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Jean, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 433
Experience:  Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 20 plus years of experience in the field.
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I am having a lot of challenges in my current relationship

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I am having a lot of challenges in my current relationship and wonder how much of it is my lack of compassion and understanding and how much of it just our incompatibility.
1. I have children from a previous marriage, I see them 1x per week and every other weekend. My girlfriend (who lives with me) does not enjoy them, tolerates them but does not proactively interact. The oldest 12 year old boy, has realized she is not interested an is sad about it. Example, he had his first drum concert, I video taped it... my girlfriend watched it. When my son came over, I said hey... "girlfriend" watched the video of your concert, he said "oh cool what did she think?", I said well she is right here ask her? she did not respond, barley looked up from her computer. He looked sad, so I filled in the blanks, "she asked if you were nervous and I said yah but you rocked it"
2. She has a dog and a cat, both live with us... the dog is horrible with the kids and has to be locked up when they are here... behind a gate in the study (he bites). She has tried to train him to no avail.. so she just sits in the room behind the gate with him for the 3 days we have the kids on the weekend... on the floor, next to his crate, kissing him ... it is strange... he,s a dog. The cat... vomits, urinates, and defecates in the bedroom ... up to 4x per day. She makes an attempt at cleaning it but... it is disgusting, and she only cleans it half way... so I have to scrub it up. She then gets mad when I clean it as if I was making her cat feel bad for puking. Again... after puking or peeing ... she is kissing and holding the cat... strange.
3. When she is upset or we argue she completely shuts downs, doesn't talk or allow herself to be touched anything... makes it pretty challenging to solve a problem.
4. She constantly talks about wanting me all to herself, running away... obviously... this will never work as I have children whom I love and want to be with always... but the continued asking is such a sign of her not understand or even beginning to understand who I am.

In summary, I am not sure what to do. We have broken up 1x before... but I missed her terribly and we got back together in 2 wks. She is leaving for grad school (she is 32 ten yrs younger than I) in a few months... across the country. She wants me to move there then fly home every other weekend... (wont work).

anyway... helpful to type this out.. but still perplexed.

thx -

20pluscounts : Hello, I can assist you
20pluscounts : Are you available/interested in a live chat?
20pluscounts : Your situation sounds complicated on many levels.
20pluscounts : I'm hearing you try really hard to have compassion but are hitting roadblocks and obstacles in the process.
20pluscounts : Your children are your priority- no brainer, right? If she is unkind, and or indifferent with them, that alone can cause big problems.
Customer: She is fairly indifferent, especially with the older one.
20pluscounts : Hello, thank you for joining the chat.
20pluscounts : To see your son hurt by this can be upsetting.
Customer: It is... heartbreaking. I do see her trying sometimes... she watched a movie with us on Friday, but she was on her computer the whole time, not talking not interacting and clearly irritated by his talking and asking questions. She also is strange with the little ones sometimes saying they reminder her too much of my ex wife...
20pluscounts : You sound like a good and attentive father and want your partner to be at least a little involved- to like the kids, to be respectful. If she is committed to you I would hope she would make your kids a priority too- at least, be kind. Reminds her of your ex?
Customer: that my children reminder her of my ex, who she does not like... obviously.
Customer: Yes she said she is willing to deal with them to have me...and she feels she is. Honestly, the animal thing is driving me crazy...
20pluscounts : I'd be concerned about the dog too. How has she responded when you try and talk about this? Does she know how much this hurts you- hurting or negating your children hurts you for sure.
20pluscounts : She needs to be more willing to do more than tolerate your kids for this to work.
Customer: We have... and she feels like she is trying...she does get the little one sometimes if he wakes in the night, or watches them while I shower or put the others down to bed. It is the bridge between babysitter and important person in their life I want her to cross... and I don't know if she is capable of it. She sits in with the dog in his area and blames I think enjoys the excuse to not integrate. The kids are unable to use the backyard because the dog flips out... I asked if we could pull the blinds so he wouldn't and she said "this is becoming a child advocacy debate" I said... um yes it is... she started crying.
20pluscounts : Is the dogs name Coujo(sp?) the XXXXX XXXXX movie lol. Yikes a mean dog can be scarey for your kids. Are you thinking her leaving for grad school may be an opportunity for you to think more about this- a bit of a break/separation? It certainly can provide both of you time to think about what you want your future to look like. It's important to communicate really clearly what you want, expect etc.
Customer: yes, that is my chicken way out... her leaving makes it easier for me to get space. She also gets very upset if I do activities with my ex and the kids... ie birthdays.... I am looking forward to not having to deal with that when she is gone. But that said... I will miss her, and love her desperately for her... I am just incredibly disappointed with the way our families are integrating and don't want it to be the undoing of us.. but I feel like it is. She is unhappy too... said she feels like she is losing herself, hates her life.. etc
20pluscounts : I agree it is a child advocacy issue- becomes a tug of war between your children and her animals- big difference. If she has not had children, pets may be her "children". I bet you all feel the tension when kids are with you. She is 32 years younger- in a different place in your life- once you have kids things change- priorities change. When separated maybe more "quality" vs. "quanity" time?
Customer: yes, but we already have 20 days alone vs. 10 with the kids... double the time.
Customer: I want to make sure I am doing all I can to make this work...
Customer: i don't know what else to do... i do get resentful of the 100% time i spend with CUJO, and the peeing cat... vs. my kids...
20pluscounts : Sometimes stepping out allows one to look at things from outside- she isn't happy she needs to figure this out too. I don't get a sense you are the "undoing" of this- you obviously care- and have feelings for this girl. What more do you think you can do- other than be really honest about your feelings. Use the "I feel" statements vs. "you", may be less defensive that way. What a combo- what a visual Cujo and the peeing cat!!
20pluscounts : "I feel hurt, sad, confused (whatever the emotion) when...., and I wish for..."
20pluscounts : Something to consider is writing a letter to her- do not even have to give it to her- it's a way for you to continue sorting this out.
Customer: the letter is a great idea, thanks. I have done that before and it has proven helpful. I have tried to talk to her, we infact have said almost everything there is to say and have come to the conclusion before that our lives are not compatible, but we can not imagine breaking up... so we have stuck it out. i just wonder if the inevitable is looming, and if so.. i want to ensure i did all i could to make it work
20pluscounts : I can understand why you are "perplexed", this is complicated and literally "messy". I think the separation is an "opportunity" to have the time and space to think more about this. It is not easy, you do not need to make a decision either way right now- the beauty in this is you do have choices- not easy, however. You care enough to post your questions and concerns today- excellent start, I'd say- good job!! You are not running, you are sorting, thinking, processing.. Continue to talk about this with supportive friend or family member.
20pluscounts : I do wish you the best on this- we become wiser because of the struggles in our life- life school.
20pluscounts : Would you be so kind to rate my response/answer ok or higher so I can get credit? Much appreciated!! Thanks again.
20pluscounts : Let me know if I can assist you again.
Customer: thank you !
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