Dear John, I'm 25. For a year, I've lived with "Zach," who is 41 and has children. Zach was still married but separated. He had been separated for six years when I moved in with him. I understand that he shares a bond with his ex-wife because of the children. Still, I become jealous when he spends time with her and the kids.
For example, tonight he is out to dinner with his ex-wife, his mother and his children for his daughter's birthday, leaving me at home. I feel really left out! I know he loves me. After all, he does other things that demonstrate that. Zach thinks I am being irrational and that I hate his kids since I don't want him to do things with them. He also says that, when it comes to having a family, he's "been there and done that." On the other hand, I want to plan a future and family of my own. Will this ever work out? —Having Doubts, in Utica, N.Y.
Dear Doubts, There is nothing wrong with him seeing his children in the presence of his ex-wife. What you really want — and have a right to ask for — is your inclusion in this area of Zach's life.
If this is your desire, tell him that you love him and that you respect and appreciate his relationship with his children. Add that you would like to strengthen your relationship with the children, as well, and you want to be included at times when they are around or when he goes to see them.
If Zach is considering a long-term commitment, he will welcome your suggestion and include you in future get-togethers. If he feels that his ex-wife is still hurt over the break-up, or that she resents the inclusion of other women in his life, or he hasn't yet considered what role you play in his life, he may resist.
Eventually, however, if he is to ever again be part of a committed relationship, he will have to include the woman he loves in other important areas of his life.
Your future actions are what will convince him that you are indeed this person. If in fact you don't want to be included in his family functions, or you don't feel he will ever consider having a child with you later, then you'd be smart to realize that he is not the right guy for you, and now might be the time to move on.
Dear John, I am a single, divorced mother of two wonderful sons. I feel an attraction to one of my sons' coaches. Although the season is over and he doesn't teach my son any classes, he flirts with me a lot and offers to run errands for me. He works with my son during school vacations and says he's in my neighborhood at times. I'm not sure if he's hinting and wanting me to make a move, or if it's silly of me to think so because of this attention. I'm 37, and he's 30. Is it OK for me to ask him out, or is there a line between teachers and parents? He is also moving to a new campus, and some friends say I should wait until he's over there. Any suggestions? —Tough Choices in Medford, Mass.
Dear Choices, I think he's definitely giving you some broad hints. Why not test this theory? The next time he offers to run an errand for you, let him do so, then thank him by asking him out for dinner. If he has a good time, believe me, the next date will be on him. In this manner, you'll extend the friendship slowly-and perhaps you'll both end-up on the same team.
2013 John Gray's Mars Venus Advice. Distributed by Creators Syndicate. John Gray is the author of "Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus." If you have a question, write John in care of this newspaper, or by email at: www.marsvenus.com. All questions are kept anonymous, and will be paraphrased.