Advice: I'm trying to move on...

Last updated 11:46 02/05/2013

I've moved to Melbourne with someone that I've being seeing for less than a year, and don't worry, I've had the whole spill about how I rushed in to it. 

Anyway, I've been straight up with her from the start regarding my previous relationship and told her that I'm still trying to get over the fact my wife was seeing someone else while we were married, who she is now still seeing. 

It hurts to know that she has taken this path, but I've been on a mission to right my wrongs with the person I was then to the person I am now. 

The thing is I like this person I'm with, but being married for 10 years and separated three-and-a-half, is it time for me to settle with what I have? Or should I stay single and just try and be the best dad I can be? 

Please help with some words of wisdom cause I've been brought up in a custom that you only get married once in your life. So being on the other side of the coin is not something I like to talk about with friends. Because to me the pain is still a bit raw as much as I try to hide it...

Confused

Dear Confused,

If I've got the facts straight you have been married for 10 years, were separated three-and-a-half years ago, and have now entered a new relationship that is less than a year old and have moved to Melbourne for that relationship. You also have one or more children to your previous partner but haven't identified their age. You also indicate your previous wife was seeing someone else during the marriage, and that you are working to right your own wrongs from that time.

It is great that you have been straight with your new partner about your previous relationship and its effect on you. This kind of transparency creates the ground for the development of a solid relationship through understanding who you each really are. It sounds like you may have to learn how to trust your new partner given your experience with your previous wife.

I'm interested that you hardly mention any detail about your child or children or the nature of your relationship with them. I find myself wondering about the nature of your relationship with them, and to what degree you are staying in contact and being an active dad. To what degree are they figuring in your decision-making? Certainly you should be the best Dad you can be, but it is possible to do this within another relationship (i.e. it doesn't mean you have to be single). Without more information it is difficult to say more.

In terms of your new relationship - you give very little information about the nature of this relationship so it is difficult to respond to whether you should 'settle into it' or not.

Are you happy in this relationship? Are there ways you could be in this relationship in Melbourne and be an active parent for your children? If the new relationship is feeling really 'right' for both of you, and you both value the role you have as a father to your children, is it possible for you both to return to New Zealand until the children get to an age that they are more independent?

I feel you face a difficult decision between living in Melbourne and being away from your children, or being here in New Zealand and not exploring your new relationship in Melbourne (at least in the short term). You will need to clarify what is most important to you in order to make the decision.

Be gentle with yourself as you reconsider your relationship with the institution of marriage, and find yourself living from a place that sits outside of the customs you were raised in. The fact is that the nature and meaning of marriage, rather than being set in stone, has evolved and changed significantly through the ages.

Marriage has been quite a dynamic institution over time. You are living in a time when our relationship with this institution is going through more rapid change. There may be an opportunity here for you to reflect on the meaning of marriage for you, not from a place of guilt, but from a place of compassion for yourself, and to develop a richer understanding of how marriage may be relevant for you in all that you know now.

Kind regards,
Chris 

- Stuff

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