I Love Her But Can’t Stand Her Children. Can This Relationship Survive?

Dr. Wendy Walsh

Written by: Dr. Wendy Walsh

Dr. Wendy Walsh

Known as America's Relationship Expert, Dr. Wendy Walsh is an award-winning television journalist, radio host & podcaster, and the author of three books on relationships and thousands of print and digital articles. More than 1.5 million people follow her sage advice on social media. She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and teaches in the Psychology Department at California State University Channel Islands and has been the host of "The Dr. Wendy Walsh Show" on iHeart Radio's KFI AM 640 since 2015. Walsh is also a former Emmy-nominated co-host of "The Doctors," as well as former host of the nationally syndicated show "EXTRA." She was named a Time Magazine Person of the Year in 2017 after speaking out about harassment at a major news network.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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Reader question:

We have been together four years and I thought her children (25, 23, 20, 17) would “grow up.” They all have issues with ADD, supervision, bad manners, bad grades and now drugs.

She says I don’t need to worry and they are not my problem. I know there has been domestic violence with three out of the four children (they attacked her). I want to save her, but she continues to tell me she doesn’t need to be saved.

If you love the person you are with but can’t stand her children, can this relationship survive?

-Dave (New York)

Dr. Wendy Walsh’s Answer:

Dear Dave,

I don’t know how to break this to you, but these children are products of her. While we all come into the world with a biological disposition, good parenting can train some of the negative traits away.

It sounds like she doesn’t know how to put up healthy boundaries and she hasn’t followed mommy rule number one: Do your job well so you can work yourself out of a job.

So now you’d like to exchange care with her? Remember, a relationship is an exchange of care. And if there’s violence, it sounds like this family system is not one you should tangle with.

I’d take her advice. Don’t try to save her.

Your choices are: Have a compartmentalized relationship where you have dinner and sex from time to time. Or merge your lives and tell her you’ll be willing to do that when she shows she can have boundaries with her adult children.

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