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[Standard] Should I end my relationship with my boyfriend?

I am in a 10 month committed relationship with a 57 year old. He includes me in his life. We've gone on one vacation together. We've taken a few small trips together as well. I've met his family on more than one occasion. I have my daughter every Tuesday and Wednesday. When I'm not with my daughter I go to his house from Thursday through Tuesday. He usually visits me at my place every other Monday that I'm not down there. When I have my daughter over the weekend he doesn't typically come to see me on my Thursday off. He'd rather have his single time with his female friend Gayle or one of his other friends. I think Gayle is in love with him. When she is around sometimes she has said honey, sweetie or when leaving Love ya. He doesn't reveal his day with me in full detail unless I ask. I feel disconnected from him because he is so secretive and I don't even know if he's aware he's doing it. He doesn't even know that him being with Gayle so much bothers me. I just find it weird that he wouldn't want to spend Thursday's with me even if it was to meet somewhere. They have had sex previously but he told me that he couldn't be with her. She wasn't girlfriend material. She's constantly going to his place and now they are going to parties together. If I didn't ask today what he was up to he would have never told me they were at a party together. I've never asked him if they are still having sex together. He does text me and tell me he's thinking of me. Calls me cute names. Should I stay in this relationship or end it?

Re: [Standard] Should I end my relationship with my boyfriend?

When you date as a single parent, it's important that you find someone who understands your life as a romantic partner, as well as a single parent, and wants to be part of both those facets of your life. It sounds like he's jealous of the time you're spending with your daughter, and so he's punishing you by going out with a potential romantic interest -- his ex who likes him, and makes him feel desired, especially on Thursdays -- at a time when he's construing your time with your daughter as a rejection of him.

Before you throw in the towel, try inviting him to spend time with you and your daughter on a Thursday night -- whether it's to go see a movie with the two of you or have dinner or go out for ice cream -- and make a point of saying how nice it would be to spend Thursday nights together so he can get to know your daughter a little more than he does, already. His response will be telling. It's possible, this had never occurred to him, and not having children of his own, he just never figured out that this was a good idea. It also sounds like the two of you haven't really talked about this before, and by inviting him to spend time with you and your daughter, you may be giving him the invitation he's needed to move things to the next level. On the other hand, if he blanches or feels that this isn't something he wants to do, then you can take that opportunity to ask him about how he feels about your daughter, and the two of you being a package deal. It sounds like this is a topic that hasn't really come up in a meaningful way, and at ten months in, it's time.

I don't think this is really about the other woman as much as it's about his wanting to feel like he's number one in your life, and you need to know if he's interested in being part of your future as a partner and a step-father. If he's not, then there's no sense in continuing.
April Masini is a relationship and etiquette expert, author of 4 books and the #1 relationship advice forum, blue-chip corporate spokesperson and preferred go-to source for the world’s most prominent media and news outlets.

Re: [Standard] Should I end my relationship with my boyfriend?

Can you give me some examples of how to approach him about me not being comfortable with him having such an emotional attachment to her? I think there needs to be boundaries set. What is the right amount of texting/calling throughout the day before it becomes seen as being needy? I feel like when I leave on Tuesday and don't see him till the following Monday, we might only talk on the phone one time and text once in the morning and a few texts late at night. I feel like there is a huge disconnect for the time I don't see him and when we do see each other it takes a little time to adjust cause I don't feel like I know him. I know that sounds very strange but that is how I feel. I dated another guy who lived in a different state and we both knew what each other was doing daily and we talked and text all the time. I never felt disconnected from him ever. I want that same feeling with my current boyfriend.

Re: [Standard] Should I end my relationship with my boyfriend?

It's important that you don't "lay down the law" or impose ultimatums. That's why I suggested you invite him to do something special with you and your daughter.... but it now sounds like, for you at least, this is really more about this other woman he's spending time with, and not so much about his feeling displaced by your daughter being with you. What you can do is break that glass wall by sending him a little gift when you're not with him -- homemade food like chocolate chip cookies, or a little gift that's meaningful to him... maybe a photo of yourself, or the two of you, from a memorable date, or a book you think he'll like, and make sure that either you deliver the gift or they're professionally delivered on those days when you're not with him. Ideally, he'll call you right away to thank you for the gift -- or you can even contact him to make sure he got the gift. This behavior modification on your part should induce more contact from him. Smaller ways to connect during the times when you're not together are sending him images, inviting him to meet for a drink or go for a run or whatever you both do together -- during those times when he's not usually with you. Use the, "you catch more bees with sugar than vinegar" to attract him to you -- rather than shaking a scolding finger at him for misbehaving.

As for his relationship with this other woman -- I don't think you're wrong to feel uncomfortable. So, trying to get more comfortable with his emotional attachment to her is akin to putting your head in the sand. :? She's competition. And the fact that he's taking her to parties when you're not around, is an indication that he's not ready for the kind of commitment to you that you are to him. This may be because he's on a slower clock, but more likely it's because he likes having you and having her -- and his freedom. I was a little surprised to hear you don't know him that well after 10 months of dating, so figure out how you can get to know him better. Have meaningful conversations over dinner, a bottle of wine or a morning hike! Use the dating process to figure out if he's someone you can have a future with or not. ;)
April Masini is a relationship and etiquette expert, author of 4 books and the #1 relationship advice forum, blue-chip corporate spokesperson and preferred go-to source for the world’s most prominent media and news outlets.