Heed red flags

Joey Garcia

After a month of dating a man I met online, I felt it was time for him to meet my 7-year-old son. I invited my friend for dinner, and it was nice until my son had a tantrum. I asked my friend to leave but called him later. He yelled and called me and my son names, acting out of character for the man I was getting to know. I remained levelheaded, but I told him that I was not going to stand for it and hung up.

A few days later, he apologized and agreed to attend a parenting course with me. Recently, though, a woman I do not know has made allegations against my friend to the father of my son. My son’s dad doesn’t have “a good feeling” about the man I am dating.

This is causing stress with the man I am dating because my trust was rattled when he yelled at me. I believe he is sorry, and he is taking action to ensure that it will not happen again. When I am with this man, I feel good, and we communicate effectively, but this woman causes me to question my own instincts. Do I trust myself or my son’s dad and a woman I have never met?

Haven’t you all been drafted to play on the same team? The issue is what is best for your son. Introducing your son to your current love interest after one month of dating is moving too fast. That’s stressful and confusing for your son. Plus, if you and your dating partner are infatuated (spending a lot of time together, experiencing emotional roller coasters and not trusting each other), it is difficult for you to admit the reality of your relationship.

Your son had a tantrum, fairly normal for a child, and your dating partner responded in kind, fairly abnormal for an adult. We can concoct a variety of excuses for the latter’s behavior: He doesn’t have children and doesn’t understand them; or his childhood wound was triggered, and he acted out; or he needs a prodigious amount of attention and could not stand being present while your son was your focus. None of these excuses provides valid reasons for his anger and cursing.

The truth is that you have experienced a genuine red flag and are ignoring it. You’ve rationalized the problem and concentrated on how you feel when you’re with him. So, the next time your friend has an episode, you’ll have the tools in place to explain it away. This behavior will repeat until it feels impossible to exit the relationship. In the process, you have learned not to trust yourself.

So, who do you trust? The part of you that admits your trust was shaken. Don’t mother this man to recovery. Let him seek the means to heal himself while you move on.

I am 15, and I have a friend who lies about serious things. I don’t like to confront her because she says she has a major illness. Last week I called her, and she said she was at home really sick and could not hang out. My friends and I went to McDonald’s, and we saw her in the drive-through with her boyfriend. What should I do?

Stop calling her a friend. Your heart knows that friends tell the truth. They are trustworthy and keep their commitments, or, if they can’t, they have the courage to tell you. If she is unwilling to do these things, and you want to stay in contact, consider her an acquaintance. But don’t wrap your mind around her illness too often. It could be a story that she uses to secure pity and attention from others.

Meditation of the week
How do you make friends with your life? Katie Rubin’s one-woman show Insides Out!, currently playing at the Sacramento Theatre Company, reveals one path of possibilities. In a hilarious one-hour show, Rubin embodies the internal cast of characters who helped inspire her addictions and, later, supported her healing from them. It’s not to be missed by recovering addicts, therapists and the people who love them!

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