I have exhausted every avenue for advice and I’m getting to the point where I feel physically ill with stress. I’m 27 years old with three children. I have spent four years with my youngest child’s dad, Tom, whom I adored!! But Tom got depressed when his father died — two days before our son was born — after a 10-month battle with lung cancer. I kept trying to help but he wouldn’t admit he was depressed and said he was down because he doesn’t love me. I went to relationship counseling with him and then he went to personal counseling too.
He told me over a period of about two years that he didn’t love me, wanted to leave me, and was only with me for our son, and he made very mean remarks on a daily basis. He also spent pretty much every spare moment he had at the pub. Eventually, I began to get so down with it as I felt constantly bullied and was getting no affection at all.
One evening, I decided to look at his phone and saw he had been messaging other women — nothing too incriminating but it really upset me, I also saw pornography on his phone when, for the last year and a half, he had told me he just had no interest in sex anymore. I then started hearing rumors of his cheating, and I lost my temper. I had had enough and I kicked him out, and things got a bit physical. We have had an awful time since then; he tried to have me arrested for assault, contacted social services, and even emptied my bank account.
After about eight weeks, I met another man. It wasn’t the love of the century, but it was nice to have some company. After a few weeks I felt so happy! We have so much in common and he treats me exactly as I have always wanted to be treated and he adores my children. My only reservation is he has no financial stability at all and still lives at home with his mum. (By the way, my ex is 39 and my new man 29). I couldn’t have been happier though!!
But mow my Tom has come out of a huge period of reflection. He’s seen the error of his ways, has proposed to me, has bought us a house, and has basically cried and grovelled to me everyday for the last 3-4 weeks. From the confusion of this, I have ended my relationship with my current boyfriend as I worry that staying with him is selfish and not what’s best for my children.
I feel like I’m now just pushing both away, saying I need space to think, and they are both harassing me 24/7 for an answer and declaring their love for me. I don’t know if I can trust Tom and I’m scared how much he hurt me. But he’s a great dad and has done so much to show how sorry he is and seeing him so sad is truly heartbreaking! Yet, my new man has made me so happy and we have such an amazing connection — it all feels lovely and natural..but is this just a new romance thing that will fade?
I feel so sick and confused that everybody around me is sad and I just don’t know what to do. Please help! — Between Two Men
Wendy: How long have you been with the new guy?
Wendy: And you’ve already introduced him to your kids?! Have you ever been single for more than a few months as an adult? I honestly think that more than anything else that’s what you need. Your ex can still be a great father without being romantically involved with you, and your kids would benefit from having two parents who are physically and emotionally present and not embroiled in all this relationship drama.
I have probably been single for about a year in total in the last six years; obviously four and one-half of those six were spent with my ex.
Wendy: You don’t think it was confusing to your kids to be introduced to a new man in your life only three months after you kicked out their father/father figure? If you can’t get a babysitter to watch your kids so you can go on a date, then you don’t date for a while. Honestly, after everything you went through with the ex, I think some time to focus on you and your kids without jumping into a new relationship would have done you all a lot of good. And there’s no reason you can’t have that time now. You say you feel like you could explode. You’re totally stressed out over all this relationships drama, so hit the pause button and take a break from dating. Focus on yourself and your kids for a while.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].