I met a woman online; she lives in the United States, and I was living in England. We’re both Asian, both divorced for five years. We each have one adult child.
We talked online and Skyped for two years.
We felt we were a perfect match. I sold my apartment and emigrated to be with her.
After two months, many things are great but some are so annoying I fear they’ll break us apart.
She’s always shopping – clothes, food, towels, etc. She works and earns well, but I see that she doesn’t need these new things.
She says it’s because there’s a sale or she’s buying in discount stores. She thinks it’s okay because it’s her money.
(I’ve brought money towards our buying a house together, and am starting work this month).
When I commented that it’s wasteful to keep buying, she reacted very strongly. She says this is how she lives and she’s not going to change.
Also, her adult daughter lives with her boyfriend nearby. They both work, yet they eat frequently at her mother’s, take home food, and even some of her mother’s clothes.
My adult son in England is independent. I gave him my car to sell and I still send him money for occasions, to help bring down his mortgage. That’s not the same as daily “gifts.”
I’m worried that the relationship isn’t going to last after I made this big move.
Every new couple experiences an adjustment period when two independent people decide to live together.
Their differences are even more pronounced between people in mid-life coming from previous unions.
When you add the factors of coming from different countries (even if there’s shared general culture), and having spent little time together in person, the situation requires patience and tolerance.
Your girlfriend’s shopping habit is long-standing. So long as it’s her money and not interfering with anything you two need as a couple, it’s unwise to overreact.
At this early stage, you might come across as a controller, which won’t be welcomed.
But an even more sensitive topic is her connection to her daughter. The visits, plus gifts of food and clothing, are entrenched in their relationship.
Trying to interfere with that now would be a mistake.
Focus on settling into a loving and trusting life as a couple. Let some irritations pass, until you have a bigger picture of what’s important between you two.
Before you criticize habits that are new to you, weigh how much you’re actually affected by them, before you risk the relationship.
Does a wife have to tell her husband when she’s received a ticket for speeding? The car I was driving is registered in his name.
I’ve had several speeding tickets in the past, and this one was very high. But the police officer was nice enough to lower it to under $100.
I can’t manage my job and children’s schedules without a car.
If my husband doesn’t know about this ticket, why does it matter if I just quietly pay it?
Keeping the Peace
The problem is secrecy. Speeding is bad enough since you take a chance with your own safety, that of others, and with the car.
Your husband likely knows by now that you drive too fast.
But secrecy erodes trust. Now, besides being reckless, you appear untruthful when he finds out. And he will, especially since the car’s registered in his name.
Confess. And start taking responsibility for what’s basically a selfish, dangerous driving habit.
FEEDBACK Regarding the married woman “Still Wondering” about a brief sexual relationship in her past (Aug. 3):
Reader – “An initial covert search for an old beau of 35 YEARS AGO will likely reveal a dramatically different scenario e.g. he could now appear old and fat, or no longer be alive!
“However, it’ll be important for her own mental wellbeing to do the search, because she’s driven to put her mind at rest.
“As the psychologist, Daniel Goleman, notes in his book Emotional Intelligence, regrets are of two kinds, and hers over the lost romance is the kind that can never be put fully to rest.
“(It's similar to regret about declining a different career path - i.e. it can never be quantified - as compared to the gain/loss on a prematurely sold stock).
“However, your advice that she make an effort to deal with her current marriage picture is what she clearly needs.”
Tip of the day:
An online relationship needs to re-start in person, getting acquainted with patience and tolerance.