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Hello all.

Am looking for some advice and guidance with what is reasonable / unreasonable in negotiating with my partner of 3 months.

I will try to keep it as brief as possible. The TLDR. version is I am worried about the type of contact my partner has continued to have with her old de facto partner.

We are a very new relationship of approx. 4 months and we moved in together 2 weeks ago. I know this might sound a bit to fast for many but there were a variety of reasons this occurred; other than we have fallen in love.

I am 50, she is 40 with two children 12,14. She was living with her previous partner for approx. 2yrs. He is not the biological father, he had died just over two years ago. There was a variety of issues leading to her wanting leave and move out and she had been planning to move on 1st jan before she had met me.

We had started dating and after approx. 2- weeks she told me she was still living her "ex". As he was providing accomodation and also caring for her children her plan was to leave after she had saved enough and also to allow the kids to have a christmas with him as they still consider him as a father figure as well as relationships with his own children.

To say I was shocked and challenged by this discovery is an understatement. Apparently he knew she was leaving and was dating other guys. My initial reaction was to end the relationship as it was very complicated. Obviously I changed my mind.

During our dating period I was constantly anxious and stressed about thoughts of what was actually going on with them. Building trust was very difficult for me during this time but I always felt confident in her presence she was telling the truth.

Anyway, we decided she would move in with me. It only took three days for me to be confronted with a very big red flag. She had come home from work very grumpy and during approx 30 minutes of helping prepare dinner for her and talking to her about her day etc she was being very distant and complaining about various things. I tried to remain upbeat and put it down top her being tired.

Then a few minutes Later I heard her laughing in another room and she was in her sons room talking to the ex laughing and joking etc.

I found this very hurtful and felt the need to escape and went outside for a walk. When I came back she asked what happened and I explained what had happened from my perspective and why it hurt that she had been grumpy one minute and happy the next with him.

According to her she needed to keep contact in order to facilitate visits for the children , especially her son as he is close to him and the ex's children and will be spending time with them still.

She was apologetic and affectionate to me but I was still feeling uncomfortable. In the morning I was woken early by her getting ready for work and I went to the kitchen to get some water and saw her phone. I knew her pin code and my anxiety got the better of me.

In looking through her SMS / phone calls I saw an sms between them after I had left where they joking she would have to kneel down to beg forgiveness she called me a sulking baby. I was shaking and feeling very upset. I couldn't believe she would violate our relationship like that.

I didn't confront her straight away but later that morning I brought up the idea of respectful communication and the idea of making sure there was no continued innapropriate contact going on between each others old relationships and offered to share my phone.

She explained that he was someone she had been expressing frustrations with for a long time and offered to let me see communication from that day onwards.

I also expressed a desire for her to limit communication with him to the bare essentials required to facilitate the visits of her son and for their to be no other friendship / chatting.

She accepted that.

Approx a week later I saw a 15minute phone call on her phone to him where she also shared photos of a new garden we had setup.

When I confronted her she said it was only to organise money repayment he owed and to show him she was fine without him as he had said she would not find anyone to as good as him

I was very upset again and asked her to limit conversations with him only while I was present. Which she agreed,

The whole next week was fine in this respect but yesterday she went shopping with daughter who was also wanting to stay with ex over night. When she dropped her off via train there was deliveries of parcels she had ordered previously and he offered to drive her an them back to our home. She told me via SMS this was happening.

I feel this was a breach of our agreement.

I didn't get upset with her and left things until this morning and we have had a conversation about it.

I essentially expressed disapointment, explained how difficult the whole process had been for me up them moving in and that the innnappropriate contact had eroded my trust. I asked her to help us find a way to conduct things in a way that allows for the pragmatic contact in relation to kids but also helps me feel less anxious and worried etc.

From her responses she was very open that she has no intention of ever returning to him and doesn't consider her on going contact to be a problem. She does admit the initial disrespectful contact was innopropriate. But She also verbalised that she doesn't like to feel I am trying to control her.

We left that conversation on a positive note with me reiterating I am not tryiing to make demands but wanting us to / her to help behave in a way that demonstrates care for the feeling of each other.


Would love to hear others feed back please

Last edited by Dajavude; 01/14/21 08:04 PM.
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While I can understand that you would feel threatened by your girl friend's communication with her ex-boyfriend/live-in partner, you are not married and therefore have apparently made no real commitment to each other. Dr. Harley wrote an excellent article on living together here. https://www.marriagebuilders.com/living-together-before-marriage-compatibility-test-or-curse.htm.


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In addition to LongWayFromHome's recommendation on the article, I would also read Buyers, Renters and Freeloaders The book is excellent.

Also, Dr. Harley says dating is an interview for marriage.


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Originally Posted by LongWayFromHome
While I can understand that you would feel threatened by your girl friend's communication with her ex-boyfriend/live-in partner, you are not married and therefore have apparently made no real commitment to each other. Dr. Harley wrote an excellent article on living together here. https://www.marriagebuilders.com/living-together-before-marriage-compatibility-test-or-curse.htm.





Originally Posted by BrainHurts
In addition to LongWayFromHome's recommendation on the article, I would also read Buyers, Renters and Freeloaders The book is excellent.

Also, Dr. Harley says dating is an interview for marriage.



Thank you both for providing related links for me to read. I generally agree with the tenants being expressed however Unfortunately we have chosen our current situation and so we really need to find a way to navigate within our current reality.

I'll see if i can get that book on my Kindle account.

I have "His needs her needs", "Love busters" and "Surviving an affair" - all books I purchased after I discovered Dr Harley Approx. 8 years at the end of my first marriage. I am currently re-reading them and have been trying to get my partner to read them as well but I have thus far been unsuccessful in encouraging her to do so.

Her job requires a long commute and is usually very tired when she gets home. Plus due to rostering has a 7 day work week on some occasions and then fills up the off days with tasks around helping getting our unit set up and still unpacking etc.

I am hopeful that she will reconsider over time as our life situation settles down and things becomes less tenuous and she has more free time. There is definitely elements of both of us being wary of the other while hoping we can build something permanent. There is a strong lovebank balance with both of us but I can see it being eroded by us not being on the same page in terms of decision making especially.

My immediate concern was in the mean time, managing the love busting nature of trying to gain reasonable contact boundries with her ex, while we are not on the same page in how we negotiate these things. I guess the ultimate answer for us both to get with the program. At present I have to work with what I have and hope she comes on board later.





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Your having moved in together sounds like a bad idea. Your girlfriend was dishonest with you about the fact that she was living with someone else when you were dating. Now she has moved in with you and still has a strong connection to him. It sounds very much as if she is looking or someone to provide her and the kids with a home first and foremost.

There should not be any unhappiness at such an early stage. You should take it as a sign that you rushed into things without knowing her very well, and that she isn't in love with you as much as you are with her. If she were, she would not be so close to the last guy. She would not have any trouble cutting ties with him now that she is with you.


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Originally Posted by SugarCane
Your having moved in together sounds like a bad idea. Your girlfriend was dishonest with you about the fact that she was living with someone else when you were dating. Now she has moved in with you and still has a strong connection to him. It sounds very much as if she is looking or someone to provide her and the kids with a home first and foremost.

There should not be any unhappiness at such an early stage. You should take it as a sign that you rushed into things without knowing her very well, and that she isn't in love with you as much as you are with her. If she were, she would not be so close to the last guy. She would not have any trouble cutting ties with him now that she is with you.


She told me after our second date. You could say she should have told me that upfront? I could have ended things then if I wasn't prepared to accept her word and trust her.

I have tried to practice balancing what she says with what she does, and while it is hard to be objective when emotions are concerned, she has demonstrated commitments and behaviours that are congruent with building a relationship with me.

I have had moments when I have wanted to pack and leave through frustration with a number of challenges - the underlying anxiety of this old relationship is what is fueling my inner turmoil and making it very hard for me to be in a calm state dealing with day to day stuff.

Making demands is not the solution. I can really only communicate how it makes me feel while being loving and caring towards her and the children in the hope of having her conduct things in an acceptable. The alternatives are to just leave or allow negative thinking that I am being used, taken advantage of and it will of course poison and destroy the relationship.

The reason I have posted is to get feedback on what expectations I should reasonably have in order to help things work for both of us.

I know that after Her husband died 2 years ago ( the childrens father) her 12 year old son has a relationship with this man and his family that she has wanted to allow him to maintain. I work from home three days per week. So the
son has been staying with the ex on the days that we both work. I have made the assumption that relationship will fade in time as we spend together.

For example, is that the right approach or doomed to facilitate an innapropriate emotional connection with her. Is it reasonable of me to expect her to cut ties completely with him to such an extent that the Children , in particular the son, is no longer able to maintain a connection?

That's the kind of feed back I am looking for. Maybe I am naïve to think we can make it work? What should I be asking for that I am not already or Should I just except it is impossible and leave?

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Originally Posted by Dajavude
I have had moments when I have wanted to pack and leave through frustration with a number of challenges - the underlying anxiety of this old relationship is what is fueling my inner turmoil and making it very hard for me to be in a calm state dealing with day to day stuff.

Making demands is not the solution. I can really only communicate how it makes me feel while being loving and caring towards her and the children in the hope of having her conduct things in an acceptable. The alternatives are to just leave or allow negative thinking that I am being used, taken advantage of and it will of course poison and destroy the relationship.

The reason I have posted is to get feedback on what expectations I should reasonably have in order to help things work for both of us.

I know that after Her husband died 2 years ago ( the childrens father) her 12 year old son has a relationship with this man and his family that she has wanted to allow him to maintain. I work from home three days per week. So the
son has been staying with the ex on the days that we both work. I have made the assumption that relationship will fade in time as we spend together.

For example, is that the right approach or doomed to facilitate an innapropriate emotional connection with her. Is it reasonable of me to expect her to cut ties completely with him to such an extent that the Children , in particular the son, is no longer able to maintain a connection?

That's the kind of feed back I am looking for. Maybe I am naïve to think we can make it work? What should I be asking for that I am not already or Should I just except it is impossible and leave?

I can see from what you are asking that you don't find the answers you have received so far to be relevant. They are not what you're looking for. You want answers to the questions you want answered, whereas we are trying to get you to take the Marriage Builders approach of looking at the relationship as a whole. You want to know whether it is worth fighting "negative thinking" and putting up with your discomfort with her other relationship until it dies. You want to know whether it is reasonable of you to ask her to cut ties with her ex, and whether, as a consequence of her doing so, it is reasonable to make her 12 year-old son to cut ties with him. If she has really ended her relationship with him, then why not let her communicate with him so that her son can benefit from his own friendship with that family? Is it selfish and spiteful of you to feel so jealous that you would disadvantage a 12 year-old just so that you can feel secure? Perhaps you should be the grown up and let the relationship continue so that the boy, and indirectly the mother whom you love, does not suffer. After all, that poor boy has suffered the loss of his biological father, and now the breakdown of the family life he enjoyed until recently while she lived with with this man,

I think that, for the regular, long-term posters that have replied to you, that's not a question we can answer because that is not the way we would have developed this relationship in the first place. That's because, as LongWayFromHome and BrainHurts explained, we've learned not to live together in renter or freeloader relationships, as you and your girlfriend seem to have done. You might be a renter, as you seem prepared to put in a certain amount of work if you think she will do likewise. However, your girlfriend seems to be a freeloader, happy to take from both men whatever they are willing to give, but unwilling to invest anything at all in either relationship.

The things is, it's okay to be a freeloader while dating, and it's okay to be a renter when the relationship becomes serious, but this site is Marriage Builders, and here we work on building marriages - not living-together arrangements - to last a lifetime. A living-together relationship is the ultimate renters/freeloaders relationship, and it isn't a marriage.

Having made horrible mistakes in our relationships and marriages for years, and having learned about Dr Harley's approach, which has completely converted us into being buyers, we would never have moved in with anyone after having read here, as you have done through two previous relationships covering several years. What you should have done is dated for much longer, in order to get to know this woman well. You should have avoided an early "renters" commitment, especially since she has young children. You should have learned more about the blended family issues that blight so many marriages. On the one hand, in her case there is no biological father so that might seem simpler, but there are still issues of the parent's torn loyalties between her children and her new partner. And in her case, there is a still a father-figure in the picture, causing the issues that you are facing with her son.

You have only been living together two weeks and yet you "have had moments when I have wanted to pack and leave through frustration with a number of challenges". This is a sign that you entered into this arrangement much too quickly and naïvely.

There is no need for you to issue ultimatums to get your girlfriend and her son to end that relationship, and there is no need for you to think that the relationship is impossible. In these very early days, and while her kids are still young and still tied to the former partner, you need to go back to dating so that the relationship is just between you and your girlfriend. From that position you can see the progress of her relationship with the other man, and if it continues to disturb you, and can walk away. Her son can have the relationship he seems to need, which is really none of your business. He might outgrow that relationship, or he might keep it going for the years until he leaves home. At some later point you can assess the potential for getting married.

I can only reiterate that living together is a bad idea and you should not have done it. You should separate your households. That does not necessarily mean breaking up with your girlfriend, unless she insists on that. It means dating for a long time and getting to see whether you are on the same page about how marriage should work. It will only work (i.e. make you happy) without her having a relationship with an ex. If she is unwilling to end completely her relationship with her ex on marriage to you, then she should not marry anyone, and you should not marry her.

And never live together, That is a terrible arrangement. I thought we knocked that into your head when you posted here about your last, failed, living-together relationship.


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Originally Posted by SugarCane
Originally Posted by Dajavude
I have had moments when I have wanted to pack and leave through frustration with a number of challenges - the underlying anxiety of this old relationship is what is fueling my inner turmoil and making it very hard for me to be in a calm state dealing with day to day stuff.

Making demands is not the solution. I can really only communicate how it makes me feel while being loving and caring towards her and the children in the hope of having her conduct things in an acceptable. The alternatives are to just leave or allow negative thinking that I am being used, taken advantage of and it will of course poison and destroy the relationship.

The reason I have posted is to get feedback on what expectations I should reasonably have in order to help things work for both of us.

I know that after Her husband died 2 years ago ( the childrens father) her 12 year old son has a relationship with this man and his family that she has wanted to allow him to maintain. I work from home three days per week. So the
son has been staying with the ex on the days that we both work. I have made the assumption that relationship will fade in time as we spend together.

For example, is that the right approach or doomed to facilitate an innapropriate emotional connection with her. Is it reasonable of me to expect her to cut ties completely with him to such an extent that the Children , in particular the son, is no longer able to maintain a connection?

That's the kind of feed back I am looking for. Maybe I am naïve to think we can make it work? What should I be asking for that I am not already or Should I just except it is impossible and leave?

I can see from what you are asking that you don't find the answers you have received so far to be relevant. They are not what you're looking for. You want answers to the questions you want answered, whereas we are trying to get you to take the Marriage Builders approach of looking at the relationship as a whole. You want to know whether it is worth fighting "negative thinking" and putting up with your discomfort with her other relationship until it dies. You want to know whether it is reasonable of you to ask her to cut ties with her ex, and whether, as a consequence of her doing so, it is reasonable to make her 12 year-old son to cut ties with him. If she has really ended her relationship with him, then why not let her communicate with him so that her son can benefit from his own friendship with that family? Is it selfish and spiteful of you to feel so jealous that you would disadvantage a 12 year-old just so that you can feel secure? Perhaps you should be the grown up and let the relationship continue so that the boy, and indirectly the mother whom you love, does not suffer. After all, that poor boy has suffered the loss of his biological father, and now the breakdown of the family life he enjoyed until recently while she lived with with this man,

I think that, for the regular, long-term posters that have replied to you, that's not a question we can answer because that is not the way we would have developed this relationship in the first place. That's because, as LongWayFromHome and BrainHurts explained, we've learned not to live together in renter or freeloader relationships, as you and your girlfriend seem to have done. You might be a renter, as you seem prepared to put in a certain amount of work if you think she will do likewise. However, your girlfriend seems to be a freeloader, happy to take from both men whatever they are willing to give, but unwilling to invest anything at all in either relationship.

The things is, it's okay to be a freeloader while dating, and it's okay to be a renter when the relationship becomes serious, but this site is Marriage Builders, and here we work on building marriages - not living-together arrangements - to last a lifetime. A living-together relationship is the ultimate renters/freeloaders relationship, and it isn't a marriage.

Having made horrible mistakes in our relationships and marriages for years, and having learned about Dr Harley's approach, which has completely converted us into being buyers, we would never have moved in with anyone after having read here, as you have done through two previous relationships covering several years. What you should have done is dated for much longer, in order to get to know this woman well. You should have avoided an early "renters" commitment, especially since she has young children. You should have learned more about the blended family issues that blight so many marriages. On the one hand, in her case there is no biological father so that might seem simpler, but there are still issues of the parent's torn loyalties between her children and her new partner. And in her case, there is a still a father-figure in the picture, causing the issues that you are facing with her son.

You have only been living together two weeks and yet you "have had moments when I have wanted to pack and leave through frustration with a number of challenges". This is a sign that you entered into this arrangement much too quickly and naïvely.

There is no need for you to issue ultimatums to get your girlfriend and her son to end that relationship, and there is no need for you to think that the relationship is impossible. In these very early days, and while her kids are still young and still tied to the former partner, you need to go back to dating so that the relationship is just between you and your girlfriend. From that position you can see the progress of her relationship with the other man, and if it continues to disturb you, and can walk away. Her son can have the relationship he seems to need, which is really none of your business. He might outgrow that relationship, or he might keep it going for the years until he leaves home. At some later point you can assess the potential for getting married.

I can only reiterate that living together is a bad idea and you should not have done it. You should separate your households. That does not necessarily mean breaking up with your girlfriend, unless she insists on that. It means dating for a long time and getting to see whether you are on the same page about how marriage should work. It will only work (i.e. make you happy) without her having a relationship with an ex. If she is unwilling to end completely her relationship with her ex on marriage to you, then she should not marry anyone, and you should not marry her.

And never live together, That is a terrible arrangement. I thought we knocked that into your head when you posted here about your last, failed, living-together relationship.


Thanks for taking the time to provide feedback. I realise it must be frustrating when a solution to a situation seems obvious to you but is not practiced by others. 🙂

There are many reasons why I feel returning to dating is not possible now. Of course I could simply insist I am going to leave and want to revert to dating. I would like to think that could be a possible transition but the amount of drama and trauma that would cause as well as the risk it could lead to the end of the relationship, for me is not worth it. I would rather work within the reality of the situation we have committed to now, for better or worse. 😬

Hence the context of the advise, I am asking for help in navigating the ship in such a way as that we both eventually have a shared vision and understanding of MB principles and move towards getting married. Ultimately those things are more important than whether we are married now.

I appreciate your perspective on her son and his relationship with the ex. That is also my gut feeling; I don't want to create or cause more heartache for them. I was reaching out because of the conflicting thoughts and emotions I am having about how to car for and protect them while also feeling safe and secure within the relationship. While it is new and raw there is a tendency for me want a quick fix and have kneejerk reactions to things when I should try to step back and be more patient, as you say, and wait for things to unfold in their natural course.

The resolution I have made with myself is to practice love and acceptance of things and avoid reactions that create LB drama. In this way I hope to create to a desire for her to care for things that are important to me.

I would also like advice on how to encourage her to read the books?

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Originally Posted by Dajavude
The resolution I have made with myself is to practice love and acceptance of things and avoid reactions that create LB drama. In this way I hope to create to a desire for her to care for things that are important to me.

Well, if you've decided that's the solution, I hope it works.

Originally Posted by Dajavude
I would also like advice on how to encourage her to read the books?

Just ask her to read them!


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Originally Posted by BrainHurts
In addition to LongWayFromHome's recommendation on the article, I would also read Buyers, Renters and Freeloaders The book is excellent.

Also, Dr. Harley says dating is an interview for marriage.

Did you read this yet? Do you see your GF as a freeloader?


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Originally Posted by BrainHurts
Originally Posted by BrainHurts
In addition to LongWayFromHome's recommendation on the article, I would also read Buyers, Renters and Freeloaders The book is excellent.

Also, Dr. Harley says dating is an interview for marriage.

Did you read this yet? Do you see your GF as a freeloader?


Have purchased not read yet. Based on Definitions I would consider us both buyers. Except for the fact she has not read the MB material yet.

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There was another disrespectful slight levelled at me today and was attacked further when I called her on it.

I have since packed and left

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How did it deteriorate so quickly from your not being able to accept our advice to separate your households and go back to dating, to packing your stuff and leaving? What "disrespectful slight" could possibly have led to that?

Are you going to establish a dating relationship with her now, or do you consider yourselves to have broken up?


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Originally Posted by Dejavude
Anyway, we decided she would move in with me


Didn’t she move into your place? Why then, are you the one that moved out?


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Originally Posted by SugarCane
How did it deteriorate so quickly from your not being able to accept our advice to separate your households and go back to dating, to packing your stuff and leaving? What "disrespectful slight" could possibly have led to that?

Are you going to establish a dating relationship with her now, or do you consider yourselves to have broken up?


There have been numerous disrespectful incidents and each time has almost always resulted in her not apologising nor genuinely acknowledging the hurt or that she was in the wrong.

If you read my first post I described a very hurtful SMS between them 3days after she had moved in.

She never apologised for that.

I have had to put it down in moment mistake by her and try to forgive.

Yesterday she was sending me photos of 2nd hand furniture she wanted my opinion on while she was on train to work. I work from home. I had spent all weekend running around looking at furniture and other errands for her. I tried to remind her I have to work and maybe she could spend someif her time negotiating the arrangements for the items .

She started getting a bit cranky and called me. She said I can do it in my spare time. During the call I tried to explain I was happy to help but we should equally spend our time organising those things.

She got more uppity and the "fine I can do it myself" thing.

I tried to say I am happy to help don't be silly. But she then said she can do it herself but I might not like the way she gets it done.

I knew she meant contacting the ex for help.

I asked what she meant and she didn't say.

So I told her I don't like threats and not to threaten me about him again. She denied she was threatening me so I hung up.

I then got a whole string text messages telling me I was over reacting and that I creating a problem being threatened by the ex.

I told her it disrespectful and she was out of line.

I asked her to think about it and see if she can see why I would be upset by that.

Of course I got more attacks and no acknowledging from her.

I realised she was not going to change with me asking. I have already asked her numerous times to read the books. I just felt it was hopeless and
packedd my things and left her a letter.

Told her I loved her, I want to stay but there needs to be changes. I explained disrespect is unacceptable and that I hoped she could reflect on the issue. But I am not staying in mean time.

I got SMS later. She expressed love and disappointment but no acknowledging a need to change anything or desire to talk about it.

Basically a good bye message.

I could probably apologise to try to fix situation but I would just be back in same stressful anxiety ridden state

There ya go.

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Originally Posted by BrainHurts
Originally Posted by Dejavude
Anyway, we decided she would move in with me


Didn’t she move into your place? Why then, are you the one that moved out?


COnfusing isn't it.

So when we first met online, started chatting then talking on phone I mentioned I was looking fior a new place to live due to noise issues where I was renting. We had not met or arranged any dates at this stage. She mentioned she had a unit that was vacant and I could rent a room if I was interested. I think that was her planned location for moving in Jan but I didn't know any of that stuff at the time. This was in beginning of october.

I kind of thought it was strange to offer to a stranger that might end up dating but it was a good deal for me and I got free access to the whole unit for the going rate of a standard Room / share rental in the area.

So short answer is she owns the unit.


Last edited by Dajavude; 01/18/21 06:39 PM.
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So what's the status of the relationship now? Is it over, or is there still some chance of dating?


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Originally Posted by SugarCane
So what's the status of the relationship now? Is it over, or is there still some chance of dating?


I don't know. She has reacted like it is over. Understandable given I left.

This will be second night apart and I already miss them 🥺

I want to reach out because I know her ego will not be letting her but I am afraid it will be the same.

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If you are as interested in Marriage Builders as you seem to be, now would be the time for you to rebuild your relationship using MB concepts. Begin by dating her again. Do not live with anyone again without being married. Explore carefully each other's attitudes and values. Do what you should be doing at the dating stage, and do not make the same decisions you would make if you were married. The blended family issue gives you great challenges, and you should leave her to bring up her kids the way she wants.


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Originally Posted by SugarCane
If you are as interested in Marriage Builders as you seem to be, now would be the time for you to rebuild your relationship using MB concepts. Begin by dating her again. Do not live with anyone again without being married. Explore carefully each other's attitudes and values. Do what you should be doing at the dating stage, and do not make the same decisions you would make if you were married. The blended family issue gives you great challenges, and you should leave her to bring up her kids the way she wants.

She doesn't want to reconcile

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