Single mom asks: ‘Is it wrong to fall in love with someone?’
THE SEX ADVISOR - Eppy Halili Gochangco (The Philippine Star) - November 30, 2015 - 9:00am

Dear Eppy,

I am a single mother with a wonderful four-year-old daughter.  Her father (who I will call “my ex”) and I were about to get married when I was pregnant, but both our parents believed that we were both too young, at that time, to marry.  I was 17 years old and my ex was 19 years old.  I guess our parents were right not to let us get married.  After a while, my ex and I started to drift apart.  We started fighting all the time.  But right now, we are friends.  I’m glad we are because it would be better for my daughter to have parents who are friends to each other.  I have so many friends who have parents fighting all the time and their children seem to be more troubled than my other friends.

Last year, my ex started dating someone and I didn’t get affected at all.  He would talk to me about this relationship and I would help him by listening.  A few weeks ago, I met someone else.  He is four years older than I and he seems to be much more mature than my ex.  It was easy for me to fall for this man.  But my ex thinks I shouldn’t get close to anyone else for our daughter’s sake.  I find this really selfish on his part.  I think he is saying this not for my daughter’s sake but for his.

But this made me think about my present relationship. I am scared that my ex might be right.  I wonder if my daughter would be affected by my present relationship.  Is there a possibility that I might be doing the wrong thing by falling in love with someone? Worried Mother

Dear Worried Mother,

To answer your question, it is never wrong to fall in love with someone just as long as your values and religion permit you.  This is directly answering your question.  However, I don’t think that one question will suffice in helping you understand the implication of having a relationship with another man.

At the moment, even if you marry the man you are having a relationship with, just as long as your present partner will treat your daughter the right way, she is going to be alright.  However, it is not as simple as that. Getting married is not the end goal of your relationship. Other things have to happen as relationships are continuous and there are stages in a relationship.

When the honeymoon stage between you and your present partner starts to wane, both your feelings towards each other will change.  There might be a period where the two of you will get irritated at each other.  When this happens, you have to consider the possibility of your partner changing how he feels towards your daughter.  It also may not change, but these options should be considered. I have talked to so many couples. Whether the relationship is heterosexual or homosexual, one thing common is the change partners manifest towards the other partner’s child.

At first, the partner is very attentive towards the other partner’s child, showing kindness and generosity.  After a while, the partner starts correcting the child, making it look like “discipline is important for the child’s sake.”  But it becomes apparent to the biological mother that the child is being abused already.  However, because the partner says, “…it is for the child’s sake,” the biological mother reluctantly backs off.  This situation is so difficult to handle because the partner starts to accuse the other partner with the child that she is choosing between the child and the partner.

That is only one situation you need to consider before choosing a particular option.  The worse situation is when you have another child with this new relationship.  No matter what the gender, whether the child is male or female, I noticed that the first child usually feels betrayed by the mother.  As these children grow up, they don’t feel they are part of any family.  Even if the mother constantly reassures the child, the child always feels they don’t belong to any family.  However, I noticed that if a woman has two or more children in a previous relationship, the children don’t have issues of betrayal even if they have half-siblings with the next relationship because they feel they have a full-blooded sibling and are, therefore, not alone.

To summarize, having a relationship is okay just as long as you are assured that your partner will not use discipline as a way to abuse your child.  Secondly, because you have only one child, you might have to consider not having another child with another man because your child might have a lifelong issue of belongingness. Eppy

* * *

Email eppygochangco@gmail.com.

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