Out of the Frying Pan?
Q: Dr. Susan, about a month ago my daughter finished a nasty divorce from her very controlling ex. She has full custody of her 2-year-old son. Just a few days after her divorce this guy at a local Wal-Mart store (which to me is not a meeting place) came up to her and asked for her phone number. She gave it to him. NOT GOOD. This guy is from another state and has only been here a month and he claims he just got out of his divorce three months ago and claims he has full custody of his 4-year-old daughter, who is now living with his mother in his home state. He does not have a car, nor his own place, and he is staying with his friends. And he does not have a permanent job. I feel like she is moving too fast. I worry about her and especially for my grandson. I've tried to tell her that she really needs to give herself freedom right now, plan the future for her and her son and figure out what she wants out of life, and not jump into what she just came out of. Can you please send some very good advice to me that I can help her with, because right now, I don't think I am being overly protective. And I do not think she should have this man over at her apartment right now at all. Please help!! -- Brenda, 50
Dr. Susan: Your daughter could be on the verge of making a big mistake. Though her son is very young, he is aware of who comes into and out of his life, and seeing a new man at the apartment so soon can indeed be confusing. Both her new guy and she are just out of relationships, so it's too soon to think straight about another one. Certainly she must be lonely, but she should at least take care that her choices don't mess up her son at this vulnerable age. Going slowly is what counts most right now. I wouldn't focus on the idea of giving herself freedom, as that's the last thing she wants. And she's obviously not very good at thinking long-term. But if she loves her son, she needs to think about the consequences of her actions on him. Ideally, she should see this man on neutral ground, not make any commitments, be sure not to get pregnant, and not lend him money or take him in. Advise her that if he's a good person, he won't resent those limitations and will be willing to get on his feet before knocking her off hers.
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
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.