I’m a single mom with two kids, each from a different father. Both those men have other children with two other women each.
Neither man is well off but they both help me a little financially with the kids. Every once in a while, one or the other will show up at “home” with me.
This set-up is pretty common in my background culture. But for those who didn’t grow up with it – many of my colleagues and friends – it’s not common.
The more I’m part of a different North American culture, the more I question this arrangement.
I want to have, and feel that I deserve, a partner for life.
How do I find someone who’ll understand my culture but like me, wants something different for his life?
Be very thoughtful if considering a major cultural change for you and your children.
It may be the lifestyle all around you but your children know who their fathers are and presumably accept that they’re only around occasionally. It’s what you formerly accepted, too.
It’s understandable that now, amongst people who appear to have or expect long-term live-in partners, and don’t accept other cultural norms, you question your current lifestyle.
But the reality is that divorce and serial relationships are common in the larger culture.
To seek a “life” partner, you’ll have to take the same risks of dating that others face – meeting men through your personal network, interest groups, online, etc.
You’ll need to hope they have no issue with your previous short-term partners’ easy access to their kids (and re-think the dads’ stay-overs).
And help your children’s adjustment to a new lifestyle at home that still respects the culture of which you and they are still a part.
Is all this is possible? YES, of course.
It won’t happen overnight, and you still have to make sure a man you think is The One, is trustworthy, respectful, kind to your children, etc.
There’s no shame in being a single mom, working, and raising children mostly on your own. But there is some loneliness and uncertainty.
Still, don’t trade it for a wish. Make sure the partner you choose is the right man for you, whatever his culture.
A friend ended our longstanding relationship by mail, saying negative things about me with orders NOT to respond.
I tried once, was thwarted, and gave up. Then I found other friendships/professional relationships were also impacted.
I have reason to believe she may’ve poisoned those relationships, as many have given me the same brush-off - some more painful than others.
I tried to intercept any future problems by saying that I had an acrimonious ending to a friendship, in case they heard untrue statements, but that hasn't worked.
None of these people have said why their attitude took a 180-degree turn, so I have no way of disputing any allegations.
Some people believe whatever rumour or gossip they hear. But among your social and professional contacts, there must be others who didn’t take the bait.
If possible, try to learn from one of those still in contact with you, just what’s been circulated.
Then, if it’s totally wrong or ambiguously misleading, consider reaching out by email or phone, to some of those who’ve pulled away, telling your truth to them.
It’s sad to have to do this, but may clear the air with anyone worth your caring about.
However, if you believe any comments about you have been slanderous or libelous, get legal advice about how to proceed.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the woman’s partner with a cocaine addiction (July 14):
“If she loves him and wants to help him, I suggest she contact professionals in the addiction field and follow their advice.
“For me, nothing anyone could’ve said would’ve made me deal with my issue any sooner than when I did.
“People tried. I even saw a therapist before anyone knew about my issue to learn why I didn't want to quit, only desired to want to quit.
“An addiction specialist can probably best guide this reader – after assessing her level of commitment to helping her partner.”
Ellie – She described him as "someone who’s in denial, and won't seek help." Addiction programs can be excellent but the person has to go willingly.
If, after tears and fights, she says it's over between them, it might get him to recognize his risk of losing her. That’s when an addiction specialist is essential.
Tip of the day:
Be true to yourself even when others’ lifestyles appear “better.”