I need to know how to address an issue with my girlfriend. We’ve lived together for six months. She has three young children ages 9, 5 and 2. I have three grown children that live on their own. My girlfriend recently got a physically demanding job and works 3-11 p.m. I work regular hours, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Since her new job began, all of a sudden she expects me to be responsible for picking her children up from daycare five days a week, and then feeding them and changing diapers after I’ve worked a full day. The few days we’re off together she complains about how tired she is and expects me to change her son’s diapers while she “rests.”
She has told me that she knows this situation is stressing me out, but it doesn’t seem like she’s trying to find a solution. I’m really beginning to feel resentful as I feel she should be taking care of her children since she made the decision to bring them into this world. She has also told me about how she broke up with previous boyfriends because they either wouldn’t adopt her children or act like a father figure. Although I do love this woman, I believe she feels that every man she dates is supposed to be a daddy to her kids. I need some help here.
Thanks for your question.
While I understand that being a single parent is a very difficult job on many levels, your girlfriend is still ultimately responsible for her own kids. What’s interesting is that many single parents are a bit apprehensive about involving new “friends” in their kids’ lives for fear of making things more confusing and complicated for them. This is why I’m surprised at your girlfriend’s willingness — her eagerness almost — to hand over the daycare responsibilities to you. This should give you a good indication of where her head’s at and what she’s looking for in a man.
Jason, you’re a good guy to help her out while she transitions into her new schedule. I hope your girlfriend knows how lucky she is to have found someone so solid, considering that she brings a slightly more complex situation to the table than your average gal. That said, she’s taking advantage of you. Welcoming your help is one thing, but expecting you to pick up the slack while she’s sorting things out with her own life is a bit over the top. I think many people would feel guilty, even embarrassed, by thrusting these daycare responsibility onto another person. The fact that this doesn’t bother her is a red flag in my eyes.
She needs to know that this arrangement is unacceptable. You need to have a sit down with her and explain that you also have a job and other responsibilities. And that while you’re glad to help out, she needs to show she’s working on coming up with some other solution for her kids. She may get defensive, so before you say anything make sure you reassure her that you care about her and want things to work out.
Page 2 of 2 - If you can’t work out then you need to do some serious thinking about this relationship. Clearly you love her and want this to work out, but how will this play out in the future? Presumably she has some great qualities otherwise you wouldn’t have fallen for her, but good qualities tend to fade when adverse conditions continue over long periods of time.
Remember, Jason, relationships are about give and take. The two of you need to work together so you both are fulfilled and happy. Be careful not to settle for a relationship where you’re doing most of the giving.
Saelen Ghose is the head writer for The Guy’s Perspective, a popular relationship blog and website. Over the course of his tenure he has responded to thousands of relationship questions, and while he hasn’t solved every problem, he has provided a thoughtful perspective on every question received. If you have a relationship question of your own, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Saelen will do his best to answer your question. Please limit your question to 200 words or less. For more from The Guy’s Perspective, visit www.theguysperspective.com.