Q: My marriage of seven years fell apart when I decided to move to Canada. My husband was unwilling to take a chance on a better life for our family, so he stayed behind. For the past two years I’ve been raising my son on my own, without any financial support from him. I am so focused on surviving that I’ve made no time for romance in my life. I’m in a dating rut, and my self-esteem is zip. Am I doomed to continue my life as a lonely single mom forever? – Dreamer

Dear Dreamer: You’re not someone who is prone to falling into ruts. It takes chutzpah to move to another country, and it takes stamina to raise a son by yourself. Low self-esteem? How is that even possible? You sound like a generous and courageous woman. Take pride in all you have accomplished. Continue to settle into your new life, and, at some point – perhaps at a sporting event over the next year – you’re going to meet a new man. He’ll be connected to your son’s school life, but you’ll cross paths at a game. He’ll have warm eyes, and he’ll recognize something about you that reminds him of his homeland, which I feel could be Asia. He’ll reach out to you, and you won’t be alone anymore. For now, your life is still unsettled, but it will calm down. You’ll eventually feel peace in your heart.

Q: I know that my husband and I have to separate, but I’m waiting until he can accept this before we take that big step. In the meantime, I want us to see a therapist so that he or she can help us through this transition. I also think we will benefit from the therapy in that we may come to understand ourselves and each other better. Is there anything else I should be doing to prepare for this big change? What can I expect from him and my children down the road? I’m also concerned about returning to the work world. What do you see happening for me there? – Waiting

Dear Waiting: You’re about to go through some major changes. I’d like to say that it will be smooth sailing, but you’re in for some choppy times. Sadly, there’s no way around this. You know that you’re doing the right thing, and you’re demonstrating tremendous strength and insight by arranging to have some therapy in advance of the split. I think that your husband is going to find this very hard because he can’t accept that your marriage is over. Working with the therapist to help him understand what has happened is very important. Stay calm and be open during this time. Even with the therapy, I think he will suffer some kind of depression, which could affect his work. I think that your children – especially your son – will need extra love and attention to help them through this situation. Now is also the time to start looking at your finances. It will be a lot harder than you think to untangle yourself from your joint responsibilities – especially given these difficult economic times. Talk to a financial planner, but be prepared: It could be months – even the end of the year – before this is straightened out. It’s time, too, to really think about how you want to earn a living. It has been years since you’ve been in the working world, and things have changed. I see you taking a course during the next year that will prepare you for your first job. You have a challenging journey ahead of you, but don’t lose heart: Better times are definitely ahead for you and your family.

Image courtesy of Norbert Mayer