Don’t let grat­i­tude dam­age fu­ture

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - COFFEE BREAK - Q A

- When I met my on-off boyfriend of nine years, he helped me leave a very abu­sive re­la­tion­ship, which I’d been try­ing to flee for years.

I was also strug­gling with men­tal ill­ness/ad­dic­tion and on a self-de­struc­tive path.

How­ever, he’s still mar­ried to his ex. They’re legally sep­a­rated and haven’t been to­gether for years.

We now have two chil­dren to­gether. He keeps promis­ing to clear up his di­vorce and gave me an en­gage­ment ring.

But I know that he may never fi­nal­ize his di­vorce. He’s self-em­ployed and hasn't dealt with tax is­sues, which he lied to me about.

When I ask why he hasn't fi­nal­ized things, I never get a clear an­swer. I think it’s re­lated to prov­ing his in­come.

I feel like a fool be­cause I love him.

He's also lied about his age which I dis­cov­ered when we trav­elled to­gether.

He’s 20 years older than me and we can never have a fu­ture be­cause he has bad debts.

I want to move on but don't feel able to man­age on my own. I feel de­pressed and trapped, long­ing for a real life.

He hides me from friends and fam­ily. I feel that my chil­dren and I are in­vis­i­ble.

Hid­den Part­ner

- He res­cued you when most needed, and you love him, which makes it hard to con­front the neg­a­tives.

But you need to learn whether, in your ju­ris­dic­tion, there are com­mon-law ben­e­fits to you – es­pe­cially child sup­port and help with ac­com­mo­da­tion - de­spite his not be­ing di­vorced, should you leave him or he dies.

Tell him that you and the chil­dren can’t be left with noth­ing. If he won’t di­vorce, he needs to write a will leav­ing you what­ever he can – home, any pri­vate sav­ings, etc. But make sure you’re also not left with his per­sonal debts.

If you de­cide that you must leave him, get ad­vice from a lo­cal YWCA or Fam­ily Ser­vices As­so­ci­a­tion that helps sin­gle moms find hous­ing and gives emo­tional sup­port. TIP OF THE DAY Don’t let grat­i­tude ob­scure your need to se­cure your chil­dren’s fu­ture.

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