Q: Hi Mere,
I am a longtime lurker (not a creepy one) but I have never posted. (I can read from work, but not post.) I was hoping to get your read on my current situation. I am 37, I have two boys (17 and almost 14), and have been divorced for 12 years. I had no relationships for years because my boys were so small, but now that they are older I have had a few (failed) relationships.
I have now been in a long-distance relationship for a little over two years with a man 30 years my senior. I love him to pieces and he is supportive, loving, and knows WAY more about life than I do. He has been divorced three times, so I'm not certain that he knows how to make a relationship work, but neither do I. I know that he loves me. He has gone through a lot of life changes in the past couple of years. I have always told him that I want him here with me, but he wanted me to move to be with him (six hours away). I cannot commit to that until my boys are done with school.
So he told me a few weeks ago that he is moving here at the end of August/early September. I was shocked/surprised and incredibly happy. But ... I really don't think my kids will be happy about all of this. My significant other gave notice at his job and his apartment before ever telling me his plans (by text!), so I didn't have time to talk to the boys. He knows that I want him here, and I do, but I want my boys to be on board and I'm really afraid that it will be a problem. It's a huge move for him and a big change for my boys; I want this for us but I don't want to create a situation where he uproots his whole life and we all end up miserable because my kids push back and he doesn't understand why.
I really want this to work, and I also want my babies to be happy. My boyfriend’s son lives very close to here, so there is a good chance that he will spend a lot of time on weekends with his son and son's family, which will probably help reduce frustration with my kids, but still. Also, he's getting a place an hour away that we can all use as a getaway, alone or as a family. Is this a good idea? I love him, I love my boys, and I have no idea if this will work. Goldie, Smash, Dadz, Sally, Margaret, Rico, et al. -- please weigh in too if you can.
– Help, Texas
A: Instead of renting a getaway house, he should just rent a house. For him. Alone.
This is so much change at once. Wouldn't it be better if he just lived nearby for a while?
Not surprisingly, it concerns me that he decided to quit his job and end his lease without having a real, practical conversation with you about what would happen next. He may know a lot about life, but he has plenty to learn about how to communicate with a single mom. You need to explain that from now on, you have to make these decisions together. And he always has to have the kids in mind. He must get used to talking to you about what's best for them.
Use this opportunity to find out whether he can compromise. Tell him that instead of starting with a getaway house, you'd rather him have his own place to ease this transition. It can still be used for getaways, and perhaps you'll wind up in the same house within a few months anyway, but at least you'll all have time to adjust.
If you're afraid to talk to him about this, that's a real red flag. You have to be partners now. It's time for you to teach him how you want to make decisions as a couple.
Readers? Is it OK that he's moving? How can she talk to him about his plans? Will this work? Will he need his own place? Red flags here? Discuss.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.