Boyfriend with "three" kids
11/01/2009 at 19:12 PM

Hello everyone, I'm new here. First off let me introduce myself. My name is Stephanie, you can call me Stephy or Steph. I'm from Maryland, and I'm 22 years old. I'm currently a psychology student as a freshman obtaining my BA.I've been involved with a man for quite sometime. Now I have to tell you how we met and our status. I really don't want any lectures on whether anyone approves of how we've done our relationship but rather touch on my dilemmas that I am having. We met online back in January on the 13th,2008. We have managed to keep an emotional relationship for over a year. We became a couple June 13th,2008. At that time I had only known him to have one kid and never married. Clearly he lied to me because I later found out after he confessed to me that he has three kids and has been married, claims to be divorced. A gut feeling tells me that he's not divorced.

He told me that the reason why he lied is because I am so young and single basically, ( without baggage). And he's dated other women who runs off as soon as they find out he has 3 kids. The fact he had a life before me doesn't bother me. It's the fact he kept it from me that's made it a big deal. He was in Texas during the first part of our relationship. He's moved back up here near me because his (ex) wife moved the kids to PA,( long story). I live in MD so we're neighboring states. He now lives 2 hours and 51 minutes from me. He lives just across town from his (ex) wife. She's not over him , he doesn't love her and they share three kids. He wants to marry me very soon, but I said let's wait a couple years, like around 2011. I don't know how to handle this new situation. How do I even approach or talk to his kids? How do I deal with them? I've read articles how you shouldn't discipline, to leave that to their biological parents. But I don't know my place or role. Their ages are 3,4 and 6. Two boys and one girl. I have no kids, and have never been married. Just to add, I'm 22 (May 20th), and he's 28 going on 29 November 12th.

He does want more kids but not right now, which I agree because I am in college and so is he. How do I prepare myself to meet them, what do I say/do, what don't I say or do, and how do I prepare myself for the future role as a stepmom? Also the oldest one has ADHD, a very bad temper ( like his dad), has ODD, and maybe autistic but he's going to take him to a doctor to be tested.

So, you are planning to marry a man who has a bad temper and lies to you.


I read your post to my daughter, who is 12, and is not attending college to learn psychology. She says you should not date him, because he has a bad temper and he lies to you.


I was seriously waiting for a more serious and constructive reply/answer. I'll keep waiting. Like I said before I'd like to have advice on my dilemmas . I didn't ask advice on my relationship.


So, seriously, you are planning to marry a man who has a bad temper and lies to you.

Could you please be more clear about what your dilemmas are?

You shouldn't be meeting his kids until the marriage is in the very near future. It is not good for them to be presented with a series of women who "are going to be their new step-mom"


Okay I am going to ignore your posts and wait for someone who will help/advise me on what I asked. It amazes me how out of three paragraphs you pick 2-3 words. There's a psychological term for that, so like seriously.


Well, words like bad temper and lies are emotionally charged words, so it is not altogether surprising that those are the words that would get my attention.

I did turn my advice to your current dilemma, however. How should you deal with the children? The answer is that they should have no contact with you at all until you have a firm wedding date in the near future. If they develop a trusting relationship with you, and then the marriage does not happen it will likely interfere with their ability to develop trust with others.


I've listed what my issues are....

We want to get married June 2011, is that considered a date? I'm supposed to meet the kids in a couple of weeks.That's why I am freaking out. I mean I've never ever went through this before.

By the way having a bad temper doesn't mean he beats women or anything, he goes to anger management. However, his son seems to have picked up on this behavior. As for the lies? that's for me to deal with , as I weigh in my options.


So, why are you supposed to meet the kids in a couple of weeks?


It's what we planned.


And the June 2011 date? You won't be finished with a bachelor's until the next year, right?


No a BA takes 3.5-4 years to complete. I said in my post I am a freshman, I started June this year. I'm taking online classes.


So, what is your thinking for marrying before you complete your degree?
I've completed my other project, would you be available for a few minutes of quick back-and-forth responses?


I have some time at the least 30 minutes. I'm willing as long as I am not personally attacked. My BA is just the tip of what I need to do. I've signed up and accepted that I need 8-11 years of schooling/internships etc before becoming a Clinical psychologist. So at some point I want to marry just I don't want to get pregnant yet, and no time soon. Getting married during my undergrad years will be easier than later in graduate school and residency.



What is the impetus for meeting the children when the wedding date is a year and a half away?


This forum isn't designed for chat. It's been about 12 minutes, and unless you refresh the page yourself, there is no way to be notified that someone has posted. I hope you happen upon the refresh button.


He really wants me to meet his family, and that includes his kids, where do we chat then? He's very family oriented and that was the first appeal about him to me.


I don't think we can really chat, just refresh the page about every minute or two. Which is a burden.

Family oriented. Does that mean he really wants to do what is best for his kids, or does that mean something else?


Welcome to the boards. I hope you will stick around and enjoy our boards.

I would wait to meet the kids for a little while longer. It sounds like the children have some issues themselves and I think the longer you wait the more prepared everyone will be--I notice you said that he "claims" to be divorced, does that mean that you aren't sure he really is divorced? You could ask to see the divorce papers.

You said you don't want to have any children right away because of your dedication to your schooling. I think that is great but you do realize that the minute you marry this man, you will have 3 children and pretty young children at that.

I would suggest that you read some of the posts here on step-parenting. It will show you some of the issues that step-parents have to face with their step-children. It is a very difficult thing to take on this job. I don't know what your level of love and devotion are to this man but I will tell you that it had better be incredibly high to get through a marriage when both of you are in school and with 3 step-children.

When you do meet the children, just talk to them like you would any child. Get to know them, take an interest in them and their interests. Don't try to be a mother figure right off, just try to become friends with them.



Well, the chat experiment wasn't very successful. Sorry, the half hour that you had available is over, so if you don't post soon, I'll assume you had to sign off.

Hope you update us on your decisions.


acitez, yes I have to go but to answer your question, He's family oriented in that he does what's best for his children first. Unfortunately I know I come second to his kids but I wouldn't want a man who did any less, you know what I mean? My dad stopped being a father to me many years ago and it hurts like something awful. I love the fact that he does everything for his kids cause that's how it should be. He even puts his own happiness on hold before theirs. I know if they have issues with me, he'll have to put me aside to work on them or suite their needs. It'd be sad but how selfish would I be to expect him to put me first?

I have messengers by the way.


Thanks Marti,

I do love him very much, I never really find the right words to describe it. I just hate the fact he kept two huge secrets, the fact he's been married and how many kids he truly has. I said claimed cause once you lie, I don't know what else you are lying about. I asked for divorce records, he got defensive and mad. Other times he just goes quiet. I'm not stupid. I'm very logical , I try not to let my feelings cloud my logic. But sometimes it is hard. In a perfect world I do not want to let this go. I know people make mistakes. Most of the stuff I believe him on, the divorce, I'm afraid I do not believe him. Before I meet his children I did tell him I want proof of the divorce. He knows if I catch him in another lie, it's over. I don't date or fool with married men. I can't help for the time being if he has been lying.I am also not having sex with him either. I'm a 22 yr old virgin and I take it seriously. I hate to paint him in a negative light, cause he's not a bad person, just I don't do well with lies. But the pain of ending the relationship is very huge for me too. I put the wedding further back cause it still leaves me options. I want proof and I intend to get it.However, if he is really divorced, I want to know how to deal with step kids.


Acitez is giving you good advice. Read the other steparenting posts with lots of posts from me, and get out NOW!!!!


I love bluntness,but I need to know the reason behind it. Why get out now?


Ignoring the issues with the dad let me put this simply, treat the kids like kids.Speak to them like you'd speak to any other child. They're small kids who won't understand your relationship with their daddy. So respect their youth and their feelings by acting like any other adult. Don't hang on daddy, no displays of affection in front of the kiddies. Its their daddy's job to explain who you are, so leave it to him. Speaking to the kids mom also might help you get some ideas as to what activities they like.Good Luck, and don't ever forget children are involved in your relationship with this man.


The fact that you are still on here asking for advice indicates that you already have serious doubts about this relationship. You are very young, just 22 (3 years younger than my daughter) and have your whole life ahead of you. If my daughter were in your situation, I would tell her the same thing, get out NOW! There are plenty of young single guys out there who would cherish you. (A 32 y/o single friend of ours wants to meet a nice single girl but has not as yet because he is "too nice". He says young women today want a "bad boy".)

Reasons you should get out now: You should be fully concentrating on your own education and future. This will be nearly impossible while trying to be a step-mother to 3 children, one of whom has major issues, and a problematic partner. You already know this guy has issues with lying and serious enough anger problems to warrant him taking anger management classes. A person who would choose to lie to you about how many children he has and his marital status in order to reel you in will continue to lie to you in order to furthur his agenda.

When I was 30, I began dating a man with 3 children. They were young, cute, and loving. He had lots of baggage, lied to me about some minor things which I was able to excuse. Then we got married and it all began to go downhill. Things I then found out: when we went to buy a vehicle, that he had declared bankruptcy a few months before our wedding; behind on child support payments; his oldest daughter was diagnosed bi-polar (later changed to borderline personality disorder); his ex-wife was suicidal and mentally ill (she hooked up with a man in retaliation to our marriage, he was a wacko and molested all 3 girls); his parents had interfered in his previous marriage and brought that into our marriage, the list goes on and on. I hung in there for 8 years being naive enough to believe that our love would conquer all the problems, and learned the hard way that love is not enough when faced with so much baggage and strife. Ended up divorced, over $20,000 in debt and heartbroken.

You have no idea what your are potentially getting yourself into. Your relationship will not be just with this person, it will be with his children, his ex and ex in-laws, his ex's future partners and his entire family. A relationship and marriage can be difficult enough, read the posts on here, without all that baggage. You deserve so much more!

I will happily give you whatever constructive help you need as long as you take off the blinders and rose colored glasses and are willing to look at your situation realistically. What does your mother say about this relationship?


Who I am - I am 40 years old and divorced once with three children. I am engaged to marry again in August of 2010. I have lived a chanllenging life being a single mother for 14 years and blending a family is difficult.

My advice - Get out now and focus on yourself and education. If you are lonely, date men who don't have children.


I really appreciate your story. I'm very sorry you went through such a horrible ordeal and I see why you'd say get out so passionately. I'm sure you see yourself in me, based on how this has already started. One thing you said first is very true, I am having many,many doubts about this relationship. I have since the summer this year when I found out his lies. I'd hate to think I have rose-colored glasses on and blinders? I mean I fully acknowledge and have said that , him being married and not divorced, means he was "never" mine. As you can't be married and dating, it just doesn't work that way. I also have said to my own mother, that if he is married, how easy it would be for him to go right back to her and be a family? By technical standards he wouldn't be doing anything wrong, cause by law, he's married. Only morally would it be wrong because of what it'd do to me. I'm a realist mostly, I'm not an optimistic person. I always see the wrong first before the good, if stuff goes well great, if not I had expected that anyways. I don't ever want to go through, what you have and again I am sorry you went through all of that.

My mother tells me she adores him, she's very cautious over his lies. She tells me to ask him questions and hear him out first. She also told me that he will always do what's best for his children first over me. As in I'll always be second.She told me that she isn't crazy about me being with someone with so much baggage but she sees the good in him. She's more positive about him than I am anymore. I have not been fully happy in the relationship since July this year when I found out about the kids and the marriage. I'm sure you ask why am I staying then? That's a great question. One I have no answer to, which in itself isn't logical. I believe that's why I always ask for advice to help me weigh what I am feeling. I know what I am feeling is justified. Before I found out about him and the extra children and the marriage. He tried to convince me "not" to go to school. Based on the fact I wouldn't have time to be a stepmom and mom to our "future" children. I've told him since day one, I want to be more than just a mother. Now no disrespect to women who are stay at home moms, I respect that, my mother is one. But I want to be a working mom and he doesn't like that. He just started accepting it in the last two months telling me it was unfair to try and make me choose, him or my career. I consider that controlling. I told him if push comes to shove, I choose my career. I feel like I'm going to regret this if I stay but I also feel I'll regret it if I don't , does that makes sense?

On a quick light note: are you trying to hook me up with your 32 yr old friend ?lol. But he's right most women don't want a good man, they want men who mistreat them.

My bf told me most women passed up cause he's not a bad boy and cause he has 3 kids. But I say you lied to me, I'm not most women...


LOL. You're planning on marrying a man who you believe is already married! I'm just going to point out that you've listed several HUGE issues and you just keep adding to the list. You need to resolve ALL your concerns BEFORE meeting his kids.Read your entire post and see it from an outsider's point of view.I'm a bit concerned about the kids getting involved in that mess.Good Luck and God Bless.


I'm failing to see how you're finding this amusing? You used "LOL". There's nothing funny here.


His line about women abandoning him when they find he has three kids, that really appeals to your desire to be a "good woman." Not like those others, those selfish women who dodge responsibility, who sacrifice his children to their whims.

The thing is, his children are his responsibility, not those women's, not yours. Apparently he's the one who left the marriage. Since then, he has dated a number of women, which takes time and attention and money away from his children.

I would expect a man whose family was a high priority to behave differently. It sounds like he's charming, which may be part of why he appeals to your mom. Try to choose better than she did.

There are men of good character out there. Some of them are divorced with children, many of them (especially in your demographic) are free of complications.

You deserve better.


He may feel he is not a "bad boy" but the facts point out that he is one. Bad boy = lied to you about his marriage, lied to you about his children, has serious enough anger issues to require anger manaagement classes, tried to convince you not to go to school, looking out for #1 (himself) by all of the above. He is preying on a very young woman and wooing her mother in order to furthur his agenda of having someone to take care of his children.

Every woman needs to have a solid career before becoming a mother. One never knows when the tables will turn and you will have to support yourself and your children. This has happened to many women, myself and many of my friends included, and those without a solid career are forced to take menial or minimal paying jobs just to make ends meet. You should be looking out for yourself, whether you are in a relationship or not. You are being a realist in stating this person could and may at any time choose to go back with his wife and children. Where will you be if you put your education on hold to make his life easy by taking care of him and his children? Your realistic desire to get a good education and a solid career is in no way disrespectful to stay at home moms, many of whom do have careers they will return to at some point. As a professional nanny, I have worked for many women who chose to continue their careers when their children are small. One woman was a very successful psychologist with a thriving practice at her home who was admired very much for her committment to her patients and her children.

The biggest consideration here if for you to finish your education and get your career established. This person should be divorced for a matter of months before you ever meet his children and begin to take on the stepmother role for the sake of your and the children's stability.


I apoligize if you were offended. The last 2 paragraphs just struck me funny.

You've been given a lot of good advice from some women who have "been there and done that". But you should also be aware that if your boyfriend is still married that just dating you could effect the divorce proceedings. It can also effect child custody. It will depend on the state laws and how angry his ex is.

I wish you the best and hope it all turns out well. Good luck and God bless.


Get out now, so that the kids won't believe that Daddy would be happily married if any of them were cute enough or funny enough or smart enough or good enough. So the kids will have no reason to believe that you rejected them after meeting them. It's hard not to take that personally, and I think it's entirely possible that their father, with his bad temper, might say something like that to them sometime when he is mad.


Very true and likely. Part of the reason I was single for 12 years after my 2nd marriage ended and did not begin to date that my daughter was aware of until after she turned 18. It's OK to date, just don't meet the children for a few months after the divorce is final and custody is totally settled. Difficult to do in this instant gratification world, but in the best interest of the children. Some men, my present husband included, have low self-esteem and look at their children as a positive way to draw in a partner. Within weeks of our 1st date he was trying to set up outings that included his children and our 1st meeting was unplanned on my part, he "lost track of time" and the boys (11 and 8 at that time) were still with him when I arrived for a planned dinner date. We had a rocky time before we got married and the oldest boy asked me if he and his brother were any part of the problem, promising to be better behaved. Though I reassured him they had nothing to do with any of our issues, it was still upsetting that they would think they had affected our relationship in a negative way.


i think that the problem is that you are to stuck up and full of yourself that you can't see that people are trying to help you and you won't let them so maybe you should take your head out of your behind and show some respect to the people trying to help you.

*stop being snobby*
p.s* keep looking and searching because people are trying to help you.


wow, meccalah, I've never seen a phrase put together like that. "Take your head out of your behind and show some respect . . ." That's an amazing combination of ideas!


Me, either! Let's all try it and see if it works.


meccalah: I've been reading many different types of advice and I have been taking it to heart except for yours. I don't need your "type" of advice because I know who I am and I am anything but stuck up. If anything you are extremely judgmental over my character whom you have no clue about. I don't care if you feel this way about me. Frankly I care about opinions that have my best interest at heart. These women have poured their hearts out and stories instead of judging me. Those types of advice is what I listen to and not yours. If you choose to judge me and criticize me great for you. Because while I am very young and inexperienced. I am very blunt, straight forward, and I call it out as I see it. What you wrote was completely useless to me and therefore I'm disgarding. By the way as for respect? I don't know anyone on this board personally, last I checked this was advice not get on your high horse and judge forum. Perhaps you need to take your "own" advice. People like you make me sick.


As for you guys, you've made some great points and advice. I admit most of what you've said is very true. I believe if I am reading right not only are you asking important questions but you're also asking me if this is worth possibly ruining my life over. I've thought over it constantly. Like 75% of me at this point wants to cut it off before I hear from him again. I have alot of animosity towards him and even his lil girl because of how he made me sound like a freaking fool for so long. That's not healthy and it's not that little girl's fault. I shouldn't meet her if I feel like this and I don't want to say ok, I'll meet your two sons just not her. That's wrong. I feel guilty for feeling this way. But it is his fault because he lied to me for so long. At this time, I do agree it's not a good idea. I don't even know how I can stay in the relationship if I resent him and his daughter? Seems so wrong.


Hi Stephy,
I read the posts here, and one thing really stood out to me. You asked yourself why you are still w/ your BF, and you didn't have an answer. I think the answer is simple. You love this man. It's obvious you know what the right thing to do is. It's just hard doing it when you're the one having to do it. Put yourself in someone else's shoes. If this was one of your future patient's situations, what wld you say to him/her? Do you really think you'd advise that person to take this path and marry someone he or she has so many doubts about? Sometimes women w/ negative father figures end up marrying men that treat them negatively too. I'm not a psychologist, but I've heard about this pattern. Don't fall into this cycle. To quote the last thing you said, "I don't even know how I can stay in the relationship if I resent him and his daughter. Seems so wrong." Now that's your head talking, not your heart. Follow your head, and get out now. Date other men, have fun, go out w/ friends, concentrate on school, enjoy life. You're 22. You have so much time ahead of you, and so many more promising options. Good luck to you.


Make sure this is what you really want. I mean check this guy out very well before you take the leap because its a bumpy ride. Having young step kids is hard, dealing with the ex is hard. You want to see what your getting into. The kids will be jealous and may act out and press your patience. The ex may use the kids against both of you and make your lives miserable. Kids are expensive. You should really lay down some terms/laws before you get more involved, ie marriage. Like if the ex calls who will talk to her, who will do disipline, what his parenting style is and if your on the same trak or not. Things like "We will not side against each other in front of the kids" need to be said. The little ones are easier then the older ones so dont think your home free once you are their friends your taking on a lot of baggage on and I didnt even mention his temper, adhd problems or ODD. Is this really what you want brave girl?


Your dilemmas are your relationship. to give advice on one, is as to the other. Honestly you don't want to hear anything other than validation for continuing to see this guy. All signs tell you it is wrong, otherwise you wouldn’t be here looking for validation. When my daughter,now 28, was in an unhealthy relationship, as you are.I loved her enough to point out the red-flags.She knew(as do you),but wanted it so much, she ignored them and common sense. Eventually, she came to her senses and broke things off. She is now engaged to a loving, emotionally stable young man. So stop acting like we are all giving you unsolicited advice. What you have shared with us tells us a great deal about you(as one Psych Graduate to a Psych. major).You will do as you want, regardless of how many red flags you put out there. And as I mentioned before you don’t really “want a serious and constructive reply”, just someone to say that you are right, and the rest of the world is wrong.


No one can make you look like a "freakin fool" without your permission. (Psych 101 basic) You did that quite well all by yourself.