Heart wrapped with cellophaneDear Sandy,

I met a really nice guy. Oh boy did we connect! He would call me every day on his ride home. We saw each other once or twice a week. My only red flag was his kids. He told me that he never introduced them to anyone. He’s been divorced 3 years & has 3 daughters: 20, 18 & 9. He said he would never put a wedge between himself & his kids.

About 3 weeks ago, he called on his ride home. We had plans for the following weekend; he was going to stay over my house for the first time.

As the week progressed, his 2 older kids said they would be coming home for the weekend. So I was removed from that day.

I felt like that wedge. I brought it up, & he claims he did not mean to dismiss me. He called a few days later & sounded angry with me & basically said he feels differently now & we are friends. No more daily calls. We haven’t seen each other since then.

He has called sporadically here & there & those conversations were like they way we used to chat. A friend overheard one of them when I was in the city with her. Her reaction (without knowing the situation) was OMG that was the most normal, genuine conversation…he sounds wonderful. That was last Wed. I have not heard from him since. I know this is his thing & it has nothing to do with me but……

Can this relationship be saved? Is there anything I can/should do?


Dear Lillian,

As a single parent, I get how important it is to prioritize your kids. That means staying home most nights when younger kids are with you. It also means NOT introducing the kids to every person you date.

When someone is important to you, you’ve been dating for a while, and it’s escalating to something more serious, your kids can then be integrated into his life and vice versa. That’s my opinion, and it’s how I’ve parented my kids.

As important as your kids are to you, it’s also good to let your children know that you have needs and that you are looking for a special relationship. You are taking care of yourself by dating.

It’s one thing to prioritize the kids. It’s quite another to dismiss someone at the last minute in favor of the kids.

It sounds like the way you brought up feeling like a ‘wedge’ between him and the kids might have triggered him. He might have felt that you would be someone who’d make him choose between you and the kids.

I don’t think that was your intention at all. But unless you talk about it, he won’t realize what you meant.

I am not sure if this relationship can be rekindled, but if you really want to reach out and talk it through, you’ll want to approach him with the right words.

Here are some guidelines for a successful tough conversation about what happened.

How to Talk to a Man When Feelings Are Hurt

1. Ask if it’s a good time to talk. Men tend to be single-task oriented, so if he’s in the middle of a task, he won’t hear you. Ask if it’s a good time and if not, when might be a better time. You might say, “Bill, is this a good time to talk? I feel bad about how we ended things. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you these past two months, and I miss being close to you. Are you available to talk with me about what happened?”

2. Empathize with him. Begin with compassion and understanding about what he might be feeling, what his fears or concerns might have been, while emphasizing how special your relationship with him is (or was). Be gentle and supportive. Set him up to win, not feel criticized or wrong for what he did. You’re seeking to understand.

3. Be clear about your needs. Tell him how it felt when he dismissed you without an explanation. Ask him how he feels hearing you express your thoughts.

4. What’s the plan? Brainstorm ways to move forward. How can you both have your needs met?

It sounds like he has a lot of potential, and by speaking up in a kind but firm way, relaying your own feelings and needs, you might be able to plant a seed of reconnection. Then again, he might not be ready for a relationship with you. So, let go of expectations as to what the outcome might be. Either way, you’ll know that you’ve spoken your truth. And that’s what matters most.

The next time a guy says his kids are his top priority, ask how you might fit into the picture. Make sure your romantic partner has the traits that are most important to you. It’s best to know as much as possible before you get too involved.


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Dating at this age can be confusing. That’s why Sandy Weiner helps give you clarity about men, dating, and relationships after 50. She helps you stay focused and positive on your way to attracting the love you deserve. Click here to learn more about the Inner Circle coaching group.

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