Dear John: I'm 39-year-old man. I've been divorced for almost four years, and I am the father of two children, ages 7 and 10. I know a lot about a woman who would like to enter a relationship with me, but I keep holding back because this time I want every thing to work out. I find myself putting up walls so this woman and the others who came before her weren't able to get too close. How will I ever allow others to -- Be a Part of My Life, in Dothan, Ala.
Dear Be a Part: This is a common issue faced by both men and women who have experienced the pain of divorce. I deal with this extensively in my book, "Mars and Venus Starting Over." When we have not dealt honestly with the issues that surround a failed marriage, the fear of encountering these same issues in a new relationship has us putting up our defenses. That is the "wall" you speak of. Your phrase, "This time I want every thing to work out," indicates that you still feel the pain from your past relationship. It's time to address your fears. Sometimes we cannot do this alone. Please consider contacting a licensed counselor who can help you sort through past issues and get on the path to achieving a successful relationship in the future.
Dear John: I'm a 43-year-old divorced mother of two. My fiancé just turned 30. He wants to get married and says that he doesn't care that I can't have children anymore, but I think he says that to ease my thoughts on that subject. My 13-year-old thinks that we are rushing it by moving the date up so soon; some of my friends also think that it is too soon. What do you think? -- More than Here and Now, in Pittsburg, Pa.
Dear More Than Here and Now: Out of the mouths of babes! I think that your very wise 13-year-old and your friends are asking you to think of the long-term consequences of such a commitment before you get into it.
As you may remember, you learned many life lessons between the year you turned 20 and today. In the coming years, your fiancé will also go through similar emotional changes. At the same time, you will be experiencing different life challenges. All of this will test the attraction that you feel for each other.
While most single women in their 30s seek relationships with men who can offer them romance and passion, they also consider other criteria, such as financial security, domestic stability and the emotional maturity needed when raising children together. Your fiancé is only 17 years older than your eldest child. Is it fair to expect him to shoulder the same responsibilities of a man many years his senior?
The goal should not be a ring on your finger but a proven commitment to your love. For that, only time will tell, so take a few years to see if that is truly what you have here.
"She Can Say No to Him!"
There are several things a woman won't do for her man. In a recent Mars Venus /SingleMindedWomen.com poll of 2,354 women, on the top of that list was fulfilling his three-way fantasy (37 percent), followed by separate bedrooms (19 percent). Also on the list were separate vacations (9 percent) and separate bank accounts (2 percent). For 23 percent, none of these were an option. But sadly, 10 percent would have put up with all of these to keep him around.
Full results are shown below. To take part in this week's Mars Venus/ SingleMindedWomen poll, log on to: SingleMindedWomen.com
What Wouldn't You Do For Him?
Fulfill his three-way fantasy. 37 percent
Have separate bedrooms. 19 percent
Take separate vacations. 9 percent
Have separate bank accounts. 2 percent
None of these are an option. 23 percent
All of these are OK. 10 percent
Total votes: 2,354
NOTE: Because poll percentages are rounded, total values may not work out to 100 percent. Poll results are not scientific and reflect only the opinions of those users who choose to partake.
John Gray is the author of "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus."
Copyright 2009 John Gray's Mars Venus Advice - Distributed By Creators Syndicate, Inc.