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By November 16, 2011

Interracial Relationships a Bad Choice for This Black Woman?

Dear Ms. HeartBeat:
I left an abusive marriage (we lived overseas and he’s from Europe and I’m African-American) when I returned to the States in 2009. We have two children (twin boys aged 13) and he pays no child support or alimony at all and has expressed no interest in seeing his children.

I kept trying to call him to arrange visitation or custody and he won’t even have the conversation. I contacted a lawyer and filed for divorce and he managed to file for their kind of bankruptcy after he went on a spending binge after I left. Suprisingly the Dutch government supports him because his bills to other creditors are more important than supporting his children (he has a good job, makes the equivalent of $10,000 per month whereas I am struggling on a substitute teacher salary to support our two children).

Anyway, I met a man in January of this year and we have been dating (he is a widower with three young children). I have met his children but he has not met my children yet (something always comes up that day). I’ve also met his friends and family.

He keeps sending mixed messages to me.

In May, he asked me if we could start dating exclusively. I have never lived with anyone without being married but he said he wants us to live together (because he doesn’t want to stop receiving the checks from Social Security for his kids). Given the fact my marriage was no guarantee, I’ve said I will think about it.

He’ll then tell me that he wants to get his finances together so we can live as a family and then when he’s talking in his sleep (on the telephone – I NEVER sleep over at his house because I don’t want my boys to think I’m trifling), he’ll say that the only people he’s worried about are his kids and himself. I was married for 20 years and wonder if I am just making archaic assumptions.

I’m tired of him waffling but then I think I’m being too hard on him because his wife (who was also black) only died in January 2010 (suicide) and I only left my ex husband in February 2009 (divorce final November 2010). I was in codependents anonymous up until January when I met him.

My brother, the only family I have here, just told me he isn’t babysitting while I go out anymore. He says he sat by after being with a white man who beat me for 20 years. He’s angry that I’ve managed to find another loser white man and says he believes there is no way I would put up with this kind of mess from a black man.

I’m in my 40s, lonely and he’s the only man who has asked me out in 20 years (ok I was married for 20 years but given how worn out I look from the abuse, I think I’m lucky to even have this guy). Do you think I am asking for too much too fast?

What Should I Do?

Dear Should I:
You need to concentrate on healing yourself before you get involved in any type of relationship with anyone. I suggest looking into group therapy.

You were in an abusive relationship for years with a man who has subsequently abandoned you and your boys. Your priority right now needs to be making a home for your children, getting them stable, and getting yourself healthy so you can be the best parent you can be for them. This is especially important since they don’t have a father that gives a hoot about them in their lives.

Your brother is to be commended for refusing to be an enabler. His observation is right on target – you are about to embark on another abusive relationship with a man who only sees you as a convenience for HIM. He is already setting up things to be totally on ‘his terms’.

Though he has totally avoided meeting your children and finding out if his children and your children even get along, he is suggesting that you do things that will benefit HIM and HIS lifestyle choices. He wants to live together, he’s said that the only people he is concerned with are his kids and himself. You would be a fool to fall in line with a man who has made it obvious that he sees you as a ‘helper,’ a mere servant for him and his kids.

From my perspective, both of you are operating in “rebound” mode. You both just lost your spouses through emotionally traumatic events barely a year prior to meeting each other. You don’t know anything about this man other than what he’s told you. You don’t know what drove his wife to commit suicide – was he being controlling and abusive to her so much so that the only way out was death? Aren’t you at least a little bit concerned that this guy may be a complete nutcase?

You are lonely probably horny and starved for love and nurturing – something you haven’t experienced in your former marriages. You are extremely vulnerable right now and liable to latch on to the first man who shows you attention even if is attention from some confused, sorry sort of lad.

Apparently, you’re so focused on your loneliness that you’re failing to see the red flags here. This man is setting you up to use you and perhaps your children as well.

Honey, you’ve already been abused and hurt before. Perhaps this is all you know and your self esteem is so shaky that you think any attention from a man (even unhealthy attention) is better than none. Sadly, this is the mentality of many many women that end up in life-threatening situations with sociopaths.

It appears that your sense of self is tied up with a man. You think having a man around will validate you and make you feel less lonely, less undesirable, more secure. You seem to believe that you can have no life unless a man is in it. This is not a healthy mental state for you to be in nor is it an example of power and self mastery which you should be demonstrating to your sons. You are allowing this man to string you along.

A woman with healthy self esteem and boundaries would be in the driver’s seat of her life, not turning the wheel over to someone she barely knows. A woman of confidence and power would set her terms for a relationship, and any man she met would either meet those terms or be removed from her world. Such a woman would not sit around putting some man’s happiness and needs before her own. Just as your boyfriend said that he and his kids are the most important thing to him, you need to say and act the same way!

At this point you don’t need to start any relationship with someone new until you start trying to heal yourself and ‘get a life’ yourself. An emotionally healthy woman with a high self esteem is with a man because she wants to be with one, not because she needs’ them to make her feel less lonely. Right now you are reeling emotionally from the trauma of a broken marriage, a broken heart and broken dreams of happily ever after.

Please continue your codependency work in a different setting, as you are not yet healed and are about to make the exact same mistake you made before. Please do not place yourself and your sons into a situation in which you will be a co-dependent caretaker to a widower with 3 children.

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Relationship and dating advice columnist of Ask HeartBeat! Has enjoyed dishing out insightful yet hilariously funny advice, tersely worded reality checks and "let me slap you upside the head" wake up calls to men and women around the globe since 1991.

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Posted in: Interracial Dating

About the Author:

Relationship and dating advice columnist of Ask HeartBeat! Has enjoyed dishing out insightful yet hilariously funny advice, tersely worded reality checks and "let me slap you upside the head" wake up calls to men and women around the globe since 1991.

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