Dear Dr. Norquist:
I have been in a horrible relationship for six years. This guy and I have a 1 ½ year old daughter. We are both unhappy and have both decided that I will be moving out on my own within a month.
My problem is that I was going through my old diaries reminiscing about a boy I dated ten years ago in high school. I have always felt he was “the one” for me. I found him on the Internet and wrote him a general email (not mentioning the fact that I have a daughter). I know he’s single. My definitely-not-right-for-me boyfriend found the emails and wrote to him saying that I live with him and that we have a daughter — basically trying to sabotage anything potentially going on with the old boyfriend.
I am at a loss on how to handle this situation as I don’t want to overwhelm the old boyfriend by having to explain my life, yet I don’t want to come across as trying to hide the fact that I have a daughter. Of course, all of that would be out the window if he couldn’t handle the fact that I have a daughter, but I just have no idea what to do at this point to be tactful and honest without scaring him off. Please help! Thank you for your time.
Dr. Norquist responds:
Perhaps it’s best to deal with your current situation before moving on to create a new one for yourself. You are in a “horrible relationship” and have decided to move out with your 1½ year old daughter. This is what you need to attend to first. You are ready to start a new relationship before resolving the old one!
Why do you immediately want another man in your life? Generally we are not truly ready emotionally to start a new relationship until we have resolved the old one. This usually includes having some time to ourselves – out of relationship, and re-experiencing our aloneness. This way we can re-connect with our inner strength, and our ability to make it on our own. From this place of strength and feeling at home and whole within ourselves, we can approach potential new relationships with a sense of perspective and clarity, and not make decisions from a place of need.
You will need support living on your own with a young child. Concentrate on fortifying your network of support systems – such as family, friends, baby-sitters, etc. This would also be a great time to find new ways to replenish and re-nourish yourself, through regular exercise, meditation, yoga, warm baths, and time with nature. The time to reach out to your old boyfriend is when you are settled in your new life and can approach him from a sense of inner wholeness, rather than need.
(Dr. Sallie Norquist is a licensed psychologist (NJ #2371) in private practice and is director of Chaitanya Counseling Services, a center for upliftment and enlivenment, in Hoboken.) Dr. Norquist and the staff of Chaitanya invite you to write them at Chaitanya Counseling Services, 51 Newark St., Suite 202, Hoboken, NJ 07030 or www.chaitanya.com or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by fax at (201) 656-4700. Questions can address various topics, including relationships, life’s stresses, difficulties, mysteries and dilemmas, as well as questions related to managing stress or alternative ways of understanding health-related concerns.Ó 2016 Chaitanya Counseling Services