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Ask Dr. SchwartzAsk Dr. Schwartz:
Psychotherapy and Mental Health questions

Should I try to salvage this relationship?

I met this wonderful guy a year ago. He has 3 kids and 2 ex-wives. The mother of his two boys isn't too bad, she basically just doesn't respect his time and makes planning weekends with the boys difficult. But the real problem is the mother of his daughter which is the youngest. She doesn't want me with him when he picks her up or drops her off. After the first time I went with him and sat in the car she had her lawyer send a letter that he was invading her privacy by showing me where she lives and that he needed to cease from bringing me again. Which doesn't make sense as now I already know where she lives. She also didn't want me to attend school concerts or any like events. He is scared of her because she took him to the cleaners in court as far as alimony and child support and has access to this lawyer at no cost to her (a favor of a friend) unless it's real costly then they sue him to pay. He doesn't want to upset her because he's afraid she'll take him back to court and cause him grief with his daughter.

The first 6 months we were together weren't bad. Of course my interaction with his kids was less as I was getting to know him and them over time. Once we were more involved is when the problems became noticeable. I should mention he fell head over heels for me and expressed this, telling me I was the best thing that's ever happened to him and he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. I couldn't have been happier. He was so wonderful to me and even with his obstacles (ex-wives) as well as his time as his work was very demanding, I really wanted to build a future with him. He also has financial issues due to the child support and alimony as well as some of the bills he was stuck with from the divorce. I knew there would be a lot of things to deal with but he always said we would work on everything together.

After this past Christmas things seemed to change. He was so overwhelmed with everything that he became very stressed. It really changed our relationship as well. The attention became less and he was always rushing around trying to please everyone that our time became more and more limited. His boys were causing him grief and it was just a vicious cycle. We would try to talk about things and come up with solutions. He would vent and I would spend my time thinking about how we could make everything better.

It really started to wear on me as well. Pretty soon he started blaming me for not liking the way his life was and certain things. Basically I was trying to help him with everything he complained about but he turned it around to make it out that I was the one not happy with his life.

It became a bit of a roller coaster. We weren't getting anywhere with anything and his daughter's mother wasn't getting any easier to deal with. I was trying to help him learn how to demand more respect for himself but he said it was just easier to leave things as they were. He said it was easier to argue with me as I am more rational. I became very overwhelmed with everything. We were fighting more. I kept holding on to all of the wonderful talks we had had about our future and how much he loved me but nothing was progressing.

Finally it came to a head and we were having texts fights, I know ridiculous. Finally after a few comments from him I felt it was pretty much over. After not talking for a couple of days, I left him a letter saying how much I cared for him and that I was sorry we couldn't work things out. I offered to be a friend for him and wished him the best. Boy did that tick him off. He just assumed we were taking a breather and we would work it out.

So it just got worse from there and it seemed we weren't hearing what each other was saying. He even went as far to say that the only reason I wanted to attend one of his daughter's concerts was to play games with his ex and get in her face. I've never even met or seen the woman. I couldn't believe he said that. I didn't know who he was or became. I didn't know if this was a time that maybe he needed me to be understanding or if I should just let this be over. We had so many plans for our future and expressions of love. When we were together without all of the outside issues we got along wonderfully, we were best friends. It was when it was time to deal with the responsibilities of his life that we ran into walls.

Am I right to just walk away from this or should I try to talk to him and offer my help so that we can come to some type of compromise on how to work through his problems? I am so confused, but feel that there is so much going on in his world that needs attention that right now there is just not time for me and him. In his mind I'm just one more person he needs to keep happy. Any suggestions?




  • Dr. Schwartz responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
  • Dr. Schwartz intends his responses to provide general educational information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
  • Questions submitted to this column are not guaranteed to receive responses.
  • No correspondence takes place.
  • No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by Dr. Schwartz to people submitting questions.
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  • Always consult with your psychotherapist, physician, or psychiatrist first before changing any aspect of your treatment regimen. Do not stop your medication or change the dose of your medication without first consulting with your physician.

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