Dating After Divorce

My "ex" is in Texas and I'm in Boston, so we hardly ever communicate, and truthfully, I almost never think of him on a day-to-day basis. My little girl just started kindergarten, and I have a great job that I love with people I like. But how am I supposed to start dating again? I've had dates with a guy that wasn't interested in my kid, and I spent some time with him, but ultimately, I broke it off because it wasn't going anywhere. It was hard, because I felt like I was kissing the last love interest I was ever going to have goodbye, but I did it.

Now, I feel like I've got a choice between going back to this loser, or being alone for the rest of my life. I mean, you can't date your co-workers, there aren't any single fathers among the parents at my daughter's school, and I'm really not the kind of person who joins clubs or takes classes to meet people.

Am I going too fast? How do people do this? And before you ask, I do have friends, they just don't live in Boston, so it's not as if they could set me up on a date.


Robert Schwebel

Clinical psychologist Robert Schwebel, PhD, has been in private practice for almost 30 years, counseling children, couples and... Read more

You've got your freedom in Boston, plus a great job, and your daughter is in kindergarten. Not bad at all! But it does sound as though you want a loving relationship -- and you'd like it right now. You're certainly ready for it in the sense that you don't think about your "ex" anymore.

You're very realistic and smart to recognize that there can be no long-term loving relationship with a man who doesn't want to be a loving stepdad. Your daughter is part of the package now. A guy who's serious about you and loves you has to be serious about your daughter too -- and ready, willing and able to establish a loving relationship with her.

It's hard for everybody when they move to a new city. It takes time to make new friends. It's doubly hard when you have a young child who needs your time and attention.

Too bad this first fellow didn't pan out. After letting go of this first interesting guy, you worry that he will be the last. Alone and vulnerable in the big city, your emotions may be somewhat intensified. But since you made friends before, you can do it again. I'm sure there's a lucky guy out there, but it may take some time to find him. There are still many fish in the big pond of Boston. True, there's a lot of luck or chance involved in meeting the right person. Many of the fish you'll want to throw back. Some you'll wish never even nibbled. That can be frustrating. But the more you are willing to get out and try things, the more exposure you'll have, and the more likely it'll be that you will meet someone you like.

Do the things you like to do and try to meet people that way. If you don't like clubs or classes, you can avoid them. But if you rule out all the easy ways to meet people, you might be left with flirting in the supermarket, which may work, but is quite a challenge. By the way, many communities have single parent support groups and organizations such as Parents Without Partners.

As much as you want a loving relationship with a man, it's very important to build a community of friends -- male and female -- and to find other types of pleasure in your life. We all need friends to feel good and to be connected. You can use the phone to stay in touch with your friends in other cities, but you've got a new home and will need new friends. I suggest you start by thinking about the people you have met so far and asking yourself, which ones would feel best to pursue. Check your gut to find the people you like most and then arrange to get together with them. Your first friends will lead to a wider circle, and eventually to people with whom you have the most in common, and the potential for becoming "best friends." By the way, this ever-expanding group also will be a good referral source for available guys.

I hope you can enjoy your daughter, your new job, your new city and some new friends. Settle in and get out and have some fun. If you do that, a new love interest who wants the whole package, including your daughter, will eventually surface.

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