'Friends and family hate my boyfriend – and evening with pal ended in disaster'

Dear Coleen

I’m a 40-year-old divorced woman and I’ve been dating a great guy, who I met through a local art class, since September last year. I went through a horrible, messy divorce three years ago and my boyfriend has been like a breath of fresh air.

He’s very confident and sure of himself, which I’m attracted to, and it’s good being with someone who can make decisions. I carried my ex in so many ways, which left me exhausted, but this guy makes me feel cared for.

OK, so where’s the problem? Well, my friends and family (without ­exception) all hate him, which has left me perplexed. I thought they’d be happy I’d found someone after going through a bad time, but it seems not.

Even my dad, who’s a very nice man, called him “slightly arrogant and very opinionated”. My best friend asked me if I was sure about him because he’s so unlike my previous partners.

Before lockdown, we had a disastrous evening where he embarrassed my friend’s husband my making him look foolish when they were discussing politics.

He was also quite rude about my friend, telling her that her dating days were behind her now she’d “got fat” and bought a cat! He apologised for that afterwards, but said he was just joking and that he was surprised anyone took it seriously.

I hate that no one gets on with him. What do you think?

Coleen says

It is a bit concerning that absolutely none of your friends and family have taken to him. Can they all be wrong?

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Maybe it is just the fact that he’s so different from your previous partners and perhaps they don’t feel they have much in common with him.

Maybe his confidence is coming across as arrogance. I don’t know, as I haven’t met him, but of course it’s upsetting for you and you must be wondering what they’re seeing that you’re not!

It’s great that he’s been a breath of fresh air, made you feel cared for and boosted your self-esteem after a messy divorce. That all sounds very positive.

And if you really feel this relationship is serious then at some point you have to believe in your own choices and choose the life you want for yourself.

Perhaps just be careful you’re not so desperate to be in a good relationship that you ignore things about him that could become a problem later on.

I’d suggest having a word with your family and friends, and explaining that while they may not be keen on him, you want to give the relationship a fighting chance, and you’d like them to be more open minded.

And why not ask your boyfriend to rein it in a bit while he’s getting to know your mates because his sense of humour sounds a bit Marmite to me!


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