What Can I Do About the Stressful Living Arrangement with My Boyfriend and His Children?

What Can I Do About the Stressful Living Arrangement with My Boyfriend and His Children

My boyfriend and I dated for seven months and then he asked if I wanted to live together. I was excited and said yes. We agreed we’d live in my place since his lease was coming to an end. After my lease ended, we agreed that we would move into a bigger place to accommodate his three children that he has partial custody of. I found out later that he was evicted from his place, which makes me wonder what his real intentions for wanting to live together were.

For the last 19 months his children and I have been living in my one bedroom condo. The family room space is huge and we are able to blow up air mattresses/have a sofa coach and make do for the weekends they are here. However, it’s still one bedroom and one bathroom. When the children are here they often fight which leads to them yelling or acting out by kicking the wall or slamming cabinets shut.

I am the only one on the lease, so I get a little nervous about the potential damage that could occur and then I would be financially responsible for. My boyfriend gets irritated with me for having this point of view, saying that if anything were to break that he could fix it. He adds that he has better things to do then think up all the things that could potentially go wrong and need repaired. He disregards all the things that have broken.

The kids have broken a lamp, dresser door, kitchen knob, random stuff, chair and an important painting of mine. My boyfriend will argue that these are just “things” and that I “need to get a grip” and not become emotional when something breaks. I work very hard to maintain a nice home (while attending graduate school and keeping two jobs) and every piece that I buy and put in my home is a unique representation of my style. It’s something I value. Most of my stuff isn’t expensive, but they are still my belongings and I do my best to take care of them.

My boyfriend argues that I have unrealistic expectations of his kids. I love his children. I don’t love living in this small space. I don’t love that my boyfriend acts hurt when I express unhappiness about our situation. My boyfriend is not unhappy with our living situation and does not seem motivated to change it. At the very minimum, I’m asking that the kids listen and he put more effort into having them follow directions and respect me.

I have explained to him that it would be less stressful to me if he was on the lease or if we moved as we had originally planned. He currently doesn’t have the funds to move and he refuses to be on the lease. However, he’s quick to suggest that he will just move into his own space so his “kids can be kids”.

Evan- pretend I’m your closest female friend. What would you tell me about this situation and what would you suggest I do?

Sara

Jesus, Sara! I just got stressed out reading your email.

I know this feels hard for you and that there are a lot of emotions surrounding your situation with your boyfriend. However, your question makes this somewhat of a no-brainer. Let’s go line-by-line.

My boyfriend and I dated for seven months and then he asked if I wanted to live together. I was excited and said yes. We agreed we’d live in my place since his lease was coming to an end.

Mistakes # 1 & 2:

I have no idea what the rush is for people to move in together and start playing house, but if you want to quickly end the honeymoon phase of your relationship: bravo, you found the fastest way to do it! The next time a guy asks you to move in after 7 months, you say “No, I’d rather save that for 2 years in, when we’ve really gotten to know each other and are pretty confident that this is the last step before marriage.”

The old, “we should move in because we spend so much time together, my lease is ending and it’ll save money” canard should be buried forever. You move in to try marriage on for size – not to save money!

After my lease ended, we agreed that we would move into a bigger place to accommodate his three children that he has partial custody of. I found out later that he was evicted from his place, which makes me wonder what his real intentions for wanting to live together were.

You move in to try marriage on for size – not to save money!

Mistakes # 3-5:

  • You took on a guy with three kids in a one-bedroom condo.
  • Your guy was evicted – you didn’t mention why, but I have a funny feeling, it had to do with money.
  • You’re already questioning his intentions – not a great thing to face when this man is supposed to be the rock upon which you’re building your future.

For the last 19 months, his children and I have been living in my one bedroom condo.

Mistake #6: You’ve let this go on for over a year and a half?!

The kids have broken a lamp, dresser door, kitchen knob, random stuff, chair and an important painting of mine. My boyfriend will argue that these are just “things” and that I “need to get a grip” and not become emotional when something breaks.

Mistake #7: They are just “things,” but that’s what you say if you break a glass at someone’s dinner party. That’s not what you say when there is a pattern of disruption caused by your own kids. You better own that shit and not make any excuses. The fact that he hasn’t gotten the message yet means that you have unwittingly become an enabler of his family’s bad behavior. Apparently, there are no consequences to breaking things in your house, except another stern warning.

My boyfriend is not unhappy with our living situation and does not seem motivated to change it. At the very minimum, I’m asking that the kids listen and he put more effort into having them follow directions and respect me.

Mistake #8: You seem to think that what’s right for you and what’s right for him are the same thing. You are 100% right in your anger and disappointment. You’re 100% wrong if you think that this selfish moocher and weakling of a parent is going to suddenly become the man you need him to be.

This is a bullshit situation and you have to clean house, both metaphorically and literally.

I have explained to him that it would be less stressful to me if he was on the lease or if we moved as we had originally planned. He currently doesn’t have the funds to move and he refuses to be on the lease.

Mistake #9: You want to get this guy’s name on your paper work? Run, Sara, run!

However, he’s quick to suggest that he will just move into his own space so his “kids can be kids”.

Mistake #10: Tell him not to let the door hit his ass on the way out and find a new boyfriend.

I don’t care how much you love him. This is a bullshit situation and you have to clean house, both metaphorically and literally. Please come back and let me know when (not if) the deed is done.

Join our conversation (51 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.

Comments:

  1. 1
    Stacy2

    The OP may be in more trouble than she realizes. Depends on the state, but after 19 months he likely has squatter’s rights and needs to be formally evicted through courts. It appears she doesn’t own the place (even though she refers to it as “my condo”) and the smart thing for her would be to contact the actual owner and have them initiate the eviction. I am going to go out on a limb here that this dude is not leaving voluntarily. Why would he? And of course Evan is spot on – adding him to the lease is the last thing she needs.

    1. 1.1
      KK

      Or she could wait until her lease is up and rent somewhere else. He wouldn’t have any rights to follow her to her new place.

      1. 1.1.1
        Stacy2

        true, but she would have to eat the costs and inconvenience of moving. This can be expensive. I actually had a friend who dealt with the exact same situation (my friend was the landlord) and had to formally evict her tenant’s deadbeat boyfriend. Where we live it only takes 90 days of him receiving mail at a certain address to acquire a “right” to live there. Crazy.

        1. Clare

          Yeah, I lost a lot of money when I moved out of the place I was staying in with my ex-boyfriend. However, no amount of money is worth your sanity.

           

          If you’re desperate enough, you will do anything to move or get him to move. If after telling him to leave and giving him a few days to find a place to go he still refused to move and claimed “squatter rights,” I’d have the locks changed while he was at work and have his stuff dropped off with a family member. He can fight it out with the courts (doesn’t sound like the OP’s boyfriend has the money to hire an attorney though).

    2. 1.2
      GoWiththeFlow

      Stacy2,

      As a landlord, I can say I would be VERY upset if my tenant contacted me and asked me to start eviction proceedings on her boyfriend whom she let move in 19 months ago.  I would evict BOTH of them ASAP.  Sarah is going to have to get her boyfriend out of her rental on her own or she could wind up in a world of financial legal trouble.

      1. 1.2.1
        Stacy2

        Actually landlord/tenant laws are very different in different states. In NY you simply wouldn’t have grounds to evict her (the primary tenant). But YMMV.

        1. Emily, the original

          Stacy2 and GoWiththeFlow,

          Could she speak to her landlord and explain the situation? Maybe tell him that she needs to change the locks and offer to eat the cost. Then when this guy goes to work (and not when his kids are there) pack up all his stuff and put it on the front lawn of the complex. Text him and tell him his stuff is ready to be picked up and he is no longer welcome in her home. Why would she need to get him evicted? He isn’t on the lease and there is (hopefully) no financial record of him paying rent?

        2. CaliforniaGirl

          In California, if someone resides in an apartment for 30 days or more, he/she will be considered a tenant, regardless if he/she signed a lease or formal rental tenancy agreement. Long-term guests can unexpectedly become a tenant roommate even without any type of rental agreement. After 30 days, the guest will be considered a co-tenant and can only be evicted by the landlord under legal due process, if they do not voluntarily leave on their own accord. Once the guest becomes a tenant, so long as he/she lives up to whatever verbal agreement he/she made about paying rent, he/she has the legal right to stay.

        3. Emily, the original

          CalifornaGirl

          Once the guest becomes a tenant, so long as he/she lives up to whatever verbal agreement he/she made about paying rent, he/she has the legal right to stay.

          Then she should move out and let him pay out the rest of the lease. Something tells me he’s not going to go willingly.

        4. Stacy2

          Emily:

          if she renegs on her lease payments the landord will sue her and win, likely ruin her credit and make it difficult to rent in the future. There’s no question about it. Like it or not, he either leaves on his own accord or is evicted by the actual landlord. Or she waits till her lease is up and doesn’t renew/move on her own, leaving the landlord to deal with the squatter. Nothing else will fly.

          This is a lesson in why merging your life with somebody else is generally a bad idea (imo unless you have kids in common or married this should never be done).

        5. Emily, the original

          Stacy2,

          This is a lesson in why merging your life with somebody else is generally a bad idea (imo unless you have kids in common or married this should never be done).

          I feel bad for her. She has backed herself into a corner. How is she managing to work and go to school through all this chaos? People are going to disagree with me on this, but I don’t believe in merging finances. I had a friend who wanted to leave her husband and they agreed the marriage was over but he would not help her prepare their house (a realtor told them to it had to be decluttered) to put on the market. She had actually paid more into the house from an inheritance, but he wouldn’t leave. She had to leave and rent a room from a friend (it’s all she could afford) because she had to pay her half of the mortgage. It was a nightmare.

      2. 1.2.2
        GoWiththeFlow

        If her lease states that she will be the only occupant of the apartment (and most do) then she goes to her landlord and says “Hey I let this guy move in with me, now I don’t want him here can you evict him?” then she has announced she’s violated her lease.  The condo/apartment may also have rules on how many people can reside in a place and this could cause issues for the landlord too.

        In CA, a person may legally be considered a tenant under a verbal agreement, but who is this agreement with?  The legal tenant or the landlord?  The boyfriend has an agreement with his girlfriend, but this may not cover them if the verbal agreement isn’t with the landlord.

        Whatever the laws in the op’s state, she has potentially bought herself a bunch of financial and legal issues when it comes to disentangling herself from this situation.

  2. 2
    Tron Swanson

    The eviction issue and the that-many-people-living-in-a-one-bedroom-place issue are both major red flags. That said, I’ve always been surprised at how single fathers are treated, as opposed to single mothers. It seems like men are told not to run from single mothers, while women are told to run from single fathers. I’ve read a lot of advice columns where the single mom’s kids are running rampant and breaking stuff, and the men are basically told to “man up” and live with it.

    1. 2.1
      KK

      Tron,

      I’m not sure what your agenda is but it’s apparent you’re attempting to make this a sexist issue when it isn’t. If you read the letter, it’s clear this isn’t a good situation for her.

      “I’ve read a lot of advice columns where the single mom’s kids are running rampant and breaking stuff, and the men are basically told to “man up” and live with it”.

      I haven’t. Care to share any of these columns with the rest of us?

      1. 2.1.1
        Tron Swanson

        I’m not saying it’s a good situation, I’m saying that there’s a difference between how single mothers and single fathers are treated. If you want proof, well, just pay careful attention when the two groups are discussed. I’ve personally noticed that the dads are vilified, while the moms are turned into martyrs.

        I could provide you with links to those columns…but I could also provide you with links to columns that say the exact opposite (though not nearly as many), and to columns that claim that alien shapeshifters are real and living among us. Links aren’t important; use your eyes and ears, instead.

        1. KK

          No link, eh?

          Go on over to MGTOW where you can read all kinds of disgusting diatribes about women. All women. What will it prove? Not a damn thing except that there’s a subset of mental midgets that absolutely despise women. Does that affect me? Nope. Do I place any value on their opinions? Sure don’t. Do I care? Why should I? So, what’s your point exactly? As an aside, if you want to vent about women that’s probably a better fit for you.

        2. Stacy

          @Tron

          Actually, I was under the impression that single fathers were adored and applauded and given praise for doing what they’re supposed to do anyway. That is what my eyes and ears tend to see. Shucks, you see a man with a child and women swoon and it actually attracts women. Women dont get that same reaction.  So where on earth are single fathers villified in droves that you speak of?

          In any event, your post sounded like an excuse to vent your frustration about women because it has absolutely nothing to do with the OP’s post. If it was a single mother in this scenario, we would give the same advice.  You may want to work through the hurt of the woman (women) that hurt you so badly in the past.

        3. Tron Swanson

          Wow, that was quite a rant. You might as well ask me for links proving that women don’t like it when men don’t pay for dates. Unless you want to be willfully naive, a quick google will turn up lots of things. But, no, I’m not doing it for you. I only expend effort when I’m getting sex or money in return.

          I’ll tell you what, though: watch a TV show or movie and see how single mothers are portrayed, as compared to single fathers. The former are usually treated as hard-working saints, while the latter are usually portrayed as deadbeats and troublemakers. I hear the same attitudes from people all the time.

          Also, as for “go on over to MGTOW”…I’m happy to report that my newfangled browser can have multiple tabs open at once! I can be here, at a MGTOW site, at a football-related site, and at a site with pics of sexy women, all at the same time! Ahh, the wonders of modern technology.

          (That said, I save my MGTOW site visits for the end of the day, and only spend a few minutes there. I find most such forums and blogs to be too angry and too focused on women. I go my own way by mostly avoiding women and trying to do the things that fulfill me.)

          For the record, I am 100% with you on the whole “If people don’t like me or the group of people that I belong to, I don’t care, and it doesn’t have any effect on me” approach. You absolutely shouldn’t care, and it absolutely shouldn’t affect you. I believe the exact same thing. I think that there are lots of legitimate reasons for women to dislike men, and vice-versa. But the other gender’s opinion of you has nothing to do with your value as a human being.

        4. Shaukat

          I’ll tell you what, though: watch a TV show or movie and see how single mothers are portrayed, as compared to single fathers. The former are usually treated as hard-working saints, while the latter are usually portrayed as deadbeats and troublemakers.

          Actually Tron, I’ve seen TV shows and movies in which single-mothers are portrayed as irresponsible crack heads, especially in the inner cities. It really goes both ways in terms of the cultural representation of single-parents.

        5. Stacy2

          @Tron

          I’ll tell you what, though: watch a TV show or movie and see how single mothers are portrayed, 

          Hmm.. Have you seen TV show called “Mom”? That’s the only one that comes to mind that portraits a single parent. Accidentally,  single mothers are portrayed as complete train wrecks (recovering alcoholics, don’t have their sht together etc.). In actuality, neither good mothers nor good fathers make for a good TV show, movie or whatever because there’s no story there. Like, are they going to make a show about how she/he is changing diapers and taking his kids to Disney? You need drama for ratings and it only comes with showing some sort of “abnormal” behavior or situations. So, using what you see on TV shows and in movies as some sort of a barometer for real life is very strange

        6. Tron Swanson

          Stacy,

          That’s an interesting observation. I have to admit, I’ve never seen anything like that. Maybe it’s a cultural and/or regional thing? In my area (and my class, I suppose), it’s common for women to refuse to date single dads, while simultaneously lamenting that their single mom friends can’t find enough men willing to date them. According to the women I know (and many of the men), single mothers are “victims” who are “trying to make the best of a tough situation,” while single fathers are “deadbeats” and “losers” simply because they’re struggling to provide for both themselves and the women that (usually cheated and) kicked them out of their own houses.

          As for the notion that everyone would give a man dealing with a single mother the same advice–quite frankly, I don’t believe you. And while some women in the past did indeed hurt me, I’m glad that they did, because they’re no longer fun or attractive. Had they not left me, my life would be much less awesome than it is now.

          Shaukat,

          I’ve also noticed that, but I was referring to more of the mainstream portrayal, for lack of a better term. i.e., protagonist, middle-class characters.

    2. 2.2
      ADE

      My ex’s never had a problem throwing me out with my kids, on a whim, in the middle of the night… and yes, i know i’ve had bad partners. They don’t tell you they’re going to be abusive until they have the opportunity to take advantage… NH, btw. Years back, I left the home of my partner, still had the keys to his house in my pocket, went to the police station for advice. They told me i had no right to get any of my belongings without his permission. He had all my cloths, all my children’s cloths, toys, furniture… every single thing i owned; my cats! Ffs! I had no right to enter the property that had been my home the day before AND HAD PAID RENT FOR – in cash, of course. The homeowner in NH has the legal right to abuse his partner. Don’t move in. Just don’t.

  3. 3
    Michelle

    Spot on advice Evan; this guy is a LOSER and vulture.  And she needs to run not walk away from this guy and his poorly parented children.  A few broken lamps and missing “what could have been” is a small price to pay for her freedom, no longer supporting this guy, not losing her self esteem, and not being drained of all the things she works hard for.  The signs were there early, she chose not to see them (I can relate to that, easy to do).  She obviously see’s them now.  So act on that “gut feeling” and dump this idiot.

  4. 4
    Stephanie

    Hey, Evan!  You are a superb counselor with witty, spot-on, and insightfully- wise advice.  One request….PLEASE!  You may be an Jewish atheist (how can that possibly be?) but I’m a Messianic one, so beginning your advice with “Jesus” just seems a little inappropriate to me and perhaps, to others.  Even though that was never Messiah’s name, it does refer to the Deity so maybe that “name calling” could be eliminated from your answers.  Recently I listened to one of your podcasts and you used the “f” word.  C’mon, Evan…..cursing doesn’t make you sound any more “down home”….it simply taints your professionalism.  Thanks much for listening.  I didn’t know how else to get this message to you!

    1. 4.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      I’m not going to change, but your message has been received. Can’t please all the people all the time. It’s much easier to play myself.

      1. 4.1.1
        GoWiththeFlow

        Evan,

        You are perfect the way you are!

        1. Adrian

          Agreed!

      2. 4.1.2
        KARON

        Evan,  you are the real deal.  I appreciate your wisdom and your words.  You are speaking from the heart and from a place of knowledge  Please don’t mince your words.  As you so wisely stated “you can please some of the people some of the time but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”.

      3. 4.1.3
        AMT

        Please keep being authentic, Evan!

        My personal opinion is that some F-bombs or swearing are not a big deal. It’s when people are unaware of their privilege and discriminate towards others that I get upset. You seem to be a very respectful, thoughtful person and you do your best to be self-aware. So please keep being you!

  5. 5
    Malika

    You are working two jobs, following a graduate course AND have no place for some much deserved r and r once you get home? No wonder you are at your wits end. I am sure this family has some great qualities, but this situation is just draining you. A relationship should be a source of joy and support. I am sorry to say that this situation is just giving you the opposite.

    It is up to the father to discipline his children. They are living in someone else’s house and not respecting your  property. I can understand a few things being broken, but damaging a painting?!?! Why on earth would you have to put up with that? If he is not respecting you and your belongings now, you don’t want to imagine what he and his family is going to be like further down the road. You need to get him out of your and life asap. The exhaustion and stress is going to imperil the quality of your work and studies, never mind the overall impact on your quality of life. I hope you find the source of strength that you will need in order to get them out of the house.

    PS: To Tron and anyone else who might be wondering, if she was a man who had to deal with a single mother with rowdy children and dodgy opinions on respectful behaviour towards others, the advice would be exactly the same. This is not a situation for a man up/stiff upper lip attitude.

  6. 6
    ann

    If your boyfriend “acts hurt”  when your express your unhappiness or opinion, he is at the least manipulative and worst a narcissist.  I have experience living with clinical narcissists, and I can tell you that your guy has several characteristics.  You can’t change him and he will suck the life out of you.  No matter what the expense, take Evan’s advise – leave now and don’t look back.  And don’t have guilt about the kids – they don’t respect you either.  Best of luck to you.

    1. 6.1
      Marika

      Agreed. I understand it’s not as easy to ‘leave and never look back’ as people say, but I was in a similar situation with a man who acted very much like your boyfriend. He was also divorced, three kids and we ended up living together. His kids didn’t trash the place, but his attitude as you relay is very reminiscent of my ex. You raise valid concerns that you want him to listen to & respond reasonably to, but instead he disregards them, blames you and I think you’re suggesting also passively-aggressively threatens to leave you if you don’t put up with everything so his ‘kids can be kids’. These are massive red flags to me.

      I had this exact same thing happen. You end up feeling like you’re the unreasonable one & question your own reality & try to be patient to be understand of them, but trust me, it doesn’t work. I ended up marrying this guy (we had 10 chemistry!) and he got worse and worse. I won’t go into detail, but it was bad. As hard as it may be to end things now, it’s only going to get harder the more invested you get and the more you share things (like a lease).

      Maybe try one more time to talk to him (at a time you both feel reasonably happy & relaxed). You’re giving him two valid options (be on the lease or move to another place), and if he’s not willing to consider either one, it may be time to move on. You’ll have to make many more decisions in the future together (particularly with kids involved) and if he can’t take on board your feelings and preferences now, it doesn’t bode well. He doesn’t have any incentive to change, either, if you keep putting up with it. I would suggest it’s tough love time.

  7. 7
    QueenBee

    Great advice Evan, this isn’t about the kids or their behaviour.

    I would have further suggested she get some emotional help for her neediness for a relationship. I mean, WOW, how desperate was she? I mean, 7 months and he convinced her to let him use her? And yes, he was using her. Had he NOT needed a place to live (with his 3 kids) would he have brought up living together? Living together with her in a one bedroom apartment with his 3 kids? It was out of convenience, his convenience, not love (or lust) that he suggested they move in together.

    Furthermore, she is so desperate to make this bad situation work that after 19 months you mean to tell me her lease hasn’t ended? Because she said that was the deal, after her lease ended they would move to a bigger place? She didn’t push that issue obviously. SO Why would he move (with her now) now? She has allowed him to do what he wants for for 19 months. She has to do as you suggested and kick him out.

     

    1. 7.1
      Heather K

      I’m not sure if I agree about villifying the letter writer about her neediness, or attacking her for being desperate.  Many good non-desperate people have found themselves in boundary-compromising situations if they never learned how to set boundaries.

      She does need to get him out ASAP, and I would suggest that she get a clear glimpse into someone’s finances before moving in with them next time.  Also, it may be useful to learn that a partner who is dismissive should be run from as fast as possible.  But, unless one has been through this situation before, it is sometimes hard to learn in advance.  Not everyone has had the benefit of growing up with a supportive family, or other way of learning this before hand.  I want to express support for the letter writer and give her strength to do what she has to do.  My gut feeling is that the second she tells him that he has to go, he’ll all of a sudden put on an emotional show and tell her that he has nowhere to go.  She’ll have to be strong in the face of this.

      1. 7.1.1
        QueenBee

        Sorry but co-dependency required TWO to tango. SHE needs to remedy her mistake, and kick him out – then SHE needs to take a long look in the mirror and FIX herself.

        She needs to accept the responsibility – she made the choice to move in when barely knowing a man 7 months, she accepted the consequences of the choice she made. She has financially allowed this to continue. She has willingly stayed in a toxic relationship for 19 months and seems unwilling to change, she is blaming the problem on the children and she is blaming their father. She is acting the victim. When SHE is a willing participant. SHE needs to get help to fix her codependent behaviours.

        Believe me I KNOW that facing yourself after being in a toxic co-dependent relationship is very HARD but it is also VERY necessary.

        Desperate people have never learned to set boundaries because they have low self worth and low self esteem. Trust me, again, I know this thru my continual personal growth.

        1. Marika

          QueenBee,

          Does your continued personal growth encourage you to label people you’ve never met and who are reaching out for help as needy and desperate? Do you think that’s really necessary or helpful?

        2. QueenBee

          @Marika

          EMK even wrote “You better own that shit and not make any excuses. The fact that he hasn’t gotten the message yet means that you have unwittingly become an enabler of his family’s bad behavior.”

          Didn’t EMK just label her an enabler?

          She is codependent in a toxic relationship as an enabler.

          Even my therapist (who I have met) has bluntly told me similar things, and it was very helpful and necessary to hear – even if it was painful to hear and admit about myself.

        3. Heather K

          I agree that she needs to fix it herself.  Nobody else is going to fix the situation for her.  And I’m also not disagreeing that she made a choice to enter and stay in the situation.  I think, though, that forgiveness and clearness of thought are the best way forward, as opposed to some sort of demonizing of the letter writer.  Neither of us know her full situation.  Some people are also not good at setting boundaries because they are non-neurotypical – like individuals on the Autism spectrum who are sometimes unaware of how social situations work.  Not everyone who can’t set boundaries suffers from low self-esteem.  And also, even if the letter writer does suffer from low self-esteem, I’m not sure that your approach would help her recover her self-esteem.  Kindness and forgiveness towards oneself – with making note of what did or didn’t work, and what would be better to do next time work better.

        4. QueenBee

          At what point in society did telling someone to stop acting needy or desperate become “vilifying” and “demonizing”?

          She needs to forgive herself yes, and she has taken a step in the right direction by asking for advice. Let’s hope she makes a wise decision to change her life and leave this situation (which she willing choose to enter into.) Everything is about our choices in life, and owning the results of those choices.

          (Incidentally, another commenter called this man a “loser” and “vulture” for using her but not one comment saying that was wrong?)

          This man is equally damaged but is he a loser? He too acted needy and desperate, as he needed a solution to house himself and his children, and he saw a opportunity to do so with the letter writer. They both willing entered into this situation, with their own motivations based on their needs.

          Again, it takes TWO. Both these people need to seek help.

          “Kindness and forgiveness towards oneself – with making note of what did or didn’t work, and what would be better to do next time work better.”

          Tough love is hard to take – I get that. Everyone gets a participation badge these days. Yes, personal kindness and forgiveness are good, but facing the truth about WHY you did what you did, so you learn why it didn’t work – that would go a lot better in the long run to making sure someone makes a better choice in the future.

          She is acting like a victim. She to me is not a victim. She is right where she wants to be.

           

           

  8. 8
    alexis

    I live in California, and yes, once they receive mail at your place they have declared residency. Telling your landlord is the last thing you should do. It is grounds for immediate eviction and will make it impossible for her to lease again. She needs him to leave. She needs to be firm and tell him to go. No time for grey lines. Must be black and white. She may have to remove him physically herself… and hope he doesn’t have the money or resources to stop her eviction. But she needs to get him out now, or wait it out and move once the lease is over. She has no other choices.

  9. 9
    Marika

    QueenBee,

    Your therapist, who has credentials and has established a relationship with you (and I’m assuming didn’t call you needy and desperate within 5 minutes of meeting you), and Evan, a renowned dating coach, can probably say these things with some confidence & insight.

    You’re just kinda being mean.

    Encouraging her to move on is one thing, name calling is another.

     

    1. 9.1
      QueenBee

      Naming calling? Where did I use “abusive language or insults”?

      I didn’t call her a loser? Like another commenter called the man in the letter. That there was a prime example of an abusive insult.

      Is it abusive to say someone needs help for their toxic relationship? That their behaviour, that their actions, seem needy and desperate? I am not labeling her a loser, I am labeling her actions as being from a needy place. There is a big difference.

      I am sure this woman is a lovely person, who has the best intention for her life, but she is having trouble making wise decisions. I think she would be best served by understanding WHY.

      1. 9.1.1
        Stacy

        @Queenbee

        For what it’s worth, I agree with you.The truth is not always wrapped up in a pretty little package with rainbow colored bows.There is nothing wrong with calling it like you see it and what you said was not insulting or demeaning imo. But maybe it is because I don’t want anyone to pacify me. Living together after 7 months with an irresponsible man who takes advantage of you and his 3 kids who doesn’t respect your feelings comes from a needy place.You don’t need to be buddies with a person to figure that out.And the OP is considering staying in this relationship that only takes from her.

  10. 10
    Elly Klein

    Evan, you nailed it!

    Unfortunately, Sara, you’ve overlooked 10 red flags (and these are only the ones you mentioned – I’m sure there are more), and are suffering from what Evan calls ‘sunk costs’. You’ve sunk so much time, energy and emotion into this man you’re determined to see a return on your investment. Unfortunately, this is a dud investment from which you simply need to cut your losses.

    This man hasn’t got his sh!t together in multiple significant ways. He has little to no respect for you. And believing it’ll get better is merely wishful thinking. It won’t. It’ll only get worse.

    You seem like a intelligent and responsible woman. You can do a lot better. Stop looking after your four children (your partner plus his three kids) and find yourself a real man!

  11. 11
    Ames

    When you date a man with kids you are prioritized after his children and job. Make sure if you acquiesce to becoming serious with a single dad that he makes (and more importantly shares) a lot of money to compensate for all you’re giving up. From privacy to finances, nicer vacations, tranquility of your home, retirement funds and the drama of having eternal ties to his ex, he needs to bring a lot to the table to make life better in other ways and reduce stress. Ie pay for home maintenance, lawn care, housekeeping and possible meal prep since parenthood takes over the time you both would have had otherwise. It’s all stuff you don’t have to deal with unless you too are a single parent. Best of luck.

    1. 11.1
      ann

      @Ames

      Thank you for that reply. You sound like my kind of commenter although I know some will see your advice as materialistic but I see it as straightforward and honest. In dating if there are tradeoffs you need to make sure your getting in return for giving up something, or not being first or whatever it is the other person has expected you to forgo. And yes it may seem coldhearted to look at it this way but for me and people like me if I were to date a person with children (which I don’t) I would be expected to be the one to acquirace and I don’t continue to do that if the other person isn’t making it worth my while. And I’m sorry to all the romantic out there who would just do it out of love and see me as cold. But after,the,fuzzy feelings wear off and the rise colored glasses have lost their lenses you”ll see differently.

      1. 11.1.1
        Marika

        Ann,

        If you don’t date people with children, how can you make these claims with so much confidence? As someone who has dated people with children (and married one, and was with him for 9 years, well long enough for the ‘rose coloured glasses’ to come off), I can assure you you’re incorrect. I never once saw the ‘trade off’ in terms of money & other perks, and I’ve never heard anyone else who was a step-mother see it this way. I found that interacting with the kids was its own reward, and other people will have varying levels of good & bad experiences. Some may see it the way you do, but it’s not a common mindset in my experience.

        Also, not everyone has the same set up. I have friends who see their kids irregularly and it barely makes a mark on their new partner’s lives. For me, about 3 years into our relationship, my ex-husband’s (husband at the time) kids moved interstate. I missed them. I would’ve liked to spend more time with them, but as it turned out, I only saw them maybe once every second month (and the other month he would go and see them alone). I never once thought, wow, I’m alone for a weekend, he better make this up to me fiscally when he returns!

        Relationships are a trade off of what you’re willing to tolerate in return for love, affection & commitment. Not a financial trade-off. If you decide you can’t deal with your partner having kids, then don’t date people with kids (like you don’t). You don’t date them and secretly keep a ledger of what they owe you in return for dating them & ‘tolerating being third in their lives’. That’s a recipe for disaster. Also, what if they have limited funds (as single parents sometimes do? How do they ‘make it up to you’ then?

        (and we broke up because he cheated, nothing to do with the kids).

  12. 12
    D

    Real simple, don’t date anyone with kids. It’s a headache, nightmare, destroyer of free time and money. Just be alone, it’s a lot easier that way. A lot quieter too.

    If you date someone with kids then you better be prepared for all the noise that comes with it.

    That’s on you.

  13. 13
    Juliet

    I think sometimes women are afraid of being single. This is definitely a bullshit situation you do not deserve. Things are still valuable, maybe not as valuable as the children, but certainly valuable. He has no consideration for you, is he really that inexperienced to imagine that just because it’s stuff, or has no value ? You worked hard to pay for it. It’s important. And he’s not contributing to any of the damages incurred. He’s definitely not a man, just do your self a favor. You deserve so much more

  14. 14
    "Sara"

    OMG! I wrote this! I used a fake name, because I wanted to be super detailed and honest. Perfect timing, I just broke up with him and needed to see this now more than ever. Thank You Evan!  – I have to say, I really thought being a good partner was being “in it together” and what I learned the hard way was that there was no “we”. I’m working on knowing my self worth so that I never let someone use me like this again.

  15. 15
    Valerie

    He sounds like a class A – sociopath. Runnnn!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *