I’m a single mom and my mother doesn’t want me to remarry

Dear Troubleshooter:

I am a woman in my 40s, and I have raised my 10-year-old son on my own since divorcing five years ago. I am thinking of remarrying, but my mother objects.

After the divorce, I returned to my parents’ house, and they supported me as I dedicated myself to raising my child and working. Now that my son has grown to the point he no longer needs me for everything, I started taking another look at my life. I started wishing I could get married again and, if possible, have another child to make a new family.

I met a man who is very caring toward me and understands that I have a child. It has been two years since I started seeing him.

However, my mother opposes my marrying him. She says things like, “Remarriage is difficult,” “I feel sorry for your child,” and “You should just live with us forever; you already failed at marriage once!”

My parents are getting old, which concerns me, of course, but then what about my own happiness? Can’t someone who has failed once at marriage ever be happy again? I want to marry my boyfriend.

—B, Ibaraki Prefecture

Dear Ms. B:

“What about my own happiness?” you write. Why don’t you tell that to your mother?

Divorce is not a failure. I think it is much more of a failure when one stays married reluctantly, saying divorce looks bad or one cannot be financially independent.

After the divorce, you have worked and raised your child amid various difficulties. That, I think, has brought you the new relationship and happiness. Please be confident about yourself because you live with courage and patience. I guess your child and your new partner have also met each other and spent time together in the past two years. How about telling your mother about those things?

You don’t need to do what your parents tell you to do with regard to your life. It is also important for parents to have respect for their daughter’s life and personality. I think you should live your life to the fullest after telling your parents that you will do what you can do in the event your parents need your help in the future.

I’m sure that you have matured thanks to the five years of hard work as a single mother. Please build a happy family.

—Junko Umihara, psychiatrist