Friday

the Clock-Puncher



QUESTION: My guy has a routine. We have been going out for close to a year now, and I am confused by some issues. Right so he is older by twelve years, and I have four kids, three of whom live with me.

He comes over daily, by about 6pm, hangs around, sometimes helping the kids with homework, sometimes just watching TV. Then leaves promptly at 9:30 after I have put the kids to bed. (No attempts at intimacy here at all) He refuses to stay the night. He will send a text to say that he is home.

On weekends when the kids are there, he also comes over, spends lots of time with them talking, playing with the younger ones etc. But again he leaves at 9:30 - 10 pm...maybe sometimes 11:00pm if we are watching a movie, and is back at our place around lunch time the following day. Yes , we do go out all together on occasion.

The weekends that the kids are with their dad, he spends the night at my place, and then we may spend the Saturday night at his.

A few things bother me:
1) He puts new rules in place for the kids without consulting me.
2) He walks around putting things away and tidying up the place
3)He expects fair and equal share to things in our fridge (like he lives here)
4) He sometimes expects dinner...whether I am cooking or not..but will not help himself. Yet when the kids are not there, he has no problem making breakfast.
5) In discussion about issues sometimes, he literally tells me the "proper" way to do something; and I can really feel the mental block when I attempt to make my suggestions.
6) He discusses a "future together" when we are alone, but the minute the kids ask questions like "when are you guys getting married?" he responds in the negative all the time.
7) He never wants to face that he may have shortcomings.

I sometimes feel like a "kept" woman, yet he doesn't pay any of my bills. Basically, sometimes I feel like I am being played. Like he's only along for a ride as long as it would last. He discusses committment, and calls me future wife, but I get the feeling sometimes that its all a game to him. What am I missing?


GARLAND: So, you've actually been to his place? Well, that's great, because your 'friend' was sounding more and more married by the moment.

I hate to be a downer here, but it sounds like he is just going through the motions with you. He's in by 6 and out by 9:30... that gives him most of his evening to himself. This is of course assuming that he's not the kind of guy that has to be in bed by 10. If that is the case then, well... he's just an old dude that needs his rest.

But, I want to address the points you raised so specifically:

1) He puts new rules in place for the kids without consulting me.

THIS is absolutely unacceptable. Those are your kids and he's not your husband and he's not raising them. His behind-your-back influence is dangerous, especially if it is unwanted by you. I always have a gripe with people (men & women) that incorporate their kids so deeply into their dating. Sure, I know you're gonna' say he has to accept YOU and YOUR KIDS, and that is true. But YOU have to control [and sometimes limit] how much influence your 'friend' has over your children. If you let them get very close to this guy and he flakes out on you, then they have an emotional loss too! And, in worse situations, he gains their trust, and if he has a few screws loose, then he can become a physical threat to your kids as well!!! But, if he's making rules and you aren't involved, you need to lay down the law to him with the quickness - if you don't then you are doing them a grave injustice.

2) He walks around putting things away and tidying up the place

This could be his effort to be helpful OR it could be a little passive aggressive move to let you know your place is a mess. I really don't know. But if you don't like it - tell him to keep his hands out of your drawers... and closets and cabinets.

3)He expects fair and equal share to things in our fridge (like he lives here)

The next time he makes a sandwich, you could just ask him what he picked up from the grocery store, or you could just remind him that you are a single mom with a bunch of kids and you didn't factor a grown man into your grocery budget. He'll snicker I'm sure, then you tell him that you weren't joking, and "if he wants to eat at your place, a few bags of groceries once in a while would be appreciated."

4) He sometimes expects dinner...whether I am cooking or not..but will not help himself. Yet when the kids are not there, he has no problem making breakfast.

See my comment above. You have a real gem with this dude!

5) In discussion about issues sometimes, he literally tells me the "proper" way to do something; and I can really feel the mental block when I attempt to make my suggestions.

Hmm, this sounds like he's got some Daddy issues going on. And he thinks he's the Dad... The Bad Dad. The more I read here, the more he sounds like a crotchety old father. You say that he's 12 years older than you, maybe he feels older than that. That would explain why he leaves at 9:30; why he tries to tell your kids - his fake grandkids, what to do; why he doesn't make sex a big deal; why he cleans up after you; why he eats what he wants; and why he feels the need to correct you and tell you why the things you do could be better. He MIGHT think that he's your Dad.

6) He discusses a "future together" when we are alone, but the minute the kids ask questions like "when are you guys getting married?" he responds in the negative all the time.

He does this because he thinks you like to hear it. He keeps you on the hook with this bullcrap. Please tell me that he doesn't call you 'wifey.'

7) He never wants to face that he may have shortcomings.

He's an arrogant ass. (That one was easy)

I think that this guy just doesn't want to be alone. He probably thinks that you and your kids are okay to hang out with, maybe you all are better than his being all alone. But from what you are saying, he sounds like he is just going through the motions and giving you just enough attention to get you to open the front door each night. If all you want is a warm body to sit next to on the sofa - then he's your man, then again, you could just buy a German Sheppard. Sorry-

CHUCK: Garland and I were emailing each other, discussing your question (not something we always do), and I suggested jokingly that the reason for your male friend's 9:30 departures might be that he wants to play house, but needs to be back home in time to see CSI: Miami. We laughed about that, but, thinking about it, there may be something to that theory. Does he have a high-def television? Do you? Don't laugh, things like this can intrude upon a relationship.

You sound frustrated and confused by this man, and you have a right to be. Because he is treating your relationship like a cafeteria meal. Allow me to explain: Rather than just accepting your entire relationship as it is, he flits around, like someone getting lunch in a cafeteria, selecting the things he's prepared to accept, a la carte.

This is him: "Yes, I'll have the boss-the-kids-around-like-I'm-their-father, and the raid-the-refigerator-like-I-filled-it-up. What do I want the respect-her-opinion and the plan-for-the-future? No, thanks. And I'll that to go. Fox News is on at 10:00."

He is content to do just so much, and only extend himself so far (I will give him credit for helping clean around your house, though. There aren't too many men wiling to do that.). He's content to act like the head of your household, as long as he doesn't have to pay any money, or make a real commitment.

And why does he think he can get away with that? Because you have let him think that what he's doing is okay, by allowing him to get away with it. You need to let him know that ordering your children around comes with some dues that he hasn't paid yet. You need to let him know that your place is more than a rec center and a supper club. You need to tell him that he is fallible, and the sun has yet to shine out of his behind.

It's been said before, but a person will only get away with what you let them get away with. And as long you you allow him to set the terms of your relationship, you will have to continue dealing with this nonsense. Address your issues with him honestly, and see how he responds.

8 comments:

The nitty-gritty tales of a housewife said...

Hi guys, first time commenting i believe because i had been reading your blog for many months now.I had the urge to comment on this; The guy sounds nice to me,just that he should help out with the groceries every now then,apart from that flaw, he seems like a good companion to her & the kids.As a mother of 4 & a divorcee, she has the final choice to either stay STATUS QUO..or continue looking for THE RIGHT COMPANION. welldone guys, i do like your candid advice.Have a lovely weekend both of you.

Clarice said...

What we have here is friends with benefits meets rent a relationship. He gets the fit finish and feel of a "real relationship, without getting his hands dirty" - very immature and selfish.Guys - you are so on post with this. It is very similar to an earlier post from a woman with a part time boyfriend that you describe as a "dating without sex" in this case it is rent a relationship. He has all the benefits of a family when he wants without the overhead. Unfortunately the children are caught in the middle. He gets to play house when it works for him and move on. Set some boundaries and tell him man up or move on. Garland is right lose the man get the dog - they may require walking and as much effort as this guy but Fido puts his whole heart into with all the love and affection that comes with it.

Chuck and Garland said...

Hey there, Kareem! Thanks for commenting and thanks for checking out WAMT!!! We'll return the favor!!!

Yeah, the guy didn't sound terrible. He sounded quirky and odd, but these are things that can probably be explained and adjusted with some serious talking.

This question was also interesting to answer because Chuck and I broke one of our un-written rules and chatted a little about this question and this fellow before we posted.

As with all of our questioners, [those with fairly decent guys,] I hope they can sit down a chat and get on the same page.

Take care!

Garland

Chuck and Garland said...

THANK YOU CLARICE!!!

If he doesn't change his game up and get himself together, I AM ALL FOR THE POOCH!!!

You're the best-

Garland

Anonymous said...

k...lets add that groceries do come into the house without my asking, and that he has on occasion forseen an issue in the home which he footed the bill for. He also sees when things need improving and takes care of them without being asked.
However I am keeping an eye on the issues you mentioned, and yes I have been over to his house several times and will occasionally show up unannounced with the kids which he has no problem with.

Anonymous said...

I'm a single mom too. A red flag went up for me right away about him being most interested in spending time when your kids are there.
Be careful - that's how predators ingratiate themselves with kids.
Be careful - protect your kids.

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