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I’m love struck

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Dear Life Coach,

I am a 30-year-old male and I have two daughters aged 13 and 12. I separated from their mother three years ago, after which I migrated from the rural town in which I lived all my life to the capital in pursuit of a job. Last year, I met a wonderful woman and we have gotten close. She is five years my senior and has three children, aged 14, 12 and 10, from a previous relationship. My family of origin is aware of this relationship and they are upset about it because they believe that she is too old for me, and that I am spending my money on her and her children, instead of on my children.{{more}} I love this woman, and although my family has never met her, they all hate her. So now I am torn between my new love and my family. I do not want to have a bad relationship with my family, but at the same time I do not want to miss out on the best thing that has ever happened to me. The truth is that I have never really loved my Ex. She became pregnant at age 16. I was 17 and I stayed with her because I wanted to do the honourable thing, and because my family also felt that it was the right thing for me to do. However, since we have been together it has been a roller coaster ride, because we are not compatible. Over the years, I have learned that one should never remain in a relationship just because children are involved. This is part of the reason I separated from her.

Love Struck (LS)

Dear LS,

There is nothing in life like finding your soul mate. It energizes, hypnotizes and totally puts the wind in your sails.

Your Situation:

Several factors appear to be at work here: mate selection, making one’s own choice, enmeshed family, separation/termination of relationship and grieving, and child support and visitation, among others. I will address each briefly.

Mate Choice

Mate choice refers to how and why a person selects a particular person for marriage (or for an intimate relationship) and there are many theories about why we choose the persons we choose.

Making One’s Own Choice

The theory of complementary needs proposes that each person subconsciously chooses a mate based on who is best suited to meet his/her unconscious psychological needs. That is, we choose someone that we perceive to be a ‘best fit’ for us. As such, it important for each person to make his/her own choice, as it is unlikely that someone else will know our needs.

Enmeshed Family

In an enmeshed family, the members are extremely close, to the point where individuals are not allowed to make their own decisions without family interference/input. Otherwise, family members become upset about not being a part of the individual’s decision, even when the person is an adult.

Separation/Termination of Relationship & Grieving

Separation from a relationship is a form of loss that is considered to be one major cause of stress, both for the parties involved, as well as for their families/relatives. One theorist proposes that individuals go through a three-stage process in response to loss/separation, including the following: protest (the person refuses to accept it); despair (the person experiences emotional agony); and detachment (the person accepts that the relationship is over and finally lets go). Your family/relatives are clearly in the stage of protest and/or despair.

What To Do:

Make Your Own Choice

It is important to make your own decision, since you will have to live with the consequences and take responsibility for how things work out in your life. However, there is also some merit in listening to what your family has to say, and factor these things into your decision-making, since they may have more objectivity.

Maintain Family Relationship

If you chose to continue with this new woman, your family may continue to be upset. Despite this, it will still be important to dialogue with them and be honest with them about the situation with your Ex (without going into elaborate details).

Child Support & Visitation

Be sure to support and visit your children on a regular basis and maintain a relationship with them. Your presence in their lives is important for their healthy development. Inform your family of your intention in this regard. Also, try to maintain a cordial relationship with your Ex for the benefit of your children

Talk to your Children & your Ex

It is not clear whether your Ex also sees the relationship as being over, but it is important for you to talk with her, as well as with your children, so that everyone is clear about the situation. Assure the children of your continued commitment to ensuring their welfare. You can also expect the children and/or your Ex to be in the protest and/or despair phase of the separation/loss process.

Take Time

You have only known this new woman for a short time, therefore you do not know her character/qualities well. Therefore it makes sense to go slowly in your decisions pertaining to her.

LS, ending a relationship is often difficult, but it is also important to be true to oneself. It is my hope that things will work out positively for you and all parties concerned.

Life Coach

DYNACII

Need help with relationship and other problems? Ask DYNACII’s Life Coach. Email your questions to dynacii@gmail.com. To Chat with the Life Coach, visit: http://www.dynacinternational.com. Dynamic Action Center International Inc. (DYNACII) a non-governmental organization committed to social and spiritual empowerment.

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