Advice About Moving On

Updated on January 07, 2009
N.F. asks from Garland, TX
82 answers

Ladies, I know some of you have been here before...

I live with my two kids' dad. He's a provider, involved father, we have a great home and steady careers. We are engaged but I am at the point of wanting to break it off. I don't know if I can or should change my mind on this.

He has done really mean things in the past. He wouldn't get me anything to drink when I was recovering in the hospital after our first child. I begged him to get me the free box of juice from the fridge and he just wouldn't so I had to get up. He used to dangle marriage like a carrot in front of me, when we fought he would say "that's why I won't marry you". He used to display his temper all the time, and once he threatened to make me walk home or take the bus in my pj's. This was after he drove me somewhere - long story. He's left me at home with the kids while I'm really sick and he's at a happy hour somewhere...

Like I said, this was the past. We have our other problems like any couple, but those things don't occur anymore. Problem is, I can't see myself married to someone who ever did those things. I have forgiven the person, but I never pictured my husband to be someone capable of treating me in those ways. So for so long I've been unhappy and not really wanting the marriage anymore and stressed about trying to stay because of kids, finances, etc. But I'm not scared anymore about those things. I've taken my ring off and told him my decision, but the resolve is wearing as he convinces me he understands now. Which I believe he really does.

I've started a friendship as well with an old flame. It's always been more than friendship since we were 16, but recently they have even expressed that they want to be here for me if the future works out that way. The nature of that old flame is the type of person I know without a doubt is much more gentle and incapable of the behavior I have had to deal with. So it's very hard not to want to go after that possibility, eventually.

So while dh/fiance wants to fix everything now, I feel I'm already gone. How do you know if it's fixable? I finally overcame the fear and really wanted to move on no matter what. He is seeing the light on stuff that shouldn't have taken five years. Please, any advice for a confused mama?

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So What Happened?

Wow. Unbelievable how many of you have offered advice from your own experiences. Every response brings out a different aspect of the situation. Thank you all, I appreciate every word.

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K.S.

answers from Dallas on

You should absolutely NOT get married to him. Go with what you feel because you do not want to have regrets and it is so hard to get a divorce....and people don't usually change that much.

Good luck and be happy!
K.

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L.W.

answers from Dallas on

Wow! 73 responses! You've hit a nerve with a lot of women. I've been in this situation, and I married him. He has not been perfect, but when I feel like I want to leave, I ask myself, "Will I be able to someday honestly tell my son that I tried everything I possibly could to get along with his father before I left?" The answer has been 'no' every time. I don't regret not leaving, and I've worked on making myself a better person to help make it work.

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J.T.

answers from Dallas on

Here's the truth about it. I was in the same situation and when I made my mind up to leave he started crying and trying to make me think he was going to change. He wouldn't go out anymore and he said he understood how I felt. People don't change! He may change until he can get you to stay but he's only stalling for time. He may have gotten older and mellowed somewhat but he is still the same person. I am divorced now from him and did remarried 5 years later to a wonderful man. Been married 13 years now and the second husband is still the same wonderful man. Those were the best 5 years of my life too. I didn't date but I really enjoyed my life and found out who I really was and wanted for myself.
Ask you kids what they think about their father and see what they have to say about him. Kids are wiser than you think and no matter their age they will be honest with you. It was because of what my 16 year old son said that made me leave and stay away. He told me that if I didn't leave, his Dad would treat me and his sister the same way after a while again. I think another man will be able to tell you the real truth about it. Don't ask any man who would see you as a possibility for them. Ask a man that would give you an opinion based on what he truly thinks is happening.
All this being said, don't leave because of another man, leave because you are ready to find out who you are as a person.
Good Luck.

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B.S.

answers from Dallas on

N.,

Ok, you don't know me from joe-blow, but I'm gonna shoot you some really "tough love" advice here. Sorry if I sound harsh.

Sometimes loving someone isn't enough. You need to ask yourself why you are with him. Frankly, it sounds like a very destructive relationship, and it sounds frightening. And, your kids are watching this. It's their model. Do you want that for them?

He needs (and you do too) to put his words where his mouth is. If you are seriously considering staying with him I would strongly advise the two of you to get some good professional counseling (or at least utilize some marriage materials; available in book stores, and even used book websites) before taking the plunge, and/or before continuing in the relationship. Of major consideration here is that he is the dad, so regardless of whether you marry him, you will continue to have interactions with him, and your children will be affected by that. There are so many resources out there to be utilized. Objective resources that won't take sides, and WILL pinpoint areas of strengths and weaknesses. If he won't do it with you, then he certainly isn't going to be committed to the relationship either. And if you aren't strong and courageous enough to require it, and participate in it, then you aren't really committed to what is best either.

Be careful about the "old flame". It could be a "fantasy illusion". You know, the grass is greener. A major issue here is what is really going on within you. That will carry over into ANY relationship.

Pull up hard on those boot straps girl, and decide what you really want for you, and especially for your children. Then be strong, and move forward into a better situation.

Look deep in your heart for answers. You will find them. Best of luck to you in this difficult time. I know it's not easy at all for you. Oh, and DO lean on your female friends, rather than male friends.....it's safer. Hugs.

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S.S.

answers from Wichita Falls on

1. Anyone is capable of anything.
2. You have kids with him and he's remorseful about prior behavior which he hasn't repeated in how long?
3. You effectively want to have an affair with this other person. Sex, excitement, 'friendship' - without the money and kid stresses. Here's the deal.. you've still got the kids stress, and you'll always have money stress as long as you've got kids.

I would strongly advise you to first put this flame out of your mind. If you still want out of the relationship, then that might be your head and not your hormones talking. You can not objectively evaluate your current relationship by comparing it to an ideal from the past that, honestly, does not exist.

S.

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M.D.

answers from Dallas on

Hi N.,

You have gone through some really tough times that have broken your heart. And it seems that the wounds have never healed. I have gone through some similar situation with my husband and I had at the time decided to just divorce.

Well, I do regret my decision because I have seen how the grass is not much greener on the other side.

Due to the divorce my children all have gone through a horrorable time of confusion and mess with drugs, alcohol and more. After the divorce I have gone through hell and back with seeing me and my children falling apart. I have battled for almost 5 years with depression and suicidal thoughts.

Thanks be to God, I have overcome this...however to this day my children still suffer from my and my exes decision.

N., you have never forgiven him for what he has done to you and you have not gotten healed from all the wounds of your heart. He seems to not have made real amends with you for all the mean things he has done to you.

One of the major things that I have learned is to come to God with the issues of my heart. He alone can heal the human spirit. No doctor, no psychologist, no divorce can heal them. Seek out His help and then make your decision. Once you are healed and clear headed make your decision.

I do not recommend a new relationship unless the first one is taken care of.

I wish you the best!

M. D.

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C.J.

answers from Dallas on

Let me just say you cannot even begin to think about having another relationship until you end this one. So if the reason you are having these second thought are because now your old flame is back in the picture then do yourself a favor and get him out of your life. Figure out what you want without him being in the way. If you and him are ment to be together he will wait on you to sort you life out. He will also respect you enough to stay away until you have made your decision and are on your own for at least six months. That will give you time to figure out what you want not what anyone else wants.

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N.R.

answers from Dallas on

To start this out, I believe that people are capable of change. I understand that you are hurt by what he did, but it sounds like he really has changed.

Look, it also sounds like your mind is really cluttered right now because you have that "old flame" back in your life. I think you should distance yourself from him and start focusing on you fiance.

I agree with counseling. I think that will help and if your fiance is willing to try and fix this than he'll go to counseling.

I feel that without trying other ways to fix this than you will end up regretting leaving something that could have turned out to be really great for you and your children.

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E.W.

answers from Dallas on

Many people have had things happen in the past in the relationship that they were in. If these things are truly in the past then you should try and move on, as long as you are holding things that happened a long time ago over his head you can never be happy and grow in your relationship. Over time people can change, as time goes by they realize the more important things in life (their spouse, kids) and they can change and grow.

I do feel like the most important thing that you two share are you kids. Regardless of whether there is a ring or not you have already made a life long commitment by having children together. I came from a divorced family and there is no way that I could do that to my child/children (that is just my personal feelings).

I think when you start relationships outside of your marriage/engagement with this old flame whether it be sexual or non sexual that you are asking for trouble. This only temps you and makes you see your current relationship in a different way.

I think you need to sit down with your fiance and talk with him. It sounds like he loves you and you would not be so torn if you didn't love him as well. Talk it out, and dont' let the old flame get in the way. The grass is not always greener on the other side.

Good luck

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B.K.

answers from Dallas on

N. - There are many things to consider based on your posting but my overall suggestion is to stop seeing this "old flame" and try to work it out with your kid's father. When you feel like you can't work it out or can't get over things, it seems to make perfect sense to leave & try again with someone else. However, it is SO VERY difficult to make it work this way. Think about the kids - I am sure they would be much happier to see their two parents together rather than apart. And it is SO hard to parent with someone who is not your spouse. Another thing to really ponder - is this old flame really that great & perfect or is it the "grass is always greener" thing? No one is perfect - everyone has & will make mistakes - it sounds like your kid's father has made changes & although you feel like you've forgiven him, it sounds like you haven't. I would highly suggest going to counseling & working through your anger over the way he has treated you in the past. And more than anything, you should pray about the situation. God has an answer for everything & often times, we think of praying last instead of first. Consider what you think God has to say about this - consider the REAL ramifications of breaking this off - consider your children & their feelings - and consider the future & how this may chance things significantly for you. I will say a prayer for you - I wish you the best in this decision!

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C.C.

answers from Dallas on

Hi N..

What can anyone but you have to say that really matters on the, uh, matter? That should be your prime focus. No one is in your shoes, his shoes or the kids' either. For you to make a good decision, you have to be honest with yourself.

Are you ready to walk? From what you wrote, you sound undecided. Has this man made many LASTING changes? What about you? Are you both more mature, upstanding adults, not threatening and bickering anymore? What about the kids? Do they stand to be caught between two embittered parents? Or, is this just not the case? Sincerely, I say this: A man, or woman, is only worth keeping as much as they try to keep their significant other. It's a 50-50 job, and either party in any adult relationship should be ready to forgive, to grow up, to let things go, to communicate when something bothers them, MORE THAN ANYTHING: LISTEN, to be involved in each other's lives and be interested in some aspect of each other's -- lives. Do you fight, do you whine, do you hiss (become sarcastic), are you unhappy, are you dependable one to the other?

Really, the truth abounds in the way you treat each other and really how dedicated you are to trying to do what's right. Sometimes love is not just the way you feel. The heart can be treacherous.... However, if you see real evidence of change in the man that's been a grump but has been around, really check him out for all he's worth before you "scrub up" and "scoot out".

Plus, why are you playing the field? A movie says, you can't ride two horses with one bum, right? -- Remember the golden rule, and also: You should set a good example if you want others to follow, and never forget, make sure you aren't just out to seek your own ulterior motives, if they indeed exist.

Another point, does the 5-year-man take care to ask you what you think on matters in general? Is he considerate? If not, ask him (politely and respectfully) if he'll talk to you openly about your feelings on matters that concern you. If you matter to him, he will. If not, you have to determine the next step.

In all things, you have to look out for the safety of yourself and your children. Violence is not a tolerable option for any of you.

I hope this helps.

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J.H.

answers from Amarillo on

Did you ever feel you loved this man, and I don't mean be in lust with him at first , I mean someone you thought you could see yourself growing old with, because you enjoyed being with them etc. ? If so and you truly think he has seen the light, and won't have the nature to be mean anymore, then marriange counceling may be what needs to happen. ON THE OTHER HAND, if you truly lost all respect and feelings because of his past behavior, don't hang around for more of the same down the line, and don't stay with him for the kids or finance, and espically don't bale out of this relationship thinking thefriend you have will justfill in, I think people losts of times want stable in their lives and are afraid to get out of a relationship, unless they have (someone) to go to or financal security. You need to think you want out whether this other guy is in the picture or not. If down the road something happens , it just does, but that is not a good reason to get out of this one. If you want out, get out, and be by yourself a bit to gather yourself, or you will bring baggage from this first relationship into your second one, and it won't have a very good chance of surviving.
Just get out for all the right reasons.

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L.D.

answers from Dallas on

WoW- sunds like you have been through a lot. Whatever your decision is, don't base it on or because of "the old flame". Make your decision be about you and what you really want. You see, before the "old flame" you stayed...you took it... but now since the "old flame" you see that it was bad the way your current treated you. I hated to tell you but it's the same bad, he had no way of treating you like that...no one does. Again, please make your decision about you, the truth, and your family and not about your "old flame".

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A.M.

answers from Dallas on

Have you tried couples counseling? I think since you have children together, you need to make this type of effort to save the relationship with their father. I would NOT however get legally married until these feelings are sorted out. Also, you need to break off the relationship with the old flame in order to give your CURRENT relationship a fighting chance. I don't thinkg you should stay in a marrieage/get married for the children, but since you already have them with this man, you must fight for this tooth and nail!

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V.S.

answers from Dallas on

You should stay. The reality is, you two are already married. Sure there isn't the legal marriage, but you live together and you've had children together. This is what marriage is.

By seeing your old flame, you are in effect cheating on your marriage. You need to put that away from you and stop seeing him...he is a temptation and not doing your marriage any favors.

You say you've forgiven him...but you haven't. If you've forgiven him then you would be able to put those bad times out of your head.

You need to give this man a chance to see if his changes are real. Simply because he is your children's father, he is worthy of your trying and trying very hard. Anyone who says that divorce doesn't really affect children is lying. And if you leave this man, you are, in effect, divorcing him.

Think about your kids; make a real effort. If you are willing to try you could single handedly turn this in your heart around. Focus on the good and put the bad past out of your mind.

VickiS

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K.C.

answers from Dallas on

I'm sure we've all been there and had our share of bad relationships and finally realized they were not good for us. My advice to you would be, if you really don't want to be with your fiance, then get out. But, and it is a BIG BUT, don't do it because of this new frienship with an old flame. I think at this point you either need to cut that friendship off, or somehow get to a place where you are strictly friends with this person. You don't want to jump right into something else especially with kids. Just be careful and guard your heart and your children. I think maybe you need to take some time for yourself and focus on YOU and your kids. Get your self and life together without your fiance and get established as a mother and a person. Then at that point maybe you will be ready for a new found relationship with someone else. I've always said that you have to be able to take care of you and be able to survive with out any one else, before you can involve anyone else in your life. With kids involved you have to be careful not to jump into something too quickly for their sake.
I hope I've helped a little bit. Good luck to you and good luck to maybe finding a new chapter in your life. Just don't forget about you and what you want out of life.

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L.S.

answers from Dallas on

SOunds like you have already made the decision to move on by starting up with an old flame. If you were truly happy the old flame would have stayed just that. But be very careful. If you don't resolve the issues from your first relationship they will just carry over. Like you picking bad men that treat you poorly or tolerating behavior that you shouldn't. That is why they call the first guy after a breakup the rebound guy. I suggest try counseling individually and as a couple to see if you really can make it work. Then if you can't you can honestly say that you tried. Plus, it will definatley bring home to him how you have felt and give you guys a game plan for either making it work or maybe at least some civility for a seperation. The only way to know if it will work is to try. He can also be wanting to try now that you are leaving. The old I can change now that you decided to really leave. I think you need to ask him some hard questions about the truth of the situation. That you don't feel loved or cherished and don't understand how someone that says they love you can treat you that way. That you really don't believe him or trust him anymore and don't know if it can be fixed. If he is serious he will go to counseling and do everything in his power to fix things. If he is unwilling to move mountains than you have your answer. So both of you need to really consider if that is truly what you want. Don't rely on an old flame to make life better for you. You are the only one to do that and need to whether there is anyone waiting or not. If it doesn't work out then you will be able to say to yourself and the kids that you did everything that you could to fix things and be honest when you tell them it didn't work out.
I would have left way before now, but since there are kids involved and you are obviously ambivalent about leaving I would say to give it a serious shot and see if you can salvage anything. But be honest. And get a counselor to help answer your questions and get him some help as well.
Good luck and God Bless,
L.

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C.H.

answers from Amarillo on

You need to finish one relationship before you start a new one. I suggest you go to some kind of counceling weather its at your church or a licensed therapist. Not only do you have to work on your relationship you need to work on you. I say give the relationship a chance try everything you can and once you have done all you can to make it work then you can say you tried. I just love Dr.Phill if nothing else I would get his Relationship Rescue. Best of luck!

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S.M.

answers from Dallas on

First of all, you MUST break ties with the old flame. It is impossible to make a decision about the relationship you are in when "the grass is greener & possibly available on the other side of the fence". That has to be taken out of the equation. You have to decide about your fiance without that being a distraction. Second, I know several people that have gotten divorced and regret it. Yes, they had problems, yet it was bad, and yes it was the right decision then. But, hindsight, they realize that they should have worked harder to make the relationship work instead of giving up. I would suggest counselling for you to try to work though your past hurts. It sounds like you know your finance has changed but you are still hurt by his past mistakes. Assuming the counselling is able to help you work though that, great. If you can't get past it, then maybe you should end the relationship. However, because children are involved, you should REALLY weigh that decision on more than past hurts. If you decide to break it off, I would suggest you spend at least a year alone. Not dating, not seeing your ex flame, but just making sure you know who YOU are and what YOU want from a relationship. Then, if you want to contact old flame, go ahead, but not after really spending some time alone. It's easy to want to leave a relationship for something better, it's harder to leave to be alone. Good luck.

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C.F.

answers from Dallas on

Not that I am old fashioned or anything, but I really think in your situation you should think about your kids first. Their dad seems like he has changed. Maybe you're not so crazy about him now, but love is something that keeps growing over time, it's not something that you start off with right away. It means having to go through all the bull and coming out ahead as a stronger couple. If you think you'll never have problems with this flame guy, you're very wrong. And you have to admit that he, you kids father would probably have his complaints about you as well, yet he's willing to look that over because lets face it, he loves you. Tell this other guy to hit the road, he should have told you a long time ago how he felt, not after you had a family. That's a coward with no morals.

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L.M.

answers from Dallas on

Hello Ms. N. I have been there before my kids dad did me the same way . I could not see myself being with him in the furture but at the same token he wanted to be with me but how he was treating me it was not the type of way a men should treat the woman he loves and claim he can't live with out and I started asking God why is this so,he showed me that the father of my kids was not happy with his self he had past issues that he had not resolve in his life. Some man if they have not be taught how to be a good Husband are there Father are the man that was in there life growing up don't treat there mother right a man will do the same to there mate because that is all they know . A man must first love there self before they can learn to love anybody else.A person if they are miserable they want everybody to be miserable and you may never know why because you are always good to that person but they have issue that has not been delt with . Some people just don't want to change because they think it is all right and it's not . I have moved on after 12 years because I have a son and a daughter and I don't want them to think that it is ok to be treated like the way the man in my life was treating me it was hard but I had to do it for me because I know what I'm worth and it was much more than what I was receiving from him.You are a Queen and us as women no matter what race we are strong and we desevre a man that is going to treat us Right as long we are doing our part.
If you know that is not what you want because once you are married it may get worst I know that people can change but you know in heart what will happened if you stay.Ask God he will show you but you have to be willing to receive what he puting in front of you. Take care.

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E.C.

answers from Dallas on

The best piece of advice I have ever received is that "forgiving is what you do when you cannot forget". In other words, you are never going to forget about the actions of your fiance in the past, so the real question for you is if you will be able to forgive that they happened. If you believe you can forgive and come to peace with his actions and truly reconcile that they are in the past and will not happen again, then you will be able to move on.
Good luck to you!

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C.C.

answers from Dallas on

N.,
I am so sorry to hear about the dilema you're going through. You've mentioned the harm and frustration he's caused you but you didn't mention the relationship he has with his kids. Also, have you been just as mean to him in the past or are you finally waking up to realize that some men were just born cruel? I'd love for this to have a happy ending, but as a mother, I'd put my kids first, if his temper and rage is expressed to them, then that would determine for me whether I'd stay or leave, because I would certainly leave. If his anger has been expressed to only you then you could possibly seek help from a counselor. Also, you need to realize that some people may never change. As for your old flame, I truly think you're just adding more fuel to the fire, if your kids dad catches you, then you may lose not only your marriage but your kids as well. I think you should sort out your priorities first before you think about getting into another relationship.
You definitely need to get peace of mind within yourself or you won't even be able to take care of your kids. I do wish you happiness and no mother should be miserable, find out exactly what will make you happy, if it means leaving your kids father and struggling for a while financially, then do it, just knowing that you'll be happier in the future will be worth it. But if you think there is a possibility that your kids dad can change, then break off the relationship with the old flame and give this man your "all". My husband and I have been married 25 years, its had its ups and downs believe me, but we know that together we can accomplish anything!
Good luck and many blessing for your peace of mind!

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K.C.

answers from Dallas on

It sounds as though your heart has already moved on and you are struggling with the guilt. You have to get over that, the best thing for your kiddoes would be to see you in a happy, nurturing relationship. I have been in your shoes. My ex husband was an absolute control freak who did the same things your fiancee is doing to you. I stayed in that horrible controlling relationship for years because my guilt about my kids was stronger than my desire for happiness. It want until he kicked us(the kids and I ) out of our house that I found the strength to move forward. I am not saying that it wasnt hard. There was always the doubt in the back of my mind if what I was doing was right. Dont listen when he tells you that he gets it, or that he has changed. He is only manipulating you for what is best for him. Look inside yourself and find your inner strength. Remember if you are not happy, it will be impossible to make your kiddoes happy. My divorce was final 2 years ago and I have recently remarried and have had a baby. Life gets better, find the courage to start a new life with someone who loves AND respects you. You can contact me anytime if you want to talk. Good Luck
p&l
Kris

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S.S.

answers from Dallas on

Wow, you've got a lot going on. What a tough spot. My heart goes out to you. First things first- get the "old flame" out of the picture while you're deciding what to do. He will only muddle things up. The grass is always greener, as they say. You cannot see everyting clearly if you are entertaining romantic notions about someone outside your current family unit. I'm not saying it shouldn't happen with him, but if he's worth it, he will gladly step aside while you straighten out your family situation. This needs to be about you & your kids & what is best for you all. If you do leave your fiance, you need to get good at being alone with yourself before you get into another relationship. You will have much more to offer him if you do. Second, you think you have forgiven your children's father, but you are still holding a grudge. Spend some time examining what your real thoughts are, and if you can ever get over his past behavior. If you can find a counselor I highly recommend it. It helped me make some tough decisions in a difficut time not unlike yours. Best of luck to you.

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D.R.

answers from Dallas on

Hi N.,

Been exactly in your shoes. I was in a committed but volitile (verbally not physically) relationship for 5 years. I knew I always loved him but my motivating factor to move on were my two kids. I did not want them exposed to such miserable behavior. He and I just could not get on the same wave length - total lack of understanding on BOTH our parts.

We finally made a split for 1 year; got back together after
MUCH communication and compromise (these two "c"s have always been hard for me) and have now been married for 6 happy and loving years. Don't get me wrong, we still have our moments as no relationship is perfect, but we talk it out.

Do you love him? If you do, you can forgive and move forward. It is very hard to FORGET as I still remember the past on occasion, but we never bring our past back up if we are having disagreements now - we deal with the here and now. If you truly love him deep down, it can work, but it will take effort from both. If not, move on. The kids will be happy if you are happy and you surround them with love and positive influence. I have two healthy daughters, one in her 2nd year away at college and we talk at least twice a day and a 14 year old in HS. Both girls have always done good in school, made the right choices and know their mom and dad love them dearly and would go to the end of the earth for them.

Take care.

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K.C.

answers from Dallas on

Yep, I definetly have been there before. I was married for 12 years and always knew in my heart that it was not meant to be. However, it took me getting the strength I needed to make the decision to leave. We have 3 kids together and he was the one who made the money which added to the fear. But, I knew that the strength I had in me was put there for a reason and I left. Fast forward and I am here in my knew life which I absolutely love. I am with the man of my dreams and not only am I a happier person, so are my kids. Believe in what your heart is telling you. My philosophy was that I did not want to be 60 or 70 years old and regret my life because I decided to settle. Boy, am I happy I didn't settle!!!! Good luck!!!!

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A.B.

answers from Wichita Falls on

honey you have got to move on especially if you do not love this man. I have not been in your situation bc my dd bio signed over his rights, but after reading your question on what to do it sounds like you already know what needs to be done. You cannot change a person to become what you want him to be. I can't believe that he "threatened" you about not marrying you etc..That should have been your sign way back that he was not the one. If you are unhappy you need to get out bc you and your kids deserve better than that. Sure you have two children together and you can get partial or full custody depending on how you want to go about this whole thing but you deserve to be happy. You want to have a great role model for your children bc i am sure you would not want this for your children when they grow up. So do yourself a favor and leave, get an apartment, get a job if y ou don't already have one, and pay your own expenses. It is very hard and extremely frustrating at times but I assure you its better in the long run. I have never had another parent there for me so I have done everything on my own for the past two years and once you get everything down its easy.As far as the other relationship I would hold off until everything is completely done with your fiance. I know it seeems so perfect but perfect only exists in fairytales. I started talking to an old high school flame about a year ago and he was heavily involved with a girl and we thought everything was perfect until i got a big wake up call. He was still in love with her adn couldn't let her go now over a year later we are still talking bc he has had to get rid of his "baggage" and I have known him since I was 5! I know him inside and out and he knows me the same. But take it slow.. Good luck with getting your life together.

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J.T.

answers from Dallas on

N.,

If you've already started a relationship with someone else, even if it's still at the friendship stage--you're already gone. I experienced the same thing, although no children were involved, but the feeling of "doing the right thing" and trying to give my husband of only 2 months a chance (we separated after 4 months of marriage and 6 years together)in therapy was just my way of feeling better about leaving him. I really didn't want to continue in the marriage. That underlying feeling of being done opened me up to being open to another relationship. While separated and out with my girlfriends I met a wonderful man who is now my best friend, husband and father to our son. The whole experience opened my eyes to what I truly wanted in a relationship and what I deserved. My ex-husband did try to change and for a while he was wonderful, writing me poems, taking me out on dates, yadda, yadda, yadda, but it was too little too late. I had been begging him to be more affectionate, to stay home and cuddle on the couch and watch movies, but all he wanted to do was go out with his buddies. I was the nagging wife. It got old. When I left him he cried and begged and promised he would change, but my heart couldn't take the fact that he would probably do well for a couple of months and go back to his old ways and the cycle would start again. Believe me, when a women is done, she's done. It's a emotional and chemical change that takes place in the brain and usually cannot be convinced to go back. Go with your instincts and stay strong. You have the right to be happy. God Bless.

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S.D.

answers from Dallas on

People do Change.But it takes something more than self will God is the one who sustains a change.Your children love there father and he loves them more than a step father ever can.

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S.A.

answers from Dallas on

I know that it must be hard to forgive him, that stuff that he did sounds pretty mean, if not emotionally abusive. On the other hand, he is the father of your children, and he sounds like he has really changed and wants to stay with you. How do you think it will affect your children for you to cut off your relationship with their father? Have you considered attending couples counseling to try to work through these issues from the past. I would try to do everything I could to make it work, for the sake of my children. Also, maybe you should consider how much influence the prospect of having this old love back in your life is influencing you. The grass always looks greener on the other side, and even if it really is, make sure that you aren't just breaking with the father of your children to have a second shot with this other man. I would try everything I could to make it work with the first guy.

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D.V.

answers from Dallas on

Hi N.. I usually don't respond to any of these questions here. But I felt compelled...I take that back...I felt OBLIGATED to respond to your post.
I have been where you are. The only difference in my situation is that I am legally married. One year ago I got involved in an inappropriate relationship with my ex from high school. When he started paying attention to me, I in turn started seeing all of my husband's short comings. Although my husband was trying really hard to be a good father, husband and provider...I too, was hung up on all the horrible things he had made me 'suffer' through earlier in our marriage. I had this other guy telling me that I didn't deserve to be treated that way. And when I would tell the other guy that my DH was trying to treat me better, he would butter me up with "well of course he does, he doesn't want to lose you-you are great." I played with the idea of leaving my DH. I got to the point where I wasn't scared of leaving. I didn't care. I played with fire... The other guy and I would email constantly, text message, and we would even show up at the same parties or bars (during my girl nite out evenings). I was dangerously close to having an affair. Although it was very much and emotional affair it was not physical. But I longed for it to be, I just couldn't bring myself to betray my DH that way...even though I thought he was a jerk to me. Well...eventually I got burned. My DH found out about the emails, the phone calls, the text messages...and he found out that we were seeing each other. I had to really plead my case and swear to him that nothing physical had happened. But I had to own up to what I had created. And in the end the other guy didn't want me anyway. He just wanted something to do. I've had to deal with so much since this has all come to light. My own parents don't speak to me, they are ashamed that their daughter would be unfaithful, my inlaws barely talk to me. If my dh and I didn't have kids, my inlaws wouldn't talk to me. None of my husbands brothers talk to me. I've lost most of the family that I love so dearly. And all this because I couldn't tell the other guy to hit the road.
Now I know your situation is different, because ya'll aren't legally married. My husband and I lived together for nine months before we finally eloped. That's what I would recommend you to do. Make it right. You've already done two major things with this man...you had his children. Plus you have lived with him as his wife, although you have not made it legal. Make it legal. Let go of the past...let go of your husband's old ways. If he is trying to change, why would you keep reminding him of his old ways? Letting go of the past also includes this old flame. That's exactly what he is...an old flame. He is not your husband, he is not your children's father...don't give him so much credit. He doesn't respect you at all, if he did he would leave you alone and let you work on rebuilding your family.
I'm telling you all of this because I have been there. I am still dealing with the hurt I caused my husband and our family. It is not worth it. I am happy to say that my husband and I have made a choice to work and fight for our marriage. I have made him my best friend again...

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H.D.

answers from Dallas on

Sounds to me like you've already figured it out. If you don't end it you will always wonder "what might have been". best of luck. I feel for you and your situation.

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P.F.

answers from Dallas on

Personally I think you should give him a chance. You should have been married a long time ago, certainly before baby #2 came along but be that as it may, you have formed a family with this man.....and having babies and raising children is a very difficult task. No other person will love these kids like their own father....you didn't really touch on that subject, is he good with them? spend time with them, etc? Do you do things as a family? Lots of questions.....Just let me say that old saying "the grass is always greener" and it may look and sound like fun to be with this "old flame" but you're doing a real disservice to yourself and current relationship.....getting involved with someone else while still living with one person is just plain wrong and thinking about and comparing the potential (and really, you have NO idea what the potential is here) just makes matters worse. You would all be better served if you could delve into your current relationship with your childrens father and try to figure out how/where it can be improved....if this guy sees the error of his ways and is willing AND actually changing I think you should give it the best opportunity to work out....if not you will always, always wonder and regret that you didn't. Good Luck to you and remember, as a mom, we sometimes have to make choices for our kids that may not be what our heart wants....but they deserve the best and hopefully that means an intact family with loving parents that choose to finally legalize and legitimize their relationship.....you may just find that marriage gives you the security and status that will make you both happier....

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A.N.

answers from Dallas on

Do you think you could try (I mean really try w/ your heart) to work it out now that he wants to work it out? I wouldn't judge you or anyone that left b/c no one knows anything until they live in it themselves, but I only ask if you can work it out b/c it seems like so many people leave when it could be worked out and I hate to see parents split when there are kiddos.

But like I said, I don't blame you for whatever your decision. I think you're the only one who can make that.

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M.W.

answers from Dallas on

Hi N.,

First, sorry for the length! This is a very important decision and requires good advice... I see that you've gotten a great deal of advice already and it must be genuinely overwhelming! The consensus seems to be half and half.

Here's my take: I have been in a bad relationship before, so I understand where you are coming from. Some men only change for the short term, however, it sounds like your fiance is really trying. Something to consider. I have watched my friends in their relationships as well.

Friend 1: Married with 4 children. She is unhappy with her relationship. It is not because she is not taken care of, she is a stay at home mom and the bills are always paid, but it is because she believes the "grass is greener on the other side." She constantly leaves (putting her children in the middle of the conflict) and finds out that things looked really good, but that looks are deceiving. Luckily for her, her husband ALWAYS takes her back and forgives her indiscretions.

Friend 2: Single mom with 3 children. She is in her 30's and always in the market for a new man, even while she is dating a perfectly decent man. She always has it in her mind that "the grass is greener on the other side." As a result, she never gives her whole self to the person she's with because she's already looking for a "better" replacement. Luckily her children are older and it doesn't affect the nearly as much as if they were younger.

With all this being said, I believe that you need to end things with the "old flame." The grass always looks greener on the other side (and very well may be), but you need to tend to the "grass" you currently have.

Relationships are hard work and BOTH people in the relationship make mistakes they regret. If your fiance is truly trying to make a change, then you should give him that opportunity (even if it ends up not working out).

If later you decide to end the relationship, then it should be because things really didn't work out. You should leave for you, not because you have another relationship (consider your children and the example it would set for them).

My husband and I recently saw Fireproof at the movies (and I noticed a couple of people recommended it). It has a highly religious overtone (if you're not a believer yet), but the message is very significant. I think that you (and your fiance) should go see it and consider the Love Dare.

I've also read through your other responses and feel that Patti F, Stacey M, Susan A, Connie C, Erica F, Kristy S, Bethany K, Vicki S, and Erika W all gave you good advice as well.

I truly wish you the best of luck with whatever you decide. I hope that you'll let us all know of the decision you make and I'll pray for you and your fiance. God bless you and your family.

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S.

answers from Dallas on

You've gotten a lot of responses, which I haven't completely read. I was moved by your issue, but not for the reason you're looking for. I have to say I feel very sorry for your fiance. It sounds like he has made a genuine effort to move beyond the past and to make a good marriage with you. His behavior before sounds very immature and foolish, but then - so does strking up a relationship with an old flame while you are in this relationship. If you were being honest, wouldn't you say it is this "new" relationship that has given you "courage" to move forward with leaving your fiance? If you had no one else out there, what would your thoughts and feelings be? More than anything, I just GREATLY encourage you to think more about your children than yourself. This is their father! He loves them and loves their mother! No other man will feel the same way about your children (and possibly about you), no matter what they may say. Every relationship has its painful weaknesses, but many also have its glorious strengths. For most of us, it is a combination of both, and the pendulum swings both ways across the years. The whole idea of marriage and children is building on a foundation of COMMITMENT and FAITH! Commitment to each other, but also to a higher ideal. Faith in each other, but also in a higher being. It is these qualities that will bring the best out of you and your fiance (and ultimately, your children)over time. Don't go for the quick fix, which is actually just creating another future disaster. Work hard at what you have, build it into something beautiful and sweet for all of you, and realize that it is naturally going to also have some bitter memories as well as sweet ones. That's life. We all seem to look on the "greener grass" side, or watch TV or movies, or see someone else's great relationship, and become envious. The truth is, you have been given all the material you need to make a wonderful life for yourself, your children, and this man who has stood by you and his kids. Do it! Be blessed and be a blessing. Don't play with past flames, who may be subconsciously looking to burn down someone else's happiness. You are the current unfaithful one in this relationship. (I know that's harsh; just trying to wake you up) Do what it takes to work through your feelings of the past - and I have to say, it may just mean forgiving, letting go, and moving on. We can't live in victimhood - you will bring that into every new relationship you create. Good luck. I know none of this is easy, and I truly wish you the best and admire you for being so honest about your situation.

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A.B.

answers from Dallas on

When in doubt, don't.

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E.C.

answers from Dallas on

Tough one because you have kids involved. Well, starting a friendship with an old flame certainly does not help the situation. If you want my opionion, I think that you should put your kids first. Which doesn't mean dating someone else. It really sounds like you are placing such an importance on your dating life when you need to cool down and focus on your kids. Unfortunately, I think if you do break off the romantic side of the relationship with your fiance (he will always be involed b/c he is the father) then you should put dating off for a while. Good luck!

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B.D.

answers from Dallas on

I would recommend you take the time to do some deep heart searching...You do not want to make the wrong decision. I have been married for 12 years with two kids. I have been 50% wanting out for the past 4 years. I am going to counseling to help. I do not want to hurt my children or husband but I am so miserable....I just would hate for this to happen to you....Marriage is a big decision...

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D.S.

answers from Dallas on

Move out. Let him prove to you in a certain time periodhe really has changed. Most of the time they haven't unless they get great professional counseling/therapy.Don't be in a hurry to jump into the next relationship either. Time is the only thing that will show you. The things he did in the past are deplorable! They usually get worse once that wedding ring is on. PRAY<PRAY PRAY and let Him show you the way.He will ...just ask.

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P.H.

answers from Dallas on

I want to tell you I understand where you are coming from..
HOWEVER, you can't make this correct and reasonable chooses with having your mind preoccuppied.
You say you forgive your partner now but if you have forgiven him then you certainly wouldn't be so sour towards him now. Reading your post your stating facts from the past. Not much was mentioned about the present. Some people make mistakes and deserve a second chance if they are proving they are truly trying.
You have to want to make this work though. Counciling, talking with one another etc.. But certainly if you have tried this and it is not working don't just stay for the kids. The kids do sense ever emotion that is around them.

Good Luck!

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M.C.

answers from Dallas on

WHAT?! Just the second paragraph states it all. Reread your letter. Since you haven't gotten married yet you should GO. What makes you think he will CHANGE? When two people are getting ready to marry, this should be a happy time for both of you. Not "dangling" ANYTHING in front of you. Go with your gut feeling. It is usually ALWAYS right. Move on girl and BE happy, your children deserve it.

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D.W.

answers from Dallas on

I think you know what you should do. You've decided what you don't want. And you see what you do want. Follow your heart. But in any situation, stay true to yourself, and draw your boundaries of how you want to be treated and need to be respected. You tell your partner what you need, instead of just leaving and not saying anything. I understand that you don't want to marry a man who you know as soon as you marry him, it was a mistake. I'm married and have gone through an abusive situation, verbally abusive. Thank God he's changed because I stood up and told him I needed to be respected and I gave him an ultimatum and he wasn't willing to lose his family. So he changed. I told him what I wanted in my relationship, and what I wasn't willing to put up with. Anyway, I hope this helps. If you want to talk more my enail is [email protected]____.com

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C.F.

answers from Dallas on

Bless your heart. Don't jump from one man's arms to another. You need some time to get things sorted out for yourself. Get out on your own, support yourself (don't be dependent on a man - that's how abused women get trapped. Yes, you were verbally & psychologically abused). Put you and your children FIRST, seek some Christian friends/counselors at church, figure out who you are and what you want out of life, parenthood and marriage.

While I encourage forgiveness and second chances - because we have all made mistakes and sometimes said things we regret to our loved ones - I also know that a leopard doesn't change his spots. He may recognize how poorly he has treated the Mother of his children. And with the help of the Lord, yes, he can change. BUT...only time will tell. And you shouldn't be under his roof (and his thumb) during his time of soul searching.

Regarding the rekindled flame, you won't know for sure if he is "the one" until you have soul searching time of your own. Right now, he's the "greener grass on the other side of the fence" but like I always say...there's dog poop in that backyard, too!

Take some much-needed quality time for yourself (and for the sake of your children) to make sure that's the dog you want. : )

I'll keep you in my prayers.

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C.H.

answers from Dallas on

you could just "take a break" and see how it goes.
Say you need about a year to think about it and make sure.
He has failed the crutial test of caring for you when you were sick. among other things- BIG MISTAKE.
Now you need some time to be extra cautious.
If its meant to be it will.

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A.V.

answers from Dallas on

My two long term relationships lasted only 5 years. There's something about that 5 year mark. I usually know by the third year that it won't last forever but I keep hanging on. Sounds like you've actually already moved on emotionally. A little fun on the side with your old/new flame may help you realize there are still good men out there.

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D.B.

answers from Dallas on

I'm sure others will disagree with my opinion but here it goes:

Yes, your "fiance" was wrong. Yes, he has been selfish. The times you mention seem to have been a long time ago. If he is truly changing and improving, I don't know what more you can ask.

The thing that struck me about your email is that it was all about YOU. What about those two children? I think by living with him and having children with him BEFORE you got married, you got yourself into a pickle.

Now you want to take up with an old flame and not consider the other three people in your family---and especially the children.

I think forgiveness and counseling are needed on an urgent basis. I don't think running away will be the permanent answer.

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A.V.

answers from Dallas on

I would suggest tackling one issue at a time. Is this man the right person for you? Put aside any feelings you have for your old flame when considering this. Could this man be so manipulative that he is putting on a good show to get you to marry him, and then he will go back to his old ways? His behaviors sound abusive to me. Most abusive personalities don't go away without serious counseling. I can't imagine why you would marry someone that you are not in love with. Seems like the marriage would be doomed for failure. Only you can answer these questions. I wish you the best of luck!

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S.K.

answers from Lubbock on

Get out if you have any doubts. The kids will be better off and so will you. NEVER marry for the kids or for money. You have to be happy or your family will never be happy.

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M.C.

answers from Dallas on

Life is too short! Sounds to me you should move on!

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A.S.

answers from Dallas on

You have already made your decision by talking with an old flame. Have the courage to do te respectful thing and move on and not carry this out any longer. You already know that is the right thing to do. NOt sure why you haven't done it unless you like being provided for by a man you no longer care for.

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K.P.

answers from Dallas on

I have never been in your shoes, but I have been in your children's shoes. Divorce stinks - even though your not officially married, you are still with your kids' dad and to them that means everything. I'm almost 30 years old. My parents divorced when I was 5. Both are remarried to great, loving people and are "very happy."

My mom left my dad because she felt unloved and neglected. So, she divorced him and moved on. Dad learned his lesson and is now a fabulous husband to his current wife, and my mom sees this and regrets her decision (in her heart though she's only told me that once). The exact same thing happened to my husband's parents.

Even as an adult, it's still difficult having divorced parents. Who do we see at Christmas, Thanksgiving? Do we invite them both to birthday parties, special events, etc.? Parents are supposed to put each other before their kids - that's possible when you are married to their father, but otherwise it's not. Your kids will always be more important than any future man, which can make that relationship more complicated. What if that future man wants to discipline your children? Will you be ok with that? Will they? My step-dad is wonderful, but he never had kids of his own and doesn't truly understand the relationship we have with our mom. It's challenging. There are challenges on both sides.

The grass is not greener on the other side. No man is perfect. You've already got a history and children with this man.

Let me say this - if he is physically abusive - leave! You cannot let your children or you be in that situation. Otherwise, God can heal your relationship and make it better than you ever thought possible. He can help you to forgive your fiance for the past. It sounds to me like he's already trying to change and is making progress. It's going to be hard work, but don't your kids deserve to have their parents together, if it's possible?

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K.S.

answers from Dallas on

My advice to you is to first work on your current relationship. Take a date night and go see the movie "Fireproof" then try the 40 day Love Dare. I think that you think you have forgiven him but you have not in your heart or you would not be able to walk away. Understand that I am not judging you and I don't know all the situation, but if he has changed then I would suggest keep trying. There are also "marriage" classes. The Home Team I am in through my church is about to start a study on relationships. If you would like more info contact me at [email protected]____.com and I could give you the time and location of our meeting. If after all this you still want to leave then I say go ahead. But please give it a try especially the Love Dare. My Husband and I struggled for a few years before we got married and I was debating if I should marry him, we had no kids to tie us together, but I decided that we needed to take some classes and he was willing to go if it would help. 6 years later we are happier than we could ever have been, but I know it is because neither one of us gave up.

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B.H.

answers from Dallas on

I read 2 paragraphs, and in my head I could hear the voice GET OUT, you know the words you hear when you're watching a movie and you know the bad guy is about to get the kids.
Save yourself a lot of heart ache. You know what to do, do it. B.

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N.H.

answers from Dallas on

it's probably too late already if you feel you've moved on emotionally. this happened with my last marriage and even with councelling i couldn't bring the feelings back. it's one thing if you are committed to the relationship and it just needs work--that's when you should seek professional help. but once one person moves on emotionally, there's not a whole lot you can do to save the relationship...you'll end up wasting your time, unhappy and resentful. that might be worse for the children than if you split up. i always wished my parents had split up, to be quite honest. hope this helps! :)

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S.M.

answers from Dallas on

Truthfully it sounds like you've already made your decision and I'd have to agree with you. I've been in the same boat. I dated a guy off and on through Jr high and high school. Senior year my best friend introduces me to this guy for some reason I go gaga over. Break it off with the guy I'd been dating so long. I end up pregnant at 18 b this new guy (we're living together already..). For almost 3 years I try and stick with it. He was a great father and b/f most of the time he just had a severe drug problem (weed) that was the #1 priority of his life. After 3yrs I finally realized the same as you..someone who is going to be this way I just couldn't be with forever. I'd too started talking to my ex again. He was there to listen and there for my daughter and I just like he always has been. I finally got the courage to leave, I just did it..we were about to have to move and that was perfect timing to me. I moved in with my ex in a duplex so we'd all have our own space. We didn't officially get back together until a few months later and got married not too long after that. We just had our 5yr wedding anniversary and also have a 3yr old son. He also just adopted my daughter because when I left her father he walked out of both our lives. He agreed to the adoption and all.
I can't imagine my life had we stayed with the guy...I don't even want to know. One instance like you said..I was in the hostpital in severe pain (before we knew what it was). He left me there and went home to go through all my stuff (cell phones records, emails..everything). I'm there by myself, they drug me up with pain stuff and decide to do exploratory surgery. That was the day I knew it was over, and I could never be with anyone who'd leave me there alone like that. Mind you it was an unneccessary surgery but nobody was there to consent..
Best of luck to you in whatever path you choose. Just remember you can't stay in it for the kids. They will know you aren't happy and you being happy would be what's in their best interest.

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A.C.

answers from Dallas on

Wow.

I agree with the ladies that say that, essentially, you have started an affair with your old flame and are cheating on your current relationship.

My husband has done some things that have seemed pretty mean to me, although he didn't see it the same way. I have had to forgive him and look past his mistakes. There are some things that I do/have done that drive/have driven him crazy. I'm not perfect and neither is he. And I've felt like moving on sometimes! But I stick to it because of the kids, because of who I am and who I want to be, and because of who he is in my life - my provider, my husband, the father of my children...

I agree with the gal who said the time for leaving him for his past transgressions was in the PAST. Now that he's shaped up, you're the one that's messing up! Stop cheating on your mate and put the old flame out. Read the book "How to Affair-Proof Your Marriage." Your old flame is not worth his salt if he is willing to get involved with an attached person(you).

Work on either making this relationship work or get out of it and become self-sufficient so you can clear your head and heart. Learn to respect yourself and become someone you can look up to!

By the way, the kids will suffer if you leave their father for another man. Don't be mistaken about this.

I'm probably coming across sounding pretty stern, but I don't mean it that way. I just think you've got to get off the fence and you might want to consider things very carefully before you decide which side of the fence to land on.

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R.H.

answers from Dallas on

listen to your gut! Run, don't walk, get away! It's easier now before you have to go through a divorce with children! I've been there! If he's done it in the past, he WILL do it again. Marriage is HARD and you want to be with a person who is kind and will work with you on the marriage! Good Luck!

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K.V.

answers from Dallas on

follow your heart. your children will feel it if you are unhappy, so dont just stay for them. But don't just leave for the old flame. Make sure it has nothing to do with him only your happiness. Good luck, let us know what happens.
K.

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J.B.

answers from Tyler on

Good marriages don't just happen like in the movies. It takes hard work. Get help--even if you go alone--get counseling. Stay away from the flame. That's not what you need. You owe it to the children to TRY to work through your feelings about their father. Obviously you saw something there in the beginning. I've been where you are. I chose to remain committed. It gets better after the first 20 years!!!

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M.G.

answers from Dallas on

If you feel that he has truly realized the mistakes he made in his youth you should reconsider. We have all done things we shouldn't have, and those who have tempers have to reach a certain maturity before they learn to control them.

I would suggest that you seek a counselor who shares your spiritual views & try to resolve these issues within yourself. You might even try a session with the fiancee after a bit if he is willing.

My other suggestion... don't be involved with someone else while you try to make your mind up. It will only lead to confusion & heartbreak.

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S.W.

answers from Dallas on

N.,

When somebody shows you who they really are, you'd be smart to believe them. It sounds like your fiance has shown you over and over that he's not the type of guy that you'd like to marry.

Here is my test to see whether a person (including myself) should stay in a relationship or not. "Do you want your kids to grow up to be like him?" If the answer is yes, stay with him. If the answer is no, leave him.

And as for the old boyfriend, It sounds like what you have with him is more fantasy than reality. What I mean by that is that unless you guys have bills together, kids together, housework together and are actively involved in the daily hustle that is life, you never really know who a person is...even if you've known him forever. You can fantasize about who he is and how life with him would be, but until its a reality, its just fantasy.

I sure hope that everything works out well for you!
S.

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T.S.

answers from Dallas on

N.,
i am not really sure what kind of responses you have got from other members. i really commend you for putting such a personal matter here for us to give our advice.
i think that it sounds like emotionally you have moved on. so you just need to make the move physically. you are to the point that you are ready to leave. or at least that is what it sounds like in your post.
like you said we have all been there. i have and i left and reconnected with an old flame and we married in 3 months and have been happy every since. our families have blended well. he had a daughter and i had a son.
what my mother told me when i was in the bad relationship was that you can't force what is not meant to be and possibly that is what you are doing?? when i got with my current husband and the relationship moved so fast my mother told me when its right its just right and you dont second guess it!
i would have never known that for myself if i didn't leave him and at least attempt to find myself and what made me whole outside of him, my previous husband.

i hope this helps and i have many more things i could share with you if you ever care to listen.

T.

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A.T.

answers from Dallas on

N.,
Let me just say that I completely feel for your situation. It sounds like you are at a very difficult cross roads. Might a make a suggestion... my church, Watermark (www.watermark.org) has a class for those considering marriage. It's 8 weeks long and I KNOW it would be worth your time. I've read in so many books that the number one need our children have is to see a healthy relationship between their parents. That said, I totally think it's worth a valant effort to try to establish a healthy, happy relationship with your kids' dad. Just a thought. Here's a link...
http://www.watermark.org/ministries/life-stage-ministries...

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A.M.

answers from Wichita Falls on

I would encourage you to move out and consider being "separated" from your fiance. This would give you the confidence that you need to know that you do not need a man to help you make ends meet. Also, I should say here that no woman should ever feel that she should be treated in the way that you have described. Even though he is now "acting" right, the old person still is in there. If you decide to try to make it work I would encourage that you and he both get individual and couple counseling. I was married to a man for 10 years that made me miserable. Come to find out he was gay, but those 10 years were at times hell. It wasn't all bad, but I am so much happier not being married to him. I am remarried and the man that I am married to now is a wonderful husband. Take your time before you jump into another relationship. Good luck and I will be praying for you.
A.

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L.L.

answers from Dallas on

N.,
Im so sorry that you are in this situation. I have been there before. It is not fixable if you are not willing to try. All relationships are a team effort and if you no longer want to try...there is your answer. However, please know that the grass often looks greener but is not. Your ex flame may not have the same bad traits, but he has some. Dont let him be the sole reason that you are ready to move on. Do it because you have truly had enough and no longer love your fiance.And feel that you deserve better. Then if you and your old flame do not work out, you will still know that you did the right thing by leaving. Dont settle for mediocracy.
Good luck and i hope you find all the happiness you and your chldren deserve.

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B.G.

answers from Dallas on

Dear N.,
Many men are controlling, because they fear they won't get their needs met, they are not loveable just for themselves.
If you have already decided you do not want to stay with this man, then you have to screw up your courage and take practical, deliberate steps to rebuild your life.
If you don't treat yourself as valuable, why do you think anyone else would?
Have you ever considered that you are being a bad example for your children?
I spent 22 years with a controlling husband and went through a lot of hardship after leaving him, but it was definitely worth it.
If you're going to go, don't wait. Just do it!
And get yourself some good counselling. It really does help.
I will be praying for you.

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M.C.

answers from Dallas on

I say leave him. Once he has shown that behavior there is a chance it may come back after marriage (and two-fold). If you are already falling (or fell) out of love, then go. YOU need to be happy not just for you but for your kids.

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B.M.

answers from Dallas on

PRAY! You REALLY need to pray about it! People can change. Based on what you have said - I can relate 100%. The only thing is we were already married, and I though of divorce like every time he went out (which was at the time a couple times a week), and it lasted for years. The thing you really need to be carerful of is you do not want to put yourself in an un-happy situation where you are going to end up cheating. You kind of are already together - 5 years - ya I would say so. It also sounds like you have lustful feelings towards this friend - that giddyness you feel inside - and that you do not have those same feelings for you fiance. We have been married for 13 years & have 3 kids. We have been thru A LOT OF STUFF. It takes a LOT of inner stregnth to forgive the past - believe me. It always seems to rise as a reminder to ruin the good of present day, but you can't let it. I tell you again you NEED to PRAY about this! You have a family already with this man. This is a decision that you need to rely on God for the right answer.
Good luck!

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D.S.

answers from Dallas on

People need to be given room to change and improve. Who among us has never done something regrettable? Should it haunt us forever, if we've truly had a heart change and turned away from wrong behavior?

The things that your fiancee did in the past were absolutely horrible, and it would have made a lot of sense to leave him THEN!!

However, you have said two things that change the situation:
(1) He has made a true change and doesn't behave that way anymore.
(2) He admits that he understands his past behavior was wrong.

Without both of these things occurring, the chances of him falling back into that horrible behavior would be high. Now, give him room to be the better man who he has become.

You haven't really forgiven him, even though you say you have and you probably want to forgive him. Forgiving means letting it go and choosing not to dwell upon it anymore. That is very, very hard.

You were hurt deeply by the past behavior, and that needs to be healed. Figure out what will help you heal from that, and take care of it. You may need for him to say that he fully recognizes the depth of the pain that he caused, and not marrying you in the beginning is probably part of the wound. I STRONGLY RECOMMEND reading the book, "How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It" by Love & Stosny. (You don't have to be married to benefit from it.) http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&amp;id=NnOeP48vS0EC&a...
This book will help him to recognize the pain that he caused you, and it will likely help you to recognize ways that you've unintentionally hurt him. I know of three marriages that this book has saved. BUY IT TODAY. Get him to read it.....the title appeals to men. (Hint: Put it in the bathroom where he can read it without you seeing him.)

If he will read the book and give you ONE conversation (or letter) explaining that he understands how he hurt you and that he loves you too much to ever let that happen again, you will likely feel freed from the burden of hurt that you've been carrying. You'll have a good man who loves and supports you, which is what most women dream of having.

Your children need BOTH of you, and they need the two of you to finish healing, so that you can be the wonderful family that you can be.

Please let us know how things turn out.

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E.B.

answers from Dallas on

N.,

First of all, if you are even considering staying with your husband, break off the "old flame". This is not fair to him or your fiance. You will lose both and will regret both. Please clear the forest for yourself, at least that little bit. If that is what is meant to be, and you find that your current relationship has ended, it will work out in the long run. If not, that is not the relationship you were intended.

Now, for your current relationship. You have children with this man. If for no other reason than to be able to have a complete, healed, strong relationship to co-parent with him, get couples counseling. Tell him about the old flame and that you have broken it off. To be able to say that you gave it your all and know in your heart that you gave yourself 100% to the relationship, you have to do this. You say you have forgiven, but you have not or this would not be brought up at all. Get counseling. If being together is the best for you, you will find out, if not, it will at least mean that you have a strong father/mother relationship for your children to see - whether or not you choose to live together or be together romantically. Good luck and I wish you the best.

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A.M.

answers from Dallas on

So many marriages end in divorce. If leaving the relationship is what your head and heart are telling you, then do it. You have to do what is best for yo and your children, and they need a mom who is going to be happy, and content with herself. As for your kids father.."too little too late". You could always try couples counseling as a last ditch effort, but if you feel like you are already gone, then I don't think that it can be fixed..fear is the biggset thing to overcome, and you have already done that, so go with your instincts, move on and be happy and continue to be a great mom to your kids. Good luck to you!

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C.T.

answers from Dallas on

It sounds like part of your biggest change of mind may be due to the frinedship w/ the old flame. You owe it to yourself, fiance, and kids to put the "friendship" on hold and see if you can make the amends w/ your fiance. I am not saying to stay w/ the man but at least take the external influence and curiosity out of the equation and see where you stand. Try counseling. If then it does not work at least you will know that it is because of the dynamics of the relationship and not because of your curiosity of the old flame. You then can always honestly tell your kids you gave it your best shot. You are comparing and justifying your feelings for your old flame in saying he is gentle and would never do those things that your fiance has already done...those things you say you have forgiven him for and that you believe he would not do again. Do you see the contradiction? I have very much been in your situation and can empathize w/ your conflicting feelings. Good luck!

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A.B.

answers from Dallas on

Go see the movie Fireproof WITH your fiance. It's a great movie and really puts things into perspective. I don't think it matters whether or not you are married, when you have children together, you must try to make a home for them. The stakes are high when your decisions affect 4 people, two of which have no choice in the matter. Follow your HEAD, not your heart. Children follow feelings, adults must just do what's right whether it makes them 'happy' or not. Look at the bigger picture and give it time. We all mess up and no one person is to blame for an unhappy relationship. Maybe see what you can do to make it better and put in as much effort w/your fiance as you do w/this new guy! Good luck and I hope you make the right decision for your children.

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L.M.

answers from Dallas on

Lots of advice has been given and any one of the answers might work for you or might not. Each of us is answering based on what we have experienced and what we have felt.

Let me suggest that you consider stepping away and prioritizing. I like to do this by writing lists.

List the most important things to a healthy life - for me, it would be (1) relationship with God (2) children, etc.

Then make a list of the positive and negative aspects of each of the men. Put this list away until you have worked on the first list.

I do believe that you have to focus first on God or a higher power; next, on what is best for your children. It is not always best for children to be in a home with both parents - sometimes that will work; sometimes not. It is certainly not best to be dragging the children around from relationship to relationship.

I have also found that women tend to define themselves by the man in their lives. Perhaps it would be good for you to get away from both (the fiance and the old flame) and be on your own for awhile. This could be as simple as living with family and limiting contact with either of these men, except that you should plan for the children to spend quality time with their father. Once you have had time to heal yourself, then as a whole person you are better able to consider either of these men (or someone entirely different) to be a life partner. This is when you should look at the second list. You may decide that neither of these men is the person for you.

You also have to list your negatives and positives. What do you bring to the relationship? What do you need to change or improve? This is probably the hardest thing to do. But rarely is there a problem in a relationship that is entirely the fault of one person.

I also recommend a counselor for you, individually. Ultimately, if you decide to try to make a life with either of the men, then a joint counselor would be beneficial.

No one can make the decision for you, but each of your decisions will affect your children. Read all of the advice given (each one comes from a person with a different life experience and different perspective); weigh each one; consider the impact on others; and pray. You don't have only 2 choices.....there are always other options.

God bless.

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J.G.

answers from Abilene on

Dear N.,
This is what I have learned from the past they never change they promise they will but I don't know of one yet that does. My late husband would be mean to me than promise he would never do it again. abut he always did. You are smart to get out now. I'm married to a man now that no way would he mistreat me.
Also makes a difference if you have the lord in your life.Good luck and God Bless
J. G

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M.A.

answers from Dallas on

You both need to go to see FireProof, it is at the dollar movies and then there is the book that you can work on. Give it your all for the 40 days. At the end you will know. It works, trust me. Good luck and God Bless, things will work out the way they should. But please both of you do this program or someother counseling before saying I Do.

C.M.

answers from Dallas on

Just a thought, but another person always looks appealing. You dont live with them and have to deal with their issues.

I read a statistic that 50% of marriages end in divorce and more than 75% of all second marriages end in divorce too. That speaks volumes if you ask me!

GL with whatever you decide.

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A.H.

answers from Dallas on

First of all I am not sure of your beliefs however the Bible states if you want a blessed marriage you need to stay with the one you have children with, asking God to forgive you for fornification. Although his behavior seems selfish & I can understand your feelings, God will bless your marriage. This old flame...if it was meant to be it would have been way before you started a relationship with the father of your children. People go into marrriage with the WRONG idea. Instead of going into this marriage thinking "Does he make ME happy?" You need to consider asking yourself above all else "What can I do to make HIM (God)happy?" The answers can be found in the Bible, you just need to let God guide you in the right direction.

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N.N.

answers from Dallas on

Dear N.: Wow! You have been through a lot! I am sorry you had to go through all those hard times. I think that there is always hope, and if He has changed, and is not the same person he was, and if you love him, then you should both seek couseling before you get tie the knot. Also, are you Christian? If so, Christian counseling will be very helpful. Take time to pray, and seek God's will in this situation. There is an author named Jimmy Evans, He has many resources, retreats, seminars, and book studies on God's design for marriage. Look into those resources. N., if you have a desire to make this work, you need to seek healing for the past wounds before you can move on either way. I pray for healing in your life, and that God reveals to you all that you desire an answer for.

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L.B.

answers from Tyler on

N.,
I would challenge you that most of us women have also treated our mean with disrespect. In fact, I would say engaging in a deep friendship with a man you have interest in is equivelant to his unkindness. As adults we make decisions all the time. Unfortunately, it is expected we are capable of making selfless decisions. And this is not always the case. You neeed to decide if you are committed to this man or not. If not, move forward. But it is dishonest to entertain the idea of a future relationship with another while you are living with, engaged to, and seeing you present "man". There are very few kind individuals out there. What is it that drives you to be kind, selfless, and sacrificial? Until our focus in on something far greater than ourselves there is no way we can give ourselves to another the way we should...make you emphasis your relationship with Jesus...love the man God gives you next...then you children...then others...then you...it seems like very little is left. But when we live out this design we were created for life, even in the hard, seems worth living.

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