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**Update** Trying to Decide What to Do About My Girlfriend

paul_in_utah's picture

Well, here I am a 3:51 AM CST, unable to sleep.  Figured I might as well share my current situation with the group, since I can't sleep.

First, as a bit of background:  I was in a long-term marriage for almost 20 years. My ex-wife was emtionally and financialy abusive, although I don't think see ever cheated on me.  I have lots of prior entries about my experiences with her and her ungrateful children, who I raised throughout their childhoods.

My one serious relationship post-divorce was with a supposedly "bi-sexual" woman, who was in fact seeing her supposedly "ex" girlfriend behind my back during the entirety of our relationship.  Turns out they were never apart, but the "ex" just didn't want to pay for anything, so the girl I was dating would pretend to date guys in order to extract resources.  She got about 10K out of me before I caught her with her "ex" and ended the relationship.

I casually dated around for a few years prior to meeting my currently girfriend.  As a recap, she is a single mom, with a 17-year old daughter and a 15-year old son.  The daughter has major issues, some of which are objective and can be verified (such as a diseased gallbladder which was taken out, and extreme food allergies), and some of which are subjective ("anxiety" disorder, "stress", etc.).  The daughter basically spent her entire senior year at home, because she was too ill to go to school.  She's doing better after having her gallbladder out (finally able to start putting weight back on), but stil is dealing with anxiety disorder.  If she graduates its only because the school pushes her through the system because they don't want to deal with her.  The son is a good kid, but is probably going to fail at least one class, and may have to repeat it next year.

The daughter seemingly rules the roost.  She was very spoiled while my GF was married, and is definitely the favorite child.  She has no relationhship with her father, and filed a CPS report because he supposedly liked to look at her while she was walking through the house nude on the way from the bathroom to her bedroom.  The report was not suppoted by the investigation, but the father essentially disowned the daughter afterwards.  For a time, my GF allowed her daughter's loser boyfriend to live with them and mooch off of them, since his presence supposedly helped with her "anxieity and stress."  When the landlord found out about this, the boyfriend could no longer stay on a regular basis.  This meant I could no longer regularly stay because the daughter now has to co-sleep with my GF, since she can't sleep on her own due to "anxiety."

My GF was in significant debt when we met.  I only get her side of things, but it does sound as though she got the worse end of the divorce.  She does not get child support, since the daugther lives with her, and the son lives with her ex.  GF and her ex clearly lived beyond their means during the marriage, and GF ended up filing bankruptcy.  GF also disclosed to me that she was sexually abused by her own step-father while she was young, and turned him in out of spite as a teenager when she didn't get her way on some minor issue.  GF has dated a good bit the last few years, even while the marriage was in the dissolution process.  She still keeps in touch with some of her ex-BFs, and talks/texts at least one on a regular basis.  This bothers me because he openly flirts with her and asks for sex, although she tells him she's not interested because she is with me.

Our only arguements have centered around what I perceive to be very minor mistakes on my part.

1. I was coming back from a work trip, and rushed to get home because I was told I would be able to spend the night with GF.  Once I landed at home, I called her, and she told me about her daughter's boyfriend being kicked out, and that daughter would now have to co-sleep with her.  I made a comment that I wished she had told me ahead of time, so I wouldn't have rushed home.  I had the option of staying in Dallas for the night and working out of the Dallas office the next day, but I didn't do this because I was rushing home to see her.  She got really upset at that comment, because she had had a bad day, and because she felt like I was being insensitive to her.  I replayed the conversation in my head, and really don't feel like I said anything out of line, although I wonder if my tone was harsh.  We eventually worked through that, but I was bothered that she was so easily upset.

2. The second dust-up happened when we were having dinner one night, and I made some comments that she perceived as critical of her daughter.  I don't recall exactly what I said, but it wasn't anything like "Your daughter is a loser," or "Your daughter needs to get her life in order."  She got upset that I wasn't being supportive of her daughter, and told me that she wished I knew what her daughter was like before she got sick.  I apologized and re-doubled my efforts to get to know her daughter, and do feel like I have a decent (albeit distant) relationship with the daughter.

3.  The third incident was last night.  GF had endured a really bad day, having gotten into a fight with her daughter before work, which was followed by a really bad day at work.  I had a bad day at work myself.  I got to her house in the early evening, and her daughter was wearing a bikini top and cut-off jeans around the house.  I made the comment that I was a little uncomfortable with her dressing like that, because it seemed inappropriate, and because of her history of accusing her father of oogling her while she was naked.  Later on, I spent about an hour with GF and her son working on one of his school assignments.  He is really behind in this class, and may end up flunking it.   

When I went home, I sent a text message indicating that I would like to come up with a game plan to work together to help her son stay caught up in the future.  She got **really** upset about that, as she took it as criticism about the performance of her son in school, and also her job a mother.  She then said I upset her when I said I was uncomfortable with daughter earing a bikini top and cut-offs around the house (due to what happened wiht her father), because she felt I was "judging" her.  I ended up going back to her house and we talked for quite a while, but she was still clearly upset with me.  I have not been able to sleep, and here I am.


First of all, yes, I know there are major red flags in this relationship.  Co-sleeping with teenage children, financial issues, childhood sexual abuse for my GF, etc.   I do not live with this woman, and we have not co-mingled money.  I have probably assisted with things (other than buying meals out) to the tune of about $700 in 5 months.  Not 0, but not nothing either.  Were ever to move in together, I would buy the house in my own name, and we would keep separate finances.

Obviously I should avoid seeing her when we are both stressed out after bad days.  Had I to do it over again, I would have skipped last night. 

I guess my biggest issue now is what I perceive as an exaggerated level of sensitivity around her children, especially her daughter. I have been extremely kind and supportive of the daugther, and basically get along with her.   However, one whiff of criticisim of the daughter, and we have an issue.  It's like all of the good things I do are immediately zeroed out if I ever say anything about the daughter.  And I am talking about a lot of good things, and a lot of support, being invalidated by a few words in a few seconds.  My ex-wife used this same strategy ("zerioing out" my contributions if I made a mistake), so this approach really bothers me. 

I have bit my tongue about her carrying on text conversations wth the ex who flirts with her, which to me seems a lot more of a violation that a small handful of comments about her duaghter, when I do so much to help.

I know the advice will be to break up with my GF, and it is probably correctly.  I just hate that it may come to that.  There are a lot of good times, but it is hard for me to understand her level of hurt feeleings after relatively minor offenses, especially when I do so much good most of the time.

paul_in_utah's picture

Also, I meant to add that I am wondering if my GF is shit-testing me as part of a power-play to test boundaries.  I plan on telling her tonight (if she has cooled off enough) that I respect her feelings, but don't think I did anything wrong.  I am (1) trying to protect myself against any false allegations by her daughter and (2) genuinlely trying to help her son, not judge her as a parent for letting him to that point with his grades.

If she is shit-testing me, the last thing I need to do is grovel for her forgiveness.  I want to be supportive and listen to her, but I'm not going to let her roll over me.  I am kind and supportive to her, and I don't think a reasonable person would react the way she did, bad day or no.  

There's a slight chance that she will apolgize, but I doubt it.  I fully expect no apology in the morning, and for her to expect me to continue to be overly contrite about these "mistakes," which I don't even feel were mistakes in the first place.

Monkeysee's picture

I didn’t read your whole post.. you seem to have a talent for finding women who aren’t good partners & use you for what they can get. I’d quit dating for a while & talk to a counsellor/therapist to understand what you’re doing to attract people like this into your life.

If her DD didn’t think twice about filing a report against her own father, do you really think she won’t do the same to you? Also, co-sleeping with a kid her age?? Why doesn’t she have her own room/sleep on the couch at your GFs place. Get rid of this chick, her drama isn’t worth it.

You need to hold the bar higher for who you allow into your life, this has been a pattern for you.

momjeans's picture

I read your post in its entirety and all I can think is OOF.

Your girlfriend and her daughter are some bonafide damaged goods. You can be emotionally, physically, and financially supportive all day long, but at the end of the day you’ll most likely always be the ‘bad guy’ rubbing salt in their unresolved wounds.

You’re correct - there’s a gazillion giant crimson flags waving all over the place. Forgive me if I overlooked it, but is the daughter in therapy? As in, serious, weekly therapy, like EMDR?

There definitely is a lot to unpack here, by remaining in this relationship. If you are in for going the distance, I would hold off on cohabiting, because it sounds albsolutely necessary that you always have a place of your own to go to. To recalibrate. To take a long breather, and to be safe from potential accusations when you feel uncomfortable situations bubbling at the surface. 

HowLongIsForever's picture

However, one whiff of criticisim of the daughter, and we have an issue.  It's like all of the good things I do are immediately zeroed out if I ever say anything about the daughter.  And I am talking about a lot of good things, and a lot of support, being invalidated by a few words in a few seconds. 

This right here says everything you need to know.  Forget the daughter's anxiety, or that the son can't get his crap together at school or your bad day at work or her bad day at work.

This - regardless of the history that has shaped her into this woman - is what you're facing.  She needs to work on herself a whole heck of a lot (don't even consider the kids) before she is ready to be a healthy partner for anyone.

With this being her MO it could mean a) she's emotionally stunted and has never learned to properly handle her emotions so she lashes out at discomfort or embarrassment b) she's not emotionally stunted and in full control but finds benefit in being manipulative c) you are not wanted for you (perceived flaws and all) and the support deemed appropriate i.e. enabling is not only the expectation but an entitlment.

Think long and hard about the positives this woman and her family bring to your life.  Then take a look at how much effort you're realistically willing to exert in maybe hopefully pointing her in the right direction for her to grow up and become a healthy partner.  Let's face it, you can't force her or do the work for her.  

You are worth more than the value you have allowed her to assign you.  Heck you're worth more than the value you've assigned to yourself.  That should be your focus - working on you.  Not dragging her kicking and screaming to healthy coping mechanisms.  

Try to stay away from the sunk cost fallacy.  Based on your posts this is not a relationship you'd be wise to continue pouring your resources into.  Close the door and focus on you for a while.

SteppedOut's picture

Try to stay away from the sunk cost fallacy.  Based on your posts this is not a relationship you'd be wise to continue pouring your resources into.  Close the door and focus on you for a while.

^^^OP this right here.

justmakingthebest's picture

Wow... Momjeans is right. There is a lot to unpack here.

First, it seems that you are drawn to women that are takers. Some people, myself included, are natural givers and fixers. It is just what we do. I think that there are "takers" out there that can spot a "giver" 100 miles away and chew them up and spit them out and move on to the next one. 

I am NOT saying this is your girlfriend, but I don't think that she really has your best interest at heart either. To me, when in a committed relationship, you don't talk to exes. That is all there is to that. It is a betrayal of trust. Also, you don't make "I" choices, you make "we" choices. What is best for both of us. I don't think your girlfriend does that. 

Since you are the type to want to help and do the right things and be a good guy, I fear that you are walking into a emotionally straining and soon to be financially strained relationship. Her daughter isn't going to change. GF takes offense when you come up with a plan to help her son pass a class... Seriously? That is some dumb shit right there. 

I would back off with this one, which I know can be very hard to do. Open up to casual dating. See if you can find someone more compatible with your life style- Kid free!! Financially stable. Secure enough that she isn't leaving old boy friends on the hook just in case you guys don't work out. 

flmomma08's picture

Too many issues! I would not put it past the daughter to file a false report on you if she was willing to do it with her own father. The mother doesn't want to change, she just wants you to accept her as she is. It sounds like she is using you, or will be if you move in together.

As far as the anxiety, it is hard to say. Anxiety is a real disorder. I know because I have it and it can be very difficult to live with. I also know many people milk it or say they have it when they haven't actually been diagnosed. Is she seeing a doctor for it? It's hard to treat on your own, most people need professional help with it.

That aside, it just sounds like a whole lot of issues you don't need to deal with!

hereiam's picture

In your last post, you said, "I don't want to be alone, and I find myself having to make a lot compromises in order to get into relationships.  Settling, in other words."

Then, you wrote, "In my view, a bad relationship is better than no relationship."

You are wrong, a bad relationship is not better than no relationship. It's what you tell yourself because you are afraid to be alone. If you are not comfortable being alone, you will keep finding and settling for women like this. And as long as you are in a bad relationship, you won't be free to pursue a healthy one.

You are going to have to love yourself before someone else of value will love you. You have to be okay with you. You have to be willing to demand some respect and have some standards.

You say that you are "not the greatest looking guy". Who cares? That is not what a solid relationship is based on. You have to be confident that the other things that you have to offer are worth more than looks. 

I think your ex-wife did a number on you and you need to work through that. And you need to work through it as a single man, without the distraction of a dysfunctional relationship.


tog redux's picture

This is what I said last time he said this stuff - my feeling is that perhaps he wants a woman who is better-looking than he thinks he can get with his looks, unless they are totally dysfunctional?

Otherwise, dude, if you think you are "ugly", find a woman who is "ugly", but SANE. 

momjeans's picture

I think your ex-wife did a number on you and you need to work through that. And you need to work through it as a single man, without the distraction of a dysfunctional relationship.

This. This right here. 

Thumper's picture

She has no relationhship with her father, and filed a CPS report because he supposedly liked to look at her while she was walking through the house nude on the way from the bathroom to her bedroom. 


This is something VERY wrong with your girlfriends daughter. I have daughters and they would NEVER ever walk around nude.

Frankly I dont blame her bio father for cutting ties...hell, bio dad should be thankful cps investigators did their job ..HE could have landed in the clinker.


Good Luck with your decisions you have made.



momjeans's picture

I wholeheartedly agree that this is not the norm. Some people in some families may do this, but I know that DH and I would never do this to our children, and we’d call-out our children (past a certain age) to not do the same to us.

It. Is. Not. Normal.

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

Run dude, run!

Stop abusing yourself with women with kid baggage!

Harry's picture

There is something serious wrong with the daughter. It’s her choice to run around the house nude. first problem. Then report her father. Second problem.  Your GF is not only putting you on the back burner, you are not even on the stove, third problem. Spending into bankruptcy it’s a choice, many people live there life without going brankrup. Fourth problem.  Most likely something serious wrong with GF, fifth problem. GF rather co sleep with daughter then you. What does not have to happen. Up to sixth problem.

You know GF and her kids are dysfunctional people.  If you stay involved, you are going to become the new bankrup EX.  This is the beginning of the relationship and it’s bad. Relationship get worst as time goes on.  You are already starting in a relationship you are getting nothing out of. She doesn’t want to have sex with you. Or DD would be sleeping on the floor and you in her bed. 

Exjuliemccoy's picture

Hi Paul.

This woman and both of her kids have problems well above your paygrade. The best she could ever muster would still be far, far below what's healthy or what you deserve.

You're never going to get your needs met with her. It's time to move on.

Nothing changes unless you change you, your approach, and your mindset. Your picker is bent, my friend. But I'll tell you, mid life is a terrific time to work on ourselves and evolve. 

So get some therapy, perhaps with a seasoned female therapist. Read the book Codependent No More. Be alone for a while, and be mindful about breaking away from what's comfortable.

When you feel strong in your new mindset, try only dating childfree women. I know plenty of them, and they're out there enjoying life, not sleeping with teenagers.

paul_in_utah's picture

1.  GF's daughter is in therapy, both with a psychologist and a psychiatrist.  She has been prescribed antidepressant's but stopped taking them because she "didn't like they way they made [her] feel."

2.  GF and I have plenty of sex, so that is not an issue.

3.  I am not hung up on looks.  I've dated many below-average women.  That said, GF is quite attractive, a solid 6.5/10 at least.  I'm not going to lie, that is a nice improvement after my Ex-W.

4.  I'm not sure what I should do to "improve myself," other than losing 25 pounds or so.  I can't make myself any taller, and I can't grow my hair back.  I could always take a cooking class or dance lessons, but I hate cooking and can't dance at all.

5.  I have indeed gone after attractive, successful, normal women.  I text them all the time on the dating apps I use.  Guess what?  They never answer!  They have their pick of the litter, and can find guys much more desireable than me.

I work from home, and my industry does not have many women, so that is not really an option.  I have considered trying church, but none of them around here have singles programs.

tog redux's picture

So it is about looks in the women then for you?  Attraction is in the eye of the beholder and is not just about looks. My DH is 5'6" and balding, and I find him very attractive, as have many other women in his life. Yep, he's short, but he's kind, generous, smart, funny and a great partner. It ain't about your looks. And it's probably not about your looks for many of the women you are dating either.

If "normal" women aren't attracted to you, it's not your height or your lack of hair - there is something else that is turning them away that isn't based on your looks. Figure out that what that is. 

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

My husband’s ex whore stole his hair from stress. He is average height. I don’t give a shit. 

It is who he is as a person that still turns my crank after many years of marriage. I love him; he makes me laugh.

Also, he drives me nuts lol! 

MrsStepMom's picture

Well a 6.5 is what I'd consider unattractive but ok. She meant work on your mental self not your weight. It seems all you care about it looks. Perhaps that is why you choose so poorly.

ESMOD's picture

OP,  You have recieved a lot of good advice here.. some more blunt than others.  I have to say that "on paper", your GF has quite a few less desirable things going on.  Now, I'm sure that there are also some things about her that are just lovely... and that not ALL your time is terrible together.

But, there are some things that look like they are going to be long term drags on her..

1.  It sounds like she is pretty shaky in a financial sense.  Know that if you stay with her, you will most likely end up toting a much larger share of the financial weight.. and may be subject to bailing her out on numerous occasions for her poor financial decision making.

2.  She has two kids that BOTH have issues.  I understand that it's natural for her to go defensive when she percieves an attack on her kids.. which she is seeing as a judgement on HER success or failure in raising them.  Like with her son.. you see a problem.. the kid isn't doing well. You naturally want to help by pitching in but also by ensuring that you just don't band aid it once and have the problem return.. ie how to not allow it to keep happening.  Men (typically) see a problem and go about trying to fix it.. Women don't always approach things from that same viewpoint. 

3.  Yeah.. that daughter that she has coddled and enabled and allowed her to turn the household upside down.  A medical issue is not an excuse for the rest of your life to behave poorly.  Mom let her have a BF live there?  Her daughter accused her own father of ogling her? And she isn't in therapy?  So much going on here.. and honestly you can't even begin to be part of the fix.

I think the bottom line is that your GF has a lot of issues that SHE needs to work on.. herself.. her finances.. her kids.  I don't think she is really "datable" until she does deal with this stuff.


still learning's picture

Oh Paul, I got to the part where you were dating a bisexual woman and concluded that you must really like drama.  I'm going to make some popcorn and read some more later.  

paul_in_utah's picture

she claimed she was dating me exclusively, and wasn't dating anyone else, male or female.  I was not looking for some kind of 3-way or anything like that.  It turns out that she was lying the whole time, as she was still dating her "ex" girlfriend.

I don't like drama any more than anyone else on here.

But I do think there is something about me that natrually draws in these women, and I don't think it's a lack of self-esteem.  I know my capabilities.  I am good at some things in life.  But attracting normal women is not one of them.  Everyone I've ever dated has at least SEVERAL of these characteristics:


Rape/sexual abuse survivor.

Battered spouse.

Drug addict.

Major interpersonal problems with family.

Financial issues.

Morbibly obese.



I get it, these are not good attributes in a partner.  My mom was adopted, and was an alcoholic and pill addict.  I don't abuse substances myself, but I suppose some of the things I experienced growing up with her have rubbed off on me at a subconcious level. 

tog redux's picture

My guess is you have some codependent traits, and "normal" women sense that and find it a turn off. Or you aren't attracted to women who don't "need" you on some level.

Again, get some therapy and sort it out. If you are attracting broken people, you are broken yourself. 

momjeans's picture

I agree. Enabling and codependency dynamics are present here. And if OP doesn't sense it, his love interests definitely do, and that’s a lot of the attraction. 

still learning's picture

Get some therapy Paul. From a real therapist, not from your church. Quit blaming mommy for your relationship issues, time to grow up.  

ESMOD's picture

Look.. some people tend to be a bit blunt/mean on here.  I think it's because they either are living a fairly miserable life and need an outlet.. or they just "can" because it's an anonymous site and well.. it's easy to do.  Some people do it because they may be hoping that the bluntness will be a "WAKEUP" for you.

In any case, yeah.. you seem to have a pattern of ending up with women who have issues to say the least.  Now, let's be honest, the older we all get... there is going to be a tendance for more people in our available dating pool to be damaged in some way.. because.. at a certain point, the people who are super capable of having healthy relationships/families.. well,  they aren't out there in the dating scene.. they are partnered up.  You will be more likely to meet people with kids.. EXES.. histories.

But, that is not really an excuse for accepting that you will have to be in a relationship with someone that is going to be an anchor on your life. 

The good thing is that you can accept and admit that you have been doing a pretty poor job of choosing.  I don't know if it's "where" you are looking.. or if it's the characteristics you are looking for are actually markers for people who have these kinds of drama in their lives.  Shoot, a very strong possibility is that you like being needed by these women and want to save them the way you wanted your mom to be fixed/saved.  Or.. you have some underlying insecurity that picks damaged women because you somehow don't feel worthy of more.  Or.. it's easy to date people with flaws.. that way OUR flaws don't matter as much?

So... honestly, I think you are due for some time of self reflection.  Counseling.. a time out of the dating pool.  Develop some interests and hobbies and give the romantic pursuits a break until you can figure out how to enter into a healthy relationship with healthy women.

Exjuliemccoy's picture

ESMOD is correct, Paul. 

You have some thinking and some deciding to do.

MrsStepMom's picture

Oh I don't think you have ANY self esteem problems. You seem quite full of yourself actually. I think THAT is the problem. People who suck attract sucky people.

Exjuliemccoy's picture

Hey now, that was a really unkind thing to say, and it's also untrue.

Paul has been a member here for a long time. He's trying to work something out (on very little sleep).

Please try to be compassionate.

MrsStepMom's picture

He has not said nice things at all about the women in their life and has pretty much in this post focused on looks. Even when someone suggest he work on himself he took that to mean "lose 25 lbs" not mentally help yourself. It is not a lack of compassion it is saying what I see. Him being a member for a long time doesn't change his clear view on appearance and it's priority in his life. I barely slept too for weeks and I am not saying how ugly my ex was.

ESMOD's picture

I will tell you a little story about my two most recent Exes.  When I met both of them they came across as very self assured and capable men.  They were almost "too" cocky.. but in a kind of way that makes you think they are "strong men"... whelp.. ya know what? 

Both of these guys were actually EXTREMELY insecure.  They had victim complexes.. nothing was ever their fault.  They both loved to point out MY flaws.. because it made them feel better and more superior.

Sometimes what presents as "no lack of self esteem" is really anything BUT that... That's why Paul really has some soul searching as to why he keeps ending up with women with such serious issues.  Maybe he is just a crappy person reader?  Maybe he keeps looking in all the wrong places?  Maybe he is a terrible judge of character?  Maybe like me he sees some traits and thinks they are "good" when in reality they are masks for highly undesirable ones?

I don't think we need to beat him up because he may have some focus on "looks".  Men tend to be more visually stimulated.. it's biology.. doesn't mean he is a bad person.  He might be focusing on that more than other things.. but ultimately, he needs to understand how he ends up sitting across the dinner table from all these train wrecks.  I don't think it's only on a looks basis because he has mentioned that soem of these woman have not been 10's.

Besides.. looks are a bit subjective anyway.. sure.. there may be some social ideal similarities.. but people may be attracted to all sorts of types..what he is saying is hot.. you might think is average etc?

Letti.R's picture

You work from home?
Think about moving areas.
How can every woman in your surroundings have one or more of these?

No offence  to you, but either Utah is majorly weird or you are the common factor.

Paul, good relationships aren't hard work.
Good relationship add value to who you are.
Good relationship partners accept you for who you are not what you think you look like in comparison.

You deserve happiness and it will only start if you can find happiness with in yourself.
Your partner does not bring you happiness: your partner is there to share your happiness.
Your partner does not complete you: your partner is the person you share your completeness with.

Exjuliemccoy's picture

Paul, you can change this. You can change your programming, thereby changing your mindset and enabling yourself to step away from patterns that don't serve you well.

There are men who don't find themselves in these dysfunctional types of relationships. Why do you think that is? It's not that they are all richer, or better looking. It's because they are drawn to healthier norms than you.

I've "known" you through this site for many years now, and want good things for you. This is fixable. Invest some time, money, and effort in therapy and you'll see that having a woman in your life doesn't have to be so angsty.

SecondNoMore's picture

I remember you from your last post. No one with any sense who has been through the relationships you describe would subscribe to the theory that a bad relationship is better than no relationship. You are either addicted to drama, very damaged or lying about the whole scenario. Please get some help or accept that you will always attract users.

DPW's picture

Your woman "picker" needs to be reset.

Ask yourself this: Do you think you like to date attractive women with problems as this is the only type of woman you can get because of your looks?

marblefawn's picture

While your loyalty is admirable, as long as you're tethered to someone who's not right for you, you won't find someone who is the best match.

It's true that as you get older, the people you date have more problems and baggage, but so do you. The key is finding baggage that fits nicely with your own baggage. And not staying in too long when you see so many red flags.

Your girlfriend sounds as if she really has her hands full with her kids. She wasn't in the right place to date when you met and she shouldn't have been on the market. She needs to get her house in order before bringing a man into the situation. She should be self sufficient and a strong leader to her kids before she dates. Maybe she got a raw deal with the daughter having so many problems, but that's the risk people take when they procreate. As long as her kids have so many problems, she can't evaluate or steer her relationship with you -- there's too much chaos to assess how you would be as a mate.

And you...this was probably a sinking ship when you met, but here you are still in this mess. She might not know that the best thing for her and her family is for her to be alone and get her shit together, but you know it. So back away, let her be head of her household. Let her work out her family issues because as just a boyfriend, you don't really have much role in all of it. Maybe in a year or three, she'll have done the work she needs to do to be ready for a man in her life. But why should you sit around waiting?

It's one thing for a potential mate to have a bad habit. It's another for a potential mate to have people for whom she's responsible -- then you get all the bad habits of all those people. She can't just shake off those kids. I know how hard it is to meet people -- I lived in a place where the buzz of NASCAR filled the streets on weekends. I might as well have been on the moon. But you can't make someone be the right fit if they just aren't.

You seem like a nice, loyal, contemplative guy with a decent job and (apparently) no kids. You are a catch, even if you don't realize it. Don't push the panic button and end up with someone else's problems. Start to think of yourself as that catch you are so you are as discriminating as you need to be as you navigate dating.

PS: I don't think your past relationships indicate that you're bad at dating. There are a lot of losers out there. But you must be your advocate when you date. Don't give women money. If they're asking for money, dump 'em. They shouldn't be dating if they can't afford their rent. If they need money, DON'T OFFER IT. That is not a sound way to date because it's actually prostitution. You can't buy their way out of a lifetime of poor decisions! Find someone who only needs out of the relationship what YOU need out of it -- someone to go to dinner with, someone to go to concerts, someone to complain to after a bad day, someone to have sex with, someone to confide in, etc. When you start giving stuff that you're not asking for yourself, it's time to examine the relationship to be sure it's legit.




Evil3's picture

Paul, I totally get what you’re going through because I could have written your post only with slightly different details. You are repeating what you know. I repeated what I know by marrying into a ridiculous mini wife situation because I had a very critical father who constantly compared me to other girls. I ALWAYS came up short. I wasn’t the slimmest child in the world so I heard all about that too. I grew up to have relationships with men who couldn’t quite love me fully because I could never get skinny enough despite being an athlete. There was always a thinner girl and skinniness equals lovability. I actually was able to completely turn my marriage around after going to therapy. You seem to have been taught that looks equals lovability. You are attracting women like your mom because that’s what loving a female looks like to you. Sorry to come off like an armchair psychologist but you really do not have to tolerate bullshit to get the crumbs of love. Therapy with a real counsellor is really worth it. You don’t have to make any decisions right now as your counsellor can help you decide what’s next. You’ll need counselling to break the cycle that you’re going through.

Dizzyjell's picture

Seriously. There is so much drama here. The daughter will always be a thorn in your relationship and thos situation is unlikely to get better. Your girlfriend's sensitivity at anything she even remotely perceives to be a criticism will grow and grow til you resent her and realize, none of the crap you're enduring is worth it.