Should I stay or should I go?

My partner needs me overseas; my adult son needs me here. How can I be with both of them at the same time?
It’s a tough one, says our elder.

Dear EWC

I’ve been in a relationship for six years, I’m divorced but my son who has mental health issues lives with my ex wife; he’s in his thirties. My partner needs to go back to her own country to be near her parents who are getting on in years, and they’re not as good at getting round as they used to be. My partner feels guilty at being separated from them, hence her need to go back. Obviously she wants me to go with her, but my ex wife has indicated that she is finding it difficult to be there for our son all of the time, and has indicated that he needs to learn to live on his own. I don’t think he is capable of living independently, and would need company or supported accommodation. I do want to be with my partner, but also feel a need to be with my son. My partner and my son don’t see eye to eye, and would not get on in the same house. Any advice would be appreciated.

Elder M-Sharon replies

This is a difficult situation. First, I would hope your son can be evaluated by a professional to see if he can live independently. If not, the advisor might suggest other possibilities, such as a group home. This depends on where you are, of course. (I had a cousin in a similar situation who went into a group home, and this worked well for her). A lot depends on the severity and type of mental health issues he has.

I think a frank conversation with your ex-wife would be in order. See if she has suggestions of what to do. Maybe hire a part-time caregiver?

I know this is a difficult decision for you, especially if no solution can be found for your son.

Of course, there is no way of knowing how long your partner will have to be with her parents. Perhaps when she’s there she could look into getting them some help, so that she could return.

All I can suggest is to explore all options. Possibly, you could spend some time in both places, depending on your situation. I’m sure traveling back and forth frequently would not be an option.

I do hope you can work out a solution.

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