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Tricky situation


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I have been in a serious relationship with a man for almost a year now after knowing him for 3 years. He is much older than me (18 years difference). He has 2 teenage kids. They are honestly quite difficult at times. His daughter is very spoiled and has a tendency to disrespect authority. I thought I was fine with kids at first, but it seems like it’s bothering me more than I thought it would. We live together and I don’t like it when they’re there, they don’t help around the house at all and expect us (me) to clean after them and cook for them. It’s frustrating. Besides, the mother is still very much involved. She comes to my boyfriend’s events, his birthday, and she judges our relationship. She openly admitted to him when I was out of town that she regrets her decision of leaving him 7 years ago. That bothers me. He also bought a house for her to live in, free of any charge. I love him, but I feel like I’m never the priority. His ex-wife even comes before me in his priorities a lot. I would like for him to have little special attentions for me like buy me flowers or plan special dates, but that never really happens. I told him multiple times and he just gets mad when I talk about it. I feel like he takes me for granted and I don’t know what to do

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Oh brother. His kids will always come ahead of you, no matter how old they get. You cant be too far off in age from the kids if he is 18 yrs older than you. I dont doubt they resent you and dont want you in their house, in their family, they probably see you as taking their dad away from them, even if you dont think you do that. The ex wife, maybe she does think she made a mistake divorcing him, maybe he still feels an obligation to her, hence the house she gets to live in for free.


I wish you luck as I dont see this working long term.

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When you choose to date and continue a relationship with someone that has kids , you choose to be of lower priority.

You can’t expect anything else. So why do you expect more?


You are not in as serious a relationship as you like to think you are.

You have been dating him less than a year and already living together. That was way too soon.


Who moved in with who? You into his home or him into yours?

When his teenage kids are there , you resent it because you have to clean up after them. Teenage kids are messy! What else would you expect?


He bought a house not for his ex wife but to provide a roof for his kids.

It’s very admirable of him and lucky that he can afford to.


The issues you have with this relationship has nothing to do with his ex wife or kids.

It’s simply you coming out of the honeymoon phase and realising he doesn’t actually tick all your boxes.

And that right there is the very reason you should not move in with someone until the honeymoon phase has passed.

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Actually it's your bf who expects this. Otherwise he would be doing it or talk to them. The problem is him, not the teenagers.


Stop being your bf's live in maid/nanny, it's that simple. Move out.

We live together and I don’t like it when they’re there, they don’t help around the house at all and expect me to clean after them and cook for them. It’s frustrating.
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Well, divorce can cause problems, and they can leak into the next relationship. Kids are an 18 year commitment. You'll have to decide if it's worth it.


It takes a couple of years for the kids to warm up to you. And there is no guarantee that they will.


It also sounds like he is a man-child, and is weak around the kids and ex. This may cause you lose respect for him.


Him not taking you on good dates and no flowers is a problem. He's not romantic or taking you for granted.


You can talk about it, get counseling, or try tough-love.......cut off sex and when he asks, "What's wrong?" then he will be ready to really listen to your needs and change.

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Welcome to raising teenagers. Aside from your general feeling of dishevelment, I don't feel like your boyfriend is managing his commitments reliably or fairly. There are not enough boundaries in place and unfortunately, you've entwined your lives quite tightly after only three years of dating. If you care about him and his existing family (which is now your family, by the way), I'd communicate more with him and see whether you can work things out. Boundaries are important and the time you spend together (quality time). Without those boundaries I think your place in this family will begin to look more like a poly set up than him actually moving on and rebuilding his life with a new partner. If you're not open to those terms, speak about it as a couple.


Don't be afraid if this is not something that you end up finding is not for you. You don't have to live an unhappy life and you don't have to live it feeling overpowered, devalued or in such sadness. Start thinking carefully about ways that you might bring value to your life and in the organization of the family unit and see what his views are. It's critical that you both work together. If this doesn't work for you or it is not arranged according to some of your terms as well, this is not an even relationship and the dynamics are imbalanced. You might want to rethink your future here and whether this is a healthy place for you.

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What you see is what you get. His anger has told you that he's not willing to change it. You get to decide whether you're in or out, but I'd make that choice fully. Otherwise, you'll just position yourself to be miserable about stuff that is not going to change.


If you decide to stay, then the best you can do is to model the behaviors you want to see more of from him. Buying flowers for the household or growing them, planning special dates, and negotiating trades of things he values and wants from you in exchange for certain things you want from him. Most successful couples barter this way rather than expecting any magical transformations into mind-reading as a romantic gesture.


Head high, and make the right choice for you.

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