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(seems like) it's my lover or my kids


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After much delay, a dear friend and I became lovers two years ago. It's been a strong and loving relationship; we've worked through a lot of crap together. However, we live 3000 miles apart, and she's beginning to pressure me to make a decision about moving to her side of the country. I have 2 teenage children, and have told my lover that I want to stay in their hometown until they both graduate (2 years for the oldest, four for the youngest). Yes, that's a long time. However, I feel that uprooting my kids (or leaving them with their father, a raving homophobe) is not an option.


My lover and I have strong feelings for one another, and care deeply about one another's well being. She's having a lot of health problems and needs and deserves a full-time partner. I guess I'm asking for advice about how to deal with what seems inevitable heartbreak. I'm a teacher, work long hours, and have few friends. I get a lot of strokes from my career, but personal contact is minimal. I'm afraid of overwhelming loneliness, but don't want to hurt this wonderful woman. How do people get through this kind of thing? I've been unlucky with love. A bad marriage to a man, a volatile and disastrous affair with a woman that nearly killed me, and now this! How do we find lovers who are loving, and supportive, and in the right place at the right time?!


My lover hasn't given me her final thoughts on this, but from her conversation and emails, I can tell this is what's coming. I'm trying to prepare myself, I guess.

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Is it possible for your lover to move to YOUR side of the country? This might be a good idea, especially if your lover has fewer things to uproot (kids, career, etc...) and even better because you seem to be concerned about how your husband may react to this, and you would be around to help the kids through it.

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forgot to mention that my lover will not move. After 30 years of wandering the world, she bought a big piece of land and built her dream cabin on it (before we decided to be a couple). It's gorgeous, and I would love to be there with her -- the solitude wouldn't bother me a bit. Because of her health (a chronic condition), she works part-time and also has a home business. She doesn't want to move, and she probably couldn't sell her home for what it's worth, anyway.


And yeah, the kids do love her. As I said, we've been friends a long time, and so although there was a little adjustment period, both kids (a girl and a boy) really like her, and have accepted her. -- we've always said our friendship would survive anything, and I hope that it does survive this. She's a good person and the kids have learned a lot from her. I won't cut her out of our lives! But it will be painful for a long time if we end our relationship as lovers ... hard to be friends for a certain length of time, I think.


This morning I told my daughter that it didn't look like things were going to work out with me and Sue. My daughter immediately came close and hugged me and said, "Oh, I'm sorry, Mom." She never would have done that 2 years ago. She's grown and learned so much about compassion and love. I feel lucky in so many ways. I am just dreading the loss, and have thought and thought and thought about how to avoid it -- but I think we've used up all the time we had. My lover's health is worsening, and I'm afraid that the stress of our long-distance commute and my inability to be there for her is a large part of the reason...


thanks for responding.

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This is a choice fraught with pain no matter which way you go. You are absolutely right. Finding the right person, the ONE who really knows you, who's your partner, your friend, your confidant and your buddy is an exceptionally rare and valued find.


Looking on a practical level - Are there schools nearby to where she lives for your children to attend? What about YOUR job prospects there? Is moving in with her ENTIRELY outside the realm of possibility? Your daughter in particular seems to understand to some emotional level what your feelings are. Do you think that given the right school and work circumstances, your children couldn't accept your need and right, and desire to be happy? To be with the one you love? In the end, they probably should, and will.


Even if they were agreeable, there would be NO way I would consider moving there unless the other things I mentioned (school, work) were sufficient. The last thing you really want to have happen is for you to pack up, move out there with no friends, no job, and no prospects, only to have something happen to your lover (God forbid). Beyond the loss and grief, you'll find yourself regretting your decision to uproot yourself and your kids for the rest of your life.


Everyone deserves a chance to chase that dream of happiness. You just need to do so in a practical fashion, since it involves more than just YOU. I say go for it, but with your eyes open. There's no reason why you can't have your kids AND your lover...you just need to pursue it responsibly.


Good Luck!

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Hello again,

thanks for the response, Shy Guy. My lover and I have been emailing. She's really cut loose with some anger that I didn't really know was there. She feels very neglected, unappreciated, and is resentful of all the things that pull on me in my daily life.


I guess I feel like she's right in many ways; I don't have time to be the kind of lover she needs and deserves. Part of me can be very intellectual about this, very rational. It's obvious that I need to just end this, for her sake, and deal with the pain that results. Otherwise -- I'm really afraid I'll just hurt her more. she's such a good person! -- I guess neither one of us was really sure it would ever make it this far, to the point where we loved one another so much that we can't take being apart.


But I have explored the possibilities. Neither one of my kids is willing to consider a move. If I could just somehow summon up more energy, be more THERE for Sue, she would be much happier. But the reality is, I can't. I can't mother, and teach, and then magically not be busy when she comes to visit, or go out to visit her more often than I do.


I deserve happiness -- that's certainly true. But at what price? -- I come from a family where our mother literally tossed us kids to the winds according to her needs, alcoholism, and passions. My siblings and I were really damaged. I guess part of that damage is this powerful need to never abandon our own children, or to even uproot them. My lover knows all this. She just thinks I can let it go.


It's a lonely night tonight. But I really think that my lover, who is my best friend, my strongest supporter, a wonderful woman, deserves better than this. I think I'm going to end it, and tell her she's free. It'll hurt her for awhile, I know. But someone will surely scoop her up. She's amazing.


We'll stay friends, I think. Though I may need to separate myself to learn how to be alone again, I know that we'll always be friends. God, I love her. -- we knew this was a risk when we started this part of the relationship -- that it might not work out. Now, here we are.


Anyone else been through this? Were you able to stay friends?

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