Tell Me About It

My son is convinced my Spanish lover is a fraudster

Tell Me About It: Plan to emigrate and open cafe in Spain with lover hinges on trust

PROBLEM: I am a woman in my late 50s and I have one son in his mid-20s. I have always found it hard to trust people and the only long-standing relationship that I ever had was with my son’s father. We never married but were together for about seven years until I discovered that he was sleeping with a close friend of mine. The relationship ended very quickly and he did not maintain much contact with our son.

One of my life-long ambitions has been to live in a warm climate by the sea and own and manage a small cafe. This is more than a dream and I have done a lot of research and saved a considerable amount of money to fund this venture. I intend to take early retirement in the next six months and have done a lot of travel abroad to find a suitable location and venue for my business.

About three years ago while in Spain I met a gorgeous, intelligent Spanish man, a few years younger than me. He had a similar life history to mine and had never been in a serious relationship as trust was also an issue for him. Over the course of time we kept in contact, eventually becoming lovers. He is a trained chef and as I don’t speak Spanish have asked him to help me set up my cafe. This includes making purchases and dealing with food and beverage suppliers, etc. He has visited Ireland and has met my son, who found him to be very charming.

However, my son has since asked a work colleague who grew up in Spain and speaks fluent Spanish to do a social media search on my new partner. He found very little except for a comment on an online platform that suggests my partner works as a mechanic and not a chef. I had recently given my partner a considerable amount of money to buy kitchen equipment. My son is convinced that he is a fraudster “playing vulnerable women”.

I am delighted that my son cares so much for me, but I am afraid that I have passed on my insecurities about people to him. I also think that he finds it difficult to see me spending time with someone else. This is the first time that I have ever felt comfortable entering a relationship without second-guessing myself. I really don’t want to confront my new partner about the findings of the internet search as he will know that I went to elaborate lengths to spy on him.

But I don’t want my son to think that I am dismissing his concerns.

ADVICE: It seems that your life has finally paid dividends and you are putting into place the dream you have had for many years. However, this dream demands a business head and it is important that you learn the language of the country you will do business in – this will allow you to make informed business decisions and the added impact will be that you will be able to understand your new partner in the context that he lives in. Fear has governed much of your life in that you have not trusted anyone to be close to you but now is the time to face these fears and be courageous in challenging them.

The reason you do not challenge your partner about the internet allegations is fear that he will abandon you. Fear will become a major factor in your new life but this is your best opportunity to have a life that is expansive and open and do you really want to start it in this way?

What do you know of your partner?

Have you met his friends and family and how does he behave in these circumstances?

Do his friends speak well of him and is his story one that is confirmed by his family?

If the answer to all these questions is positive then you have evidence of someone who is open and not secretive and you can bring the internet story to him as he might need to deal with what is written about him. If however, you cannot answer these questions because you have not been involved in his life to the extent of knowing his circle of people, then you would have to ask if you are doing the sensible thing in trusting your hard-earned money to someone you do not yet know well.

Insecurity can be overcome by facing our fears, one at a time and in a timely manner – this gives us confidence to trust our judgment. We need to use our intelligence fully when choosing a life partner and not shy away from things we do not want to see. If your relationship survives this alleged breach of trust, it will be one worth keeping and perusing but you cannot ignore what you now suspect and therefore questions must be asked and your experience of the relationship examined.

Your son will benefit from watching you face your life challenges and the most important thing for him is to see his mother being strong and courageous while developing this new phase of her life.