I say this so often on this column, but it bears repeating over and over again. When it comes to dating, times they have a changed. We now live in a day and age where divorce is at a 50% rate, which means all of the people that were taken out of the dating pool a few years ago, are now back in the dating pool. Which means, more divorced people are dating. Which means, and I know this sounds almost too obvious but I’m going to say it anyway, the chances of you dating someone that is divorced is greater today than it ever has been before. And as many of you have discovered, dating a divorced man is no easy bag of apples. And mind you, dating a divorced woman isn’t either. But that’s not what today’s post is about. Today’s column is going to provide relationship advice for women navigating these murky waters.
We have a question from a reader that is very heavily involved with a divorced man. This is just one perfect example of many of the experiences that many of you are going through right now. When it comes to dating a single and not divorced man, you have enough issues to contend with. But what about if he’s divorced? You add an ex-wife into the mix, children, assets, finances, and so much more. So, even though these problems aren’t your problems when you enter the relationship, when you become a couple with a divorced man, they become your problems.
But why you say?
Well, relationship problems don’t change status just because someone’s marital problems do.
Let’s say you are dating a single, non divorced man and have been involved with him for months. Long enough to fall in love and start talking about things like getting married, having kids, buying a home, you know, all of the usual things people talk about when they are moving on to the next level of their relationship. Then bam, he loses his job, and all of these hopes and dreams seem so much farther away.
Does that mean that he’s the wrong person for you and you need to give up and move on? Does that mean that you say, sorry sweetie, but that’s your problem and I am out of here.
Well, that does actually happen, but not to people that truly love each other. The same thing when you are dating a divorced man. His problems unfortunately DO become your problems, and if you truly love him, you will stick with him through and through until you can sort them out together.
These types of things are precisely what our reader today is concerned about. Let’s see what she has to say.
I’m feeling confused, and lost when last week my boyfriend asked to end our relationship, otherwise he will lose his kids. I was dating with a man for a year and 8 months. It was a secret dating. He showed me the divorce papers indicating he officially divorced his ex ten years ago, but he came back with his ex mainly to take care of 3 kids together. However, they were legally divorced from 2002 and never re-married. He said his kids need to have both mom and dad since they are still minors.s Honestly he still has a feeling for her until the day he met me. I trust him and be willing to wait for him whenever he is ready to tell his kids about our relationship.
Back in Jan 2012, his ex found out our relationship and she told the kids about our relationship. All three kids turn their backs with their daddy and treated my boyfriend like a dead man in his house. He made the decision to move out and started a new life with me. I know for sure he loves me truly almost last 2 years. He visited my family often. He took my niece and nephew hanging out over the weekends. Especially, when we started living together from Jan 2012, he always takes care good of me and together plan our family life (we will buy a house, having a baby soon, taking his mom to live with us, taking me out every weekend….). I know he is sincere and really want a new life with me. He still provides the child support adequate for his kids.
He is willing to give up all the equity of the house together with cars he bought for his ex and his sons. He wanted to make his ex happy with all the assets he left for her and kids. He thought as long as he did not take any assets, property, his ex and his kids will be happy and let him go. Last week, his ex called him and alleged him how horrible daddy he was and how bad person he was… He was totally emotional and going crazy. I never saw him in that mood. Two days later, he talked to me that he needed some space and focus on his kids. He was informed his kids have a lot of issues with laws and drug from the day he moved out. I know he is feeling guilty for what happened with his kids. I agreed and moved out because I love him that much. I don’t want to put more burden on his shoulder.
However last week, he texted me he has to end our relationship, otherwise his kids won’t want to see him again if he continues to live with me. I totally don’t understand how quickly he made the decision to break up with me. I know he is not thinking straight now since he feels guilty for what happened to his kids. I sent him a lengthy email to let him know my thoughts, and I am willing to give me 6 months to settle in with his kids. I told him I just want to be loyal with my feelings and my love for him. After 6 months, if he still don’t want me back, I will move on. Honestly I love him very much and want him back, but I am afraid his kids will do the bad things if he insists telling them he loves me and wants living with me for the rest of his life, finally he has to give up on me and keep his kids. Could you give me an advice what I should do in this situation?
I see many letters where you lovely ladies talk about how much you know he loves you and would never hurt you, and then you tell me about the dirtbag things he does to you and want me to help you figure out how to get your ex back after all of these things. My first inclination as many of you regular readers know is to say, sometimes it’s not about getting him back, it’s about learning how to say goodbye.
This is not one of those times. I do not even know this man and if everything our reader is telling us is true, he is worth his weight in gold. He hasn’t done anything wrong in the grand scheme of things. She hasn’t done anything wrong either. This is just one of those sticky situations where life in itself has thrown this relationship a serious curve ball and they are trying to figure it out.
Dear lost and confused, I repeat, you did everything right. Moving out, and sending him communication about your feelings and your place in this was the right thing to do, absolutely. When there are kids in the mix, the parent absolutely has to put them first.
However. If he had come to me for advice on you, I might have suggested he do things a little bit differently. So, taking that cue what I will tell you is, how to communicate with him to suggest that maybe doing things a little differently will change the two of you and the course of your relationship.
Clearly his ex-wife played a very large role in your breakup, whether it looks that way or not right now. In essence, she is at home clapping her jealous hands with glee that she has succeeded in manipulating him to do what she wants. She did the wrong thing. No woman, or man for that matter, has any business putting their kids in the middle of relationships. And no woman, or man, has any business letting their kids decide what happens in their romantic affairs. Do you see where I’m going with this?
What she did was the wrong thing to do, no question, but in essence, he did the same thing by letting the kids decide if he was going to stay with you. That was not the best choice on his part. Your relationship is none of their business. They have no say in it. The only time I ever think it’s a good idea for two people to break up because the kids are being hurt is if the kids are actually being hurt. Physically or emotionally. And by that I mean, the kids are emotionally abused over the dating relationship, being treated badly by the other person, or being physically or emotionally scarred by the other person. A recent dating advice answer I gave speaks to this nature, where the man was being nasty to a special needs child.
But hurt feelings because daddy has moved on with someone else is not a valid reason for a breakup. What does he think is going to happen? That he will stay single all of his life because his ex wife fed the kids garbage about every woman that he dates? If she did it with the two of you, she will do it with every other woman that he dates. That’s not fair to him, or you, or the kids even.
You did the right thing by leaving and becoming one less burden for him. And I truly believe that when he made the decision to leave you that he thought he was doing what was best for everyone as well. But both of you got the shaft here and that’s just plain wrong. If you two were truly meant to be together, the best advice I can give you if you want to learn how to get your boyfriend back is to…..show him this column. Show him the cold hard truth that he is being swindled by a bitter ex wife who is manipulating his happiness, long after the divorce papers have been signed.
She has no recourse on his dating life anymore, the divorce papers prove that. She has no right to stand in the way of him and anyone. And the kids don’t either. He needs to get a backbone with her about it, and he needs to get a backbone with his kids too. Gently remind him that HE is the parent, HE makes the rules, HE decides who he dates and if she or they don’t like it, too bad. The custody agreement I am sure by this point is already in place, she has no recourse in preventing him from moving on with his life, and she should be ashamed of what she has done.
Sometimes divorced parents forget this, because they know their kids are in enough emotional turmoil already and will do anything they can to keep their kids happy. But he deserves to be happy too. And so do you. I would love to hear how this one pans out, as I love to hear follow ups from each of my readers. I know your letter came in a while ago and I was not able to get to it right away, so please drop me a note and let me know where things stand now, or what choices you have made in the way of this situation. Until then, readers, chime in your thoughts and let’s support Ms. Lost and Confused. Good luck, and PLEASE keep us posted!