Dear Dr. Archer,
I have a toddler and have been in a relationship with a man for over a year. We live together, and when he moved in I thought it would be a good chance to save some money and get ahead financially, as well as taking our relationship to the next level.
His job went down the drain and he decided to go into business for himself. He never discussed it with me, but for the last six months I've supported all of us, including his daughter in fourth grade.
All I do is work and clean. I never go with my friends, and I never have money to buy anything for myself or do anything fun. When he gets money he spends it, but never towards household bills. I would not have asked him to move in had he been trying to start a business at that time. It just happened as soon as he moved in.
I feel depressed and think that makes me a bad mother. I'm short with my son and it's not his fault that I'm upset. I not only cannot save money, but I'm always behind on my bills and that has never happened before in my life.
I feel like I can't break up with him because that would mean the last year of my life would have been wasted. I do love him and know he loves me. Our problems are all about money. I don't want to have wasted all the money I have invested in him and his business, not to mention that my son loves him as much as I do.
I also feel like if I leave this relationship I will not be able to have a new one. With a toddler, there's no way I have time to invest in trying to meet, find or get to know someone to date, so I will be alone indefinitely.
If I leave this relationship, my son will be the most important thing and I'm sure not going to bring someone I don't fully know around my child.
What do I do? How do I make him see he has to get a job? He is already $2,000 behind on his business rent. I'm absolutely terrified that our being common law married is going to ruin my credit somehow. He is HORRIBLE with finances, but I never realized it until he stopped contributing financially.
When I first met him he worked so hard. Now he doesn't work hard enough since he has his own business, and he just doesn't get that. He just waits for it to come to him, but it doesn't!
You're in a mess, and I'm glad you wrote in. The one thing you said that bothers me more than anything is "If I leave this relationship, my son will be the most important thing..."
Raylene, your son should be the absolute MOST important thing in your life NOW, not the boyfriend who is taking advantage of you and taking you for a ride.
You should be providing food and shelter for your precious son, not this man and his daughter. She is his responsibility, but he has given that responsibility to you and you’ve accepted it.
Enough, Raylene! Look at your little boy and tell me he doesn't deserve more than he's getting. He doesn't get the attention he needs, doesn't have the fun he should and is getting the short end of the stick. Plain and simple, he's being neglected.
You MUST tell this man that he and his daughter have to leave NOW. Give him a couple of days to find a place, but they must go. You say you can't break up because that would mean a year of your life was wasted? That's warped thinking, Raylene.
The only thing worse then putting up with a bad relationship for a year is putting up with one for a year and a day. If you live like this five more years, then what? Then it'd be five years of your life wasted. He already owes $2,000, and that's with you paying all the household expenses. Face it -- he's using you. Cut your losses now.
This man is using you, and if he were any kind of man he'd be paying at least half of all expenses. If he cannot handle finances now, you think it's going to get better? No way! You're doing all the work, worry, providing all the necessities and that's fine with him.
Please don't even think about another relationship right now. That should be the least of your concerns, and in all actuality it's the last thing you need. Your main objective now is to get out of this relationship and give yourself time to get back on your feet.
Enjoy your son, because before you know it he's going to be a young adult. Start having fun with him and give him a childhood that one day he will look back on with fondness, not with anger. I hope you heed my words, take care.