I'm a professional male, 31, on and off with my high-school sweetheart for many years, minus the last five.
We have a son, age six, whom we co-parent and raise very well together. They both lived in another city until last year. Since then, I’ve had my son full-time.
Her last relationship ended a year ago. We've been talking more and shared intimate moments recently.
She lives in a small town where she stayed for work. We’re both originally from a major city.
Now, she’s decided she's had enough after eight years and wants to move back, a decision she made on her own.
We’ve talked and decided we have to take it very slowly if this’ll work.
She's been hurt before, both by myself and the last man.
I know where I am mentally and I'm ready to be with her. I know she’ll need time to heal and rebuild trust, etc...
Are the wounds too deep where she can't recover?
Will this work and can we become a happy family? Do you suggest counselling for both of us or individually?
Cautious and Concerned
Yours is a hopeful story, but to be successful you need to be as cautious and concerned about your own handling of this plan, as much as she must.
In your own words, you hurt her. Perhaps that was because you initially got together so young. But whatever the reason, she’s had two men to distrust.
Counselling? Yes! It’s a positive sign to her, and a positive move for both of you to get individual counselling and then couples’ counselling together.
Tell her the individual counselling is for each of you to recognize any mistakes of the past, for you to apologize for the hurt you know you caused, for her to accept that apology, and both to put all this behind you.
Next, couples’ counselling is wise to get you off to a solid start when you live together raising your son.
Each of you must adjust to no longer being the sole parent, and find compromises in your joint-parenting approach rather than sticking to old ways when each was on your own with him.
The boy will test you both, because this is different and he, too, may feel uncertain, even anxious about it.
He needs you two to be confident and positive about the move, to help him adjust. A process of counselling together will help you prepare, and during the period of everyone adjusting.
I’d been seeing this guy for three months. He’d cook for me, be there for me when I needed him, but he lied about being married.
I feel such a fool because he introduced me to some of his friends, an older brother and cousin.
We were also not friends on Facebook, which is where I eventually saw pictures of him and his wife and children.
I immediately tried calling him but he won’t answer. So I’ve blocked all communication with him.
He now tries to call me but I ignore it. We were talking about having a future together. Is this something I should forgive?
No. Think of how his wife and kids were deceived too! That’s exactly how he’d treat you some day if you forgave him and renewed a relationship.
He’d then know that you accept his cheating, because you’re so sure he won’t do that with you.
He already did by hiding the truth.
FEEDBACK Regarding whether the family dog who needs exercise is more important than the ill wife/mother (August 30):
Reader #1 – “If the dog follows commands well, an off-leash dog park (enclosed, and where dogs can socialize), plus a ball and Chuck-it (which makes throwing a ball easy, when there aren’t other dogs around) provides exercise for the dog.
“But this doesn't resolve the underlying issue of family participation; it could help the writer make sure both she and the dog are ok.”
Reader #2 – “The fact that the husband leaves the decision to her and is totally okay with her shouldering the responsibility for letting the dog go, is a very poor decision.
“Both parents have to align on a decision, otherwise this is downright despicable behaviour from the husband… unless, when communicating to the kids, he’s willing to also shoulder the responsibility and not shift all the guilt to her.”
Tip of the day:
Re-connecting as a couple with a child you’d raised separately, after years apart, requires thoughtful planning and counselling help.