I have been with my boyfriend for almost 5 years now and the last three we have been struggling to stay together. His adult children have caused us so much grief that I have not been allowed at his home to the last 3 years because one of his kids live there still. He has been saying that we can not move forward and get engaged or live together because he still is not legally divorced from him exwife and we can not live together out of respect to his parents. The are very old school but very nice and supportive of us. Then biggest problem is my 2 young adult daughters are seeing that I have no say in my relationship because it is all about what is best for his family. My daughters are starting to let their boyfriends treat them like they have no say in their relationships. I have always raised my daughters to be strong independent women, and now I feel that my relationship is hurting them. What can I do to make my boyfriend understand that this relationship is not healthy for my children or his children to see. I also need to know how to get him to stop using his family as and excuse and to be a man and state the real reason behind this stalling. I just don’t know if I should be even more patient and wait or just give up and walk away before I get hurt anymore.

A: I’m sure there must be something very sweet about your boyfriend for you to try so hard to make this work. I can tell it’s getting painful to be asked to keep sitting on the fence. That kind of “patience” is only hurting you.

Your stress is due to the tension between what you have and what you want. You can reduce the stress by making a decision for one or the other. You can either make peace with the situation you have or go for what you want. Not knowing the two of you, I can’t advise you on which will make you happier. But after 5 years, it’s a good idea to go one way or the other, especially since not making a decision is having an impact on your daughters.

You can’t “make” your boyfriend do anything. He is content with the situation as it is. Sadly, even your obvious hurt hasn’t changed that. That being the case, it’s up to you.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie