Years ago, I worked with a woman I can’t forget. I felt like I’d known her forever. She had a boyfriend, but I told myself I could wait it out, since he didn’t seem to be the one for her. I once half-jokingly asked her to marry me (maybe half-joking is not quite right, since she’s all I want). She mumbled, “Ya never know.” Things became stormy in later weeks, not just our tension, but her parents’ bitter divorce. She quit the job and now we are states apart with no contact. Since moving, she got and beat cancer and rebuffed my friendship. But nearly every day, I hear the words “ya never know”— on the radio or from random strangers or from family and friends. Am I crazy to think these words are her psychic response?
Um, remember the part where she rebuffed your friendship? If she was really into you and shared your belief in a happily-ever-after future together, she would have jumped at the chance to re-establish contact. She didn’t. But instead of accepting her “no” with dignity, you repackaged her response into a scenario that belongs on Ghost Whisperer: A former co-worker briefly possesses the bodies of people around you just to send you a message. Can you see how you have attached meaning to a common phrase just to keep a fantasy (“I’m the one”) alive? Doing so allows you to avoid initiating or being fully engaged in relationships with available women. Plus, you’re living in the past and projecting wishes into the future rather than living here and now. So what do you need to change about your life so that it’s worth being present in?
One more thing: “Ya never know” invites you into not knowing what will happen. Rather than giving you hope, consider it an opportunity to let go of all outcomes.
I am 33 and [have been] dating a 43-year-old man for two months who has two young children. We see each other only once every two weeks, and I am content with that arrangement. I don’t necessarily want kids and (until now) refused to date someone with kids. But I like him very much. Neither of us has broached the subject of me meeting his kids—until today—when he said he and his youngest stopped by (luckily, I wasn’t home). I feel stuck; I am not in love (yet), and I don’t think I should meet them unless it is more serious. When I was young, my dad had tons of girlfriends, so I don’t want to be part of a confusing situation for a child. I am also intimidated by the maternal role, don’t have domestic skills and have never wanted marriage. I just want to have fun and enjoy his company—is he the wrong person to do that with since he has two kids?
Your honesty is admirable, and so is your ability to reach into your history and connect the dots. It is confusing for young children to be exposed to a string of mom’s or dad’s significant others. So a relationship should be serious: exclusive, intentional and with an agreed-upon future, before children are introduced. Studies show that it takes at least six months to know a partner and two years to determine whether that person is a viable life companion. This is dependent, of course, on the couple’s willingness to be honest, trustworthy, committed and loving or to address the areas that need work. So, yes, two months is too soon to meet this man’s children. But if you do meet, don’t worry about the maternal stuff; your primary task is to be their friend.