Dating Advice: Dear Debby and Jerry

May 10, 2013

Advice from Debby and Jerry on Dating in a New World
April 27, 2013 

Q-Dear Debbie and Jerry:

I met a very nice guy on Match about 3 months ago. We get along great and enjoy spending lots of time together. The problem is his children. He is divorced and has 3 kids, ages 9, 11, and 13. They live with their mother and are with us every other weekend, or so he said. In reality, they are with us half of the time, and this is not what I bargained for. I raised my kids, they are grown and on their own now and I thought this was time I would have for myself and the man I love. I enjoy the kids every other weekend, but every time his ex asks him to take the kids, which is a lot, he always says yes, never asking me. I love this man, but there are many child-rearing years left for him, and I don’t know what to do. He will never say no to his ex. Help!

 – Bonnie, Lexington, SC

A-Dear Bonnie:

Your dilemma is one that often faces divorced couples with children and who are now entering a new relationship. In this case, it sounds like the father may have typical guilt feelings about not being with his children. Certainly, he does not want his children to feel that they are not welcome to spend time with him. If you intervene by suggesting he not see them except with your permission or approval, he will feel he is placed in a no-win situation.

We would recommend you discuss the importance of the two of you having time together alone, telling him the kids are always welcome except when it conflicts with plans the two of you have made and at those times there should be no exceptions to the divorce decree. At those times, he should politely and firmly say he is sorry, but he has other plans or obligations.

Please keep in mind that his children will always come first in his heart and unless you are willing to understand this, you will not be able to share his heart with them.

Unless you are capable of embracing the fact that there will be many visits and many special events demanding his presence, a natural outgrowth of a father with 3 children, you are destined to have a rocky road ahead. Also, should you decide to go forward in the relationship, we would recommend premarital counseling to help in a transition with children involved.

 – Debbie and Jerry

Q-Dear Debby and Jerry:

I live in a fairly small town and have tried on-line dating for a while. I had a few ‘distance relationships’ but those are difficult to maintain and I really wanted to date someone in my hometown. I finally met a great woman who lives near me and we have been dating for about two months. We have really hit it off and have lots of fun together, share the same values, and in general are having a wonderful time. So what is the problem? We were out to dinner a few nights ago at a great restaurant in town and as we were seated I noticed a woman that I had dated sitting across the room. I initiated the break-up and she did not take it well and there were hard feelings on her part. Many thoughts raced through my mind, mainly how I would handle the situation if she came over to the table. How would I introduce her to my current date? Should I tell her right away about the woman across the room? Is there on-line dating protocol in this awkward situation? Is this what you get when you date in a small town? I need advice from both of you, as I want to know both the male and female prospective.

 – Rick, Irmo, SC

A-Dear Rick:

Rick, Rick, Rick, when will guys ever learn that there are consequences to your actions? Break-ups are never pleasant but you should try to make it as kind as possible. Obviously, not every relationship is going to work out, but we all need to be aware of each other’s feelings and try not to cause acrimony. On-line dating protocol would dictate that you should introduce her to your date if she came over to the table. And yes, this is bound to happen eventually when you date in a small town.   

 – Debby

Q-Dear Rick:

Lay low! Do not do anything unless the former on-line dating person comes over to your table. Stand-up, make the introductions, saying something polite such as, Thanks for coming over to speak. Then hold your breath. If nothing awkward is said, sit down and tell your new date the woman was someone you met on-line and that it did not work out. Say nothing else and then talk about the weather!

 – Jerry

Do you agree with Debby or Jerry? Readers are asked to voice their opinion by sending an email to: [email protected]

Share your questions or stories by sending an email to: [email protected]. Or mail your questions and comments to: Dear Debby and Jerry, 701 Gervais Street, Suite 150-197, Columbia, SC 29201. They will answer them anonymously in next week’s column.

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