The "Where are We Going?" Talk
Q: I have been dating a man for six months. I have two children from a previous marriage and he has one from a previous relationship, though he's never been married. We talk 3-4 times a day and are completely compatible and have so much in common. I am just wondering why he hasn't brought up meeting the children? Also, I asked him why his last relationship didn't work out after 1 1/2 yrs and he said that he didn't see it going anywhere. When should one know? At what point do I have the right to ask? I don't want to waste a year and have the same thing happen to me! -- Laura, 27
Dr. Susan: You always have the right to ask this question: "When would it be okay for me to ask if you see us going anywhere?" If he takes offense at that or doesn't take the question seriously enough to answer it, you know he's nowhere near ready to commit. He gave you the perfect opening when he said his last relationship wasn't going anywhere after one and a half years. I'd bring that up again and ask how he knew, when he knew, and also when he knew he wanted it to go somewhere. The answers to those questions will give you important clues to your own life with him. As for meeting the kids, why haven't you brought it up? Sounds like you're afraid of this guy and not at ease with him yet. My bet would be that he won't get the kids involved until he's pretty sure you're a keeper, for the sake of the kids especially. I once dated a man for several months who absolutely refused to meet my kids, even when I asked. He wasn't interested in kids, any kids. He only wanted to have a good time, not think about family and responsibility.
Might you be wasting your time? Sure. When the goal is clearly marriage, it's always possible you won't end up there after a year with this particular person. But there's no way to know except to keep seeing him, getting to know him, trying to develop a really easy level of open communication with him. If a year is too long to risk, let him know at the nine month mark that you'd love to know where he stands.
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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.