“My boyfriend doesn’t like my kids.”
“He doesn’t like my mother/father/sister.”
Are these situations dealbreakers in a relationship?
“He doesn’t like my kids or my mother (or cleaning up after meals)…”
“Dear Claire, I’ve been reading your wonderful advice for some time now and I feel that I would like to ask you for your advice for me.
I’ve recently finished a relationship with a lovely man who paid me attention, made me laugh and when we went on dates they were fun! However I have a family of 2 teenagers, a house and a good job. He has never wanted children but during the last few months of our relationship he was able to get on with my eldest, she talks really well with him but doesn’t always know how to take him. My son on the other hand has never got on with him in the fact that he’s a normal grumpy teen.
The ex took this behaviour as rude and unwelcoming and would often say that he tried to make the effort with my son. The ex did admit he could have tried harder but didn’t. The ex also said in a text that he didn’t want to spend time with people who didn’t give a damn about him. Then there’s my mum who is quite a difficult character to get along with, even I struggle, and whenever I visit my mum I go alone as the ex never liked visiting her.
He always seemed to sit on the outside of our family circle and when invited in he said he preferred it when it was just the two of us, especially at the dinner table. I always felt stuck in the middle and felt that I was juggling things between us all so it would be ok, maybe I wanted it to work more so than everyone else.
Before my ex and I split I told him I wanted us to live together but he didn’t want to with the children living in the same house. I also cooked for my ex a lot and he did treat me but I preferred it if he helped me to clear up in the kitchen. Which he often avoided.
So here I am today heartbroken that after 2 years I’m back to square one and missing my ex. I know I need to give it time but did I do the right thing?” — A.
You did the right thing, beautiful.
You were hoping he would grow, but after two years you saw that he wasn’t willing or able to do that, and you made the best decision for you.
And let me share with you the supportive girlfriend view of this…
Grumpy teenagers and difficult mothers are pretty darn ordinary in the universe.
First, regarding the “he doesn’t like my kids / mother” piece…
I can’t think of ANY woman in my entire circle of friends and family who doesn’t have a life filled with normal, messy relationships.
Some have pretty serious life stressors, and I’m guessing you’ve had your share as well. In fact, it’s pretty much guaranteed if you have teenagers. (Voice of experience speaking!)
It’s pretty hard to create a personal universe in which there are NO relationship connections that are EVER inconvenient or difficult.
Your ex was CLEAR about what kind of relationship he wanted.
You can count it as a good thing that your ex was at least clear about what he wanted.
He wanted a girlfriend who could focus all her attention on him and only him — if not ALL the time, then whenever he wanted it.
It’s one thing to think “he doesn’t like my kids or my mother” but he also didn’t like much of the rest of your ordinary life, either.
He wanted a girlfriend who never has other stresses or tasks or (legitimate) demands that draw attention and energy away from him. (Btw, a good man would have helped and supported you as you dealt with your mother. Or as you dealt with ANY other challenge.)
He wanted a woman as wonderful as you WITHOUT the REALITY of your full, normal, and challenging life.
A strong, adult relationship is not all about great sex, fun vacations, and intimate, candelit dinners…
Sometimes the septic field backs up, your bathroom floods with nastiness, and your entire yard has to be dug up and the system replaced. Which is disgusting, inconvenient, and expensive.
Sometimes your teen gets in trouble with the law. Which is deeply distressing and painful.
Sometimes you lose your job. Which is incredibly stressful.
It would be nice to sit on a beach every day and sip cocktails. But normal and even difficult life challenges come up.
Truly mature men recognize that they are not a child for you to take care of or insulate from problems of the world.
This guy wanted fun dates. He wanted candlelit dinners that YOU worked hard at, and YOU cleaned up.
This is the kind of thing you do as a MOM.
You set up fun outings for your children. You plan, shop for, buy, prepare, and serve your kids good meals. And when they are really small, you also clean up after them.
As they grow, you start teaching your children some of those parts of the process, so that they can mature and begin to take care of themselves.
You were thinking, “He doesn’t like my kids,” but the truth is he’s behaving like a kid himself.
ALL of us have times when we wish we could stay little and not have to do the ordinary tasks of the world, when we wish we had a mom to take care of it all for us…
But a supposedly grown man who wants to be taken care of like that is a major relationship red flag.
Good for you for seeing what this meant for you.
You recognized the problem.
He only wanted a small slice of you, and wished he could ignore or throw away the rest.
That made you feel constantly caught in the middle, because your life includes more than just romantic dinners (which have to be cleaned up after), fun dates, and time spent pleasurably together.
You recognized that you were not going to be able to reduce yourself to that small of a woman, that tiny of a human, or that kind of cramped, pocket-sized life.
You hoped he would grow. You invited him in. You asked him to live with you.
But he realized you were not going to be devoting all your time and attention to him, building a perfect little trouble-free bubble for him to inhabit.
Here are your next steps…
Your heart is raw and bruised. You invested two years of your life and love into this man. You’re going to need time, of course. So…
- Lean on your best girlfriends.
- Take care of yourself.
- Make steps toward the goals you have in life.
- Keep this man as a bed partner if you want, but make it crystal clear that it’s nothing more.
- And when you’re ready, start dating again.
A man who wants only the good parts of life is not the man for you.
If you’ve ever had a man make you DOUBT yourself…
You’ve probably had this happen: At first things are going great with a guy. There are the tantalizing calls and texts, flirty Facebook messages, and maybe some sizzling-hot intimate nights. You MAY even be talking about a future together.
Then you start to notice…
- It seems like something has changed in him, and he starts to withdraw.
- Out of nowhere he completely loses interest in you.
- Your texts and calls start to go unanswered and soon he just disappears from your life.
You’re left wondering “What just happened here? Did I do something WRONG?” (Ugh.)
That was the exact story my relationship consultant friend James heard at a lunch meeting with a client a while ago.
It was during that same lunch that James discovered an answer to perhaps the biggest piece in the dating and relationship puzzle…
This video exposes a “gap” in the male mind, and how it’s destroying relationships everywhere.
The shocking thing about “The Gap” is how subtly it can destroy relationships.
If you find yourself asking these questions:
• Why is he so hard to communicate with?
• Does he really love and care about me, or only what I can give him?
• Why did he lose interest? (Will he come back?)
• Why can’t he just love me? (Does he think something wrong with me?)
You should listen to what this world-class relationship coach teaches… The answers he shares are NOT what you’re expecting, and they clarify so much about your relationship.
Make it successfully over ANY hurdle with your man and create an incredible (LONG-TERM) relationship.
PS: If you have ever found yourself FRUSTRATED with men, and just want a deep, REAL connection with a man that loves you for you, you need to watch this.