June 27, 2011 in Features

Annie’s Mailbox: Together, except with his children

Kathy Mitchell/Marcy Sugar

Dear Annie: I have been dating Jeff for three years. He has two teenage kids from a prior marriage. During the first two years, I understood that he did separate activities with his children, but I now feel he should include me in more than the occasional dinner.

Jeff claims he wants us to be together forever, but his actions say otherwise. We spend all our time together, except when his kids are involved. Then I am completely excluded. And on occasions when we make plans and the kids want to visit, he will cancel his time with me. He indulges their every whim.

Jeff has no problem interacting with my adult children and me on every level, but won’t give me the same respect. I feel like my future is on perpetual hold. Am I wasting my time with false hopes? – Questioning This Relationship

Dear Questioning: It’s possible that Jeff’s children are not happy about your relationship and are putting subtle pressure on him to exclude you. It’s also possible that he is uncomfortable behaving as if he has a romantic life when he is with his children. Or, he might be waiting until they are older.

Nonetheless, if you have been together for three years and intend to stay that way, it is best for everyone if the children get to know you and acclimate themselves to your presence. It won’t make things easier if Jeff gives the kids the impression that they control his social life. Talk to Jeff. If he is serious that this relationship is for the long haul, it’s time to bring you into the family mix. There will be bumps along the way, but they cannot be smoothed out if you don’t work through them and learn to accept each other.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailbox@ comcast.net.

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