My friend, 36, divorced four years ago from a husband who became very successful but grew self-absorbed and demanding. She’s even described him as mean to her.
She’s very attractive and independent - she works, gets decent support for their eight-year-old daughter.
After a year on her own, she started online dating, a lot. Several men have fallen for her. But she always breaks up with them just when they seem eager to make a commitment.
She’ll describe the men, initially, as very nice and appealing, and says she’s excited about the new relationship.
But she’s always the one who starts acting distant and even gets harsh.
Example: She insisted on going home right after a man she’s been intimate with made a romantic dinner at his place, when her son was with his Dad and she was free to stay over!
Whenever she tells me a story like that, I know she’s going to break up with the guy soon after.
Why does she keep giving men the boot, after liking them so much at the start?
Only a psychologist who’s treating her can answer that question, if she ever decides to seek that help.
As a friend, you might gently suggest she seek a professional take on her boyfriend turnover.
I’d be surprised if it didn’t have reference to the way her ex-husband hardened his behaviour towards her, over their years together.
Like an unacknowledged reflex, it can be a refusal to stick around long enough for someone to turn on her, again.
But she needs more than guesswork to change her pattern. It’ll require her realizing herself that she’s just going into the same relationship cycle each time. Hopefully, she’ll eventually look into her own behaviour.
I’m a divorced woman of 40, eager to have a child in a stable, loving relationship with a man I’ve known a year, and love.
Unfortunately, what I’ve learned about my boyfriend’s ex-wife makes me wonder if that’s possible.
She’s the mother of their young twins, and sounds very erratic, vengeful, and mentally disturbed.
She’ll take him to court for increased child support, then refuse to pay for the items in their agreement as her costs – e.g. after-school daycare, expenses for trips that she decides to take with the children, etc.
She’s often late to pick up the kids on her days, and he gets called at work by the school to get them.
Am I going to end up dealing more with her than him, and regretting I got involved?!?
His Scary Ex
You’re already aware of what trouble and tricks his ex might cause that’ll affect the life you’d share with him.
Now you need a clear understanding of what you can handle emotionally, especially if/when you’re also trying to get pregnant, help raise his twins, and enjoy your life together.
While she may currently be behaving at her most extreme because he’s moved on with you, it’ll still take time before she accepts reality and stops causing chaos, if ever, in the next years of the children’s growing up.
So, the answer is up to you, and your boyfriend, too.
Getting counselling together can be very helpful, if he’ll be open about what he expects from her based on his past experience. And, if you’ll honestly examine what you’re prepared to accept. Or not accept.
I'm a man, 36, with two kids. Their mother and I lived together for nine years.
The relationship deteriorated until she decided to leave.
Now, she doesn't want me to marry another woman, though I no longer love her.
I want to find a woman and marry her but I'm afraid about how I’ll raise these two children with a woman who’s not their mom, and yet I love them.
Hold onto that love for your children, because they’ll need you whether they’re with their mom or someone new.
You must stay close to them and stand up for them if another woman isn’t kind and loving.
That’s why you need to be sure that you and your ex can’t work things out… (you don’t say whether you tried).
But if it’s truly over, do not rush into marriage with someone before you know her well, and she knows how much your children matter to you.
Tip of the day:
If you keep going around in circles in the way you respond to life’s experiences, you get no farther ahead in understanding, wisdom and personal growth.