I am thirty-five and my daughter is eleven. Her mother and I broke up when she was three years old…. I have concentrated on my daughter and the conflicts after separating from her mother, so I have never gotten into a new relationship. But my daughter is beginning adolescence now, and she doesn’t want to spend much time with me.
I have made some attempts to start over, but women aren’t interested in me and say that I’m no good to share their lives with…. I feel old, alone and incapable of starting a new family. I need your wise words of advice.
God knows how you feel! In fact, after He created Adam, the first man, God said that it is not good for man to be alone. (1) So He created Eve, the first woman, and she became Adam’s companion.
Was God making a commandment when He said that it is not good for man to be alone? No, He wasn’t; He was simply stating a general rule. That rule is that most men are not happy alone. But there certainly are some men who prefer not to marry. The Apostle Paul was one who decided to remain single so that he could concentrate all of his efforts on doing God’s work. (2) But most men want to have families, as you do.
You say that you have spent the past eight years concentrating on your daughter. That is an amazing purpose for your life, and we congratulate you for it. Statistics say that your daughter is more likely to thrive physically, mentally, and emotionally because of your attentive presence in her life.
We advise you not to be disheartened by your daughter’s stage of life. Almost all adolescents go through exactly the stage that you describe. They are more interested in spending time with friends than family.
However, it is extremely important that you do not reject your daughter even as she may be trying to push you away. Though she seems to be withdrawing from you, she still needs your consistent influence in her life. Your love for her may seem one-sided for the next five years or more, but if you can remain constant, your daughter will eventually learn to balance friends and family.
In the meantime, don’t argue with her when she doesn’t want to see you. Don’t try to put a guilt trip on her or paint yourself as a victim. Instead, try to plan activities that can include her friends. Take them along, with your daughter, to places where they want to go. Remain in the background, caring and protecting.
When you are not with your daughter, deliberately put yourself into environments where you will meet new people. Volunteer your free time for a charity or join a sports team. Concentrate on being a good friend and really caring about others. Expand your horizons rather than focusing on the search for a new partner. A man who is a good friend and who has many interests will attract the right kind of woman.
We wish you well,
1 Ge 2:18
2 1 Co 7:7