My husband committed suicide 15 years ago, leaving me with three children on the verge of adolescence. Last year I met someone new and he has now proposed. The children like him and he has brought a great deal of warmth back into my life. He went through a bitter divorce and lost almost everything but has managed to maintain a good relationship with his adult daughter. The problem is he has nothing whereas my late husband left me quite well provided for. We have never talked about the differences in where we are financially. I would like to re-marry but am concerned that if anything happens to me, my children will lose out. Is that a reason to say no?
What you describe is a common dilemma; you have had to work hard and devote everything to bringing up your children and making sure they have a safe and secure passage into adulthood; now you fear the next step will leave them adrift and that goes against all your natural feelings of protection. At the same time part of you wants to let go of that role and take something for yourself. It doesn’t have to be one or the other; it can be both. You and your new partner need to have a chat about the situation; step aside from the emotional and look at the practical. Moving your relationship on to a more permanent footing means there will be a range of things you need to work out: where you will live, who pays for what. Sorting out wills and how both your families will fit together is part of that. It’s not easy to pick your way through. However, if you are both open and honest you can find a way that protects both your children’s futures and yours. Take legal advice and involve your children in the discussions.
COST OF LOVING
Our only daughter has just got engaged and we have always planned that one day we will splash out for the wedding. However, we don’t have the sort of money she and her mum are now talking about. The whole thing is getting out of hand. I know I should be telling them to slow down but I can’t bear the thought of disappointing my daughter or her mother. What can I do?
What I hear you struggling with is the desire to make the women in your life happy and the sinking feeling that you won’t be able to. The pain of seeing their disappointment seems to be greater than the debt that might be looming. I wonder, too, if part of you still wants to be the top man in your daughter’s life. You have to think here about the short-term disappointment you might have to shoulder against the possibility of long-term debt and maybe even shame if it all goes wrong. No matter how hard it is, you need to take charge of their expectations and fit those within a reasonable budget. To begin with, speak with your wife. After all, you are in a partnership and the cost of the wedding is not just yours, it’s hers as well.
If you are affected by any of the issues in Lifelines and require further advice, contact
Relationships Scotland (www.relationships-scotland.org.uk)