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Charlotte39's picture

Hi all, I’ve been trolling these boards for a year or so. I met a man after he had separated from his wife, they’ve been divorced since January. Backstory: We started dating December 2016 - they first separated in July 2015 after she kicked him out, she’d been having an affair and wanted to try things out with the other guy, they have two kids. A year later she wanted to try again, he moved back in, but was wary and she ended up with the same guy, asked him to leave again. I met him two months afterwards. I knew it was a bad idea but he was so handsome, funny and charming, I fell fast. I met the kids, he talked about reversing his vasectomy, and he filed for divorce. BM is an alcoholic and lost her mind.

He ended it about seven months in. She was causing a lot of problems and there was a barrage of angry texts, phone calls. She fell after drinking too much, her brain started to bleed, then two months later she totaled her car and got a DUI. My boyfriend wanted to try again but I couldn’t really get all in. He also changed his mind about more kids. I have none.

She asked him over for Thanksgiving and told him she wanted to try again and he briefly considered it. I was not impressed but we did continue to see each other sometimes. I still wanted a baby and he had done a 180. Now, almost two years later I’m still stuck. I’m 39 and not feeling great about my chances. BM is talking about moving across the country in 2 years and he won’t follow. I love this guy, despite the drama, but I’m afraid to commit again, especially if I’m in the kid’s lives again. I’m afraid she’s going to go psycho again. Last week she sent him a text saying Sweet Dreams, Dan xx” He thought it was hilarious and didn’t respond but I was pissed. He said if we get serious again there will be a conversation about boundaries with her but I’m feeling hesitant to go down that road again. Any thoughts on this situation?

Charlotte39's picture

By the way, when he moved back in he was only there for a month before she kicked him out again to be with her affair partner. She also does stuff like asking him to pick her and the kids up from the airport. He did it, and I was livid. Not sure I’m made of strong enough stuff for this situation.

Iamwoman's picture

It’s not about being “made of strong enough stuff for this situation.” 

Given your situation, a weak person would stay and a strong person would leave. Your BF is disrespectful to you and your relationship in so many ways, and from the way you’ve written your post, I’m not sure you are able to see just how deep his level of disrespect for you is.

If you were important to him, he would not donor say half the things he does.

CLove's picture

It sounds like he is still enmeshed with her, even after all her hijinx. He might be funny and charming but those qualities arent the best for a long-lasting actual relationship. Speaking of last, you will ALWAYS come last, Im afraid, because he is still hung up on her. If it were over, it would truly be over, no "takey backeys".


Charlotte39's picture

Yeah, it’s been three years since their initial separation. I don’t think he has feelings for her on a romantic level but I get the feeling he’s afraid to make waves and still holds her in esteem just because she birthed his babies. I expressed the same concern to him and he said he has the luxury of knowing his own feelings but he understands why I feel that way. I’ve seen their text exchanges, I asked, and it’s literally him saying Yes, no, okay to her long messages. He does send her pics of the kids though. That bugs me, but I’m also not a parent. She didn’t want the divorce, but he went ahead anyway.

StayTrue's picture

Not worth it. It seems like he priorities her over you everytime. My husbands ex tried to get back with him after playing the “i want a divorce card”. She cheated on him when she deployed. She asked if he woukd ever take her back and the answer was a clear no. 

Charlotte39's picture

Yes, when she asked him he told her he still wanted the divorce but he told me he was having second thoughts because of his financial situation, he’s deeply in debt now because of her bad financial decisions. They also weren’t divorced yet and I shouldn’t have been dating him when he was separated. His kids are 7 and 10 now. She also lightly threatened him, I’d hate to have to take the kids away when I move....she’s a narcissist. But you’re right, typing it out it ALL sounds bad. I do feel like he prioritizes her over me to avoid drama from her. Lately his tune has changed. I’m an attractive, moderately successful woman with no baggage. I have other options. His ex barely works, applied for welfare and her face is busted from all the drinking and cigarettes.

Kes's picture

Welcome to the site!  To be honest with you, if I were 39 and my biological clock was ticking, I'd get impregnated by sperm donor rather than get mixed up in the situation you describe.  Your bf sounds like he is much too enmeshed in BM's life to be really available as your partner.  Worrying about the BM "going psycho again" which she almost certainly will do, on a regular basis, is not a nice way to live - there is no peace.  

tog redux's picture

Why would you consider being with a man who tells you openly that he thinks about going back to BM? He's not really emotionally ready to be with someone else.  And if/when he does set limits and boundaries with her, then the high conflict fun will begin and it doesn't ever end if the BM is truly nuts.  Then you will deal with court and withheld visitation, and alienated kids, etc. Find someone else. I've had several friends and family members have healthy children in their early 40s.

hereiam's picture

This guy is a mess, you can do better. And, until you find someone else, you can do better, alone.

marblefawn's picture

I'd probably say move on, but it doesn't sound as if you're ready for that.

So, keep dating him if you want. But don't move in with him and keep your eyes open for better opportunities. Don't do anything to lock yourself in with someone who hasn't stood the test of time.

If you keep dating him, eventually it will become apparent if the relationship is tolerable to you.

But two things to consider: you're wasting more time on a relationship that has failed to lauch after two years of your precious effort and time.

And...if he has said he doesn't want kids, and you're counting on a reversal of his vasectomy if he does change his mind...well, that's a lot of ifs. If you don't mind spending more time on this, understand that not all vasectomies can be successfully reversed. And you still need him to change his mind about more kids.

If you're open to adopting, that's a potential option, though costly and lengthier than the 9 months it takes to make your own. Unfortunately, women must be mindful of their reproduction expiration date...unlike men (grrrr!) Your guy isn't thinking about your aging eggs because he doesn't want more kids. YOU need to think about your aging eggs.

In 20 years, all of us look alike: bald, overweight, wrinkled. Handsome and charming packaging is alluring, but so is available and steady packaging. Think about that.

It might have been so long since you felt secure and confident about a guy that you're forgetting how good it feels to know he only has eyes for you. It's a wonderful feeling. Don't discount it because it's been so long since you had it.

Charlotte39's picture

I really do love him a lot. Keep in mind I have not been committed to him while he finalized his divorce, which was almost a year ago. He tells me he’s now very detached with her. I believe him, yet I was burned badly by him while the divorce drama was going down. Honestly, I don’t know what I want anymore and I’m open to dating other men. I don’t know if he’s emotionally ready to enforce the boundaries I need. She is also talking about moving across country in two years....that might make me feel better. Thanks for your feedback everyone!

New_to_this's picture

I would say leave, unless you are willing to be frustrated and do the bulk of the work for him. My husband also allowed BM to walk all over him without boundaries after thier divorce. He didn't want to confront her boundary issues and general crazy behavior. He instead took medication and saw a psychologist to talk to, but not resolve anything.

Then, he met me. I was aghast at how he allowed her to treat him and basically treat me too as I was now in a relationship with him. She would repeatedly call him at all hours and expect him to answer. He even left my house one night to give a space heater for the skids when her heat went out. It was like 7 o'clock in the evening. Target and Walmart were open and my house was an hour away from his. Of course he wasn't coming back to me that night...I wouldn't allow it and he'd be gone 3 hours or more doing it.

It took my strength to get him to place boundaries and it sucked. He should have been doing it all along, but wasn't. He would sit in front of her house for 2 hours with the skids either in the car or in her house, because he would drop them off at their scheduled time and she just wouldn't be home. He dealt with that every week and then expected me to sit in front of her house too. He allowed so much disrespect towards him and then towards me. And, there was nothing romantic! You should get out of this emotional mess. It will take years to deal with for him and you if you don't.

Healyourslf's picture

It sounds to me like your "inner knowing" is already guiding you to find a better outcome for your life.  It is about choices and each soul needs to learn particular lessons. The lesson is up to you to determine.  If you stay, what will you be learning?  If you move on, what will you create?  

I hear your biological timeclock concerns, but chronic stress and a dysfunctional life will age you faster and tweak your body, mind and spirit in ways you never expected - not to mention any child you bring into this world. I know many women who chose to have children later in life (late 30's and 40's) and they had them successfully.  The upside is that these women were more emotionally mature and financially stable.  I hope you do not make your maternal desire and duress the fulcrum point of "choosing." 

Sounds cliche, but "actions speak louder than words."  Already, you have pointed out several instances where your BF's actions are completely unacceptable (at least to me). A man who truly loves you would never use you as a yo yo.  I don't mean to be harsh, but where is your self respect? I would have kicked him to the curb the first time he went back to his ex.  You are rationalizing his behavior by saying "he wasn't divorced yet."  A divorce judgement is merely a legal process, but the sticky threads of divesting from family protocols, finances and emotional enmeshment will follow for years...perhaps a lifetime.

We "fall" into love. Notice we don't say "we rise into it?"  Once the endorphin-fantasy period settles, the reality of day to day living is what makes or breaks the constitution and commitment behind a solid, loving partnership. This man has given you no solid ground to stand on so far. Do not be naive and think that he will not pull the rug out from under you again. 

Your BF has not treated you well. Period. You are smarter and better than that. Know this. Know you deserve much better.  Fear is pushing you to cling to a situation that has already caused you repeated distress. Yes, you have to go through the pain and process of moving on, but that will be much shorter and less painful than years or a lifetime of misery.  Don't pick at the scab. Let it heal and the scar will fade. 

You came to this forum to get input and hopefully you will sieve through the advice and take to heart the truth many of us are sharing.  None of us know you personally, but we have experienced the heartache of partnerships that came with a price.  I met my current partner when I was plunking along, happy and not looking for any relationship (had already been through 22 years of marriage to a alcoholic and another 10 year relationship with blended family). I was focused on ME, dating every once in a while without settling for just any companionship. My DH pursued me and had to prove his worthiness (4 years) before I committed. 

DH is a very good man, but despite his solid character and his heartful efforts...we are still dealing with traumas and issues from his marriage to an alcoholic with NPD. Let me just say that no matter how strong or convicted you are, alcoholic ex's with NPD have an arsenal of the most manipulative and dysfunctional behavior I've ever experienced. They are very unhappy individuals who are hell bent on making their exs just as unhappy especially if they cannot find anyone else to victimize. DH has proven to be a man of his word and he has continued to evolve/change for the better. It's hard work for both of us.  He puts our relationship FIRST which makes all the difference in the world.  Think hard on this. Did you or your relationship ever come first?

I sincerely hope you choose well and I wish you strength through this time.   

Charlotte39's picture


Charlotte39's picture

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for all your comments. I never could commit but I saw my ex last on 11/14. He was going on a work trip to Europe but I had pretty much accepted it was over, though we still texted the entire time. We went without communicating for a few weeks, I had started seeing someone else. I checked in on New Year's with him and he had spent Christmas with the ex. Then two weeks later they reconciled, one year after their divorce. Honestly, I was and am pretty devasted and flipped out pretty badly. I also let the ex wife know all the nasty things he said about her, not my finest moment. Next time I'll pay attention to the red flags! Or not date a guy enmeshed with his ex wife Smile

ldvilen's picture

Better yet, don't date any guy with children from a previous relationship.  Seriously.  Being a woman without children and married 1st time (and still married) to my DH with two children (now adults) from a previous relationship, I now am heavily leaning toward available men or women without children should avoid "available" men or women with children.  And, I put the term "available" in quotes there, because is there really a man or women with children from a previous relationship who is truly available?  Not really, in some ways.  That is the first issue.

Secondly, as you so unfortunately found out the hard way, too often divorced parents want to have their cake and eat it too.  Since they are a divorced parent, this can be used for all sorts of excuses to stay enmeshed or avoid a real comittment to their new spouse (yes, even if married).  Divorced parents can and often do still have one full foot in the previous relationship even years after the divorce.  Some will argue it is necessary as they are THE parents.  But, there is parenting, and then there is letting go of the past, moving on, and treating your new spouse (or long-term SO) like a spouse vs. like sloppy seconds.  To make matters worse, American society in general tends to back up divorced parents on this--that they can do whatever they want "for the sake of the children," while SM or step-dad has to suck it up and take it, time after time.

As a single person without children, you'll be expected to give up quite a bit for not only someone else's children, but your spouse's ex- as well.  The sad thing is, supposedly available parents want to meet a childless person.  That's ideal for most.  They want to just have to focus on their own children and for the new SO or spouse to have to focus on their children too.  They don't want anyone else's kids "in the way."  They think their kids, to you, will be or should be nothing but bonus children.  They won't think at all of their kids somehow being in the way of you and your space or aspirations.  They'll just expect you to cook and clean and be a bank and free taxi, babysitter, etc., and it is all part of your job now.  No thanks needed from either spouse or SKs.  You'll be giving up quite a bit for this man or women with children, and what will they be giving up for you?  No where near as much, but they won't see that at all, more than likely (and you may not either, until you are far down the road).  They'll just expect you to suck it up and take it.

The best set-up is for both partners to have children from previous relationships.  This way, they both have to put up with each others true lack of availability, put up with each others children, they both have some idea of what should or should not be tolerated from children in general, they both have to "do" for the others children, etc.  In other words, you could say that they are both either equally getting the benefit or both equally getting screwed.

SO, think very seriously about whether you want to even think about getting involved with someone else with children again.  Like someone likes to often say here:  You are better off just alone than you are with someone else and feeling alone, and that can happen too often in Step-World--where your DH and SKs are often having their own life together, in their own little world sans you, and you are left off in a mental corner somewhere wondering how as an intelligent, single woman you wound up giving so much of yourself to some man and his children and wound up not only getting so little for it, but feeling punished for it, in some ways, as well.  And, now the only way you can see a peaceful, decent future with your DH, is to pretty much disengage from his now adult children (who even after years and years don't seem to understand that you and your DH are married and a couple).  Just saying. . . .

Monkeysee's picture

Yes yes yes yes yes 1000%!

Even as a woman with a non-Disney dad, with strong boundaries with his ex (now), and who makes me a clear priority. This sh*t is hard.

Even with the strong boundaries, we still deal with the fallout of BM’s crap parenting all the time whilst she plays MOTY to anyone who pays attention to her. 

Then there’s DH’s daughter, completely alienated from him & has been her entire life. In the back of my mind though I’m always worried that she’s going to reach out when she’s older & there’s going to be all this weirdness between them that I’ll have to deal with. I can’t imagine after all this time they’ll ever have a normal, healthy relationship. As selfish as it sounds, a big part of me hopes she never comes around so I don’t have to deal with anymore drama & bullsh*t than I already do & have in the past.

Dating & marrying a man with kids, even when it’s good, it’s bloody hard work. I don’t care what anyone says. If there’s a choice to be made, ALWAYS go for the childless man. Leave the men with kids to deal with women who also have kids. Idliven nailed it, that’s the best & most fair option for all.

Charlotte39's picture

I am very glad I did not commit to him even though he swore up and down that she was crazy and he felt nothing for her. I listened to my gut but I was still missing him. At least this way I know for sure it is over as we were on and off. I’m not sure they will last but it doesn’t really matter as they are out of my life for good. I am almost 40, but live in a big city so hopefully I can find a nice childless man!

amyburemt's picture

far away from him. He obviously doesn't know what he wants, he has an ex who still has the ability to control him. I would look for someone else.

Siemprematahari's picture

Charlotte39~ consider this a blessing and I know as strongly as you felt for this man the writing was on the wall. In reading your initial post these two things stood out to me.

"He also changed his mind about more kids. I have none."

^^^^^^^^^If you want children being with him was not ideal and given all the drama he was going through with the X and the kids I can't imagine you wanting to be caught up in that.

"She asked him over for Thanksgiving and told him she wanted to try again and he briefly considered it."

^^^^^^^^^I wouldn't be surprised if he was the crazy one in all this and the X behaved this way because he wasn't consistent and gave her false hope. The fact that he even considered it was huge in determining where his mindset was.

He did you a favor and I wish you all the best moving forward.


Charlotte39's picture

Thank you! I’m mainly mad at myself for staying so long. I had started dating another guy but was actually pondering going back to him. Even after all of this, I don’t think he’s a bad person, but I do feel used. We had a great connection but to know I was just a bandaid for him really has me questioning my self worth. I will definitely be more careful in the future and thank you for your well wishes.