My daughter lives with her father out of state, so I only get to spend summers and some holidays with her. I’m currently dating a wonderful man, but he tends to disappear and busy himself with other things when my daughter visits. I finally confronted him and he said, “he doesn’t do kids.” He refuses to spend time with her/us. Do I break up with him over this? Or do I respect his boundaries and let him disappear when my kid visits?
- Sad Mother
Dear Sad Mother:
Break up with him.
I tried pretty hard to give your boyfriend the benefit of the doubt, Sad Mom. I spent the better part of the morning dreaming up stories which explained how he was avoiding your daughter for totally understandable reasons. Maybe, I suggested, spending time with your daughter feels like it has really high stakes for him, kind of like meeting a new girlfriend’s parents for the first time. Or maybe she reminds him of someone who touches off some terrible memory. I was halfway to writing a tragic opera with your boyfriend as the main character before I gave up.
I guess that there is some distant possibility that one of those scenarios is close to reality and all your boyfriend needs is a little hand holding and the reassurance that your daughter is really going to like him. But you know what? I just don’t believe it.
I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, Sad Mom, but you’re not dating a wonderful man. Wonderful men understand that spending time with children is an inescapable part of dating a woman who has a child. Wonderful men grow out of saying nonsense like, “I don’t do kids,” once they stop being frat boys. Wonderful men care about the happiness of the women whom they are dating. And if they can’t keep themselves from doing things (or not doing things) which they know hurt those women, they have the decency to leave.
There are wonderful men out there. You deserve to be with one of them. And your daughter deserves to see you with one of them. So, take a step closer to dating someone wonderful and tell this guy that you’re going to make avoiding your daughter really simple. Dump him.
Do you have a question about ethical decision making, living a faithful life or theology? Leave a comment below or send your question for Rev. Elfert to firstname.lastname@example.org.