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Blended Families:
“How can I protect myself and my daughter from being disappointed by my boyfriend?”

Dear Annie,

I'm divorced and have recently started dating "Rick". He has already professed his love for me. However, he stood me and my daughter up for dinner with no phone call. He says he was doing some thinking and is very sorry. He also said that he is scared and hasn't felt like this about anyone in a long time. His sister told me he was very hurt by his ex wife. He completely lied to me about where he was going. His sister told me the truth and begs me to listen to what he has to say, and besides he is a man. What is the fair thing to do? I do care for him a lot.

Molly's Mom

Dear Molly's Mom,

Like you, I'm concerned about Rick's behavior. You say that you "just recently" started dating and that he has "already" professed his love for you. You obviously think this "I love you" has come too soon and it's making you wonder whether you can trust it. I agree with you.

Then there's the fact that his words don't match with his behavior. Not showing up and not calling is not very responsible and doesn't demonstrate "love". In the beginning of a relationship, especially, the goal is to build trust and if you (and your daughter) can't rely on this guy to keep his agreements, then how can you build trust? And without trust what have you got?

Then he lies. Another bad sign.

This guy has been hurt by the break up of his marriage. Emotionally, he hasn't healed from that wound. He is very vulnerable and probably very needy. Then he meets you and right away he may be thinking "Ah... A new start!" But until he heals from the divorce and does some deep self-exploration it's likely that he will be bringing all of his emotional baggage into a new relationship with you.

The same is true of any healing you need to do as a result of your divorce.

Please remember that you have your daughter to think about too. Any guy that you get serious with has to pass muster on two levels: as a potential partner for you and as a potential dad for Molly. Do not rush into things.

Sure you can "hear him out" but don't let your desire to be back in a relationship again cloud your judgment. Not everyone you "care a lot about" makes a good partner for you or a good dad! And as for the excuse "he's a man"... Don't buy it! A good man tells the truth and acts responsibly and maturely. Assuming that you're not going to get that from a guy because he's "a man" is a crock and forces you to lower your standards.

I hope this helps.

In friendship,

Annie

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