My on/off boyfriend of five years was 21 when we started dating. I was 24, with a daughter from another relationship.
After living together for six months, he got drunk with friends, drove, destroyed his vehicle, and was badly injured. Luckily, only he was involved.
I said the drinking had to stop; that in order to raise my daughter with me, he had to be more responsible.
He soon started hanging out with a female friend of his who’s known for sleeping with other girls’ boyfriends. After not respecting my wishes regarding her and drinking, I asked him to move out. We reconnected, but he later made out with his best friend’s new girlfriend at a party.
He confessed to knowing they kissed but couldn’t remember anything else.
At couples’ counselling, the counsellor focused on my anxiety issues though I was receiving medical help and individual therapy for it.
It made my boyfriend believe that everything was just my anxiety which I needed to handle.
We quit counselling. Then I accidentally saw his text message from the girl he’d been hanging out with before. He finally admitted to sleeping with her.
We’re not together. But six months later, I can't get him out of my head or life as I love him so much. He wants another chance. My mom says that he was young and immature, that I should forgive him, and be a family again.
Lost and Confused
What’s to love… lies, drunkenness, cheating?
You’re young too, but you have a very adult responsibility to your daughter. You can’t afford excuses for his behaviour. He’s ignored several wake-up calls and found it easier to blame you.
Mom means well, she wants you settled. But this guy isn’t the right one. He’s not ready, and hasn’t tried very hard.
Stay with therapy for your anxiety. But know that your mistrust was warranted. Get stronger, more confident on your own before you choose anyone to help raise your child.
FEEDBACK Following are more of the many continuing responses to, “How to thrive after a breakup” (Sept. 30):
Female Reader – “You get up every day, and hope that you get one minute where you can forget about the pain.
“You start to do things, one at a time, that you might enjoy. I used volunteering at an animal shelter to fill the void of losing my dog along with the man. I needed the canine companionship.
“Visit friends, travel, shop. Start a "perfect romance" with yourself. Learn to be lonely, scared, and angry, and that it’s okay.
“Understand that negative emotions are all a part of being human. We don't have to constantly be happy. Just don't set up camp in the darkness.
“Allow yourself one evening to feel like crap, watch a sappy love story, cry… then time to move on. Make lists of all the things you didn't like about the ex. Take walks. Enjoy fresh air. Join a gym or a club.
“Appreciate the beauty around you, and the beauty within you, even if you have to fake it for a while. Force yourself to literally stop and smell roses.
“Eventually, your life will become so full that you don't have room for him (or her).
“And you can allow yourself to keep one small spot in your heart just for him (or her).
“We don't have to cut people out, just build on what they gave us. Appreciate the lessons you learned, then eventually, close the book on that chapter of your life.
Female Reader #2 – “I am in the troughs of this myself. I’ve found some solace on the website www.survivinginfidelity.com. I’m still overwhelmed with sadness, 14 months out from discovering my husband's affair. He’s left us for his mistress and her two children. I’m “desperately seeking healing,” too.”
Ellie – Don’t let sadness become depression. See a doctor if it persists. I also recommend talking to a professional counsellor to help you face your own and your family’s loss, and everyone’s needs to deal with this huge change in your lives.
Of course, you’re sad. You need time and strategies to heal, and the willingness to move forward, which is why you can’t let the sadness take over.
Also, your children still have a right to see their father (unless they’re older and don’t want to, for now).
Despite your anger and hurt, they need your support to accept what’s happened, and to deal with it.
Tip of the day:
Don’t accept excuses for repeated drunkenness and cheating.