Soap Box

Real letter in Dear Abby:

DEAR ABBY: I have been dating a divorced man, “Chris,” for four years. He has a son who is 16. On the weekends Chris has his son, I become the “invisible girlfriend.” Sometimes the three of us will go to a movie or out to eat, but I am never welcome to spend the night.
Chris and I have talked about living together, but never in depth. Unless I bring it up, he never says anything about it. When Valentine’s Day came around, Chris asked if we could celebrate it a few days late because he was scheduled to have his son that night. I was heartbroken because even a Valentine dinner for the three of us was out.
I am beginning to think there is no future with Chris. He seems fine just dating and seeing me every other weekend as someone to hang out with, but not to commit to. Suggestions? — DISMISSED IN DENVER
DEAR DISMISSED: When you started dating Chris, his son was 12. It seems to me that what he has done is put his parenting responsibilities before anything else, and I respect that.
If romance and marriage are what you’re looking for, I suggest you stop asking Chris about living together and ask instead about whether the two of you have a future. Chris has been treating you like a friend with benefits for four years. The pattern is set and it isn’t likely to change by itself.
Me again, so this dad is doing it right, he is putting his son before his girlfriend, and this woman has issues with this. Wow. That is all I can say, wow. I say kudos to this father for putting his son first, for being a father who is worthy of the name. Father. What this woman wants is a devoted boyfriend, to only her, and if she wants that, she deserves it, however, this man is not the man for her. He is, rightfully, devoted to his son, who did not choose to be in this world.
I want to make this clear, the woman is not selfish, she is simply with the wrong man, I have no idea why she has been with this man for 4 years. She knew up front that his son was going to come first; I cannot imagine he would not have been upfront with that little tidbit. Not with how she describes their four-year relationship, she should have moved on within the first month. I say that because she will never be what she wants to be to this man, number one, she will always come in second. When his son gives him a grandchild, she will become even less of a focus for him, she needs to find someone who will give her the kind of attention she craves.
I think this man is awesome; it is a rare thing in this world where a man puts his child first before a woman. I see it all the time, this woman could have her pick, my BBFF is one of those rare men who puts their child first. He is to be commended for the way he takes the role of dad to the highest level. He gives me hope for fathers everywhere. My son is another; he is devoted to his daughter, and puts her first over women. These two show what it is to be a devoted father, it’s easy to be one when you are married to the mother of the child, you have two parents in the household sharing the responsibilities. When there is only one parent in the household the work and responsibilities and also the joys are there just for you. Going it alone is not the easy road (not that parenting is easy for the married either, just focusing on single parents because it is what I know the best) keeping the course and focusing on your child (or children) is a lonely row to hoe. However, it is worth it, the sacrifices, the nights where you have to do all the work, caring for a sick child, or three at once. When they are adults, and well adjusted, because you made the sacrifices you made, letting them know they are number one, are so worth it all.
For my single parent friends, stay strong, keep the course and never allow society or anyone pressure you into making decisions that would adversely affect your child.

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