Red Responds: She’s Unsure About Their Future

Marie in Studio City writes:

I have been with my boyfriend for almost one year. I am 27 and he is six months younger than me. He comes from a bad place and has made a lot of mistakes but he has changed and is trying to make a better life for himself. It looks like he will be getting custody of his 6-year-old daughter soon and well, since the little girl lives in Colorado and he hasn’t been allowed to see her in over a year, I have never met her.

He wants us to get married eventually, and he wants us to get a place together over the next few months. However, I’m unsure about our future. What if his daughter and I don’t get along? I’m not particularly great with kids, and while he insists that I’ll fall in love with her, I’m sure the little girl will need time to adjust to a new life. Will this work out or will this be the end of our relationship? Will we be a happy family when his daughter comes to town or will I be looked at as the evil stepmother? Is it a mistake for us to combine our lives?

Dear Marie,

This is going to be a rough adjustment for all of you, one that has a sense of looming disaster. The appearance of this little girl doesn’t have to mean the end of your relationship, only the end of the relationship as you know it. If you love him enough and really want things to work out, you can make that happen. The problem is, I don’t think you do.

Your man is really trying to change, and having his daughter with him may be just the anchor he needs to step up even further than what he already has. For him, this is a blessing.

The arrival of his daughter is going to be a huge change for all of you. Though it won’t be easy, if you decide you want to give it a shot, with effort, it can work out. Just take things slowly. Be brutally honest with your man now about your feelings toward children and motherhood. He can’t help you adjust unless he really knows what’s going on in your head. While there may be some hard conversations, it is better for your relationship, and his daughter, if each of you know what the boundaries are and what to expect.

Whether you like it or not, if you want to be with him, you are stepping into a parental role. This doesn’t mean you have to love this child, but you will have to accept a certain level of responsibility for her. There are times when she certainly will be a burden to you, but you have an opportunity to be a role-model to her. You may actually be the most stable person in her life. There will be times when you feel evil, but that is only because you can see things more clearly. Even though you will be more strict with her than her father, you will be good to and for her. She’s not a bad kid, but she hasn’t had a whole lot of stability in her life. Some family counseling may be the best way to try and integrate all of your lives into a family unit.

I see that you are going to do your best to try and stick things out, but this family dynamic is going to be too overwhelming for you. Ironically, it is the man and not the child that causes you to leave, but the ultimate conclusion you draw is that he isn’t the one for you.

I hope this helps,
Ext. 9226

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