I have a feeling that Mike may want to get married and that is exciting. From
what Mike has told me, his ex just up and left him and he has to care for the
kids. As any woman would be, I am curious about the ex and I want to know more
about what happened in the marriage but I don't want to put Mike on the spot.
After I talked with some friends, I went to the courthouse and reviewed Mike's
public divorce file. I just want to know if his ex will be knocking on the door
for support and money and taking away from the life Mike and I will have.
I'm so disappointed. While I won't go into details, what I read in the file was
not the Mike I know and, his wife gave him the house, the country club
membership and she pays him child support.
I'm now intimidated by his successful ex. She has a successful business, is
well educated and she's younger than me. I'm also not comfortable thinking
about a future with Mike. We have a great time together, but knowing that he
has the kind of life he has thanks to his ex, it seems like a bleak future for
me as the child support will eventually go away.
What should I do? Should I end it with Mike because he is not who he really
claims he is? On one hand, if I hadn't gone to the courthouse, I wouldn't know
any of this. And if it was the woman who was getting support, no one would
question it. But on the other, maybe I'm old fashioned and I don't want to
waste my time with a many who isn't a traditional earner.
I know you like him, and if men are charming, good looking, or you're so
lonely that just to be with someone [anyone !] that you're loosing the ability
to see him for what he is- a con guy... is that what's is going on here ??-
I would really step back from him until he is willing to have an honest
conversation with you about his past. You are going to have to tell him you
know how he got his money- and that will be the test of his character. Will he
stomp off, look at you as if your 'snooping' on him - or will he open up and
tell you honestly tell you about his life ??
You also have to tell him that you don't own the business...that will be a big
'test' of where he's coming from.
If it were me, I would not trust this guy. He's lied to you now, and what
comes out of his mouth from now on- can you trust and believe what he says to
you ? To use a quote [also from Dr. Phil] :
'' The best predictor of future behavior- is past behavior''.
I know how hard it is to be single and wanting companionship, [as I've been
there], but, please, do not be foolish and get more attached to this guy
[fall in love with him] and get hurt or slammed in the end.
Wishing you the best,
You have to be honest with yourself too: Was the idea of not
having to worry about money anymore one of the main things
about him that appealed to you? If yes, then you are vulnerable
to being conned. He will tell you what you want to hear and
you might believe.
Please do not pursue this relationship.
You deserve an honest life partner.
Too many red flags
So maybe it's Mike who should be disappointed in you, not the other way
He said his wife up and left, and it seems true, from what you discovered: she
pays child support and gave him the house. So, she doesn't want him anymore,
yet you still feel intimidated by her? Why?
I think the problem isn't with Mike but with you. You want to lie to him
(about who owns the business you run) yet poke around behind his back (by
looking at his divorce record, public or not, rather than simply asking him)
and judge him, quite harshly, by those unfair standards.
I hope for Mike's sake he recognizes himself and runs far away from you.
I believe you have your head firmly planted underground....and although I get
it on one level---most people would love to be taken care of financially and
travel the world--it sounds like just a dream.
My suggestion-slow down. Get to know him. Find out the details of his life and
let him know yours.
See how you feel about each other after you each know the truth.
Two things leap out to the reader of what you have written:
You are not being truthful to ''Mike'' about your own financial circumstances.
Mike is not being truthful to you about his circumstances, either.
It seems that what you want from this relationship is eventual marriage.
How can you even think of such an outcome when there is no transparency
in your dating relationship?
If what you want is eventual marriage, you and Mike will need to level with
each other, at minimum. The best case would be a complete mutual disclosure
of all pertinent matters concerning money and relationships with the ex'es.
After that, go slow and do not consider marriage or cohabitation until you
have dated for a couple of years.
And keep this man away from your kid(s) until things have begun to make sense.
Horrified by your situation
I am not sure why you were not honest with him the ownership of your family
business -- but that raised alarm bells for me - something was stopping you
from being honest with him to begin with, maybe because he seemed to give you
extra attention for owning your own business, or else it is because you had an
instinct not to trust him in sharing the truth.
It sounds like you had a fun ride, but you need to put the brakes on it, and
fast, as it won't end well. I am guessing a bunch of other BPNers will tell
you the same.
After all, if he's not what you thought, you aren't what he thought either.
You both seem, perhaps, to be interested in bigger fish than you've actually
It may not be that together you can be rocketing about the world, but could
you have a reasonable life together, with the resources you actually have on
What would your situation be, if you both put all the cards on the table?
If I were you, I'd come clean about the business you don't, in fact, own, and
see how it goes from there.
If you stay together, he's going to find out, eventually, and the longer you
maintain a lie, the uglier the truth will seem.
It sounds as if his account of his financial status was vague, and that the
assumptions you made based on his house and current lifestyle were wrong.
Whereas telling someone that you own a business when you only work for it for
it is flat out lying.
That is, he is merely not the man you thought he was, but you are not the
woman that you told him you were.
If you are lucky, he's a nice guy and has come to care for you for yourself,
and your lie won't much matter.
If you are lucky, he wasn't looking for someone to finance a lifestyle he
can't sustain, and so he won't care that you are not the owner but only a
worker in that business.
If you are lucky, maybe you two can move beyond this rocky start and build
something honest between you.
Or you can both keep looking for that bigger fish.
The reasons I think you should not explain it to him are: a) he's creepy, and
b) you're really emotionally invested and you're enjoying yourself, and he
would undoubtedly say something that might tempt you to forgive him and stick
Sorry. You'll find a better person.
I'm a little taken aback that your main concerns are glamour and envy of the
ex for her wealth and lifestyle. These are surface concerns that say nothing
about the inner person. Worrying about his child support ending too seems
desperate - that is certainly not in the near future.
If you marry him or anyone, you could choose to create your own life and
livelihood together. In any case, you need to be honest with each other about
finances and everything else. Trust is the basis of a relationship. Blending
families is complex.
If you found some other character issue in his court papers, like abuse, then
I would run. If he's actually lied about something else, well, so have you.
- Time to get real.
Also, like you said, you CAN spell it out in your online profiles. That way,
dudes know what they are getting into. For myself, I jumped into bed pretty
fast after my divorce because I was very horny. But, only one of those guys was
a good lover. We slept with each other after going out with each other three
times. He wanted kids and I didn't, so we stopped seeing each other. I would
say that the longer you hold out, the better, because there are so many
diseases out there and so if you are going to take the chance of getting one it
should be with a man who you have a relationship with and who will probably be
around for a while.
Anyway, here are the rules that my friends play by with dating as
also, in terms of online dating: no extensive online chatting or texting
before meeting in person - if someone is interested in you but doesn't want to
meet up for coffee within a week or so of ''meeting'', that is a red flag. My
friends are shocked at how many men want to spend a Saturday night instant
messaging for 4 hours instead of actually going out and doing something! no
I hit the dating scene (8 years ago when I was in my 36) after being with my
boyfriend/husband since I was 20. I dated one or two guys who were trying to
get me into bed on the first date! I decided I didn't want to sleep with
anyone and everyone so when things started to get steamy, I'd mention that I
don't have sex with guys until I've dated them for 3 months so we can get to
know each other, etc. That way guys who were really just looking for a casual
fling would hightail it out the door while the others who were looking for a
real relationship and thought I was someone worth waiting for would settle in.
No sex doesn't preclude kissing (there were some serious make out sessions
involved) and if after 6 or 8 weeks, you are ready for that step, then go for
it. Good luck!
I'm in my late 40s and have been dating online since Feb. I thought I would want
to wait a while before including sex but had a somewhat short but exclusive
relationship with someone where we did click and were intimate. Somehow that
unlocked a door or something and now I'd just like to go out and have fun. My
thinking is that I won't have this chance again so I will have some fun for a
while and will think about when I want to start a more serious search......
Anyway I think you're right that people (men) are interested in having sex soon.
I just found myself thinking that way too and I didn't anticipate that........
I thought I would be more hesitant..... I think it's just important to do what
you feel comfortable with.
Best of luck!
Hit and run is an issue for women dating young men, so slowing things down until
the third month or twelfth date makes sense. A bigger issue for single women
dating middle aged men is not slowing down the progress of the sexual
relationship - au contraire. And Viagra does not work for all the contenders.
In hindsight (no pun intended) I would take an early test spin (with seat belts)
for well qualified candidates. An early check on the road-worthiness of the
warrior will eliminate the mere cuddlers and smoochers. That is unless you are
content with holding hands in front of the television and short walks on level
Coulda Woulda Shoulda
I'm a recently divorced mom of a 2-year-old, in my early thirties. My marriage
was a difficult experience (to say the least) but after taking lots of time for
myself during the separation/divorce (it's been almost two years), I'm feeling
ready to take the plunge into dating again. My question is, how do I get started?
I honestly feel overwhelmed by how different things are now...and I also have
no idea how to navigate dating/single parenthood. I wouldn't describe myself as
shy, but my confidence took a hit with my divorce, and although I'm actively
working on re-gaining it, the idea of ''putting myself out there'' is somewhat
elusive to me. I know I need to do it, but how? Are there steps to take, or things
to try/avoid? Realistically, how does a busy single parent date these days??
Feel like an inexperienced teenager again
In a way it is easier that your child is so young. It is
harder whent hey are older! Here is my advice. Start
slowly. Tell people you know that you are ready to start
dating and see if they know of anyone that might be
suitable for you to meet.
If you decide to go on line, I highly suggest you use
sites such as Chemistry.com as opposed to the ones that
don't require a membership fee. I found that you will meet
higher quality men who are actually interested in a
relationship and not just sex. I also suggest that you
screen these men carefully. Remember that if you meet a
man who has kids but does not have any custody of them I
would steer clear. If you value your life as a mother and
a family woman, you need to be with a man who thinks in a
similar fashion. I also recommend that your child not meet
anyone until you are in a stable and committed
relationship. Otherwise it is just too confusing for the
Good luck. It is actually sort of fun! be open and real.
Men love women who are confident in their own skin........
I started dating when my kids were 4 and 2. It required a lot of bravery, and
had to give myself daily pep talks. I bought some clothes that made me feel
good, I asked friends to help edit my on-line profile for Match.com, and I
arranged to have a babysitter on Wednesday nights and Sunday afternoons. If I
didn't have a date, I took myself to a yoga class, went grocery shopping,
Once I was having dates that led to sleep overs, I arranged for a babysitter
take the kids every other Saturday overnight! I met my partner about 12
into my dating adventures, and I now consider that time to have been
and fun. (Not that I ever want to be back on Match.com...)
Go for it! You can do it!
I am recently separated from my husband, and although I'm not ready to
date yet, I am very interested in finding a new partner to share my
life with. I am in my early forties with a young child. I recently
went on Match.com - just to see what was out there in my age range,
and I was practically in tears after looking through 30+ pages of
guys. There were lots of shirtless photos, and the way the guys
described what they were looking for in a woman was pretty appalling.
My friends assure me that there is someone out there for me, but after
the Match.com experience, I'm really worried! Is there a better
dating site for my demographic? Where are any other 40+ women meeting
nice ''normal'' guys these days? I haven't been on the dating scene
in over 15 years, and I'm terrified!!!
Looking for Mr. Right - Part 2
Please do not think you're too old or it's too late. I found myself suddenly
divorced at 50 and had the same fears you had. I wanted a solid relationship
and/or marriage in my future-not just a boyfriend. And I was afraid all the
men my age were only interested in women under 30.
At the insistence of my best friend, I signed up for match and found that, in
fact, there were many, many men who were interested in meeting me. Of
course there were also tons of 50 year old men who wanted to date a 25 year
old, but it's simple enough to screen those people out with your profile and
by setting up your search terms to exclude them.
What remained after I did that were a whole bunch of really great men who
asked to meet with me. I scheduled coffee dates, 1 or 2 a week, for several
months. And after 3 months of great, but not quite right for me men, I met
the man I later married. I adore him, he's perfect for me and I know I would
never have found him if we hadn't both been online.
The trick, I think, is to look at meeting men as fun, to be genuinely interested
in them rather than disappointed if he is not THE ONE. With that way of
looking at it, you can enjoy the process instead of feeling hopeless and
depressed about it.
A last helpful hint, if you go the online route, post a photo of yourself that has
been taken within the last month and that really represents how you look. You
want a man who accepts YOU as you are, not someone who will be
disappointed when he meets you and finds out you don't look like you did ten
It is never ever too late for love. And the man you are crazy about DOES exist.
He's looking for you too. Probably online.
I recommend that you use a different dating web site. Here
is my theory. On Match.com the first thing men and women
do is look at photos. One just pays a fee and sets up
their profile. On sites like Chemistry.com or eharmony.com
you take a variety of personality tests and you are
matched up in a much more specific way. You also don't see
photos right away either so you get to make a judgment
based on the personality of the person rather than the
photo (and vice versa of course.) I met a wonderful man on
chemistry.com and our personalities were very well suited.
I think that sites that take more time and attention will
yield a more quality individual who is also really seeking
a relationship and not simply wanting to date around or
find pretty women with whom they can have sex. Good luck.
and Keep at it. It does take time....but I found it very
worthwhile. ALSO- be open to dating all sorts of people
and try to keep an open mind. Tell your friends that you
want to be set up with quality individuals. You really
need to cast a wide net...stay positive and try to have
some fun with it.
You'll hear a hundred stories like mine--which begin just
like yours. I met my second husband after 4 years as a
single parent in my mid-forties. We met on a blind date
through mutual friends, after he spent years looking online
and going through dating services meeting perfectly nice
women who just weren't his match (and vice versa), for
whatever reason. Like you, I took one look at Match.com and
went running--not my scene (though I have two different
friends in long-term relationships found at E-Harmony, so
you never know). Enjoy being single (I know that sounds
funny, but there really are a lot of advantages to it, even
with a kid, especially if your ex is a real co-parent who
gives you some free and flex time to reinvent your life).
Become who you want to be, then it's amazing how the man who
wants you to be just who you are will come along. I don't
believe in fate or magic, just in embracing yourself with or
without a partner. That's the best ''plan'' for meeting
someone later in life, I think. Don't rush it. When you're
ready, ask your friends to look around for you or join an
activity group of like-minded souls.
Couldn't be happier
Just as in regular life, there's lots of chaff amongst the
wheat. Match com is the most inclusive and thus the best
online site. It has both shirtless jerks looking for a fling
and successful refined widowers looking for wives. You need
to persist, to block from contact anyone who offends you,
and email guys to be generally informed of their intentions.
I have been on and off match for two years, and the second I
turned 50 my emails dropped dramatically. So, I strongly
suggest that you persist at this.
I should add that Match is worth it because it's cheap for
what you get. The really expensive services screen for
income but not being married and wanting to cheat (It's Just
Lunch accepted my ex-husband before the divorce started).
If you persist you are well-suited to find love again.
This response is for you and the person who wrote in under:
finding a life partner at mid-40's.
I'm sorry you are in this situation and my heart goes out to
you both. I was once in your position, 42 and single and
wondering what went wrong and why I couldn't find someone to
marry. What was wrong with me? Where were all the single,
young great guys? Etc. Etc. What changed? I stumbled across
an article and later book by Lori Gottlieb titled ''The Case
for Settling''. Now before you get your back up, check it out
on Amazon and read the reviews. The book opened my eyes to the
type of man I should be going after and what my ideals in a
mate should be. It was very illuminating and really changed by
dating life. I am now more happy that I thought possible with
a partner and we are engaged to be married this winter. Good
Trust me! Read this book!
I am a college-educated young woman (age 25) with a 6 month old
daughter. Unfortunetly my ''picker'' was off (as Patty Stanger would say)
when I started dating my daughter's father almost 3 years ago. He was a
great man in my eyes, but still had lots of hopes and dreams for his
career instead of an actual career (mind me he was 10 years older, I
should have known better that it will never happen) I strung along, but
eventually enough was enough and I needed to move on. We broke up
about 3 months ago.
I am now looking to start dating again, but as a single, young mom with an
infant I'm not sure how will it go. I have a good job and am financially
independent. Honestly I am quite the whole package, but I'm not sure how
this will go. Ideally I'dlike to date someone around 32-38 with a great
career. I don't need anyone to parent my daughter or support me, I just
need a financially independent man with whom I can build a future and
not worry about finances constantly. I've signed up for Match.com so that's
my starting point.
So I guess my question is, for those that went through something like this,
how did the dating go? How receptive were the men to the child? I'd love
to hear personal stories.
Oh darlin' you are at a REAL fork in the road. Don't do
anything you will regret, like putting ''finding a man''
between you and your infant. I would think you put that out
''A perfect starter family, just add love'' You really want a
guy that WANTS a baby.
Gosh that is tough. Be super careful..... and take it slow.
Good things for you.
What's the rush here? You are 25, broke off w/your ex 3
months ago, and have a 6 months old baby - if you really
want to give yourself a gift, take one solid year off from
men and just enjoy your baby and your life. Unless a meteor
hits the planet, Earth will still have plenty of men to
choose from one year from now and you'll be so much
stronger, more confident and wise that you will only choose
incredible guys. Alternatively, if you're not really ready
to start dating, you'll choose the wrong/bad men again, get
incredibly frustrated and bitter about it - and it goes
downhill from there. Don't rush it.
You are young!
The only real financial security is going to come from
what you can do to equip yourself to be a good earner and
saver. Any plan that involves relying on one other person is,
at the end of the day, very risky.
Please, be mature.
Answering your original question, there are plenty of men out
there who love being stepparents. I know several quality men
who married women with children and adopted their children. I
would also agree with the earlier posters that being in your
mid-twenties is a special time and why not take advantage of
that? Especially since you are able to provide and care for
your child without a partner's help. You have plenty of time
to meet a life partner, and not that much time to enjoy the
young years and develop a special bond with your child (age 1-
5 are quite special.) Not saying that you shouldn't put effort
into a relationship if you meet someone very special, but I
wouldn't invest a ton of energy trying to meet Mr. Right right
now (because he might turn out to be Mr. Right Now instead of
Mr. Right )
I am a single mom of a 6 year old boy. We often go to the
gym to play basketball, while a basketball class is in
session. The coach always brightens up when he sees us and
is very friendly. He also has made it a habit to play with
my son on the side (while his students are stretching or
what not). He does not wear a ring. I would really like
the opportunity to know this positive, friendly man better,
but don't know how to go about it. As a female I feel that
simply asking him out is too forward, or is it not? I don't
want to ask him out while he is working, and have considered
sending him an e-mail, which is posted on one of his fliers.
Life is short, and I don't mind getting rejected, but I
don't want to make him uncomfortable either. Is there some
other more subtle way I could open the door to the
possibility to seeing him outside the gym? It'd be great to
hear from both men and women on the subject.
What about emailing him and asking and mentioning that you hope it won't
be awkward if he declines your offer. You could also have another topic in
there like how much your son enjoys the class, etc
Sounds like a risk worth taking...
I don't really have dating advice, but a single-mom cousin
of mine married her sons' soccer coach and it worked out
very well (they have two more children.)
ask him out for coffee/hot chocolate
You don't have to ''ask him out on a date'' and risk
embarrassing either of you if he is coupled, gay,
uninterested, etc. You certainly can invite him to
something social like a holiday party, a cocktail party or
dinner party (that you can give just for this purpose!)
If you don't entertain (and I suggest that more single
people do this), then invite him to something with your
child: ''Son and I are going to a Craft Show this weekend.
Would you like to join us?''
About dating: there are no rules. Anyone can invite and
anyone can pay. The more informal you are about getting
to know another person in order to explore any possible
friendship the less stressful it will be for both of you.
YES! Ask him out. It would be completely ''too forward'' if he
wasn't showing any interest but if he is doing as you say he
is doing then by all means work up to it. You can speak with
him after a game and casually mention grabbing something to
eat if he had no plans. By asking him out - you dont
actually have to say - want to go out - but by staying after
practice you can simply mention if he wasn't too busy maybe
one of these days we can go grab a bite to eat or? leave it
open for him to respond then he can also do the asking out.
Guys like being asked out, that is to say if they are
interested in the girl. And yes, life is short! so go for it.
you can also join in when he plays with your son - pass the
ball around with them and strike up a conversation. ask him
questions, give him some clues as to your interest in him
(like smiling at him not necessarily being an overly zealous
flirt) and maybe he will do the asking himself but it wont
happen if you just stand on the sidelines and watch.
I was a single mom (still am, but she's out of the house)
in your position once, which turned out to be the
beginning of a long, wonderful relationship. I know this
may not be politically correct but I strongly feel the guy
should ask first. HOWEVER, you can start by chatting...
nonverbally flirting, taking note of his reaction and the
general vibe. Does he approach you, start talking, keep
talking, smile, maintain eye contact, etc? You can feel
these things and if it's there, it's a great game, the
oldest one in the book. Be the one to leave a little
before you'd like to, with a smile of course. In other
words, give a little but let him go after you if that's
what he wants.
In the meantime, do you know any of the same people? Could
you strategically find out about him - is there a
girlfriend or whatever.
In my case, I saw this guy around and was friendly and
chatted some. I played it friendly and somewhat cool by
ending chats pretty soon, etc. I might've accidentally
touched him on the arm once while talking, like I might a
woman. I found reasons to speak to him at some length a
couple of times. One time was pure pretext and it was
highly nerve-wracking. I could hardly breathe. We actually
spontaneously hugged goodbye and then both of us were
separately horrified and elated. We didn't speak again for
WEEKS. I thought the feeling was mutual but I didn't
He was about to go away for the summer - MONTHS this had
been going on. So I was planning to break my own rule and
call and ask him for coffee. An absurdly casual ritual
considering my feelings! I set up a time, had a kid over
to play with my kid, closed myself in the bedroom with the
phone and sat there staring at it. At that moment it rang!
It was him saying he couldn't stop thinking about me! I'm
so glad it worked out that way, although he would've
adored me even if I'd been the one to call. As it was he
felt extremely lucky to snag me and I had no doubt about
If this guy's not available, you've maybe made a nice
buddy and sharpened your skills for the next guy. Good
- play it and have fun
Well, you sounds so sweet that it would be a shame for him
not to realize that you are available. Here's what I
would do... In my experience, I have never had any
success with me asking the guy out. They feel too much
pressure. It seems to me it's a pretty primitive system,
but if the guy likes you enough to want to date you, he
will definitely let you know. If he is the kind of guy
that is too timid to ask you if you are single, or give
you that special smile -then he is too timid in other
ways. All you have to do is smile at him, say ''I was
thinking of trying out X restaurant this weekend w/ my
son, what do you think about the food?'' That's it. If he
is interested he will get the hint. (i.e.,you don't have a
date this weekend, you are entering into conversation
territory other than basketball) If not, he will politely
say ''oh so and so place is great, you should try it''.
Meaning, without me...In my experience, guys who are
attracted to you and want to date you will get very
smiley, ask a lot of questions about you, etc. They will
eventually ask you out on their own. And if he doesn't,
his loss! Good luck, let us know how it ends :)!!
Does the coach know you are single? available? I would try
to somehow get the message to him that you are interested.
(i.e. ''johnnie's dad is not present in our lives so I
really appreciate your ability to connect with him ''(or
something like that) That way he will know you are single.
Do you flirt a bit with him? Start conversations? Thank
him for the time with your son? I would try to turn on the
friendly button and see if he responds. Another thing to
try is asking other moms or dads(subtly) if coach might be
single.....cannot hurt! good luck...go for it!
It sounds like he may like you and just be too shy to
broach the subject. A good friend of ours was a male
kindergarten teacher and had a very hard time dating. He
said he didn't want to appear to be hitting on his
students' moms. I would give him a winning smile when you
see him and tell him you think it is great he plays with
your son when there are lulls. You could then say, ''Hey,
would you like to grab a coffee sometime?'' Just make it
sound casual, not like a date. What is the worst he can
say? ''Sorry, I am married.'' ''Well, I am married, but I
would still love to grab a coffee.'' ''Sorry, you aren't my
type.'' I find most people are flattered that you would ask
them to get together for dessert or a coffee. I have made
quite a few friends that way and we now meet fairly
regularly. If the coffee goes well, I might wait a week or
so and then bring him some homemade cookies. ''Well, it is
the holiday season and it is just a little thank you for
your helping with my son. He so enjoys playing with you.''
mid 50's lady
Why don't you tell him what you've told us...that you'd
like to get to know him but are shy about asking him for
fear of making him uncomfortable...he can take it from
there. Honesty is usually the best way to go, I think.
(then again, I've been out of the dating scene for many
years so who knows what I'd do in your shoes....BRAVO to
you for approaching this...let us know what happens).
Why don't you tell him what you've told us...that you'd
like to get to know him but are shy about asking him for
fear of making him uncomfortable...he can take it from
there. Honesty is usually the best way to go, I think.
(then again, I've been out of the dating scene for many
years so who knows what I'd do in your shoes....BRAVO to
you for approaching this...let us know what happens).
Hello. I am a single parent, mid-late 30s with a 10 year old.
Unfortunately there is no involvement from my child's father. I
met a 23 year old. He is very nice, chivalrous, intelligent,
funny and ambitious. We had a wonderful first date and he has
asked me for a second. Despite his age, I have really started
to like him. He is PRE-Law and has 2 part time jobs. But,
he just told me he has no car, by choice. He has an apartment
and works/goes to school by BART. I feel bad, but I feel like
the fact that he has no car, in addition to his age and that he
is still in college, is too much. Its the combination of these
things that makes me feel uneven. I have worked full-time since
I was his age, and have been able to buy a house and buy a new
car every 7 years. He has been a gentleman and could be a great
prospect, if only he had a car, then I could probably deal with
the age and college thing. Would it be shallow of me to not want
to date him because he is a 23 year old undergrad without a car?
No car, no love?
He seems like a hard working, intelligent, nice young man who
had a different philosophy on cars than you do. Perhaps you
should examine your values and upbringing. I remember my mom
commenting on the cars my boyfriends drove when I was in high
school. A nice car does not necessarily equal a good or
productive person. Make a list of all your friend's good
qualities and any negative things you feel. Also, look at this
as an enjoyable relationship, not that it needs to develop into
something permanent at this point. I recommend looking on-line
for a downloadable book called ''Dating without Drama.'' I found
it very helpful. I wouldn't give up on the relationship for
lack of a car. Let him drive your car on dates if that makes
you feel more traditional on a date. And I have dated years on
both sides of my age. It is the other interests that matter
more to me. And enjoy your relationship!
Only one date? Give the guy a chance! Maybe make up a list of
qualities you are looking for in a significant other and compare
him to your list. Is a car really at the top of your list? What
about goals and values? If you are concerned, don't dump him,
just take it slow. No need to rush.
I think the fact that you have issues with him not having or
wanting a car (you said he said it was by choice) says more about
you than him. Personally, having or not having a car in an urban
area with mass transit would not be a deal breaker for me and
good for him for not polluting and living his life without the
hassle and expense of a car. Sounds like you only had one date
with the guy. Might be too soon to make any solid decisions about
anything with him. Maybe just see where it goes. How do you know
he's going to see you again?
He may not be owning a car for environmental reasons, which is
admirable. He also gets more exercise -- another benefit. If
you like him as much as you do, he's probably worth enjoying,
with or without a car. He can BART over to you. It's not
always easy to find an enjoyable partner, and there's always
going to be some issue or another. If one less car is the
worst issue, you're in good shape.
I once had an affair with a man who was MUCH younger than I was,
and it was exciting and wonderful. But there was no way we could
be partners -- our lives were quite simply in different places.
Seven years difference is not that much on the face of things,
but there is much more than simply a number of years to take into
account, as you're finding. You have a child and you have
different expectations from life. This younger man has A LOT of
development ahead of him and will need to find his bearings,
achieve some financial stability, etc. in the coming years. You
are longing for stability right now, and you already have
embarked on a stage of life that your lover is not yet ready for:
parenthood. I wonder whether you have broached your feelings
about a more substantial relationship with him -- you might find
that at his age, he has not considered commitment seriously. And
even if he were your age, it could be that your values would be
different. His choice not to have a car coupled to your obvious
desire to have a car would be a warning flag even if you were
age-peers. If I were you, I would enjoy the warmth and
excitement of the affair, but keep it within limits if you can.
You could easily find yourself in the unhappy position of having
nurtured this relationship and this man through pre-law and law
school, only to find that he wants to move on afterwards. So if
I were you, I would take it easy, and if you can't do that, move on.
newly minted pragmatist
I think there are two issues here. The first is what is important to
Clearly, having a car is, to you, a measure of adulthood and a
dealbreaker. If it is
that important to you, if you attach that much value to car ownership as
one of the
indicators of adulthood, then it is unlikely that your feelings about
this will change
and it would be a kindness for you to end the relationship before it
My question is WHY this is so important to you. Many people make the
and thoughtful choice to live car-free. For many people it is a way of
ecological footprint. For some, it is a conscious, responsible decision
not to spend
money on something when they have determined that money can be better
elsewhere (and you did say he is a student working two jobs). It seems
to me that
he has made a personal, responsible, adult decision about how to be in
the world -
and that you do not agree with it. I don't hear that he is critical of
your choices, but
you seem very uncomfortable with his.
You two appear to have very different value systems; the car issue (not
the fact that
one of you owns a car and the other does not, but the fact that you've
conscious choices about the importance of car ownership) points, to me,
fundamental differences. Your reaction to his car-free lifestyle says to
me that you
will have difficulty accepting other differences in your values as they
arise. I don't
think his choice is irresponsible or immature, but I don't think you two
compatible if this bothers you as much as it does.
Friend of many car-free adults
What exactly is the problem here ? You enjoy each other's company, and
looking for ways to wreck it by worrying that he lacks a car ? You
aren't getting graded
on this assignment, except if you enjoy upsetting yourself. I suggest
worrying, and be happy that this relationship is not about one person's
I think it is good that the younger generation is surviving
without a personal automobile! Yes, you as a mom with a kid to
drive around cannot perhaps relate to that life style. I would
not judge someone on the fact that they are smart & alternative
& creative enough to not have an automobile! Hey, if you like
him, you know his age, you know there will be differences, but
if you like him, then go spend time with him and don't ''trip''
over it. The important things are values like does he like
kids/your kid, is he respectful, nice to be with, etc.
Really? Does a CAR mean that much to you?? Why? YOU have a brand
new car...what difference does it make? You might want to
rearrange your priorities. If he's nice, a ''gentleman,'' is
working, going to school, is a good lover, what more can you ask
for? I wouldn't date someone that young but not because of him
not having a car. Maybe you really have deeper reasons...
Yes, it's shallow to not date somebody just because they don't
have a car.
But it's not at all shallow -- in fact, very likely a wise move
-- to not date somebody who is in a radically different part of
their life than you are. You're mid-to-late 30's, done with
school, with kid(s), either had a career or chosen not to,
presumably have had serious relationships. He's early 20's,
still in school, has not yet started his chosen career, no kids,
probably too young to know much about serious relationships.
It's almost hard to fathom what the appeal would be (other than
sex, not that there's anything wrong with that).
I think once two people are both five years out of school and
into real life, age differences don't necessarily matter much.
But when the two people are on opposite sides of that ''adult''
boundary, it's very hard to really have a lot in common once you
get past the surface attraction.
Find somebody at your stage of life
The car is the least of it! Of course he doesn't have a car, I
didn't either as a college kid. He seems nice, but you are at
different places in your lives. You seem hung up on the car
thing, but it makes perfect sense for him not to have a car, he
is not lazy or something, he is just 10 plus years younger than
you. No biggie, stop dating him.
I think your gut is telling you this guy is too young for you.
I didn't have a car when I was 23 either. The lack of a car may
have gotten your attention, but I think the imbalance is more
basic than that. He might be a great person but I think you
should look for someone a little older...
It sounds like this is less about the car and more about the
very real difference in your values/ lifestyle.
I totally understand why the car thing would push it over the
line for you. There's something mom-ish about driving someone
around who doesn't drive. Why not just show him the post you
wrote or tell him how you feel? A lot happens between his stage
of life and yours and it's OK to feel what you feel and it
doesn't matter why. Anyway, I don't think the car thing is
silly. Good luck.
In my view, if you have to ask a group of anonymous people
whether you should be romantically involved with someone, then I
think the answer is pretty clear that you do not have feelings
for this person. And secondly, if a thing is a deal-breaker, then
it's an open and shut case.
First, most guys are nice in the beginning, otherwise they'd
never get laid, so let's not put too much into how great he is at
I think you're putting too much focus on the wrong things. No car
is a different way to live for sure, but shouldn't be a
dealbreaker - yes, that would be shallow. But a guy in his early
twenties and you're 36-38? That's ... (add any negative
descriptor here that suits you). But letting age be a dealbreaker
is not shallow.
I really think that once you got to know him, down the road, the
car would be a thing, but the age and life stage difference would
be a problem. You're in settled-into-your-life, mommy stage. He's
just starting out in his adult life and probably hasn't even had
much of his wild stage worked out.
Cultural references would also be missing. Does he even know who
Milli Vanilli was? No. Did he have friends in high school with
crushes on the Top Gun characters?... He may not even know that
movie. I'm giving random, stupid instances, but it's something
that would show up over time. I befriended some older
teenagers/young adults as a social experiment a few years ago,
and while you can find commonalities, you hit walls in certain
If you're going to go for this, be kind and don't expect him to
be anything other than a 23yo who hasn't gotten far in life yet.
Maybe better as a short fling than something deep.
I may not be getting the story right, but it seems to me that
giving more worth to a car than a person sounds rather shallow, yes.
oh man, this one had me on the floor, laughing! Seriously? It
sounds like the fact that he has no car would be one thing you
could credit him for! He's wise to the world, doing his part to
keep his carbon footprint down, etc. He's not a teenager that
needs you to drive him around, he doesn't want a car. If he was
40 and had no car would you fault him? Probably not, so what's
the real issue? Probably his age, or even going deeper, people's
impression of you because of his age. I really don't mean to be
rude, but it's been one date. Does it need to be so heavy on your
mind? Can you have a couple rather platonic dates and see what
happens? Is this guy really ready to be a father figure to a kid
only about half his age? If not, see him on the side for awhile,
don't let it take over your life. if you want someone prominent
in your life, I'd move on. He may be a great catch, but he's
barely a grownup, in the sense that a parent would understand. He
was in junior high when you became a mother!
take it slow
Wondering if single moms who've been there can give me a little
advice about introducing my toddler (18 months) to the new man
in my life.
I'm a single mom--son's father and I had called it quits before
I discovered my pregnancy--we've developed a friendly,
supportive co-parenting relationship and share custody. Until
a few months ago, we lived as housemates--our son has adjusted
pretty well to the two-home situation, though he's got a little
separation anxiety/clinginess that he'd never had before when
changing from one parent/caregiver to the next.
I would like to spend some casual, daylight-oriented time with
my son and the new man in my life--hiking, farmer's market,
fairyland, etc. (read: NOT sleepovers). Am I wrong to think
my son will take on ''Mommy's friend'' as he's pretty much taken
on all the other caring ''extra'' adults in his/my life--happy to
see them when they're around but not seeming to expect/rely on
them? Will an 18 month old sense that this friend
is ''different'' somehow? Is it reasonable for me to try it and
see how he reacts, or is it really better to just keep these
two parts of my life distinct? Is the timing of this--so close
to his dad leaving the house--unfair/unreasonable across the
board, or is it really kid-specific (some kids would be fine;
some would not)?
Thanks for the insight
First of all, I commend you for moving on and taking care of your own
the separation, and while having to care for a toddler.
However, I do feel strongly that the anxiety your son is expressing
since you and his
father separated homes, is a clear sign that right now he needs to be
his little world is safe and secure, and that critical care givers will
not just go away.
Watching you having a closer bond than with just regular
be setting off more anxiety.
Bonding with your new/current boyfriend might be a good thing initially,
but if he
doesn't stay around, he will experience another traumatic separation. I
to judge you as somebody with unstable relationships - don't get me
from your posting it sounded like a rather new relationship. I would
give it some
months before your boyfriend spends 'regular' time with your son, and a
time (up to a year) before you introduce him as a partner.
Your son's feeling of security should be what drives the decision.
I have experience in this matter, and my suggestion is to move
very very slowly. It sounds as if your child is already upset
about the changes in your living arrangements so I would wait
for this to settle in a bit.
I dated several men over time and realized that the best thing
to do is wait until you are sure...as sure as one can be...that
this person will be in your life for a long while. Otherwise it
gets hard on the child to have men that come in and out of his
life. This could be especially hard if the child gets attached
to someone you are dating and then you break up.
I am all for having some type of love life while being a single
mom, but I really think the children's needs should always come
first (even though it is hard....)
another single mom
I am a single mom as well, and I separated from my son's father
when our child was almost 1. Like yourself, I was reluctant to
introduce my son to anyone at first, but at that age he didn't
really understand the difference between my boyfriends and my
male friends. It wasn't until he was 3 that he started making
the connection. Now that he's 5 I am VERY cautious about who I
introduce to him.
Short answer: Your child's age works in your favor in general,
but it is soon. I've been there and I'd say before any bonding
beyond acquaintance occurs, be very careful and do keep these 2
parts mostly separate for at least 6 months while you get to
know this person. I'd personally say unless you're going to
marry the guy, don't even blend it at all. A breakup would be
hard but manageable for you - but for a toddler it means a lot
more. I'm probably conservative on this but it really worked
best for me at least.
Your son is very young, and he is likely to go along with what you plan
much questioning, since you establish for him what is ''normal''. But
even with an older
child, a sensitive approach to establishing new normalcy in the form of
significant other can work well. My son is twelve and his Dad and I
years ago. When I met someone new I was really concerned about my son's
and tried to keep the two guys in my life separate. But circumstances
meeting and becoming acquainted, and it has been fine. Really fine. I
explained to my
son that I had met someone I cared about very much and hoped that it
would be OK
for them to meet. And we started doing things together. And now my new
lives with me. My son is fine with this. He can see that I am very
happy, my partner is
very good with him, and I have tried to change his life as little as
possible. I would say
that you definitely should introduce the two of them if the relationship
Your son will most likely be very comfortable if you are happy and the
man in your life
not as single a mom anymore
I would say wait and keep these areas of your life separate. If you have
custody, then you probably have time alone that can be with you
boyfriend. I think
people often underestimate children's senses of security. Your son
already has his
parents split-up and lives in two different homes. I always try to
imagine if I'd like
to live in two homes in the same week, and I think most adults would
not, but our
kids often have to.
When kid's foundations are like this, I believe they need as much
their parent as possible. Thus, when it's your time with your son, it
should be all
about your son. If your boyfriend is there, your attention will be
I am not saying to never introduce a new boyfriend to your son. But I'd
making sure you are introducing someone that will be a committed and
of your lives. Date them for a few years first. Too often, single
and let their kids get attached to new boyfriends/girlfriends, only to
break up. You
should be filtering who has influence on your kid and not letting people
and out of his life, creating more instability. He's already dealing
instability in his little life.
I am speaking from the child's perspective. My parents split and I was
many ''new'' boyfriends. I hated it and I was always jealous of my mom's
them. I even lashed out at the boyfriends. My mom and I can talk about
it now that I
am older and she thinks it was one of the worse parenting moves she ever
With a kid in split-up household, they need their time with you to be
bonding with ONLY you and them.
Just my humble opinion! Good luck!
Former Kid with dating Mom.
Is it wildly inappropriate for physical affection (hand
holing/hugging) in front of your children with someone you've
only been dating for a few months? I am having a hard time
integrating my new man into my life for fear that I will in some
way harm my children.
I am a divorced mom of an eleven year old boy and have begun a
serious relationship with a new man. I think a number of
factors come into play here, and you give very little info in
your mail. How old are your children? How long have you been
separated/divorced from their father (assuming you were with
their father)? How serious is the relationship with the new
man? By all accounts, one should not share a relationship with
kids until the relationship is a serious one, because they can
easily develop attachments to the new person or feel threatened
by his presence. Better not to involve them at all unless you
think that this is a committed relationship. If it is sooner
than a year after your marriage/relationship break-up, they may
not be ready to process a new person coming into their lives.
I went to talk to my son's therapist before introducing my son
to the new man, and we proceeded very slowly and did not engage
in physical affection in front of my son. The therapist said
that my son did not need to be told explicitly that this was a
physical/intimate relationship, but instead we could do casual
things together to let them get acquainted naturally, without
so much investment. My son guessed in any case that this was
a ''boyfriend'' and he had questions -- was I going to marry
again? Would he have to move (he didn't want to)? Why, if I
didn't like being married to his Dad, would I want to be with
this guy? All of these are legitimate questions and reflect my
son's anxieties. But my son is eleven and very articulate --
younger kids might not be able to voice the concerns they
feel. So I would go very slowly and gently, and not introduce
them at all if this is not a solid relationship. That's what
I've heard and read in every source I consulted. Note that I
don't say you should stay solitary or celibate! Enjoy.
another man with a new man
Congratulations on your new beau! There is no evidence that your
kids will be hurt by seeing a date hold your hand. In fact, it
would be good for them to see that you are treasured and cared
for. It would be much worse for them to see no affection at
all. Maybe your date could hold hands with your kids, too.
This is probably on the conservative end of answers. I've been
through it and I say tread carefully. You don't say how long
you've been divorced, the gender or age of the child, whether
and how the ''real'' dad is in the picture, and those things
matter. Any male is a father figure (which may feel bad if
there's a father in the picture) and an attention-taker -
taking your attention away from the child. That's how they see
it. Also, length of relationship does matter. I would wait at
least a year before introducing the person as more than an
acquaintance because he could be gone after the child began to
open up to him. Divorce is usually traumatic to a child and
introducing a new relationship is an adjustment even at a later
stage. Personally, I kept all men I wasn't going to marry
totally separate from my life as a mother.
one person's opinion
I am considering dating after my separation. I have not dated in a
generation, about 16 years, so I know nothing of texting, internet
dating, bikini waxing, cosmos, etc. Are men our age, Gen X, expecting
us to be like women of Gen Y generation? I want to be myself, but I
am intimidated by all this new technology. Any advice is welcome from
others who are dating again.
Gen X Single Mom
Be yourself! Some people will find it refreshing, and you can be
most comfortable when you don't have to be what you're not. It'll
be a fun new experience. I don't do any texting nor drink cosmos,
but I do intenet date (it's fun) and my last boyfriend convinced
me to start shaving down there, despite my initial reluctance.
Go with your comfort level - if you want to do or try some of
these things, go for it! It not, then don't.
Gen X, 2
So you are Gen X wanting to date Gen X, and you're worried men
your age want you to be like Gen Y? And you think Gen Y is
signified by technological things like texting, online dating,
or bikini waxing? That's silly. Be yourself, and be open to
learning about new things, should they come up. Don't worry, the
interpersonal realm has not that much has changed since you
dated 16 years ago. You're just getting cold feet and reading
too many pop journalism articles.
Born in 1969
I think that a guy our age knows what to expect. A woman- not a
teenager! Try to stick in the age group or older. I think Gen X
and Gen Y are worlds apart (just my opinon). Look on match.com
just to see what's out there. You'll do fine:)
Be yourself. Nice men want women who are themselves. Trying to be
something you think they want will only get you someone who is
less than nice. Or a disappointed man when he finds out you are
not who you say you are.
My advice is to immerse yourself in activities that you truly
enjoy. If you like outdoor sports like hiking, jogging, etc. this
is the time to join some clubs and have fun. You should also
start going to the singles groups at Lafayette Orinda
Presbyterian Church. It's non-denominational and has no religious
component. There are different groups depending on your age. The
one closest to Gen X would probably be Islanders. Events are
planned year round and include bowling, dinners out, movie
nights, camping, etc. It beats bars and Internet chat rooms. This
is a great way to meet single men. I highly recommend it.
I am about your age and met my wonderful husband on Match.com. I
think that the Internet dating sites provide an opportunity to
meet people. There are downsides to them but they can be
effective too. One problem was that I met a number of men about
my age who thought that Internet dating was a way to date as many
women as possible without much risk. Another problem was that
guys often would fall in love with some fantasy woman that they
had concocted out of my profile and wouldn't even know me. These
methods invite a person to describe their perfect mate and then
search for a person who fits every qualification on their list.
People are individuals, however, and you can't possibly predict
who you will meet and really like. One guy told me on the phone
that he only dated women who wore size 2 or smaller. Good luck
to you and good bye, I said. Not many size 2 women running around.
If you just think about it as a method to meet people, it works
okay. I did get sick of the process but I couldn't see many
other options. Then I met my husband and we have been
wonderfully happy. Just like any other situation, you just have
to be careful and selective. I tried to write my profile in a way
that would steer guys away who I didn't want to date by saying
things like ''I like to think,'' and using words like ''pedantic.'' I
really tried to represent who I was accurately and to put down
general qualities that were essential to me, such as likes
animals, progressive politically, and so on.
Good luck. Dating can be interesting but it would be a lot more
fun if you knew for sure that you were going to meet someone
I am a 40 year old single mom and I have a 4 year old son. His
father and I share time with him and we split the financial
costs associated with his school, clothes, etc. We dated for a
few months, split up, got pregnant, became parents. We have both
been in his life since birth, have never gone to court, just
work out a schedule for him to spend time with each of us which
is basically 50-50 with each parent. We are not interested in
dating eachother or having a physical relationship with
Things have been great until I started seriously dating a man. I
am going on 3+ months with a man who I am very much in love with
and am in a committed relationship with. I have dated before
this man, but have never gotten my son involved because it just
didn't feel right. This time it feels right and my son and I
spend some nights at my boyfriend's house.
My son's father is furious and demands that I not have my son
involved with my relationship for overnights at his house.
I feel like this new man is really a partner. He is supportive
and wonderful to me and my son. I know the relationship is new,
but it feels very much like it won't end anytime soon. I do not
spend all the nights I have with my son over my boyfriend's
house but I feel like I have the right to have a relationship
and to involve my son as I see fit and that it's natural for me
to have my son and boyfriend get to know eachother. My son
enjoys my guy and is not acting out in any way as a result of
this ''change'' to his routine.
His father disagrees but won't agree to discuss it with a
counselor and I feel like he's just trying to control my life.
I would like to hear what other SINGLE PARENTS think about my
Even if this turns out to be a lifetime relationship, it has not
yet stood the test of time. Surprises do occur. Wait at least a
year to involve your child.
I think that having your son spend a lot of time with a man
you've only been with for 3 months seems a bit excessive. I
realize that it seems like things are going great and the 3
months feels like forever, but from an outside perspective it
doesn't seem like much time at all.
I divorced my daughter's father and have since been married
twice. During each period of dating I held off introducing my
daughter (who was 6 years old the first time and 12 the second)
to my dates until they became serious relationships, and then
only introduced her to them as friends for months afterwards.
They did not spend the night until things had advanced to the
nearly engaged stage. I probably wouldn't even have done that,
but extenuating circumstances (boy, that's a whole 'nother post!)
It's just a lot for kids to deal with. You've got plenty of time
away from your son; can't you spend time with your new guy during
those times? I knew a woman who would never date after divorce
because of her kids, which seemed kind of sad--it suggested to
them that if things don't work out, you should never try again. I
want to model for my daughter that I can pick up and try again to
be happy, and so can she. But on the other hand, you don't want
your child to have to cope possibly multiple times with you
dating and breaking up and dating and breaking up, and 3 months
just doesn't seem like much time to establish that this guy is
the one. What's the harm in waiting a bit?
I'm a single mom of a 4.5 y.o. girl, and have been dating a
wonderful man for almost 2 years. I thought I took it slowly
as far as introducing my child to my new boyfriend goes, but he
just reminded me that he was actually introduced to her on our
first date (well, of course he was: he picked me up at my
parent's house, which is where my daughter and I lived at the
Honestly, I think then I waited almost 1 month before starting
to have outings together.
As far as sleeping arrangements go, I would never have had my
boyfriend sleep over in the beginning because the possibility
of my kid waking up and finding us in a compromising position
would have been too great. So, we would have him come over
after bedtime to watch t.v., but he would leave at about 9:30
p.m. This eventually transitioned (as we became more involved)
into him coming over directly after work, having dinner with
us, watching t.v. as I put my daughter to bed, and then us
staying up later, ''talking''. I waited until my daughter was
comfortable with my involvement with him before even
entertaining the idea of having him sleep over--which, we
decided, was rather uncomfortable for HIM because he isn't used
to being woken up at 6:30 a.m.
On an aside, my parents helped to give me some occasional adult-
only overnight time.
That being said, I dated a few men before this wonderful guy,
and honestly, I found that the single men without children
couldn't understand my devotion and constant prattle about my
own kid. That meant that single dads were much more fair--and
fun--game. Also, the date could be considered a 'playdate', if
the kids were involved (later dates).
I think my bottom line is keep the kid out of the picture as
long as possible, as they are most certainly aware of the
goings on (i.e., mom has a new person in her life), and
sometimes that can be overwhelming for them (what if mommy
doesn't love me as much), not to mention the inevitable
questions if your child is old enough (is he my new daddy?, are
you going to marry him?, how come you spend so much time with
Dating with a child is tough, don't let anyone tell you
different. Parent's Without Partners (org?) helped me get my
dating game back on, after a long hiatus post-divorce. Again,
IMHO, single (men, for me, a hetero) parents of kids are easier
to associate with--and develop relationships with--than single,
childless men. That being said, there are a few child-less men
who are great, and are available.
I wish you the best of luck in this shark-infested dating pool,
and my main train of thought: keep your kid out of the picture
for as long as possible, for everyone's sake, especially the
been there, done that
I am a single Mom with 2 children and am siding with your sons
father completely. Yes, you have a right to have a life and a
real adult relationship. You also have 50% of your time to
pursue that relationship. Good grief - 3 or even 6 months is
NOTHING in terms of time - no matter how it feels now. I think
it is absolutely fine that you have this man meet your son, get
to know him during outings, at dinner ect. ect. but taking your
son to sleep over with you at your boy friends house, in my
view, IS crossing the line. The relationship is just too new
and really, as wonderful as it seems now, in 6 months it may be
over and how is your son going to feel then? With kids, just
please go slow. Spend the night at his house when your son is
at his father's. If you don't end up with this man and your
child becomes too attached, it will feel like a divorce when
you split - and that is really hard for kids. Sleep over on
your own time.
I basically agree with you, and although this isn't quite what
you said, I think that in this time and place people go a bit too
far in ''protecting'' their children from the fact that their
parents are sexual beings.
But I think that getting counseling help regarding any
disagreement you have with your child's father is for the best if
the two of you can't resolve it on your own- you may want to
initiate counseling yourself sometime in the future if you are
concerned about his behaviour in some significant way. The point
of good counseling is not at all for one person to gain control
over the other, but for the two people to come to understand each
other better and discover ways to meet in the middle.
I'd suggest that you deal with your fear of being controlled by
taking some of the initiative around finding a counselor. You can
each come up with some names, each ''interview'' prospective
counselors on the phone, and keep doing that until you find
someone you both feel comfortable with.
Don't look for someone who just supports your point of view
around this particular issue, look for someone who is experienced
with separated couples with children, who you feel safe to open
up to, and who has a creative and open-minded approach to
interpersonal problem solving.
i am a single mom of a 31/2 year old. i feel your pain around
trying to balance your dating life with your role as a parent.
i met someone last year, and was convinced that they were 'the
one' (and at 35, i had enough dating experience to know, i
thought). i brought my son for sleepovers, we all hung out
together, my son got attached. and then we broke up. i am
exceedlingly lucky that i happened to choose someone who still
wanted to be in my son's life, and they still see each other
regularly. however, i would never, ever put him in that
situation again. how we as adults are in relationships sets the
pace for our children's attachments, intimacy and relationship
patterns as adults. in my dating since, i have made it very
clear that no one i am dating will meet my son unless we are at
the point where we are ready to move in/get married. you are
lucky that you share custody and have so much free time in
which to date. the danger in terms of your son's emotional
health is not while you are dating, it is what will happen if
you break up. is this person someone who would continue to be
in your son's life even if you weren't together? would you want
him to be? given all that, it is also hard to separate other
issues--like maybe your ex is afraid that this new man will
replace him, and you need to have a conversation with him about
that, or maybe he has genuine, well-founded fears about your
son getting attached to someone who might not be around. hard
to say. i wish you all the best.
Been there, single mom, trying to date. I haven't met a (the?)
man I'd want to marry or be with long-term, so I've made do
with an altered but actually good part-time relationship. I
totally understand the need to date and I've looked around and
have seen blended families... those are made up of people who
felt - I think rightfully - entitled to happiness and who met
the right person. It's a good sign that your son seems to be
BUT (you knew there'd be a but!) three months is such a short
time. He may be everything you think he is, but would it hurt
to let a year go by before getting your son accustomed to and
maybe loving this father figure? On the wild off-chance it
doesn't work out, THAT'S when your son will be hurt. Can you
really know everything about him? If he cares about you, he
will work with you to maybe make the overnights less frequent
for 6-9 months... there could be some middle ground.
Another thought is to browse Barnes & Noble under blended
my two cents
Dear Single Mom,
Three months does seem like a short time to get serious about a guy, but
to go with your instincts. Maybe the father of your son is jealous. Is
he in a
relationship himself? He might also feel that he will be replaced? You
him that he will always be the father of your son and he will continue
to see him,
but that it's really good when there are more caring adults in a child's
assure him that you know this is the right thing for you and your son
now and that
you wouldn't be exposing him to a creep. It sounds like you don't have a
men flowing through the house and are really sure about this guy. You
right to do what you are doing. I know it's hard when the father's are
mad, but it's
HIS stuff, not yours. This may be the next step in ''splitting up''.
There's not really
anything he can do to prevent you.
I get along really well with my ex's partner, sometimes better than with
him! I like
that there is another person in my daughter's life who loves her and is
for her. I'm not partnered now and I am careful about who I bring around
my daughter. There have been some duds, but we've all gotten over it.
have slept over, more like meeting at dinner. It's life afterall! And
it's practice for
them too, seeing how we are in relationships. If we in a healthy
relationship but it
doesn't work out, it's okay too. Not trying to jinx your new
relationship but just to
point out it's not the worst thing in the world if it ends and your son
was involved. I
wish you the best of luck. I know it's hard to juggle everything as a
especially when there's that third person there!
Happy mommies are better mommies!
I am also a single mom, 36 with a 4 yr. old daughter, so I
truly understand your predicament. But, that said, I must say
I am concerned that you take your son over to your new
boyfriend's house for regular sleepovers. That is not
appropriate-- in that, I agree with your ex. You can sleep
over at your boyfriends when your son is with your ex. Or,
your boyfriend perhaps can sleep over at your home. Unless
there have been serious discussions as to becoming a family
together with this new person (and new relationships ALWAYS
feel as if they will last forever!), it is unfair and
inappropriate to bring your son for sleepovers for your own
enjoyment and convenience. It is not ''his'' space, not at this
point, is it ''your'' space. The relationship between you and
any new romantic interest should be kept fairly private, and
increase in levels. But not to the point of bringing your son
over to sleep unless it has been established that that will
become his home too.
Sorry to be critical, but I was taken aback by your posting.
oh GIRL! My boyfriend's ex-wife is all up in my grill over the
kids being at my house. Now that he's moved in, and it's his
house, she's less butty about it, but IMO she can't stand that
he's moved on. Keep in mind, she's led a multi-block-long parade
of men through their lives since the divorce, but don't even try
to question her judgement... I don't have any advice, but a lot
of empathy. Some people just can't let go. Glad you didn't marry
this guy. Good luck in your new relationship. (Maybe 3 months is
a little soon, maybe I would have waited one more month, but
you're the best judge of that! And how could you find out if he's
a partner if he never meets your kid?!)
Have you thought about mediation? There is a great
organization called East Bay Community Mediation that provides
volunteer mediators at a very low fee. The mediator can help
each of you negotiate a workable arrangement, and can assist in
eliciting the feelings underneath each of your positions, which
will hopefully help each of you understand the other person
better and lead to a lasting, workable plan. I myself am a
mediator and would be happy to talk with you further about
mediation and/or help you get connected with a mediator
suitable for your needs.
as a single dad for the past 6 years, daughter is now 8
1/2, who has not had a date those entire 6 years (not that i am
not trying, as i am, lots; i am 63, however, and for that and
other reasons am a difficult match), my feeling about your
situation is that your ex is indeed trying to be too controlling
about this, just exactly as you said, and he needs to let it go.
on the other hand, i can certainly understand his feelings,
and you would probably do best to attempt to do the same,
although this won't be easy (for you). he was used to your
previously loveless and mostly dateless arrangement, probably
mirroring his own situation, hence is now feeling
jealous/insecure, whatever. still i am with you 100% on this
and feel he needs come to terms with the new situation and not
be a controlling jerk. he definitely does need to agree to
counseling (have you tried suggesting he go on his own if he is
uncomfortable going w/ you?) to help get through this.
again i can totally understand his helpless and vulnerable
feelings here, but still feel he needs to see the broader
picture (you and your son and your needs as a family) and
lighten up and deal.
best wishes for good luck.
I am divorced and mother of two wonderful boys, ages 9 and 11. We have
not lived with their father for 7 years. They have frequent phone
contact with him, and see him three or four times a year, as much as
we are able to make work with money and time away from jobs, etc.
Last spring I met a wonderful man, also divorced, with three
children. We started dating, and spending a lot of time together. I
have shared with my children that he and I are friends, good friends,
who like to spend time together. We go to movies, or dinner, and spend
time together on the weekends with his and my children. We have taken
one weekend trip together with all our children (5 all together), and
did not share a bedroom. We were and are very careful physically with
one another in front of the children, and only spend nights together
when the children are at sleepovers with friends or grandparents. We
are now planning another combined family trip this summer, for the
last two weeks of July. After over a year of dating, and spending time
with our families in various settings, is it wildly inappropriate for
my friend and I to share a bed while on vacation? His children are
''savvier'' than mine, in that their mother has had a long- term
boyfriend living in their house for over a year. My boys have never
had that experience, and have lived alone with me for over 7 years. I
do not want to make them uncomfortable, nor damage their psyches. On
the other hand, sleeping on couches or bunking with the kids while on
this holiday seems a little odd, too. How do I handle this? My
children are quite fond of my friend, and his children are of me as
well. As a group the five kids get along pretty well, not without the
usual sorts of conflicts that arise with any group of children. Any
advice, thoughts, pearls of wisdom would be great. Many thanks.
Oh, gee, you will probably get alot of varied ideas on this. If
I were you, I would want to sleep with him and just don't make
a big deal of it to the kids. It is a long term relationship,
you all know each other, and I think it is important to
demonstrate to children what a healthy, caring adult
relationship is, rather than sneak around and adhere to some
After my friend and I had been dating about 3 months very
intensely, we did the same thing on a ski weekend. We had
intended to each sleep with our kids, but the two boys
immediately took over the sofa bed in the living room and the
two girls took over the king bed in the master bedroom(!). We
wanted them all to enjoy themselves and the only place left was
a small double bedded room or the kitchen floor. We made a show
of leaving the door open all night and he slept in his sweats
and me in my flannel jammies under the covers while he slept on
top of the blankets. Word still got home to his ex-wife who
threw an absolute hissy-fit about how inappropriate it was
(this is the woman he left because she was having affairs with
men like their soccer coach and pediatrician WHILE they were
married!). So, there is no telling what people will regard as
appropriate. I say do what feels most comfortable for you and
your friend. You will probably feel happier which your children
will pick up on (and yes, someone will probably object, but
that is their problem).
love my kids AND my guy
I would suggest that you clue your sons in on your
relationship. I think that the hardest part is behind them; the
fact that you separated from their biological father. The fact
that you are moving on and have been so extremely considerate
of them, is commendable, though. You don't mention much about
how they handled your divorce, but assuming that they are okay
with the situation the way it is now, I would allow them to be
part of the next phase; a new man in your life. I have found
with our children that explanations and honesty are the best
solution. I think that if you mention to your sons that he
makes you really happy and that you have taken a long time to
get to know him really well, that they would only respect you
Hmm, I think your kids might be a little savvier than you think.
For instance, they hang out with at least 3 kids that are savvy
enough to fill them in. Nevertheless, it is a little disturbing
to have to think about your mother doing that so definitely do
not spring this on them when you are already on vacation. Have a
nice talk with the boys soon, so they have time to process it
long before the vacation.As it regards vacation make sure you
play up the fun for them, that it will be all kids in their room!
Have the talk with just you and your kids and your boyfriend
should do the same with his kids. Don't make it like you are
asking their permission, but more like you are acknowledging a
fact that they probably already caught on to (but making sure not
to make them feel dumb if they didn't know).As it regards
vacation make sure you play up the fun for them, that it will be
all kids in their room! Kind of like when they found out Santa or
the Easter Bunny or the Tooth fairy wasn't real! Maybe you can
get some sleepovers before vacation!
Look, you're allowed to have a grown-up relationship. Your kids
will be okay - it's especially nice that they already know the
guy and are comfortable with him.
I personally think it's a good idea if you two think you'd like
to be together for awhile, or see the relationship going
somewhere. But either way, he's been around long enough - your
kids will adjust.
It's probably a good idea to tell your kids at some point soon
that this guy is your boyfriend, and depending on what their
personalities are like (if they need to be prepared for
change), you might casually mention the sleeping arrangements
ahead of time, so they can quietly process it and not be
shocked. Such as: you and Bobby and Joey will share a room,
Mike's daughters will share a room, and Mike and I will share a
I am a solo mom, who has always been single (which means there
is no other parent at all), with an almost 10 y.o. son. After a
hiatus of 10 years I am dating someone. Needless to say,
working out the logistics for intimacy is very challenging. My
particular issue is that my son still comes into my bed in the
middle of the night (I never wake up when he does). I would
like to now have him stay in his own bed because at some point I
would like my boyfriend to be able to stay overnight with me. I
am very aware of the preception of ''kicking'' my son out of my
bed for someone else. I am looking for some guidance on how to
do this. Help! I would also like to hear from other parents in
this situation about how they juggled time alone with a paramour
as well as time with their child(ren) around. Right now I am
proceeding very slowly, but am tuning into my own personal needs
for the first time on 10 years. Thanks for any words of wisdom.
Three points in yr post. 1.Your 10 yr old is too old to be sleeping with
his mother. I emphasize both ''his'' and ''mother.''
2. Do you really want to model for your son that it is ok to have a
boyfriend sleeping over with his mom? I want more kids to know that
they need to be way, way more selective and knowledgeable about sex,
society, stability, and morality.
3. You gave up ''your needs'' when you had a baby. (See pt. 2, above)
You can wait until your precious and only boy moves out. Have dates
outside his home. Your son needs you to spend time with him. Trust me
on this. Why don't you two do community volunteer work together?
Good heavens, I had to write after reading the post suggesting you wait
until your 10 year old is grown before dating and having overnights with
If this is someone who seems important and with whom you are having an
ongoing relationship (which is how you describe it), then you just need
to explain that to your son. Children will react differently to this
news -- some overly thrilled, some overly angry. You need to get clear
with yourself that this is an appropriate thing you are doing and
communicate that clarity to your son. It will settle out in time. You
absolutely deserve to have a relationship that includes sleepovers and,
in fact, it could lead to a wonderful relationship for your son as well.
Best of luck!
I asked a friend in the same situation and this is what she told me... I
took out names, so I am not sure about editing:
Honestly. I talked to my son and told him that it was time for me to be
in a relationship and that at some point my boyfriend would spend the
night. He was cool with it - at 10 they know a lot about this stuff
even if they don't know the details. It was different as my boyfriend
and son knew each other before I knew my boyfriend but jealousy is
still, after 8 months, an issue. I try to talk to my son openly and I
spend time with just him at times as well as with my boyfriend.
Truly, I think it has been good for my son as it has made him more aware
that all people have needs and that love comes in many places. It has
certainly made my son more aware that I am a woman and adult as well as
I am relieved to have my son see a healthy and open relationship - to
see us argue and get through it kindly, to ''neck'' (as he calls it) and
see healthy love/affection, to see my boyfriend be kind to me and do
sweet things and visa versa. He would have had no idea how to treat a
woman or how he deserved to be treated by a woman if he had left home
with no example. I
was always worried about this.
I honor your courage and strength. My friend is one of the best
mother's I know, and her son is doing extremely well. The traditional
family, is not the only best way to raise children.
Wishing you the best
At 10 your son may be old enough for a sleepover at a friends house.
that way you can have your sweetie over undiscovered. after a while,
when you are sure that the relationship is strong. you can simply tell
your son that boyfriend is sleeping with mommy tonight because that is
what people who love eachother do. if he comes in in the middle of the
night anyway you can take him back to his bed and cuddle him there for a
bit before heading back to your man.
i hope this helps. hopefully i'll be in the same position myself one
The original post expresses a very serious concern, which ideally should
be handled with professional assistance. It is not inappropriate to
warn of potential trauma for a 10-year old boy who is suddenly
prohibited from sleeping in mother's bed because she is dating. This
was the original post's real concern. Certainly there are therapists in
the Bay Area who have experience with similar situations.
I experienced a similar situation. I was 12 when a teacher, whom I
knew, dated and eventually married my mom (single for many years
previously, after the death of dad). I thought it was fine, felt it was
fine, acted adjusted, but I repressed significant issues. This
precipitated inexplicable suicidal thoughts, acts, etc., and led to a
loss of three or four years of ordinary childhood. I was not overly
dependent on my mother, either, so I assume a boy who sleeps in his
mom's bed could be more destabilized.
Good advice cannot be absorbed if it comes with too much opinion.
Because single parenting and sexual freedom provoke such strong
opinions, several responses to this post seemed painfully opinionated,
although only the "conservative" one created a backlash.
My boyfriend is moving to the Bay Area from southern California
in the next few months. Although marriage is intended in the
future, it is not something we are planning presently.
(background: we've been dating long distance for a year, but have
been friends for almost ten years)
What we have been discussing is living together. He already
spends most weekends at my apartment with me and my three year
old daughter. They both adore each other and are wonderful together.
What I'm unsure about is 1. how to answer my daughter's questions
as to why B sleeps in my bed; 2. if living together would confuse
her or not; 3. how to explain living together if B moves in; 4.
how to explain marriage if we later get married; 5. if living
together is a bad idea or not; and 6. what exactly is B's
relationship with my daughter if we're living together -- do i
need to talk about that with her or not?
Last bit of info - I was never married to my daughter's father.
He sees her about 5 to 15 hours a week, but she has never has
overnights with him. So my home is really her only home.
Any and all advice, comments, shared experiences that answer my
questions or are just tangentially related are very welcome by
me. I don't know any other single moms, so I'm on my own for this.
Trying to be good mom
No- please don't move this guy in! Be patient and see if you actually
get married first.
my husband and i first moved in together when my son was 4 years old,
with me not having been previously married to my son's father. i think
that the most important element is that you and your partner are
committed to each other so that your daughter does not get caught in the
we ended up going on and having another child, before we were married. i
cannot remember if the discussion of marriage ever came up so you may be
worrying about things that never arise, but i have always talked to my
son about the many definitions of family and how many different
equations can come from that one term. and, my husband has never tried
to take the place of his father. my son is actually closer to my
husband, though he may not readily admit it, but also has weekly contact
with his dad. we have never tried to make the situation something that
its not, nor forced anything on him other than his siblings!! i think
just be open with your daughter and let things evolve naturally while
including her in the process. and talk to her while encouraging her to
be open with you about how she's feeling.
best of luck in your new life.
Hi, I can't believe you haven't met any sinlge moms here in the Bay
Area! Well, there are lots of us out here, with and without boyfriends.
To comment on your situation, I guess I would be wary about moving in
right away if you haven't had the time to be together in the same town.
I think it would be harder on your daughter to figure things out if he
moved in and for some reason you guys didn't hit it off domestically and
then moved out, than if he came over a lot and started to spend the
night slowly before he actually moved in. As far as explaining things to
her, you just say, adults who love eachother sleep together and it's
another kind of love that's different from how you and she love each
other and how your boyfriend and she love eachother and how she loves
her father. I don't think there's another way to say it. She will figure
it out eventually. Marriage and living together, hmm could be the same
for a 3 year old, so I wouldn't go into too much detail except for
saying that that's what adults do. Maybe you could say adults live
together first and then if it works out and everyone is happy then they
get married! If you are going to live together try to make sure that she
doesn't feel displaced, try to keep her room as is.
As far as her relationship with your boyfriend, it's nice to have
another adult caring about a child. He's not her father, but can be a
guiding loving person for her.
You need to put your daughter first and foremost in your life. If you
and your boyfriend are really serious about marriage, have you two sat
down separately and together with a wise and experienced third person
and gone over with a fine tooth comb your views on money, sex, household
duties, conflict resolution, parenting, estate planning, activities that
involve each of you three individually and in different groupings of
your family? Unless you are prepared to do this work at least twice
with months between cycles BEFORE your boyfriend has moved north, you
are not truly mature enough to get married. Then get married before the
dude moves in.
As I said above, it is your daughter, not yourself and your love life,
who you must put in the forefront.
The way I see it, you have two choices. Either get married since that is
your intent and then you can then explain that when people get married
they love each other and form a family and live together. Or just say
that when people love each other they live together (? especially when
they are going to get married soon??) Ring those bells if you're gonna
I am a single mom of two boys ages 8 and 4. I have a boyfriend
whom they adore and he loves them. I would like to be able to
have my boyfriend sleep over when the boys are in my house, but
don't know how to approach this. We lived with another man
briefly, so they have experienced my sleeping in bed with a man
other than their father. How have others approached this with
their children? Thanks for your advice.
You indicate by your post that you have already had at least two failed
You are parenting two kids, both sons, which cannot be easy. But you
must model for them commitment and stability. That means ''dating'' out
of the house, and minimizing contact with boyfriend. They are very
impressionable and are just beginning to understand sexuality, morality,
commitment, respect for girls and themselves, and a myriad other
fundamental lessons. They both need all of your extra time, not some
joe-boyfriend. I suggest you and the kids do volunteer work together
(like Habitat for Humanity), work on assisting their education and
teachers, and do other, deeper activities. They will be out of your
life and into their own in less than 10 unbelievably short years. Use
these years wisely. Be a strong, proud woman.
OK, communal parental wisdom, I have a question that is really
about adult relationships but touches on how to survive as a
parent post-divorce. I am recently divorced and just shy of
fifty. Recently I contacted a man I met before I was divorced
both to ask a work-related question and to test the waters to
see if he might like to get better acquainted. We have had
five get-togethers of the strictly lunch and coffee type over
the past three months, all except the first instigated by him,
and these are always pleasant but limited in time (two hours or
so) and scope (we don't talk relationships at all). During
that time he said nothing about any kind of ongoing
relationship with someone else or even alluded vaguely to the
presence of a woman in his life. For my part, I vaguely
alluded to shared custody and no longer wear a ring, but didn't
discuss my divorce. Come to find out via a mutual acquaintance
that he has a girlfriend, I don't know how serious though I do
know that they don't live together. Question (particularly for
you males out there, I know there are some out there) -- how do
I interpret this? I am interested in the proverbial ''something
more'' but have proceeded with extreme caution. Ah, it feels
just like teenagerhood. Input from all welcome.
If you want a partner who will surrepititiously go on lunch dates with other women and then
''forget'' to ever mention you exist, well then by all means, go for it. I guess as women
get older, they don't get any smarter in the ways of love. This is disconcerting. Really,
the type of man who fishes around for the next, uh, fish, before ending the relationship he
is in is a coward, a liar and has absolutely no integrity. As you have no idea what it would
be like to be in an emotionally and physically intimate relationship with him (I mean it
could be awful anyway)yet and are not physically or emotionally or finacially attatched, why
would you even consider a man like this. It is not like the two of you are together and have
problems you need to work out. He's proving to be a problem before step one and you will
have only yourself to blame if you go ahead with this. P.S. Why don't you check in w/ the
girlfriend. I am sure you will learn a lot. Sorry to sound harsh. I do feel for you Take
Care of Yourself
Given the fact that you and he have not discussed personal issues, it would seem to me that
he is treating you like a friend since you have not indicated that you are interested in
anything more. Since you have discussed work, it is easy enough for him to tell his
girlfriend that he is seeing a friend from work for a casual lunch. I would suggest talking
about other issues, such as asking if he has plans that weekend, or maybe say when he asks
if you are free for lunch the next time, say that you are busy but was wondering if he would
like to meet for a drink (or coffee) after work. See what he says. He and his girlfriend
might be serious, or they might be both dating others; you won't know until he says
something. This is the Bay Area and there's a wide variety of relationships here. Many
years ago I dated someone named Tom, who had a boyfriend named Adam. Everyone was on the
same page and we had no issues with that (both Adam and I saw Tom separately, and in fact I
never met Adam). More recently I had a female friend seriously dating a man who was also
seeing another woman; again, all were knowledgable about what was happening. Just some
things to consider. L.
glad you posted; i just love this stuff, as a recently (well, 5 years ago now, come to
think of it) dumped 62 year old dad of a now 7 year old, after 17 year relationship. you at
least have something going, so good for you.
but what to make of, or how to interpret what is happening with you? from my
perspective, unfortunately there is no obvious read on him for you. clearly he is
interested, since he has asked you for 4 of the 5 meetings you have had. but whether or not
1)he is very tight with the non live-in girl-friend but is just enjoying a little extra
company with you, or 2)even wanting some kind of extra-relationship fling with you, but will
still be committed to her in the end OR 3)things with her are not all that serious and he
really IS checking you out for something more serious, i just don't think is all that clear
at this moment.
therefore, i think all you can do is just go along with your life and see what, if
anything, develops, either here or elsewhere. but keep in mind that ANY of the above 3
alternatives is possible. please however don't mortgage your emotions to any one of them,
if you can help it, because it may not be the actual one.
good luck and please keep me posted, in case you have time or interest in doing so. i
much enjoy hearing how you and
others go about these things.
Uncharted territory with these new relationships. Putting yourself out there for a deeper
connection is tough.
A few things came to mind as I read your post as I too am coming out of a 7 year commitment.
First is to remember that you know when someone is into you.
He would be wanting more than a few hours here or there. Also, any man I have dated will
want to go out in the evening to a play or to dance. There is lots of eye contact and any
excuse to sit closer than how friends would sit.
If you really are attracted to his mind/body put it out there a bit and see if he is
interested in going out to dinner. Let's try and get a date that is longer than 3 hours.
Don't be shy when you see someone that looks interesting at the store, supermarket or
wherever you are say hi.
As my grandma says, ''put on your lipstick and go with the attitude that today anything can
Feel free to ignore the lipstick part (; Good luck and have fun!
My 2 cents
Don't jump into ANYTHING that you have some doubts about if you're recently divorced. It's
way more trouble when you're older and have kids to get into things and to break them off.
Given that you have learned he has a girlfriend, I'd suggest you
either: stay away COMPLETELY from the possibilty of ''something more'' (my preferred option
for you), or ask him about it. To me, the fact that he didn't mention a girlfriend probably
means that he's testing the waters with you, in a less than straightforward manner (and I
suspect he'd be equally vague and elusive about you). Usually this means he'd be interested
in being deceptive about his girlfriend. Honey, you have time! Don't worry! and Don't start
into anything virtually guaranteed to cause stress.
Don't push this until you find out from him (and maybe your other source) that his
girlfriend is out of the picture completely. And if he indicates that he may be interested
in something more, or if your meetings get to be more than casual (e.g., nice dinner or
something that feels more like a ''date'' to you), come right out and ask him about the
girlfriend. Make him be straightforward w/ you. It's not unusual to start out w/ past
acquaintances right after a divorce, but it's probably a good time for you to meet more than
just one person, and keep them all at friendship/casual level for a while. You can't replace
the good things you lost from your ex just yet
My instincts are failing me on this one, so I need some help.
I've been divorced for a year now and am re-entering the dating
world with a three year old. What are the rules here?
Don't introduce boyfriend until when? (I assume some number of
months? or are brief at the door intros okay earlier?)
Is it ever okay for boyfriend to stay over at night? In separate
bed? on sofa? what about when you are no longer dating but in a
What, if any, activities are okay to do together? and when?
Or do I just learn to wholly segregate my parent life and my
dating life? (which seems hard since I am so intrinsically a
Obviously I want to do what is best for my child. Any guidance
from those who have been through this before?
Want a social life again
I consider myself instrinsically a parent as well. That's why in
dating, I only date men that have children and are actively involved in
their children's lives or men that have a strong desire to be fathers
and for some reason, have not yet.
Further, I have been divorced since my children were 6 months old and 2
years old and they are now 8 and 10 - and I've learned the hard way not
to involve my children into my relationships. The right time is when I
know the man I'm dating is going to be my husband. Dating is hard
enough for us, trust me when I say it's twice as hard when you have kids
because when the relationship ends, it's a break up for them too. In
dating, I talk about the kids all the time as he does about his daughter
but we decided not to merge until we are ready to take it to the next
level. Also, I don't date anyone that I don't think is likely to make
it to the next level.
SIngle Mom that Dates
Hi. A few years ago, I was in this exact situation and I followed my
instincts. I did not think in terms of whether boyfriend should be
introduced, stay over, etc. I judged everything by my one principle
that a child should not have someone come into their world and become
significant to them, only to then lose that person. This might
condition a child into the feeling that lovers are temporary. Since a
small child forms attachments so quickly, I did not want to make anyone
part of our household in any way unless I were certain that person was
going to be around for a long time. Therefore, it was 6 months before
my child met my boyfriend, and it was almost 2 years before I began
occasionally including him in family dinners, or going camping as a
threesome, and so forth.
Now of course my child is attached to him, but we have been dating for 5
years. For 3 years my child would only see him every few months; now
it's once a week or so. And I have never had him spend the night. I
feel that someone who spends the night becomes, in my child's eyes, an
essential part of the household, and I don't want my child's household
world to be disrupted again the way it was when my husband left, or
growing up with the idea that men come, and then they move on. As it
happens, I dated a while, and then I ended up with my current boyfriend
of five years. I have never regretted having myself be fully guided by
what I feel is best for my child. I felt that if a potential boyfriend
did not understand my attitude, then we were better off without him.
But guys I dated respected my position, and may have been relieved to
get to know me without having to also form attachments with my child.
I imagine men don't need the burden of potential guilt if, after a
couple of months of dating they are no longer interested, they'd be
hurting a child as well.
When I read your post, I was inspired to respond right away!
I'm a local single mom who dove back into dating when my daughter turned
Your questions are excellent. You sound very thoughtful.
Dating as a single mom has been quite a life-changing experience for me!
You can read about what I've learned at Literary Mama,
www.literarymama.com, where I write a column called ''Single Mom
I, too, have struggled with issues such as sleeping with a man for the
first time. As it turns out, single motherhood has been my first lesson
in learning how to date - for real. It sounds like you have really great
instincts. Feel free to write to me!
I would be curious to read the responses you will get for this.
I am in the same boat as you. I did start dating while my husband and I
were separated. In hindsight,emotionally, I wasn't ready to date even
though I was the one that wanted the Divorce. I wasn't ready to share
myself emotionally with anyone else. The dating was fun as it got me out
of the house. My son has a good relationship with his father so I only
went out on dates during the weekends when he was with his father. And
no, I did not introduce my son to any of my dates.
I broke up with 'Joe' after dating him for about 3 months. A few weeks
later, an friend of mine emailed me. We both had a crush on each other
for a long time while I was married.
(Although he was not the reason for the divorce. My husband and I
managed to screw it all up by ourselves). In any event, he is wrong for
me on paper for so many reasons, he is 6 years younger than me for one
thing. (He's in his late 20s and I am in my early 30s)However, I decided
to take the chance and said yes to dating him. I found our dates to be
so much fun and he is a wonderful person to be with. (Keeping my fingers
crossed!) I know he loves kids (HE babysat for one of his single mom
friends) but I would not introduce him to my son and vice-versa until
things got more serious or until he asks to spend time with my son. (The
last time he saw my son, he was 6 months old)
My best friend went through a divorce with a 2 year old daughter. She
met someone right after who not only asked to spend time with her but
also planned activities to include her.
Needless to say, they are now married and are one big happy family.
I am a single mom (separated for three years) and about to turn
forty. Although I get lots of attention from men, I have not
been interested in anyone (at all) since leaving my husband and
so have fallen into a rut of politely saying ''no thank you'' to
all men who approach me. I keep telling myself I'm not ready,
the divorce isn't final, I'm too busy with my child
etc...Recently, a man has shown a great deal of interest in me
and I am shocked to find that I am interested in him too. The
problem is he is seven years younger than me! Although he is the
only man I've looked twice at in years I am tempted to say ''no
thank you'' again because he is so young. I know we are all
individuals, age is just a number, men do this all the
time,etc...but I am not a man. I feel ridiculous bringing this
issue here (it makes as much sense as consulting my child's
magic eight ball, which invited me to ''ask again later'') but I
wonder if anyone, esp. women my age have insights that might
help. Is such an age difference a good enough reason to reject
the advances of an otherwise desirable guy? Am I just protecting
my vanity, reputation, or whatever? I have not dated since I was
younger than this guy so I have no idea what's ''normal'' now. Am
I making a big deal of nothing?
7 years is nothing in terms of age difference. Go for it, and see what happens!
Go for it! While I'm married and have not been in your situation, I have friends who
have and are the same age as you. Who cares if he's younger as long as you enjoy his
company. Take it one step at a time, and live and enjoy your life. You are entitled
to have some romance. At the same time, you have a child so there needs to be some
boundaries established with any new relationship you embark on, regardless of age.
Go for it!
I've been married to a much younger man for more than ten years, and am very happy
that when I asked myself the question you are asking yourself, I decided to give it a
go. The only area where our age difference makes any difference at all is that we are
of different musical generations. Other than that, the important things -- the things
that make or break a marriage, like having well-matched values, for example -- are
utterly unaffected by our age difference. Before I met this man, I had generally dated
men 2-5 years older than I was; I can tell you that most of them had far less maturity
than the guy who eventually became my husband (when he was 28 and I was 40).
Age Is Only a Number
Woman, go for it!! You will only know if it works or doesn't work by trying it. And if
there is chemistry and you have some connecting points then it could be fun. You don't
need to go into it thinking you are going to get married or that he is going to be the
child's second father.
Speaking as a single mom (10 years divorced!), it's really nice to have the attention
and affection from a nice man when you can. It's a hard job and you need adult
initimacy too! You don't need to broadcast it at first, in fact, I don't talk about or
bring the new man home to meet my daughter or friends until I'm sure about him and
we've been seeing each other for a while. Even then, in 10 years it's only been a few,
not exactly a parade.
He must be around 32? Not exactly a spring chicken, it's not like his biggest memories
are from college or high school! I think we learn things from all relationships, about
ourselves and others. Have fun!
Don't worry about it - if you like this guy, just ignore the age difference. I am 11
years older than my husband. We started dating when I was 39 and he was 28. We have
been together for over 10 years now and we are very happy. We have many common
interests and the age difference really only comes up when we are reminiscing about
music we listed to in high school (he listened to crap and I listened to the good
stuff - ha ha). Anyway, it is not a big deal. At first, I had a few insecurities about
being older, especially since I'm a woman and women worry about their looks a lot more
than men do. It's socially acceptable for old geezers like Hugh Hefner but really
''scandalous'' with genders switched! However, I soon realized that no one really
noticed the age difference. Even being around his friends, they just don't seem to
recognize the difference unless I bring it up. He says that women live on average 10
years longer than men, so we are about even!
Not too scandalous
Am you making a big deal of nothing? YES.
I'd say go for it with this guy. A seven year gap in ages is a big deal when you're 24
and he's 17, and still something of a deal when you're 30 and he's 23. But if you're
40 (almost) and he's 33, it's no big deal at all. The older you get, the less this
kind of thing matters. My now husband some 15 years ago dated and lived with a woman 7
years his senior and they got along famously. Unfortunately, the poor lady died of
cancer after only a few years, but I know they were happy and in love right up until
the end. Both families were very happy to have them settled with each other.
He and I met a few years ago and are now married. I'm only a year older than him, but
I think if I were 7 years older, it wouldn't matter.
If you have lots in common and chemistry, you go girl! Both my husbands were younger,
one by a year, another by 4 years. Most of the time it made no difference at all. My
present relationship is with a guy 17 years older. Most of the time, again, the age
doesn't matter at all. Just keep the good communication going and have fun. You
deserve fun in life and someone nice to share those experiences with.
Lucky you!! I would not worry about the age difference at all. I am 40 and would
definitely consider dating a 33-year-old (although I can't because I'm married!). I
think the biggest issue is whether you both feel you are in a similar stage of life.
For example, the difference between 22 and 27 can be much greater in terms of ''just
out of college'' vs. ''stable job/life and looking to settle down'' even though the
age difference is only 5 years. 33 and 40 are not so far apart if family/work/life
issues are compatible.
Stop worrying sweetie! 7 years is nothing at ages 33 and 40, and will continue to
matter even less as you both age. Put it out of your mind right now so you can get to
the things that matter :-)
I know two couples with women ten years older than the men - they both met in the
women's late 30's early 40's.
Currently seeing someone 5 years younger
In a word (or few): dating a younger man is no big deal at all.
My husband is 4 years younger than I am. His best friend's wife is 7 years older than
her husband. My 65-year-old aunt married her 55-year-old husband when she was 33. My
other aunt on that side married a second husband who is six years younger than she is
when she was in her late 30s. And so on. It's really no big deal and I wonder if your
concerns are really more just about getting back into dating again (which is perfectly
The only question would be if this man wants children biologically related to him. But
I'm jumping the gun and if this is an issue you'll no doubt talk about it in good time
My experience with this is only peripheral. My best friend (48) is married to a man
12 years her junior. They have two children and have been married for over 10 years.
My sister is almost 45 and married to a man 7 years her junior. They also have a
daughter and have been together over 10 years. I think both have come to view the age
difference as a non-issue.
I say go for it!
First, congratulations on finding that ''feeling'' again. Isn't it wonderful? I am
also nearing 40. I don't think that the age difference should make any difference. I
understand your statement ''men do it, but I'm not a man'' but really, I don't think
it should make one bit of difference if you are compatible. If you enjoy his company,
see him some more. Take it slow and see where it goes.
Good luck and enjoy!
I am in the same boat as you-seperated/divorced 3 yrs haven't dated since-41 years
old. My rule of thumb for dating at this age is 10 years up and 10 years down(31-51)
and there can always be exceptions. The older you get the gap in how people behave
becomes smaller (usually). If you are 40 and he is 33, that doesn't sound weird to me
Go for it, girlfriend! It great that you're finally feeling the spark
again. Honestly, 33 and 40 doesn't seem that shocking to me; I think
the age gaps lessen as we get older. It seems to me like the issues
with younger men often revolve around kids (the older woman wants to
start a family, the younger man isn't ready yet, or the older woman is
leaving her fertile years and the younger man has conscious or
unconscious problems with that), but since you're on the BPN I assume
you are already a mother so the issue is moot. Congrats on being
attractive as your youthful, vital self.
You're probably going to get a lot of responses to this, but I thought
I'd chime in. I got divorced at 34, and met a man 6 years younger when
I was 38. It didn't even occur to me to think of him romantically at
first (I was always into older men), and when it did I felt slightly
embarrassed at being so much older, but I must say, he's the best man
I've ever met.
Almost 5 years later, we're married with a 3 year old, and I never
thought I could be so happy. The age difference has had virtually no
impact except that I beat him to 40... So go for it! What have you got
younger guys rock
I am 41 and married to a man 8.5 years younger. I was in a similar
position as you 4.5 years ago when we met--meeting fewer and fewer men
of interest, and most seemed young (as in
immature) even if they were my age or older. The only time hubby and I
notice the age difference is when discussing certain aspects of pop
culture, and even then, I'd say we have ''knowledge overlap'' most of
the time. I think what it comes down to is does the man have the same
timeline as you (for commitment, marriage, kids, whatever); granted the
younger the man, probably the less likely they want those things, but
there are some who are open to it.
happy with younger man
Forgot to mention some other salient points...I think it's cool to be
able to say I married a (significantly) younger man.
It's also very fun to have him find me so desirable and sexy, and
appreciate my independence and no-bullbleep attitude.
happy with younger man
When is it an appropriate time to introduce someone as a
significant other to your kids? I have a 4 year-old son, never
been married, and my son's father & I have not been together
for over a year. I had started dating a few different men
several months ago, but nothing serious and I have kept all
that completely separate from my son (i.e. I never brought any
of my dates around my son). However, I have been dating one
man pretty much exclusively for the past month and we've been
talking lately about moving our relationship to the next level
(monogamous, boyfriend/girlfriend, exclusive, or whatever it's
called). He is extrememly supportive in any way I want to
handle things with my son in regards to including him into our
lives, undertstands completely that my son is my first and
foremost priority and that everything else falls into a distant
second. He is also all for ''the slower, the better''. My son
has met him as ''mommy's friend'', so he is familiar with him.
But considering the relationship developing into something
more, I don't know how to do this so that my son feels
comfortable as well, and that I don't give him the impression
that I am trying to ''replace'' his daddy with this new man. By
the way, my son has a great relationship with his father, which
I want to continue to support. Do I talk with my son about it?
Or do I just hang back and let things develop without having to
say anything? How have some of you handled the experience of
dating, finding someone really special, and letting your kids
know, too? Because not everyone is just ''mommy's friend''
or ''uncle so&so''.
Dating is Hard
Please don't make the same mistake I made when I first started
dating again. You've been dating someone for a whole month and
think it's time to merge (bring your son into the
relationship). You are dating the guy, not your son. Leave him
out of it until you're ready to say ''I do''. It's hard enough
when a relationship ends but then to have to nurse your kids
through the break-up, well they did that already when you and
the father split up. It's easier to leave them out of it.
Been there, but never ever again
There is this great group for singles at the Berkeley Richmond
JCC. Actually the facilitator (Rachel Sarah) is a single mom,
who wrote a book about being a single mom and the dating
challenges that she had to face.
You can go to
They meet every Thursday at 7pm. Perhaps you can go and she can
give good advice about it.
My father died when I was 4, and my mom dated afterward. Based on my
experience, I would encourage you to be cautious about letting this man become
someone your son counts on until you have a secure commitment with your
boyfriend. It can be heartbreaking and bewildering for children to be ''broken up
with,'' believe me. It's like a divorce except that the one person simply disappears,
and the child has no real claim on him. A kid can experience this as a life lesson in
how little he matters in the world and how risky it can be to trust others
emotionally. Basically, I just think you and your boyfriend should be mindful of the
relationship he is building with your son, and remember that your son is a separate
person who may come to love your boyfriend, too. Keep things light and friendly
until you know where things are going -- and certainly don't move in together until
your future together is clear. My two cents.
I have a friend who was recently widowed. I know the Dear Abby
columns say only the grieving can decide when they are ready,
especially after there has been a long illness (which there
was), but when do you think it is socially acceptable to begin
to date? The timing issue will surely come up in polite
conversation, and wouldn't many people think anything less than
six months is too soon? There are children involved too. I
think Dad should sit them down and let them know he is planning
to have a private life, but is it better for him to get going
without any announcements to them yet? If anyone has experience
with this, it would be so helpful to hear it - either from the
point of view of the widower, or from the point of view of
someone dating a widower. In my single life, I have met a number
of widowers, but there had been a signficant time lapse since
their wife's death. Any comments welcome.
From the children's perspective, he should wait one year before starting to date, and at least two years before remarrying. I lost my mother when I was 29, and after 31 years together, my father starting dating about one month after her death. My siblings and I were horrified. He started exclusively dating one woman two months later and married her less than 2 years after my mother's death. We can't stand the woman -- partly because we see her as an opportunist taking advantage of a widower, and she is ''all over'' him physically (too much PDA!), which makes us want to puke. So from my point of view, if you want the kids to like you ..... WAIT! With younger kids, it could be different... they could be ready sooner, or their hate for a new woman could be even stronger, I don't know.
Your msg doesn't say anything about why it matters to you. Are you the one of the dates? If so and you're uncomfortable, wait. If so and you're comfortable, go ahead.
If you're not one of the dates, stop worrying because there isn't anything you could do about it anyway, other than lose your friends by placing some notion of etiquette over their happiness.
When and how to involve the children is a separate question, one that has nothing to do with social acceptability.
Let it be
I started dating my now-wife about 4-5 months after my first wife died. You don't say anything about the age of your friend, but my experience in meeting a lot of other widows and widowers is that men are often ready a lot sooner than women, as long as they are not elderly and married for several decades.
It doesn't mean that they aren't still grieving, but the company of an understanding woman sometimes helps- it did for me. I think men need women more than they sometimes like to admit. Your friend should know that a new relationship will often bring up grief in ways he didn't expect. But it doesn't mean he shouldn't do it. And it's not every woman who is secure enough to take that on.
As for the kids, you didn't specify the ages of his children so it's hard to say what he should or shouldn't tell them. I didn't have any so it wasn't an issue for me.
I'm in a wonderfully awkward situation and I need some
help from someone who's been there, done that. After being
separated almost 5 years from my almost ex husband, I've
finally met a man that I love being around. (I've dated off and
on before, but my boys have never met my past boyfriends.)
He's a great guy (and a parent himself), but my boys are
feeling like they are ''losing'' mom, not gaining an adult in
their lives. Recently, he has been spending the night a
couple of times a week, but my boys have woken up for
various reasons in the middle of the night (which they
haven't done for years) and have wanted to come and
cuddle in my big king bed. I don't want to exclude any male
in my life from night time cuddles, but want to do what is
best for my sons. So help me out here: do I only have him
stay over when the boys are at their Dad's (3-5 weekend
nights a month); or, hire a sitter and go to ''his place'' for a
few hours; or, try to create some middle ground - i.e., if the
bedroom door is locked, they have to wait - if the bedroom
door is closed but not locked, they may come in - but can
expect that my boyfriend will be there (both of us with
pyjamas on by the time we unlock the door) and that we can
all cuddle together. Or does someone have another great
idea that keeps everyone happy? P.S. this is the best sex
I've ever had in my life and my boys are 9 and 10 1/2 years
Hoping for the best
You don't say how long you've known your new friend, or when
your boys first met him, but I wouldn't push them in any way to
become buddies with him; they'll get to know him at their own
pace. (And I think expecting that you'll all cuddle together
right now is premature.) Even after 5 years, your boys may still
wish and dream that you and their father will get back together;
finding a new man in your bedroom might be proof to them--I
mean, upsetting proof--that this will not happen. (Imagine
yourself at their age. Would you really be happy to find your
mother or father with a new person?)
You might consider just having your friend over when the boys
are with their father overnight, and, as you mentioned, hiring a
sitter some afternoons and evenings. But I'd be sure to have
frequent weekend where it's just you and the boys.
Good luck to you and your sons and your new relationship.
I was in this situation when my boys were about the same age as
your sons. I had a big advantage though - my boys were at their
dad's half the week so I had a lot more time to work with!
First of all, your boys are old enough to understand the concept
of knocking before entering anyone's bedroom, and waiting to be
invited in (or not). It's a basic privacy rule at our house, and
this rule became really important to my boys when they got to be
teens, which yours will be soon. Family members need to always
respect each other's privacy. I think a talk is in order
explaining this: if mom's door is closed, that means she wants
privacy. If your door is closed, I'll knock and wait for you to
tell me when I can come in (and then do it, every single time, to
set the example.) You don't have to give a reason why you want
them to always knock first (and believe me, in a few more years,
your sons will not want to explain to you why *their* doors are
Second, for now, I would try to maximize time at the boyfriend's
and minimize times the boyfriend sleeps over. Can you increase
the days the boys are at their dad's? 3-5 days/month is not very
much. When your boyfriend does stay over I think you should give
your boys a heads up. ''John is staying over tomorrow night and
I'll want some privacy after we go to bed'' or something like that.
Does your boyfriend feel OK about the night-time cuddles? My
boyfriend was really uncomfortable about appearing to be the
''other dad''. He said his role was more like benevolent uncle, so
he sort of stood in the background, friendly but not really
parental. So he didn't do the kinds of things usually reserved
for the mom or dad, like cuddling in bed or disciplining. My boys
have a good relationship with their now-stepdad. he is a super nice
guy, so that's one reason, but also, they were able to see their
dad a LOT, and have a good relationship with him, and never felt
that their step-dad was trying to be usurp his role.
I only have one question, and one suggestion, for you.
How would you feel if you found your mother's door locked, because
she had a new guy in her bed?
Your boys are permanent, and your responsibility until they are 18. If
you can find a way to have the ''best sex of your life'' without it having
any repercussions for them, go for it. No man should be in your bed
while your children are there. If he's a ''new'' boyfriend they probably
shouldn't even spend time with him out of bed -- in case you decide that
Since he's a parent too, I'm a little disappointed that he doesn't seem to
feel that way himself.
I'm sure you'll hear other opinions, too.
I was in a similar situation, though I was the new partner and
had to get used to my partner's (now husband) 9 year old son
being with us overnight. It's hard for kids to accept a new
person in their parents life, so we really eased into this. We
spent alot time together doing fun stuff, getting to know
eachother, before we ever had an overnight. Even so, it was
challenging when we moved in together. My partner started by
sleeping in his son's room with him -- I'm not sure if this was
the right thing, but it was comforting to the child. Then, when
we were a little more accustomed to being in the same house, my
partner moved into our room and his son got accustomed to it.
His son never really felt comfortable crawling into the bed
with the two of us, so I would sometimes vacate the bed in the
morning so they could have cuddle time together. Good luck
with the transition.
Being a newly single mom, I understand your situation. My kids
are 11 and 7 and their Dad left us two years ago. I just started
dating once I was officially single in January and am having a
great time! I only have my lover come to my house to spend the
night when the children are at their Dad's. They have enough to
deal with, as he is living with the girl he left us for. I have
to respect their right to have no interaction with another adult
in their living space at their primary home so I keep that part
of my life separate. I remember when I was a child, how creepy
it was for me when my Mom had her boyfriends stay at the house.
Just keep their feelings in mind. Good luck.
Divorced with kids
I recently ended a 2 year relationship with a man I was hoping
to spend the rest of my life with. We've talked about the
future and everything seems beautiful except for one thing...he
loves me but barely likes my 5 year old son from a previous
relationship. It's very unfortunate that a bond has not been
built. The only way they connect is through soccer, but not
much time outside of that is spent with him and my son, it's
usually the three of us. He can't seem to get past the fact
that''he gets on his nerves''. It hurt to hear that.
I'd like to know if anyone out there has been through this and
what anyone could recommend. Because part of it is that I'm not
sure he's ready to handle the full weight of being a parent. We
don't want to lose each other but I don't want my son to get
hurt in the end if a relationship never transpires out of our
If your boyfriend is willing, I suggest parenting classes. BOTH
of you should attend. He will learn to cope with the issues
around parenting, co-parenting and being a new parent addition
to your family. You will learn how to support him and your
coming from experience
I would not consider marrying a guy who says my son ''gets on his
nerves''! What kind of a father will he be? I think it would only
lead to misery for everyone involved.
My husband has a 5-year-old who lives abroad with his mother. He
stayed with us for about a month while we were still dating, and
that was definitely a testing point for our relationship. Luckily
we had a great time together, and I felt confident to take our
relationship to the next step and get married; the last thing in
the world I would have wanted to become was a ''wicked step mother.''
I'm sure there are other guys out there that will make a good
father to your son.
A ''not so wicked'' step mom
This is a tough one. I was a single parent myself until
recently. I married when my son was 12. I dated my husband for
three years before we married, and he and my son get along well
as buddies, although I know my husband finds that my son gets on
his nerves at times. One thing my husband is having a difficult
time with, although he has good intentions, is the
parenting-role, both nuturing, being authoritative (you just have
to, sometimes) and making those occasional sacrifices. It
definitely takes a while to figure out how to be a parent. Most
of us had the luxury of starting out with a newborn and growing
into the job with the growing child.
All I can say is, perhaps you and the guy can remain friends
until your son is a bit older and is more interested in adult
activities, or maybe you have to give up on this guy and try to
find someone who is already a father and has had that crucial on
the job training.
I am a firm believer that once you have children they MUST come
before a new partner. You cannot be too cautious getting into a
relationship with someone and if they show any sign of not
accepting and loving your child then you must let them go. Your
child always needs to know that they are the most important
thing in your life and when you bring someone else into your
life you are distracting from that.
My mother raised me alone after my father died when I was only
1. She was very young and dated off and on through my
childhood. I know she loved me but it is very confusing to a
child when different men come and go. These are very formative
years and the relationships your child experiences will affect
them the rest of their life. Your child knows that your
boyfriend doesn't care for him/her and that is not someone you
want as a father figure.
If he really loves you he should be open to going to couple's
counceling with you. Maybe a good therapist could help shed
light on what's really bugging him - something tells me it's not
really your son (personally).
I'm confused...did you ''recently end'' this relationship or are
you still with this person? You say one and then go on to talk
about how to deal with the fact that your partner does not like
your child. In any case, you are a package deal and I would not
be with someone who did not like my child.
Just my opinion
I feel for you in this situation where everything seems great
except for one thing, and that one thing is sooo important! You
say that you already ended the relationship, that's one solution
and if you want to stick with that I don't blame you at all. The
fact that you wrote, though sounds like you want advice on if
you did the right thing by ending it? You are very wise to put
your son and his feelings first. I would stick by that bit of
truth and see what happens. It's possible you could stay with
this man but just not let the relationship develop into 'the
rest of your life' kind of union where you live together or get
married. I certainly wouldn't want to live with a man, even the
biological father of my child, unless they thought my kid was as
wonderful and precious as they truly are!! It's possible that if
you don't push things, a relationship between them will develop
as your son gets older. Hope that helps.
My mother married my stepfather when I was seven years old. He
(according to my mother) was not really interested in becoming a
parent to me but he 'loved her'. I annoyed him.
As a result, my mother pulled away from me and I spent
after-school time, weekends and holidays with babysitters and
relatives. I became very sad and did not do well socially or
academically. It wasn't until I became an adult that I made the
connection. If I had been allowed to stay with my parents
weekends and holidays I would have felt resented and like a third
wheel. I understand that you need to 'live your life' but PLEASE-
Don't fool yourself into thinking that your child will not be
affected by you choosing to bring someone into the family who
isn't interested in him. I still resent my mother for leaving me
out of the equation when she chose to remarry. It was an
extremely selfish move on her part.
You chose the well-being of your child over your own
relationship with a man who wouldn't/couldn't be his
''daddy''. I have a lot of respect for you, for doing this for your
child. I am impressed that your friend could admit his
reluctance or inability, instead of pretending it would all ''be
Its a tough time for you, but your child will thank you for this
later, and you sound like a good mommy.
I'm a single mom with a 2 year old. I've just started dating someone
and my toddler is really making it difficult. She is very different
with him and quite rude and demanding of my attention. How do I know
if she's this way because she's jealous or because she really just
does not like him? And it does make a difference to me.
Unfortunately there is no father involved so I have no choice but to
have her around us during this stage of our courtship. Has anyone
been in this position or have any advice?
I have been going through the same thing with my daughter, who just turned
three. She would be aggressive with him (like kicking him, or pulling his
hair!), and would get very cranky with me when we were around him. Things
were very difficult for the first five months or so, but have mellowed
considerably since the beginning. The one thing I think has helped is that
we invite him over to do things that are ''kid-centered,'' like dying Easter
Eggs, or going to Habitot or Kindergym. It helps them to form a connection
when he shows up to do fun things with us that are just for her. I think
this helps her feel less threatened by his presence, and helps her to accept
that he is her friend, too, not just mommy's. Also, I sat down with my
daughter one day and just talked it through with her. I explained to her
that some kids have mommies and daddies that live together, and some parents
live apart. And if the parents live apart, they still need friends in their
lives to love them...etc. This helped to give her a frame of reference, so
when she expresses aggravation at my boyfriend, I can remind her of the
conversation we had about how mommies and daddies need other adults to love
them too, that we need hugs, etc. This really helped settle a lot of
questions and worry for her. If you would like to email me about this, feel
free. Good luck.
A few considerations on the matter: You mention that your daughter's father
is not in the picture. Does she have any interaction with him at all, or
with other positive male role models; grandpa, uncles, friends, neighbors?
Have you had any previous boyfriends that she DID like? Or is she just now
dealing with a. sharing you for the first time with someone else along with
b. having someone of a different gender in the house? If a and or b apply,
her behavior seems understandable! Just food for thought.
I was in your shoes about 10 yrs. ago. I was a single parent for 5 yrs. and
tried never to have him around while I was ''checking out the market''. His
biological father was never involved but we did talk about one day him
having a ''daddy''. When I would go out I would leave him with usually
grandparents. I did have a couple of good friends that I could leave him
with also. I don't think you should involve the child in this relationship
unless you know it will be long term. Also remember, children are very good
judges of character. Please pay attention to the story in the news about
the mother slain right in front of her children, which is something no child
should witness. I know this is way out there, but it obviously is the way
it is many times. I also did sometimes (because I was young at the time)
put my social needs before my sons needs. Not too much, but when I look
back I feel bad. There was a time I went to Reno or LA or someplace a bit
far and left my son for a weekend. Well when I called he thought I wasn't coming back. Just
be careful. Also when I did become engaged, my son was 5. He wasn't
demanding of my time, but again there are so many things going on in a
childs life at that age. He had a new school, new house, new dad. This was
all very hard on him and started him out on the wrong foot in school. He
was very good for us at home, but would act out at school, with other
authorative figures. Because of these actions and the fact that he had
started school with officials who were not understanding, he now has a paper
trail that most school officials immediately look at and don't ask why, just
put him in the same boat as when he was in kindergarten. Even though his
behavior was temporary, it has been very hard to get that away from him. I
know this may be futuristic for you, just thought I'd shed some possible
light on it. Good Luck,
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