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I think my younger boyfriend is 'stashing' me: Ellie

Toronto Star logo Toronto Star 2017-11-09 Ellie - Advice

I was married for ten years to a great guy (we had 15 years total together). We have two beautiful children.

Recently, I decided I wasn’t happy and met someone else much younger than me. He’s 24, I’m 31.

He’s never had a long relationship (I’m his longest at eight months). He’s accepted that I have children, I don’t expect him to play “Dad.”

Their father is in the picture and we communicate well when it comes to the kids.

I fell in love with this guy and he says he loves me too, but I haven’t met his family.

He’s only met the children, my nephew and my mom.

Every time I ask him to meet my whole family, he always has to work. He’s trying to start his own business, and sometimes works all week with no time off.

He’s told me that his family would disown him if they knew about me . . . that they’ll see a 30-plus woman with two kids who works in a factory (apparently, it’s a dirty job, and not up to his parents’ standards).

But I met him there! (He no longer works at the factory.)

I feel like he’s “stashing.” He says people know he has a girlfriend but they know zero about me.

I haven’t even hung out with his friends and him, though he’s come to my friends’ get-togethers.

Also, he’ll drive to see me after work, sometimes just to lay beside me and sleep. My kids adore him, we’ve had several disagreements on my parenting (we’re working on my downfalls).

When I tell him how I feel (about not meeting his family or friends) he says I’m overreacting, but I don’t think so.

Also, he’s always on his phone. He says he’s in “that phone generation” or “it’s my ‘me’ time.”

If it seems your boyfriend will never introduce you to his friends or family, then it's unlikely he considers you a long-term partner, Ellie writes. © Provided by Toronto Star If it seems your boyfriend will never introduce you to his friends or family, then it's unlikely he considers you a long-term partner, Ellie writes.

He’s way mature for his age. But I want more and he doesn’t.

He talks about “our future” and building me a house someday, but if his family can’t accept me now, when will they? I don’t know what to do.

Am I Loved or Stashed?

Stashing is the latest dating term for it, but basically, you’re being kept “hidden” in plain sight.

He’ll meet your kids, your friends, but you won’t meet his closest buddies and especially not his family.

He may chat vaguely about a future together, but there isn’t one.

The unspoken message of being stashed in today’s dating minefield is that the person (male or female) is unlikely to ever be considered a long-term partner.

The red flag is never being invited into the fold.

In your case, he’ll never introduce you to his judgmental family, because he truly fears that they’ll “disown” him. That matters more to him.

It’s not something you can fix.

Having married at 21 to the boyfriend you met at 16, and despite being older than him and a mother, you’re an innocent compared to his self-interested ways.

He won you over, and now has a welcoming warm bed to lie in when he chooses to see you.

This is not an equal relationship that will last. Instead, he’ll break your heart.

Protect yourself and your children from his ultimate rejection.

Work on your parenting skills without him, and try to maintain a good rapport with their dad, whom they need consistently in their lives, unlike this guy.

If you meet someone else, look for someone who respects you as a person, no matter your job.

Tip of the day

You don’t need to label it “stashing” to know when you’re being treated as second-class. Don’t accept it.

Read Ellie Monday to Saturday. Email ellie@thestar.ca or visit her website, ellieadvice.com. Follow @ellieadvice.

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