Part Two Chat of the leftover questions from my online chat, “The Cheating Zone,” October 15:
I’m dating a wonderful man but feel insecure about his relationship with his ex-wife. They have two children so I understand they have to be in touch, but he’ll respond to every text, and run over there for the slightest reason, even if we are already out together.
I talked to his friend (my co-worker who introduced us) about this and he says my boyfriend has always been this way – very upstanding and devoted to his kids.
He’s been mostly reassuring me, but the other day he hinted that if it were he, he’d never just leave me in a restaurant like that.
I started thinking differently about both men.
My boyfriend makes me feel like I’m just there as a distraction from his main life, which still involves his ex-wife.
His friend makes me feel that I deserve more. He broke up with his ex-wife years ago, and has been single since.
A relationship with a divorced person with kids is a package deal. The reality is that there’ll be children and his ex in your life, on some level, for years. But that level can be managed.
It’s usually more intense in the early years when there’s still breakup guilt involved, and when the children need lots of reassurance to help them adjust.
Yes, it means that a parent will sometimes drop everything for them.
However, he should not feel free to just leave you in a restaurant unless there’s a dire emergency. Say so. Also, show enough independence to assure him you can get home by taxi, and enough caring later to ask if everything turned out okay.
Then talk about next time… when he’ll know better to take you home first or see you into that cab.
Or, if there’s no true crisis, when he’ll talk to his ex enough to settle her and the kids down, then see them the next morning.
But it’s unwise to change horses or boyfriends in mid-stream.
Especially when you don’t know enough about his friend, other than that he’s not above verbally seducing his friend’s lady.
The man who’s “upstanding” is a better deal long-term. But he does need to recognize that there’s a need for adjusting from full-time husband/father to a caring parent who also has a new relationship.
Take time to help your boyfriend see that some gentle barriers have to be agreed, to honour both his ongoing responsibilities and his new ones with you.
My wife has a teaching degree but won’t work full-time until our youngest daughter’s in school. I feel great financial stress from this and work long hours. My only time for myself is at the gym.
I’ve made a couple of great friends there, including a woman with whom I feel increasingly close and comfortable. I’m trying to keep it as a friendship only, even though she’s been open about being attracted to me. How do I avoid things getting complicated? Don’t tell me to quit the gym, it’s my refuge!
Stressed at Home
Find a new gym. Or you’ll soon be trading one stress for a lot more.
Tight finances, plus resentment, have made this a relationship issue you and your wife need to try and resolve.
Discuss areas where you and she together can cut costs. Perhaps she can also start working part-time from home, e.g. tutoring.
Be forewarned: An affair’s costly, in every way.
My daughter, 35, is dating again, online. She’s very attractive and successful career-wise.
However, she’s started smoking, has several drinks daily (not new), and she’s dating too many men. She says, “Why waste chemistry when it comes around?"
I know she’s lonely and wants a relationship, but abusing her body and hooking up too readily after a four-year hiatus is worrying me.
What can I do?
A critical parent can do little. But a loving parent has an important role. She already knows what you think. But she missed “chemistry” and wants to feel desired again.
Boost her confidence. Encourage her fitness, self-care and well-being, but not with lectures.
Through sharing healthy eating and interesting activities, you’ll remind her that she has personal value beyond a quick fling for attention, and unaided by alcohol.
She’ll soon find that random hook-ups don’t attract men who’ll admire her and want a true relationship.
Tip of the day:
Looking to escape a relationship problem, puts one in the Cheating Zone.