Q. Dear Rachel,

As a single, 40-year old woman, I’ve decided to start a family on my own. I’ve filed adoption papers and my attorney says I should be expecting my child within six months. As fate would have it, I just met a wonderful man, completely out of the blue, and went on two of the best dates of my life. We have plans to see each other again this weekend. My dilemma is this: How do I tell someone I just started dating that I’m about to be a mother without scaring him away? Why is my timing always off?

Signed, Mother-To-Be

A. Dear Mother-To-Be,

My question is: How do you not tell the man you’re dating that you’re about to be a mother? If he gets scared away, he’s either not so wonderful after all or at least he’s not the right Mr. Wonderful for you. Either way, it’s better to know now before you waste another precious minute of your mother-to-be time on him. You can’t afford to worry about the feelings of a man you barely know if he’s not OK with the child that’s about to be a very big part of your life. Assuming this man continues to be wonderful, you should still tell him about your child-on-the-way, as he or she will have a very big impact on this man’s life if he decides to stick around.

As for timing, it may not be traditional to become a mother before finding a partner, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have bad timing. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is this: Life doesn’t always unfold as expected, but sometimes it works out better than we could have imagined. If you meet your dream guy and you begin a relationship that becomes serious, then you may end up giving your child a solid father figure sooner than you anticipated. Even if the man you’re dating hadn’t planned on starting a family so quickly, he’ll accept you and your child as family over time if he’s the right man for you.

At this point, it’s too early to tell whether your date is meant to be a permanent part of your life with your child or not. A lot depends on his reaction to your impending motherhood. Your next step is to tell him about your baby. If he’s still around in six months when you receive your child, you can reevaluate your relationship at that time and decide whether the two of you want to proceed as a couple. There are too many variables to make an informed decision at this time.

Just keep in mind that your life with your child will soon be your main priority, so you must now be discriminating about who you want in your child’s life as well as your own. While the wrong relationship will only distract you from your motherly duties, the right partner will arrive exactly on time and enhance the lives of both you and your child.

Q. Dear Rachel,

How much time does a guy need to recover after a break-up before he’s ready to date again? The guy I like is fresh out of a relationship and I don’t want to be his rebound girl. How long should we wait to date?

Signed, Impatient

A. Dear Impatient,

Men often react to break-ups differently than women. When the average woman goes through a break-up, she uses every tool at her disposal, including counseling sessions with friends, therapists, self-help books in addition to other restorative modalities to learn, grow and heal until she feels strong and healthy enough to search for true love one more time.

On the other hand, when the average man goes through a break-up he thinks to himself, “Love hurts and I never want to feel that kind of heartache.” He then proceeds to encircle his heart with metaphorical barbed wire, places it in a metaphorical castle, surrounds it by the requisite moat, drawbridge, sharks and crocodiles (which can live together harmoniously in metaphors) and vows never to allow access to it again. In other words, if this guy was deeply in love, it may be a while before you’re anything more than a rebound girl to him. Therefore, I suggest waiting a while to date this guy. In fact, I’d wait an additional chunk of time to date him just in case he’s in a, “I’ll get even with my ex by sleeping with random people that I don’t care about phase.”

Overall, I wouldn’t advise getting emotionally attached to this man until he’s on steadier ground. Unless you want to end up a rebound one-night stand, or even worse, an ongoing one-night stand, don’t sleep with him for at least a few months. Be his friend first and if over time you still want to date him, ask him about his relationship goals with you before you sleep with him to make sure the two of you are on the same page. Follow these precautions as your best bet to safeguard yourself from becoming his “rebound girl.”

Rachel Iverson is a freelance writer, dating coach and author, who lives with her husband in Venice Beach. Her book, “Don’t Help A Man Be A Man: How To Avoid 12 Dating Time Bombs,” has been endorsed by Dr. John Gray, author of “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus.” For more information on Rachel or her book, visit www.rebelgirlpublishing.com. For dating advice, contact: rachel@rebelgirlpublishing.com.

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