Is my relationship over?

Dear Guys,

I’ve been dating this guy for about 16 months. Things were great in the beginning as they usually are, but fast forward to now and they’re not. It all started when I suggested he visit a guy friend who needed to “talk.” Well, he didn’t come home that night. So, me being the “Leo” sign that I am, I left the house and figured two can play at this game. I went to a graduation party, leaving before he arrived. This of course blew up into a HUGE fight and the outcome was that he wanted out. He was done. We had done this dance before and we would always “kiss and make up.” This time was different. He meant it.

He has a problem with the fact that I’ve kept ties to my ex and his family. I have two boys from my previous marriage, 17 and 15. I consider them all to be family and this eats at my current boyfriend, even though my ex has tried to be friendly with him and talk to him at gatherings.

My boyfriend was also married twice before with two kids from his first wife. He sees the kids only in the summer. Other than that he has no ties with his ex.

So back to my question. At first I agreed we were done. I’m 39 and he’s 38 and we’re too old for games. However, the more I thought about our relationship and what we have overcome, the more I wanted to stay and try again. So I convinced him to stay and give it another go. I of course would need to cut ties to me ex-family and revive our sex life, which has fallen off. However, I’m not sure he really wants to try. He says he does but his actions say otherwise. He used to text me 200 times a day,(Exaggeration)but now he sends me 5 a day, maybe. He stopped letting me know what he is doing to the point to where I don’t know where he is and sometimes whether or not he’s coming home. I told him that if we were to work on our relationship it has to be both our efforts and I don’t see much coming from him.

What’s going on? Do I let the relationship go, even though we agreed to try?

Debbie

Dear Debbie,

Thanks for writing. That’s a lot to digest!

First of all we commend you for having your priorities straight. The fact that you and your ex-husband work hard at maintaining an amicable relationship says a lot about your character. Divorce is never ideal, but it certainly is much more healthy for the kids if the parents are on the same page and are working together.

Your relationship with your current boyfriend seems to be missing an important element that is vital for any relationship: TRUST! For some reason he doesn’t trust you to be with your ex and your previous family, and you to a certain extent don’t trust him to be out with the guys. You don’t mention a reason for him to be suspicious of you so we can only speculate here. Our best guess is your boyfriend has trust issues in general. And frankly it seems odd that he isn’t more understanding of your situation since he is also divorced with kids. Obviously, it must be hard for him to not see his kids for 10 months every year so we can see how he might feel jealous and resentful of your situation. This is not your fault, but something to be aware of.

However, all is not necessarily lost yet. But he needs to show that he really wants to make this work. Right now he’s not doing that. In fact he’s doing his best to push you away and have you make the final decision. If he doesn’t change his behavior very soon, it’s time for you to move on. And honestly, if we were you, we’d already be gone. It just doesn’t sound like the two of you are in the same place in your lives, even if it looks like that on paper.

The good news, and bad, is that your kids will be grown soon. And once they’re settled and on their own, you probably won’t have as much contact with your ex. This might make it easier to get in a less complicated relationship down the road, with a person who might respect you for your loyalty and devotion to your kids. They may even embrace your ex’s family.

So Debbie, please don’t compromise yourself, your values, and your kids to be with this man. If he truly wants to make it work he needs to step up to the plate big time. And then you both need to talk, talk, talk, and try to come to some true understanding of each other. Otherwise we know there are many good guys out there for you to meet. Good luck!

THE GUYS

ps. Zach, her boyfriend left his side of the story in the comments section. Please read to get the entire picture before you make a comment.

To ask us a relationship question, go to the “Ask the Guys” page on the website and leave us a note. We also answer questions on our podcast.

24 Comments on Is my relationship over?

  1. What a mess! Sounds like alot of miscommunication and trust issues built up over time. I would definitely NOT severe ties with the ex and his family. This is important to the growth and health of the children. Not to mention a very important life long relationship. Kids grow up, get married, and have kids. The ex and ex-in-laws will be around a long time through all of that.

    I personally think the dude is on the prowl for a new lady and will move on when he finds her. I think it’s called cruising. Hanging onto one til you get another.

    Unless his actions start matching his words. I’d let him loose and be glad for the experience of how it shouldn’t be.

    Always remember, you deserve the BEST!

  2. Good advice. Game playing never works well in a relationship. At some point, it just goes wrong. Having a hard, honest conversation is in order here, especially because kids are involved and they get attached. Anyway, good luck.

  3. Sounds to me like The Boyfriend has some SERIOUS insecurity / trust issues. And, if he’s not willing to TRY hard to make your relationship work anymore, than don’t waste your own time either!

  4. I think the boyfriend has issues with control as well as trust. He’s already got one foot out the door and I think Angelia is right. He’s probably biding his time until a new opportunity comes along.

    No one should ask for a complete and total withdrawal from the ex’s family when kids are involved. Not that one should be chit-chatting with them on the phone for hours at the expense of time with the boyfriend, but the whole family is better served if everyone gets along and remains friendly.

  5. I think the Guys’ advice is spot on. Maybe The Boyfriend has his good points and they’ve been through a lot, but that’s no reason to throw away a very beneficial relationship that effects the kids in so many ways. I don’t think a guy can have enough good points to be worth that. If he can’t grow up, then it’s definitely time to move on.

  6. Hello, my name s Zach. I am Debb’s boyfriend of 16 months. And while I sit here and read about her one sided story I couldn’t help but feel that you need to hear both sides before you can give your opinion about me or my relationship. So here is my side.
    Yes things are great in our relationship as we seemed to only argue about two subjects. And as Debb only mentions that her ex has tried to talk to me is not even half of the whole story. But before I get into this “topic” I must say that I do commend her in staying on the same page and being civil with her ex for their kids sake. And I don’t have a problem with that. Infact I encourage her to talk to him on certain issues that she would have with her kids. But the fact is that one of the issues here is that she has been divorced for some time and She insists on keeping her ex and ex-inlaws around and informed about “our life”. As having “family” dinners once a week..(without me). I also don’t feel the need to have to sit next to them at her sons gatherings as it makes me feel like the odd one because I see her carrying conversation with them and enjoying it and it makes me feel like I don’t belong there. I’ve told her several times that I don’t want to be involved in that kind of drama but yet I find myself being in that position again. Only I feel its getting worse because now They crack offending jokes toward me and my profession. I find myself biting my tongue a lot just so I don’t cause a scene.
    Now to Debb’s story. I did go and help my best and only friend through hard times. I did have some alcohol and I didn’t want to drive 60 miles to get home to her so I stayed. I knew Debb and I had plans the next day so I woke up and went home. When I got there she had left. So I tried calling but she wouldn’t answer. I text her and asked if She would come back for me so we can go on with our day as planned but she had left town without me (to be with the ex-inlaws). So I wanted to make the day better and tried to find her. I asked her where she was at so we can meet up and she lied to me an told me she was at a location and she wasn’t there. Then she wouldn’t tell me where she was at or who she was with. From there it blew up and I drove back home (40 miles). And left her to be at the ex-inlaw gathering knowing that I was uncomfortable with her there alone without me.
    I find it strange how she thinks that its normal to have me in the mix with her ex and ex-inlaws as if she is using me to throw it in their faces that she moved on. I really don’t want to know or care to know about her past and I certainly don’t want to be involved in her past. I do however embrace her kids and her side of the family and support her in all her decisions for the exception of wanting to have the inlaws around on a day to day basis.
    You mentioned trust, and I totally trust Debb in all ways. Trust is not an issue to me as I totally trust her.
    The second and only argument we ever have is our sex life or lack of. Which I think is private. But will talk about it if you wish to know.
    I also think that in the future, you as a guys perspective should look at both sides before you publish anything.Enter your comments here…

  7. It is obvious that Debbie and her ex have no unresolved issues, which is the way things should be. Maybe the bf and his ex are not that lucky, the bf is insecure, and maybe a bit too controlling (too much texting, etc.). He also sounds a little immature (not calling when he is not coming home, etc.) By the time one gets to be 38/39, romancing should have taken on a more mature meaning.

    If it were me, I would seriously think about moving on. Even after Debbie’s children are “grown” and on their own, there are still birthdays and holidays to consider. If her bf is going to get pissy about stuff like that, say “good bye.”

  8. Hello, my name s Zach. I am Debb’s boyfriend of 16 months. And while I sit here and read about her one sided story I couldn’t help but feel that you need to hear both sides before you can give your opinion about me or my relationship. So here is my side.
    Yes things are great in our relationship as we seemed to only argue about two subjects. And as Debb only mentions that her ex has tried to talk to me is not even half of the whole story. But before I get into this “topic” I must say that I do commend her in staying on the same page and being civil with her ex for their kids sake. And I don’t have a problem with that. Infact I encourage her to talk to him on certain issues that she would have with her kids. But the fact is that one of the issues here is that she has been divorced for some time and She insists on keeping her ex and ex-inlaws around and informed about “our life”. As having “family” dinners once a week..(without me). I also don’t feel the need to have to sit next to them at her sons gatherings as it makes me feel like the odd one because I see her carrying conversation with them and enjoying it and it makes me feel like I don’t belong there. I’ve told her several times that I don’t want to be involved in that kind of drama but yet I find myself being in that position again. Only I feel its getting worse because now They crack offending jokes toward me and my profession. I find myself biting my tongue a lot just so I don’t cause a scene.
    Now to Debb’s story. I did go and help my best and only friend through hard times. I did have some alcohol and I didn’t want to drive 60 miles to get home to her so I stayed. I knew Debb and I had plans the next day so I woke up and went home. When I got there she had left. So I tried calling but she wouldn’t answer. I text her and asked if She would come back for me so we can go on with our day as planned but she had left town without me (to be with the ex-inlaws). So I wanted to make the day better and tried to find her. I asked her where she was at so we can meet up and she lied to me an told me she was at a location and she wasn’t there. Then she wouldn’t tell me where she was at or who she was with. From there it blew up and I drove back home (40 miles). And left her to be at the ex-inlaw gathering knowing that I was uncomfortable with her there alone without me.
    I find it strange how she thinks that its normal to have me in the mix with her ex and ex-inlaws as if she is using me to throw it in their faces that she moved on. I really don’t want to know or care to know about her past and I certainly don’t want to be involved in her past. I do however embrace her kids and her side of the family and support her in all her decisions for the exception of wanting to have the inlaws around on a day to day basis.
    You mentioned trust, and I totally trust Debb in all ways. Trust is not an issue to me as I totally trust her.
    The second and only argument we ever have is our sex life or lack of. Which I think is private. But will talk about it if you wish to know.

  9. @Zach…..We thank you for writing such a thoughtful response. We’re sorry for what’s going on in your relationship. Typically we never get to hear the other side, and you’re right, that is important. But that’s the nature of the game. We still feel it’s important to answer the questions anyway.

    We try very hard to be positive, and let the person make their own decisions. We’re not a bunch of lowbrow guys, making jokes and poking fun. We take this very seriously and we do our best to truly help. That’s why our site is mostly visited by women.(Of course the women who comment here are a little bit more blunt, but it’s always good to get a woman’s perspective.)

    Zach, if you truly want this to work, you both need to really communicate your feelings and needs to each other.

    We wish the best for both of you.

  10. Well, that certainly puts a new light on the picture! Zach, in the future, PLEASE CALL if you are not coming home. Women start picturing horrible things when their men don’t show up when they are supposed to. This is just our nature! Calling is the polite, adult thing to do.

    Debb, if Zach stays out all night again without calling, start looking for someone else. If what he says is true, then you both have conflicting personalities, and probably should not be together in a long-term relationship.

    Good luck!

  11. Judie, The day i left to support my friend Debbie knew exactly where i was at the whole time by texting her and telling her what i was doing i let her know that we were going to his moms i let her know that we have gotten back to his house and i also let her know that i had a couple of beers and i didn’t want to drive home drunk and risk a dwi or worse.. it was that time that she did not respond back and i never heard from her again the rest of the night. so you see it’s not that i didn’t let her know it was the fact that she didn’t like that i was going to stay. i am a very responsible man and i would never not call.

  12. Sorry for the previous post. I pushed the submit bitten by accident.

    Judie, The day i left to support my friend with the sickness of his mother, Debbie knew exactly where i was at the whole time by texting her and telling her what i was doing. i let her know that we were going to his moms, i let her know that we have gotten back to his house and i also let her know that i had a couple of beers and i didn’t want to drive home drunk and risk a dwi or worse.. it was that time that she did not respond back and i never heard from her again the rest of the night. so you see it’s not that i didn’t let her know it was the fact that she didn’t like that i was going to stay(as its my home town and stayed before with no issue). i am a very responsible man and i would never not call.

  13. Zach, thanks for clarifying that. I probably should have kept my mouth shut on this. I have to say, though, (and Debbie, this is for you, too.) it sounds like there is a need for some joint counselling before you go much further in the relationship. Debbie, you were looking for answers, and Zach, you are defending yourself. Please talk together, with someone to mediate if you want to stay a couple.

    In a long-term relationship where two people claim to love each other, communication is vital. Despite what that dialogue was in Love Story, saying, “I’m sorry” and meaning it is one of the most important things you can do. If you really feel you have a chance at a lasting relationship, do what you need to to get past this.

  14. @Zach and Debbie………From our vantage point it doesn’t seem like anything has happened that is beyond repair. And you both seem like very decent, caring and honest people, who have strong feelings for one another. So we agree with Judie. This forum may have helped get the conversation started, but you need to continue it, either by yourselves, or better yet with an appropriate counselor or professional that might be able to help you sort through the muck and get to the bottom of your issues.

    All couples run into obstacles along the way, so don’t feel you are necessarily different. But you have to really start being honest with each other and communicate what’s going on. And decide what really matters to both of you. Compromise is not a bad thing.

    If after you’ve done all you could and it still doesn’t work, then at least you’ll split knowing that you gave it everything you had.
    Take care and good luck. We’re all pulling for you.

  15. I have no ‘nice’ words…

    I hate men at this point. MY view for ANY fucking woman… 17 or 52, IF YOU’RE NOT MARRIED TO THE FUCK, LEAVE HIM.

    Now, I didn’t read Zach’s part of the story, because most of the time men are blowing SHIT out of their mouth…

    Sorry Deb, CB is no help today. Ask me on a day that I’ve eaten, had the designated amount of Xanex allowed to me and DON”T hate my cock-sucking husband.

  16. I really like hearing the other person’s side of the story when it comes to relationship problems. You rarely get to hear both sides like that… well in this forum. Now that I’ve heard both sides, it’s easy to see both people have their issues with trust. One, a little more than the other, perhaps. But to me, it seems like they both care enough about staying together to talk it all through and keep the relationship going. That much I can say.

  17. One more thing–When you brig strangers into the mix, you leave yourselves open to a lot of differen interpretations. We may not have the answers to your relationship. Think about what you are seeking out of life and go from there. Whatever you do, your children should always come first. They are the innocents whom you have brought into the world, and they are your first responsibility.

  18. Great advice, Guys! No wonder I always like what you say so much–it’s so similar to the advice I would give!

    One thing that almost always strikes me in relationships in trouble is that the parties often don’t treat each other with the courtesy we usually will treat a good friend with. I would never blow off a friend without letting her/him know what is going on–but it sounds to me like Debbie’s guy isn’t even doing that. I also think it is a little strange that he seems to be so distrustful of the good relationships Debbie has with her former husband–he seems a little self-absorbed if he cannot see that for EVERYONE involved, having a good relationship is so much better! Would he be happier if they were at each others’ throats?

    I really agree with your assessment on trust. But I also feel that these folks could benefit from a professional relationship counselor. I think the Guys can great advice here–but it seems perhaps that more is needed!

    Good luck to everyone! (as Melinda kisses her husband and thanks God for him!). :)

  19. Wow, it’s always amazing to read both sides. There are always two sides, but the fact that they each view the same situation so differently is a big red flag to me. If you’re on the same page as your partner, then yes, you still have your own point of view but there is usually some reference to an understanding of the other person’s point of view. For example, I would have felt a lot more positive about their situation if Debbie added that she could understand how a man would feel that she was a little too cozy with her ex and his family in addition to mentioning that she feels that her boyfriend expects her choose between him and her ex and his family. Sounds like there is plenty of love in their relationship but that it may lack the respect for each others feelings to make this a lasting relationship.

  20. Wow ok…. I read Debbie’s story and the rebuttal by her boyfriend. It seems this is a much more complicated issue.

    Guys I think you gave good advice despite not knowing the whole situation. I say this because even though I do not have kids I was with my ex for 8 years. When we started dating his little brother was 8 (now about to turn 20) – I am an only child and my ex’s little brother became like my little brother. We have always been close and when he needs advice or has a problem I am always the one he calls. When Ex and I split little brother told me I would always be his sister. Now over 3 years later little brother and I are still close. I’m lucky that Marine understands this and has never asked me to not be friends with little brother.

    I think it all boils down to trust like you said. Marine trusts me and he tries to understand my relationship with Little Brother. I think it helps though that I include Marine in this relationship and we both do stuff with Little Brother together.

    But I think it is wonderful Debbie stays in touch with the ex’s family. Especially having kids – it makes it easier on the kids I’m sure. At the same time though Debbie needs to include the boyfriend in the relationship or somehow make it so that he to feels comfortable.

  21. Enter your comments here…Well, hello Guys it’s me again Debbie. Turns out Zach was cheating on me and had been for some time. Therefore, the Trust issue you talked about appeared to have been the case. Betrayal hurts so much.

  22. @Debbie……..Good to hear from you, but sorry it’s under these circumstances. And we’re sorry things have turned out the way they have. It’s somewhat surprising, only because of Zach’s adamant letter stating his side of things. Betrayal is very hard, but hopefully time will lessen the hurt.

    Thanks again for sharing your story/situation. We’re sure it’s helped a lot of other people to read about your relationship.

    Hang in there. And hope you’ll be part of the regular discussion. Take care.

  23. Stephanie // April 16, 2013 at 6:28 pm //

    Hi Guys,

    I have been with my boyfriend for 7 years. We met very young and at 19 we moved in together (7 years of living together) we jumped into splitting responsibilities right away and it worked very well but we were both very busy and things started to become repetitive. Right before I turned 25 I freaked out about our relationship and where it was going and I decided I needed space so I moved home for a few months and we decided to try dating other people. After a few months we both decided to give it a go again but he was hurt by me leaving and we dealt with a lot of drama about our dating lives. After 6 months of that he met someone else and cut me off for 2 months. Then he came back and begged for my forgiveness. I eventually caved and forgave him. He said he wanted to jump right in and restart but I had to let go of the hurt and it caused fighting for months. As of the beginning of this year things started getting better but he started distancing himself because of all the prior fighting so he was spending a lot more time with his friends. And would go about it in a shady way, i.e. say he was busy with school then he’d be out with friends, so we would fight about that too. Now I am really trying to make things work we have been good for a few months and I am having trouble at home because I had moved back in with the parents so I have to find a place to live. He and I had been trying to work our way back to living together and now that I’m in this position he tells me he wants to live on his own and that i need to also and that this will help both of us grow and learn more about ourselves and he wants to see if we are really compatible and wants more space. Is it over am I wasting my time here? He says he is almost unsure if he wants to be with me but that he doesn’t want to let me go and he knows he loves me. But he also said he needs to know if this is the best thing for him. I am obviously hurt and offended and now I feel like he is just playing games. I have spend the past 2 years (since the move !
    out) of
    my life trying to make thing work with him and I am feeling like he stopped trying a long time ago but might even want to just keep me around for a booty call or as a last resort option in case he can’t find anything better out there.

  24. @Stephanie………It sounds like it’s time to move on. What does your gut tell you? What do your friends say? Sometimes relationships run their course. That’s what you’re describing: A relationship that’s been there and done that.

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