Ex is using him

Ex is using him

QUESTION:

your avatar   Mercy, 43-year-old woman

I'm dating a divorced father who freely gives his ex too much child support. He says she will not be able to live in the same home without his help. Not only this but now he is keeping his children full time and continuing to provide her with most of the child support! I am astounded!! We've been dating one year and recently he told me that he could not pursue our relationship while the kids were in high school. This is not really a problem because I have a similar situation, however, I feel rejected because he announced it. He also continues to do chores for his ex even though he knows it hurts me. She divorced him and is dating someone. I believe she just uses him.

I want to know if I should put up with his wanting to be his ex's handyman, help her with anything, anytime. Many times he helps her with things that don't affect the children. Am I overreacting or is he wrong? Should I continue this relationship or do you think it is the same as "I'll leave my wife one day"?

ANSWER:

    Tony Schirtzinger,

Hello,

I don't know if you should put up with this or not, but I do know that you should face that things are the way they are and make your decisions accordingly.

There's a pretty strong pattern here in his behavior, and in his apparent inability to let go of the other relationship. Maybe he still hopes to get back with her. Maybe he only feels a lot of responsibility toward his children. Maybe there are other reasons for all he's doing about the past relationship, but you need to face that he IS doing all of this, that you have told him that it bothers you, and that he has refused to make the changes you say you want him to make.

I'd suggest that you look at the fact that you are staying with him while things are like this.

The fact that you are staying could show that although this bothers you it doesn't bother you enough to do anything about it. That's OK!

Of course, the fact that you are staying could also show that you lack the self-confidence to let go of him and expect to find a better relationship. That'd be a big problem!

Look closely at your own reasons for staying so far. My guess is that you'll find your own answers about what to do about him if you look closely at why you are with him now.

Thanks for writing!

Tony Schirtzinger, ACSW, Therapist

This question was answered by Tony Schirtzinger. For more information visit: http://helpyourselftherapy.com/

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