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Ask Kristin Your Own Question
Kristin, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 454
Experience:  Psychotherapist and Relationships Expert with 11+ years exp. Dating, Relationships, Marriage.
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I am experiencing difficulties in my current relationship.

Customer Question

I am experiencing difficulties in my current relationship. I have been dating a man with three kids (both of us in middle of a divorce...his going on five years.) for over a year and lately we have been spending more time apart. We are still in contact via phone and text and we see each other when "his schedules" permits. His divorce is five years and running and they are fighting over custody and money. We both lead very busy lives with each of us working full time (mine a professional career adn a wide circle of friends) while he works and spends six days out of fourteen with his kids. As a result, he has had to seel his house and move in with his parents will I have my own place.

The difficulties I am experiencing is lately I have been feeling very left out and resentful towards the entire situation, not towards anyone in particular but over the continuous broken promises and lack of directions. Both of us love each other and try to support each other in whatever way possible. I am finding I support more then I am receiving. The main concern is when he finds that his access to his children has been denied and he feels vulnerable...resulting in him turning to me for comfort however, I am not always available when this happens (typically on a night that he doesn't have the kids). Sometimes I find that he "seem" angry or disappointed that I am not available when he needs it. At the same time, I lost my grandmother in early January and needed a shoulder to cry on and support. He wasn't there because he had his kids for the week (xmas holidays). I felt very disrespected and disappointed, resulting in me pulling away from him. When I did get a chance to talk to him, I got the heartfelt apology and promise to be more supportive in the future. Some improvements have been noted but the problem I have is all the broken vacations, holidays, celebrations, events activities. His response, I have my kids. I encourage him to experience all these things with this kids, but just leave me out of this. I know he wants to do these things with me but everytime I get my hopes up, I am disappointed.

In the past year, I have called it quits and waited a few days and then contacted each other. We were able to work things out but this second time seems different. He wants to come over tonight, no questions, out of the blue but refuses to comment any further. He is always the type to avoid things and ignore things, refusing to deal with them because he "cares too much." He says nothing bothers him but through all the mind games and indirect actions and comments I have whip lash.

Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Kristin replied 6 years ago.

Hello and thank you for your question.


How long has your divorce been going on? The things you describe here are very typical of when people are trying to form a relationship while still technically married or going through divorces. What ages are his kids and are you two planning to marry once your divorces are finalized?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

My divorce has been going on for about a year and a half. We are in the final stages.

His kids are 14, 10 and 6. The six year old was less than a year when her parent split. We have discussed marriage and we are planning on it once things get settle down. His divorce is five years and counting. He has asked me to be patient and wait a year or two, supporting him through it.


Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Both of us have talked about what we want out of life and we both want to be happy, in love and with his kids. He has asked if I want children and I do. I am a teacher by occupation and I deal with many different family situations and "sensitive informtion" as being a case manager. I find he is scared of the future because he has been fighting so long and really wants it to stop but he believes that both parents bare equal care (in all areas).

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
The only hitch is that I have been introduced to the kids slowly, doing small family events but nothing to declare I am his partner. He is fearful that the kids will get too attached to the me and then we break up. This has happened with the mother on more than one occasion.
Expert:  Kristin replied 6 years ago.

Okay thanks for the additional information. This situation is so complex with so many dynamics and people involved, etc that it's no wonder you are going to have stresses. Going through such a long divorce as he has, with custody issues etc. is so completely overwhelming and stressful that it can be all encompassing. And though you may feel neglected when he has his kids and you also need him, etc. it does show character on his part to put the kids first. It just simply means he has alot going on, as you do as well.

What I would really recommend you do is couples counseling together. Who knows how much longer these divorces will go on (especially his) and you are going to need ongoing support. Once you do merge together there will be other major adjustments then being married and being a stepmother etc. It can be done, but with lots of patience and support. And you will probably have to wait at least one year, maybe two for all of this to be settled, etc. IF that is what you choose to do as time goes along, you will have to see.

It sounds like he is trying to please everyone, hence the broken promises when he can't follow through and deliver. It's very possible that you are giving more than you are receiving, and this often happens when one partner has children to also tend to, etc.

This is about setting really clear and doable expectations so there is no disappointment. Let him know that it would be better if he under promised and over delivered than the other way around. You two also need to work out schedules for holidays, times with kids, and expectations around all of this. Again I would really suggest couples counseling for you in your area, as I think alot of these issues could be resolved quickly with some better communication. And regarding the kids, it is wise to be around them very slowly and cautiously as they are also going through major changes and it's best to wait until things are really stable with you two to be considered a regular part of their lives. Please click ACCEPT button so I'm credited for my help today. Feel free to continue discussion even after clicking accept. Thank you.

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Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Hi Kristin!

I really appreciated your quick response and your advice. My relationship with my partner has since dissolved and we are no longer together. I do need some further advice on the situation.


The following day, my ex partner and I were discussing our day at his place when he blurted out I want to break up with you. I was completely stunned since we had patched up our relationship a few weeks before. All he was able to say was that he didn't have the same feelings for me as he did before. The problem was that up until three days prior, everything was functioning as a regular couple, talking and spending time together.


It has been three weeks since and I am still unable to come to terms with his discussions. That night, I tried to discuss things over with him but he not willing to do so saying that we will talk about it at another time, we will get together later and he would get his things at a later date. Of course, I was emotional and tried reasoning with him but he isn't the emotional type.

With all the stress of our divorces, his custody battles, his unemployment and his continous broken promises, his only stressor he could get rid of was me. Later stating to mutal friends that he was in a happy place at the moment and liking it (minus me in his life).


Over the course of a few weeks, I tried to have him pick up his stuff from my place so we can both move on. He was unwilling to do it. For me, I needed everything of his removed from my place, so it would be easier for me to heal. At this point, I haven't.


We have spoken briefly over the phone (I calling) wanting to talk. He has answered all the phone calls and the conversations have been light, cracking jokes and typical for us. Our latest conversation detailed many personal events and things that we going on over the past few weeks, both us communicating prior to our split up. We both admitted we missed each other, he was willing to hang (his word for spending time together) and he was still doing the same things I always had him do for me (get certain items, tape my favorite shows,) tell me what he is doing every day.


Of course, I brought up the reason we split up and he became defensive (typical response to anything emotional) and I suggested it might not be a good idea to talk or hang for a while. He didn't come out and say directly leave me alone. He said sort ta maybe.


Now, I am completely confused because of the mixed messages I am getting. I know he is having a hard time with this because I can tell from his voice and knowing who he is. The problem is that I know he is the one. I just know. I am not saying at this point right now I want to get back together but in the future once things have settle down.


He has alot of issues and problems to work on as a result of his divorce ("forced into a marriage, continued battle over the children and finanical obligications). He knows that when I was around, I provided that safe haven for him to retreat to when his children were kept from him. His own family says that he is a better man and father with me in the picture. I provide stability and a sense of happiness (in their words).


What should I do? I am moving on at the moment but the pain isn't and it can become crippling. I am seeking counseling and therapy but it doesn't seem to be giving me the answer I am looking for.



The day of the break up I was going to approach him about seeking counseling.

Please help.


Customer: replied 6 years ago.

My counselor/psychologist view the feelings I am having is more "griefing" instead of depression. The problem is we both leave in the same area and go to similar places. I don't want to stay home but I would like to move on. Please help

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Relist: Answer came too late.

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