I’m 43, divorced three years, and have been dating a younger man, 32, for the past two years.
I’m an executive in a successful company, he’s a tech whiz in a start-up. We have fun together, he’s smart, cool, and in some ways an “old soul.”
For example, he’s very thoughtful about being a “friend” to my son, who’s 13, without ever trying to act as a parent.
He’ll also easily change our plans to go out if my ex has a rare but sudden reason why he can’t have our son for a scheduled stay.
If it’s my weekend with my son at home, my “boyfriend” will come over to play sports and video games with him, and we’ll all watch an age-appropriate movie together.
Dating this younger man after my divorce, I didn’t move quickly into relationship mode. While we’ve been intimate, it wasn’t the driving element of our time together.
Also, I think I always knew this wasn’t going to last forever.
But I thought it’d be me who’d know when to gently end it.
Instead, he told me last week that he’s met someone whom he’s certain he wants to marry.
I was stunned. There’s been no hint or word of him dating someone else! We’re both busy with work so usually only saw each other on weekends and checked in with texts a couple of times during the week.
I’m struggling between feeling hurt that he just announced this, and understanding that it was inevitable.
He always said I was the best thing that ever happened to him, because I taught him to start seeing his life as a whole and not just in the moment.
Now, I’m wondering how to handle this sudden, abrupt change.
Do I exit the scene immediately? Or do I meet his girlfriend in the role of “close old friend?” How do I explain to my adolescent son that people can move right out of his life (especially since my ex is still a very involved father).
Or is there some better way to handle this? I really like this man a lot and want him to be happy!
You were both good for each other during a certain time period. But he’s ready, partly through your influence, to move into a different phase.
The fact that it’s not with you, is no insult or disrespect. Sure, he could’ve told you a while ago that he’d started seeing this other woman, but you didn’t have a formally committed relationship.
It was more of a loving friendship… deeper than friends with benefits, since it wasn’t mostly based on sex.
Be that strong friend he believes you are, and wish him well.
If he suggests your meeting his girlfriend, say that you’ll be happy to do so only when he’s sure that she’s interested in, and can handle, such a meeting.
You, too, can now move on with your life. The younger-man choice who adored and learned from you, was a safe haven after divorce.
There’s no need now to avoid dating more likely full-time partners. Just go slow, to be sure when it’s right.
Tell your son how lucky you both were to have had this great friend, who now needs to focus on maybe having his own kids one day.
And when he does, he’ll probably let you both know, and meet the child.
Your boy will be fine, since you and his father are very committed co-parents.
My son, 11, is switching to a different Middle School next year for a special program.
He’s a good boy but extremely quiet.
I’m worried about how to make sure he isn’t lost and friendless at the new school, e.g. organizing his after-school activities with his current “old” friends.
Also, since his old school is only one bus-ride away, he could join his current friends there for one or two lunch periods a week. Does this plan seem a good idea?
No, it has a hovering aspect that’s associated with so-called “helicopter parenting” in over-controlling and over-protecting a child’s experiences.
Helping him stay in touch with old friends, especially during his first semester, can be done with weekend plans.
But having lunch at the old school is overdoing it. He needs the time and place to find common ground with some new classmates. It won’t happen if he’s always hurrying away to catch the bus.
Tip of the day:
All meaningful relationships have a place/purpose in your life, including the briefer passages.