I’m scared, trying to navigate being a single mother to my one-year-old daughter, or fighting for my family so she has her mom and dad together.
I’ve been in a rocky relationship with the baby's father for three years.
We both did things that showed we had our own emotional baggage. His was mostly seeking and getting attention from women.
There was always a new friend or an ex who’d emerge.
I asked him to leave last month after a fight about a broken dryer. My family and friends don’t accept him anymore.
They know very intimate details of our relationship that I wish I’d kept personal.
They believe he’s changed me and took away my personality.
I did always feel like I’d do or say something wrong. If I dropped an egg, he’d lose it; if I baked a pie on a hot day, he’d complain.
He's a great father (two other children from different women). He helped me around the house, cooked, cleaned, etc.
But I never felt chosen by him. He’s told me he wasn't sure he loved me. I always loved him.
He cheated on me two years ago and impregnated another woman (resulted in an abortion) whom he’s recently told that he’s always had feelings for her.
But, then he tells me that he needed to work those things out with her in order to move forward, and that he didn't mean that he didn't love me.
I caught him sex-ting others early on, and caught him in white lies.
Now, he misses us and wants us back, but I don't hear any apologies and I don't see much action.
I feel terrible because I should’ve gotten past his earlier stuff, and now I’m losing a family because of it.
I became accidently pregnant when I forgot my pills for four days. He was initially very happy, but that turned into a once-admitted resentment towards me for forcing him into this life.
He says he lost trust in me as a woman. I still feel guilty.
What’s more important - trying to get through this as a family, or fighting for what I feel I deserve (which I'm not even sure is out there)?
People make mistakes, why can't I forgive him?
Torn by Indecision
You’re right, this has been an unhealthy relationship.
Even if he’s a great father, it doesn’t provide a stable family environment for your daughter.
He’ll continue to seek female attention elsewhere, lie, and likely cheat again. That’s because you’ve both done nothing to change the dynamic together.
You walk on eggshells, share way too much with others.
Things can improve, but not if you get back together mostly because you’re scared.
Sure, the ideal is for your daughter to have both of you together. But, since he’s a good father, she’ll still get time with him on her own.
What really matters is whether you can react differently to him – speak up when you know he’s lying, be clear that infidelity isn’t acceptable.
However, you need backup to do this effectively, and that comes from counselling. A therapist will help you see why you behave as an insecure supplicant with this man, instead of as a partner.
You’ll gain the confidence you need to state what you’re willing to give, but also what you must get in return.
If he’s still resistant to change – and he requires counselling help, too - you’ll also have gained confidence to go forward on your own.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman who doesn’t want to tell her husband about her speeding ticket (Sept.7):
Reader #1 – “It's dangerous to speed and unhealthy for a relationship to keep secrets.
“However, she implies that the husband controls the car’s use and would prohibit her from driving it.
“Just because she’s a woman doesn't mean he has carte blanche permission to cut her off from transportation, getting to her job, and taking the children to their activities.
“Sure, she should take responsibility for her actions and drive better.
“But unless there’s a court order to take away her driving privileges, she gets to keep driving.”
Reader #2 – “Yes, she does have to tell her husband. Otherwise he’ll call me, or someone like me, who’s his insurance broker.
“He’ll scream at me when his premiums go up on his next renewal because of her dangerous driving habits, and I’ll have to tell him why.”
Tip of the day:
An unhealthy relationship won’t change without both partners being willing and learning how.