Take a break from ‘se­rial part­ner­ing’

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - PAUSE & PLAY - El­lie Tesher

Q - I’m a sin­gle par­ent of three teenagers.

My mar­riage ended in 2005 af­ter my then-hus­band fell in love with an­other woman. He’s re­mained very in­volved in the kids’ lives.

I lived with one man for five years, start­ing a year af­ter my mar­riage ended. It was a re­bound thing.

I’ve dated my cur­rent boyfriend for over a year. He and my youngest son, 13, don’t get along well.

I’m un­sure if it’s a per­son­al­ity con­flict or my son is early-teen hor­monal and of­ten not agree­able.

They rub each other the wrong way. This is the first boyfriend with whom I’ve had an is­sue.

How­ever, I strug­gle with my im­age from hav­ing four dif­fer­ent boyfriends over the last five years.

I ask my kids openly if they’re okay with it and their views of me.

I don’t want to be per­ceived as the slut mom. But I also feel “en­ti­tled” to a life too, and want to go out to events/din­ner (adult time), have in­ti­macy with an­other per­son, and feel val­ued.

I’m un­set­tled in this cur­rent re­la­tion­ship. While I love my boyfriend, I sense an­other failed re­la­tion­ship.

It’s dif­fi­cult to find a per­son that you re­ally click with.

To me, ul­ti­mately, you need to have the same core val­ues and that “in love” chem­istry to build on.

I do en­joy my “alone times” though few and far be­tween at this stage. My kids are very in­volved with ev­ery­thing I do and even want to ac­com­pany me to a store when I run out for five min­utes.

I have this over­whelm­ing feel­ing of not hav­ing enough time for ev­ery­one, least of all me.

I have a full-time job, own my own house (lots of main­te­nance), and the kids.

What do I do?

A - Your life is full and mostly for­tu­nate - kids, job, home, and cur­rent part­ner. With teenagers want­ing to spend time and talk openly with you, these are good signs.

But gut in­stinct mat­ters. Since both you and your son have mis­giv­ings about your cur­rent boyfriend, look closer.

Of course, you want to date and have in­ti­macy.

But with a full house watch­ing and re­act­ing, you may be mov­ing too fast from one to an­other.

Not only do kids need time to ad­just, so do you.

Also, you be­gan your ac­count with a hus­band hav­ing left you. That was then, and should no longer in­flu­ence your choice of part­ners.

Call a break, at least for now.

Your youngest child is most vul­ner­a­ble, hav­ing dealt with four dif­fer­ent “new guys” while very young. Fo­cus on him awhile.

Then take time for your­self. En­joy think­ing things through, de­cid­ing when to catch up with a girl­friend, or read a book, or hang out with one or more of your chil­dren.

Dat­ing will al­ways be avail­able to you. But it takes time to re­ally know who’s a long-term can­di­date. Don’t rush your­self or the kids into that choice.

FEED­BACK: Re­gard­ing the man de­scrib­ing his girl­friend who sounds like she may have some health is­sues (June 17):

Reader — “A low thy­roid will cause weight gain and drop her sex drive to 0. Coun­selling is great, but I feel like that should also be ad­dressed.”

El­lie — Thanks for this re­minder.

When­ever a per­son changes their phys­i­cal or men­tal be­hav­iour dra­mat­i­cally — such as this woman go­ing from hav­ing “great” sex to none, and com­plain­ing of weight gain — a health check by a doc­tor is a cru­cial first look into what might be a cause.

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