Q: I’m a 32-year-old woman who, after two long relationships in my 20s, is facing a dismal dating scene. It seems that all guys my age that are decent are divorced, many with kids. I have no interest in being a stepmother or dealing with the fallout from a divorce. But if I rule these guys out, only the immature ones are left. I didn’t get married because the people I dated weren’t right for me. Why is it hard to find the same?
This is tricky because you’ve set up a false choice. Yes, if you rule out divorced guys and dads, you’ll reduce the size of your dating pool, but there will still be a dating pool. Perhaps you’re looking in places that are ratcheting up the immaturity? Perhaps you’re putting out such a strong anti-parent stance that you’re attracting guys who are kids themselves? You have a right to date according to your preferences, just like someone’s right to buy sushi from a gas station. But when your preferences give you indigestion, it’s time to expand them or find another part of the sea to fish in.
Q: How do I get my husband off his CrackBerry? He looks at it when he’s pushing our twins on the swing, he checks it under the table at dinner, he breaks it out after we say goodnight and first thing in the morning. He claims it’s for work, but there’s an addiction at play here.
A: He could very well have a compulsion. But before you set boundaries, you’ve got to figure out whether he’s willing to work on it. An arsenal of “But my boss needs me to respond within nanoseconds!” excuses might prohibit him from even entertaining the notion of change.
If that’s the case, a reality check – perhaps with him taking one day and keeping track of how much time he spends there, to help him be sensitized to how automatically he reaches for it – might alert him to the problem. You could also have a talk about the feeling you get when your kids lose their dad to a screen. If he’s on board, start with phone-free zones; even just five minutes at a time of him putting it in the other room, gradually growing to longer periods. If he gets overly anxious, he might look into help from resources such as Netaddiction.com.
Andrea Bonior, a clinical psychologist, is the author of “The Friendship Fix.” www.drandreabonior.com.
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