Dear Uncle Bill,
I am currently a forty-two year old single mother with a two year old son. I became pregnant in a very emotional time while my mother was in an institution struggling with mental illness. I became romantically involved with my mother’s doctor, who was a married man. The whys and wherefores of the moment are, I can see now, only excuses. I left my hometown in a cloud of anger and shame after my mother deteriorated to the point that she didn’t even know me.
There is a man who has been in my life since first grade. We started out as friends and close buddies. Over the years he grew to love me in all of the most beautiful connotations of the word. He even asked me to marry him after he found out that I was pregnant by the doctor. But I did not, have not, felt the same about him.
I have come to believe that my son needs a father. My question is: Should I go back to Peoria and marry Ralph? I know that he is still available.
OUT of PEORIA
Dear OUT of PEORIA,
You got yourself knocked up by a married man. NOW, two years later, you’re worrying about the kid having a father?
Get a grip. Oops! Sorry! Uncle Bill can open his mouth before his brain is engaged sometimes.
Upon further reflection: there’s a lot that you’re not telling me. Leads me to wonder if you are even telling yourself everything?
Several questions come to mind. You’re the only one who can answer them.
- Why’d you leave in the first place? Clearly, Ralph was not a potential father. Has something changed in your feelings about Ralph? If not, then maybe he isn’t any better a father figure now. Although there is nothing wrong with a kid having a solid Dutch Uncle.
- You thought you could raise a child on your own then. Why the change of mind?
- Are you tired, irritable, short on time, confused, lost and needing a shoulder to lean on for support? Face it Toots, except possibly for the shoulder to lean on, a husband isn’t going to be a great help with any of those. He’ll only add to the chaos. And that shoulder won’t be there for long unless both of you are willing to provide it.
- While we’re at it, are you looking for a husband, or a father, or a both? Many men can be both. But some men can’t.
- You are a mother. But it doesn’t necessarily follow that you want to be a wife. Do you?
- You said that you left home. Did you cut off your support system in doing that? Or are there extended family, friends, and other buddies you can approach? There may be more support at home than you realize.
- Finally, back to Ralph. After answering all of these questions, if you think that Ralph is an attractive solution, talk to him. But don’t be surprised to find out you’ve waited too long.
Or, maybe not. Guys are weird.