This week’s question comes from Suzie:
“Dear Orna and Matthew,
My boyfriend and I have been together for a couple of years and I love him and yet I don’t know if it is ever going to work out. He is still dealing with his ex and working through custody issues with their 7 yr. old son.
They spend a lot of time together (at events for his kid’s school, at parties and gatherings with their friends from their marriage) sometimes it’s like they aren’t even divorced. I feel excluded from his life in many ways.
He says he still cares for her but that they will never get back together because they fight so much. But it seems like she is always reaching out to him when she needs something. I don’t think she wants to let him go. He tells me that he feels guilty for the divorce and that’s why he spends so much time with her.
The thing is I’m really in love with him. When we are together I feel so loved by him and we really compliment each other so well. I’m getting tired of playing second fiddle to his ex wife.
Have I wasted the last couple of years? Will he ever step up and choose me? How long do I wait for him to figure it out?
Thank you for reaching out through what must be a very frustrating situation. We understand how hard it can be to know if this man is going to step up for you and when. We don’t want to sound harsh, and we feel it’s time for a little tough love.
A man shows you what is important to him by where he spends his resources: his time, energy, and money. This man has been showing you all along that he values his relationship with his ex more than the one with you.
It is certainly important that he and his ex co-parent their child together, and that he is a good father to his son. There are only so many hours in the day, and raising a child with an ex can be demanding on his limited amounts of time.
The issue here is how you are feeling in this relationship. To feel like a second fiddle to your boyfriend’s ex is the source of the problem.
You’ve been patiently waiting for this dynamic to change and the fact that you’ve reached out to ask how much longer you should wait for him to make you a priority let’s us know that you’ve been stewing about this for some time.
Being part of a blended family situation can be very rewarding and it has its own unique challenges. For this situation to work all the people involved need to be on the same page and willing to work together.
Have you spoken up and shared with him how you feel? Have you asked to be more of a priority in his life? Did you always make things easy for him and accommodate his needs even when you two first started dating?
In our special report that shares the 7 Major Mistakes Single Women Make That Block Them From Finding True Love (and how to avoid them) the first and most common of all of these mistakes is being too accommodating and making things easy for him.
A man who wants to spend time with you will make you a priority. A man who is looking for companionship and sex will have a pseudo relationship of convenience.
Does your boyfriend discuss the future with you? Does he make the effort to see you and travel to your place, or do you usually spend time at his? Do you spend time with him and his son? Do you attend family events with him?
If he has never stepped up in the relationship to include you in all the many facets of his life than it is highly unlikely that he will ever change. Right now you are the ideal girlfriend for him, patient, loving, and kind with zero demands on him. He gets everything he wants and needs while you do not.
Do you recognize that you are in sacrifice? You are sacrificing your own needs because you have feelings for this man.
The feelings you have for him are likely attached to the dynamic you learned in your family of origin. As a child, did you put your parents and/or siblings needs and wants ahead of your own? Is this a pattern you can see in your relationships prior to this one?
We learn how to do love in our family of origin. The feelings you have for this man is your subconscious mind telling you, “This is familiar! This is familiar!”
With this new perspective, you have some choices to make:
- You can keep things as they are and hope that they change some day.
- You can make a request and ask that he make you more of a priority in his life and see how he responds.
- If you’ve already made those requests and nothing has changed, it may be time to move on.
This time with him doesn’t need to be wasted time. Even if it doesn’t work out you can use this experience to get more comfortable speaking up for your needs and desires. You’re definitely learning more about yourself and what you need in your intimate relationships.
Whatever happens, your intentions can make this a tremendous learning opportunity for you. Don’t waste it!
We are here to be your guides to long-lasting love.
Love and Abundance,