We both decided to take it slow as he has a daughter and my two young children didn’t need to be subjected to another male figure just yet. After a couple months of dating I met his daughter and fell head over heels for her, the sweetest thing ever! I included her in everything we did, and he told me she started to come out of her shell and loved being around me. He even at one point told me he wanted her to be like me — self-sufficient and independent. After dating for about eight months, I got scared and backed away, since for me it was too much too fast, and, even though everything was so natural and effortless, I still felt that I was not ready and he understood.
The tough thing was that his daughter had a very hard time with it (her mom is in and out of her life constantly). (I also had had an issue with the fact that his sister lived with him and was very unwelcoming all the time). So I gave it some time, and five months later reconnected with him. Things were great and I knew this was it and I was completely ready for things to go exactly how I knew they would go — talk about happily ever after! He was the one, every fiber of me was in love with this man, and he still has my heart today.
Now to the bad part. Shortly after our dating the second time, my ex-husband found out about him and threatened me that if he ever saw him, he would hurt him. I really took that into consideration as my ex-husband is completely immature. I truly feared that something might happen, and so I made up this story that I just thought that we should slow down and that I thought my kids were getting too attached and I didn’t want to hurt their father’s feelings, and he completely understood but told me he couldn’t go through this again. I told him I loved him and that I understood his stance. We parted ways and have had little contact since then.
I know he’s in a relationship and I want him to be happy, but I know with every ounce of me that he’s the one. He moved on quite quickly, and it’s been a year and a half since I’ve even seen him. I’ve even dated someone who was a great guy, but things just never got to what I had I had. I want to know how I re-enter his life and let him know that I love him and want to be with him. It’s crazy because I never even loved my ex-husband the way I love him. — Looking for a Third Chance
But . . . what has changed? Apparently, from day one, you felt he was “the one,” but that didn’t stop you from breaking up with him. Two times. Now, your argument for being with him is that you “know with every ounce that he’s the one.” But, you’ve BEEN saying that . . . and it didn’t work out. Why would it work out now? What has changed in your life, your mind, your heart, that would make disrupting this man’s life AGAIN worth the potential pain you might cause him (not to mention his kids and the woman he’s seeing now)?
What you did was pretty shitty. You lied to him and broke up with him without giving him the benefit of knowing the real reason. You broke his heart. And for what? Because you were afraid of your ex? Because you couldn’t bring yourself to communicate with this perfect man your fears that your ex might hurt him? Because you were ashamed? Embarrassed? Worried that, if he knew the truth, then HE might be the one to call it off, depriving you of feeling in control of the situation?
Nowhere in your letter do you suggest that you know what you did was wrong and that you’ve learned from your mistake. Nowhere do you mention why or how things would be different now. What if you get back together with this guy and your ex-husband finds out and makes threats again? What’s your plan? Are you going to break up with your boyfriend again?
Your whole letter reads like someone who’s seduced by fantasy or simply the idea of escape and has failed to ground herself in reality. Five months out of a terrible marriage (and not yet even divorced), you went out with a guy you deemed “perfect in every way possible” (come on, no one is perfect), and “immediately saw yourself growing old with him.” And then within two months, after agreeing not to move too quickly, you’re including his daughter in everything you two do (fyi: that’s moving quickly). And, apparently, you’re doing this before truly processing your divorce and thinking about what it means to be so intimately involved with this new man and his family because, suddenly, you’re talking about being “scared” and calling everything off, disappearing for five months.
And then you reconnect and you are instantly convinced that “everything will go exactly as you know they will go” and you’ll live “happily ever after,” because, sure, this man is perfect in every way and life always goes according to plan and things never get messy and life never throws curve balls.
You’ve been living in a fantasy world and I don’t see any indication that you aren’t still residing there. You have young kids and what sounds like a crazy ex. Pull it together and deal with your shit. Take your blinders off and accept that there is no “perfect” (perfect is an illusion) and no man is going to be your knight in shining armor, saving you from the ruins of your past relationship and whatever other struggles and challenges you’re dealing with. Be the self-sufficient and independent woman your ex-boyfriend first saw you as and be your own damn savior. Be your OWN happily ever. Create a stable and safe life for your kids and work on maintaining a civil co-parenting relationship with your ex so that you don’t have to live in fear of his hurting a future romantic partner.
Then, and only then, will you be ready to pursue such a relationship. And maybe by then this man you’ve dumped twice will be long gone. Or maybe he won’t be. But unless he is totally single and unattached, I would leave him alone. And keep in mind that whomever you end up with next is not, will not, and cannot be perfect. He will have his own set of baggage and he will be flawed, too. He will make mistakes and do things sometimes that hurt your feelings. And when that happens, you have to be prepared to deal with the reality of the situation and accept that these challenges aren’t always dead ends. But they are always opportunities to grow and learn. And as dreamy as “happily ever after” sounds, growing into better versions of ourselves and connecting with real people instead of chasing after idealized versions of them sounds even better.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.