I need to know how to address this issue with my girlfriend. We have lived together for about months. She has three young children ages 9, 5, and 2 by three different fathers. I have two grown children that live on there own, one 16 year old daughter that lives with us, and a twelve year old son that lives with his mother, and comes to stay with us one to two weekends a month.
My problem is my girlfriend recently lost her job, but was given a decent severance package. She took a month off, which I encouraged her to do. She got another job which was lower paying and more physically demanding. Two weeks after she began they started making her work second shift (3-11). I work 8-5 so all of a sudden I am now responsible for picking her children up from daycare five days a week, feeding them and changing diapers after I’ve worked a 9 hour day in the heat. What really upsets me is that because she gets subsidized daycare, she gets up first thing in the morning, drops them off and is free until it’s time for her to go to work. On top of that, on the one day we’re off together she complains about how tired she is and expects me or my daughter to change her son’s diapers while she “rests.”
She has told me that she knows this situation is stressing me out, but doesn’t seem like she trying to find a solution. I’m really beginning to think that this is really ideal for her as she has been able to unload her responsibilities as a single parent onto me. I really feel that she made the decision to have these children and shouldn’t be trying to hang the responsibility of taking care of them around my neck. She has also told me about how she couldn’t stand or broke up with previous boyfriends because they either wouldn’t adopt her children or maintain father figure relationships with them after they broke up. Although I do love this women, I do believe she feels that every man she dates is supposed to be her kids new daddy.. HELP….
Thanks for your question.
While we understand that being a single parent is a very difficult job on many levels, your girlfriend is still ultimately responsible for her kids since she brought them into the world.
What’s interesting is that many single mothers are a bit apprehensive about involving new “friends” in their kids’ lives for fear of making things more confusing and complicated for them. This is why we’re surprised at your girlfriend’s willingness—her eagerness almost—to hand over day care responsibilities to you. This should give you a good indication of where here head’s at and what she’s looking for from a man.
But before we get to your question we just want to say, Mike, you seem like a good guy, and a rare man who’s willing to try and help the woman he loves with her children—children that aren’t his. Good for you. We mean that sincerely. We wish more guys would step up to the plate like you’re doing—with their own kids! We hope your girlfriend knows how lucky she is to have found a good man, considering that she brings a slightly more complex situation to the table than your average gal.
But we agree, this is going too far. She’s taking advantage of you and your daughter. She absolutely shouldn’t be expecting you to do anything for her kids. Sure, she might welcome your help, but we’d think she’d feel a bit guilty, and maybe even embarrassed by the fact that you and your daughter are taking care of her babies for her. The fact that she doesn’t is a red-flag honestly.
So what should you do?
First step: She needs to know that this arrangement is unacceptable. You need to have a sit down with her that and explain to her that you also have a job and your own kids to take care of. (She should already know this, but sometimes it needs to be said.) And also, that your daughter has her own life and shouldn’t be asked to pick up the slack. She might play the victim, or go on the attack, so before you get into anything make sure you reassure her that you care about her and want things to work out. (If you still do of course.)
One possible solution: Could she pay your daughter a small amount to do some daycare for her? (Just a thought.)
Second step: If you can’t work out something by giving her your point of view, then you need to do some serious thinking about this relationship. (We can see you already are.) Clearly you love her and want this to work out, but how will this play out in the future? Presumably she has some great qualities, otherwise you wouldn’t have fallen for her, but good qualities tend to fade when adverse conditions continue over long periods of time. And this relationship is headed this way. Hopefully she’ll come to her senses and see that this situation is putting a serious strain on the relationship, before this reaches the breaking point.
Remember Mike, relationships are a two way street. Both of you need to be giving AND receiving. The two of you need to work together so you both are fulfilled and happy. Yes, relationships also require work and compromise, but just be careful not to settle for a relationship where you’re doing most of the giving. (Good guys tend to fall into those situations more easily.)
Hope this helps a little. Feel free to ask us any follow up questions, or run another situation by us. Please keep us posted on how this progresses.
ps. Please let your friends know about us. Thanks!