I recently met a great single woman at a church retreat. She’s intelligent, funny, and (yes) very good looking. We’ve gone out on a few dates, and I can tell she’s just as smitten with me as I am with her. The problem? She is the mother of two teenage boys. I haven’t met them yet, because she is looking for the right opportunity for us to meet. Their father, who by all indications is a good guy, is still very involved in their lives.
Abby, I never had kids of my own, and I’m not sure how we are going to get along. I’m also not sure how much of a father figure I can (or should) be to them, at least early on. I want to take it easy and let things progress naturally, but I am really nervous about this. I don’t want my nervousness to interfere with what may be a great thing. Do you have any advice?
Trembling in Trenton
When I asked mom what a teenager was, she said that in people-years, I was not yet a teenager, but in dog-years, I am an old lady. Humans seem to live slower than dogs, yet they are always complaining about how long something takes, which is sad, since they have so much more time to enjoy the process than we dogs do. I remember when I was a puppy, mom complained that it took forever for my tail to grow out (I only had short peach fuzz on it) and how long it took for me to learn to go outside to potty. In my world, I just woke up one day with long plumes on my tail and the desire to use the doggy door. It went by so quickly, I did not remember it being any other way. Maybe puppies live faster than grown dogs, too. I bet it is the same for kids and grown-up people.
You said that your new lady friend had teenagers, and this is great. It means that the kids are almost grown up and will not really need you to be a second dad. It sounds like they already have a good dad, and this is great, too! So, not only do you have all the time you need to take it slow, but you will find that the time goes by so quickly, everything will change almost overnight.
While I sometimes get impatient waiting for mom to finish her work so that we can go to the park, I know that the more patient I am and the less I bother her, the longer our walks will be. Sometimes mom will need my help for a photo shoot or to write a part of our books. She comes to me and I do the best I can to do what she asks me to do. If you want to take long walks with this lady, then I suggest that you be patient and give her lots of time. She has a lot to do, with her kids and everything, so help her when she asks for it and do not bug her when she does not ask for your help. You will find that you have more time than you need and not enough time to enjoy it all.
Meanwhile, these teenager boys might be fun to have as friends. Just like with my kitties, if you are kind and patient, and do not try to move too fast, they will warm up to you when they see you are not a threat.