Advice: Will Her Son Cope?

I have been separated from my husband for almost three years. I have a boyfriend who has been a big part of my son’s life. My boyfriend and I now realize that we don’t have the same long-term goals and think it better to go our separate ways. I’m concerned that my son will think that [leaving] is normal behavior for a man.

Brava for considering the ramifications of your actions on your son. The truth is children take most of their cues on how to respond from their parents. You’re in a terrific position to let him know the truth—that this was a careful decision by two adults looking far into the future and that it hurts now. Your son doesn’t need to know any details—they only overwhelm children and make them anxious. But he does need to know that you still think your ex-boyfriend is a good person and that your ex-beau still likes him. Perhaps the two of them can maintain a friendship.

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