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QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
Relationships Department

Please remember, this column is designed to help the consumer seeking behavioral-health information, and not intended to be any form of psychotherapy or a replacement for professional, individualized services. Opinions expressed in the column are those of the columnist and do not represent the position of other SelfhelpMagazine.com staff.

Question

I am a 25 year old man who is engaged to a 32 year woman with a 15 year old son. I am very committed to my career since I want to be a good provider. I was offered a position 320 miles away from where we are; we decided that I should accept it. We all moved into a dream house in the new location. This lasted for three months; she and her son decided that they hated the new location and they moved back home. I visited them on Christmas as she told me that she did not want me to stay with them because she needed space and that I should stay with my parents. After the holidays I went back to my job alone. She says that she is not ready to see me again. How long should I wait?

Answer

As I understand your situation, you are in love with a 32-year-old woman who has a 15-year-old son. She is committed to her son and you are committed to your career. After a trial live-in situation with the three of you in the new location, she decided that things weren't right and left to go back home. Now she wants space and time to think about what she wants to do.

There seems to be several variables operating. Your and your fiancée may have different agendas. She has to consider her 15-year old son and what would be in his best interests. Having been a mother at age 17 gives her a different perspective to consider. At age 25 you are considering your career. Then there is the agenda of the 15-year old. Adolescents have an entirely different perspective on the world. You are only 10 years older than he is, which in itself can create difficulties. It seems that when the three of you were away from the familiar surroundings and the support it offered, a great deal of strain was placed on the relationship. Teenagers are often very attached to their friends. Adjusting to a new environment is not easy. As a parent, your fiancée feels her son's dissatisfaction as well as her own. Therefore, it makes sense that she would want to think things over to decide whether a more permanent relationship with you would be in everyone's best interests. A 32-year old woman with a 15-year old child may have entirely different goals than a 25-year-old trying to develop a career.

During this period you might want to do some re-evaluating yourself. Do you want to stepparent a 15-year old? Do you and your fiancée want to start a family of your own? Do you have similar life-goals? A relationship, particularly a marriage, is not based on love alone. There are many practical considerations that should be taken into account if you want to insure a happy and long-lasting relationship.

3/5/98

Dr. Edward A. Dreyfus is a Clinical Psychologist, Marriage, Family, Child Therapist, and Sex Therapist. Dr. Dreyfus has been providing psychological services in the Los Angeles-Santa Monica area for over 30 years. He offers individual psychotherapy to adolescents and adults, divorce mediation, couples counseling, group therapy, and career and vocational counseling and assessment.His book, Someone Right For You, is available in the Amazing Bookstore Catalog.

Dr. Dreyfus can be reached at: (310) 208-5700.

 

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