I met my boyfriend in high school. After we graduated, we moved in together and we had a baby.
Things weren't easy but they were good, or so I thought. Turns out, that for most of our relationship he was cheating on me. He admitted to this after we broke up.
He’d already cheated while we were in high school and only told me because the girl whom he was cheating with thought she might be pregnant. Despite that, I took him back at that time.
The second time was with his co-worker whom he brought to our apartment when I was at work or had gone to visit family. I was pregnant, then.
I kept getting messages from people saying that he was cheating but I chose to believe that he wouldn't do that to me, not while I was carrying his child.
I was wrong. He admitted he did cheat, and again we broke up.
That last time, we moved on. He met someone and had another child.
Then, after they broke up he reached out to me and wanted to see our child since he thought he was going to be moving.
I agreed to this. I also took him back for the third time. He told me his excuse for previously cheating on me: He said he was young and dumb.
We've been back together for a year – still not easy, but we've gotten through it. I recently learned that he was cheating on me again with the mother of his other kid.
He has no excuse to why he did it. I can't help but feel like I'm never enough for him.
He's talking about marriage and it makes me happy, but can he really be ready for that when he just cheated on me again? How do I know he won't do it again?
Stop even listening to his excuses for cheating or promises that he’ll be different.
He is the one who’s “not enough” to be your partner in life. Blaming yourself only gives him confidence to continue doing as he pleases.
Recognize your own strength as the mother of your children, and start a new story in your words, not his cowardly “young and dumb” explanation.
Tell him he must see a counsellor for his repeated lying and cheating, which you will never accept again.
Insist that unless he gets this therapy and learns how to change his behaviour, there’ll be no further contact between you two (other than visits with his children decided by a family court, since there’s apparently no current parenting agreement).
But an otherwise no-contact barrier between you two is essential, since every time you do get together you face the same disappointment and hurt, plus the risk of getting a sexually-transmitted infection due to his frequent cheating.
If he doesn’t follow through on the counselling, the message to you is clear: You cannot trust him.
While you both started this relationship while very young, you’ve worked at a job and also raised your children mostly on your own, evidence of your inner strength.
Meanwhile, he’s still playing fast and loose at being a man and a father, showing mostly weakness. He’s failing at those roles when it comes to having any integrity.
It’s up to you now to make sure of what you signed to this letter: “Not Again.” If no counselling and no change, then no trust, no marriage. Or you’ll be locked into this repeated nightmare.
FEEDBACK Regarding the letter-writer, Frustrated and Heartbroken, whose husband’s been diagnosed with dementia (May 23):
Reader – “I’m surprised that this woman’s doctor didn't refer her to the local/nearest Alzheimer’s Association.
“The people who work there are well-educated in all forms of dementia and hold seminars to help caregivers cope.
“They help you understand what’s going on in the mind of your friend or loved one. They know what services are available in the community.
“I found it very helpful personally, and appreciated the support group’s shared stories and ways of coping with some behaviours of their loved ones. We laughed and cried together.”
Ellie – The letter-writer’s own approach to her husband’s changed condition was somewhat self-defeating, because, she didn’t want anyone in their small community to know of her husband’s mental-health decline.
You were wise to reach out for help, and she should do so, too, through all of the community supports available including their doctor’s help.
Tip of the day:
Living with a perpetual cheater? Show him/her the door.