In many ways I am fortunate as my son is 18, about to leave home and is eager for me to enter into a long-term relationship. It removes his responsibility for his mom. However, my 13 year old daughter sees it very differently.
She has rules:
1. No stalkers, paedophiles (she is pretty good at spotting them)
2. No man wanting more kids (I am in total agreement)
3. No man who already has kids (this is where we disagree)
I mention the statistical chance of me meeting a man in their early 40’s without kids is probably 0 percent to her, although I have no evidence for this statement, and she mentions fighting and arguing and being displaced by other people’s kids. It is like tomato and tamato or not! This probably is the only contentious issue my daughter and I have, besides the best way to stack dishes and what not to wear as a Parisian teenager. However, this is a real challenge as emotions are involved. I can see my daughter’s invisible boundaries start building up as soon as we mention this topic. The magical wall that she builds in an instant is easy to put up but virtually impossible to break down.
I have been single for while now and whilst I was not ready to enter into a relationship all those previous years, I am now ready to meet someone and settle down. So the questions are:
a) How do I go about meeting a man who has an interesting job, can make us laugh, is good-looking, intelligent and love me and my daughter and is single, damage free and finally without kids nor wants kids and will take my son to watch the rugby upon my son’s return from Uni?
b) How do I get my daughter to see my point of view in a rational logical (Mom is always right) kind of way?
c) How do I make her receptive to me dating?
d) How (if I met a man with kids) who was virtually perfect in every other way get her to accept his kids?
This is a minefield of an emotional mess and coming from a messy divorce where both my children are still hurt and angry seems to make my desire to risk again an impossibility. Mother’s always tend to sacrifice themselves for their children. In this instance, I truly believe that I would be doing my daughter a diservice. Children need to learn to take risks and they need to learn that life is a vibrant messy chaotic rainbow coloured whirlwind. I believe it is important for her to see me develop a relationship.
Don’t worry I am capable of friendship but I have protected my children from my dating escapades, well mostly…there have been a couple of incidences where they have both been mortified by their mother snogging random men. To be fair the first one was entirely my son’s fault. He should not have said to the entertainment man called Sam on an all inclusive holiday with the grandparents, that his mother needed a man. It wasn’t my fault, that the entertainment man called Sam decided I would be his two week holiday fling. It was living ‘Dirty Dancing‘, although I was not 17!
It is worrying that even this discussion of this idea brings such strong emotions that she just clamps down and withdraws. She is truly happy in her school environment and as a family we operate relatively well. We are all chilled and just get on with it. I tend to treat my kids as young adults and I feel I do little parenting. We have fun together and laugh a lot. My daughter and I have our Friday evening ritual, where we watch a ‘chick’ flick and drink coke (I obviously have a glass of wine) and it just works. It is relaxed and comfortable. I can understand to a point not wanting to change but surely having people loving us will only enhance our world and turn it into a kaleidoscope of fun?
Has anyone got a solution?