He’s financially controlling … with his parents’ money.

The twisted parent-child relationship my ex-husband had with his parents was a burning red flag that I unfortunately ignored.  When I met him he had his “own place” (subletting from his now-ex-brother-in-law), but basically had all his meals and laundry done at mommy and daddy’s house. On top of that they gave him wads of cash whenever he wanted.

The strange thing was that my ex treated his parents like children, constantly harping and criticizing them for everything. He even tried to take control of their finances, constantly lecturing them on how they should be spending their time, money and essentially their lives. Our six-year marriage was not a happy one; he eventually became physically, verbally and financially abusive.

A year ago I took our daughter, the dog and as much stuff as I could fit in the car and left him. By the time the divorce was final, lawyers paid and the property divided, he was left with about $6,000 out of about $80,000 his parents gave him. And yes, the gifted money was considered a “marital asset.”

He’s moving things along quickly.

It was the first week of a new internship when the guy in the next cubicle started flirting. I went along with it and he invited me to his apartment to watch an NFL game, my team was playing so I agreed. It all went downhill from there: Before the game he suggested we take his horribly behaved dog to have his nails clipped at Petsmart. Then on the way out of the store he called his mother on speakerphone so I could hear how “sweet she is.” We then grabbed “dinner” from Subway, which I paid for with the gift cards he gave me while he ran to the bathroom. Why I stayed to watch the entire game is beyond me. But I did, the whole time super uncomfortable because he kept putting his arm around me on the couch.

He continued to text me (while we were at work, right next to each other) the next few days, searching for compliments and clearly wanting to move really fast. One of the texts read, “I don’t think it’s weird for us to be together.” Mind you it had only been three days. He then asked me to come to his birthday dinner at the end of the week and meet his parents. I politely declined and did everything in my power to avoid him at work. Luckily he got back together with his ex a week later, and I was off the hook.

He’d rather live with his parents.

Of my ex’s many red flags, one period of time stands out above all others. We had been dating for a couple years and lived together in a house with two other people (us upstairs, them downstairs but rent and bills were shared evenly four ways). My ex did seasonal construction work, but that winter the company he usually worked for had already filled his position, so he was out of a job for the season.

Instead of looking for a job, however, he got his parents to pay for everything. I would come home—after working one of my three jobs—to find him playing video games with one of his buddies and the house a mess. He never wanted to go out, claiming he had no money even though he had a constant supply of beer and weed, and could always find the cash to go drinking with his friends.

After a couple months of this, the two people from the basement suite gave notice they were moving out at the end of the month. We couldn’t afford to keep the place for just the two of us and couldn’t find anyone else to fill the vacancy, so we decided that we should look for another place as well. In the meantime, his parents offered to let us stay with them until we found something suitable.

When we moved into his parent’s place, I figured it would just be for a month, maybe two, until we got back on our feet financially and found an apartment. Well, those couple months turned into three, then four, then five…which was extremely uncomfortable for me because I didn’t feel right about his parents paying for everything. But every time I found an apartment for the two of us, my ex would say “I just can’t afford it right now, maybe in a couple weeks.” So I started looking for a place just for me, however, whenever I mentioned it to him, he’d guilt me into staying “just a couple of weeks longer” because he “really” wanted to live with me.

Then he bought a motorcycle. I left. Two years later, he still lives with his parents.


He brings his daughter (whom he’s never mentioned) on your first date.

After meeting a guy on an on-line dating site, we decided to meet for dinner that weekend.  When I arrived, I was surprised he had a little girl with him (about 6 years old).  He introduced his daughter, who he never mentioned to me or made any indication of having a child on his profile. He claimed it was his weekend with her and that’s why he brought her.  I didn’t really know what to say. (Call me crazy, but I don’t think it’s appropriate for either sex to bring their child along when meeting a potential suitor for the first time.)

While we were deciding what to order, his daughter said she wanted to get a burrito and dad reminded her that she didn’t like the burrito last time, suggesting she should get the tacos instead. Well, the little girl started to throw a whiney fit, “But I want the burritoooooooo!” So that’s what she ordered.

And, of course, when the burrito arrived it wasn’t what she wanted. Instead, she wanted my tacos. I don’t really like burritos either and was really looking forward to the yummy fish tacos I ordered. I guess I gave my date some sort of look because he yelled, “Just give her the damn tacos!” What was I supposed to do? I had to give her mine and ask the waiter to bring another order of tacos while they ate. His daughter ate one taco and picked at the other one before deciding she didn’t like them either.

By the time my order arrived, they were both done eating and the daughter was ready to go.  When the check came, my date asked for the second order of tacos to be on a separate bill for me to pay. He paid his portion and left me sitting there to finish my meal. The waiter seemed to understand my plight and told me the second order of tacos was on the house.  Always a silver lining!

He can’t live without his mom’s cooking.

After meeting a guy on an on-line dating site and chatting and talking for a few days, we decided to meet face to face. During our first date, food likes and dislikes were brought up.  He told me he loved the red sauce his mom made and ate it everyday. I thought he was being sarcastic, especially since his mom lived many states away. Then he told me he drove eight hours one way (yup, sixteen hours round trip) each month to get a stock of his mom’s red sauce (lovingly wrapped in single serving vacuumed sealed packages), which he would then freeze and eat for at least one meal each day. He was thirty-five years old and didn’t know how to cook anything except boiled noodles. After midnight when we decided to part ways, he didn’t even walk me to my car and we were not in a great area.

He keeps you hidden from his sister.

My 30-year-old ex’s older sister didn’t approve of me, so he told her that we broke up and kept our relationship a secret from her. He would make me park at least half a block away from his house when I came over in case she drove by and saw my car. He would ditch me for days at a time because his sister wanted to hang out and he “couldn’t” tell her he wanted to spend time with me. If she came over while I was there he would make me hide upstairs until she left. He wouldn’t even go out in public with me in case she or somebody they knew saw us.