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Angela
Angela, Counselor
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I have been dating a guy who has 4 kids, 21 to 4. He is divorced

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I have been dating a guy who has 4 kids, 21 to 4. He is divorced from the mom of his 3 older kids and never married the mother of his youngest. I am recently divorced with almost 7 year old twin girls. His youngest daughter lives in Colorado with her mother and his relationship with this woman is very contentious. He sees the little girl infrequently, when he does he pays for the entire trip (airfare from Chicago to Denver r/t to pick her up and bring her back). Not only is this a significant financial strain on him, it is also against the custody arrangement, but he does nothing to help himself. He says that the mother of this child is unemployed (she's an LPN; she could work if she wanted to) so this woman owes him a lot of money. It's not my business, but I find myself picking up more than my share of the dating expenses. Which I have significantly cut back on, as I felt that I was being shortchanged.

I feel that I cease to exist for him when his daughter is with him, and I've met the child once already. We've been dating for almost 10 months. Both of his previous significant relationships were with troubled women (drugs, drinking, mental disease issues). Luckily, or hopefully, I do not suffer from those ailments. He is a Fundamentalist Baptist when it suits him to be. I am far less inclined to attend any organized religious event. He is a smart and hardworking guy, served in the first Gulf War and is generally a lot of fun to be around. But he's highly anxious, lives in ghetto-like conditions and has no desire to better himself. I think this is my biggest issue with him, that he won't do anything to help himself.

Here are the issues: I am substaintially more educated than he is; we live 45 minutes apart, I make about $10,000 more a year than he does. I have just begun the process of buying a townhouse. Recently we were talking about a future and moving in together; now he brings up our differences all the time (calling me an "atheist" and a "non-believer", which I see as petty and fairly aggressive, even though he attends infrequently). I have met his friends, mother, father and stepmother, his sister, her fiance and his children and we all seem to get along well.

I am at a crossroads whether to end this relationship altogether or try to work through the next few weeks, until I close on my house, and see what happens from there.

I see the writing on the wall; it's probably best to cut my losses and let this slow fade just occur naturally. He says he loves me despite our differences, and I love him too. I don't feel comfortable bringing up issues because he gets upset, which to me is a large red flag. For that reason, if no other, I have stopped visualizing a future and I find myself right now being very resentful of the immense attention he is focusing on his 4 year old daughter, which I know is stupid. I feel that he has cut me out of his life during this week that his daughter is with him, to the point where he does not phone me.

Since I have begun the purchase, my boyfriend (he's 43, I'm 45) has begun pulling away, almost in that "he's just not that into" fashion.

Please advise.

Thank you.

Kindest regards,


Sharon
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Angela replied 3 years ago.
Hello my name is Angela.
I am more than happy to assist you with your questions by giving you my honest and respectful opinion.

I am sorry for this difficult time you are having. It is not uncommon for single/divorced parents to put their children first in many ways and since this causes you distress (-which is understandable due to him completely forgetting about you when his children are around) this is a red flag to me about his behavior. Another red flag is the hypocritical behavior of him acting religious when he wants to and then calling you an atheist or non-believer. Further red flags include:
a. when the two of you go out you have been paying for much more than he has
b. he does not have goals or the potential to be the best that he can be for himself and for you
c. you are now buying a house and he has been pulling away from you

With all due respect, due to all of the above red flags, it doesn't seem like this is a good and healthy relationship for you to be in, however, only you can decide that. Since you both love each other, you could consider slowing the relationship down to see if the above red flags would dissipate with time, however, it also sounds as if he is not willing to do his part in this relationship therefore this negative pattern may drag on for quite some time. For example, lets look at letter c above: why is he pulling away from you when you are obviously moving forward with your goals and buying a house? If anything he should be happy for you and very supportive, however, from what you have shared this is not the case. Also, due to him pulling away from you, is it possible that he could be jealous that you are buying a house in a neighborhood that is completely different than his neighborhood? This is just one example of the many concerns I have listed above which leads me to think that if you choose to stay in this relationship, please slow things down until the red flags dissipate, otherwise, the red flags are good indicators of the types of problems which will continue to occur in your relationship unless he is willing to do his part in working on your relationship because it takes two to make a relationship work. Lastly, I almost forgot to mention this huge red flag which you also already know about: he gets upset because you want to discuss issues with him? This is crazy behavior on his part because the only way to have a healthy, vital, and happy relationship is by first and foremost communicating with each other followed by doing the necessary steps to improve your relationship. You deserve the best and you deserve a person who is willing to give 100% to working on your relationship along with you and unfortunately you do not have this in your current relationship.
Angela, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 681
Experience: n/a
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