But she is a wonderful woman and has such a big heart, and she treats me well. I decided to look at the big picture and see if I could look past her weight and the challenges that come with dating someone having a little kid. Since we always have a good time, I kept going out with her and now it is a year and a half later. Although I never dated anyone that overweight and with such a small child, which I always felt that could be a deal-breaker for me, I wanted to give it a shot. You never know until you try.
Well, my gut instinct turned out to be right. I am not attracted to her sexually (although we have sex, of course) and the issues that come with dating someone with a small child are bothering me. I feel like I have tried my best with both issues. I have gone with her to the gym, showed her different workout routines, encouraged her along the way, educated her about eating habits, etc.
I go to her 90% of the time (we live an hour from each other) so that we can spend more time together and so she doesn’t always have to get a babysitter. We do things together just the two of us, but I never have a problem when she wants to do things with the three of us. But these two things (weight/kid) are still keeping me from feeling totally happy. Maybe she just isn’t right for me. I feel like this relationship has run its course although she hasn’t done anything wrong. She tries to lose weight but not as hard as I think she could. That’s just her. And while I think she lets her kid call the shots and that she spoils her, that’s her way of parenting. I don’t have a right to make her change those things. All I can do is accept things the way they are or move on. For the past year and a half I have looked past it all and maybe the newness of the relationship helped me overcome it for a time. But that’s no longer the case anymore.
So how do I tell her that I am not happy? Do I just dump her and not be honest with her as to the real reasons? It seems unfair to break up with someone when she hasn’t been given the chance to address what was bothering me. But how in the world do I tell her I am not attracted to her and that her daughter’s behavior sometimes makes me cringe? — Trying To Do the Right Thing
You met a wonderful woman who is a single mom to a young child and, knowing there were things about her that would really bother you — things that are usually deal-breakers for you — you decided to go ahead and “give it a shot,” like you were ordering tuna on rye at the deli instead of your usual turkey on wheat? Like her feelings, not to mention the feelings of her young daughter, were no big deal? Like it wouldn’t matter if she fell in love with you and if she and her daughter got attached and you realized, as you have, that the issues you thought would be deal-breakers are, in fact, deal-breakers? How selfish.
While you have spent a year and a half trying to groom this woman into someone you could actually be attracted to, she has potentially missed chances with men who might already be attracted to who she is — men who might also accept and love that she has a young daughter. You’ve taken a year and a half of her life when you knew from the get-go you weren’t attracted to her. I could see giving it a date or two, but a year and a half? When you weren’t attracted to her and you didn’t want to deal with her young child? And then you have the nerve to talk about how the newness of the relationship helped you to overcome and look past those things? You have the nerve to ask how you can be both honest and kind to her now? You should have been honest and kind from the beginning and either accepted her for who she is without trying to change her into someone else or let her remain available for someone who was looking for a woman like her. But for a year and a half you weren’t honest and you weren’t very kind, and now you have not just one person to break up with but two. And one of them is just a kid.
You want to know how to tell someone that you aren’t attracted to her and that her daughter’s behavior sometimes makes you cringe? YOU DON’T. What you say is that it takes a special person who can be selfless and patient and compassionate enough to fit himself into the packaged deal of a single mother and her young daughter and you, unfortunately, aren’t that person. You tell her that you wanted very much to be that person and the reason you tried for a year and a half is because of how wonderful she and her daughter are, but you can’t make yourself be someone you aren’t. You apologize for taking 18 months to figure out what should have been confirmed and admitted much sooner. And you don’t tell her you think she spoils her daughter too much. And you sure as hell don’t tell her that you aren’t attracted to her. You give her enough of the truth that she won’t wonder why you don’t want to be with her but not so much that she questions whether anyone else ever will.
And maybe, if she is as wonderful as you say, she will be kind in return and give you just enough honesty in return and spare you everything she might really want to say.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.