Question: Dear Luise: I am considering returning to the man I love dearly. I am not sure this is the right thing to do as I will have to leave my daughter and grandchildren and move 300 miles again. I came here to help her heal her past, and I am not sure that our work together is finished. But I love this man dearly, (and have for the last 4 years) and he loves me in return. I also am not sure I have the strength to make this move…or why I am hesitating. But I have been depressed and lonely since visiting him. I do not hold him responsible for my happiness…just feel sooo alive when I am near him and believe we are soulmates. Can you help? Thank you, Brenda
Answer: Dear Brenda: Please know that your hesitation is quite natural. This is a very complex situation. You don’t sound like a person who would jump haphazardly from one place to another, messing with people lives. You are pulled between two incredibly strong loves; what you feel for your grown child and your love for the man who reigns supreme in your heart. It was a very selfless thing for you to do, to put your life on hold and give your daughter and grandchildren a hand. You could probably stay there permanently and offer a great deal to all of them. The question is, should you? You say you aren’t sure your work is done there. That’s because our work with our children is never done. There is a time, however, when they need to step up to the plate and become accountable. Adults need a chance to be adults…to make decisions and either profit from them or face the music because they were unwise. It’s part of what it means to be an adult. You can’t forever be responsible for your daughter. It’s not good for either of you, and it could become co-dependency or even create pathology.
The other side of the coin is about what you deserve to have in your own life; the peace and joy you have earned…your own freedom…your right to choose…and the opportunity to get your needs met in a satisfying and rewarding relationship. If you don’t think you can opt for all of that, you may need to work with a counsellor on why you are getting a “no” answer. To choose what is right for you may feel selfish and even dangerous. Yet, honoring who and what you are is very healthy and normal. 300 miles isn’t like 3000. You’re not going to another country or saying you will never be heard from again. Move on and by doing so, create room for your daughter to do the same thing. Then, stand firm. She may try everything in the book to get you back to where you were. If and when that happens, she may be the one who needs a counsellor and you will need to learn about “tough” love. Please feel free to respond under “comments” on my site, should you choose to do so. Others reading this may want to do the same thing. Blessings, Luise