Dear Amy: My partner and I have been together for almost six years. Through infertility treatment, we have a 2-year-old daughter, and I am pregnant again.

I love my partner. However, I cannot bear his 10-year-old son, who lives with us half time. I have felt this way for years but kept trying to make things work. I just can’t do it anymore. I am angry and miserable, and my partner refuses to do anything to change our living environment or his custody arrangement (which isn’t working and is harmful for the boy — he doesn’t have a base, both parents have new families and he doesn’t know where he fits in).

I’m now faced with leaving the relationship and breaking up my family, or remaining in a cold, angry, polarized home.

The reality is that I should have walked away at the start, but I didn’t, and now I find myself mired in this heartbreak and dysfunction. What should I do?


Amy says: I have to wonder at your judgment, to bring children into a family from which you plan to flee. My heart also breaks for this 10-year-old boy. You seem to have sterling insight into how dislocated his life is, and yet don’t seem to have much compassion for him.

With professional help, parenting instruction, therapy for the child and lots of effort from you and your partner, your family has a chance to succeed. As it is (you hostile, your partner checked out), I don’t imagine you will commit to attachment.

I very rarely suggest that a parent should break up a family, but I’m thinking of this boy now, as well as your other children. Because you seem to lack the will or wherewithal to create a healthy household, it might actually be best for all of the children if you and your partner separate.

Caregiving couple need time

Dear Amy: I’ve been dating my boyfriend for almost four years. He lives with his mother as her caregiver.

He works nights so he can be with her during the day and I stay with her at night. We don’t have any time together; there has not been any intimacy in more than a year. Having someone come in and stay with her would upset her.

I want to get out of the relationship. My feelings toward him have changed, and at 63 I want to enjoy my life and be able to travel and get married. He says he can’t talk about our future while he’s caring for his mom. What should I do?


Amy says: If you brought a caregiver into your home for even a few hours a week, your guy’s mother would have a chance to adjust. Then you two could at least slip out for a movie or a bite.

Caregiving is extremely stressful; it is essential that caregivers also take care of themselves — and their relationships.

You should pose this to your guy: “Things need to change. If they don’t, I’m going to leave. And if I leave, you’ll be out a partner and a caregiver. Can you work with me on this?”


Send Ask Amy questions to