DEAR ABBY: I am a divorced mother of two teenagers. I've been seeing my boyfriend, "Sean," for almost five years, and when the pandemic started, he moved in with us. I am supposed to share custody of my teens with their father, alternating weeks. However, his job requires travel, and the kids are with me more often than not, with little to no notice. They are also reaching an age where they don't really want to go to their dad's all the time.
This has caused some tension with my boyfriend. He feels we never get "alone time" anymore. He then withholds affection from me, as if I've done something wrong by having my kids. Since he moved in, our sex life has dwindled to almost nonexistent. He refuses to be intimate when the kids are home, yet he hasn't made the most of the "alone time" we do have when the kids aren't here. He usually goes to bed early, without so much as a goodnight kiss. Or he'll go out on weekend days and not include me.
I have been cheated on in the past, and my insecurities are starting to rear their ugly heads. I don't know how to talk to him because he gets defensive and gaslights any issues I bring up. I don't feel safe sharing my hurt with him, let alone sharing my anger at him for trying to make me feel bad for being a mom. I'm losing hope and feel myself shutting down. How can I approach him in a way that he won't get defensive? -- FIGHTING A LOSING BATTLE
DEAR FIGHTING: There are red flags all over your letter. You are going to be an active mother until your children are at least 18. That this man would move into your home and give you heartburn about your responsibilities is terrible. You state that your sex life is over, and when you raise other important issues, he gaslights you. This does not bode well for a healthy future.
His defensiveness when you attempt to have an adult discussion with him isn't your real problem. Getting him out of your home and your life before he wastes any more of your time is what you should focus on.