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You Asked: Can I Fix This Guy?

Dear Sugar--

I have been dating a guy going on 2 years. He has an ex wife and 2 kids. He never stands up to any of them. He has been divorced for 6 years but it seems like just last month. On the weekends that he is supposed to have his kids (he usually ends up not getting them because if they don't want to come they don't) he tells me he will call me if they don't come over. If they have some sports function or school function I am never invited. They wouldn't like it because their mother might see me and that would be way too awkward.

His kids are 12 and 14 and get whatever they want and only do what they want. They treat him terribly and he allows it. To me this is unacceptable. All he does is work! When he is not working at work he is doing side jobs. He says it's because he has to catch up since he had to refinance his home to pay his ex wife half.

He tells me that he is a provider and that is what he does. I don't need to be provided for. I was married 23 years and have been divorced for 9 years. My kids are all grown and I have a really good job. Tell me I need to enjoy life. I am a fixer and I always think I can fix people. This man is 53 years old. I don't think I can fix him.

We need not even talk about the sex in this relationship. Let's just say his needs are meet, but what about me? Did he forget I was there? Thanks for listening.

-- Unsatisfied Samantha

To see DEARSUGAR'S answer

Dear Unsatisfied Samantha--

You're right - you can't fix him, or anyone else for that matter because it's not your job. People offer what they can and this man is probably too overwhelmed with work and family obligations to give you the time and attention you need. Between his 2 kids, his ex wife, and working overtime, it sounds like he's got a lot of priorities that he is choosing to put before you.

If you love this man and want your relationship to work, you have got to sit him down and explain what your needs are (including those in the bedroom). Tell him what parts of the relationship make you unhappy; discuss whether or not things can change and ways you can compromise. If he admits that there's too much on his plate, and it's not possible to give you anymore than he is giving you now, it's time to move on because you'll never be satisfied and fulfilled.

Since your kids are all grown, you're in a different parental position than your boyfriend. You don't have responsibilities to anyone but yourself so you have a lot of time and love to give. You deserve to be in a mutually intimate and loving relationship. Hopefully your chat will give you some good insight on your future with this man. I wish you lots of luck Samantha!


Join The Conversation
grl-in-the-world grl-in-the-world 10 years
I think time has already shown you that you are not going to change this man. Some of what he is doing is positive and you should commend him on it: financially supporting his children is his responsibility and he is meeting his requirements in that area; the house needs to be paid off and he is working to that end. This shows he is able to meet his responsibilities and he is committed to being a good father. It is too bad that he lets his kids walk all over him, but this is not uncommon in divorced families. He probably has guilty feelings about not being married to their mother anymore and is trying to make up for it by being lenient with them. The areas where you have the right to ask him to consider compromise are the bedroom issues you mentioned and the amount of time he spends with you. I agree with DearSugar that you need to have a (non-confrontational) discussion with him about your needs and the two of you can try to come to some mature compromises on the involved issues. If he won't agree to try to meet your needs then it may be time to consider moving on and looking for someone who shares more of your priorities.
lemuse20 lemuse20 10 years
I think only he can "fix" himself.
vmruby vmruby 10 years
Never ever make the mistake of thinking any one person has the power to change another who is set in their ways especially when there are children involved.Sounds like she has the upper hand in this entire situation.He will never be committed to you fully until he takes a stand and stops allowing the ex to control him through his kids.So unless you are equipped to keep battling with him and her as well then you need to make a choice.He needs to put her in her place and if he can't or won't(which sounds to me like he won't) then it's time to move on....
andaman andaman 10 years
It is not your business or your job to fix him! Especially if he doesn't see anything wrong...
andaman andaman 10 years
Honey if he can't see how he is being treated as a doormat then you can't show him the light! I would way leave him be..and get yourself a new man. Fancy04 is right about accepting him. If you can't do that then I suggest you leave him alone.
Fancy04 Fancy04 10 years
You can't fix him. You have to accept him.
jennifer76 jennifer76 10 years
I hate to say it, but an ex-wife who feels she has the right to push him around and two rotten kids didn't create themselves. This guy is a man, he's an adult - he had a hand in creating this whole situation and if he's tolerated it this long, he will continue to. I'm sorry. Move on.
lickety-split lickety-split 10 years
he isn't "broken" this is just the way he is. sad to say it but you sort of fell in love with the part you liked and overlooked the part you didn't. look at the whole man. yes it's wonderful that he wants to provide for his kids, but do you really want to be around spoiled teenagers and then spoiled adults? it might seem like the ex wife is winning this one, but really the alternative is more irritation on your part. more fish in the sea :)
Marci Marci 10 years
Well, I agree with Dear that you can't 'fix' anyone. This is the way this guy is so it's up to you to decide whether you want to deal with him or not. You and he aren't married, and his kids are still young. So what's the big deal if you don't see him when he sees his kids? Why not give him, yourself and your relationship a break and stop harping on that. Let him run it his way, and see him when he's not with them. Seeing his kids as a divorced parent is already hard enough without him having to please you in the process, too.
cubadog cubadog 10 years
My father remarried while I was in high school so I have been in this situation to some extent. The sex issue is something you need to discuss with him there is no way around that. I think you should know as a 53 year-old woman that this man it not going to change. So you will have to decide if you can live with the children being put first as they should be. They are 12 and 14 I don't know too many kids that age that are always respectful and nice to their parents. I could be a total brat when I wanted to be. The children not wanting you at school events is their choice if they don't want you there than you shouldn't be there. It is perfectly normal for kids this age to be protective of their mother and putting them in the middle because you want to attend their school events is unfair! My Mom remarried a man with children in High School and the transition was really tough and he had been divorced just as long as your Boyfriend. So you need to decide if he is worth that much to you!
honeysugar28 honeysugar28 10 years
WOW! Its sounds like he's the taker and you're the giver in this relationship. He's in a very difficult situation that only he can fix unfortunately we can't fix other people's problems for them. It takes two people to make a relationship work and he needs to think about your needs too. Sounds like you're an independent woman who can take charge of your life and he doesn't realize that. Definetly have a heart to heart with him and tell him how you're feeling this relationship really needs improvement.
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