My boyfriend's been divorced for two years, we've been dating one year. He has a daughter, 12, and a son, 10.
Recently, a celebrated star from our generation (1970's), gave a sold-out concert in our city, New York. He bought expensive tickets for himself and the two children, without even asking me to join them.
I'm very generous, and most often pay for both of us when we go out for dinner. I'm angry and haven't been able to forget about this.
He spends loads on his children, which is his prerogative, but this concert was truly one for adults.
Is this a sign that I'll always be second-rate in his life? He's rarely generous with me, and he's not short of money.
The kids get expensive vacations, designer clothing, and state-of-the art electronics. I also have a teenager so I'm not naive about being a single parent.
Do NOT compare yourself to his children; just examine the relationship between you two.
His lack of generosity and his willingness to have you pay for dinners out, are red flags. Your offering and accepting this regularly, has sent him a message that he doesn't have to share equally.
As a single mom, you already know that at many stages of their lives, children ARE the priority. This man isn't ready for a full partnership. If that's what you want or expect, end it. Let him come after you.... or not.
If he does, insist on a new sharing regime.
FEEDBACK Regarding my response to the following reader, insisting on DNA tests and legal means to discover if a married woman's baby was his (Dec. 24):
Reader - "Surely, as is the case in this and most affairs, the truth always comes out. There are ways where the parentage can be settled in a discreet and respectful manner. This woman is an educated, highly paid professional in the same field as I.
"I acted selfishly, and regret my behavior, and have used these months to respect this woman and begin the road to somehow making it right with my wife (who's aware of the affair). You are correct that during the affair, I thought little of the consequences and only of myself.
"I know I consciously decided to do wrong and I hurt my wife, my grown children, and the woman I became involved with and her family. To pass the inevitable hurt to another generation by pretending a child does not exist is something that I cannot do.
"However, just writing to you has helped me rethink the entire affair in a different light. I do plan to seek professional guidance to help me move beyond this issue. I will never humiliate this woman publicly. But if the child is mine, as I truly suspect, he must know that he has a father who loves him, wants him, and is in his life. The affair was a mistake; the birth of a child is not a mistake to me.
"I truly hope that the child is not mine. But it does not seem that simply letting this play out on its own is the right thing to do."
Dilemma in Texas
Sometimes the catharsis that comes from writing down your problem, then seeing it in print, helps people become firm in their own decisions. If that's what my column helps achieve, it doesn't matter whether the outcome follows my suggestions. I'm happy with the process having been helpful.
FEEDBACK Regarding the person who was laid off (Dec. 21):
Reader - "Most layoffs aren't economically necessary. My wife worked for a large multi-national for years. She had consistently high reviews, promotions, and won their top award (nominated by co-workers) twice.
"She was laid off because shareholders were angry that this company hadn't done any "re-organizing." Market share had continued to grow, profits had continued to rise, but shareholder pressure resulted in over 1600 employees being let go.
"This was over two and a half years ago. The upheaval in our life has been enormous. My wife worked away from home for 20 months and we recently moved to the East Coast for a new position for her.
"Corporations take advantage of workers in an unstable economy by making them work harder and longer, paying them less, hiring younger cheaper workers. Yet we're all supposed to be "grateful" to have a job."
Disgusted in Oregon
Tip of the day:
Post-divorce dating often takes time to find the balance between kids and a new partner.