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I met the sweetest woman last night. She was in her 60s and has been dating an older man for 6 years. They have lots in common, shared values, and he calls her every day. The problem? He doesn’t want to remarry because his kids don’t approve. And he’s a gentle man who doesn’t like to rock the boat.

And you thought trying to get a man to marry you was a problem only younger women have!

So, during this discussion, another woman brought up the issue of money – the problem, according to her, is that he’s older, he has money, and the kids don’t want to lose their inheritances. Yes, this probably is an issue, but it isn’t the main one.

This is a boundary issue. He doesn’t have strong boundaries with his kids – he’s afraid to upset them, as if their needs are more important than his. But guess what? His kids do not get to decide whether Dad gets to remarry, or how he allocates his estate. He’s the father, and it’s up to him to take a stand. He needs to sit down with his kids and talk about their concerns. Are they against remarriage because of the financial issue? They could talk about how to handle that – that’s what estate planning and pre-nups are for. This woman has money of her own; she isn’t a gold digger. Are they uncomfortable with their mother being “replaced”? No one will ever replace their mother; but after 11 years of being a widower, this man is lonely and deserves a partner of his own.

This woman admitted to me that she isn’t even included in his family get-togethers. She’s an outsider. After 6 years, this is ridiculous. As I discuss in Dating the Divorced Man, when you date a divorced guy (widowed or not) there are problems that come with the territory and problems that are deal-breakers. This is a deal-breaker. If he’s serious about her, he needs to grow a set and talk with his kids about how they feel, then set boundaries with them by making a decision about his estate and about his life. If they don’t like it, too bad. He can’t continue to use the kids as an excuse.

Ultimately, this woman has to make her needs known to this man; he’ll either step up or he won’t. If he won’t, she then has to decide if her Output (what she gets from the relationship) is greater than the Input (what she puts into it).

I’m an author and a dating coach – I do what I do because I want to help people to find a partner to share their lives with. That’s what we all want most, deep down. That’s what these two people want! Hopefully, they’ll do what they need to do to get it.

 

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