DEAR ABBY: I am a 38-year-old male who has never been married. I have been in three serious relationships, all of them with women who have children. Each time when these relationships ended, I found myself heartbroken and traumatized. I experienced a kind of withdrawal because of the emotional bond I had with the children.
I have now decided to date only women who have no children. But my friends and co-workers say I'm being short-sighted and "closing the door to several opportunities." Because of our disagreements, I find myself spending more and more time away from them, and more time alone.
Are my friends right? Or should I stick to my guns and keep looking for that special someone who does not come with a family attached? -- MONTANA LONELY
DEAR MONTANA LONELY: If you prefer to start dating women who don't have children, that is your privilege. Your friends may think you will be missing out on a good thing, but it's really none of their business.
While I agree that by going in this direction you may miss out on a lovely lady who also happens to be a mother, because your sadness after your breakups had more to do with missing the children than the woman you were seeing, a change of pace might be healthy for you.
P.S. If you think these breakups were painful for you, imagine what it was like for the children to have a potential father to whom they had grown close disappear from their lives. This is why many mothers keep their dating lives completely separate until they are sure the relationship will be permanent.