TV’s Steph and Dom Parker, 51 and 54, draw on their 20 years of marriage to solve your relationship problems…
I’m a 40-year-old single mother. My relationship with my son’s father lasted ten years, but I moved out 11 months ago.
I had no intention of meeting someone new or starting any kind of romantic relationship, but I met a man six months ago and we’re already very much in love.
The problem is, he is from Spain and he’s talking about going back. Since we met, his mother has passed away, leaving his elderly and ailing father to fend for himself. Also, his work here is changing and he’s likely to be out of a job in six months.
Because of his father and his career, he says he can’t see a future in this country any longer. He doesn’t want to live in Spain, but feels he has no choice. Whenever he tries to talk to me about his concerns, it makes me very upset — the thought of losing him is horribly painful.
An anonymous reader asked TV’s Steph and Dom for dating advice. She says that she is in love with a new man but he may have to go back to Spain (file photo)
I can’t go to Spain with him because my ex would make it impossible for me to take my son to live abroad, and I understand that.
Also, to be honest, I would like my son to continue to go to school in England.
We have about a year before he has to make a final decision. If he does decide to go back, I worry it will be even harder to break up when we’re living apart.
I also don’t want to waste this time together, so I’m conflicted on the best course of action.
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Steph says: Your letter made me really sad. My heart goes out to you.
You can’t help who you fall in love with and, when you meet someone, you really can’t know how deeply entwined you could become.
You’re 40, you’re in your prime and this is a chance for real happiness.
As far as your boyfriend is concerned, he has a moral duty to go to look after his father — and you know it. It’s the honourable thing to do. And you want an honourable man.
However, that doesn’t mean that everything is doomed. Far from it! If he’s the guy for you and you’re the woman for him, then sit down together and strategise how you will make this work.
Steph says that the woman’s letter made her ‘really sad’ – however she tells her not to give up and that she should stop the doom-mongering
But first things first: stop with the doom-mongering. It’s incredibly damaging and you are simply creating the destiny you don’t want.
There’s no reason this can’t work — you fly one way once a month, he flies the other the next. Easy!
The thing is, you don’t know for how long this will have to happen. It might be only a year, at which point you can decide what to do next.
The key thing here is that you both need to be fighting for your relationship. He needs to know you think he’s worth it and you need to know he thinks you’re worth it, too. You have to go in to bat for this one!
Your first concern should be that neither of you can contemplate losing the other. There’s no point in running away from any possible future pain. You can’t live with ‘what ifs’ — nobody can. You need to make a plan.
Use your energy to sell the positives to yourself — and to your boyfriend. Don’t make this into a tragic love story. It’s not! Turn it into a successful one.
The reality is that you’re in a position that’s unavoidable. Find a way through it together and this may well create an even stronger bond.
I understand you feel scared and insecure — but this is your time to be strong.
Find the courage to face it, hold each other’s hand — and jump!
Dom says: Well, I understand how you feel to have met such a lovely man and I’m very happy for you.
The first thing I’d like to say to you is that true love conquers all.
The second thing I will say is that Spain is a fabulous country. It’s one of the most delightful places on the planet in which one could choose to live. Just saying.
What worries me is this build-up of potential warning signs. I’m concerned his commitment is not there.
If it were me, I’d be focusing on doing everything I could to be by your side.
If he moves to Spain, it doesn’t have to be the biggest impediment to love. When Steph and I met, she was living in Brussels and I moved heaven and Earth to get there.
I understand there are issues with your ex regarding a move to Spain, and these should be respected, and I also understand your concern for your child’s schooling — you are quite right to put him first.
But, when it comes to the relationship, you spend a lot of time in your letter explaining all the reasons why it’s not going to work. Well, if you focus so much on the negatives, then it won’t work!
I hope I’m wrong, of course.
My advice is simply to keep going with your Spanish boyfriend and see how things progress. It’s been only six months, after all. That really is early days and things may well change over the next year.
They might, they might not — your problem is that, at the moment, there are too many mights!
Enjoy it while it lasts, I say, for the love affair that it is.
Falling in love is a wonderful thing that should be treasured, but I think you would do well to hold yourself back a little, just in case it’s not meant to be for ever.
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