MOPPING UP AFTER A DIVORCE W / CHILDREN
DEAR MIDLIFE BACHELOR: [Note to Reader: this is an update from June, age 44, who wrote in twice previously: See CHEATING HUSBAND UPDATE and HOW TO GET HUSBAND BACK FROM MIDLIFE CRISIS AFFAIR]
Well, the ex married this young girl in their favorite calendar month of June. This man is now no longer accepting his own son into their home because my son does not talk to the new step mom or step siblings. My son is so shy and meek that he hardly talks to anyone, and his father expects him to jump through hoops for his ‘’new family’’. Never in my life did I think that this man would choose this young woman over his only son. My son is very upset that he’s not welcome in his father’s house, but he states that he doesn’t have anything to talk about to her or her family. This man has changed so much over the last year and we’ve only spoken to each other about our son twice this calendar year. I never want this man back in my life ever because if he can do this to his own son, he’s no longer a man. They had such a tight father and son relationship before this other person came along. I’m so ashamed of my son’s father but I refuse to badmouth my ex in front of his son because he is half his father. It’s been tough for me to meet good, honest gentlemen out there, but I’ll search to the end of the earth to find one to love. I’ve learned valuable lessons from trusting a man who walks out for another woman. I’m not letting this midlife crisis ex-husband ruin my thoughts of men. I hope my son learns from this experience and is not bitter. I’ve reassured my son that no one else will ever come before him in my life as he’s almost grown (16) and he’ll always be my son. It is true that ‘’what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger”. I’m searching for an honest man with a good sense of humor and a good communicator and someday I know I’ll find him. I’ll just take my time and live my life one day at a time until love happens for me again. I will admit that I can’t wait to see the old saying, “what comes around, goes around” and the ex will fall on his face someday for the choices that he’s made, especially concerning his own son. June, (OH)
MLB RESPONSE: Hi June – I am sorry to hear about your situation. Really there are two issues currently in play:
1) Your own recovery from your divorce
2) Your son’s recovery from the divorce of you and your (now ex-) husband
What I hear from you about your own recovery is encouraging – you know that you want and need to meet a nice gentleman. You won’t badmouth your ex- in front of your son – that is extremely important. And you acknowledge that adversity breeds strength – you know and accept this as a growth and learning experience for yourself … which is great. As I’ve mentioned previously when you wrote in, the best advice that this site can give you (a newly single person) is contained in Midlife Dating Advice … particularly the Midlife Bachelor Personal Makeover section (even though it is written for men – you can adapt, not adopt what is appropriate). Similarly, I suggest you check out the Develop a Strategy for Midlife Bachelor Success and also the Reaching Midlife Bachelor Personal Equilibrium section.
Concerning your son – it sounds to me like maybe two things need to happen. First of all, I’d suggest that you get him some counseling. The way you describe his behavior – it definitely sounds like it has changed as a consequence of everything that has happened … and he could likely benefit tremendously from some professional third-party advice. I suggest doing this right away. After some counseling (and under the direction of the counselor), I would also suggest that efforts be made to repair the relationship he has with his father. This does not mean forcing your son to go to the new household – but it does mean engaging his father in the seriousness of the problem, and getting the two of them to spend some time together. Healing can happen – but it will likely take time. The best thing you can do is to be supportive of your son regardless of how his relationship with his father winds up. Please let us know how things work out.
SHOULD WOMAN PAY FOR HIGH DOLLAR MEAL?
DEAR MIDLIFE BACHELOR: I am the high income woman who wrote in previously (see Dating Challenges of a High Income Woman) – and I have another question for you. I have an upcoming business trip to San Francisco, and will be meeting up with a new guy (a producer – age 50) there. So my friends in SF have a nice restaurant I thought we would go to for dinner. It’s next door to a jazz club he mentioned that he likes (nice coincidence). Should I pay, or at least offer to pay? Assuming I do … I like champagne - can I order some nice champagne or would that seem too “over the top”? Just so you know the dynamic, I know the restaurant owners very well. The chef will come out … will likely make us a special menu, etc. Will he want to pay in front of my friends? I am assuming (could be wrong) that he will offer – so should I insist? [He lives in LA and is coming to SF just to see me so it seems like I ought to do something nice for him.] Lexie, Age 45
MLB RESPONSE: Hi Lexie – since this guy is a producer, it sounds like he is a high roller (lot’s of money) so it probably won’t be a big deal if he pays. In my mind, it would be nice if you at least OFFER to pay … especially since he will be coming to SF from LA to see you. But I would only offer ONCE, and if he says “no” then just let him pay for it … in other words, don’t make it a big deal out of it. Many men (myself included) pretty much view paying for dinner as the “gentlemanly thing to do”. That said, sometimes financial disparities can come into play … which means if he didn’t have a lot of money (and you do), then you would really need to consider taking charge of a high dollar dinner tab.
Only once in my life did I ever date a woman who made a ton of money – and she never had any problem passing me the dinner tab after ordering the $200 bottle of wine. I could only afford to go out with her once a week or so at the time – because dating her was the financial equivalent of a monthly payment on a brand-new Mercedes! [I was relieved when she dumped me – because I could afford to date four women on what I was spending on her.] Anyway – you, Lexie, are definitely a Jackpot (see Types of Woman – Jackpot). Let us know how things go with your new high roller date.
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