financial responsibility

stepmominseattleSeptember 17, 2008

I work full time and make enough money to support a family of 4. For 2 years my boyfriend of 3 yrs and his 2 boys (8 and 5 now) lived with us and I had a majority of the financial responsibility on my shoulders. Their mom is on welfare and has 2 other kids. My boyfriend has been trying to start his own business which hasn't been successful and he is in debt to me and creditors. If he was on his own, he would not be able to have his kids with him or have his business. My family even helps with the kids and have accepted them as family. He doesn't believe he can get a regular 9-5 type job because he needs to stay home and take care of the kids while I am at work (one is in 3rd grade the other attends half a day kindergarten). He doesn't feel there are options for him- i have suggested a night job, part time job, making sacrifices so he could financially support his family. I told him I could not be depended on for money (I pay all household expenses, gifts, clothes, etc) and that his kids could no longer live with us because 1. our relationship is not stable 2. he can not financially take care of them. He continues to feel that it is not a problem that I should be financial responsible for them since we are a "family". He doesn't believe I "want them" and feels like I resent them, but my true resentment lies in his irresponsibility. I tell him this but it does not get through. Does anyone else bear the financial responsibility of their step kids? Do you feel this is ok? His kids do not have health insurance, can't join school sports because of this. I would love to involve them in a lot of after school and extra curricular activities, but it would come out of my paycheck, not their dads. Is it fair? I love his kids as if they were my own (I do not have biologicial kids), but if I truly did, would that mean I should be financial responsible for them? I am truly confused.

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No, no, no.. you are being taken advantage of here. He could work nights if he wanted to.

Why in the world would you think you should be financially responsible for his children when he doesn'teven think he should be? You are not married and have no financial responsability to him or his children. Personally I think you should give him a good swift kick in the butt.

He's not working because he doesn't have too..

Who's house? Yours or his?

He needs to be working full time to support his kids.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 1:44PM
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My house, my car. I feel guilty for sending his kids back to their mom (she lives 3 hours away). They are much better off and happier living with us. If I could just let go of the money situation I feel like we would be fine. It's really depressing. I hate thinking that money could have an affect on our relationship the way it is. I just feel that I need validation that my issues with him are not me being selfish.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 2:00PM
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I think you are not confused as much as you are angry. Angry at him for not supporting his children. Angry at yourself for allowing this to continue. I would step back and take a look at what you are getting out of this relationship. What do you love about him, when he wont work to support himself, or his children?

And, is what you love about him enough to overcome your resentment of his laziness and irresponsiblity? These things do not get better over time.

ALso in Washington state, if you marry him, you will legally be required to support his children. Washington is one of the few states in which stepparents are legally obligated for child support. Be careful. Think with your head and not your heart.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 2:12PM
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Well, money does affect all relationships. It wouldn't be depressing or a problem if your BF was pulling his weight financially in the relationship. He could even work at a Starbucks to at the very least provide health insurance for his children.

It is not you who should be feeling guilty but he! If you are resentful now how do you think you will feel in 15 yr.s after you have been the sole provider for your BF and children while he stayed home and tended to his failing business?

Nothing wrong with starting your own business but he should be willing to have a job and support his kids while his business is growing. I think you are resentful because you know you are being taken advantage of.

I think you should not just send the kids, but send your BF with them. She is their mother and they may be disappointed and miss you terribly but you need to think long term here. And your BF needs a wake up call.

Why should you let go of the money situation? It's a problem and needs to be delt with.


    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 2:13PM
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My feeling is that you shouldnt be discussing sending the kids away but rather make it perfectly clear that he has x amount of time to get a job or he will be finding a new place to live.

I most definately bare the financial responsibility for my skids. DH has a job though. His job just doesnt bring in as much as mine does and CS gets taken off the top (even though we have the kids at least 90% of the time) So he is basically broke. If we werent together he would be living at his moms house simply because there isnt enough left over. But, the big difference is ... is that he works. What is left over of his paycheck is put into our account and I pay all of the bills and food and budget out activities. It is just a fact of life for us right now. I would however NEVER support him and his kids without help from him.. Heck I wouldnt support him without help from him. Actually if I am perfectly honest with myself... I would probably tell him your kids are more than welcome to stay here (because I love them dearly) until you can get setteled but you are out.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 2:32PM
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I wouldn't say I support my husband and his daughter, but I do make more and it's my money that pays for what his daughter needs. Her mom doesn't work and isn't paying her support and my husband makes good money but he is paying off debt he had before we married, so I guess I see it as an investment to take on the primary financial responsibility.. but there is a light at the end of my tunnel. My husband will eventually be in a position to be the sole support of our household and my working will become optional. (of course I will likely continue to work and our lifestyle will definitely be more comfortable) However, there is no way I would be paying for everything if he were sitting on his arse using school aged kids as an excuse not to work. I work from home, so can he. There's lots he can do if he wants, he doesn't want because he has you. My SD's mom uses the excuse that she's a SAHM so she can't work. (lol, she's a SAHNCM so she yes, she's a mom but she doesn't have any kids living with her that prevent her from working.)

You have to stand up for yourself or he will always walk all over you. They are HIS kids and they are HIS responsibility and there is no reason you should feel guilty or selfish for expecting him to at least contribute something. You have to ask yourself what are YOU getting out of this? then compare it to what HE is getting and you will see very little if anything on your side of it and everything on his... that's too imbalanced and while I don't think it always has to be 'equal', there should be some balance (give & take). That's my nickels worth...

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 4:13PM
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I do have to the raise a question here that I hope everyone will honestly think about and not take any personal offense to b/c it's just meant to be food for thought. How much of this is a gender-role issue? I mean, think about if the genders were reversed. Certainly, the fact that they are his biological kids and he is the one not working makes it seem iffier, but even still it is not unheard of for a woman with her own kids to marry a man and that man becomes the sole provider for all. The latter situation is not looked upon with nearly as much derision and the only difference is gender. Thoughts?

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 4:24PM
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My thought is that it would have been a mutual decision then. Not one partner saying oh I cant possibly work I have kids... and the other saying you need to get a job and help support this family. I personally couldnt care less who was the SAHP as long as it is a mutual decision that is benefiting the entire family. Infact, until things changed recently (and very possibly we will go back to this plan) DH and I had planned for him to cut his work hours back to only cover CS and nothing else... just to allow someone be home more and lessen the strain of back and forth travel and what not.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 4:37PM
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I think money does matter. Fights about money are one of the main reasons marriages break up. I can't undertand how someone with children the ages of your BF can't at least work part time. Does he have any type of education or experience? Could he work for someone else in the type business he wants to build up?

SN, I too detect a bit of a gender difference, but I think anyone in this situation, male or female, should be looking for work.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 5:13PM
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ITs obvious that this isnt an agreed upon situation. I dont have a problem with someone staying home if that is what they agree is best for their family. But in this instance...

Firstly, they arent married, or even engaged. This is her boyfriend.

SEcondly, she resents this. She expects him to contribute toward the household, and its his refusal to do so that is causing the problem.

I think decisions to keep a parent at home need to be a mutual decision, not something someone sees as his or her right.

It just smacks a little bit too much of someone who doesnt want to work, expects to have a free ride, and uses the kids to do so.

I dont blame OP for being resentful, and I dont hold out a lot of hope for her relationship lasting long term. I would think the same if this were a man whose gf moved in with her kids and refused to work, if I wanted her to contribute to the household. I guess the difference is, those kind of women go on welfare, or get child support from their ex spouse or baby daddy to at least give some help.

If you ask me, thats the real double standard. Women can easily get welfare instead of being required to work when they have kids. Men cant. No one should, but those who seek a way to do very little and let someone else pay the bills can always justify it to themselves

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 5:49PM
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Thank you all for your opinions. It's always good to hear things from people who have more experience in these situations than I do.

I wish there were edit features, I feel like I made him out to be a total dead beat. He does help when he can, I just feel that he can do MORE. If I were in his position I would probably be working 3 jobs if that's what it took to keep my kids.

A lot of these posts were really helpful and gave me things to think about that I didn't realize.

I will definitely make my expectations more clear and let him know that they way things have been is just not acceptable behavior if he wants his kids back.


    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 6:03PM
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"SN, I too detect a bit of a gender difference, but I think anyone in this situation, male or female, should be looking for work"

I agree as well...
even if it were a woman not working though I really feel that after the kids start school, SAHM should be working during the hours they are in school,,unless you have a buttload of money just floating around the house and dont need the income....

you said he has his own it bringing in any type of income? what kind of business is it if you dont mind me asking? do you have faith that his business will take off? I mean we all have dreams but sometimes have to go work a 9 to 5 so our kids can eat... How often do you all have the kids?

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 9:05PM
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"If you ask me, thats the real double standard. Women can easily get welfare instead of being required to work when they have kids. Men cant."

Kathline, I don't think you are sexist but that comment is unfair because I worked in the welfare department and the regulations do not specify mom or dad, it states 'parent' so the rules and regulations are the same for both genders. It may be less common for men to seek assistance, especially if they find themselves a woman to support them. But, I think most guys have too much pride and the majority of single parents on welfare are women, mostly because there are more custodial mothers than fathers. I would say that out of 100 random cases, there are two or three fathers on welfare.

But I agree with everything else you wrote and I guess I missed the part where he is running his own floundering business and as my husband can testify to, in the first year of my business, I took a full time job in the evenings and weekends. Even now, when I have a slow week or two, I start wondering if I need to get another job. lol, I had a very slow three weeks and started applying for jobs but then things got busy. There's no excuse to not work... lots of people with disabilities that could be claimed as a reason to not work, do work.. they find something the CAN do. I have never not worked so that is foreign to me. (heck, I can't even get the rich wives that don't work but shop and plan parties... I couldn't live like that~ Well, maybe for a week or two :>

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 9:34PM
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Has this man not heard of child care? Why does he have to stay home with the kids because you are at work? If he lived on his own with the kids he'd have a child care arrangement. He needs to make that arrangement and get a job.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 9:54PM
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DH and I both work full time, but I do make substantially more than he does. We have custody of his daughter, and two boys of our own. The difference in pay has never been an issue to be as we both work hard, do our parts around the house and equally share in the care of the kids.
Now, if DH did not work, was not even my DH and we had no joint kids would I feel this way? That's a big N-O!
The fact that he even remotely thinks this is okay and that you are a 'family' is crazy. Family supports each other. I don't see you getting a lot of support from this guy.

In no way would I consider sending the kids away and keeping their dad around when their dad is the cause of the problems. Why should they be punished for their father's actions? In their minds they will be sent away because they did something wrong, not because their dad refuses to support his own kids and expects someone else to do it for him without complaint. I say keep the kids and send away BF!! :-)
The only way I see this working is you calmly sitting down with your BF and outine what you expect and need from this partnership. If he feels that it is unreasonable for you to expect him to take part in financially supporting HIS kids, I'd say it's time for him to find a new sugar momma.

My mom, when I was quite young, was a single mother working three jobs to support us. Anything is possible, if you really care enough to do it.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 10:06PM
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Hi stepmominseattle,

I am a dad and stepdad, and I paid all household expenses for my adult stepson for 2+ years while he lived with us.

My wife is a stay at home mom and has been since our daughter was born eight years ago. We agreed to this, and I am happy with the arrangement.

In your case, you are not married, and it was not your expectation or agreement to be supporting your boyfriend and his kids for two years or more.

I am concerned about the financial risk you are taking. Your boyfriend has debt - to you and his creditors. He could walk away and never pay you back. Perhaps he calls your relationship a "family" to just maintain your emotional commitment and keep the money flowing his way.

First, you might consider reviewing his previous mployment track record and credit statements. Tell him that you want to have a better understanding of his financial condition. Since he considers you "family", I'm sure he won't mind. If he refuses, then you know he's hiding too much from you to ever have a healthy relationship.

Second, if the amount he owes you is significant (and I assume it is), then you should have something drawn up with the details and a commitment from him to pay it back by a certain date.

Third, my advice would be to not marry him (if he ever asks), and to give him a deadline on getting a regular job.

You won't have a legal right to keep the kids if and when he has to leave. So please talk to a family attorney about the best way to protect yourself if he leaves the kids with you for a short time.

The children are in a very difficult situation and I feel sorry for them. You are very kind to have provided for them, but now it's time for you to make some difficult choices.

Please write again and let us know how you are doing.


    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 11:00PM
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Although I agree that he should be supporting his children, I find it interesting that on this thread several posters have pointed out that they are not married, and are therefore not really a "family." It doesn't seem to be only the financial implications that are bothering people, but that because they are not family, there is less of an emotional commitment as well. Yet on another thread, the posters were adamant that "a piece of paper" meant nothing in terms of emotional commitment.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 7:39AM
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Hi stepmominseattle,

I don't think that any of the posters here concluded that because you are not married your relationship is not really a family.

I think the point is to question whether your boyfriend is using the word "family" (as you quoted him) to play on your emotions and manipulate you. If he was your husband, he could be saying the same thing to justify his lack of a financial contribution. So, you would have the same issue.

I don't think that anyone questioned your emotional commitment - it appears to be at a very high level. You have been a total giver in this relationship, and I'm sure it wouldn't be any different if you were legally married. I only question whether your boyfriend is trying to maintain your current emotional commitment so he doesn't have to support his children.


    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 12:10PM
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He is committed to the idea that he will always be a "starving artist" and never wants to work for anyone and is sure that his business will grow. He has always made a living with his art, a meager one, but was able to provide for himself and pay child support. He had never had full custody of his children before he lived with me because he was not stable enough to provide them with child care and do everything on his own.

At this point, I have to think of what I want in my life- if he is someone I want a future with. It's tough when you love some one so much! I feel that I am lucky to be making a good living right now, but what would happen if I lost my job or was unable to work? Then both of us would be in the hole.

I don't believe he is "using" me, I am sure that he loves me and wants us to be a family, but our views on money and work are just not the same.

Again, thank you all for your help and insight. It has been very helpful.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 12:35PM
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I agree with Athlete, I also think the significant thing is that you are building up resentment and if you have voiced your feelings to your BF, then how has he responded? If you haven't, why not? In a strong, healthy relationship (regardless of marital status) partners should be able to communicate and have regard for their partners feelings. If I went to my husband and told him that I feel I can't handle the pressure of being the primary breadwinner and he said he isn't willing to help (either picking up slack by working more or finding ways to save money by cutting back), I would seriously question his commitment to me. I don't think your BF is a bum or deadbeat and I'm sure he contributes something or you probably wouldn't be with him, but he also should care about the pressure or strain you are feeling and if he can do something to alleviate that, he should. If he doesn't do anything, you are going to end up resentful beyond repair and it's not a good situation for his kids to be in. I can relate to not wanting to send them back to mom if her situation isn't stable or they are better off where they are, but he should not take advantage of your kindness because you feel that way and he needs to acknowledge that his kids are his primary responsibility, not yours.

My stepdaughter's mom is in a similar situation only she doesn't have any of her kids living with her. She moved to live with her BF a year ago and has not had a job. She lives off the child support she gets for her older daughter that lives with grandma and some spousal support. Her BF has had his motorcycle repossessed, sold his boat to pay the rent, had his kids' dirt bikes repossessed, was out looking for a second job because he can't handle being the sole support. (and it's just the two of them.. he has 3 kids that live with their mom) He's told her to get a job but she won't. She talked him into moving to a bigger, more expensive house (I think she did that so she can try for custody) but she was supposed to get a job to help pay for it, she hasn't. Just this last week, her mom took back the truck she helped her buy because she stopped paying on it and now her mom is stuck making the payments until she can sell it, which will be at a loss in this economy. The point is that one person that doesn't pull their own weight can bring down everyone and it seems to me that you will be the loser in the deal you are in. I feel bad for BM's BF because he didn't realize or see that she is dead weight. If he sees it now (and I think he does) and stays with her (which he probably will, she's planning a wedding with him) then it gets to a point where he has to take responsibility for his own mess. He probably won't realize that until he is completely drained and she leaves him. (She's done that before with other guys).

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 12:59PM
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what athlete said.

Even if you don't think he's using you, even if he claims he isn't using you, the reality is...
he's using you.

If the children hadn't been born, I'd bet he still wouldn't work.

Your heartstrings are being pulled, & it's not for your benefit or for the benefit of those children.

If you want a grown-up partner, you're gonna have to get this guy out of the house first.

I'm sorry.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 1:30PM
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"He is committed to the idea that he will always be a "starving artist" and never wants to work for anyone and is sure that his business will grow."

Following your dreams is an admirable quality, however, not at the expense of your children. When you're a parent you no longer have the luxury of entertaining such lofty past times as dreaming when said dreams get in the way of the reality of feeding, clothing and housing your children.

Step mom in Seattle: Have you talked to your family and friends about the situation? I would find it somewhat surprising if their responses didn't parrott the responses you've received from this forum.

Athlete: Loved the way you clarified without engaging!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 1:54PM
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Exactly, Athlete. Exactly.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 1:55AM
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I think several posters are questioning the father's emotional commitment (as opposed to his financial dependence) and whether the OP SHOULD be as emotionally committed to him since they are not married.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 6:38AM
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Hi Stepmominseattle (love Seattle by the way):

Like Athlete I'm a father and stepfather who is the sole working parent. Again like Athlete, my wife and I made the decision when our first child was born 7 years ago (and another 4 years ago) that she would stay home with them until we felt otherwise - and in the mean time I still pay for everything regarding my 18-year-old stepson who is now commuting to college (I think Athlete and I have an eerie amount of things in common).

This was all something decided upon well before the fact, and if she had made more money I am sure that I would currently be home with the children. As it stands, my wife is eager to get back out to work and speak to other adults.

What seems to be happening in your situation is that everything is being decided AFTER the fact. No one likes to have things put upon them, and it seems as though all of the decisions are being made without your input - not to mention they seem to be poor decisions on his part.

It is unfathomable to me that someone with children would NOT do whatever it would take to ensure their happiness. It's a very selfish stance that he is taking, and it's a shame to the nth degree that he is basically using his children as emotional tools.

There are so many options available to a mature individual who understands the NEED to do something, but without an impetus perhaps you are in a way enabling him. There are innocents involved here, and it pains me to even consider your situation, but unless you take care of this in some manner you run the serious risk of bringing ALL of you down.

It's sort of like in an airplane when the oxygen masks come down. You should put your own mask on before helping others, and perhaps the best way to help out these children is to put their father on the spot in a major league way.

One last item I've noticed now that I reread your first entry is the fact you wrote that your relationship is unstable. If that's in a general way beyond the financial then perhaps there is a great deal more you need to consider.

I wish you the best.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 4:30PM
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Hi stepmominseattle,

I have read through all of these posts, and I can't find anyone questioning your boyfriends's emotional commitment to you or his kids. I'm sure that he is fully committed there.

I think that the overriding issue is the lack of a financial contribution from him. When I said he could walk away, that related to the future (married or not) and your statement that your relationship is unstable. It's a possibility that you should consider - remote as it may be. It doesn't mean that either of you are less committed now. It just means that there are overriding issues that are affecting the relationship dynamics that may become more problematic as time progresses.

I can't find anyone suggesting whether you should be as emotionally committed because you are not married. I think it's fair to express concern for the long term (married or not), since you have very different views on work and money.

The issue of money is can be a deal breaker in any type of relationship - boyfriend and girlfriend, married, father and son, mother and daughter, etc.


    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 5:16PM
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"He is committed to the idea that he will always be a "starving artist" and never wants to work for anyone and is sure that his business will grow. He has always made a living with his art, a meager one, but was able to provide for himself and pay child support. He had never had full custody of his children before he lived with me because he was not stable enough to provide them with child care and do everything on his own. "

Big huge red flag here. Irregardless of his artistic talents, he should be working to support his kids-then pursue his arts and business outside of work hours.

Married or not, family or not. You are being used. I feel bad for you and bad for the kids. But your BF has got it made.

If he wants to be a full time custodial parent so badly he should be willing to do whatever it takes to support his kids even if that means putting his business and artistic pursuits on the back burner in order to work a job and bring home some money to help support his family.

Why is he commited to the idea of always being a starving artist? I would think he would be committed to the idea of being a successful well paid artist! Whatever idea he's commited to, sometimes you have to put your dreams on hold and take care of responsibilities first.

Perhaps he could work now and pursue these other interests later when the kids are grown and out and you are financially in a better position as a couple.


    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 5:51PM
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I think Cat has good advice. I would have a talk with him and tell him the options are to either get a more stable job and HELP support himself and his kids OR support them on his own without you. He has to know you mean it though. Like I tell my kids ~ nobody can take advantage of you without your permission.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 6:52PM
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Hi stepmominseattle,

Please post again in the future and let us know how it is going. You took a positive first step by coming here and sharing your concern. I donÂt believe that you are being selfish.

I believe that you have a sense of what is right and wrong here. Your conscience is conflicted because you also have a strong emotional commitment. You have a right to think about your future and what you want.

You are also a planner in the sense that you are wondering what would happen if you lost your job. You understand that there should be a Plan B. Unfortunately, your boyfriend doesnÂt have a Plan B. He only has a Plan A - the "starving artist". So, heÂs conditioned himself for a limited financial future. He canÂt fail in his own eyes no matter what, even if he fails by your standards. Based on what he said, it seems that he wants you to buy into this concept.

After reading your post again, I am more concerned about your boyfriendÂs reaction to your discussions with him. He doesn't think there is a problem and you do. He doesn't feel that there are options for him and there are. He believes that deep down you really don't want the kids and you do. He believes that you resent them and you don't. You tell him that his irresponsibility is the issue and it doesn't get through. So, it doesn't appear that there is any attempt on his part to understand your point of view. His reaction is a play on your emotions (intentional or not), and itÂs a diversion from the real issue.

I am concerned about the lack of health insurance for the kids and him. This is a ticking time bomb. If any of them get seriously ill or injured, the emotional trauma would be compounded by the enormous cost. Even the regular dental, medical and eye care visits are expensive. So, I think that this is a tremendous risk for your boyfriend to take when he could get a job and get the coverage they all need. Until then, I hope that there is an emergency fund in case anything happens.

Again, I think that itÂs very important to completely understand his debt obligations. You need to know this not only for your relationship, but also because an employer might run a credit check on a potential employee to see if there are any red flags. This might limit some of his prospects for work.

I agree with Cat and Kev, and I think that there have been many other thoughtful and helpful posts here.

Please share your ongoing concerns about this with your friends and even a counselor. They will have an outside perspective and this will help you.



    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 8:27PM
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I've tried making suggestions for part time jobs for him- even looked for him too.

Reading more and more of everyone's posts I see now that he is really playing with my emotions.

I talk to some of my friends about him, but not my family- that would be too embarrassing for me. I think everyone that knows us is well aware that I bare most of the financial responsibility and I've been applauded so much by my friends and the kids friend's parents from school how great I am and how not that many people would take my position so full heartedly. I told my boyfriend, why is it that everyone else knows how great I am and how much I love these kids - except you?

I brought up again the fact that he said that he doesn't know if we have a future because I don't want his kids. He said that I'm so excited about my sister's newborn and he's never seen me so excited. My reply was- so I wasn't excited when I threw your kids birthday parties? dressed them up for halloween? bought all their christmas gifts? decorated their room? I have more pics of the kids that I do of us as a couple. I take them to work with me and let them hang out with me when my boyfriend had stuff to do during the day, did art and craft projects, always had my own time with them w/o their dad and did fun things (it's cheaper paying for 3 than 4 + kids meals are always cheaper than adults haha), always shed their mom in a good light, dressed them in nice clothes- basically everything a parent would do for their child. I paid for babysitters so I could go out and what my boyfriend when he had gigs at night. I even took them to Disney Land. This was all on my own dime and I never said anything like- you have to pay half or you owe me this. I did these things because I wanted to!

Sorry, I'm just venting again. I tell my boyfriend how much he has it made and how much he can take "advantage" of the situation where I'm making good money and how much better off we can be if he at least got a part time job + ran his business.

At times I've come to accept the situation and feel like, if I'm happy then what does money matter? As long as I keep supporting everyone, everyones happy too. When I said we are unstable- it's mostly because of our arguments over things like money and his irresponsibility.

Now that his kids are with their mother, the fights aren't so much about money anymore (it's about me not wanting his kids like I said). I feel as long as he pulls his own weight it's ok, but if he wants his children to live with us he needs to be pulling more weight + provide insurance and all that for them. I don't see that happening anytime soon.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 12:48PM
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and ya'll are right- a lot of these decisions were not mutual decisions. They were his decisions and I just went along with it, being naive and not knowing exactly what I was getting into. Being as young as I am and having two kids seemed like it wouldn't be that hard especially since I just assumed their dad and biological mom would be doing all the "parenting" and I would just be the fun person (I do discipline them and try to instill my values).

So I know now that just jumping into the situation head first probably wasn't the best thing to do. Moving forward, if he wants/needs his kids to be back, he will definitely have to have a minimum financial contribution and have him set up their insurance before they come live with us.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 12:59PM
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This reminds me a bit of a situation I'm dealing with in my life. My receptionist (we'll call her J) is pregnant with her live in, own a home together, 5+ year boyfriend's (unexpected) child. He wanted her to end the pregnancy, she did not. She kept it, and the baby is due Jan 2. He has not offered to pay a dime of any medical expense, purchase anything for the baby, etc. J does not want to ask for anything because he didn't want the baby and she doesn't want to make him mad. Instead she is upset with her mom because mom doesn't want to help buy the crib and such and she can't afford it all. She's stressed about how she will pay for her time off work and the hospital bills. She's worried about how she'll make her half of the mortgage payment and pay for day care.

The obvious answer? THE FATHER SHOULD BE PAYING FOR HALF! I have said this to her 100 different ways but yet she doesn't want to upset the apple cart and ask. My contention is that 'asking' is not needed - it should be a requirement. I've even suggested she file for support, but no way. She so fears rocking the boat they are in (why she would even want to be in a boat with this a&& is beyond me) and him leaving that she spends her lunch crunching numbers and thinking of what she can sell to pay the bills. I've come very close to writing her a check just to give her piece of mind, but I've decided in doing that I would be letting dad off the hook and I'm not about to do that.

What strikes me about both these situations is the father's apparent belief that it is permissible for them to contribute nothing to the children they are genetically responsible for while watching those they 'care' for struggle to do it for them.

How is this love? How is the caring? How is this anything other than taking advantage of the person you claim to want to share your life with? In both situations, the only person sharing is not the father. How you could look them in the face each day without punching them is beyond me. I have zero tolerance for people who punish their children by doing what is best for THEMSELVES and not what is best for their KIDS. They brought them into the world, and whether it was intentional or not it's time to man up.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 1:40PM
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Hi Stepmominseattle,

My sister had a situation that was similar to yours in some respects. When she was 24 she met an older man through her work who was divorced and a dad.

He was a nice guy, and she ended up marrying him. Unfortunately, he could not keep a job. So, he decided to go to school to be an x-ray technician. She supported him during this time. His wife had full custody and I don't know what financial arrangements were made for the daughter. However, after completing his training, he decided he didn't want to be an x-ray technician anymore. He wanted to live off my sister and go surfing as much as he could. That ended it, and they divorced.

If my sister had been able to check into his job history while they were dating, she would have seen a clear pattern of many lost jobs and long periods without work. As a result, she probably would not have married him even though she loved him.

I'm sure that your boyfriend has many great qualities or you would not be living with him. Yet, after two years of living together you have a more complete picture of who he is, and a major part of this conflicts with some key core values that you have.

How well do you know his complete employment history? If I were you, I would want to know about any pattern of jobs (length employed and reason for leaving) and periods of unemployment (length of time). I think that you can say that you have a right to this information because you have been trying to help him find work. Any potential employer will be asking the same questions.

I hope that he was not fired from a previous employer for something serious. That would be an immediate red flag for a potential employer if they found out. I would just want to make sure that he is not using the "starving artist" as a cover for something that might have happened.

If his employment history is clean, then at least you will know that it won't limit his chances of finding a job.


    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 3:22PM
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My X and I were married very young and both aspired to be artists and we figured we'd both starve. I actually felt the need to be a financially responsible person too, so perhaps my commitment to my art was less than my X because I always worked and had medical insurance for us. Compared to my closest friends and other family members we did starve. It was fine for awhile, but it also got old. We knew that we shouldn't have kids because it wouldn't have been fair to them.

Fast forward to today. I don't think I personally made the best decision for myself to be a "starving artist". The biggest loss is that I never had kids. I am also financially less well off than all of my friends who went to school and "conformed" more than me. I don't totally regret my past, but I would do some things differently.

You need to ask yourself if you want to work hard all of your life to find yourself potentially starving with your partner because it may never get much better than this. Will you be happy in this situation at sixty-five?

    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 3:35PM
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"What seems to be happening in your situation is that everything is being decided AFTER the fact. No one likes to have things put upon them, and it seems as though all of the decisions are being made without your input - not to mention they seem to be poor decisions on his part."

I think that Kev has summed this all up very well. Your boyfriend is calling all the shots and he is making decisions that affect not just you, but his children as well.

I just went through an awful ordeal and divorced my husband who was "self-employed". I know all about the subterfuge they throw out. My husband trained me very well into being a "supportive wife". I was constantly reminded that his first marriage failed because she was not supportive of his desire to be self-employed.

Of course, when I married him, he had a very good job. Not long after he felt secure enough in our marriage and my love for him (and in my earning ability), he bought himself a brand-new car and then he quit his job (he didn't discuss it with me). I was so in love with him that I didn't realize that what I had just gotten was the old bait and switch.

His "self-employment" went from bad to worse, only I didn't know it at the time - he was also cheating on me and spending big bucks on cheap women.

My advice to you would be:

1. Do not marry this man.
2. Do not throw good money after bad. Cut your losses now. He will probably never pay you back because he is not motivated enough to make it happen.
3. If you love him, give him a strict time-frame in which to get a job that provides health benefits for him and his children and that pays for his financial responsibilities. If he doesn't do it, get him out of there.
4. His children are his responsibility, not yours.

Above all, do not let him con you into feeling sorry for him. He is a big boy. If you allow yourself to feel pity, nothing will change and one day you will end up feeling very sorry for yourself, once he has taken years of your life and drained all of your assets in the process.

People say it isn't "all about money", but one thing is true. Money is your security for your future. Protect your heart and your bank account.

I wish you the best. June

    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 4:10PM
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I agree with June.

Based on his history and his reaction to your concern, it doesnÂt seem like he will change overnight for you or even at all. He is well into adulthood and a pattern has long been established and reinforced. That will be hard for you to break.

He doesnÂt even seem to have any real empathy for your expressed concern. He dismisses it as "not a problem". I would be worried about that. Why doesnÂt he appreciate the emotional and financial strain this has put on you?

You deserve much better.


    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 5:18PM
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why work and support your kids if you dont have to!!! you are being taken advantage of girl! you arent married and are not responsible to pay for his kids, that is up to him and his ex! it doesnt matter if she is on welfair, if it was a man he would still have to pay regardless of how much money he makes!! im living proof of that. my husband has two kids from ex, he makes $7 an hour and is paying over $500 a month. when he asked the judge how he was supposed to support himself ontop of that outragous child support amount the judge said "work two jobs"!!! but i see all of the time if a woman struggles and is on welfare she doesnt get harrassed to pay child support. i know this isnt the case in all situations and dont mean to offend if someones situation is different.if you marry this man than you take on the responsibility of his kids, not before! he needs to step up and take responsibility for his own kids!

    Bookmark   September 24, 2008 at 8:38PM
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I just want to point out that he is not a 'starving artist' as long as you are feeding him.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2008 at 1:08AM
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"He said that I'm so excited about my sister's newborn and he's never seen me so excited. My reply was- so I wasn't excited when I threw your kids birthday parties?..."

Putting the other person on the defensive is an excellent method of misdirection-

you know, it's what magicians do so that you don't notice what's really going on while they beguile you with their marvelousness.

Here, he's off the hook, *& you're on it*, defending yourself.

In the real, rational world, a father who was concerned that his children weren't getting a fair shake from his female partner would...leave the female partner.

Combining what a couple of people said above, the kind of "artist" he is is con artist, & he's not starving as long as you're feeding him.

He's starving you of all your resources.

& when you're empty, he'll find another host.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2008 at 12:00PM
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it is now the end of november and my company is not doing well. there has already been a round of layoffs and i stress about my job all the time. I haven't been making $ as much as 3-4 months ago.

the boys have been living with their mom since school ended last year. theyve both been in school this year living with their mother. their mom works and goes to school. the grandmother was helping her with her 4 children is not able to anymore and she is trying to figure out what to do. My boyfriend wants the oldest son to come back and live with us.

I said I don't think it's a good idea and we fought all night about it. he still does not have a regular paying job. he says he will get one before his son comes during christmas vacation. i was just beginning to feel our relationship getting better but still don't feel like we are "there" yet. and now my job doesnt feel totaly secure.

we have a roommate living in the room that used to be the boys. I don't want us all living together, but feel bad to have to tell my roommate of 3 months to move out.

I feel so much guilt for not wanting to take on that responsibility again.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 3:43PM
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Tell the BF to GET OUT keep the roommate ... as long as the roommate is actually helping you out ... if not the roommate can take a flying leap too.

Tell BF to move in with BM win win for every one.... until "he gets back on his feet" ...

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 4:04PM
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she lives in a different state. the roommate is great.

he would never move to that state or in with her. he has tried to get her to move by where we live, but all her family that helps her is down there.

I really need to just set the ground rules. make him get a job and provide insurance (ive suggested looking at state assistance!) and his son can't move in until he does.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 6:01PM
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" make him get a job and provide insurance (ive suggested looking at state assistance!) and his son can't move in until he does."

Wait a minute-STOP and re-read what you wrote.

Look for state assistance?! So us taxpayers can foot the bill when he is perfectly capable of working?!

Why are you LOWERING your expectations & making excuses for the fact that he is not willing to help support and take care of his own children?

Don't you want something more for yourself?

Is this really OK with you?

Is this really the kind of man you want to spend a lifetime with? Someone who won't even take care of his own?Because it can be a very long miserable life if you are living to foot the bill for his lazy butt.

What happens if you get sick, or lose your job or become unable to work. Will he pick up the slack and take care of you?

What about what YOU want? Time for you to think about that and get selfish here. It's your life too, don't get lost in trying to solve his problems and drama-it's a hard road out. Trust me.


    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 7:45PM
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Amen!!! (What Catlettuce wrote!) and psuedo's right, keep the roomate, lose the boyfriend that isn't pulling his own weight and now wants you to pull the added weight of his child... whom he isn't even taking care of. Raise your standards!!! I am not unsympathetic to a guy taking help when he needs it, layoffs & injuries happen. But, to live as a 'starving artist' when he has little mouths to feed and the only reason he isn't working is he just doesn't want to... that doesn't cut it. I have a couple of relatives like that.... I call 'em losers. One is 45 and moved back with his mom when his wife left him. (btw, he brought back two grandsons that his mom is raising because he won't get out of bed until noon... because he stays up all night on the computer)

My SD's BM just told her daughter the wedding is probably going to be postponed another year because money's tight. Well, DUH!!! She doesn't work. Her BF has had all his fun toys repo'd and he's probably staying up at night trying to figure out how to avoid being evicted before Christmas. He's clung to the hope that she'll step up and get a job and help out... just like your BF says he'll get a job. He probably will, just keeping it long enough to get you to allow his son to move back and then he'll find a reason to quit or do something to get fired... (yeah, so it won't be his fault). People that want to work... WORK. People that want to be leaches and live off of others will do so as long as they have a host... feeding them.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 9:00PM
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