Take a break from ‘serial partnering’
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.