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Was I right to end relationship over weirdness with his daughters/Christmas with his Ex?

StillWaters's picture

Did I just avoid a furture disaster or was I not understanding enough?  Boyfriend and I were in an exclusive relationship of 6 months.  He has 2 daughters, 21 and 17. (I am divorced with no children.)   21 year old lives with mother who lives close by and 17 year old is with BF 50% of tthe time.  BF and X have been living apart for 5 years, (she left him for another man, but that relationship quickly ended. He says he would never take her back because of this.) and they have been divorced for 2 years.  BF has never introducted daughters to anyone he has dated and he was trying to think of a way to introduce me, although he easily could have several times.  

When BF told 21 yr old about me and how we were dating, she became very upset and didn't want him to mention me any further.  He told me once his 21 year old daughter turned 18 and didn't have to spend half the time at his house anymore, she stopped visiting him unless she needed her car worked on. She also wants him to pay for her to go to school in Japan so she can teach english to Japanese children.  He's a middle class dad so this tells me she is very selfish to make such expensive demands.  It sounds like the daughter only pays for her gas money and the parents pay for everything else.  Once she (21 year old) found out we were dating, she started telling him she and her female best friend wanted to come over for dinner 3-4 times a week. She never wanted to visit before, but now she's established a routine of being at his house for dinner as much as she can.  

BF said he and X have a tradiion of having Christmas Eve dinner together as a family, all four of them.  On Christmas morning, they all open presents together.  BF says they don't sleep over eachothers houses, but who knows if that is true.  X does all the Christmas shopping for the girls because they make a Christmas list of wanted presents  and they (X and BF)  split the expenses.  He also buys daughters something personal from himself.  BF and X share a bank account! He says it makes it easier if one of the girls needs something, X or daughters will send him a text saying such and such was $200 and she takes  half of the the money out of the account.  I'm unsure if it is a bank accont just for the girls and he also has another bank account for himself.  BF is still on X's phone plan. 

Knowing he will spend Christmas Eve and Christmas day with his ex wife like they are all still an intact family makes me feel like a mistress and some kind of dirty secret.  I told him I would understand if he was just spending time with his daughters, but I thought he should not spend time with his EX too.  He said maybe I could join them if I wanted on Christmas Eve? I said that would be awkward considering his 21 year old threw a fit about him dating, plus I don't want to spend time with his ex wife on our first christmas eve/christmas.  

Last week  I told him the situation makes me uncomfortable and hypothetically, if we are still in a relationship next year, will he be doing this Christmas Eve/Christmas Day thing with the X again next year?  I told him I would not be okay wth that and it would be a deal breaker for me.  He didn't want to answer the question and said he didn't know what would happen.  I said I am painting the scenario for you, if we are still togther as a couple a year from now, will you do this same ritual with your ex?  He kept trying to not annswer and then said he didn't know, because he didn't know if his EX would be in a relationship next year and it all depends on her.  After further pressing he said he said this is all about the girls (his daughters) having a nice Christmas and once they get married and have children of their own, maybe things would change.  

He also tucks his 17 year old into bed every night, so I"m not sure if this adds to the weirdness of treating them like they are emotionally fragile 5 and 6 year olds.

I told him part of the reason why the 21 acted so upset at the thought of him dating is because he is having rituals like this which makes it seem like they are all still and intact family.  He said they are still a family and always will be.  I said, no, your daughters will always be your family but your marriage is broken.  

I think he's selfish.  He also told me he only dates women without children because children cost too much money even when they are older and he does't want to have to incorporate other peoples childrens schedules, etc.    Some nerve wanting it to all be about him and his wants if you ask me.  













thinkthrice's picture

to get the hell out of stepHELL!  A lot of us wish we woyld have boltes in the beginning.  It only gets worse.

Notup4it's picture

You did the right thing in ending things.., don’t even question that!! He will either eventually end up back with his ex or will wait to actually move on when she does.  In a nut shell he is an idiot. 

NoWireCoatHangarsEVER's picture

to end the retationshio now !!!! This guy is not a keeper in any sense of the word. Nope nope and nope. Did I say nope? Let me say it again. Nope. You just rescued yourself from a life of pure unadulterated hell on earth

blayze's picture

Boy, bye!

Truly. The “kids” aren’t kids. They are young adults. 

The nerve of this dude. 

Sharing bank accounts, phone plans, and holidays? 

Where do you fit in his relationship with his ex? 

Perfectly rational of you to decide not to participate in this situation... you’ll lose EVERYTHING if you try to untangle this family (since your man didn’t bother creating a place for a woman in his life before you entered).

Congrats on giving yourself the best Christmas present ever. No need to drag his baggage into your new year. Wink


SecondNoMore's picture

100%. Don't second-guess yourself on this one because there are red flags everywhere. Still playing happy family and the kids are not that young. This guy hasn't done what he needs to in order to prepare his life for a healthy serious relationship. He is purely casual hook-up material so if you want more than that, move on.

StillWaters's picture

Thank you everyone who has commented so far.  It's making me feel a lot better.  It's hard finding a good guy so throwing out this relationship made me feel guilty.  I only found this site a few days ago and reading all the stories really is making things sink in about how bad it could be.  I am very sorry for those of you who have had to deal with abuse from your stepchildren and their mothers.  I will start dating again but I'm almost scared to consider dating anyone with daughters now! 

still learning's picture

"It's hard finding a good guy..."

Is it really?  Where have you been trolling for men, "Divorced Daddees R Us?"  You're a childless woman with so much freedom and opportunities. Quit settling for someone elses left overs. Almost all of the divorcees you'll meet will cry victim and say it was all the ex's fault to get your sympathy, but there are always two sides to every story.  Cast your dating net wide and be very selective about who you choose to go on a second date with.  

Step-girlfriend's picture

To be fair, it is hard finding a good guy you connect with. I was single (dating, but nothing serious) for 10 YEARS. The person I thought was a good guy ended up having a fiance. It's hard finding someone who is on the same page as you, at the same time.

Iamwoman's picture

That's simply because men are a walking contradiction. It took me a while to figure this out, but once you do, it makes understanding them a lot less frustrating. My DH (best friend, soul mate, etc) pursued me after I divorced my exH. My DH was well aware of my point in life - Done with men. I was planning on being single the rest of my life, and going on singles cruises, focusing on my own daughter, career, and basically doing what I want, when I want, even if it meant doing things alone. I am happy alone, and to this day, would gladly be alone if DH ever stopped being my bff and soul mate. I have been hurt so much my men that I just don't effing care to cater to their whims anymore... and WHIMS are exactly what I finally figured out drives a man!

We women are in touch with ouselves for the most part (disclaimer - exceptions abound). We know what pleases us and what upsets us. We know how to connect emotionally to other human beings, and we are generally gifted with relational foresight (ex: "I will put a ton of energy into this relationship, because we get back what we give." right? WRONG!

Here are just a few contradictions that men must deal with in themselves regularly:

"I want a strong, independent woman, but I want to pursue her and be her hero."

"I want a slut in bed and a lady on the street, but once you act like a slut in bed I will suspect you of actually being a slut."

"I want a fiscally responsible woman who loves her career, but it's unattractive if she makes more money than me."

"I want her to be the type of mother who lives for her children and raises them responsibly, but when I have an affair and cheat, I am going to try to take them away from her 50% of the time."

"I want to give her the opportunity to be a stay at home mom, but I don't want her to depend on me for everything."

I could go on and on with these. Maybe some of these sentiments could be worded better or differently to suit individual scenarios. Many, many additions could be made. Semantics could be argued over, and I'm sure they will be. The point here though, isn't to take each of these sentiments word for word.

These are hypothetical examples based on real-life observations.

Men want what they can't have. Once they get it, they no longer want it. The solution is to not give them what they want, because even though no man alive will ever admit that he wants to marry any number of variations of "the bitch" woman - they all do.

He wants to chase, so allow him to chase you perpetually. Of course, you eventually sleep with him or marry him, etc., but always be ready and willing to leave and establish your own individual life at any moment. Some SM's here do just that through an emergency escape plan. You don't have to be married to an abuser to have one though. It is good to have the security of knowing that at any moment, you can be self-reliant. It is also good that your man knows this about you. It makes you more exciting.

Be fun, and include him in your fun, but don't beg him. If he is busy or doesn't want to join in, so what? Have fun anyway. I guarantee he will find a way to join in next time. My DH knows that when I have a crazy idea for a fun time, I am going to do it with him or without him. He knows that I will have more fun with him, but he also knows that I will still have fun without him, and he doesn't want to miss it. Conversely, I urge him to visit friends, etc. He can get wrapped up in me, which makes me feel suffocated sometimes.

Have interesting things to discuss regularly. My topics include anything from property law to hockey to sailing to quantum mechanics to breath-holding contests to recipes to workout routines and so on and so forth. Try not to talk about kids too much. Kids are boring - expecially these days - they seem to want to be entertained moreso than be entertaining... yawn. I purposely avoid women who ONLY talk about their kids... it makes me want to stick an ice pick in my brain, and I think most men feel the same way. Avoid it.

Have hobbies. My exH really really wanted me to be a boring homemaker while he did exciting things such as boating with his brother. He was the most controlling control freak I have ever known. He spent epic amounts of time sitting around thinking of ways to "break" me (like a horse), and yes, he did verbalize this intent of his. I knew the marriage wouldn't last, and knew that he would never be happily married, because men who "break" women are never happy, and exH wasn't happy with an "unbroken" woman either (be careful of men who try to force you into a role - they are not good marriage material, and will never be happy with anyone - ever). Anyway, when he went boating or did other "guy" things and purposely left me out, I would find awesome fun things to do while he was out! Sometimes he came home to find I was not there, because I was out having fun. He was jealous and controlling, and even once followed me to the gas station because I accidentally left my phone at home. I never let him "break" me, and to this day, I am the one who got away. He pines for me, and is unhappily married (because a man like him can never be happy - so keep an eye out for, and avoid duds like him).

Basically, don't revolve your life around your man. Be fulfilled and happy on your own, and the right man will come along. Stay fulfilled and happy on your own, and that right man will stay forever. Men would like to create the illusion of having "tamed" you (you being that glorious unicorn that you are), but in reality, once a woman is "kept," and begins to revolve her life around a man, that man loses interest.

Be financially independent, but accept his generosity when offered.

Be happy and fulfilled, but enjoy his company.

Have hobbies and interests, but invite him along in a "take it or leave it" manner.

Be a good person and a good parent, but for Pete's sake, don't revolve your life around children.

Be ready and willing to leave him at any moment, even if you're married, even if you know you would never leave - the illusion is what he needs to keep pursuing you.

Make joint decisions, but for things that truly matter to you, be willing and able to put your foot down and decide on a solo basis.

I think that once you let it be known in the dating circles that you're fine without a guy, but that you're no slut either (do not have sex on first dates, or even seconds or thirds if you are truly interested in a guy. Only have casualy sex if you really just can't stand being horny anymore and know you can easily make the guy disappear from your life and not affect your reputation), then you will find a good guy sooner than you think.

Guys don't want to be wanted. They want to be respected. They don't want to be doted on, they want to pursue and do the doting. They don't want MOTY - they want a "good enough mother" for their kids. They don't want to be in control of you (unless they are a control freak, and I've already said these guys are duds. avoid.), they want to be excited by you. They don't want to know "you're a comfortable routine," they want to know that one day they may come home from work to find your car packed for the beach because you're having a fried-chicken picnic there tonight, or come home to your new pet alpaca because you've gotten a new hobby, or come home to a gourmet meal one night and leftovers the next. They want to respect you as a person, because that is what THEY want for themselves, and it boggles their minds that so many women will degrade and humiliate themselves for love.

OP, the fact that you tolerate so much from your man is why he disrespects you.

I would put the dirty diapers in his side of the bed, flush his weed down the toilet, erase the nude ex pics from his phone, and take my baby with me to a friend or relative's house so I am not there when he gets home to find my vindictive mess. When he calls, I will simply text him: "I'm busy. I'll call you later." Then I would wait until the very end of the day, and instead of calling him, text him. If he is rude or angry, tell him that you refuse to discuss anything until he is calm, because you are enjoying yourself, and you will not allow him to ruin your good mood. Period. End of story. 

If he can discuss things without being an a$$, great!

BTW, why on earth are you worried about buying another crib, etc.? Take what is there! These items belong to your baby, not the baby's father. Eff him,

lieutenant_dad's picture

So he gets all his emotional needs met by his ex and daughters, so all he needs are his physical ones met.

It would be better if he just hired that help versus bringing someone who thinks they will be a partner along for the ride.

Then again, it doesn't sound like he wants to spend money on anyone except his first family, and I don't know many "women of the night" willing to go dutch. Looks like Lefty and Righty will have to do for him.

You made the right call.

notasm3's picture

Oh I can relate  to the about feeling like a mistress. Many years ago I ended a 4 year relationship over “Christmas”.  And my SO was a never married man with no children!  But he had an unholy relationship with his family - his parents, an elderly unmarried aunt and unmarried uncle who all lived together just a couple of miles from us.  They were all of Greek heritage and even though my grandfather was born in Athens (they were all born in US) I was not ethnically pure enough to marry their golden boy. 

I’d put up with his parents refusing to meet me, but when he started having to hide his being with me - even leaving me stranded with a broken down car because his parents wanted him to come for dinner and he couldn’t tell them that he needed to go help me - I truly felt like the “other woman who needed to be hidden”. His saying he couldn’t see me for Christmas was the straw that broke the camel’s. Ack. 

It was sooooo hard to do, but within 48 hours I knew I’d made the right choice.    I never looked back. What helped was that I literally cut off all contact with him.  The only time I ever saw him again was at a party where he came up to me and I ignored him after icely saying hello. 

Looking back (it’s now years and years later) I see what a wonderful life i’ve Had without him.  I have the cutest, sweetest husband now who is almost 15 years younger than that ex.  Yes my DH has an adult skid - but DH does have my back. 

Beat wishes and good luck with your new life!



Not all relationships are meant to be. Sometimes you just cut your losses and leave the wrong person behind  


StillWaters's picture

He told me I shouldn't date a man with children since I don't understand that he/they will always have to be connected to his ex wife because of the children.  I told him, I have dated divorced dads before and none of them were entangled with the ex wife like this.  I understand being civil at graduations, birthday parties or grandchildren births but he wants to preseve his 4 person unit family like it's still intact and it's not.   

Notup4it's picture

Ummm,  divorced men with children don’t usually act like this. Like I said before, he is an idiot. He wants his life to be wrapped up with BM.... why would this “holy tradition” be only broken if SHE found a significant other?! 

He might not want to think about dating women in general because no one with half a brain would tolerate any of this. You should have told him you were going to spend Christmas with your boyfriend from college because it is tradition and it means a lot to your parents who love him (that is about as stupid as this sounds).  

Dont be HIS doomat in the wings while he plays doormat in the wings for his ex wife. Yuck. The holiday season is a great time to find new romance. Smile it doesn’t matter if the guy has a kid or not, but find one who has his act together.

TwoOfUs's picture


Yeah...I'd venture to say that most divorced dudes don't behave in this way. There were ways early on that I thought DH gave in to his ex...but it was clearly because he was afraid of her poisoning the kids against him. 

All in all, we've gotten along with her fine. We mostly feel sorry for her because she's kind of child-like in her expectation to be taken care of, and she's revolved her life around her kids in an unhealthy way...and now they're all moving out and her CS has ended.

DH was just commenting the other day that he hasn't heard a single thing from her since CS ended. (She used to do these once-every-month or more like every 3 weeks "updates" about what was going on with the kids...which always, ALWAYS ended with her hand out asking for more money for something.) He's happy that she no longer uses the kids to try to get $$$ out of him, and that they can both drop the pretense of "co-parenting" forever...

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

Bwhaha! I would fall down laughing if my husband said that about Biohag then I’d raise hell!

ndc's picture

You did the right thing.  When I first started dating my SO, he did a lot of things with his ex-wife also - joint birthday parties, holidays, trips to the zoo or the water park, etc.  They had only been divorced for a year and the kids were much younger (1 and 3 at the time).  I quickly let my SO know that this was not OK with me, and all but the joint birthday parties stopped right away.  Once he knew I didn't like it, he was perfectly willing to put a stop to it.  They never had joint bank accounts or anything like that - to me that is just bizarre.  If your boyfriend knows you are uncomfortable with his ongoing relationship with his ex, and he continues with it anyway, then you are not a priority and it's best to move on.

This guy sounds like he is way too enmeshed with his ex-wife, and his kids sound like they would make your life a holy hell if you stuck around.  You dodged a bullet.   

Jen_Jen's picture

Yes and do not look back!  Any relationship where you are obviously second. or third or fourth best, is reason enough to call an end.

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

Tucking in his SEVENTEEN year old is reason enough to run for the hills! You saved yourself!

theoldredhen's picture

Hey, StillWaters,

Even at only 6 months, it can be tough to say 'goodbye' to a guy whom you've come to love. It hurts and life without him, regardless of his outrageous behavior, can look lonely and bleak. To some degree, it’s a good thing that the festive season is upon us so that you can spend your sudden excess of spare time with family, friends and co-workers. Let the wine flow, Hon!

You’re a savvy and self-aware woman to realize, early into the relationship, that it’s going nowhere except step-hell. There are better, more available men out there; I found one and he's the love of my life! 


CANYOUHELP's picture

Leave this mess, the sooner the better. This is seriously enmeshed and likely to only become more dysfunctional with time and YOU around......find a better, happier place. That will be most likely be any place... other than the place you are in now.....

StillWaters's picture

We are broken up as of last week.  I am finally seeing how selfish he is in not preparing his life for a new partner despite telling me he wanted a serious and lasting relationship.  He's setting any new woman up to be disliked by his daughters.  

futurobrillante99's picture

Be on guard for him trying to love bomb you - making promises that he will not keep just to suck you back in. I know being single over the holidays sucks, but don't get suckered back in because hasn't found a new victim to spend the holidays with.


It is surely difficult to walk away from someone you love when you realize they don't love you or treat you properly.

Notup4it's picture

I think he seems like the type that would if anything be more likely to come back poking around AFTER Christmas with his family..... just sayin.

StillWaters's picture

I was thinking that too.  That way he can do what he wants this year and see if I'll change my mind and settle for crumbs next year.  

Step-girlfriend's picture

"He kept trying to not annswer and then said he didn't know, because he didn't know if his EX would be in a relationship next year and it all depends on her."

So, if his ex is in a relationship, he would expect her to not continue this little "tradition"....most likely because he realizes that another man wouldn't be happy about it and adding someone else to the mix CHANGES things...but yet somehow he thinks YOU should have to suck it up and deal with it?

Classic. He doesn't care about your feelings, and he is not ready to let go of this little marriage he still had going with his ex. You did the right thing. I can only see you having a lot of heartache and frustration in this relationship.

StillWaters's picture

Yes, that's what got my blood boiling too.  Incredibly selfish. He started raising his voice when I pointed out this made no sense.  

Evil3's picture

It is weird that his 17 year old still gets tucked in by him. It never gets better. It gets even more disgusting and pathetic as these girls get older. My SD29 was still getting tucked in at the age of 23. She would give me a look if I walked past her bedrood as if to gloat over having DH's attention solely on her. So, it doesn't sound like just enmeshment with the X. It sounds like there's some mini-wife syndrome going on too. That alone is pure agony, so please know that you did the right thing.

Dovina's picture

Please dont look back. Know that you are above this twisted dynamic. May he live the rest of his days cowering to the ex and his mini wife daughters.

Ozlady's picture

I wish I didn’t have to battle the ex, she is now the reason my DH and I do not attend his extended family Christmas or other events, because he allowed her to remain part of the family for the kids (they are 35 and 28)!!! You have made a wise and insightful decision. Good on you!




MissDenise's picture

He's destroying his future over a ex that cheated, LOL. Not a smart guy. My friend divorced her husband after 14 years because they had to go to the exes house for grand-kids birthday celebrations etc. Most do their own and separately but her husband tried to make her go for many years. Finally when she put her foot down he would give her the silent treatment for days. When she got the chance she divorced him.  A lot of inappropriate boundaries like this one. OP he still wants the ex back imo. Only date guy without kids at this point!!

Curious Georgetta's picture

What works for them. It should not matter what other people find acceptable or unacceptable. It should be all about what you can or cannot tolerate.

Do not live your life by taking a poll. If it feels right for you then go with it. If it feels creepy away from it.

One woman's pleasure may be another woman's poison.

 Trust your own instincts.