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DrFee, Psychologist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 437
Experience:  20+ years of counseling experience, Wife & Mother
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I am in a relationship with a woman who does not like my children.

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I am in a relationship with a woman who does not like my children. We currently live together and have for 1 year. I have the three children everyother weekend and Tuesday nights. My girlfriend tried at first to be involved with them for the 1st month or two she would go to the park with us, sledding etc... she grew to hate spending time with them. They are typical kids, good funny but ... 3 boys... 2,5,11. Now when they come over she refused to go anywhere with us, has not been to any activity in 4-5 months.... any no park, no pool, nothing. When they arrive she will spend 90% of the time in the upstairs bedroom, even taking her meals up there. My oldest questions why she wont hang out with us... well... she has said she cant stand it because they are not hers and will never be. She mentioned two weeks ago moving into her own place so that we can have a grown up place and a place where i go alone when i have the kids. Her idea is... i have two houses, one with her... where i spend all my time but when i have the kids i have to leave and stay with them away. She will not do anything with us as a family but wants me to have a child with her. I was a bit shocked at her idea to have two homes, but since then she has taken a lease at a different 1 bed room apartment "to get some quiet thoughtful time away in a grown up environment" her lease is 6 months and she expects us to all live together again in a bigger place after her lease expires.
1. Am i crazy to stay with her? I love her but she is leaving and clearly does not except me with my children
2. Does she just need some time and space ? She has been divorced a year as well and is just now starting to come out of the sadness
3. Am i expecting too much for her to come to the parks, beaches, swimming family outings?
4. Should i just let her move out, see how it goes and go from there?

Hello! Please remember that my responses are informational only, we are not establishing a therapeutic relationship.


Welcome --I'd like to help you sort this issue out a bit. I'll address each of your questions in order:


1. I will not call you "crazy," but you clearly have a choice to make regarding what your life and that of your children will look like. I think you said it best when you said she 'clearly does not accept me with my children." There is no reason to expect that will change for the better, and frankly I would be worried as to how it would change for the worse if you have a child with her. I would be afraid if you have a child with her that she will expect that child to come first at the expense of your children, and that more problems would develop instead.


2. I don't think it's just a matter of her needing "time and space." You don't have the children full time and she's not participating in anything.


3. In my opinion, you are NOT expecting too much. She doesn't have to come to everything, and you should have time alone with your children, but she should also be building a relationship with them. Your children are part of the "package," of being in a relationship with you.


4. This is a very personal question, that I would never answer for another person. You need to decide if you want to stay with this woman or not. You could try talking the issue through with her (or with a therapist), but first you need to be clear on what you want. Do you want to be in a relationship with a woman who won't love your children and invest her life into them? If the answer is no, then you need to get to the bottom of what is going on with her. She needs to be honest about where she stands and if she is willing to love them, invest in them, and share you with them.


I know that I've said some tough things for you to think about. Please feel free to follow up with me.




Dr. Fee

DrFee and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thank you - I am truly stuggling with this as I was with my 1st wife for 17 yrs, we had 3 children she is a great mother and friend, but there was no romantic love. We functioned like a well oiled machine, family time was awesome... but between us there was nothing other than friendship. I was 23 when we met... so in my adult life I had had not experienced a deep romantic / loving adult relationship until now. I am deeply in love with the woman I am currently with... however, I am deeply committed to my family and enjoy raising my children in a very very hands on way. Her not being involved hurts me and makes me feel very lonely even when I am with them...

We have talked at length about our future, she has said that she does not want to invest time in them as it takes time from her and they are not hers... so the invest seems futile to her. This seems incredibly selfish and naïve to me - I don't think I mentioned she is 31, 10 yrs younger than I am... As a result of our talks she decided to get her own "adult place" which initially, spurned then I supported ... but now it seems like a huge step back and a sign of her total disinterest in building a relationship with my kids. She views us moving back in together in a few months, and has even offered to change her mind about moving out and instead find a bigger house where she can be further away from them... but I don't see what that will change.

I am truly at a loss as I love her intensely and I know she loves me. She has softened a little bit with the children recently, spent a few hours with them last weekend sitting on the couch holding the two yr old. However, when I asked her to go swimming, park, dinner etc... all no. I am fairly certain the couple of hours downstairs vs the bedroom was that there is light at the end of her tunnel knowing she is moving out.

thanks for your help -


You are welcome, and I am sorry that you find yourself in this situation.

I agree with you --she sounds incredibly naive about what it's like to be with someone with children. I don't see how a bigger house will help --unless she intends to keep the children away from part of the house and not allow them into her space --which at some point is going to hurt them. She doesn't seem to see the children as part of you, she only sees them as not part of her. She wants to separate and compartmentalize your relationship and seems to think that's possible. I do not see that working well.

She has the right to choose a relationship where there are no children involved, however, if she chooses someone like yourself who has children, then she needs to understand that she is choosing a different life. If she doesn't like or want your children around, they will eventually know this and your relationship with both her and them will suffer. If you have another child with her, it will compound the problems.

If she moves out and just wants to be your girlfriend who sees you when the children are not around, I guess that works OK until your children are grown -- as long as you don't have a child with her (because there might be problems with her when you are away from that child and with your other children).

I know it's difficult. Whatever decision you make should be made by considering all the ramifications of that choice.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I wanted to follow up on this question as you gave me some great advice earlier. Last night she came home from a work trip and we were having a great time, went out to dinner and were really enjoying ourselves. She was expressing how much she missed me, how she didn’t want to spend a min away from me, how she needed me and wanted me forever. I mentioned that I wanted to marry her, which we have discussed before … and she has been hesitant but open to it in the future. She said she had been thinking about that all week as well, that she loved me and wanted to spend the rest of her life with me. So… I said… they why are you moving out. I told her I had looked at bigger houses and wanted to try that, give her more space and build a life together. She got upset, said that we had discussed this and why was I bringing it back up… I told her that I felt her messages were saying that she didn’t want to move out, and I didn’t want to let her go. She said she was saying things to me because that is what you say to people you love and I was setting traps for her?? I was crying, she said I was manipulating her with my crying, that she didn’t want me upset so she always gives in.

I feel horrible I ruined our night … and the weekend... by bringing this back up. However, I could not understand all she was saying and how she could leave. I am truly confused about why she got sooooo upset. I was only asking her to stay and she was sincerely XXXXX XXXXX love for me.

Now… my kids...she said she wants a place where my sons grubby hands are not on the furniture, she wants me there during the days I don’t have them… to her it will be our place (without kids). I told her how lonely I was when I was with the kids and she wouldn’t / wont participate. She said… you only think about yourself. Imagine how lonely I am… she says. I said ok, im sorry I understand but… you can come with us any time all the time… she said no she didn’t want to ever.


This am… she said should we look at houses? I said what? You said you didn’t want that… she said I just want to make sure we are covering all of our options. I said, look I want you to do what you need to do. You know I would love to live together, but I am not going to force it because that is not true to you. So… we left it at that … I figure I will leave it to her to bring it back up.. .she is set to move out in 2 wks. However, travels all of next…


She also mentioned that she was planning on coming over the weekend I had the kids sometimes and stay the night or go to the park, but by living on her own she would not feel obligated, it would instead be her choice. I said I had no idea... she said she didn't want to tell me because she didn't want me to hold her too it.


Essentially I am confused, heart broken, don’t know what to do next… love this girl.. but am very very confused.

Hello again and thank you for your patience.

Your note is very sad, and I can certainly see why you are confused, she gave you some extremely mixed messages.

It sounds like what she was doing sounds similar to what we call, "splitting." Splitting describes going from one extreme to another (in relationships it's often referring to idealizing someone and then devaluing them). This splitting is a bit different from the idealization/devaluing, but she did go from "don't want to spend a minute away from you," back to the place of where she must move out and be away from your kids.

There's another term that seems to fit here as well, which is called "projection." We all project on each other all the time (if I see a strange look on your face and I think you are angry at me, whereas maybe you only have a pain in your stomach --for example). She is accusing you of being selfish, setting traps, and manipulating her --whereas it seems to me that the exact opposite is true.

So --it could be that this is what is happening: She feels selfish (at an unconscious level), cannot acknowledge or own that feeling, therefore "projects" it onto you. If you are the selfish one then she is off the hook and can feel better about herself. Like I said, all of us do this to one another, however, with some people it's more extreme and more frequent.

Your confusion makes sense because you are trying to follow her lead --if she wants to move, you'll let her, if she wants to be with you forever, you want that. If she picked one course and was consistent, it would make sense to you. However, the back and forth (splitting) makes no sense to you.

Here is an important pieced of information however: for someone who splits like that, it makes perfect sense to them. What they say/do at each extreme is how they truly feel in the moment and they seem to "forget" that they were acting completely differently just a short time ago. However, for the person who is not splitting (you), there's not that "loss of perspective," and at best it's confusing, at worst it's maddening.

Also --thinking that you ruined the weekend --also a result of the projection. My guess is that she's not owning her part, and you are taking ownership of everything. Frankly, you have nothing to feel guilty or bad about, you were taking what she said to heart and going with it.

If this is a regular pattern for her, then you have a person who is difficult to function well in a relationship with. The first step to coping/functioning in this type of relationship is to be able to see clearly the dynamics of what are occurring.

Again, I've said some very tough things to you. A therapist could help you to figure out all of the dynamics that are going on and come up with strategies with how to cope and address them. But, you must continue to keep in mind --however difficult it is for you, it's going to be much more difficult for your children who will experience the same exact dynamics and have no skills or ability to cope with them. If she truly is splitting, she will probably go back and forth between engaging your children and rejecting them.

Please follow up with questions or comments --I've laid a lot on you to process and think about!

Dr. Fee

DrFee and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thank you again for your help and advice. Its dawned on me that the fact I am continuing to seek help and advice is not necessarily a good sign that things are going great in our relationship. Perhaps, that is evidence enough that I need to make a hard decision and end things before they become completely unhealthy for all involved.


That said... its very hard to walk away from someone you love, especially when you know they will hate you for it afterward.


We made it through the weekend and enjoyed ourselves relatively. She has said multiple times how she cant live without me... making forward projections for our future... marriage, our home later, children (new ones). She has also been buying furniture for her new place which she moves into on the 15th. She suggested Sunday that we look at houses again... just to make sure... I said... I am going to leave that up to you. Nothing came of it.


Today we went to look at her new apartment measure for furniture etc, she was acting depressed which ignored and then called me later to say she didn't like it but maybe was just getting cold feet and asked what I thought. I said, it was a nice place would look better with furniture in it, small but will fit her and the dog and cat. She paused and asked what I thought... should she still move out... I said... I don't know what to say. I am going to leave that decision to her because I don't want to influence her and it has to be her decision alone. She actually said... she knew she was not being fair.


In anycase... we are both going on trips tomorrow until Friday, then the kids come for the weekend... so we know how that will go. I am just waiting for her to either stick with or change her decision to move out.


However... I have been feeling yesterday that her moving out might make the break up easier if it comes to that or as she says...might make her realize she cant live without me. Either way... I should just let her move.


I am realizing the two houses will be impossible for me... clothes both places, kids alone in my house... her wanting me to come over the instant they are gone...her showing up at my place at night when they are sleeping... us not seeing eachother everyother weekend, travel for work and then Tuesdays. It seems very unrealistic and honestly the hardest on me over everyone else...


Interested in your thoughts on letting her leave, how the 2 places will be on me, what to do if she decides not to leave, and if I can / deiced to... how to break it off since she will never accept my kids.


Thank you



First let me say that I understand that it's so very difficult when you love someone. It's easier for me, being uninvolved, to encourage you in one direction or another than it is for you, being so emotionally attached, to make a decision such as breaking off the relationship.

I liked how you handled her this weekend, it sounds like you didn't follow her on her roller coaster, but left where she was going to go, how she was going to be completely up to her. It sounds like it diffused things, whereas if you had responded, it might have been exactly like the last time where she got so upset.

Two places is hard --kids in divorced families everywhere will tell you that!

You nailed it ---you do need to make the hard decision. If she moves out it will be easier to break up with her, if she changes her mind, yes it will be much harder, because then you will need to ask her to leave. Why don't you take it one step at a time --first make the decision in your own mind. Then, your next step will be based on what she does (stays or goes). Don't get ahead of yourself.

Since your boys are 2,5, and 11 --think about each of them and how it will be like for you and for them in the next year, 2 years, 5 years, 10 years, and for the little one the next 15 years! Picture it in as much detail as you can --what your life and what their lives will be like. Then ask yourself if that's how you want it to be.

Give it some serious time and thought, don't rush this ----not just a few minutes (how about a day, a week, or even a few weeks if necessary) --and let me know what you come up with.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX ok I will sit with the idea of either for a while. Think about my life and the kids life.


one last question... I just mentioned her that I am going to my sons martial arts lesson today (every tues)... not shocking... and she laughed, sighed and walked away... Of course she does not want to come.


I know the answer ... but is everyother weekend, and 1 night per week too much time away? I also try to call them almost every day to say hi or good night... is it too much?



Nothing is too much when it comes to children. They need their parents, a LOT,in different ways all throughout childhood. What's draining to parents is that it never seems like it's enough (they always want more), and as humans, we can't give them all the time and attention that they want. So, we need to do the best that we can. What you described is not too much --calling every day I think is essential when you can't see them everyday. Every other weekend and one night a week is not too much, it's not enough for them. I'm NOT saying that to make you feel guilty (it's what you've got, what you have to live with), but to point out that you shouldn't give up one minute of what you have with them.

I work with a lot of children and teenagers. Their number one complaint is "my parents don't listen enough to me." To listen takes time. If I ask my son on the drive home from school how his day was, the answer I get is "fine." But, once we are home, making a snack, joking around, I'm asking about homework, he opens up and tells me lots of things. Just like it takes effort to build a romantic relationship, it also takes a lot of effort to build a relationship with our kids.

It concerns me that she does not support you in your commitment to your children, because it speaks positively to who you are as a man --and ultimately what kind of husband and father you can be.
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hi again,


I have sat on this for a bit... and we are both out of town on business apart from each other. I am missing her an incredible amount and the thought of life without her is looming as she is set to move out in 1 wk.


It is depressing to think of going back home just to have her move out. She has mentioned several times looking at houses and each time I have put it back in her camp because, although I really want her to stay, I want it to be her decision. I don't want to be the one coaxing her... the last time she asked Tuesday... she said 'lets look at houses online just to make sure we have our bases covered' I said ok ... she said 'ok???' like she was shocked and I said yes, I want to but I want to follow your lead I wont push it.


So... she did not end up looking at any houses... infact she ended up showing me an apt at a different location that she had called on earlier. She mentioned to me they were pressuring her to sign the lease at the other place and that she hadn't... I said wait till you move in. I am not sure if she has signed it... I don't want to ask but also don't want her to think that I, in any way, want her to go... I desperately want her to stay but... don't know what to do as the last time in mentioned that she got incredibly upset.


I feel like I am now splitting... don't want her to leave... want a life together... but then quickly change to letting her move out and thinking it will never work unless she changes her mind about the kids.


I keep thinking maybe I have not been clear enough on the fact that I don't want her to move out and she thinks because I have not jumped at her ideas to look at houses... that I want her to leave.


Questions :

1. Should I bring up again that I don't want her to leave or continue to follow her lead and just wait and see? Do you think she knows I don't want her to leave?

2. It is killing me having every thought consumed with this... I need to figure out how to deal ...

3. When I asked her why she would move out with she was planning on living together again in 6 months after her lease was up? why not just do it now... she said "im pretty sure I cant live with out you" so... does that mean she is testing this out to see if she can?? This is her way of easily breaking up with me too?

4. WHY am I so consumed with her when honestly ... re reading what I typed I would tell every other friend of mine it will not work... but.. I truly think for some reason with us... it will.


thanks -

Hi --I'm sorry that it's taken me awhile to get back to you. It sounds like this relationship is leaving you in a great deal of distress!


1. Trying to clarify communication is generally a good idea. Sometimes we truly believe the other person has heard us, whereas they haven't. Maybe you could say something like, "I support whatever it is that you would like to do, but I just want you to know that I would love it if you would stay." If she cannot respond in a reasonable manner to a statement like that, then there are some serious issues.


2. I know this is not a peaceful way to live!!! I'd say you need to see a therapist and really spend some time sorting it all out.


3. I'm not sure what she means --maybe you're right, maybe she is trying to break up with you, but then again that doesn't fit with other times when she says she can't live without you. You could try asking her some open ended questions, "Can you explain a little more to me what you mean by that so I can understand you better?"


4. I can't answer this one for you either --It sounds like you love her, you're bonded to her, and despite all of the problems, red flags, etc, your emotions are at the forefront. I wouldn't expect you to easily break up with her, it would be heartbreaking, a loss you'd have to grieve. Right now, you're in turmoil --wanting things to be OK. If you break up with her the turmoil would resolve, then you'd need to deal with the pain of the loss.



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Customer: replied 5 years ago.


Wanted to touch base with you again regarding my situation and how I am feeling.

She has continued with her plan to move out, signing the lease tonight, happily buying new furniture. She knows I am upset she is leaving but... she is not changing her mind. We are still going about biz as usual and she keeps talking about how excited she is to jump start her life.

She delusionally thinks this will all be fine... I will just stay with her when the kids re gone then just leave when they come to stay.

I am super angry, feel out of control and am picking fights for ridiculous reasons...

I am unable to talk to her about the real issue (her leaving and not wanting to be with my kids) as we have discussed this and she got very angry and said I was ambushing her... clearly if I bring it up again... I am ambushing her ... in her mind.

I have no idea what to do... I don't think I can emotionally break up... I don't think I can emotionally move over to the new place and pack a bag everyother weekend to see my kids.

I am having trouble focusing at work, depressed... and don't see any plausible outcome.


so... what to do....

Hi Again,

I think you have a choice here, although neither option is going to be pleasant:

1. You can carry on as you are, which in the very near future would be constantly moving back and forth from her place to yours

2. You can work towards detaching yourself emotionally and physically from her. You could start by refraining from packing a bag and staying overnight at her place. You could visit her, go out, have her over, but not disrupt your life by moving back and forth.

If you are having increased difficulty in functioning at work and feeling depressed, you really ought to start seeing a therapist as soon as possible. You don't want these symptoms to get so much worse that your struggle to function becomes even more difficult.

Dr. Fee

DrFee and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.


Hopefully this is the last time I will need to write you regarding advice for this situation. I have contacted a psychologist who I will be seeing in the next week to help me though this situation.


However... until then I was hoping you could help me with my current feelings.


I am no longer depressed... I am angry. I am guess this is having to do with the process of grief. which is good... although the relationship is only over in my head at the moment.


She has moved into her own apartment as of Sunday. She has yet to stay a night there however, we are both here now. She has moved virtually all of her belongings out of my house, at my request, she asked to leave something's there and I told her it was too hard to see them.


I have been distant and physically not reachable nor open to really talking until yesterday. She came home from a trip and my son was supposed to be staying the night. He ended up staying with his mom instead but she did not know that... her intent was to stay at her apartment since he was going to be at my house. Well since he did not stay at my house, which I let her know, she came over. I was really very angry at the thought of her staying at the apartment for the first night only because my son was with me. It was truly the first night where what she had been saying, asking for, was actually happening and despite our talks, the lease, her moving... I honestly could not believe it was happening.


We argued, her opinion:

This is not "tragic" and I am making too big of a deal out of it.

That I have no right to be mad at her.

That I keep asking / discussing the same things and expecting a different result is "exhausting".

That anyone in her situation would not want to be with my children.

That we are not breaking up, that she loves me deeply, that in 6 months she will have charted her life and then can come back to me as a "full" person.



My opinion:

I am mad, and have a right to be... she left me because she can not be with my kids and left me when she knew I was having a very hard time managing being away from my kids so much...

I don't see how 6 months will magically make her like spending time with the kids...

Why couldn't she work on developing her own life while living with me? take classes, study for grad school... etc..

She is easily buying big ticket items, bed, tv, all new dishes... duplicates of everything we own... what happens in 6 months.. (she says oh we will just put it in the guest room) BS it seems that she is planning for the long haul

I asked her if she just wanted to break up, she said NO she is trying to prevent a break up by leaving...



I am angry, sad and alone. I know it is difficult for you to answer this with only one side of the conversation but know I am giving you 100% accurate info.


Is she completely off her rocker thinking this scenario will work, is totally normal and potentially just a 6 month stint?




Is she just pulling me along... hoping for the best of all worlds, manipulating me by not allowing me to be angry or sad with out her getting upset?


what to do....