End This Relationship Yesterday

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End This Relationship YESTERDAY
From a reader:
Dear Mimi,
Thank you so much for the email message about this subject [see below].  I had to search this email from my inbox as I realised something is not right when I got a phone call from my mum few hours ago.

I have a 4 year old daughter.  My husband died when she was 1 year old. 
I've been living with a man for 18 months. At first he was my boyfriend, but he pulled out six months ago saying we are not meant for each other, so we remain friends.  However, we still live together, with my daughter in separate rooms. I sleep with my daughter.
Last weekend I sent my daughter to my mum's as usual and today my mum told me what my daughter told her.  She said she doesn't want to live with my ex.  My daughter says she's afraid that he'll hit her, smack her butt, and slap her again.  I've never known this before because he seems very nice and caring to her.  He cooks for us, does housework and yet he's got a job to earn a living.
My question is:  Can I trust what my daughter said and leave the house as soon as possible?  Shall I find out from my child?  She's only 4 but a very smart kid.
I still love this man and hope to get back together.  But I'll take the advice to leave him for the sake of my daughter.
I'm very worried and unhappy.  Please help.


On 7/8/07, Mimi Tanner wrote:
Dear Anonymous,

Yesterday I shared a note from a reader who wanted to know what to
do regarding her teenage children, who now wanted to leave their
new stepfamily home and move back with their father. (Yesterday's email
is repeated at the end for those who did not see it.)

My answer is that uprooting teenagers is something to AVOID. In a
few short years, they will be adults anyway. **No man is worth messing
up the lives of your children.** Readers AGREE:


"I chose my son over a man and I will never regret it.  My son is now 21
and is emotionally stable as a result.  He was the barometer for my
decision to let go of a relationship that ultimately would not have
been good for either one of us.  Great advice. Mimi! -- L."


"I am a single mother of 3 sons...for the past 10 years I have been
raising them alone. They are getting older now and nearly all out of
the house. But some years ago my dad gave me this advice. He told me
that even though I am divorced, 'I am not single until all my boys are
gone from my house and living on their own.'

"Along the way I have met several wonderful men; proposed to by two of
them and some are still good friends, but none have ever been more
important to me than my children. Men will come and go but I will
always have my children.

"My dad was right, now one son is married, the other about to graduate
from college and the little one just beginning his college studies.
I figure I still have about 2-3 years left giving me just enough time
to get my masters degree...then I will be fully ready to date, marry,
move out of the country or whatever comes up with whomever I want. And
I will still have my boys love, appreciation, and respect. 'Good things
come to those who wait.' -- E."


Great letter, E., thank you! One bit of advice - don't get slowed
down by a Masters degree. Anyone who raised 3 boys can find a way
to study and have a social life at the same time. :)  -- Mimi


"Youch!  I had gone to 6 different schools when I hit high school.
I remember telling my parents (when we moved, interrupting my 8th
grade; after having interrupted my kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade,
5th grade, etc.) that if they moved again during my high school years,
I would live on the street before changing schools again.  I meant it.

"And today when I watch my teenage sons, I would no more move them
than the man in the moon. It sounds like her kids gave it a good go --
six months in the life of a young one is a lifetime -- she needs to
respect their wishes.  Whether SHE decides to move with them is another
story -- but, frankly, she will regret it for the rest of her life if
she doesn't move with them.

"Tough, but, I'm with you all the way on this one......she can't ever
make up for that lost time.  They gave her their best shot(s) -- she
needs to give them hers...... -- L."


Thanks, L.  Your childhood sounds like mine. I went to 8 schools in
3 states during my growing-up years - but it was the last move at 15
that was by far the greatest loss - and the one that led to the some
very scary situations for a young teen girl with low self-esteem (that
was me). Of course, my parents never knew about any of the scary
situations. Teens don't just "bounce back" from moves, and you can't
always know what is in their heads and hearts. -- Mimi


"Kids come first.  Unless she wants some screwed up kids (and grand kids)
to deal with the rest of her life, she should take care of them.

"I work in a social service agency and I see how "adults" screw up their
kids' lives all the time (because of their "needs") and I'm tired of it. --K."


Thanks very much for ALL these emails from readers! Enough said on
that topic since it's a bit of a departure from our usual discussions.

Thanks again so much to everyone who wrote in with kind words about
the photos I shared! That has been the biggest brightener of my week.


The original email discussed in today's email:

Here's an email I received recently:

Dear Mimi,

I need advice. I met a great man, we fell in love, sold my house and
moved with my 2 kids (16 and 17 yrs) to be with him. (I'm trying to
make the long story short.)

It's been 6 intense months with the new family (his kids and mine).
Now my kids want to move back and live with their dad and I am torn.
I am in another country and traveling on a regular basis is just not
feasible. I love my man, but I can't see myself living without them.

What do I do?

Love, K.
Dear K.,

Thank you for writing. I had to share your question because it is a
very important one - and you might not like what I have to say about
it. I certainly don't intend to offend you. In fact, the last
sentence you wrote tells me that you are on the RIGHT track - you
do not want to be away from your children, and you want to put them

I strongly believe that women should NOT marry someone when it means
uprooting their children, especially when the children are as old as
yours are. That is my personal belief.

It's one of life's biggest bummers when you are in high school and
your whole world changes because you have to move at that sensitive
time. Kids in a new and strange environment in the teen years can
wind up in big trouble, too - they can get mixed up with the wrong
people when they are trying to make all new friends and start a new
life in a new place where they don't know anyone.

I remember reading a book by a very famous doctor. He was an expert
on child-rearing. He met a woman who had a child. They had a whirlwind
romance and got married.

Well, guess what? He and his new stepchild had a lot of problems. To
the child, the mother changed so much when she met and fell in love
with this man. It changed the child's whole world completely. Naturally
the child had a tough time with his or her life turned upside down.

I realize that every situation is unique. But childhood cannot
be done twice if it gets messed up the first time.

Step-families are very difficult. I personally think that when you
have children, if you're divorced or widowed or single, then you
should NOT let them grow emotionally dependent on anyone you date.
And you should not even think about getting married to someone until
you know that person for a VERY long time, and know that he is really
up to the task of being a step-father.

How many kids resent that some new man has come along and acts like
their dad when he's not their dad? Usually the children's point of
view in these scenarios is the ACCURATE one - which is very hard on
a woman if she's fallen in love and feels a conflict between that
and her children's wants.

I say, if your kids are still growing up, then always go with your
KIDS. You'll never regret it - and they certainly won't either.
Unless your kids are sociopathic brats from the planet Pluto, then
go with your kids - they are counting on you!!

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