I’ve just got a quick comment on your advice to Sheri (the 42-year-old with 2 kids). You told her to be up front with her 34-year-old potential squeeze/summer fling, and suggested that any guy who is scared off by kids isn’t worth it [Note from Breakup Girl: Whoa! That's totally not what I said. BG is not in the biz of that kind of flip character call. My actual point: some guys (and gals!) are -- legitimately -- reluctant to get into a pre-fab family when they'd like to fab one of their own from scratch. And also for the reasons that Jo so eloquently describes below. In some cases, this may mean that -- even all other things being lovely -- a potential couple may be, practically speaking, incompatible. That's all.]I just wanted to add something.
It looks like Sheri wants a nice, relaxing, “just for Mom” relationship; she’s not thinking tickets for four to the Spice Girls with hotdogs to follow, she’s thinking candlelit dinners and a suite at the Ritz. It seems to me that she needs to a) let the guy know that she’s got kids, and b) (once she’s sure this guy is going past date #4 or so) let the kids know that she’s got him, but c) let everyone know that the relationship is for fun, not fatherhood. She won’t have to hermetically seal the kids off from the relationship, but she can keep their evenings out for the nights when Dad/her mother/her best friend has the kids. Then, if their relationship lasts past Labor Day, the two of them will have a good relationship, which will help when he gets to know the kids.
You missed the boat on your answer to Sheri re: summer romance and the kids. Of course she should tell the guys she’s thinking about going out with she’s got children, and I liked the soft-pedal way you suggested she let them know. HOWEVER, she’s absolutely right about not introducing the kids. Well, maybe introducing (10 and 12 are old enough to be curious about who mom’s having dinner, movie, etc. with ) but certainly not including them in any events. You think it’s hard for just one person to be the dumper/dumpee — try having your whole FAMILY included in a mess like that. Some possible scenarios:
* The kids get overly attached and nothing comes of it — then regardless of who dumped whom — it’s your fault.
* He/She loves them so much when you break up they still want to see them — and the kids agree. This is especially true for kids just coming out of a divorce situation or haven’t ever recovered from it — Hey! Here’s someone to take up where mom/dad left off!
* The kids/date hate each other so much you’re doomed from the beginning. And there’s a good chance they will. Kids want all your time, date wants all your time…and everybody resents you can’t give it all to them (and what’s more, you’re supposed to choose who you love the most as in, “If you loved me, you’d ______”).
If you care about your children, you never let them get involved in your dating life, unless and until you start to maybe, just maybe (gasp, wheeze) think this is THEEEE one. Of course, hopefully by this time some of the major questions on both sides have been worked out. The kids may want to know you’re seeing XYZ for a movie Friday evening, but that’s ALL they want to know. (And all you should share with them.) Now, take all this and think “summer romance,” as in 3 or 4 months and end-o, zippo, that’s all folks…do you think this grief would be worth it on anyone’s part? Methinks not. (If you doubt my word on this, check with Breakup Mom — give you 5 to 1 she agrees with me.)
Breakup Girl responds: Sounds like you know what you’re talking about…all too well. And your comments are actually not consistent with what I said … or, anyway, um, what I meant. I should have made more explicit my distinction between “introduce” and “involve.” And — hmmm — now that I see what you’ve written so wisely, perhaps that distinction isn’t as significant or as un-slippery as I thought. So no, I don’t doubt you. But the reason I’m not checking with Breakup Mom is that she and Breakup Dad are on vacation. For the next few weeks, we’re on our own.
I’m a very young looking attractive 42 year old, divorced with two children, ages 10 and 12. I’m usually attracted to younger men and they to me, but some of them freak out when they find out I have children. I just met a handsome man at a formal dinner/dance and it turns out he has asked a mutual friend for my phone number. He is 34. Do I tell him right from our first conversation that I have children? I don’t plan on introducing him to my kids; my last relationship ended in disaster partly because he did not like my kids (but that’s another story!). I’m not expecting this to go anywhere really, a summer romance would be nice though. So, what do you think? The thought of an “instant family” scares off many younger guys, even though they are projecting way off into the future. Thanks for any input.
Seattle: no longer sonic, but still pretty super. Humanity FTW!
Thursday was shaping up to be just another school day for 13-year-old Erik Martin, but then something extraordinary happened: Spider-Man called.
Spider-Man happens to be one of the few people who knows that Erik, too, has a secret identity — he’s Electron Boy, a superhero who fights the powers of evil with light.
And Spider-Man needed Erik’s help.
Erik, who is living with liver cancer, has always wanted to be a superhero. On Thursday, the regional chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation granted him that wish with an elaborate event that involved hundreds of volunteers in Bellevue and Seattle.
The local chapter, which serves four states, grants more than 300 wishes every year to children with life-threatening medical conditions, but only a few of them involve so many participants.
Pulling off a wish like this one required a big story, and a lot of heart. And so, with a note of panic in his voice, Spider-Man explained the dilemma: “Dr. Dark” and “Blackout Boy” had imprisoned the Seattle Sounders in a locker room at Qwest Field. Only Electron Boy could free them.
As if I even have to tell you to click here to read [& weep over] the rest.
(And now can Electron Boy save us from evil corporate stadium names? Just saying.)
Does Breakup Girl have advice for a separated mom who feels like she is in limbo? My husband decided he wanted space. He moved out and now I am still in the house with the kids. It’s not like I am fond of rejection, but I feel like I should try to make it work before calling it off. It’s been five years, and it was supposed to be forever. I don’t know if there is someone else. Maybe, but he works 90 hours a week, so I don’t know when. Thanks.
– Lonely in Suburbia
It was supposed to be forever, and the fact that it may not be really, really stinks. But when you’re ready, you’re going to have to deal with this as a matter of practicality, not principle. You may not be able to “make” the relationship work with some assemblage of words, actions, and tactics, the way the guys in “Apollo 13″ made the rocket work with styrofoam, a fan belt, and a Slinky. But you can set up a framework in which both of you can figure out if it’s going to work.