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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5334
Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology helping with relationships
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Theres a wonderful man that I have been seeing for nearly

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There's a wonderful man that I have been seeing for nearly a year. Of course we have had ups and downs and have even gone our separate ways a couple of times. He has a teenage daughter whom he has joint custody with his ex wife. He told me that neither of them knows we're dating because it's "not their business" and that his daughter doesn't need to know. This is his only child as well. He spends all holidays with his daughter, ex wife and her family because he wants his daughter to still have a family environment. Also he manages a close family member who is in show business and says it's imperative that no one knows they are related for business reasons and what we have is definitely not to be revealed. I recently told a mutual person to us that maybe I should do something like get him a nice gift & he got wind of the comment & is now upset and thought I told the person about us, but I didn't.

We have professed our love for one another and I don't want him to call another break between us (which usually last a month or so with no notice). I want him to trust me and to acknowledge me soon. I'm very unsure of what to do right now and don't know why he's keeping us from his ex. I do understand about the teenage daughter, but when will he think it's appropriate to tell her? She is 16 years old and nearly out of high school. Why is he still not wanting his ex to know? I am not in a huge hurry because I'm 50+ and he's 60+ and we enjoy having separate residences but I don't want to lose him either. Please advise.

Ms G.

Hi Ms. G! I'll be glad to be of help with this issue.

I can imagine how frustrating this situation must be for you. You are clearly a normal and loving person. And secrecy for normal people is a sign that something is not quite right. It makes us uncomfortable, as if either the person is ashamed of us or the person is hiding something or the person is maintaining a separate life.

And this is actually the key to my answer to you that you need to consider and think about. This last possibility is the one we're really discussing here: he's maintaining a separate life from the one you two have. He is still attached to his ex.

You may be right in your guess. I call it your guess because you haven't actually voiced it, so let me: it could be that he is maintaining the ties with his ex to keep her thinking he's still in relationship with her for the sake of his daughter. Your question of why he would not want to tell his ex is fair here. Most often it's because he still has some attachment to the ex and she to him.

You (and I) are hoping that indeed that attachment is only his daughter. Because when she does graduate, then that would theoretically remove that tie. So you are looking at a minimum of 2 years before any change. But this is just a minimum.

He may balk at disturbing his daughter's start of college, then her academic stability, then other things. There's no way of knowing. This is the risk you are taking here. That his attachment to the ex is only because of the daughter. So, I need you to assess if you are willing to take that risk, with a minimum of 2 years of staying the way it is.

Okay, I wish you the very best!

My goal is for you to feel like you've gotten Great Service from me and the site. If we need to continue the discussion for that to happen, then please feel free to reply and we'll continue working on this. If the answer has given you the help you need, please remember to give a rating of 5 (Great Service) or 4 (Informative and helpful), or even 3 (Got the job done) button. This will make sure that I am credited for the answer and you are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing any of these buttons. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "For Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

Dr. Mark and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for the information and I will assess all of it. At my age I do not have a great deal of relationship options & we have a lot in common and this is why I'm comfortable in my current relationship. But he told me once that he hasn't had time for strangers to date, but to me that doesn't mean he doesn't have time for his ex & the only way he will let go is if she starts dating someone. I have dated a couple of people since I've been with him but nothing happened and no one will measure up to his kindness. But now I have some heavy decisions to make for myself & I thank you for giving me something to think about.


's. G.

I understand about the difficulties of being a single adult, especially female. I've worked in therapy with enough adults that I'm not going to pretend you're not right. You are right. And that's why I couched everything I said in those terms of accepting him as he is: so that you don't wind up hurt and disappointed.

As I said, I can't pretend that finding Mr. Right is easy and sometimes it's not even pleasant. Kindness is sometimes a trait that's hard to spot, and I often try to focus people on making sure that they are looking for "normal". Because even finding someone who's normal can be difficult.

But, I am a hopeful person and I encourage others to be hopeful. That doesn't mean striking out on your own necessarily. Please don't think so. But I'm going to focus on the goals, strategies, and plans you need to work on in this area in case you decide that you want to keep searching.

Now for your life. Why do I say your life? Because you are not going to find Mr. Right by just looking for "a guy". You've got to treat finding Mr. Right as part of living YOUR life. You are clearly a woman with values. You are looking for a human being who wants to share his life with you and who values who you are.

That's why we're going to focus on goals, strategies, and plans. I want you to take a sheet of paper or on the computer if you prefer and on that paper write your Healthy Relationship Goals. Examples: make 3 close friends in the next 3 months; or go on dates with interesting men at least 4 times in the next 3 months, etc. So you see they don't need to even be goals for just relationships with men, but can be social relationships. Because the more social you are, the more you build your ability to express yourself socially instead of just career wise, the more you will feel comfortable expressing yourself to Mr. Right on a date. You need to feel comfortable sharing your inner self with other people on lots of different levels: acquaintances, friends, confidantes, and dates.

Next, I need you to take another sheet or underneath the goals in the same sheet write Strategies for my Healthy Relationship Goals. For each of the Goals, I want you to write strategies. For example, if your goal is to go out 4 times in 3 months, strategies might be: I want to identify the type of interests men you'd be interested in would have. Then I want to ask yourself where would they go to fulfill those interests. For example, if an interesting man needs to be someone who is into fitness, then he would be a member of a fitness club. If he needs to like art, then he would be a member of the Art Museum and go to gallery openings. If he needs to be spiritually oriented, then he might need to be attending church or a meditation class.

Then, you need to write on a separate piece of paper or underneath each Goal and Strategy: Plans for how to succeed with your strategies. So to continue the example above, you might write: my plan is to go to the 6 most popular fitness studios and check them out to see what their membership looks like and what kind of activities are there. Or for art, I plan to join the Art Museum and to go to an art opening at a gallery at least twice per month and maybe 3 times. Or if you are interested in religion, checking out 3 congregations for active ones that have social events.

These are examples of strategies and plans. I'm trying to focus you on your life interests. What do you want to do to further your having a meaningful life? Remember, Mr. Right needs to fit into what's meaningful to you, so look for him in activities that bring out what's meaningful in your life.

Okay, I wish you the very best!

Dr. Mark