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He Spends Too Much Time With His Kids, Ex

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I really need a gut-check. I’m 43 years old and engaged to an Army major.Unlike me, my fiancé has been married before and has two children -- a 10-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter. We are having some difficulty because I think he spends too much time with them.

I believe he thinks they are still a family. His ex-wife and children live in another state, but he visits them at least three times a month. If his ex-wife or children call him for any reason, he will put our plans on hold to attend to their needs.

He even spent the last holiday season with them -- both Thanksgiving and Christmas. I have a problem with this because I’m not invited. How can I be his fiancée if I’m not invited to meet his parents, your ex-wife and your children?

Don’t you find this to be a little strange? Ms. Vicki, I love this man, but I cannot handle another failed relationship at my age. My fiancé is telling me I need to understand that he has a commitment to his children and the mother of those children.

I need to know that I am valued and that I’m number one, not number two or three. When I asked him when I will get to meet his parents, his children and other family, he said “in time.” Well, our wedding is set for February 2014.  How much time is left?

I will be a step-mother to his children and I need to get to know them. I really want to be a wife and a mother with children of my own. I can see my dream drifting away. Am I off base? Overreacting? Do I have anything to be worried about?

Fearful Fiancée

Dear Fearful Fiancée,

I have some concerns about the longevity of this relationship. You are what we call in Texas stuck between a rock and a hard place with your husband and his commitment to his children and his ex-wife.

Let me look at it from his point of view: He should be committed to his children and visit them regularly. His children deserve to have a father who is active and present in their lives. Furthermore, he should try to have an amicable relationship with his ex-wife, too, for the sake of his children.

You also want to know that you are important by interacting with his children and other family members, but that is not happening with your wedding date looming. This makes me believe that something is not right in this relationship with your fiancé.

I believe he is emotionally involved with his ex-wife and even still involved with her on a more intimate level. You are invisible to everyone close to him: not a good sign.

Your fiancé is not trying to integrate you into his family in any way. This shows that he is not ready to make a commitment to you. I know it will be hard, but I think this is the beginning of the end for you and the Army major.

I think you have a strong desire to be a mother and to be married. Perhaps this strong desire is affecting your ability to make clear decisions when it comes to a relationship.

It is normal for you to feel like your biological clock is ticking and you are wondering if you will ever be married, but you cannot act too quickly in these situations. I meet many women in their forties who are marrying for the first time and having children too.

I don’t think this guy is that in to you, but there is a guy who will be. When you meet a guy, don't size him for marriage immediately. Instead, move carefully to build a friendship and a solid connection with each other.

You have every right to want #1 status. I just don’t think this is the guy who will give it to you. I wish you the best and let me know what happens.

Ms. Vicki

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Ms. Vicki, a native of Dallas, has been the ‘Dear Abby’ for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology. Her column has appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Ms. Vicki has retired from writing new columns for Although Ms. Vicki is no longer offering new advice on, you can still email military benefits questions to our Questions and Benefits team. Need military spouse career help? Email our Dear Career writers.