I'm mid-30s, divorced two years ago. My ex-wife’s from a different culture, but speaks fairly good English. I left her because we fought a lot, there were many cultural differences, and she kept spending more and more on unnecessary luxuries.
Besides lacking ambition and not working, she had no understanding of money’s value.
I've since been dating someone, also of a different culture. We connect physically so well. However, her ability to speak English is poor.
I keep up with current events and pop culture, she doesn’t. I thought she was younger, but recently she finally confessed that she's actually almost eight years older than me.
My parents liked her, but are trying to convince me that I can find better and younger. They think her age may be an issue regarding having kids.
She's very ambitious (has two businesses), thrifty, I know she won't throw away money on luxury.
I'm unsure what to do, as I feel such a connection physically even just holding hands. She makes me very happy, except for the lack of conversation.
Also, there are inter-cultural differences that may be future issues.
Am I on a path leading to heartbreak?
Several signals are warning you about repeating a relationship pattern of lacking commonality.
Being able to converse is crucial over time. She can take English lessons, and you can learn her language, but it seems no one’s trying.
You must’ve felt love and hope when you married your ex, only to discover she had very different values from yours.
Now, with this woman, cultural differences are already emerging.
Moreover, while her being older doesn’t have to be a problem, her being deceptive already is.
Slow down. Get to know her a lot better. See whether she’s willing to work on language (and whether you are too), and start discussing openly the deeper differences between you.
This isn’t about your parents’ wishes, it’s about how you want your life to unfold, in a lasting relationship.
My father was a distant intellectual, living in his own ivory tower. I tried to grab his attention or affection by being an extremely good student with good marks, and bringing home no troubles at all. All my efforts were in vain.
After I became an adult, I was drawn to cold, unavailable men. Unsuccessful relationships with them made me feel even more empty than from having an emotionless father.
I still remember our last encounter before he died five years ago. It was on the phone. He initially mistook my voice to be my sister's. Then, realizing it was me, the enthusiasm in his voice was gone.
I feel I still carry a heavy burden from him that’s preventing me from establishing healthy relationships with men.
How should I work to redeem myself and give myself a new deserving love life ?
Never Daddy's Girl
You need to become your own woman, confident of what you’ve achieved beyond and despite lacking a father’s emotional support.
A process of individual therapy would help you see that his distance was related to his emotional inabilities, and had nothing to do with your efforts.
Supportive counselling will help you see yourself in the present, as an individual with warmth and proven accomplishments, plus many opportunities to meet decent men.
Once you fully understand that choosing a partner today must be unrelated to what your father withheld of attention and affection, you’ll be able to assess men’s character and suitability for you.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman who wrote that she was upset by her same-sex partner's relationship with a (straight) female co-worker (July 18):
Reader – “Nothing she wrote indicates that there’s any more to the relationship than friendship.
“As a straight woman I’ve worked with, had close friendships with, and shared confidences with several gay women. These friendships did not threaten my primary relationship or theirs.
“Furthermore, the secret that was shared was about the partner's rape, so it was her own secret to share, not a betrayal of her partner.
“The partner's anger in response to this feeling of “betrayal” could be a clue that she feels mistrusted and disbelieved.
“Most of us, like the letter-writer, feel jealous and insecure in our relationships at times, but hurling accusations of betrayal is not a good way to resolve these feelings.”
Ellie – Perhaps there’s another clue here, about insecurity in general and whether it’s warranted or her own problem.
Tip of the day:
When a relationship reflects a pattern that was already negative, look closer.