Freeloading boyfriend stressing me out

All Woman

Dear Counsellor,

My boyfriend and I have been together for over three years. When we first met he was the only person I felt safe and comfortable around. Even though I was in an eight-year long relationship with my son's father I would put this man first. He told me he was having financial difficulties at the time so whenever we saw each other it would always be at my expense. I left my babyfather to be with him. Shortly after, he admitted that he had a son and he didn't tell me because I would have left him. He also told me that he does not communicate with the person he got pregnant.

But that was all a lie. He was in fact in a relationship with her the entire time in our relationship and it was when we started to make investments together that he admitted to these things. He's now living in my home and stressing me out constantly about having his child come to my home. I feed him, got him a job, gave him a home, buy him clothes and pay the bills while he lives freely in my home. I have had enough. He won't leave. I need your advice as to how to heal from this.

Thank you for reaching out. One can't help but sympathise with you as you share your narrative. This is a classic case of a 90:10 relationship ratio where one partner invests significantly more time and effort in the relationship than the other partner.

So whereas you gave from the goodness of your heart, this man seemed intent on taking your kindness for weakness. He recognised how much you cared about his well-being, but instead of reciprocating, he seemed to have been just receiving.

In the 90:10 relationship ratio the giving partner soon becomes frustrated and wants to give up and walk away as they see little or no returns on their investment. They have to contend with extraordinary demands from the receiving partner who seems to be more concerned about how much they can get than what they can give to the other partner and the relationship.

So not only was your partner selfish, he appeared to be less than forthcoming with the truth. He chose not to come clean and state that he had a child with another woman. And all of this occurred throughout the three-year period of your relationship. In other words, he was being unfaithful in the relationship.

So here it is you established clear boundaries with the father of your child and was ready to settle down with Mr Mention, only to discover that he failed to make a vital disclosure that is important to the future of the relationship. His excuse, though reasonable, is not acceptable as in matters like this where a child is involved, as the truth is always the best option regardless of the consequences.

So he chose to withhold this important bit of information for three years and no doubt was hoping that you would forgive and forget his indiscretion and continue to pour out your love and attention invariably.

It appears that what he was hoping he would have spared himself is what now faces him — the break-up of his “dolly house”. You seem convinced that he is still communicating with his son's mother on more than a co-parenting level and as such you are indicating that he is not being honest.

As you sit down and pencil out the pros and cons of the relationship, are your benefits less than your costs. Are you getting less than you are putting into the relationship? Are you only receiving 10 per cent and giving 90 per cent in the relationship? If the answer to the questions is in the affirmative, then you need to do what is in your best interest.

Self-preservation seems to be your best option. The consolation is that you could have found out about the child further down the road after you had fully committed and immersed in the relationship to the extent of marriage.

Should you decide to walk away from this relationship, like every emotional wound there can be pain and hurt but there is a healing process that will follow. The key is not to wallow in self-pity but to take it in stride and learn from the experience.

Do strive to take care of your heart and maintain emotional stability.

Wayne Powell is a relationship counsellor. Write to agapemft@gmail.com or powellw@seekingshalom.org. Check out his work on www.seekingshalom.org and his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MFTCounselor/.

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