'My desire to go home to my kids is stopping me from finding love'

Welcome back to The Sex Column, our weekly advice series where we get the experts to resolve your dating dilemmas.

Last week we chatted to someone whose partner is miserable now that they have made their dream move.

This time, we have a dater who is stuck emotionally in his home country with his ex-wife and kids, while trying to make a life for themselves in the UK.

Where should they go from here? Should they suck it up? Or move back home and risk not finding work? Or maybe it’s time to live in the present…

Let’s see what the experts say.

The problem:

I moved to the UK a few years ago because I was struggling to find well-paid work in my home country.

I left behind my ex-wife and teenage children, who I love very much and who I speak with daily.

I’m feeling lonely and depressed because I just work to survive. I really desire a partner and I miss my children.

I’ve tried dating sites and there are women in my church but they want marriage and children, and that would mean staying in the UK forever when I have my children back home.

I’m not against returning to my country but I worry about finding work there.

What the experts say:

Although you’re physically here in the UK, your heart remains back home.

‘You’re homesick and lonely. I feel for you,’ says James McConnachie. ‘Living in two places at once means sadness fills the gap.’

Unfortunately, it’s not currently possible for you to have everything you desire.

‘Your faith makes demands on how you regard marriage, divorce and family, your financial position makes staying in the UK preferable and your beloved children are overseas,’ says Rupert Smith.

‘Can you make regular trips to see your children if you decide to base yourself here? There is no perfect, right answer so take your time to find a solution that allows you to be true to yourself.’

Whatever you decide, your relationship with your children should always be a source of happiness and pride to you.

‘Those strong foundations will never change and have already withstood time and separation,’ says Dr Angharad Rudkin.

‘But other aspects of your life are full of uncertainties and you’ve got stuck expecting and waiting for definites. If you can unhook yourself from this belief that life has to look a certain way, you will be able to new enjoy opportunities.’

So rather than certainties, start considering possibilities. ‘If you spoke to a woman in your church, who knows where that would lead?

Those decisions can be left for the future,’ Rudkin continues. Instead, focus on today: who would you like to talk to?

‘Why do you think marriage is the only solution?’ McConnachie asks. ‘Try to build friendships, at least for now. Try to establish yourself in your community – is there work you can do in your church? If you do stay in the UK make, say, a three-year plan or a savings target and reassess when you reach it.’

Even if it’s in small ways, try to make a home here that your children will enjoy visiting one day. What would you say to them if they were as sad as you are?

‘You would tell them to put everything into the life they have now,’ says McConnachie. ‘You’d tell them to work hard, make good friends and make the best of things. I’m sure your children really miss you but I’m also sure they’re really proud of their dad.’

The experts

Rupert Smith is an author and counsellor

James McConnachie is the author of Sex (Rough Guides)

Dr Angharad Rudkin is a clinical psychologist

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