Dear Savvy Auntie,

I'm 39 and don't have children by choice. I love kids, but I never wanted to be a mom. I've been dating a divorced dad of two for a few months. He's a great dad and is very proud of his kids and often shares the great things they are up to. And sometimes, he tells me about some of the challenges he's dealing with. I have opinions on how he handles some of the situations. Sometimes I agree with him; sometimes, I don't. When I recently gave him my opinion on how to handle something with his 15 year old son, he got defensive and I think a little annoyed with me. He said: "Well, you've never had a 15 year old kid, so...."  I wanted to say the kid turned 15 a couple of weeks ago, and neither did he! Plus he knows I have a 13 year old nephew I'm close with, so it's not like I don't know teen boys at all. I don't know if it's because I'm childless, or just his male ego, but I need to know that if I'm potentially going to be a stepmom to these kids one day, I will be respected as such. How do I handle the situation?

Girlfriend Auntie

Dear Girlfriend Auntie,

The man you are dating might be sensitive to his parenting abilities, as many men are when they become single dads. His annoyance has very little, if any, relation to the facts of the situation and and much more to being criticized. Most, if not all, men respond poorly to judgment. I tell the couples I counsel that every cemetery has the same inscription on the headstones: "I WAS RIGHT." Projecting what it will be in the future if you become a stepmother is pure fantasy... Don’t worry!

In closing, there is no such thing as JUST a male ego.
Good Luck,
Natalie Robinson Garfield

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