I've been dating a divorced man for four years. He shares custody of his daughter, 13. I've raised two daughters, both now independent.
My boyfriend’s kind and attentive. But for the past three years, he’s planned twice yearly, luxurious vacations – either with buddies or his daughter - and I’m never invited.
When recently confronted about why he never thinks of me regarding his vacation time and money, he had a blank look of confusion, and said he already spends his free time with me. This is one night a week, as we’re both busy professionals.
I've interpreted this as a sign that he's keeping his options open regarding other women and I'm not a very high priority for him.
I’m ready to move on. Am I overreacting? Nearly every single girlfriend I have has been taken on a nice vacation by the man in her life.
My boyfriend and I don't have serious money issues, so that's not the problem.
Sad and Neglected In New York
His “confusion” is real, because he’s never been questioned before.
While it’s nice to dream of being “taken away” on a vacation, this is really about whether you two are ready for a next stage that involves travel together, no matter who pays.
You can be the one to look for a time and place for you to vacation together. If you earn equally, you could share the cost, especially as, unless he’s much wealthier, he has child support expenses. I’m guessing his buddies all pay for themselves.
Suggest you both try this new experience. If he resists, or refuses, then it’s time to move on.
My children’s father ended our 25-year marriage through an affair with a married younger woman with two kids.
My two adult sons and I were devastated. He also emptied his and my joint bank accounts.
The younger son lives with his father, who allows the girlfriend to sleep over there. (I wouldn’t).
My older son lives with me. Currently, he’s working out of the country for four-months. His father wanted to visit him with his fiancé.
But my son replied that he wouldn’t associate with that woman. He’s very hurt by his father’s betrayal, and lack of integrity and honesty during the separation.
How do I assist my son in dealing with his father’s demands? He’d like to have a relationship with him, but doesn’t want to associate with that woman.
I tried to explain to him that eventual forgiveness is for his sake, not his father’s. I’m not ready to forgive, but I’m learning to let it be.
Mom Helping Son
He’s responding to your hurt and abandonment along with his own. Lighten his burden. He’s still entitled to have a relationship with his father, even a flawed father.
While he may not be ready to embrace this woman, he must recognize that she didn’t “steal” his father away. There are reasons (again, flawed) for affairs - mid-life crises, long marriage grown distant, lack of will and character to not cheat, etc.
Tell him to meet with his father and re-connect, but to set some agreed boundaries for a while. He’s only gone for four months. Perhaps he’ll meet with them as a couple when he returns. This shouldn’t be rushed; it makes him feel disloyal to you.
Reassure him that your mother-son relationship is intact whatever he does. Urge him, too, to “let it be” and see her when he’s ready.
FEEDBACK Regarding the wife/handywoman whose husband gets frustrated because she constantly creates a mess and leaves it (March 11):
Reader – “Mom should consider placing the children in a good day care and instead get a job suited to her creative skills.
“This story strikes a note with me because my goddaughter, a wonderful woman and part-time student, lost her first husband… he was an executive who wasn’t willing to live in clutter.
“She’s now married again and a wonderful stay-at-home mom, but almost every inch of floor space is covered with toys and clutter.
“They cannot entertain in this mess. He tries to pick up but seems to be giving up. I don’t see this marriage lasting.”
Ellie – Children whose mothers play and create with and around them, benefit from that “mess.” It seems these women chose men who don’t value their contribution. They needed men who’d support/agree to the early-child years at home and some regular cleaning service.
Tip of the day:
When something’s needed in a relationship, suggest it, don’t just complain or leave.