Hi, Terrance! My boyfriend and I have been involved for 6 months (casually 4 months, exclusively 2 months).
However, we have known each other for years, so we have a comfort level and deeper knowledge of each other than most couples would have this early on in a relationship. This makes me feel like I can approach him about sensitive or really personal subjects, but I would like your opinion before I do so.
The problem is that his ex-wife controls his finances and his life. They have 4 children – 2 biologically his, 1 adopted, 1 stepchild – but he treats all 4 of them as his own. He provides for the children financially and emotionally. This man is the most dedicated father I have ever met. There is nothing (within his control, of course) that he will not do for these kids. His ex-wife uses this to her advantage.
He gives her child support every week (not court-ordered) and buys everything the children need. When I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING. Uniforms, shoes, birthday parties, field trips, haircuts, salon visits, school supplies/projects, all Christmas gifts, summer vacation, winter break trips… The list is endless.
He will also drop whatever he is doing when his ex-wife calls about the children, and these are not emergency situations. He’s supposed to have the kids every other weekend. She will call when it’s not his weekend for the slightest thing. The boys need haircuts. Their daughter needs a ride to the nail salon. She needs him to watch them for 30 min, which turns into 3 hours, only to find out she’s been running the streets doing a bunch of nothing.
A few weeks ago, he canceled a Sunday date with me because his ex-wife said he needed to buy the kids’ science fair project materials and help them assemble everything. He buys it all, gets to his ex-wife’s house only to be told to drop it off and leave; she’s going to do the projects with them now. The problem was her boyfriend had shown up unexpectedly, so she didn’t want him there. On Monday evening she calls and says she’s going to drop off the kids to him, so he can do the projects. He had worked a 12-hour shift (she’s unemployed), but he did it anyway. I ask him why doesn’t he ever tell her no, and he said it’s simple. If she doesn’t have her way – all the way, all the time – she won’t let him see the kids for weeks. The thought of that happening is unbearable to him. I suggested court-ordered visitation, but he doesn’t seem to want to get the courts involved.
My boyfriend is not a wealthy man, so he is often broke after dealing with this woman “for his kids’ sakes”. I am self-sufficient, and I’ve never expected a guy to “buy me”. As a matter of fact, my salary is slightly higher than his. However, I would like him to have enough money to do what normal couples do – dinner, movies, concerts, etc… I don’t mind paying for us, but I expect reciprocity. You catch this date; I’ll catch the next one. Oftentimes, that doesn’t happen.
As for the time we plan to spend together, nothing is ever concrete. Plans get canceled, or dates get cut short. His ex-wife lives 10 min away from him; I live 35 min away. I’m really starting to think she passes by his house, and if he’s not home (he’s always been a homebody), she finds some reason to contact him about the kids. It has gotten to a ridiculous level.
I respect, love, and admire my boyfriend’s dedication to his children. Still, I feel like our relationship suffers because of this. How do I talk to this man about doing less concerning his kids without sounding stupid and selfish? Am I being selfish by thinking this way? It’s very early on to think about long-term commitment, but I know for a fact that I could not live this way if we were to cohabitate or marry. My sister calls him a duck, and I totally agree. How do I get him to stop letting this woman constantly make him quack? Is it even my place to attempt to do so? – Want My Man Solely
Dear Ms. Want My Man Solely,
Girl, this is real easy and simple. I swear y’all refuse to see the reality of things, and many of you live in these imaginary worlds, or in some Never-Ever-Land filled with fantasy men riding on white horses coming to save you. Y’all better wake y’all a**es up!
Look here, his ex-wife is still in love with him. She doesn’t want to see him happy. She is miserable. And, misery loves company. She will do any and everything to interrupt his life because they are “his kids, just as much as they are hers.” If he doesn’t do what she says, or what she wants, then she will use the kids as a bargaining tool. He is too much of a wimp to put her a** in check. He doesn’t have a backbone and is scared of her. He has no nuts and she is actually holding them in her Coach bag. He refuses to go to court to get court-ordered visitation, or to do anything legally because he’s afraid that she will get more money in child support, and he is already spending money left and right. If the courts get involved he will be living on the streets, so he is appeasing her to keep his finances, which is barely living.
You don’t really have a close relationship as you think you do. Y’all women think he’s deep because he confides in you about his money problems, and his baby momma, and how much he loves his kids. Miss me with that bull-ish. Pay attention and listen closely because I’m going to hip you to something. If all his conversations are about his job, the money he doesn’t have, how his baby momma is evil and trifling, and she uses the kids as a vice to get him to do what she wants, and he really wants to do nice things for you, and blah, blah, blah. Then you are not in a relationship. You are his therapist. You are his shoulder to lean on, and ear for him to whine and cry into.
A spiritual and deep connection with a man is not based on all his conversations being about his money problems, what he wants and hopes to do and how the system is keeping him down, and his baby momma who is a bish, and won’t let him see his kids, yet he laid with her to make the kids and now all of a sudden she is trifling and a bish. Ma’am how you can you have a deep and spiritual connection if he is not involved with a spiritual home or church community? If he is not lifting you up, inspiring you, empowering you, and encouraging you, and if you really pay close attention to his entire conversation and it’s about him and his problems, then YOU DO NOT HAVE A RELATIONSHIP. HE IS LOOKING FOR SOMEONE TO LISTEN TO HIS VENTING AND FRUSTRATIONS.
And, why the hell and why the hell are you dealing with baby momma drama and they are not even your children? That –ish right there is for the damn birds. I keep telling you women about dating these men who have children, and they have baby momma/s who refuse to let them go. They are, will be, and always be in his life. And, ain’t nobody got time for that!
Girl, puhlease get out of this relationship and move on with your life. He will always and forever be running looking like a gump for his ex-wife. She is not going to stop. She is not going to relent and be nice. She is upset, angry, and miserable. And, she’ll be damn if he goes on to have a great life and leave her behind with several kids after he made lots of empty promises to her. Yes, the very same pipe dreams he is selling you, she is holding on to those same pipe dreams he sold her when they were married. She is keeping the list of all the should’ve, could’ve, would’ve. Everything he promised to her, she wants. And, you’re an incidental non-motherf****ng factor in the equation.
At this moment, the only thing you have invested is time. Please leave before your investment becomes money that he is using to spend on her and his kids, and then you end up pregnant with his fifth child, and you’ll be in the same boat with his ex-wife demanding he comes and spend time with your child. Yes, it’s time to let this go, find a man who is single, because your man may be divorced, but he is acting as if he is still married. And, unless you’re willing to play second, hell, tenth fiddle in his band, because you certainly are not number one, then, release him and let him go find his nuts because he doesn’t have them. – Terrance Dean
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Make sure to order my books Mogul: A Novel (Atria Books – June 2011; $15), and Straight From Your Gay Best Friend – The Straight Up Truth About Relationships, Love, And Having A Fabulous Life (Agate/Bolden Books – November 2010; $15). They are available in bookstores everywhere, and on Amazon, click HERE!