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Dr. Michael
Dr. Michael, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2177
Experience:  Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
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Hi, do you have time to hep me with my situation.

Customer Question

Hi, do you have time to hep me with my situation. We have worked together before...
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 2 years ago.
Hello again. Sure, Go ahead and ask your question. Please understand that I am winding down for the afternoon so I'll be on/off the computer quite sporadically between now and tomorrow. So please bear with longer-than-usual delays. But we will talk! Go ahead. I will be gone for a time, so take your time responding.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No worries!

I never know if you have access to our prior talks, but it concerns my relationship with my fiancé, again! To refresh, he has two boys, and I have a daughter. All of our children are the same age. He has had a relationship with my daughter for two years, but due to issues with his ex on his side, and his own insecurities about his relationship with his children, he has kept me apart from his boys. They know about me, but we do not spend time together, nor does he keep pictures of me in his home. His one child is OK with the notion of getting to know me, but his other child wants no part of a relationship at this point.

The reason my fiancé knows my daughter so well is because he spends 50 percent of his time with his boys, and the other half of the time when they are with their mother, he works in the town where my daughter and I reside. My ex and I stay out of each other's private lives, and I never wanted to hide a part of my life from my daughter, so she met my fiancé two years into our relationship. She adores him, regards XXXXX XXXXX a second father and was thrilled when we became engaged.

Well, here's the issue, my daughter received a lead role in her school play back in January. She asked my fiancé to attend, and he said that he would love to as long as it was a weekend that he was here. So, my daughter consulted the calendar, and much to her delight announced that the play was occurring on a weekend where my fiancé would be here in town.

Well, today, he tell me that he wants to do this three day event with his one child, the one who is not opposed to the notion of me. I look up the dates of the event, and they overlap with the play. My daughter is in the play, but the event that they are attending is a spectator event, so he would not be missing his son performing in it.

I suggested a comprise that he go to the two of the three days of the event with his child, and keep his commitment to the attend the play. A compromise, so neither child is hurt or denied. His reply, "but we've been planning to do this for over a year, and it's ashame that it happens to overlap with your daughter's play, but the third day is the final, the best day and the other two days are the individual events"

His idea, "let's just switch weekends, and that way I can do the whole event with my son, and you can just tell your daughter that it turns out that I have my children that weekend after all." I said, that I did not feel comfortable lying to my daughter telling her that he had some emergency when he really just did not want to alter his plans at all with his son. Furthermore, I told him that we are supposed to be his family as well, and that it is not right to just toss us both to the side because it is not convenient.

He then further went on to say," I would hope that you would understand and not want me to disappoint my son." My reply, "so I should disappoint and deceive my daughter, so you don't have to compromise?" I was truly hurt.

I feel that he has a responsibility to both children. He feels that my daughter and I should just understand. I do not think that this is the correct way to conduct things, allowing himself to designate some people more import an than others.

It hurts me terribly that he feels that it is OK to just bail on my daughter and myself, so that he does not have to ask his son to compromise in any manner. It feels like a huge red flag and warning about what would be in a marriage, some people being more important than others.

When I said that I would not lie to my daughter, and that I expected him to compromise, so that both children were treated justly, his reply was, "I'll need to think about that." That really disturbed me.

Do you think that I am correct in feeling that this engagement should be broken?
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 2 years ago.
I do think you are correct, unfortunately. This man is not ready to make the full level of personal sacrifices for you and your daughter that are 100%, absolutely necessary to form a family. What this forebodes is that if you do marry, he will continue to give the time/energy 'edge' to his own kids, and your daughter will be chronically feeling just a bit 'second' best in the eyes of your husband. Now little girls in our culture already have enough problems with lower self-esteem than boys, and this problem escalates on its own during late childhood, early adolescence. One of the best protections against this is not surprisingly, having a very close, fully supportive relationship with a father-figure. Failures here, when severe, are correlated with girls' delinquency problems, higher premature pregnancy rates, and eating disorders. So your fiance is completely wrong in his management of this issue. You did the right thing in framing the issue about 'who should get disappointed here' and the compromise was completely rational, logical and logistically, do-able. Your solution would result in NO ONE being disappointed, which is always the BEST solution.

So I"m perplexed---except that unfortunately, this action DOES tell you where your fiance's head is at still. He is "engaged" to you but not psychologically, committed, as one would expect a fiance to be. So no, you are not overreacting. You need to act wisely here and see this event as a reflection of your differing levels of true, emotional commitment at this time.

What do you think?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I feel utterly bereft and brokenhearted, and so was my daughter when I shared the news with her. After four years together, and a plan to spend a lifetime with someone, it hurts so profoundly.

It even feels as if it is "too late" now even if he did call back and agree to compromise. Do you agree?

My daughter is a really sweet, smart girl, with a great relationship with her biological father, so I have every reason to hope that once the sadness settles, she will be fine.



Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 2 years ago.
If he did call back on his own, this might be a good sign. But I think if you talk to him about this again, it is important to emphasize that the really troublesome part has nothing to do with the play per se. It has to do with where his core beliefs and values are regarding where you and your daughter fit in his life at this time. His response is merely a reflection of the deficiency in his level of true, complete commitment and the fact that he is really not inclined to give you and your daughter the full and 'equal' measure of his emotional energy and attention, relative to his own 'flesh and blood' kids.

I've very sorry that this disappointment event occurred. It is unfortunately informative in a way that words can't communicate.

Let me know if you have a follow up. Give your daughter a hug for me; she deserves one.
Dr. Michael, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2177
Experience: Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
Dr. Michael and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you! You have been such a help to me! This relationship has always been a challenge. You have helped me understand what I could and could not change, and most importantly, you have helped me to see that I sadly became involved and engaged to someone who really had now business proposing to me as he hasn't the reserves, desire or both to truly include two other people in his life.

One foot in front of the other. Sad as I feel, the decision feels correct!

Hug delivered, thank you, again!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
New question, how do I get through the night? The pain is engulfing me... I do not drink or take medicines, so not sure what can help... I will write tomorrow, under separate cover.
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 2 years ago.
This whole situation must be hugely frustrating and disappointing to you. I know this relationship seemed to hold a lot of promise for you and your daughter. And I'm sorry I wasn't around to chat with you a bit more and provide some more support. I'll be in and out today and here is link for you in case you have a bit of an immediate crisis.
http://www.qdrive.net/davids10219/file/247657/18362808d35f3012f645f475832a9d14 Just cut/paste and then use. Will respond.

Thanks.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi, I could not make the link work, but then, I am not too adept with technology. I manually entered, and was sent to some secure storage site. I will ask you a new question. I do not feel right asking a new question here on the the fee from the old question.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
It is not letting me ask you a new question as you are offline, so I will ask here, and then add fund, if that is acceptable to you.

Yes, much disappointment and pain. I was so cautious about dating, after my divorce. My ex-fiance's situation was concerning, not being divorced, so I proceeded with an abundance of caution. Then, I only brought my daughter into the mix two years later when it seemed safe. Well, we can see that my precautions did not serve me so well.

I am not cynical, but I do feel profoundly hurt, and it is hard to sleep, and difficult not to let this occupy my thoughts. I wrote him a letter explaining all of the reasons and examples that he has given to me that he is not ready to form a family with myself and my daughter. I have reviewed that letter several times since sending it, and each time that I read the words, I feel the correctness of my choice, so no second thoughts.

More a profound sense of loss of a loved one, a friend, a family and a future. I am not certain how to navigate this pain. I do not have any bad vices to abuse, and never would regardless, but if you could offer some advice for how to handle those quiet, dark moments.

The people that know have tried to cheer me with all of the platitudes of being pretty, smart, and successful, and I know it means well, but it is not helping. All of those thing were not enough to make someone stand up for me, love me and not hurt my daughter.

I have maintained a very positive stance for my child, reminding her that she always has her father and me and the grandparents, and that there are people who come into our lives for whatever reason, but cannot remain for always. Fortunately, she does not blame herself, but is able to see independently of me that my ex fiancé had much insecurity and fear where his children's love was concerned. She then went on to say, that she was sad for him because if he was not able to trust in his kids love, our love that he probably does not trust in any love, and that she was sorry that anyone will feel that way.

I will, of course, keep an eye on her, and be mindful of my own behavior, so what I need are some moving forward strategies for the bad times. In truth, this is the first heartbreak I have ever known, so the territory is new. The death of my marriage was gradual, and mutual, and there was not this type of pain present.

Thank you, again! You have really helped me!

Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 2 years ago.
I continue to be impress with this ability you have to step back and rationally and objectively look at this situation, and base decisions on what you truly need in a relationship, your values, the best interests of your daughter, etc. Remarkably, many adults fall in love following a divorce and see new relationships in a narrow, myopic manner, and set themselves up for disappointment and failure. I don't know what more you could have done to move wisely and cautiously with this relationship. You took your time, waited before getting your daughter involved, you've been patient and supportive of his family predicaments and commitments, etc. Thankfully, your daughter seems to have good social intelligence and is more mature than her age and can understand what is going on. You can try the link I left again as I tested it and it should work: carefully highlight the link, and copy it, then paste it into your browser and then open the download button on the screen; save the file. It should work at this time.
Dr. Michael, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2177
Experience: Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
Dr. Michael and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The link worked, but I was unable to open the first file, I have a mac, and the other files seemed to be about car parts. Then I hit my download limit, any other suggestions?
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 2 years ago.
Your mac may be the issue. If you get to the link, you'll see an oval Download button in the left-center of the screen. If you hit the oval Download button, it should immediately ask if you want to open or save the file; save it and then open it at your leisure. You will probably be able to try this again tomorrow if you have hit a download space limit---you probably downloaded a car parts cataloged or some oddity and used up your download space. So try this again, tomorrow and the download space limit will probably disappear; or perhaps if you have a friend with a PC this will work----email them the link and ask them to access the server and download the file; or if you can work in PC mode on your Mac this might work. I'll try to figure out a work-around as well . Thanks for your patience!!!

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