I met a woman, and we hit it off like wildfire. It seemed everything she said and did was perfect. In six months, we were engaged. She and her four kids moved in with me and my two kids. Shortly afterward, it turned sour. We parent quite differently. Her kids are bad-mannered, curse at her, respect no property or space, and constantly get kicked out of school. When I tried to correct them and improve their behavior, her ex-husband got a restraining order on my fiancee to keep their children away from me. She and the kids moved out, but we kept dating. I soon became aware that she was also dating an old boyfriend. She said she was scared and wanted a backup plan in case we didn’t work. I got sick of this and ended it. She claimed she wanted to be with me, yet she now seems very happy with the old boyfriend. How does a person move on so fast? How do I get past feeling totally dumped? –Heavy Heart
As a parent, you’re supposed to be in the business of buzz-kill, not only setting boundaries for your kids but modeling the mature, adult thing to do. For example: “Come on, kids – I found this hot stranger we can live with!”
There are people who can act this impulsively; they’re called “single, childless adults.” Six months into a relationship, you’re in a sex fog, meaning the windows of your judgment are steamed over, meaning it’s the perfect time to commit to nothing more long-lasting than a week’s vacation. You defend your impulsivity by saying you two “hit it off like wildfire,” which, if you think about it, is like saying “like one of the most dangerous and destructive natural disasters.” (Not exactly the best basis for forming the new Brady Bunch.)
This woman didn’t change; you just saw more of her as time went by. As I’ve written before, people don’t break up because somebody’s got a great laugh or they’re awesome in bed – the stuff that’s apparent at the start. That’s why, before you commit to somebody, you need to put in time and effort to dig up all the unpalatable things -- like mouthy delinquent children and an ex with an itchy court-filing finger – and see if you can deal. Doing this takes wanting to see what a person’s all about, as opposed to wanting to believe you’ve found true love and tightening your blindfold. When you’re honest about who a woman is, you can predict what she’ll do instead of learning it through hindsight – a term which pretty much spells out the problem. To put it delicately, you should re-read the directions on your contact lenses, because you’ve probably been putting them in the wrong area.
Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, No. 280, Santa Monica, CA 90405 or e-mail her at AdviceAmy@aol.com (www.advicegoddess.com).
Copyright 2012 Amy Alkon