I have a very unique situation in my life where my now ex boyfriend is the boss of my 18-year-old daughter. She was working for his business before we broke up and has respectfully handled the situation but not without heartache and difficulties of her own. Sometimes adults do not realize the impact a break-up can have on older children. My ex-boyfriend and my daughter did not bond a significant amount right away, it has been a slow process. I never really allowed any men to be in her life during my single years until this man came along. He was significant and she knew it. She observed how he treated me and how he interacted in his business, life, church and friendships. Through this time he bought her sweet gifts and they had a few conversations and playful moments between them. Eventually she came to work for him. It is easy to think this simple communication and interaction over the course of our four year relationship was just a blip on my teenage daughters radar but I had a very profound moment last night that said something very different.
My daughter came to my room at the end of a busy weekend and sat on the edge of my bed, I looked up to see her face was red and upset and tears were about to burst from her eyes any moment. I was prepared for something awful and personal concerning school or her boyfriend but what came from her mouth just left me dumbfounded and even more heartbroken. My daughter is a waitress while going to college and has made me very proud with her hard work and dedication. Saturday night at work, as she rounded the corner she caught sight of my ex sitting alone at the end of the bar eating dinner. He is her boss and often eats there or grabs food from the restaurant before heading home. Normally, she said she would not have thought a thing of it but in that moment it made her mad and upset. She said her emotions were so strong that she almost started crying right there in the restaurant. She told me the thoughts in her head as she wondered how he could prefer to sit there alone when he could have her mother sitting there with him sharing dinner and conversation. She went on to express how she had all of these things she wanted to share with him about school and her career choices and how the opportunity seemed lost because now she was just hurt and angry. She was afraid if she did open up she would be disrespectful and she knew that would not be something I would approve of. So she just walked away.
As I move through my heartache I realize my love for this man is strong and when I see and hear how it affects my daughter it moves me even more. I want to encourage her to still have a relationship with him. I explain to her that the value he brings to her life should not be affected by our relationship status. However, she says it feels too hard. This loss has affected our little family in a way that I cannot fully describe and I wonder….does he even have a clue? Just as I have worked through my own grieving process I realize how my daughter must work through her own. I realize that working for him, seeing him weekly, and having all these things she wants to say can be even harder for her in some aspects. We both chose him in our lives in a way and he has backed away from the opportunity to stay. It has been four months and my daughter finally released all of the feelings and emotions surrounding this change and loss and it reignited some feelings within me. Having the holidays so close this is usually a time when she would normally be spending more time around him outside of work. My heart aches for him and for my daughter and at the end of that line-up is still my own heartache about the situation.
The loss of a relationship is so profound and I encourage men and women who make the decision to be in the lives of a person with children to make that decision with great care, even older teenage and adult children. Understand when you have the conversations with your significant other, and choose to walk away, it is wise to address the situation with the kids being left as well. I know this may not be an easy task to take on but I stress that if you are not up for dealing with all the responsibilities that come with being in a relationship then ask yourself if you should even enter into it. At the end of the day we don’t have a crystal ball to know how things will end up and even if there are good intentions from the beginning when things do not last it is important to handle each relationship with care. Take ownership of your own part in the process and make sure if you do walk away that you can walk away with peace in your heart that you respected all involved.
With love, health, and happiness,