Time to Throw in Towel?
Q: I was married for 6 years and have two kids. My ex is still in the picture but only for the kids. I met someone, and he has a child. We fell in love within 2 weeks and both feel we are each other's true love. He moved in about a year ago. My kids love him, I love his kid, and we all get along great. Both our families love us dearly. He has made me happier than I've ever been.
But now I'm having issues with him. When there's a problem, we talk, but on his part nothing is done about it. Do I continue to try to make this work, to avoid putting my children through another separation? Do I stop trying and let things go on the way they are and see what happens, or do I end it now? My biggest concern is putting the children through pain again and, obviously, my own heartache. -- Anna, 29
Dr. Susan: You're happy, he's happy, everybody's happy. But there are problems you say your new partner is not willing to deal with. Welcome to the world of real adult relationships! What you need to do is stop thinking about breaking up, and talk to him about how he sees this relationship in the future. Does he want you to continue being happy? Then he'll take steps to deal with these issues. What I'd like to know is whether those issues are deal-breakers for you. Is he being unfaithful? Upsetting the kids? Abusing you in some way with his words or actions? Or simply not doing his fair share of chores? If your concerns are serious enough to even think of leaving him, then they're important enough to sit him down and ask him how he wants to proceed. A counselor may possibly help the two of you learn to speak each other's language better. So the answer is no, don't leave him, and no, don't just let things go the way they are. Tell him how much you love him and that his behavior is tearing you apart.
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Advice for Her
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.