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Michelle Gottlieb Psy.D., MFT, LPCC
Individual, Couple and Family Therapy
Resolving issues from your past that block your future

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What About The Kids?

December 2006

Dear Dr. Michelle,

I’m 48 years old, I have been chatting with a guy online for about one year. He’s married with 3 kids, but he said they’re like separated since their intimate life isn’t that passionate.¬†We met twice as we’re from different countries and cultures. I fell in love with him the first time we meant. I never considered about¬†falling in love with him, as I never agreed to get engaged in such a difficult situation as his. He himself didn’t have the idea for any commitment but to my surprise, he also fell in love with me.

Now we feel we’re really meant to live together. I can’t be far from him and he made up his mind to divorce his wife. I have several minds whether it is the best option for me to marry him? Is it just lust between us though he keeps in calling me, texting me and chatting with me? Am I doing harm to his wife and children? My man has already told his wife about his future life with me. Of course she felt very hurt as how to bear that stigma of a wife divorced (she’s from a Pakistani culture). The children are not aware yet and that is my daily obsession as to how they will receive the news. I feel very guilty but my guy says it is not my fault, but he himself can’t bear the fact of being hated by his own children. Please do help us in ways to make the shock less harmful for his children (son 21, daughters 16 and 11).

I myself will move to his country, leaving my job here, family and eventually my country.

Please do help me get out of this big dilemma.

Thanking you in advance.

Fatima from Morocco.

Dear Fatima,

I am so glad that you are concerned about his children, because their well-being will have a major impact on your relationship. Their father will need to talk with them honestly but in an age appropriate way. For instance, how he talks with the 20 year old will not be the same way as how he speaks with the 11 year old. I would suggest that he and his wife start with talking to the kids about how they are not getting along and have decided to get a divorce. The discussion about you needs to come later. Realize that they may never accept you, especially if their mother is hurt and angry over the divorce and stays that way. You need to sit down and have an honest discussion with their father to see if can tolerate this. Do not expect them to accept you as their mother. They already have one.

Also, the difference in cultures may cause a strain on everyone as well. Be prepared for many conversations about customs and ways of doing things. Typically, what makes these situations is enough time for people to heal, the kids seeing that you are making their father happy and their mother healing and moving on. If she stays bitter, if your relationship with their father is not good or it is still early in their relationship with you, things will be rocky.

You have many things to think about before you make a decision.

Good luck,

Dr. Michelle


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