Q: I’ve been seeing a lovely woman whom I met online. We have a long distance relationship, about a 2½-hour drive each way. She has four young children from her previous marriage and is a full-time mom; I have a grown son from mine. We have been dating for nearly two months. We get along great, but, when we have been together with all the kids, it is chaotic and overwhelming for me.

We’ve had only two weekends alone that were enjoyable. We have never said the “L” word to each other, nor have we ever referred to ourselves as a couple. She has been on vacation for the last 10 days, so our communication has been limited to email. She is a wonderful person, and I don’t want to hurt her, but for me things aren’t working.

Should I give it more time, or should I end it?

– F.S., Buffalo

A: It’s not a bad thing that the L word hasn’t been used at this point, as it hasn’t been very long. I think you’ve already checked out of the “relationship,” and it takes two to make a partnership work. After only two months of dating, the fact that you already have decided it’s not working is a good indicator that you should end things now; prolonging the inevitable will only make it worse.

It’s perfectly fine to tell her why it’s not a good fit. The great thing about relationships is that we get to choose who we’re with. If a woman with small children is just not someone you’re looking for, there’s no need to feel bad about it. There are plenty of other men out there who would embrace that kind of lifestyle. Let her go now, so you can both find someone more compatible.

A reminder to single moms and dads who are dating: Children should not be introduced to a potential partner until the future of the relationship is more certain.

Out of the picture

Q: My boyfriend and I have been dating for three years, and living together for one. As expected, the first year was very intimate. I didn’t notice a real decline until this year. The sexual aspect of our relationship has become dull. He closes his eyes during sex, and I believe it is so he can picture other women or scenarios he’s viewed on porn sites. He is so dependent on pornography that we cannot have sex unless he has watched it to get in the mood. I feel as though, after seeing so many women in the films (busty, loud and experienced), that I have become ugly to him. Sex is about once a month. Help!

– P.K., North Tonawanda

A: I’m wondering if you’ve had a conversation about this with him. If you haven’t, it’s time to do it now. Sex is a healthy and important part of a functional relationship, and if one or both people feel slighted in the bedroom, the relationship will suffer in other areas as well. Tell him your concerns about the porn, about how you feel ugly, and how it’s affecting your emotional well-being.

If he’s resistant or in denial about his reliance on pornography for sexual performance, and you’re intent on making the relationship work, I suggest meeting with a sex therapist or a couples counselor.

Patti Novak welcomes your relationship questions. Email her at and please include your initials and hometown.