He wants to spend more time with his kids

Dear Meredith,

My boyfriend and I are in a difficult spot. We've been together 1.5 years, and he has two young children. He lives with them 50 percent of the time in the house he co-owns with ex (until he buys a new place when the divorce is finalized). The other 50 percent of time, he is supposed to live with me. They broke up before I met him.

He loves his kids very much, and whenever he misses a scheduled day with them because of his business travel, he swaps it with "my" days by giving me notice. Sometimes he asks me if I mind the switch, but usually he swaps no matter what I say (so I really do not see why he asks), or he comes to me instead of them but acts all grumpy, as if he's made a huge sacrifice. His custody rules are not strict so he swaps because he wants to, not because he is legally required. Also, he plans a lot of business travel on "my" days so it's not exactly like I get my 50 percent either way.

On top of all of this, I got pregnant three months ago. I was on birth control so it was completely unexpected and unplanned. I was shocked and honestly terrified, as I am very career focused at this time of my life. He did not like the news and took two months off the relationship to "think" about whether he wanted that baby. I am 38, and I was horribly fatigued and nauseous during these two months. He came around after his time off and told me he didn't want this child because it was not a good time for him (which I completely understand). By that time I already considered abortion because I already have a child I raise by myself. But before the procedure, he changed his mind and asked if we could keep the baby and try this together. I was touched and agreed to cancel the appointment.

But I find I cannot forgive him for disappearing this way; for initially telling me that he did not want my child and leaving me for two months while being so obviously infatuated with his other kids to the extent that he calls them little angels; for canceling our dates multiple times whenever they wanted to see him off-schedule; and for doing anything they demand. And also for our fights. Whenever I spoke to him about feeling like I wasn't a priority, he'd tell me I was selfish and should "understand" how much the divorce traumatized his children and that I should just live with it.

After all that's happened, I am not sure I want to spend my life with him. I now plan to terminate pregnancy, as it will be difficult for me to pull this off on my own. I guess I am writing to you because I keep hoping that maybe it's just that I do not see the situation correctly, and that maybe he is a committed guy with a good heart.

– Unsure


I understand why you're angry at him for leaving you alone for two months to think about the pregnancy. As much as I understand a person's need for space, this wasn’t the time to take it. At least not for so many weeks. I'm sorry you had to spend those months on your own.

That said, you are wrong about the first part of your letter. You should not be prohibiting this man from spending time with his family. You talk about 50-50 custody – as if you are his child. But you, his significant other, are not entitled to 50 percent of his hours. His goal is to spend as much quality time with his kids as possible, and if you see those children as competition, you are doing it wrong. Dating a single parent means understanding that it's still a full-time job, even if the kids aren't always around. He doesn't stop being a dad when he's at your place. He's made it clear that those children come first.

It doesn't sound like you're interested in dating a man who wants to prioritize children – and that's OK. It’s a fair reason to end the relationship.

This one isn't right for you. Even if he does have a good heart, it's OK to walk away.

– Meredith

Readers? Help?