Q: : The man I'm dating still deals with his kids' mother, but only on a financial basis. The problem is he keeps saying he's going to tell her about me soon, but as soon as she calls and asks for anything, he goes running. I know that he is crazy about me but I've been lonely a long time and right now I need some reassurance and love. He tells me to be patient, but I don't get to see him much because he is always busy making money for his family. What about me? -- Teri
Dr. Susan: It's none of his ex's business that he has someone new. Still, his hesitation to bring you out of the closet does make me wonder if he's trying to hang onto his relationship with her beyond the admitted financial aspects. Of course, if his kids are old enough, he needs to let them know he's serious about you. If he's unmarried, and yet he continues to tell you to be patient, you might ask, "What exactly am I supposed to be waiting for?" He may want to have it both ways: remaining the head of his existing family, and enjoying you on the side once in a while. Either that or she's playing him like a violin. Whichever one of them is hanging on to their old relationship, you're getting left with the dregs. Talk with him about your relationship. It's not so much that you need to force him to commit more fully, but that you need a truly honest admission of where his head and heart are. Don't be afraid to ask for the reassurance you need. Realize that his kids may always come first in some ways, and that he may be trying to overcome his guilt for not being with them full-time. But his ex shouldn't be calling the shots if he's as crazy about you as you think.
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Advice for Her
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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.