Dating as a single mom can be tough. You need to work out whether a guy is the right fit, not just for you, but for your children, too. During the early stages of dating, it is important to balance having fun with assessing his suitability as a future boyfriend. If your date appears to be obsessed with his ex, this may set off warning bells.
1. What's Behind His Obsession?
An obsession with an ex may be a symptom of addictive behavior, writes counselor Pamela Dussault in the article "Feeling Trapped And Powerless Over The Loss Of Your Ex? The Reason May Be Addiction," for The Huffington Post. The addiction may range from obsessive thoughts to stalking and trying to manipulate the ex to take him back. The remedy for addictive love is genuine love, explains Dussault. If you think you may have a future together, help him experience real love.
2. Keep it in Perspective
If you are the first woman this man has dated since he split up with his ex, it is quite natural for him to talk about her. He may still be processing the breakup, and he may be comparing you to her. This doesn't have to be a bad thing -- you may come out on top. Consider whether he is actually obsessed with his ex or whether your fears, insecurities or jealousy may be causing you to blow the situation out of proportion. Identify negative thought patterns and challenge them, advises psychologist Phil McGraw in the article "Controlling Jealousy," for the DrPhil.com website. Accept that a person can have more than one love during a lifetime.
3. Focus on the Future
Remember, the man and his girlfriend split up for a reason, and whatever that reason was, it meant their relationship wasn't working out. If you like this guy, you have the chance to build a relationship with him that is happy and healthy, which is something he didn't have with his ex. To strengthen your relationship, concentrate on having fun together as well as making time for separate interests and friends. Practice your communication skills to understand your partner's needs and resolve conflict effectively, advises the HelpGuide.org article, "Relationship Help."
4. Know Your Limits
Ultimately, you need to decide how much of your date's obsessive behavior you are willing to put up with. It may not be enough to see this guy as a future boyfriend. Love is not enough, writes psychiatrist Fredric Neuman in the article "Coming to the End of a Relationship -- Over and Over Again" for Psychology Today. If this man still has strong feelings for his ex and appears unwilling to take steps to move on, consider whether this is likely to lead to a relationship that makes you feel good about yourself.