He Lives With The Mother of His Children


Imagine being in love with a person who has chosen to live with the mother of his kids, only because he wants to be in his children’s lives growing up. No he doesn’t love their mother, at least not admittedly, even though she might be trying to love him.

You know he loves you, however limited he might be in his ability to express it. Nevertheless, he let’s you know from time to time that his commitment to his children comes first, even though he might not say it to you this directly.

The word I would choose that goes with this all too common love life situation is “stuck.” To be stuck in your love life is to be in a situation that can feel like a dead end.

Let’s explore the options you might have, if you find yourself in this kind of love life situation. Let’s assume for starters that you are really in love with this guy. You might try to control what you feel for a while, because you don’t want to experience how stuck you really feel. Maybe you’ll try to distract yourself in any way you can from the fact that you are unable to change your love life for the better. Despite the distractions, at the end of the day you’re still stuck.

Now you could try working on his relationship to the mother of his children. What I mean by “working on” the relationship is, you look for every opportunity you can find to criticize her. This can be direct or more subtle. The reality is, you are threatened by the fact that he lives with her, maybe you find yourself wondering whether or not they make love (even though he tells you its strictly Platonic), and you feel bad that another woman lives under the same roof as the man you love. Unfortunately this strategy doesn’t work because his allegiance is primarily to the kids.

If you try to weaken the bond he has with his kids you’re in deep trouble. That’s a bad judgement derived from the hurt and anger you’re feeling right from the start. The chances of losing him increase the more you try to tamper with the bond he has with his kids. Figure he is probably feeling “guilt” for not being there (he probably won’t admit this) in their lives earlier, as much as he thought he should have been.

If you decide to play hard to get, he’ll probably get worried and maybe even hurt, but there is a limit to the extent to which he’ll accommodate your feelings because he won’t want to deprive the kids of much of his quality time and energy. If you tell him you’re going to leave while looking over your shoulder at what he is going to do about it, you’re bound to get even more frustrated and unhappy.

Yes, you do have a prominent place in that triangle he, his wife/kids, and you are in. But unfortunately there is a limit to what he can do to keep you, and it’s hurtful to feel that limit directly. Simply put, if your strategy is to half-seriously threaten leaving, you don’t want to hear him say (after pleading for you to stay), “OK…if you have to go…go. I’ll miss you and always remember the good times.”

Last on the list of choices is to realize that triangles are unhealthy, so you decide to tear yourself away no matter what the cost. Better to hurt in the short run than to hurt after a long and futile run that wastes your precious time. If he is ready to give you what you deserve, he’ll move out, practice being a great Dad while living somewhere else, and show you he can give you more than just a sacrificed love life.

Piece of advice: when you decide to leave don’t look back. It has to be real, otherwise you’ll get into a cycle of coming and going that will repeatedly injure and feel bad. Someone once said about love,”it’s a great feeling but know when to quit.” If the man you love is living with the mother of his children, it’s time to quit.

Comments? Welcome. Dr. Tom Jordan


Dr. Jordan

Dr. Thomas Jordan is a clinical psychologist, certified interpersonal psychoanalyst, author, professor, and love life researcher.

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