Dating: Children Create a Threesome

Guest Post by Mary Jo Rapini

There is a recently released movie, “Cyrus,” about a love affair between a man named John and a woman named Molly. John and Molly meet at a party that John was forced to attend by his ex-wife (whom he still loves and is his best friend). Molly happens to attend the party and picks John up. The relationship goes too fast; they sleep together on the first night but Molly leaves before 1 a.m. This happens twice before John asks her where she is going. Since she evades the answer he follows her. Somewhat surprisingly, she goes home; one can only assume what John believes now.

As the story evolves, you meet Molly’s reason for going home and never spending the whole night with John. She has a 22-year-old live-in son. This son has been molded into a dependent. He doesn’t fit in, which is clear to the viewer, and he obviously didn’t fit in at school. He dropped out of school and his mom (Molly) home schooled him. Their relationship is weird, and not normal. The son (Cyrus) loves his mother too much. He calls her by her first name, walks into the shower when she is showering, they never shut any doors, and every Saturday they go to the park and take photos and make ridiculous CDs. They are enmeshed. Anyone viewing this can tell. There are no physical boundaries or emotional ones. Cyrus would love to love his mother completely and as a viewer you almost think there is going to be incest. But…thank God there is not. If John were healthier he would have gotten out of Molly’s clutches as soon as he met Cyrus. John is desperate though, and hasn’t had a woman love him for over seven years, so he wants this to work.

This is a movie, but the same situation happens frequently when people get divorced and parents are left with their kids. The child takes on a new position of being the “emotional equal” to mom (moms are still the majority single parent). Many times if that is a boy, he becomes the man of the house. Mom understands realistically that she is an adult and must take care of her children, but her human need for emotion many times blurs the boundaries for children. Soon the kids are her “friends” and she forgets that they aren’t able to handle the emotions of an adult woman. The children grow up too fast, because they don’t understand why mom is crying, or why she dates someone who hurts her, so they try to assimilate their child thinking to support mom. This is unfair for children and it not healthy for mom, the kids or anyone she dates. If you are dating a woman who has kids who never see their dad, they may overwhelm you with their need for male interaction. The children may project their anger or fear of losing mom onto you, and you may find yourself feeling angry and not liking the kids. Talking to the mother, your date, may be met with defensiveness rather than understanding. Moms have a natural tendency to protect their children and don’t appreciate criticism.

My best advice for dating a woman with kids is to go slowly. Here are a few other tips to help guide you.

1.     Sleeping over is never a good idea. It doesn’t set a good example for the children, and it will usually lead to the demise of the relationship.
2.    Don’t ever discipline the children. Let the child’s parents set the rules and administer them.  As you date for a longer period of time, you may be asked to help back up a rule. Make sure you understand what this means before agreeing.
3.    Don’t ever try to be the child’s new mom or dad. This child has a mom and dad and it is not you; it is wise to respect the original parent while with the child.
4.    Let your date spend time alone with her kids. They were a family before you came around. They will warm up to you more if you respect that boundary.
5.    Don’t ever blame your date’s kids for a problem you have. It is better to tell your date that you don’t think you are mature enough to handle something rather than blame her or the kids.

Fifty percent of married couples end in divorce, so there are many people who are dating people who have kids. Dating someone with kids can be a wonderful experience, an opportunity for you to contribute to a family. However, before you engage with someone who has children, remember, you run the risk of hurting not only the person you are dating, but a whole family. Make sure you are mature enough to be patient and not self absorbed.  I am reminded of a thirteen year old boy I used to see with his mom. She was dating a man whom the boy loved. They eventually got married. The boy finished medical school now, and at his graduation he gave a short speech. He told the crowd that the reason for his success was his father’s abandonment of the family. There was silence before he added, “If my biological dad hadn’t left, my step dad couldn’t have come in to my life.” His stepdad grinned from ear to ear.

 

Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC is a psychotherapist specializing in intimacy, sex and relationships. She lives in Houston, Texas.  Rapini is the author of two books: Is God Pink? Dying to Heal and co-author of Start Talking: A Girl’s Guide for You and Your Mom about Health, Sex or Whatever.

For more information AND FREE RELATIONSHIP TIP go to: www.maryjorapini.com

Talk to me on my fan page: http://www.facebook.com/maryjorapini

Tweet me: @ Mary Jo Rapini

http://khmx.radio.com/shows/mary-jo-rapini/

Join me every Thursday Morning on “Mind, Body, Soul with Mary Jo” on Fox 26 at 9 a.m.

 

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Posted on July 9, 2011, in Personal Growth, Relationships, Romance, Women. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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