him, and become a step dad. With that being said, you don’t belong with somebody who already has kids so I would cut your loses now.

    LW2: It happens guys are good at it, sorry that he did this to you, but it might not be the last time. If you are really mad, maybe text him back asking if he wants to get a hotel, and a quicky, and then just never show up!

    LW3: I don’t know what to tell you, I wouldn’t date somebody like that. If somebody was going to stay that close of friends with an ex’s family, and not include me for some reason, it would just make me constantly think that someday she just wants to get back together with him, and be part of that family.

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  • rainbow April 18, 2014, 10:19 am

    It’s very suspicious how every guy who gets someone other than their partner pregnant always does it it during that *one* single drunken and regretted night that wasn’t even fun.

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    • Guy Friday April 18, 2014, 10:48 am

      Well, to be fair, this is the *LW* saying the boyfriend and his ex “had a night,” not the boyfriend. Given the rest of the letter I wouldn’t be shocked if the LW was trying to minimize the rest of the relationship out of fears this boyfriend will return to his ex.

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      • rainbow April 18, 2014, 11:09 am

        Now that you mention wishful thinking, I wonder if the other guy even knows he’s “dating” the LW. Maybe he thinks he and LW “had a night” too? Or two? I bet he’s not aware LW is thinking all this stuff about god wanting them to spend their lives together and ignore any children that are not part of their OMG so speshul love.

        For future reference: If you start believing that God wants someone to neglect their children so they can give you what you want, then it’s a pretty good sign that if there’s a God that wants things it probably wants you to stay away from people’s families until you’ve grown.

      • Amanda April 18, 2014, 11:42 am

        I was thinking that. Does dating for a week equal a relationship? Isn’t that just a few dates (at best)?

  • Bugaboo3 April 18, 2014, 10:25 am

    I don’t want be all Judgy McJudgerson, and I am sure this does not apply to all of the younger generation, but why does it seem like this self-absorbed, entitled attitude is becoming more and more common? It doesn’t seem like “respect for others” is being integrated into the youngsters anymore. I can’t even fathom that someone thinks so selfishly (LW #1) so little of others like the girl in this story.


    Am I just old??

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    • GatorGirl April 18, 2014, 10:59 am

      I really really dislike making thing about generations or ages. There are portions of every single demographic that are selfish assholes. Period.

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      • Bugaboo3 April 18, 2014, 11:29 am

        Right. Hence the “I am sure this does not apply to all of the younger generation.”
        I am not saying that my generation is perfect either. In fact, I may be in the same generation since I am 35. I just simply stated my perception of what I see around me, and my opinion is that common courtesy is becoming more extinct.

      • GatorGirl April 18, 2014, 12:06 pm

        But how do you know it’s becoming more extinct? You weren’t around in another other time than now. So, you’re really basing that off of nothing. As a child, you (general) aren’t as aware of the assholes in the world. And, I think ever generation, as they age, has the “kids these days” attitude. So, IDK, I just think it’s a dumb point to bring up at all.

      • Bugaboo3 April 18, 2014, 1:10 pm

        I was brought up to respect others, ask myself how I would feel if the actions/words were reversed, and understand that there are other people in this world, not just myself. I am instilling the same values in my son, and he is a very respectful child (unlike others I know). Maybe I should not have said “becoming extinct” because not everyone thinks the world revolves around them, but maybe it SEEMS otherwise because of the prominence of the internet and stories/columns like the ones mentioned.
        I respect your opinion, and did not realize that expressing mine would be “dumb” and cause a reaction like this. My original post was taken out of context (and maybe I worded it wrong), but I will just continue lurking and supporting Wendy and her site/advice from the sidelines.

      • GatorGirl April 18, 2014, 1:44 pm

        I was brought up with manners too, and we plan to teach our future children the same. I just think that we don’t really know if people these days are more selfish because we both weren’t around as adults at another time, and we both only know a small portion of people.
        I apologize for saying your comment was dumb. That was harsh.

      • Bugaboo3 April 18, 2014, 2:42 pm

        Thank you for that. I also apologize if I offended you in the first place. I have many reason for my opinions on the subject, but I will just propose to agree to disagree at this point.


      • Portia April 18, 2014, 3:59 pm

        Yeah I’m gonna agree with GG here. I promise you of you go back 50, 100 years, you will find people saying the same stuff about the younger generation. The culturally-constructed level of selfishness or whatever quality, that might have changed, but people of a certain age I think will always be seen that way. In my sociolinguistics classes, I like to point out that people have been complaining about the degradation of language for as long as we have records (happened for Latin in Rome, English during Shakespeare’s time, and on and on), so I’d venture a guess to say this is a similar phenomenon. And there are certainly assholes of every age, we just eventually call them crochety old men/women.

    • rainbow April 18, 2014, 11:17 am

      Kids these days, such assholes all of them. Unlike my generation and the one before that, that have managed to stop race privilege and class segregation, put more money in education than warfare, made the streets safe for anyone to walk on them dressed however they liked, never raised a little kid to believe they were going to burn in hell if they ever felt like kissing another kid with similar genitalia, Oh, wait.

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      • Bugaboo3 April 18, 2014, 1:14 pm

        Wow. Because THAT is totally what I meant (insert sarcasm here).

    • tbrucemom April 18, 2014, 11:28 am

      I agree with you and Gator Girl as well. You can’t generalize entire generations. I have an 18 year old daughter who is very giving and unselfish. But I do believe that the younger generation as a whole is more self absorbed than most of those from older generations. Parents are partly to blame, they’ve made kids into entitled brats with no sense of responsibility.

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  • Kate B. April 18, 2014, 10:48 am

    I read that story yesterday and it made me sick. You’re not old. Or maybe I am too, then, because I agree with you.

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    • Bugaboo3 April 18, 2014, 1:17 pm

      Thanks Katie B. 🙂

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  • honeybeenicki April 18, 2014, 11:43 am

    LW1 – You are not ready to be a parent or date someone who is going to be a parent. At 19 I started dating my husband and he had 2 kids. At NO point did I ever think that I should be “first” before them. They’re his kids, they come first.

    LW2 – You fell for it, it happens. Move on.

    LW3 – I agree with Wendy that this is not ok. It’s one thing to maintain a relationship, it’s a whole different thing to do something like go on a vacation with them and exclude you.

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  • Bittergaymark April 18, 2014, 12:18 pm

    LW1) NEWSFLASH — when GOD sends you your soulmate — he NEVER includes an unwanted kid from a one night stand.

    LW2) Forget men! Can I interest you in my shares of the Golden Gate Bridge?

    LW3) Eh, you sound insecure. She is spending time with her kid’s grand parents! Go find yourself a virgin with no past, I guess. Good luck finding one.

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    • iwannatalktosampson April 18, 2014, 12:27 pm

      So – go find yourself a virgin with no past – is advice I really need to tell one of my friends. She has really high standards, which I can somewhat understand because on paper she is an insanely good catch. She’s attractive, has a great job that pays really well, she is adventurous, she likes dogs, etc., she wants kids, she comes from a good family, she’s hard working, blah blah blah. But she doesn’t want to date a guy that has had a lot of sexual partners or is promiscuous. And she’s almost 30. I don’t know how to politely tell her – good luck. If you want to marry someone that has a very limited sexual history you should have gotten married at 22. Or you have to be willing to date divorced people.

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      • bittergaymark April 18, 2014, 12:47 pm

        Hah! What she’s going to end up with — in all likelihood — is a closet case. Seriously. The only way a man today will NOT have multiple female sexual partners by thirty is if he doesn’t truly want any to begin with…

      • Katie April 18, 2014, 12:57 pm

        Haha… “Yea, baby, I promise haven’t had that much sex…. With women…”

      • iwannatalktosampson April 18, 2014, 1:02 pm

        Oh god I could actually see her married to a gay man. She is really dominant (one of her not great qualities, like she’s overbearingly control freaky and dominating) and I could see her marrying some guy that looks good on paper too and not caring about whether he’s into her, just as long as he looks good on paper. He on the other hand could be her sugar baby and just look cute and play the part.

  • mylaray April 18, 2014, 12:31 pm

    LW2: the most likely scenario is that he was playing you. Though I could definitely see a guy doing all those things and being interested in you and then getting scared. But that is not meant to you get your hopes up. More to show that either way, it’s definitely a bullet dodged. If someone is acting over the top on the first date and planning a future and isn’t trying to just get in your pants, that’s a sign of a whole lot more issues you don’t want to get involved with.

    This reminds me of a time I tried to have a one night stand with a guy. He was talking all about a future right away and I was just thinking “shut up, I just want to fuck you.” He kept calling me after so I stupidly agreed to go on a date with him but after that, I knew he was too crazy to even hook up with. Which reminds me that I’ve never been able to have a one night stand. They always turned into 3-night stands or a few months of hooking up. Anyways, I got off track. But LW, don’t be ashamed for having sex with the guy. You liked it at the time, right? But if you can’t handle casual sex, then don’t have it. Nothing wrong with that. But either way, this guy was a bullet dodged.

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    • Kate B. April 18, 2014, 2:55 pm

      I once had a guy tell me we were soulmates because we had the same obscure film in our collections. A nice plus, obviously, but hardly something to base a relationship on.

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  • Texas Belle April 25, 2014, 3:47 pm

    I disagree with the majority. I feel that most people of this day and age are misled to believe that children should be the center of a parent’s world. To an extent yes this IS true. It is a parents duty to make sure their child is loved, secure, safe and their basic needs are met. But to an extent it is NOT true. Biblical direction and recent scientific studies (several over the past decade) are showing that making your world revolve around your child and putting your partner second is a mistake.

    I’m a step parent in a brilliant and wonderfully loving relationship with my partner and his daughter. We have found that as a unit are able to provide the love, security and safe home that his daughter needs and yearns for. She is included in most of what we do. She has a say in family decisions when appropriate. She is showered with affection and attention. She is encouraged and inspired (and many times she is the one who inspires us!). We both work to meet her basics needs and more. BUT we put our relationship, the relationship between the man and woman household (though the genders are totally interchangeable), first; as it should be. We make the decisions for the family. We make sure that we invest the time needed to grow and maintain our bond. We make sure that the family grows in the right direction and is nourished. We are best friends. If we are happy and secure with each other then she is happy and secure as well. The bond between lovers is sacred. All that being said, she doesnt come in second per say. This is not a race! There are different kinds of love. The heart loves in different ways. And in our family there is WAY enough love to go around.

    But when she leaves the nest, we will be as strong as ever… probably stronger. There will be no resentment between us because we gave each other our all. There will be no empty nester syndrome. She will know how a real relationship is to function, how it is sacred, and how it is respected. She will not be entitled and feel the world is to supposed revolve around her. And in passing all that on to her I know she will make good choices when it comes to love and will respect herself.

    But LW you are NO WHERE near that! A week? My advice to you is to quit worrying about priority, cut your losses and move on. Not because of selfishness but because you are young and this relationship is in its infancy if you can even label it there. The drama is about to pan out and honestly do you really need that? Go out and find yourself, go on an adventure, go to school, find someone who is “free”. You will be happier.

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