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Philippa Courtney



Why Did a Divorced Single Mom Get Dumped Again


Dear Philippa,

Four years ago my husband walked out on me and our boys at the time we were digging the basement for our new home. Now the first man I have loved, since my divorce ended has dumped me.

I had just helped him find a new house. And he said he could see all of us living there. I told him not to say that unless he meant it. Three weeks later, after four months together, it was over. He said there was something missing in our relationship and he felt tremendous pressure because of the children and if it weren't for the boys he might want to keep trying.

I try to date other guys but I fell so hard for this man. What can I do?

�Michelle, Charleston, WV


Dear Michelle,

It's not surprising that both the men you mention experienced the added pressure of buying or building a home when they ran away. Home purchases symbolize major, long-term commitments. That's an explanation, but not an excuse for their behavior.

Switch places for a moment. You're dating a guy whose wife left him and the kids when they were building their home. Now you're out house hunting with this man and you tell him that you can see all of you, including his kids, living there together. Then he tells you not to say that unless you mean it because he couldn't bear to have another women leave them. Talk about added pressure, what a responsibility to put on you. That's how it may have seemed to your ex-boyfriend.

After dating only a few months that kind of demand could test even the strongest of us. No one wants to be responsible for potentially hurting kids that they've become attached to, and at a time they are still trying to get to know you.

Can you see how you carried the pain and fear from your marriage into this new relationship? Yes, we all bring emotional baggage with us and the best place to work on it is in the context of a loving relationship. But, you need the necessary time together to build trust so you can have the right kind of conversation about your fears.

Imagine that instead of only a few months of dating, it's a year after you met. You still may have those fears of abandonment. But instead of challenging your boyfriend by saying "you better mean it when you say that," you talk about your mutual fears. And you have this conversation when you're out somewhere just having a good time. You listen to each other's fears and respond without pressure statements like "If you leave, the kids would be devastated," or "I couldn't go on." Instead you talk in terms of your own feelings, not how the other person should behave. This is sharing without demands or ultimatums.

Take it from someone who knows all about the fear of abandonment�it is all too easy to let your fear become a magnet that attracts the very men who will make your fears a reality. You can choose to not be controlled by your fears. See your life the way you want it to be and believe that you can have a relationship with a man who will love you and the kids without question. You won't have to scare him away before he leaves you. Even when you try to test him (like you did your ex-boyfriend), the right man's love will be stronger than your fears.

When you come this close to finding your right one, but fear you've blown it, take heart�see this as the practice you need to get ready to meet the truly right one when he appears. And he will�sooner than you think.




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