Daughter vs. Girlfriend. Who Wins?

Dear Dategirl, I've been pen pals with a woman I met on Facebook in February. It never occurred to me that I had a shot because a) she lived across the country, b) she's much younger than me (20 years), and c) she's a world-class beauty. When business brought her to Seattle in November, however, sparks flew! When she went home, we kept in closer touch, and finally she told me that she really needed to spend time with me, and would be coming to stay for six weeks. Two weeks ago she rented a sublet around the corner. It was a very intense fortnight—lots of amazing sex, and very strongly worded expressions of affection. However, there was also lots of drama. Every few days, she'd say, "I don't know if I can do this," positioned not so much as an indication of her feelings, but more about issues like risking a cross-country move and alienating someone who may or may not be her ex. Yesterday, after a lovely night together, she went "home," with the plan being that my 8-year-old daughter (whom I don't get to see every day) and I would pick her up in front of her building at 12:45 to see a movie. The time came and she wasn't there. She didn't pick up her phone and we couldn't get into her building to knock on the door. We waited, but at two minutes to one, we finally sprinted to the theater without her. I left an apologetic voice mail, but didn't hear back. Once she finally picked up one of my calls, she explained that it was inconceivable that I could I give her up for a movie. And if I was in love with her, I would never have left her behind, so clearly we are not meant to be together, and it is over, period. No need to discuss it further, apologies accepted but useless, that's that. Doesn't this seem excessive? —The Late Mr. X This is exactly why my friend Rich only dated other parents. Whenever he (like yourself, a single dad) would start seeing a child-free woman and something came up with one of his girls—something always comes up when you're a parent—the girlfriend would get weirdly jealous and angry. She sounds like one of those. Maybe her brief stay in your neck of the woods showed her that she needs to be the center of attention at all times, and you are not capable of providing her with that. I mean, would you have furiously dumped her if you three had missed the movie? Probably not; things happen. People are late, and then there are consequences—like missing Shrek 15 or whatever. One thing you kind of gloss over here is her ambiguous relationship status. "Someone who may or may not be her ex?" That sounds a lot like she has someone back home, and that's a whole lot of baggage to bring into a relationship. You have shared custody of an 8-year-old girl. Regardless of what your dick or heart wants, she needs to be your priority, which sounds like exactly what you're doing. You made a commitment to your daughter and your girlfriend was too busy curling her hair or glossing her lips to honor that promise. She knew you couldn't get in if you were late, yet was willfully tardy. Did it occur to you that she might be pitting herself against your daughter to see who would win? Maybe she didn't do it consciously, but that's what it sounds like to me. In other words: bullet dodged. dategirl@seattleweekly.com

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