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Man I'm dating still lives with his ex and won't tell her about me

Tagged as: Dating, Long distance, The ex-factor<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (19 March 2020) 6 Answers - (Newest, 23 March 2020)
A female United States age 30-35, anonymous writes:

I have invested time in a man but I can’t work out whether I’m being too trusting or whether I’m being naive.

We’ve been seeing each other about 5 months. He lives in another state and is in my area 4 days a week for work. When we first started chatting at work he told me he lives with his ex and 2 year old son. As I got to know him more he volunteered the information that his ex lives with him because she can’t afford to move out with their child and the only place she could go would be to her parents 5 hours away which means he wouldn’t see his son so at the moment it makes sense for them to stay living together. He says they’ve been split for a year but he’s not had another relationship in that time and neither has she. There is nothing more to them than two people co parenting who share a house for convenience.

He’s met my family and we make plans for the future. Even when he’s had annual leave from work he has come to see me for a few days. The thing that I can’t understand is that he refuses to tell his ex that he is seeing someone. He said there’s no need for her to know as he doesn’t at this stage want to upset the balance and risk her returning to her parents with his son. He said he wants to make sure he and I are definitely committed to each other before he approaches the subject with her. Several times he’s mentioned events that are going on in his home town and I’ve expressed an interest in going and offered to go to him but he has always made excuses. I know he’s told family and friends about me as we have FaceTimed whilst his parents have been present but I feel like something is amiss. He always has reasonable answers when I ask him anything about the situation but a friend pointed out to me that it would be very easy for him to still be in a relationship with his ex and be having me as a bit on the side as I’m kept so separate from his life at home. His ex wouldn’t suspect anything as he’s always worked away and stayed away so it’s no different from normal.

I really like this guy and would love a future with him but I don’t know how we can progress under the current circumstances.

View related questions: at work, his ex

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A female reader, Ciar Canada +, writes (23 March 2020):

Ciar agony auntShe's not his ex. She's his wife and you're the other woman.

Your relationship cannot progress any further than it has while he's in a relationship with someone else.

I know you won't accept that on my say so, but perhaps you could scale back your emotional investment until such time as you two can move forward.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (21 March 2020):

[EDIT]

Correction:

"If he doesn't, she'll know he's getting it elsewhere."

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A reader, anonymous, writes (21 March 2020):

Do you mind a guy's opinion?

If you are dating someone still living with their ex; you've already made a big mistake. I speculate that he doesn't want her to move-out; because they're probably still sleeping together. He doesn't want her to know he's dating; because she'll be jealous, and will take her kid and bolt! Then he'll have to pay child-support in amounts decided by family court; and on top of that, she'll give him baby-mama drama from now until doom's day!

It's harder maintaining a separate household of your own, and paying child-support. Keep her happy with the illusion they're still together working it out; and she'll behave, and be sweet as honey.

He keeps her happy, because he won't leave her. If he wants to see his son, he'd cross a desert and the deep blue sea! This is all a matter of convenience. Avoiding child-support payments, and minimizing baby-mama drama. He'll still gets all the benefits! He gets sex with a different lady; and by keeping the ex in the dark, he maintains the peace. Plus he has sex with her when he's bored with you! If he doesn't, she'll know he's getting elsewhere. He must be exhausted!

The relationship will likely last six to 10 months, or maybe a year. He'll keep postponing telling her about you. You'll get impatient, and he'll breakup with you; or you'll go along with it, because you're getting too attached to let-go!

I wouldn't trust anyone who keeps me a secret. I don't care what the reason is. I couldn't imagine a reason that could justify it. Having a kid is pretty convenient. You'd look like a very selfish b-witch to not want a dad to be with his kid. Dude's got leverage either-way.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (20 March 2020):

Honeypie agony auntI have to agree, bullshit alarm bells going off!

She can't just run off with their kid, IF he is smart he will make a visitation schedule and a shared custody that works for the two of them.

He CAN NOT make plans with a future with you, when he is still not capable of telling her about you, and he keeps lying to YOU and HER. Because he is.

He is LYING to you when he says "we have a future".

He is LYING to her when he goes off to visit you and without a doubt tells her some bogus story as to why he has to go elsewhere.

And like Aunty Bim Bim mentioned, HOW long does he he actually think he can continue this charade with her? How would she not be PISSED off in 12 months than she would be now? Do you think if he has LIED about you and HID a relationship with you for a LONG time that SHE would want YOU around their child ANY TIME in the future?

I think when he is THIS careful to keep you separate from HER it's for a reason. Either they ARE split and he is trying to keep the peace. OR they are having issues and he is creating this "fantasy life" with you while figuring out what he really want, her or you. OR he is telling the truth but SHE is hoping that they will work it out.

ANY of those scenarios put YOU as the 3rd wheel.

So let's talk, YOU.

How long are you willing to wait?

Do you want to being a relationship with someone who has "apparently" a very dramatic or volatile ex? Can you imagine having to deal with this woman down the line, so he can continue to see his child? If she is willing to move away with the child to "punish him" what is she willing to do next?

Do you want to be this little "dirty secret"? Treated a little like a mistress and not a love-interest?

You don't find it JUST a little of a "coinkidink" that he found you who lives FAR from his wife? I mean... yes, I get it he is in your state 4 days a week but... to me it seems rather "lucky" for him to have found someone in another state that he can keep sort of separate.

I get that you like the guy, but I think this is a case of you investing in a person who CAN NOT really invest in you to the same degree. He's met your family, he comes to visit but he CAN NOT introduce you, can he?

And I get that he wants to make sure there IS a future with you before telling the wife, I would get it if we were talking introducing his SON to you, but telling her? No, that would be him stringing you BOTH along.

I'm sorry. I could not do this. I would feel more like a mistress than a partner.

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy +, writes (20 March 2020):

CindyCares agony auntI think he is bullshitting you.

If his ex would be so upset in knowing he moved on and has now a new partner, to the point she'd run 5 hours away immediately- then , clearly, she is not his ex. By this I do not mean that they necessarily still have a sexual relationship ( although that's is very probable too ): but that , if she is likely to react in this way, then she is still invested emotionally , she is still attached to him, she still thinks they could work things out and be a happy couple again. Otherwise, if the scenario were really as he described it , two people forced by money reasons to co-parent under the same roof ( which is a quite possible scenario, not terribly often but it does happen this way )- then this lady would be indifferent to any developments in her ex's love life. Or, if she is a generous soul, maybe she would even be glad that her ex has found someone again.

Now you may tell me that if the ex still feels territorial about your bf, that's all on her and your bf has got nothing to do with it. Uhm. I would not be so sure. Your bf apparently is good at being secretive, not necessarily he gave you ( or her ) the real, honest complete scenario.Maybe ( probably ) he has been stringing her along, keeping her on the back burner , so he can eat his cake and keep it too : he gets to date a new gf and to keep his old life and little family in his usual place.

In any case, he is being insincere and manipulative. Either he is willing to submit himself to an emotional blackmail, in order to keep his child close- but then he has to stick to the agreement , and give up, but for real, trying to start new relationships which could upset his child's mother. Or, he is not the type to submit himself to blackmails, and should then have made crystal-clear that letting her share his home does not mean letting her dictate his love life; take it or leave it.

Plus, his excuse , that he wants to be sure your relationship is solid and you are really committed before telling his " ex " , sounds good and noble on paper , but in practice makes no sense, has no logic.

If the " ex " will bolt when she knows this guy is dating again, she will bolt anyway, as soon as she knows- whether the relationship is very committed or not so much. In fact, if this is how she feels, the more your relationship is committed, the more she will be hurt and furious, and the more she will want to punish him, and / or feel this is final, this is the end. While, instead, if she came to know about a fling, an dventure, probably she could decide to weather it out.

So, whatever the reason may be why your existence must remain unknown, is not the " committment " one he gave you ; it clearly holds no water.

Anyway… isn't all this sort of a moot point ?.. I mean, at the end of the day, this guy may be a big fat liar ( more probabale ) or he might be telling you the truth- but , in conclusion, he is not free. He is not single, even if technically he may say he is. He has no free agency over his own time and where he spends it and with whom. He can say whatever he wants and have teh strongest, noblest motivations, but- in practice he is as tied up and unavailable as if he were married .

Don't you want to date someone free ? Someone who can be all yours, no ifs and buts ? someone who does not need to hide you from nobody in the whole world ?....

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A female reader, Aunty BimBim Australia +, writes (20 March 2020):

Aunty BimBim agony auntDING! DING! DING!

That's the alarm bells going off. I've heard of couples no longer in a relationship still living together for a variety of reasons, cost of housing, children, etc and it sometimes works and sometimes doesn't.

In most cases ground rules for both parties have been set out and the arrangement works if both abide by the rules.

This dude wont even let you in the same town as him, let alone in the same house. What's wrong with you visiting his town and staying at a hotel for a few nights?

Is he scared of his ex, does he believe she will cut and run with his child, have they sorted out the legal side of things as far as their breakup goes, why cant he give you a decent answer as to why his ex is unaware of your existence? does he not want to rock the boat while they go through divorce proceedings?

Ask him how long he sees the current situation lasting for, a month? a year? five years? Until the child graduates college?

There will be no progression in the relationship while you are kept a secret. Personally I think its time for you to cut your losses and find somebody who is in a position be honest in all his relationships.

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