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Hi Everyone (long)

Lucy Parsons

Hello everyone, I'm Lucy and I'm coming back to
the site after having joined a year or so ago. I'm British but I live in
Northern Spain (for six years now), so I'd thought a UK-based site
wouldn't be very useful to me. but I've changed my mind on that one and
now I reckon the more support I can get and give the better. So here I
am again.

I'm 47, been separated for over two years now (a mutual decision) and
I've got a gorgeous son of seven and a half. My relationship with his
dad ranges from just-about-tolerable to pretty good - he spends a lot of
time with our son and we even manage to have the occasional family day
together and do some group holidays, ie with family and friends. It's
not always so rosy, of course, some days we wish the other one would
just disappear off the planet, and we both harbour a lot of underlying
anger towards each other - though some of my not-separated friends tell
me they often feel like that!

The dynamic changed when my ex started seeing someone seriously six
months ago, but to be honest it hasn't made that much difference
practically as yet, I guess that's to come.

All in all it's not been too bad, and compared to what a lot of people
have to go through, and despite some very hard days/ nights/ weeks, I
consider myself - and my son - pretty lucky. So far so good, then!

My current practical problem is living on very little money, no fault of
my ex, he pays half of everything. So that's most of us, eh? My current
emotional problem is the fact that I'm British, living in a different
country (my ex is Spanish Basque) where they speak two other languages
and the culture is very, very family-based - so single mums under 30 are
still rare, let alone over 45!

Up to now it's been a kind of protection, ie being middle-aged and
no-one expecting any more from me than looking after my son and going to
work. But now I'm starting (oooh... just starting though) to feel that I
might want a partner in my life at some point in the future, and the
reality is that to find someone who speaks my language (literally and
figuratively) and, most importantly, shares my British cultural
references - well, it's just about impossible. Again, nice built-in
protection against getting involved with anyone :D

OK, I've made some lovely female friends here over the past six years,
and my ex's family (mum & dad, sister and her family) are so
wonderful and supportive and all live on our doorstep. Again, I know
that's really, really lucky! But basically I've tucked myself right up,
as I cannot bring myself to wrench my son away from his close family
here, his friends, his language, his school - his life - so that I can
go home and by with my friends and everything. So now not only am I
living with out my home-girls and family back in the UK, I'm stuck with
being single until my son is in his early 20s and I can go back to my
own country. I'll be 60-something. Doh.

I'm not asking for any solutions, just introducing myself and my current situation/ dilemmas.

OK, thanks for reading,


Posted on: October 12, 2011 - 4:52pm
Parenting specialist DoppleMe

Hello there and welcome to One Space, I don't know if you are using your real name but you might want to change your user name for the sake of anonymity? if you want to, then click on My Profile at the top right of the page to amend it Smile

I can understand totally what you are saying......and of course the alternative is to come back to the UK and how much contact would your boy have with his dad and your family? However, do not feel you have to "sacrifice" yourself; we are all entitled to happiness and you don't have to stay where you are for ten years. Difficult to think about what is best. How much family support would you have available over here?

Is your son bi(tri?) lingual then?

Posted on: October 12, 2011 - 5:32pm


Hi Lucy. Welcome along. It must be difficult for you. How would your ex react if you told him you wanted to return to the Uk? How do you think your son would feel if you decided to leave and come back here? He's still young, so would adjust quicker at his age wouldn't he?

Posted on: October 12, 2011 - 5:51pm

Lucy Parsons

Thanks Hazeleyes. I've replied to Louise via her page, but this will probably answer your questions too.

If I did decide to go back to the UK my ex would probably still
come with us - I check every now and again in as unthreatening/
unmanipulative way as I can, and currently that would still be the
case as his relationship is still not his highest priority. Yet.

My real issue is that my son has such close and precious
relationships with his beloved cousins, auntie & uncle and granny
& grandad, it would truly break my heart to take him away from
them. It's a tricky and expensive journey to and from the UK, so we
couldn't be popping back and forth.

Back in the UK I'd actually have very little family support as
mine are all over the place (in many ways...), and none in the city
that was my home. My wonderful best friends in that city would be a
much better support, but still a far cry from the simplicity and
security of childcare here, with so many family members and friends
literally on our doorstep.

As a child I was dragged round to numerous new homes/ schools as
my dad was in the airforce, and that experience hugely informed my
relationships with family, friends and partners - and I'd say mostly
negatively. Maybe I'm shooting myself in the foot by trying to fulfil
a dream via my son, but I really, really want to offer him a secure
upbringing in a child-friendly culture and - despite the ironic
break-up of our nuclear family - I still believe that's what I'm
doing in offering him this very loving extended family.

Rightly or wrongly, that decision comes out on top (most days...)
and I guess I've decided that my best Looking-After-Me strategy now
is to concentrate on some lateral thinking to improve my social
situation, whether with friends or potential partner. Quite what that
lateral thinking is, I'm not sure yet! It's taken me a long time to
stop the endless 'What ifs', the 'Why oh whys' and the 'He this, he
thats' - I've been boring myself stupid with it all. Indeed, it's a
great big phat relief to be able to stand up, dust myself off and
shout NEXT!  What a great tip from the Looking after you page :D

Cheers Hazeleyes,



Posted on: October 12, 2011 - 6:27pm



I did meet someone after my divorce, and my ex-in-laws (who I get on with brilliantly) really made a lot of effort to get to know him and really liked him. 

We are no longer together though, but there was no conflict when I did meet someone.  Ex got on ok with him too, as things were calm back then!

Perhaps as all is amicalbe, if you are able to enjoy a social life where you are, that meeting someone would possibly be accepted without too many waves?

I really do wish you well.  Decisions are never easy...

Posted on: October 12, 2011 - 11:21pm

Parenting specialist DoppleMe

Hi there, welcome back!

Are you very closely connected to the ex pat community where you are? My friend lives in Barcelona and the ex pat community is fabulous, they understand the cultural difficulties and have been a great support to her in times of need.

Is there an English newspaper with all the local opportunites? Are you working?

Have you ever written a list of pros and cons? Look around you and see what your life has in it, love, friendship, support of an ex (although somewhat strained at times, it sounds as though it is reasonable), THE SUN!

When things are tough we often think that the grass is greener on the other side, but from your post it sounds as even though you are pondering life, you really do have it quite good.

When did you last visit friends and family over here? Would you consider coming for a fortnight and getting a feel for it?

Posted on: October 14, 2011 - 3:31pm

Lucy Parsons


Hi Anna, thanks so much for all your comments and questions, I really appreciate your interest and concern.

There's no ex-pat community here - I live in a small town in the Basque Country and there's one other British person living locally and he's an alcoholic, definitely not my thing. I do know a North American woman but she lives about 30km away in a small mountain village and we've crossed paths maybe five times in as many years.

But as you say, the grass is always greener on the other side - that's one thing I do recognise, that there are some lovely things here for me, not just for my son, not least the absolutely beautiful countryside and mountains, it really is special.
The sun - well, it probably rains about as much as in Southern England, it's true! Definitely not Sunny Spain here - though it can get really hot, and humid, in the summer months. But generally speaking it's warmer than in the UK - blimey, it just seems to be getting worse and worse over there.

We go back to the UK regularly, ie once or twice a year, and most years we spend the whole month of August there (I teach English here, so no work - and no money - in the summer). So I get to see my family and my home-girls and my son gets to see his friends and family over there for a good stretch of time.
Coming back for September is always so, so hard - and was so well before the separation. But I just try to remind myself that it's the same case for loads and loads of people, facing the daily grind in whatever situation they're in. And if I lived in Britain I'd either be 'lucky' enough to have a full-time job and have to struggle/ juggle with childcare, or be on the dole and be stuck in the poverty trap.
So yes, I agree with you, I do have it good here in many ways. And, of course, folk also come to visit, but not as many as in the first couple of years - see the above reference to lack of sun!

I just miss my friends so much, Anna, and to be able to share my life and my son's life with them. I can't tell you how much I regret moving here - and it was my stupid idea! I can't even blame my ex! Quick!! Who can I blame?!!
Nope, it's all down to me, clever old me, moving country with a man I didn't really get on with even six years ago, thinking that trying for and having a second child would bring us closer together - and then I had three miscarriages instead. Sigh.


Posted on: October 14, 2011 - 11:24pm

Parenting specialist DoppleMe

Hello again Lucy

You're right, there are good and bad points for almost any way of life and with your son over seven you would, in the Uk, be working here at least 16 hours a week (or be put under pressure to do so) in jobs that on the whole are just not available. I do honestly think what I said to you in my former reply, that nothing is contstant and staying where you are for the time being does not mean for ever.

I am sorry to hear about your miscarriages, that must have been devastating for both of you. ...although children rarely bring a couple together more, they tend to have the opposite effect Smile

There is plenty of online friendship and support here so please do not feel alone

Posted on: October 15, 2011 - 8:07am

Parenting specialist DoppleMe

Hi Lucy

Je ne regrettes rien! You created this experience and good for you, I say! Don't regret it, as Louise says, nothing is forever, you can choose to move back, if you so wish.

The bottom line is being in need of good ole girlfriends, can't you persuade one of your girls to come and live near you? With you?! Cool

Everyone needs good friends. Are all the women in the village married and unfriend worthy? I bet there are some that are as wild as you are and could do with a friend outside of their marriage and family? Could you hold some sort of event to get to know likeminded people?

I know that you can never replace your solid, long term buddies, but it is possible to forge good relations with new people too.

Do you teach English to any adults?

Posted on: October 17, 2011 - 3:08pm

Lucy Parsons

Thank you, you're all so lovely! And thank you for helping me to focus on the good bits.

Anna, I do have some women friends here now, ranging from local mum friends I see most days to a about three or four women I can really talk to about everything and who are separate from family/ kiddy life here. I would have gone mad without them. My wonderful sister-in-law, mother of my three little nieces (they live opposite) has been absolutely fantastic to me throughout, but of course the bottom line is that her loyalty is to her brother, and so I tend to avoid talking about how I really feel - good plan, I reckon.

So what's my problem, you may ask?!! Well, I'm definitely feeling more and more fortunate with every email reply I get, it's true. Maybe it's much more about wanting someone special in my life than I've realised, or maybe it's because my ex seems to have everything now (family, culture, languages, relationship, secure-ish job - and his son) and I don't have many of those things. So maybe it's just about being jealous... Or 20 other layers of stuff from all my 47 years!

Whatever, I'm in a very good place in all senses for self-development and, with help from actual and virtual friends, I'm heading off in that general direction.

Thank you all!
Lucy XO


Posted on: October 17, 2011 - 3:36pm


Hi Lucy,

At least it helps to write here too...I think you're at the stage where you are thinking about how it would be to start a new relationship with someone, and that's certainly a step forward...

Posted on: October 18, 2011 - 12:39pm

Parenting specialist DoppleMe

Hi Lucy it must be hard to see your ex moving on and almost re creating what he had with you with someone else? You are very much in his world.

Its great to read that you can see the positives in your life and that you seem to have whittled down the discontentedness to actually you wanting a new partner in your life.

Great, so you have something to work on! Is it time to start a new hobby? Find new things to do when your ex has your son? This is always a good place to meet new people. I know you said that where you live is very small, is there a larger town not too far away?

Posted on: October 24, 2011 - 3:08pm

Lucy Parsons

Hi everyone, just updating my introduction, as I'd reappeared and then disappeared again quite fast.

Well, in early/mid November I was diagnosed with low-malignant breast cancer - the prognosis is actually very good, but needless to say it knocked me sideways. Me? Cancer? No way!

Anyway, a few weeks on and I'm feeling pretty positive about the whole thing, and I'm really hoping to get away with an operation (three days before Christmas) and six weeks of radiotherapy from late January. I've got an MRI next Monday to see if it's going to be anything more serious - but that really is precautionary, the type and grade of cancer I've got is very slow-growing and only mildly invasive.

So now you know - I hope this isn't upsetting for anyone that's going through similar stuff, but I wanted to let folk know that I hadn't just drifted off again, I've just been caught up with the whole thing and with or on the phone to friends or relatives most evenings.
I think this site is great, with fantastic resources and I intend to stick around!

OK, best wishes to everyone,


Posted on: December 5, 2011 - 2:11pm

Parenting specialist DoppleMe

Oh Lucy what an awful shock for you and just as you were beginning to find your feet again. I am so srry to hear your news.I do hope that their initial findings are accurate and you will not need chemo. Radiotherapy in itself is absolutely exhausting (and for several weeks after it finishes) so you will need to think about how to care for yourelf and your son during that time, hopefully your inlaws will be able to give you the support you need. We will also be here for you to talk to and feel free to share as much as will help you Smile

Ugh surgery just before Xmas, still it will be a relief to get it all done and dusted....will you have a mastectomy or can the surgeon remove the tumour itself?

Posted on: December 5, 2011 - 2:25pm


Hi Lucy

Thinking of you so much.  My Aunt had similar back in 1999 and has never looked back.

Do take care.

Posted on: December 5, 2011 - 5:16pm

Parenting specialist DoppleMe

Hi Lucy, thanks for sharing your news, it sounds as though you are feeling pretty positive, but I imagine your emotions are going to range all over the place over the next few weeks. So look after yourself. I hope that your ex and his family are being supportive?

Has all the diagnosis been in Spanish? How have you found that? Are you learning new words all the time?!

Does your son know you are going into hospital? If so, how is he?

Posted on: December 6, 2011 - 11:40am

Sally W
Parenting specialist DoppleMe

Hi Lucy

Sorry to hear that you are going through this right now, though you do sound rather postive about the outcome.  I hope that all goes well and you manage to have a good christmas.

Will be thinking of you, take care of you xx

Posted on: December 6, 2011 - 1:36pm



Hi Lucy,

I hope you have a good Christmas too, and you are sounding very positive which is a good thing...

Posted on: December 8, 2011 - 9:57pm

Lucy Parsons

Hi everyone - thanks for your caring replies, everything helps! Talking of which, I've just had a wonderful weekend with two of my best-friends from back home - bless them, they came out two weeks before Christmas, they've both got kids and partners to sort out, so I was really, really touched. We laughed a lot! One of them had womb cancer nearly eight years ago so she's got a good idea of what the deal is - and she's survived!

So far I'm having a lumpectomy, not a masectomy (phew), and radiotherapy - Louise,you say that radio is exhausting... my employers seems to be ok with me taking time off over that period, so hopefully I can minimise too much activity, though some people I know who've experienced it say that they were working throughout. And to be honest, I'm a bit scared of taking so much time off 'cos my contract is renewed annually, oh dear.
Anyway, I get the MRI results back on Friday so I'll pop in again then - fingers crossed for no chemo and no masectomy!

On the up side, my ex is being useful and - for him - quite caring, so small blessings. My mother-in-law has been a total rock and has come to every appointment with me, I don't know what I'd have done without her, frankly.

OK, I hope everyone's coping with - and possibly enjoying? - the pre-Christmas madness.
Take care,

Posted on: December 13, 2011 - 10:48pm

Parenting specialist DoppleMe

Yes fingers crossed for the next stage of the results, Lucy. A good friend of mine has been through all the treatments and people seem to vary as to how they feel, lots of sleep seems the order of the day as radiotherapy progresses. How wonderful that your two lovely friends came to visit and that your mother in law continues to be so supportive......we are here for you too Smile

Posted on: December 14, 2011 - 9:30am


I'd be lost without my ex-in-laws, I have to say.

I'm so glad you had a lovely time with your friends. 

Thinking of you.

Posted on: December 14, 2011 - 10:24am

Lucy Parsons

Hi everyone, hope you all managed to have a Merry Christmas, even those going through tough times.

I had my lumpectomy (or was it quadrantectomy?) nearly a week ago now, so I was out on Friday 23rd, phew! I was so, so happy to be able to be with my seven-year-old on Christmas Day, and so was he - though mainly 'cos knows it's me who organises all the presents!

I have to say that I've been very impressed with my ex, he's not only been very supportive practically, but even kind - yes, kind! Obviously the stress of the whole thing is massively reduced by knowing that my son is being taken care of properly - and of course I know that for many, many women who aren't separated, that's not the case.

So I'm very lucky, I know that, but having this kind of illness, ie potentially life-threatening, makes you realise how lovely it would be to have a partner who loves you and most definitely would be devastated if the worst happen. Someone who would put his/ her arms around you and let you cry and cry and give you that emotional support that only a partner can.

Having said that, some of my non-separated friends say that they too would love a partner like that!

So hey, we've all got our crosses to bear.

Hope everyone's enjoying the festive season,



Posted on: December 27, 2011 - 7:56pm

Parenting specialist DoppleMe

Hi Lucy and glad to hear that the op is behind you now and you had some lovely time with your son over Christmas. Do keep at the post-op exercises they give you as thse are very important. It's great that your boy's dad is being supportive....and as for your last comment, I must admit that working with people parenting on their own, or separated parents for ten years now, I sometimes give presentations and mention "lone parents" and almost always someone will say "Aha, but what about loneLY parents?" ie parents whose partners give them no help or support.

When do you get your results from the tests to see what treatment is next?

Posted on: December 27, 2011 - 8:02pm


I'm so glad you are having support - and kindness too.

So glad that you've been home with your son, and hope you are having a lovely christmas.

Thinnking of you so much.

Posted on: December 27, 2011 - 8:40pm

Lucy Parsons

Thanks Louise and Sparkling,

Louise - from the pleased look on the surgeon's face last week, and the number of times he said congratulations, I'm pretty confident the the lymph nodes they took out were clear - I know they study them during the operation in order to know how many to take out. I've got a follow-up/ signing-off visit with the surgeon on Thursday 5th Jan, so will have it all confirmed then, plus a date to start radiotherapy.
The exercises - they didn't give me any at the hospital, and although the staff are really lovely and professional, generally Basques/ Spanish aren't that hot on post-care of medical stuff, they always look really surprised that you don't know how to answer your own questions. It drives my mother-in-law crazy and she's from here!
Anyway I just looked up some approriate exercises on breastcancercare.org (another fantastic site) and they're helping.

Thank you for being so supportive, especially when this isn't anything specific to what the site's about.


Posted on: December 29, 2011 - 2:18pm

Parenting specialist DoppleMe

Hi Lucy

That would indeed be great if the lymph nodes were Ok but I think they also check the grade of the cancer etc, it is not the end of the world if you have to have chemo, but obviously better if not. Glad you got the exercises from that website. My friend said they seem very "easy" and pointless but that it was stressed very much to her that they were vital.

We are here for single parents to support them through "whatever" so we are glad to be here for you! Good luck for 5th and let us know Wink

Posted on: December 29, 2011 - 3:03pm


Hi Lucy. Glad the op is over, and that your ex has been supportive. Good luck for the 5th Jan. xx

Posted on: December 29, 2011 - 3:58pm

Sally W
Parenting specialist DoppleMe

Hi Lucy so glad to hear that your op is over and that you had a good Christmas, as Louise has said we are here to support single parents no matter what the issue is. 

Will keep fingers crossed for you for the 5th Smile

Posted on: January 3, 2012 - 12:27pm