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Dump systematic- excluder boyfriend

Dear Carolyn: I am in a committed relationship with a divorced man who is the father of two young adults, 22 and 24.

My boyfriend was separated six years ago and has been divorced for three. I did not even know him during this time.

Since we started dating, I have been barred from spending any event with my boyfriend where his children would be present. I have met them only once in the three years I’ve dated their father.

My boyfriend claims my presence would be too upsetting to them.

I have told him repeatedly how much it pains me to be systematically excluded, particularly during holidays. He has in turn indicated “his needs are subordinate to those of his children,” and even admitted he is “selfish when it comes to not wanting to share his children with anyone,” including me. He said he will not compromise, so I may be asking the obvious question … is it time to let go of him? – J.

Apparently. You can blame the systematic exclusion, but I’ll secretly hope it’s because you fear permanent injury by self-inflicted forehead-slap. “(Your) presence would be too upsetting”? To two adults?

But his rationale stands as a badge of courage compared with the likelihood that he doesn’t even mean it: Sounds more to me like a fig leaf for his true reason, that he just doesn’t want you there.

Happiness in a relationship is inversely proportional to the number of self-serving pronouncements your partner generates. Please make my day and tell me you pulled the plug moments after hitting “send” on your email to me.

Email Carolyn at, follow her on Facebook at carolyn.hax or chat with her online at 9 a.m.each Friday at


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