Has Child, Men Won't Commit
Q: I dated my ex for over 5 years and we ended up having a child together. Somewhere along the line things got rough and he broke it off with me. He has a new girlfriend, but I can't seem to get over him or find a new match. Most of the guys I meet are afraid to commit to me because I have a child. Any advice? -- Katherine, 22
Dr. Susan: Judging from your young age, I wonder how much real searching you've done for a new match. If you'd been "on the market" for five years with no success, I'd say, sure, you're having a real hard time finding willing men. But as it is, it sounds like you're too impatient. You say most of the guys won't commit, but of course they won't commit the minute they meet you. In fact, there are plenty of guys who won't hesitate to date an appealing young woman with a child. And only once they get to know her well should commitment even begin to be an issue. Don't rush things.
Getting over your ex is bound to be complicated since you have to keep in contact for the sake of your child, but do limit your connection to parenting issues only. There's no easy way to get over someone, but time normally does the trick. Meanwhile, make yourself and your child a too-good-to-refuse package. That is, practice being warm, interested as well as interesting, and don't ever whine. And be sure you socialize your child so that he or she isn't felt as an immediate and major liability by a new guy. Learn to say no, have the child take age-appropriate responsibility for his or her own messes, and make it consistently clear that you have a right to some sort of life apart from your child. By the way, slightly older guys might be more willing to consider you as a partner, since men in their early- or mid-twenties sometimes don't want to take on a ready-made family. Get out there, widen your parameters, and be patent.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.