Ten years ago, I met up on Facebook with an old lover, and after chatting for two years (I was single) his marriage ended.
He asked to visit and stayed six years.
I’d discovered towards the end that he was frequently chatting online with his ex-wife.
My brother was very ill, so I went to help my sister-in-law in their city and he went too and stayed with his family there. I didn’t see much of him.
When we returned home, he said he wasn’t happy and wanted to return to the family i.e. his ex, which he did.
I soon started hearing from him again.
My brother passed away and we met for coffee. He asked if I’d move back with him.
Well, my family all lived there and I was alone where I was, so I agreed, sold everything, and sternly warned him: No more emailing his ex.
We have a great apartment, and everything’s gone well for one year.
Then, his iPad pinged and the message was from his EX!
He said it was just a friendly note.
I’m thinking of leaving him as I believe he’s trying to get an opening with her again. He’s never come out and said, let's talk about it.
I know the outcome and what I need to do.
You’ve already got the score on his two-timing game: Third Time OUT. His pattern is short-term neediness, then limited calm, until wanderlust strikes him again.
This time, protect your finances and legal rights immediately, since you’re living common-law after investing in making changes to be with him.
If he does suddenly want to “talk about it,” go to counselling with him and make sure he opens up to you (and himself), under the counsellor’s guidance.
Otherwise, he remains a serious, repeated risk to any future stability for you.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the woman who resents her husband’s “daughter from a fling” (April 23):
“Referring to a child as a product of a fling is wholly disrespectful to the girl and her very existence.
“She's obviously loved by her father and family, including his ex-girlfriend.
“I don’t understand her stepparent mentality: Wherever the father is living is also his daughter’s home. When people partner with someone who has children from a past relationship, they need to think long and hard if this is a situation or life they accept.
“Because when children are involved, a step-parent is never going to be number one.
“I suspect the daughter’s just not buying the step-mom's insincere gestures and overly managed visits with her dad.
“And a lot of dads in these situations take the easy route and vanish into work or whatever, leaving the step-mom and daughter to “'work it out.”
“Aside from getting counselling with her husband, the woman might want to stop referring to herself as “stepmother” to this girl, at 16.
“She has a mother and she has a stepmother in the ex- girlfriend.
“I’d back off the mother-bit and just be my husband's partner, leaving him to deal with his daughter when she visits and only participating when invited by the daughter.
“I saw this work with my sister, who backed off, made clear boundaries with her husband about what she’d do or wouldn't do for and with the daughter, and let them sort it out, which is the real relationship source.
“Eventually my sister and her husband's daughter became friends as she got older, married, and had her own children.”
Reader #2 – “I was like that step-daughter. I gave my stepdad an extremely difficult time, though he was always good to me.
“My attitude caused many problems for him and my mom. She often thought she should leave him because it was so hard.
“I was 14 when they met. Now I’m 28 and so glad she stayed with him.
“They're married now and have a wonderful relationship. And over time I came to love this man like a second father.”
Reader #3 – “Two important points: The woman resenting her husband for bringing his daughter into her life was actually brought into theirs. She must’ve known there was a daughter.
“She isn’t acting like an adult and taking the high road. This girl is a teenager and time will pass. She doesn’t have her there all the time.
“She should make some mutual house rules with her, and over time she may warm up.”
Tip of the day:
Two strikes from a partner with a “love-them/leave-them pattern” should end this hurtful game.