I'm a 48-year-old workingwoman, with no children. I was married briefly, in the mid-1980s, and my ex-husband and I have remained good friends.
He’s since raised a family with his second wife. Their eldest son is 25. He recently moved back with his parents after several years on his own.
We share many interests and he's taken me to dinner several times.
Recently, we shared a very long, romantic kiss when he dropped me off at my home. I think I'm falling in love with him, and he with me.
I'm worried about the implications this might have on my friendship with my ex-husband.
My psychologist thinks I'm trying to recreate my first marriage with a younger version of my ex, but I disagree. The two men have very different personalities and I really think our relationship could work, despite the age gap between us.
Your psychologist knows you better than I do, and gave an opinion based not on similarities in the father and son, but on similarities in your own behaviour pattern, which presumably is why, you’re getting counselling.
My view is based on relationship logistics and common sense. Your ex-husband and his wife cannot possibly feel comfortable about this. A union would shift you into a romantic and sexual light regarding their much-younger son, and that plays havoc with your status as a friendly ex from long ago.
I don’t think it’ll work. These are early days of going out together, when “falling in love” is about attraction, and adventure far more than deep, lasting feelings. Perhaps you both like the excitement of playing with emotional fire – yours and others - and attracting attention for it.
Whatever your own underlying motive is, I suggest you probe it with your psychologist, and tell this young man to do the same. Meanwhile, stop dating him.
I’m convinced my mother may have bipolar disorder or depression, but she’s not convinced. It’s taking a toll on our relationship and my happiness.
She won’t go to family counselling with me to talk about our issues, nor go on her own. She blames others for her feeling down and sad.
When I bring up behaviours that I feel aren’t normal, e.g. her being overly happy then very grouchy, she says I’m talking about myself.
That makes me very angry and hostile towards her.
She often goes on spending sprees that seem way too excessive for their finances. It worries me.
Her relationship with my dad isn’t healthy - one minute they’re friends, the next they openly hate each other.
However, my toddler loves her and I don’t want to break contact, as I too, love my mom.
When she’s in her moods she can be very hurtful towards me by being cold and bitter. Then I say things, which only make things worse.
Frustrated and Helpless
You’re not helpless. You can go to counselling yourself to discuss this dynamic and your feelings from it.
If you two have always had ups and downs, tensions and mutual blaming, it’s affected your behaviour, too, which impacts on your actions and reactions as a mother. So it’s wise to talk this out for your own/family’s benefit.
Meanwhile, you can change your reaction to your mom. When she’s grouchy, just gently say you’ll talk to her when she’s feeling better.
When she’s negative about your father, say you’re sorry to hear it but you love them both.
The least that’ll happen is less stressful conversation between you… and maybe more understanding.
This guy and I are "just friends" because he’s trying to get over his ex.
But his words don't match his actions when he says how attracted he is to me, and then gives a confusing reason why we're only friends.
I see myself having feelings for him, but I don't have a problem with just being friends. Why is he acting so confused?
He’s Confusing Me
He’s of two minds.
He’s hanging on to the possibility of being with his ex again, but also hanging on to you as a potential replacement or back up.
It’s an unfortunately common but self-centered attitude of some, after a split.
“Attracted” is his buzzword for wanting sex, or keeping you on the hook. “Friends only” means no commitment.
You decide what his double talk means to you. For example, if you dislike being his back-up plan, you may resist forming a sexual tie, lest you end up passed over.
Tip of the day:
Romancing an ex-spouse’s adult child is playing with emotional fire.