Wednesday 22 November 2017

Love dilemmas: I ain't saying she's a goldigger but...

Library image. Photo: Getty Images
Library image. Photo: Getty Images

Dr Victoria Lukats is a psychiatrist and an expert on relationships and dating. Today, she advises a widower whose son thinks his new girlfriend is a goldigger.

Dear Dr Victoria,

A few weeks back I met a wonderful woman. I was widowed three years ago and following a period of grieving I decided that being in my early sixties, I was too young to live as a single man for the rest of my life and new that ultimately I wanted to share it with someone.

A couple of weeks ago I met Sheila. Although we’ve only known each other for a very short time, I feel that there’s a real chemistry between us, and dare I say it I feel we’re soul mates.

Having recently retired, I ran the family business for many years. I now find myself with both the time and the means to enjoy life. I therefore decided to invite Sheila to Mauritius for a holiday.

To my surprise my son, who’s now has taken over the reins of the firm, has protested loudly that I’m jumping the gun and what do I know about this woman, she could be a gold digger. I mentioned this to Sheila, stupidly, and now she’s refused to go away with me, saying that she doesn’t want to cause a family rift.

Now I’m worried that Sheila will just walk away not wanting the hassle of dating me and probably my son won’t be talking to me either as I firmly told him to mind his own business. Some good advice on how to defuse this situation wouldn’t go amiss, clearly it’s all beyond me.

Victoria replies:

She could be a gold digger, but that’s a chance you take when you embark on new relationships. You’re the one who’s having a relationship with this woman so you should be the best judge of her character. If you have any concern that women might be after your money, the best way to avoid those types is not to flaunt your cash, especially in the early weeks or months of any budding romance.

Whilst the offer of a luxury trip to Mauritius might sound romantic and spontaneous, since you’ve only known each other two weeks, it could put unnecessary pressure on your new relationship. In the first few weeks, you should still be getting to know one another, going on dates and having fun.

When you bring a two week holiday into it at this stage, you prematurely force your new girlfriend to make a decision. She has to quickly decide how she wants to categorise this relationship – is it serious, is it just casual fun, is she happy to share a hotel room with you for two weeks?

A holiday can test a relationship too – you get to see someone’s irritating habits and unless a deep bond has already been established – and let’s face it, it takes more than two weeks to do that – the relationship may not survive beyond the holiday.

So if you truly see this as a potentially serious relationship, it’s probably best to put off the holiday for now. All you need to worry about now is how to handle your new girlfriend and your son. Tell your son that your girlfriend thinks it’s sensible to wait a little while before booking the holiday – maybe a few months, that she’s not a gold digger.

You don’t need to bend over backwards to keep your son happy at this stage. He’s a grown adult. But you don’t need to antagonise him either – the chances are that he’ll come round in his own time. He’s entitled to his own private opinion but he’s in no position to call the shots as to how you conduct your love life.

Equally, understand that it’s never going to be easy for him seeing you move on from his mum. But this is real life. You’ve grieved and you’ll never forget your wife but as you logically conclude, you don’t need to stay single forever. You can continue to acknowledge your feelings for your wife but at the same time go on to have a relationship with someone else.

As for your girlfriend, take things gradually. She still needs to get to know you better. Tell her you’d still like to go on holiday together at some point but if she’s happier to postpone it for now then you understand. Reassure her you’ve spoken to your son and that he will be fine. Explain that she’s the first person you’ve dated since your wife died and so it will take him a little time to get used to the idea.

You may feel hurt and angry at your son’s reaction but since you’ve only known your new girlfriend for a short time, it’s probably best not to go on about how upset you are at this stage as it could make matters worse – it could drive her away all together or if the relationship continues, it could drive a wedge between her and your son.

If you want to ask Dr Lukats's advice send an email to . Please bear in mind she cannot enter into private correspondence and cannot answer all questions. Any advice given will be published on the website (personal details will not be published).

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