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TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5763
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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I live with my boyfriend for 4 years we are both in our 50s.

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I live with my boyfriend for 4 years we are both in our 50's. He has 4 grown children and I have no children. We make plans to go out and then one of his children will call him and he blows me off. This happens 9 times out of 10. He doesnt think it is a problem but it is. It is guaranteed to happen on my birthday. I believe they deliberately do this because they know he will drop me for them and it causes us to argue. We have talked and he says I need to be more patient. He pays bills for them and gives them money and they never repay him. He goes to there house and makes minor repairs and works on their cars. Whatever they ask he does it. Meanwhile our relationship is falling apart and he says i need to be more patient. is it ever gonna get better?
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like your boyfriend has chosen to put his children ahead of your relationship and your needs. By doing that, he has neglected your relationship and let you feel like you are not important to him.

It is very common for divorced or widowed parents to favor their children, even over a relationship they are in. Whether married, living together or dating someone, these parents will choose to put their children first before their partners needs or even their own needs. The cause is usually guilt, which the parent feels for "betraying" their children through divorcing their other parent or for the other parent passing away. So they spend all their time and money trying to be there for the children, not realizing that what they are doing is never going to help their children grow and learn from their experience but instead keep them from being independent adults.

The better option is for your boyfriend to be supportive of his children but also to allow for some boundaries and limits. That means that if they have an emergency, he will drop everything to be there, but that is the only reason to do so. Instead, he needs to let them know you are first in his life now but that does not make them any less important. But what it does do is teach them that now that they are adults, they should stop relying on Dad for their needs.

Since your boyfriend is not listening to you and your needs, it may be time to step up your requests. You can do this by suggesting therapy for the both of you. You are in a long term relationship and that means maintaining the relationship is important. By seeing a therapist, your boyfriend can hear from a neutral third party who has nothing to gain by telling him that what he is doing is not only harmful to you, but also to his children.

If this does not work or he will not agree to therapy, try going on your own. You deserve the support and the chance to talk about your options.

You might also want to consider a separation. By leaving, you may send the message that you are serious about what you are saying. While you are in the home, it is easy to dismiss you. But by leaving, he might consider that you are willing to take a serious step to get your needs met. You do not have to threaten him or even consider ending the relationship. But just by telling him "You do not seem to be interested in me right now so I will leave. If you want to be together, let me know and we will work things out", you may be able to get him to pay attention. Here is a resource to help you:

Should I Stay Or Go? : How Controlled Separation (CS) Can Save Your Marriage by Lee Raffel

I hope this has helped you,
I hope my answer was helpful to you. If you have any more questions, please let me know.


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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I already sent you a reply saying that I did leave for a few weeks in May and it did help a little bit as a result he made his 32 yer old dtr and her 2 children moved out. It wasnt that she NEEDED to live here for the past 3 years but she did because it was free and we took care of her children. She has a full time job making as much as her dad and her car is paid for. But his 24 year old son lives here and continues to manipulate his time when we have days off together. I asked my boyfriend what they do when I am at work and he said that they don't do anything or go anywhere.

Just Answer has been having some technical difficulties so I did not receive your reply. I'm sorry you had to send it again.

It sounds like your boyfriend feels he needs to care for his children above your needs even if you do take serious steps to gain his attention. If you feel he is willing to try therapy, that is worth a shot. And you might also want to leave for a longer period of time. It seems that he did not completely get what you were trying to tell him the first time you left so it may require a longer time apart.

If all else fails, you may have to consider leaving the relationship. That is not something you want to do, I know, but sometimes you cannot force someone to listen. And if he keeps on the path that he is on without changing, he may end up with no relationship at all with anyone but his children.

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