Stay true to yourself

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

Q - I’m a sin­gle mom with two kids, each from a dif­fer­ent father. Both those men have other chil­dren with two other women each.

Nei­ther man is well off but they both help me a lit­tle fi­nan­cially with the kids. Ev­ery once in a while, one or the other will show up at “home” with me.

This set-up is pretty com­mon in my back­ground cul­ture. But for those who didn’t grow up with it - many of my col­leagues and friends - it’s not com­mon.

The more I’m part of a dif­fer­ent North Amer­i­can cul­ture, the more I ques­tion this ar­range­ment.

I want to have, and feel that I de­serve, a part­ner for life.

How do I find some­one who’ll un­der­stand my cul­ture but like me, wants some­thing dif­fer­ent for his life?

Yearn­ing

A - Be very thought­ful if con­sid­er­ing a ma­jor cul­tural change for you and your chil­dren.

It may be the life­style all around you but your chil­dren know who their fa­thers are and pre­sum­ably ac­cept that they’re only around oc­ca­sion­ally. It’s what you for­merly ac­cepted, too.

It’s un­der­stand­able that now, amongst peo­ple who ap­pear to have or ex­pect long-term live-in part­ners, and don’t ac­cept other cul­tural norms, you ques­tion your cur­rent life­style.

But the re­al­ity is that di­vorce and se­rial re­la­tion­ships are com­mon in the larger cul­ture.

To seek a “life” part­ner, you’ll have to take the same risks of dat­ing that oth­ers face - meet­ing men through your per­sonal net­work, in­ter­est groups, on­line, etc.

You’ll need to hope they have no is­sue with your pre­vi­ous short-term part­ners’ easy ac­cess to their kids (and re-think the dads’ stay-overs).

And help your chil­dren’s ad­just­ment to a new life­style at home that still re­spects the cul­ture of which you and they are still a part.

Is all this is pos­si­ble? YES, of course.

It won’t hap­pen overnight, and you still have to make sure a man you think is The One, is trust­wor­thy, re­spect­ful, kind to your chil­dren, etc.

There’s no shame in be­ing a sin­gle mom, work­ing, and rais­ing chil­dren mostly on your own. But there is some lone­li­ness and un­cer­tainty.

Still, don’t trade it for a wish. Make sure the part­ner you choose is the right man for you, what­ever his cul­ture.

Q - A friend ended our long­stand­ing re­la­tion­ship by mail, say­ing neg­a­tive things about me with or­ders NOT to re­spond.

I tried once, was thwarted, and gave up. Then I found other friend­ships/pro­fes­sional re­la­tion­ships were also im­pacted.

I have rea­son to be­lieve she may’ve poi­soned those re­la­tion­ships, as many have given me the same brush-off - some more painful than oth­ers.

I tried to in­ter­cept any fu­ture prob­lems by say­ing that I had an ac­ri­mo­nious end­ing to a friend­ship, in case they heard un­true state­ments, but that hasn’t worked.

None of th­ese peo­ple have said why their at­ti­tude took a 180-de­gree turn, so I have no way of dis­put­ing any al­le­ga­tions.

Be­trayed

A - Some peo­ple be­lieve what­ever ru­mour or gossip they hear. But among your so­cial and pro­fes­sional con­tacts, there must be oth­ers who didn’t take the bait.

If pos­si­ble, try to learn from one of those still in con­tact with you, just what’s been cir­cu­lated.

Then, if it’s to­tally wrong or am­bigu­ously mis­lead­ing, con­sider reach­ing out by email or phone, to some of those who’ve pulled away, telling your truth to them.

It’s sad to have to do this, but may clear the air with any­one worth your car­ing about.

How­ever, if you be­lieve any com­ments about you have been slan­der­ous or li­belous, get le­gal ad­vice about how to pro­ceed.

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