Dear Dr. Date
I am a divorcee of ten years now, and after embarking on the online dating scene, have found a really great man on DatingAgency.com. I really feel like our relationship might be going somewhere. We really click, and have real respect for each other. He is unlike any man I have ever met, which might sound a bit over the top, but he is so attentive, caring and has integrity, which can’t be said for many men in my life in the past.
Anyway, the time came for him to meet my daughter, who is 22 now. We all met at her favourite restaurant which I thought would settle her just in case she was feeling nervous about meeting my new partner. To my shock, she acted like a completely different person. My charming and caring daughter turned into a cutting and smart-lipped madam, who I must confess, has really surprised and hurt me.
After the meal, I politely said my goodbyes to my daughter (as we live in different parts of town) and then set about really apologising to my new partner for her bad behavior. He was so shocked, as was I, as I was convinced she would like him as much as I do.
Later that evening, my daughter text messaged me and told me simply that she didn’t like Simon, she felt he was a creep and that I could do better.
I am so hurt and upset by her reaction, but I wonder, am I expecting too much from her? Throughout my daughters life, I have put her first, without a doubt, and she recognises this, but I feel it is time for some me time and for me to get my life back. I really like Simon, and I don’t want my daughter to come between us. Do you have any advice for someone in my position, as I am really stuck here.
Karen (name changed)
Well, Karen, what a predicament to be in. I do feel for you, but you are not alone. I have had a few questions like this in the past and hope I can offer you some comfort in my reply.
Firstly, your daughter, though she is a grown adult herself, needs reassurance that she is deeply loved and that your new partner, Simon, will not be taking the role of her dad. You didn’t mention if her dad is still in her life, but if he is, then it is important that you make this clear from the start.
Secondly, depending on how deeply you feel for Simon, you need to assure her that you plan on being with him for a long while and it (all going great) will be a long term relationship. She may not be bothered to get to know him or like him because she might think he is a temporary fixture. It might seem like disruption that she can do without, and might not take things seriously.
You say you have been divorced for ten years, and this may seem a long time to you, but in a child’s life (even if they are well in to their adult life now) can be very unsettling for many years and can really mould them and their thoughts about their own relationships. They might be skeptical and dismissive of your relationship with this new man, but more often than not, mainly act strange because it is really strange to see their parent with another partner who is not their mum or dad.
I am not sure how much you have talked about him with your daughter before they first met, but this can be unsettling if she didn’t know much about him and what you see in him deep down. She might see him as ‘this guy’ that you have been seeing, and not realise that you really do feel a lot for him. Hence why you wanted her to meet him.
I recommend the next thing to do is to wait a little while until you talk to your daughter about it all, give her some time to settle down a bit. Then invite her to chat to you about it in the comfort of her or your home. Explain to her exactly what you see in Simon, let her in a little bit and she will be able to see how happy he makes you. She can also voice her thoughts or concerns and you can talk them through in private before you take the next steps and with time, try again. She will want to see you happy, and will come round to things eventually.
One last thing; do remember through all of this to make sure that you not only give your daughter some of your time, your new partner some of your time, and reserve some time for yourself also.
Good luck with your new happier life, and I am so pleased you have met someone on DatingAgency.com.