Dear Gabby: My Mom’s Dating a Creep!

Dear Gabby,

My parents divorced when I was 12. For the past five years, neither of them has seriously dated anyone. And although seeing my parents go on dates with other people was a little weird at first, I’ve gotten used to it. Now however, my mom’s getting really serious about a guy she’s been dating for four months. I know if I told this to anyone else, I would be accused of secretly wishing my parents would get back together – which of course is true – but aside from that, I think there’s something creepy about this guy. I get this totally weird vibe off of him and I’m a little freaked by the thought of him becoming part of my family. I don’t know if I should tell my mother this or keep it to myself. It’s making me sick inside! What should I do?

Ticking Time Bomb in Toledo

When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?

Psalm 56:3-4

Dear Ticking…,

Gabby knows exactly what you are talking about. So don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you “you know what.” Instead, I am going to ask you about trust.

How much do you trust your mother? Enough to believe she would only select a mate who deep down under those Levis and polo shirts is a decent person? Do you trust her enough to discuss your concerns with her without fear of being dismissed? And how about her trust in you? Does she trust your judgment? These are all questions you need to seriously consider before injecting yourself into your mother’s social life.

If you answered “no” to any of the above questions, you might want to consider what is off in your mother/daughter equation. An unbalanced relationship with someone we love could make us feel sick inside, truly. But, if you and your mother have an honest, safe, trusting relationship, then you know that it’s okay to share your feelings with her no matter what the subject. That’s what parents are for.

This doesn’t mean you get the right to torpedo her relationship, however. What it means is that you get to tell her your concerns and intuitions. That should open the conversation up to a comfortable volley that allows your mother to express herself, as well. Maybe she shares some of your feelings and just needs another person to articulate them for her.

But watch out for foul balls. What passes between you and your mother is not something you get to discuss with your father. That would be completely out of bounds and destructive to the trust you and your mother share. However, if, after sharing your concerns with your mother, you honestly do find her beau’s behavior off-color and your mother does not address it, then I think it would be appropriate to confide in your father.

If Gabby’s everyday math is correct, you are 17 – probably old enough to have experienced some romantic dramas of your own. Think about how you or your friends have received relationship criticism – and plan the approach to your mother using the golden rule. Heart/head is a complex fraction. Sometimes we need time to sort it out on our own. Sometimes a little help is OK too.

Now, Gabby’s final question to you is this, Ticking: Do you trust God?  If you can honestly answer “yes” to this question, then certainly the best thing to do would be to turn this care over to the Lord. Pray to Him for peace and guidance and patience. Pray that there will be an opportunity to share your feelings with your mother and that she’ll be receptive. Pray that if this relationship is not in your mother’s best interest, that God will not allow it to lead to marriage. Pray a hedge of protection around your mother. And you can even pray that your parents get back together – God probably shares that desire as well. Pray and then don’t doubt or worry – believe that God will take the matter in hand and use all things to work to your good. And among all these petitions, don’t forget to thank God for the blessing of two loving parents.

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