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Dear Debra
Dear Debra, Advice Columnist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1825
Experience:  I have been an Advice columnist for 14 years. My column is published weekly in local newpapers.
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Almost 4 months ago, I had a baby with a man that I only dated

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Almost 4 months ago, I had a baby with a man that I only dated for a couple weeks.
We went on 3 dates last year, ended up sleeping together, and then we never saw each other again. Once I found out I was pregnant I let him know, and he was supportive, but was about to go back to his home country of Egypt for a few months. He is now back in the country, and we just reconnected a couple weeks ago. We did a DNA test to make it official, and he is indeed my son's father.
Well, there's lots going on that I am just emotionally drained about. He has been amazing this whole time, because he wants to be in our lives. We have seen him a number of times, he has bought diapers and formula for lil man, and even bought a clunker car when he got back in the country so he could see us more often (he sold his car before he left last year)
I am just confused because we still have a pretty strong connection between us. I don't know that much about him still, but we are committed to getting to know each other. And, just in the past couple days, we decided we wanted to "give it a shot" and try and work things out between us. I am really happy, because I have strong feelings for him, but the situation is so complicated since everything happened backwards. I mean really, who gets pregnant, has a baby with someone, and then decides to date them afterward? It seems crazy to me, but this is what is transpiring. I don't know how to feel about it. My emotions are all over the place. I want him to be there for our son, but it's a touchy situation. What if it doesn't work out between us? Also, he wants me to change my son's name to reflect his last name, and wants to change his first name too (in Egypt there are lots of traditions with names and families that they take very seriously there). I told him I would think seriously about it. But there are also other things to consider, such as circumcision (which he assumes I'm going to do), the fact that this man is Muslim, so I am concerned with what religion he is going to want to raise our son, if any at all (I'm not a religious person).
Anyway, lots to say, but my concerns are:
*Should I jump in try out this relationship between us?
*Should I be worried about what his true intentions are? (i.e. wanting to be with me, or simply wanting to be with me because we have a child together)
*Should I "give in" and change my son's name? (He is only 3 1/2 months old, so he still doesn't know his name yet)
He also wants us to get "married" in the Mosque, and make it official under the eyes of God. (he isn't supposed to have sex before marriage, this is a big no-no, so now he is trying to convince his parents in Egypt that he and I are married)
I said I would think about this, but I needed time (it wouldn't be official under the courts, but just for his religion)
I just want to feel like I know what his intentions are. It makes me nervous that he is asking all of this from me. I mean, what do I get in return? He tells me that everything that he is asking me from an Egyptian standpoint is what is best for our son (he won't get shunned for having a different name, he has a house and an insurance policy he wants to give him, etc).
I'm just jibbering on at this point, there's so much to consider, but I haven't been able to talk it out with a professional yet. I do have feelings for him, but I want to be smart about what I'm doing for my son and for myself.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dear Debra replied 1 year ago.

Deardebra :

I want to first talk about both of you starting backwards as you have said.

Deardebra :

Yes, usually people date, get to know each other and then plan for the future together, get married, have children. But you both have a child

Customer:

yes we sure do!

Deardebra :

I do feel you should give this a chance.

Customer:

I think he is an amazing guy from what I have learned about him the past few weeks

Customer:

but he is asking ALOT from me

Customer:

name change, marriage in a mosque, circumcision

Customer:

I feel like I give up all this today, well then what's tomorrow?

Customer:

no pork?

Customer:

no alcohol?

Customer:

I think he wants us to be family, and my gut says I want that too, but I barely know him

Customer:

plus I am learning about a whole new culture, new way of life, it's so different than how I live my life

Deardebra :

When it comes to who he is as a person you feel he is an amazing guy. He has certain traditions in his culture as you have described.

Customer:

yes, certain things that he can't do..i.e, eat pork, drink alcohol, etc.

Customer:

but all of that isn't all that important to me, I think the real issue is that I don't want to feel like I'm losing my son

Customer:

I mean, just because "that's the way it is in my culture/religion, etc" doesn't mean that this is how it has to be

Deardebra :

Is he willing to accept that you do these things, but is he asking for you to raise your son that way?

Customer:

well we still have to have "the talk". It's been a hectic couple weeks. He wants to see the baby and spend time with us as much as he can, so it's hard to have real adult talk, let alone talk about these important things

Customer:

plus I have a feeling he is going to want my son to be muslim, and I'm not religious at all (agnostic maybe, but not religious)

Customer:

I don't think he cares that I eat pork or occasionally drink thoguh

Customer:

he seems pretty easy going with some things, but there are these important things (i.e. changing my son's name) that are very important in his culture

Customer:

it's like your tribe I guess, a name means everything there, where here in the US it isn't so important

Customer:

I just want to believe that his intentions are true and that he wants to be with ME, and not because we have a son, or that he has a moral obligation

Deardebra :

I also believe that he wants to be with you as well. Would you consider changing his name and one thing you should ask him is if you can take your son's first name and put it in the middle, keep your last name and ass his last name.

Customer:

and I also want to believe that my decisions matter as his mother

Customer:

actually, its funny you say that, because I decided to take my last name and use it as his middle name

Customer:

so basically first name, my last name, his last name

Customer:

and he was totally fine with that

Deardebra :

That is perfect.

Customer:

I have already considered changing the name, and probably will end up giving in

Customer:

but I guess I want to still that my decisions still matter too

Deardebra :

I feel that he has a lot of strong feelings for you and wants to be a family as soon as possible. It is almost like he is getting ready to be a family. He wants to get married, change your son name.

Customer:

yeah, he does. And maybe this is why I feel so overwhelmed. I haven't seen him for a year, he was out of the country this whole time during my pregnancy, and I did everything on my own. (plus i have to add that there was one other possibility of someone being this baby's father). But I was honest about that and told him that we would do the DNA test once he returned from Egypt. So once it came back positive, he was so happy, he fell in love with my son and now it seems like he wants to be a family. But of course, I don't know him all that well yet, so I just have to trust that his intentions are true

Deardebra :

It sounds like he is very excited to be a family with you. Too me it does sound like his intentions are true.

Customer:

well I hope so, I just have to take it one day at a time....

Customer:

ok, thank you for your help. If I run into any other issues im having I will talk to you again

Customer:

so you think I should go through with the name change then?

Customer:

I know it would make him so happy

Deardebra :

Things are moving very fast and it is very easy to get overwhelmed because you have to make many decisions. He has just entered back in your life and you also had the dan testing where things were unsure, now that everything is set into place, he is now there with you. I do feel you should go through with the name change.

Deardebra :

I feel this is a start of you both having a great family together.

Customer:

ok thank you so much!!!

Deardebra :

You welcome

Deardebra :

If you start to get overwhelmed with decisions just tell him you need some more time to think things over. He will understand. He knows that he is asking for many things at once.

Deardebra :

Please accept my answer.

Dear Debra, Advice Columnist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1825
Experience: I have been an Advice columnist for 14 years. My column is published weekly in local newpapers.
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