Happy V-Day, dear readers! Here's a question I received from a reader this morning. I know I've been MIA for a while, but I thought I'd pop my head back up to answer it.
Dear Butch Wonders,
I dated a mom for 2 years. Her kid was 1-1/2 at the time I met her. We broke up for a while and now we are talking again. She asked me what role do I see me playing in her son's life and that she wants me to be a parental figure for him and that I have to be willing to sacrifice certain things to be able to do this. Is it too soon for her to be expecting this of me since we are just talking again after being broken up for a while? Or am I the one in the wrong for wanting to take it slow and not rush into it again?
--Not sure I'm ready
Dear Not Sure,
Ah, this is a tough one. I don't think *either* of you is being unreasonable, which is both the good news and the bad. You aren't even sure you want to get back together with her, let alone take on parenthood. At the same time, it sounds like she's interested in you, but unwilling to consider getting back together if she doesn't think you're ready for the responsibility of being a parent.
Here's my advice: be incredibly honest with her. Assuming it's true for you, say something like, "I am really interested in getting back together. And I know that being with you long-term means being a parent to your son. I am completely open to that, but since I know what a huge responsibility it entails, I am also a little hesitant. After all, if it doesn't work out between us, I don't want your son to get hurt. Let's take it slowly and ease me into his life. I can be 'mom's friend,' for a while, and then 'mom's girlfriend,' and then 'mom's partner.' But my relationship with him needs to evolve in kind. I can't go from no contact to full-fledged mommyhood. In between, there should be movies and baseball games, story times and birthdays. His relationship with you needs to stay strong as I'm introduced back into his life. I AM willing to make the kinds of sacrifices that go with parenthood. I am NOT stringing you along or wasting your time. But if we're going to do this, I want to do it right and make sure that all three of us are happy along the way. The idea of being a family is exciting to me, but I think it will be stronger and healthier if it doesn't happen overnight."
But be honest with yourself, too. If you know deep down that you don't want to be a parent to her son, walk away. If most of the time you secretly wish that she was single, walk away. For her, the stakes are high. Anyone who won't eventually be a great co-parent is ultimately wasting her time.
Got a burning question, dear readers? Submit in in a comment to one of my blog posts, or email me at butchwonders [at] yahoo [dot] com. I read all my mail and all of your comments, albeit slowly, and I will answer at least a couple more questions this month. Promise.