Relationship Question Answer Advice Column
His 21-Year Old Daughter Is My Problem
My boyfriend, James, is 46 and has a 21 year old daughter, Courtney. Courtney went to beauty school. Her dad paid for her tuition, housing, Range Rover, insurance, weekly allowance, cell phone, etc. She finished school, moved back home, says she doesn’t really want to do hair anymore. She has never worked a day in her life. She totaled her car, and James enlisted me to find a new one for her in my spare time. The other day she asked him to buy her a $300 makeup/tanning kit. James is going through financial hardship and is stressed out with money. He gives me $120 a week for allowance, and cash when I need it. But, I shop at thrift stores. Now, he wants me to give her my car — that he has loaned me because I totaled mine and have a lawsuit pending so she can see her boyfriend on weekends. Courtney’s mom doesn’t help financially. I am 26 and have a 5 year old son, and James is a fully involved co-parent. But when it comes to Courtney, when will I have a say? After 2 years living together, I moved out because of this but we’re getting back together. We picked out a ring, and I’m moving in in four weeks. But I’m worried.
His Daughter Is My Problem
Dear His Daughter Is My Problem:
Second marriages are a lot more difficult than first marriages when there are children involved — even adult children — because there are so many different family dynamics going on. And when second marriages — or relationships with single parents — fail, it’s usually because of the family dynamics. So here’s my advice:
- Don’t move back in with your boyfriend until this situation is resolved. If you do, you’re going to be jerking your five year old son through relationship muck that he shouldn’t have to go through. You’ve got to put his needs first here.
- Understand that your boyfriend is enabling his daughter in some very bad behavior that is not going to serve her as a healthy adult. He’s not helping her stand on her own two feet or setting up boundaries for an adult child who should be living and working on her own. However, it is his responsibility to deal with her — not yours. You’re the girlfriend, not the step-mother. And if you do become the step-mother, you’ll be the step-mother of an adult child, not a small child. So you don’t get to talk to her about her behavior. He does.
- Set up boundaries so you won’t participate in the enabling that’s making you angry. Stop shopping for a car for her. You’re upset because you’re doing something you don’t want to be doing. And shouldn’t be. She’s 21. She should be car shopping, herself. As far as your boyfriend lending you his car, remember that that’s a gift, and it’s his choice to give his daughter your loaner car. I’m sure there are reasons you don’t have a rental car or aren’t buying a new car or having your insurance company provide you with a car — but lending you a car is not something that a boyfriend is required to do. Maybe your son’s father can help out since you having a car is something that affects your son. But if not, understand that your boyfriend is putting his daughter ahead of you. Instead of fighting it, reconsider this relationship because of your pecking order in it.
- As for your boyfriend having “a say” in your son’s life — it doesn’t seem like that’s a great idea unless you’re engaged with a wedding date in place. Your boyfriend should not be parenting your son. And, that’s your responsibility to enforce. So don’t blame your boyfriend for not giving you co-parenting authority with his adult child, just step up and make changes in your own life that will ensure your son knows that your boyfriend isn’t a step-parent.
- As for your boyfriend — talk gently with him about what’s going on and what your concerns are regarding his daughter. It sounds like he’s avoiding the reality of the financial problems — by overindulging her, instead of focusing on bolstering his own finances and cutting back spending. It’s probably going to be very hard for him to face this. However, if he doesn’t, his problems are going to create a shaky foundation for any relationship he has with you and your son.
12 Years Down the Drain?
I am 30 and he is 40, and our twins are ten years old. We first got together 12 years ago, but split up because I was young, pregnant and scared, and subsequently, both married other people. He got a divorce and my husband and I split up, and my boyfriend and I got back together. He asked me to marry him again but I have to get my divorce. Our sex life was always terrific, but about 8 months ago, it started deteriorating. He wouldn’t be able to hold an erection and wanted sex less and less. Recently, we had sex for the first time in 8 months and he didn’t finish. I really believe he is cheating on me. I love him to death but is it time for me to just move on? Oh I forgot to mention, a few months ago, we had major financial issues so he is back at his grandma’s house and I am at my father’s. We plan to move back in together and getting married as soon as the money comes. I am just so lost and confused.
First of all, I don’t think you’ve thrown 12 years down the drain. You’re just overwhelmed with a bucket full of problems that need sorting out. So instead of lumping them all together and feeling blue, take one problem at a time, and deal with it. When you’re overwhelmed, a day by day approach, or one thing at a time approach will help you focus on one thing at a time, more in charge, and overcome the issues that are causing your big blue mood.
Start with your feeling neglected sexually, because I think you’re more upset about this than you’re letting on. There’s no evidence he’s cheating you’re just hurt and taking the sexual issues personally. Just because he’s not finishing sex or is losing interest in it, doesn’t mean he’s cheating. And believe me — he probably feels worse about this than you do! So let go of the idea that he’s cheating on you. That’s in your head.
The reality is that sometimes men at his age, begin to show diminished interest and inability to perform the way they used to. This is embarrassing to them, and can be a source of shame and stress, but it’s a normal part of aging. When it’s not discussed, it can become a problem for the woman that’s more than the lack of sex all sorts of derivative issues can arise, like your fear that he’s cheating because he’s not having good sex with you. So try to talk to him about visiting a physician just to make sure this actually IS a normal part of his personal aging process and not a symptom of some other medical problem. Of course, that’s just something you can suggest — you can’t make him go. But, the doctor may be able to suggest things he can do and take to make sex work a little better for the two of you, but the most important thing is, he needs is your support. And he needs to rule out medical issues. He should also consider prescriptions and other helpers the doctor can offer him.
Your financial issues are probably a huge blow for him, more so than for you. Many men have their egos wrapped up in their ability to provide, and make money, and when he’s had to move back to his grandmother’s house, and you’re at your father’s home, you may not realize the amount of stress and even depression that he’s shouldering that may not affect you the same way it does him. Once the two of you have a better handle on your finances, that stress that’s showing up in the bedroom is likely to dissipate
As for your question about whether or not to hold on to him or let go‚Ä¶ It sounds like right now, you’re still married to someone else. It would be a good idea to focus your energy on getting your divorce, child support and visitation in place, and getting a job, yourself. That should take you at least a couple of months and maybe up to a year, but if you do it, you’ll be in a better situation to assess your relationship with him. He’s got to get a job and get back on his own two feet, as well, so he can move out of his grandmother’s house and basically get his life back on a better track than it is. Stress is a sex, romance and intimacy killer, so the more you can alleviate it, the happier you’ll both be.
He Won’t Stop Talking to Girls Online
My husband and I have been married for almost 4 years. He cheated on me before we were married and I left him. Then, I agreed to forgive him and we decided to start our relationship fresh and get married. I just gave birth to our daughter a little over 2 months ago. I recently found his Facebook page open so I clicked around and found that he had about 10 strippers as friends and was messaging girls from 2010 and on. (We’ve been married since 2010). He was asking strippers when they worked. He told one girl that we were separated! (Which we’re DEFINITELY not) Telling them he wanted to go out with them to dinner, movies, etc. I confronted him about it and he said it was like a porn for him – that he never acted on anything and it was harmless. He also got very pissed that I “invaded his privacy. Please help me, I have a daughter with this man and I love him with all my heart. Is there something mentally wrong with him? Am I just a complete idiot for believing he will stop? Just saying the whole thing makes me feel like a fool.
He Won’t Stop Talking to Girls Online
Dear He Won’t Stop Talking to Girls Online:
I wouldn’t say you’re an idiot, but I do think you’re clinging to a fantasy of who he really is. You have enough history with him to see that he’s someone who hides a big part of his life from you, whether it’s the betrayal prior to your marriage, or these secret relationships with women online that you just discovered. His reaction to your confrontation is disappointing. He didn’t confess his understanding of the depth of the problem or how it affects you and your family. And he doesn’t sound ready or willing to take responsibility for his behavior. Instead, he’s brushing it off as just porn, and trying to transfer the burden back onto you by implying you should understand that men like porn, and this falls within the realm of normal. He’s right. Men do like porn and it’s pretty normal for happily married men, as well as single and looking men to enjoy looking at porn, but interacting with these women, on top of his history of cheating, destroys your trust. Your instinct, which you should trust, is that he’s not going to stop doing this, in spite of the dialogue you have going with him, and he will just get better at hiding it.
I know you want him to stop, but demanding he stop, isn’t going to work. My suggestion is that you find out more about what’s going on with him and what’s missing in his life and/or his relationship with you, that is causing him to look outside the marriage for sex, flirtation, and attention. If the problem is between the two of you, then you can look at your own behavior and see where you may be contributing to the relationship rift, and then make changes. Most women in your shoes will look to the man to reroute his focus and change his behavior on his own, but what will be less frustrating in the long run, is for you to reroute yours. Seduce him and become more mysterious and captivating than you are. I understand you have a two month old child — which is challenging for a couple without issues, let alone one with them, but if you want the relationship dynamic to change, you’re going to have to do your part, and hope that he wants to do his. You’ve asked. You’ve explained. Now you have to change your own behavior, since he’s not changing his, so far.
If, however, the problem isn’t between the two of you, and he’s simply someone who loves the thrill of secrecy, more than his commitment to you and your family together with your daughter, my guess is that this is not new behavior for him and it’s part of who he has always been since way before you knew him. You either didn’t realize this, or you did and tried to dismiss it from your own mind. The other reason he may be doing this is low self esteem, and the contact with these basically strangers who are sexy women, make him feel better about himself. If this is the case, this cheating isn’t so much about you, it’s about his self esteem but I’m sure you know that there are things you can do to help boost it. Simply complimenting him and thanking him for what he does well, and what he does that others can’t do, will be of support. I know it’s going to be tough to feel like you need to take care of him, when you’re the one who’s hurt, but believe it or not, you’re the stronger person here, in this scenario, so you have to pick up the onus of this burden. The big concern here, obviously, is his history of cheating and lying, and if someone has a chronic lifestyle, they won’t change it unless they want to. I think that for yourself, it’s good to feel like you’ve tried your best before letting go, but if you do try your best and leave no stone unturned in your relationship work with him, and he doesn’t change, you will be faced with that decision of letting go.
His Mother Has Prenup on the Brain
My fiance and I have a perfect relationship. The only problem is his mother. Since we announced our engagement, she’s been pushing us to get a prenup (despite the fact that nobody really owns much to fight over). My fiance has told her again and again that this is a matter between him and myself and that she needs to stay out of it. She responded by leaving voice mails saying that she was losing sleep over this; that this was ruining her weekends; and so on and so forth. She was even talking about “in case of divorce” when I let her come with me to try on my wedding dress. It’s not that we are against prenups. We have been talking about getting one done and get wills done at the same time. I feel that she’s gone so far across the line that I don’t even want anything to do with it anymore. The thought of seeing her again and dealing with her just makes me feel sick, right now. I’ve already spoken to him about all of this and he totally has my back. At the same time he loves his mom, of course. Which basically leaves me with no idea how to deal with this situation.
His Mother Makes Me Crazy
Dear His Mother Makes Me Crazy:
You’re not going to change her, so any serious “talks” are going to be futile. Don’t do a sit down with the intention of clearing the air and getting your point across. It’s a set up for failure. Besides, it will make things worse than they are if you end up engaged with her in battle. That will only upset your fiancè further. Believe me. He already knows how unreasonable she is — and he still loves her.
The best thing you can do is to change your own attitude and your behavior, and the way to do that is to limit your contact with her, create useful boundaries and summon up your best sense of humor. Don’t tell her what you’re doing. Don’t even tell your fiance what you’re doing. Just do it quietly, gracefully, and efficiently. Here’s how it works: If you stop spending so much time with her, she’ll become less important in the scheme of things. Don’t return her phone calls the same day. If you do spend time with her, limit it to an hour or less. If that’s too long, try 15 minutes. If you want, you can very politely excuse yourself from the room when she starts talking about prenups. Excuses can range from meetings you forgot you had to bouts of stomach upset. If you’ve got a long visit planned at her home, or at a family gathering, take two cars, and you can leave early. If your fiancè wants to visit his mom regularly, say, weekly, and you join him once a month or every other week, that should be enough. Try to keep things up beat, positive and fun. When YOU become the downer because of the situation, the tables will turn, and you’ll have given her real reason (as opposed to imaginary reason) to see you as an opponent.
I know that right now you don’t like her, but it’s important for your fiancè that you love her, and if the only way you can do that is at a distance, then create the distance. In addition, find your sense of humor. Things are funny at a distance, not in your face, so when you are able to laugh at her behavior, you’ll know you’ve won the distance you need to keep your relationship with your fiancè healthy, and the relationship you have with his mother, functional. In addition, try to understand why she’s doing what she’s doing. It’s not because she’s hates you. It’s because she’s scared, herself. She is worried about her son being hurt, and she’s having a hard time letting go of the mother child relationship she has with, where she needs to take care of him, even though he’s clearly an adult. If you can find it in your heart, comforting her will set her completely off guard, and may be the bridge you need between you and she.
I Hooked Up With A Co-Worker and Regret It
Three months ago, I started work in a new company, which I love. Two weeks ago, I went out with a few people from work and got pretty drunk, and the evening ended with me hooking up with a co-worker. Before anything happened, he told me it would be better if we just stayed colleagues and I agreed (although we were both pretty drunk). He spent the night at my place and went home early in the morning. When I came to the office on Monday, he didn’t even look at me or say hi and he has been acting like he doesn’t know me at all ever since. We work in an open office area, so I cannot come to him and ask why he is acting this way in front of everybody. I’m afraid to contact him again, because I don’t want to scare him and I’m also afraid he will reject me or not reply at all. Things are getting pretty awkward and I feel like i should do something. I still am attracted to him, but I’m afraid he doesn’t want anything from me and that is why he is acting the way he is. What should I do?
Hooked Up Co-Worker
Dear Hooked Up Co-Worker:
It’s normal to meet interesting men at work. You spend so much of your waking hours there, that it’s actually a great place to come into contact with available dates. But and this is a big ‚Äúbut you have to be super careful dating at work because you’re there to do a job that you’re being paid for, and it’s very easy for social relationships to become obstacles to productivity. And dating above or below your work rank can create complicated sexual harassment type arenas that doesn’t sound like you’re dealing with, but could in the future with this guy or someone else. I’m not saying you shouldn’t date men you meet at work on the contrary! but you need to be very careful about how you do it. You sound like you love the job, so don’t jeopardize it.
As for this guy, unfortunately, you never dated you simply got drunk after work with colleagues and had sex with him, in spite of his telling you it was going to be just sex, you want more. He’s giving you the icy cold shoulder because he’s fearful you will want more. And it sounds like you do. I know that you don’t want to contact him because you’re afraid of rejection — but the real reason you want to contact him is that you don’t like the rejection you’re getting now. Contacting him isn’t going to make it less awkward. It’s probably going to make it more so. So, leave him alone, and try not to focus any more energy on what happened between the two of you I know, easier said than done, but do try.
Use the experience as a lesson for yourself to not get drunk with work colleagues, or simply hook up with them. The reason is that when you hook up with someone from a party or a first date, you can disappear if everything went south, fast. But when you hook up with a work colleague, guess what? You’re going to see him day in and day out, and you may even see him hooking up with someone else in the office. Awkward? You bet. So limit after office happy hour with colleagues drinking to one or two glasses of wine, depending on your limits with food, and try not to hook up with work colleagues. Dating them is different and can be a great idea if you’re careful, but hooking up rarely works out well.
Should I Just Walk Away?
I’m 43 and I’ve been in a relationship on and off for 3.5 years, with a guy who’s 30. Our last break up which was the longest, lasted 5 months, but we bumped into each other a couple of months ago on a night out and ended up hooking up and seeing each other. Our break ups were always up to him. One minute everything was amazing, we never argued, had lots of quality time together, and the next minute he was gone, saying “my feelings have changed, or “I don’t know what I want. Within a month or two he would be back, wanting to “try again”. He tells me he loves me, enjoys spending time with me, doesn’t want to lose me but is frightened and reluctant to commit for fear of “getting cold feet again” and having the fallout from me that that another breakup would cause. He has suggested that we start a “casual relationship” with no expectations, or goals as he doesn’t know what he wants, but insists that we would be exclusive. I really don’t know what to do.
Should I Just Walk Away?
Dear Should I:
You’re so focused on what you want that you’re not listening to him or paying attention. Short of taking out a sign on a bus bench, he’s telling you he doesn’t want a serious relationship. And, his actions match his words. Sometimes people are confused when guys say one thing and do another, but in this case, he’s wrapping up the truth in a gift box for you by saying and doing what he means. Yes, he really does care about you, and he may even love you, but he cares about himself more and that’s okay, in fact it’s healthy. For him. He’s being upfront with you because he knows you want something different than what he wants. He knows you want a committed relationship that leads to marriage. And he doesn’t. At least not now. Keeping it casual means he has sex with you, without a commitment. After 3.5 years of this, is this really what you want? I don’t think so. He’s also trying to absolve himself of the hurt you’re going to suffer if you do enter into the casual relationship he’s now proposing, that takes care of him, but not you. He’s planning to tell you, ‚ÄúBut I said it was casual‚Ä¶. when the next break up comes and you’re devastated. Again. If he could write himself a warranty on his love that it’s only good for a certain amount of time he would. But it would only be good to you if you read it and took it to heart. So, listen to him. He’s trying to set you straight, but you’re complicating things because you think that if he loves you, that love should conquer all. It doesn’t. You can’t leverage that love into the relationship you want.
A lot of women like yourself, don’t like what they’re hearing so they try to find faults in the guy’s logic or in him, himself. It’s often a lot harder to break up with someone when they love you, but you’re not good together because your goals are different. Abuse and breaking furniture make break ups more clearly necessary, but the fact is, a quiet relationship without drama can be just as dysfunctional as one where there’s high drama. What’s really going on is a very simple incompatibility. You want different things. And they’re so different, that this is a deal breaker. You know you should walk away, so I think you’re asking me to give you permission and maybe the shove out the door that will send you on your way. So here it is: He’s never going to give you what you want. He knows it. You know it and don’t want to admit it. Today’s the day to accept the disappointing truth and move on because only then, can you be truly single and available to find someone who wants what you want.
I have dated this guy for 17 months. We spend almost every weekend together. I met his kids. I went to his family activities with him. He told me he was living with his sister and her children on the other side of town. I never went to her house. Last week, I found out that he’s actually living with a woman, and he has been living with her for six years. When I asked him about it, he admitted it. He has not been back to their house since. He went to a hotel and said he’s been trying to move for awhile, but they have just not been able to come to an easy agreement on how to split things. Should I wait for him to get this resolved, or is he a double crosser, and I should just leave him alone? Please help. We are good together, and I never would have guessed he’d have done this to me!
Dear Double Crossed:
One of the important things you should get to know about anyone you’re dating, besides meeting the parents and his friends, is seeing where and how he lives. It’s absolutely crucial to find out who the person you’re dating really is, beyond the dinners and movies and romantic walks in the park. It’s not that you’re necessarily needing to look for this type of situation, or some other kind of trouble, but you should want to see how he lives, who he lives with, if he’s sloppy, neat, what the pictures in his frames look like, what his furniture is like, what’s inside his refrigerator, etc. I’m not suggesting anyone be pushy about insisting on meeting parents, friends and seeing his home they shouldn’t. But if he’s serious about you, he’ll want you to meet his parents and his friends. If he isn’t serious about you, he won’t. The same goes for his home. If he’s serious about you and not hiding anything he’ll want to see where you live, and show you where he lives. It’s a way of incorporating you into his life that happens naturally when a guy is really into you.
This guy has set up a trust trap, so anything you want to trust about what he says, may fall into the trap. The way you found out about his betrayal was not good. It’s not that he suddenly came to you and had to get the lie off his chest because he didn’t want a relationship based on lies. He only came clean because you found him out and pressed him. Imagine how far he would have taken you down the line if you hadn’t found out! Now that you know he’s been living with a woman for six years, and not at his sister’s house how do you know you can trust him when he says he’s not living in a hotel? Or that his next phone call canceling because he’s got a business meeting isn’t really a date with someone else and not a business meeting? And worse than that, he’s involved his children in this cruel charade, teaching them that betrayal is okay and that relationship boundaries are cloudy. Imagine what might happen down the line if you did get together with him and have your own kids to find that he’s been dating someone else for 1 year, telling her that he’s single, when he’s married and has a family with you! It could happen.
I know you want things to be different because you said that you’re good together, but stop and think about it. You can’t be good together if he’s lied to you for so long, so easily, and only came clean when you pressed the subject. This isn’t a great foundation for trust in a relationship. And next time around, keep that in mind but for now, you have to take a step back and stop even considering you’d move in with a guy who lied to you and cheated on you (he did, even if you think he didn’t), for the entire 17 months you’ve dated him. This is not your guy. Not by a long shot. Get your sneakers on and run — don’t walk — out of his life, pronto! Learn your lesson on this one, and take the fact that you were double crossed to heart so it only happens this one time and not again.
He Cheated With His Sister’s Friend
My boyfriend and I have been together for almost four years now and we live together. He cheated on me once when we first got together, which caused us to break up, but then we got back together a year later. We now have a one-year old son, and everything has been great, except that this weekend he went over to his mother’s house and his sister was there with Grace, the old friend of hers that he cheated on me with. Apparently, the two women are best friends again, after a long rift. He was talking to both of them. I’m beside myself with anger. What do I do?
He Cheated With His Sister’s Friend
Dear He Cheated:
I can understand how upset you are. Betrayals are very difficult to get past. It sounds like when his sister and Grace lost touch, for whatever reason, the reminder of your boyfriend’s betrayal disappeared with her, but now that she’s back in his sister’s life and therefore all of your lives the wound feels fresh again to you. Instead of seeing this situation as a threat, consider it an opportunity. Betrayals are hard to get past, but they can be worked through successfully, and you’re getting an opportunity now to do so!
It’s understandable that you want to squash any memory of the betrayal, and any possible threat to your relationship, but there’s a better way for you to find peace and happiness with your boyfriend, and that’s to work on the relationship with him not work everyone else around you. The stronger the two of you are, the less likely any one or any thing is to break you. Remember that betrayal and cheating don’t happen in a vacuum and men tend to go where they feel good about themselves, so whatever was going on in the relationship you had with your boyfriend when he did cheat on you, was part of what created the atmosphere that led him to cheat. Now, things are different. You have years of a happy relationship with him under your belt, a new baby, and the start of a new family together. You know each other a lot better, and those are all building blocks for your relationship health. But you can’t stop there. Continue to find ways to spend time together. Entice and seduce him, send love letters and do little things for him, like bringing homemade cookies to his office, and make him want to be loyal to you rather than lowering the boom and making demands and setting ultimatums which are going to make him feel worse about his relationship with you, not better.
Next, remember that the more you create drama, the more drama there will be, and sometimes it’s best to not give someone or something the attention they want or think they deserve. His sister is always going to be part of the family your boyfriend’s sister and your son’s aunt, and possibly your sister in law if you two marry, so she’s not going anywhere, and your relationship with her is important. It would be nice if your boyfriend asked her for some family loyalty, but that may or may not happen so don’t bank on it. That said, if you can tell your boyfriend that it upsets you when he has contact with the woman he cheated on you with, he may want to make you feel secure by not being around her. Obviously, it would be better if he understood this implicitly and didn’t need you to tell him, but it’s okay if you do need to tell him holding it in until you explode is going to be a lot worse than telling him that his contact with her hurts you. At the end of the day you can only change your own behavior, not your boyfriend’s, and not your boyfriend’s sister’s behavior, either. So keep your eye on the prize, not the petty potholes in the road to life, that turn up on the way.
He’s Soooo Back and Forth
I met a guy online a few months ago and we really hit off. I’m 30. He’s 34. I was going through a divorce and he was separated from his wife. After a few weeks of us seeing each other he started saying, I’m falling for you, and You’re perfect for me. We would talk or text almost everyday but there were several times that i wouldn’t here from him for a few days. Then out of the blue he said I can’t do this anymore. I owe it to myself and to my wife to try and make things work. They were only married for 6 months and he told me that she wasn’t the person that he thought she was and that she was pretty crazy. Five days later he calls and says that he had made a mistake. He wanted me back. I agreed, but, he has blown hot and cold with me ever since. He actually went two weeks with no contact. Then came the Hey you, How have you been? text. He did admit to sleeping with someone within that those few weeks I didn’t hear from him, but said it meant nothing like that’s suppose to make it hurt less. We ended up spending the night together and I haven’t heard much from him in two days since then. Help, please!
This Guy Is So Back and Forth
Dear Back and Forth:
The problem with dating someone who’s still married is that they’re still married. Reconciliations happen all the time, so if you get involved, invested and dumped, the chances of that happening are higher dating a married man than dating one who’s legally single. But the fact that he was only married for six months before separating from his wife tells you a lot about him. He’s very impulsive and may have trouble with commitment. Surely, you’ve seen that with him yourself. His six month marriage verifies it.
Clearly, he’s wasting your time. He’s all over the map, and your best bet is to stop guessing if he’s going to be there for you or not be there for you and to count on his not being there for you. He’s showed you his behavior enough for you to see a pattern here. Don’t try to talk yourself into dating someone who’s not really available because he’s too impulsive for a committed relationship. Here’s a great couple of rules of thumb for dating to protect yourself and make sure you get to know someone before investing too much time and energy:
During the first three months of dating someone, use that time to get to know them and figure out if you want to continue dating them. Assume that they’re doing the same. Even if he says you’re the one on the first date, use the three month rule. Just because he’s falling for you doesn’t mean you should fall so quickly, yourself. Continuing to play the field and assuming that they are, too, keeps you from getting too invested, too quickly. During the second three months of dating, decide if this is someone you want to be monogamous with. I know that sounds like forever, but it forces you to really consider this person, and prevents situations like the one you’re in. If at the end of six months you and he don’t want to be monogamous, you should move on.
I Gave Up My Child For Him
My boyfriend and I are in love. He’s a great catch, but comes from a conservative family. I’m a divorced single parent of an 8 year old. The problem is that my boyfriend’s mother and family members oppose his marrying me because I’m divorced with a child. They’re that conservative. They’ve threatened to cut all ties from him if we marry. I love him so much that I transferred child custody rights to my parents, and I have very little to do with my daughter, now. Her father is not in the picture. But even after this sacrifice, his friends are now advising my boyfriend not to marry me because they say that any woman who would walk away from her child is not worth marrying. How can I convince him to marry me?
I Gave Up My Child For Him
Dear Gave Up:
First of all, you shouldn’t have to convince a man to marry you. A healthy marriage starts out because both people think that the union is going to create a great future together and that they’ll both benefit from the marriage. There are lots of different ways that both people benefit from companionship to financial stability to shared goals to enjoying family life the ways and reasons people come together to marry are uncountable because there are so many! So, if he doesn’t think that he’s going to benefit from marriage to you even if it’s simply because his family’s values are more important, you should pay attention, instead of trying to convince him otherwise. When you start out a marriage trying to convince someone, you’re not looking at great odds for relationship longevity if you even make it to the alter.
Don’t get this confused with the classic case of cold feet. There’s a difference between a guy getting cold feet and a guy who starts out knowing that his family culture is against his marrying a divorced woman with children The former has an anxiety attack, the latter is in denial when he starts dating you, or isn’t mature enough to see the relationship through, or was playing you all along and you got taken. It sounds like you understood his issues from the get go and you went along with the relationship knowing the odds of marriage were slim to none. But now that you’re invested in it, you’re trying to change him. This rarely works.
The most disturbing part of your query is that you not only dragged your child through this, but after her father abandoned her, you did, too not because her life would be better without you (it won’t), but because you want to marry this guy so much, you’d give her up even if it’s to your parents. She’s got to be devastated. Worse, you gave her up to chase after a guy who wasn’t willing to stand up to his family and marry you for who you are, or for who she is. Whenever you have a child, under whatever circumstances, good or bad, your life has to change so that the child comes first. I’m not saying you should sit home alone. You can date, marry, divorce but your child has to come first in all of those scenarios. You should never date a guy who won’t accept you as a single mother. That limits your choices, but it gives your daughter a chance at a good life, and that’s supposed to enhance your life.
So, drop this guy like a hot potato and chalk the failure up to incompatibility. Go get your daughter back and reverse the custody rights so you can commit to raising her as she deserves, and find a man who loves you and wants to be a step-dad. There are wonderful men out there, but you have to make yourself single, and willing to look for them.
Does He Love Me?
My partner and I have been together for six years. We just had our second child. I am totally in love with him, but we hardly spend any time together as a couple and all our energy is focused on the kids. My partner has just dropped the bombshell that he doesn’t know how he feels about me. He says he loves me but doesn’t know if it is just because of the love I give to the children. He doesn’t know if his heart is in it, even though he can’t keep his hands off me and I drive him crazy in bed something inside him has changed. I even heard him say about two months ago about making an honest women of me. He says he is happy but there is something missing. I am so confused and shocked.
Does He Love Me?
Dear Does He Love You:
He loves you. But love isn’t always enough to keep a relationship together. His feeling that something is missing doesn’t have to do with the love he feels for you. It has to do with how he thought his life would turn out, and how it’s actually going. There seems to be a discrepancy between the two. This isn’t that abnormal. It happens in relationships and marriages where there are little kids and the focus of the woman naturally shifts towards caregiving for the children, and away from the relationship with her man. Different men react differently to this shift, and your partner’s reaction is normal, but it’s understandable that it’s troubling to you.
My suggestion is that you redirect your efforts and your energy towards him and make him feel special and wanted. Talk about the future and what goals you have as individuals, a couple and a family. Reinstate date night I’m sure that with a new second child that has fallen by the wayside. Enlist family and friends to babysit the kids, and put him first! See if you can take a weekend away, just the two of you, and get back to being the woman who first won him over, instead of the one who’s shifted her energy away from him.
Take another look at yourself, as well. Lots of women who have kids pour all their energy into the kids, and let themselves go. I’m not suggesting you rush to the plastic surgeon’s office for some lipo and a tummy tuck, but I am suggesting you start working on losing the baby weight, and exercising to get your strength and health back. There’s a sense of well being that comes from taking good care of your body. Focus on grooming and treat yourself to the mani pedi you probably haven’t had since you were pregnant. Get a nice haircut, and start wearing makeup around the house for him. In other words, get back to the seductive, mysterious you that he may feel he lost when you became a mother.
You can’t force him to change his feelings, but by changing your own behavior and energy, you can give him a new you to reconsider, and the outcome will surely be a good one.
He Doesn’t Treat Me Like An Equal
I am currently married to man that is twenty years older than me . And all I can think about is getting a divorce because I don’t feel that he sees me as his equal. He treats me like a child. We’ve been together for six years, after which I got pregnant with my fifth child. (I’d been on the pill, but couldn’t get to my doctor to renew the prescription.) My other four were 6, 8, 12 and 13. He has eight kids of his own, two of whom are minors. The others are adults. Before getting pregnant with my 5th, I’d been taking computer classes and then started a new job, but I broke my ankle, so I had to quit the job. I haven’t been able to get back to work, and now I’m pregnant with my sixth child. He spends our money on his ex-wife’s kids and his older kids and his children’s mothers. I am trying to see if I can work from home so I don’t have to depend on him on him for everything anymore, but I always get the short end of the stick with him. We recently bought a house together with my divorce settlement money, but I am very frustrated and feel stuck. He does take care of us but I feel he could be doing more if he would put us first and not the others. Am I selfish that I hate he shares our money so much? I’m feeling hatred for him everyday.
He Doesn’t Treat Me Like An Equal
Dear He Doesn’t Treat Me Like An Equal:
You’ve got two things going on here. Your feelings, and the way you’re living. So, let’s talk about your feelings first. You’re frustrated that he’s not making financial decisions with you, as if your joint money belongs to the two of you, and the ways you spend it are made jointly. I’m not sure if you had a prenup when you married or not, or had a discussion about how you’d handle money when you married but those would be excellent tools to help any couple who is marrying a single parent, or marrying as a single parent. Since it seems that you probably didn’t have that discussion ahead of time, you should have it now. What’s happening is that every decision that gets made happens by one or the other of you, instead of together. This isn’t that hard to remedy, but it does require you having a series of conversations about the problem, the possible solutions and how you’re going to execute those solutions. Take the emotions out of the process, if you can. Decide together how you’re going to pool your resources, and how that pool is going to be allocated. It’s pretty straight forward when you say it, but the emotions and senses of fairness will complicate things. If you don’t do this, things will get worse. I know you feel that he’s treating you like a child, but if you take the reigns and act like an adult who wants to be involved in the finances of the marriage, it will be harder for him to do so any more!
The way you’re living and the decisions you’re making are going to make it difficult for you to be in a relationship with anyone. I’m sure you realize that you have a lot of children. Eight minors between the two of you is going to be hard for anyone to support, so you’re going to have make some choices to cut back your expenses, increase your income, and sign up for mail-order prescription birth control so getting to the doctor isn’t your reason for getting pregnant with another kid. Buy in bulk!
And lastly, given what you’ve written me, a divorce isn’t a great first choice. I don’t think you’re really wanting a divorce as much as you are an escape valve for your problems, but divorce isn’t going to solve that problem. It’s going to compound it. See if you can solve your money problems as a couple, make a plan for your financial future, and I think you won’t feel you want to divorce, the way you do now.
A male co-worker, 37, started inviting me to his house two days a week to cook for me and we would cuddle on the couch. Lots of intimacy, no sex. I’m 47, by the way. Three months after that, he wanted to give his ex-girlfriend another chance. I gave him his space, but then two months later, he started acting like I was the most important person in his world during the week and now we spend some very good quality time during the week, he even invited me to look at houses with him, since he wants to buy one. However I never see him on the weekends. We used to text on the weekends but the last 4 weekends he has been completely silent. He wants to go get a massage together and wants to go to Mexico together, and he never really tries anything physical unless I do first, but I don’t hear from him on the weekends. I am afraid to ask him about this because I don’t want to look like a fool, and I’ll be devastated if he tells me he’s back with his ex or uses the ‘friend’ word. Should I just turn our relationship strictly back over to work? I’m clueless.
I wouldn’t say you’re clueless, but you are letting your fears run your life. If you’re afraid of looking like a fool, and that fear is causing you not to ask questions that will help you make good decisions, sadly, you will end up being foolish. And if you’re so afraid to find out that he’s seeing someone else, that you don’t ask or consider that possibility, trust me, you’re a perfect candidate to become “the other woman”. This problem you’re writing me about has less to do with this guy and more to do with you becoming someone who figures out what she wants and then gets it — instead of letting her fears rule her, and drive her into a failed relationship and a waste of important time.
Let’s look at the fear of looking like a fool — or fear of what others think — that’s causing you to make bad decisions. I’m sure you’ve watched Sex and The City — and you can catch some reruns even now so that you realize, the heroes in that show all take a pie to the face in each episode. The entire series — a series that women (and men) adored because the characters were so great — all were embarrassed in public, regularly. And we loved them because they tried to learn from their mistakes. You, my friend, are taking your own opportunities to star in your life, away from yourself because you’re afraid to look foolish.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that at your age, you want a long-term, romantic relationship that is monogamous and leads to marriage. And if that’s true, then you have to focus on that and go for it! You can’t date — or even waste your time in the friend zone — with men who aren’t serious candidates for your co-star in life. I’m guessing that he’s having sex with other women, and he’s definitely seeing his ex-girlfriend. His weekends are not being spent reading books by the fireplace. A guy who doesn’t see you on weekends has a wife or a serious girlfriend. And guess what? You don’t have to ask him about it — the fact that he doesn’t see you on weekends is all you need to know.
So, yes, you should just see him as a work colleague, and look elsewhere for Mr. Right, and you should tell him that you’re not going to be spending any more time with him, and just leave it at that — so that YOU have closure. Try to think of yourself as the star of your life — not the character that all the Sex and the City Women walk by and feel sorry for because she’s in a relationship that’s going nowhere, and life is passing her by.
I met a guy on an online dating website, and we’ve have been dating for a month. There are definitely signs that he is interested in me for example, he calls regularly, we spend time together, and he has open up to me about himself. But, I noticed that he is still actively on his dating account everyday. What really bothers me is just recently he updated his profile with a new photo and here is the part that truly confuses me: I gave him a nickname when we first started talking about his personality, and he used the nickname in his profile! He also changed his age range in women he is interested in. My age is still in the category but he went up to 12 years older than himself. I don’t know if him using my nickname I gave him is flattery or just messed up! Should I run now?!?!?!
Online But Off-Put
Dear Online But Off-Put:
Don’t run. Stay in the game. You’ve only been dating him for a month, so it’s too soon to lay claim to him as yours, and only yours. The same goes for him with you, too. You should use the first three months of dating simply to decide if you want to continue seeing a person, and you should assume he’s dating other people and he should assume the same of you. After six months of dating, decide if you want to be monogamous. When people get too committed, too soon, they balk at surprises in month four, when if they’d simply taken it slower and been more careful about finding out more about him, they would take any surprises in stride as new information that they can use to decide whether or not to keep dating, not shockers.
It sounds between the lines, like you’re upset that he’s still got his dating profile up, and is experimenting with dating older women. Rather than take offense, remember that when you’re meeting people on online dating sites, there is competition! And people who are resourceful enough to use a tool like a dating site (like you are!) are actively looking, as opposed to those who sit around and talk about using the sites. I think that the fact that he’s wanting to experiment with dating older women is valuable information for you not an insult. You can read into that fact that he’s looking for maturity, someone who’s further along in their career and knows more about what they want. Use that information to temper the way you win him over, or to decide you’re not a match. I’m sure it’s off-putting to see his dating site activity, but that’s one of the issues with online dating that doesn’t exist when you meet someone off line and start dating them. You don’t know if they’re actively dating unless you hear about it from mutual friends, or simply see it with your own two eyes. So, just because you’re seeing him actively looking online doesn’t mean the guys you meet and date offline aren’t doing the same thing!
And the last thing I’ll leave you with is that when you meet someone online and begin dating them, don’t expect them to take down their profile until after the two of you have been dating in real life for about three months or so. This taking down of the online profile is a landmark in the relationship when you meet online, and it’s a barometer of how he feels about you. So slow down. Use the information you’re learning to continue to decide if he’s worth dating. And consider taking a cue from him, and keeping your profile up and entertaining other dating options in this early stage with him, as well.