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Do I give him a second chance?

(104 Posts)
Layla0000 Wed 22-Jan-14 14:06:47

Can anyone tell me how you decide whether to let go or hang on to a relationship?

I am in a difficult situation during a very unexpected separation which both of us regret and wish had not happened. He thinks we are working towards getting back together. I feel like this some days, but other days I feel like it is just over.

Without going into too many specifics we were very happy until a few months ago. Before this happened, I would have never believed I would ever consider splitting up with him. I loved him completely and everything about the relationship was fantastic.

He did something to me that I find hard to forgive. No OW, no violence. Just something that made me doubt absolutely everything and I can't seem to see "us" in the way I used to.

He let me down big time. I do forgive him for it. There were extenuating circumstances, but at the same time it still happened.

Can anyone tell me if when you feel like this it is best to either give it a try and see what happens, or whether it is best to just walk away on the basis that "if it's meant to be it will be".

The situation is very complicated and while I don't want to drip feed I also don't want to make this post really long and confusing.

Twinklestein Thu 23-Jan-14 18:10:44

I feel like I either need to forgive and forget or tell him its over.

I think there might be a third way whereby you are completely honest with him about how you feel: angry, grieving, not wanting to be intimate, not being sure that you can forgive him, or ever trust him again etc.

I think the suggestions of joint counselling are a a good idea, it may help you both to verbalise your feelings to each other and reach better understanding of where you both are.

Regardless of where the relationship ends up I think honesty is the only way forward.

I don't think it's realistic to expect yoruself to perform a superhuman feat of forgiveness before you're ready. Nor do you quite sound ready to say it's over yet either.

I agree with cerealqueen that if you give it one last shot to try to make it work and you can't, at least you can walk away with no regrets, knowing you did everything you could. Otherwise I think you may be left with nagging doubts later on as to whether it could have been salvageable if you'd tried.

cerealqueen Wed 22-Jan-14 23:30:20

Humans are fallible... and they fuck up on occasion.

This one thing he did...does it outweigh everything else (good stuff) by a mile?

Have you ever fucked up?

Do you think by asking him to spend some time by himself, to reflect might help?

Would this one fuck up, maybe, mean he wouldn't fuck up ever again?

I would probably give it my all, if he truly understands, and does likewise. Then, if all all goes belly up, I'd known I had done what I could, then no regrets.

Layla0000 Wed 22-Jan-14 23:18:13

Guilty...yes, I am the grieving process of a loss and shock and that confuses everything. Yes, I feel like I either need to forgive and forget or tell him its over. That sounds probably right and maybe I need to deal with the grief and loss before I decide what to do with us. I think in the meantime taking a break is the answer though because I feel guilty when he's around. He's been through a lot too and I end up comforting him and acting like nothing happened because I want him to feel better. I really do have to go to bed smile

Layla0000 Wed 22-Jan-14 23:13:32

Can't stop reading...salon no...his boys live with their Mum. I don't think they even know anything happened. Thanks supercosy...good night x

Guiltypleasures001 Wed 22-Jan-14 23:13:04

Hi op

From what I've read it seams not so much what he has done that is the main issue, but rather you feel that you have to make some kind of a decision about where you go from here as regards the relationship. I'm getting the view that it's on his behalf you feel the need to make a decision rather than your own,ie his needs not being met and he would be missing all of it now.

You seem worried that if you don't make a move towards reconciling then somehow you are punishing him for his own mistake. I sense there's been a huge loss that you have either suffered together or yourself alone, but either way I think that you should concentrate on what's going on for you in your grief rather than forgiving him or not for what he did.

If you haven't already maybe look in to some counselling and talk all this through with a professional.

Supercosy Wed 22-Jan-14 23:06:21

Sorry Layla, I feel for you all so much. It was a terrible, terrible time for everybody, they did stick together but only just. There are still issues between various members of their family regarding how each of them dealt with the crisis and how their behaviours had a knock on effect for everyone else. From the outside it just looked like a group of people struggling desperately to cope, to help each other but at the same time trying to deal with their own feelings. My friend (the wife) used to come into work on her days off just because she felt safe there, they all behaved in very uncharacteristic ways.

Not that I am saying for a moment that you should take your Dp back, only you know how you feel about that and it is entirely up to you. hugs to you all. x

salonmeblowy Wed 22-Jan-14 23:04:15

I know you do not have children together, but he still abandoned someone far more vulnerable than himself in a crisis. I know stepfamilies are tricky business, but I would want a partner who could put my children first even if they were not his. As an adult, he could have and should have made the situation better for them, not worse.

Sorry to be asking more questions, were his children also affected by the crisis?

Layla0000 Wed 22-Jan-14 23:01:57

God I have to go to bed. I'll muddle it out...I keep changing my mind so I'm obviously not ready to make a firm decision. Maybe I need to wait until I am in a better frame of mind.

Layla0000 Wed 22-Jan-14 23:00:17

Supercosy, that story hit very close to the mark.

salonmeblowy Wed 22-Jan-14 22:58:52

I don't think you are being passive aggressive, but I agree that you are going through a process of disengaging with him, which is probably underpinned by a lot of anger (understandably).

I think your plan of asking for the space you need and then figuring out what would serve you and your children best is a good one.

Layla0000 Wed 22-Jan-14 22:55:56

My girls are not his children. Not that it makes much odds because the kids being involved doe make it worse. They have a fab Dad so I would never worry about what would happen in that sense.

Layla0000 Wed 22-Jan-14 22:54:00

At first, yes, I was scared he would go again. I was so distraught and shaken up that I pretended I was all right when I wasn't.

I could be honest with him now (he's not going anywhere). It's because I feel like he doesn't deserve to know what I am feeling anymore. Is that passive aggressive? He used to be the person I could tell anything to, but there's this distance now.

I am starting to notice other men. I feel myself emotionally disengaging.

JoinYourPlayfellows Wed 22-Jan-14 22:53:28

While I would maybe be more understanding if it was just me and my partner, once children are involved I would be so very disappointed for my DCs being let down by someone who, although more quipped to deal with such a crisis by virtue of being an adult, still chose to run. There is a marked difference IMO between not being supportive and adding to the crisis through reckless behaviour.

This ^

He didn't just run out on YOU when things got tough, he ran out on your children as well.

Even if I could forgive what he did to me, I'd never be able to forgive him for leaving his children during a crisis.

I'd also always be worried from that point on about what would happen to my children if I was no longer able to look after them for some reason.

Supercosy Wed 22-Jan-14 22:46:52

Hello Layla, I'm so sorry you are going through this, it sounds really tough. I just wanted to tell you something that might help. I have dear friends who have been married for nearly 25 years. They are THE most lovely people, kind, caring, supportive of one another to the enth degree. In many ways I've always looked up to them in terms of the way they behave towards each other.

A few years ago one of their Dcs was the victim of a henious crime. The impact was absolutely massive. They both dealt with the situation in very different ways (at the same time as trying to support their DC and siblings) and stress levels were indescribable. At one point one of them almost moved out because she felt the rest of the family saw her as "making the situation worse" by her reaction. Her husband began drinking heavily and the two of them found it almost impossible to communicate for many months. I just could not believe what I was seeing but it really seemed as though at some points their relationship would not survive this huge blow. It was one of the saddest things I've ever seen because they were just so perfect for each other.

Thankfully with time they talked and talked, things did become easier, they had a bumpy few months but in the end but forgave each other and worked hard to understand each other's different reactions to one of the most stressful situations imaginable. They are strong again now and their DC is doing well too.

I'm not saying this to persuade you to do one thing or another, your story just made me think of my friends and of how people can behave in very unexpected ways in highly stressful situations. I have no idea what your stressful situation was but I honestly think it would be a huge shame to judge an otherwise wonderful, loving, caring person on their response at the worst possible moment in their lives even if it was yours too.

salonmeblowy Wed 22-Jan-14 22:41:08

There are so many lovely, thoughtful, measured responses on this thread, but I am afraid I am with jeannie on this one.

What I would struggle with, which I am sure you have thought about a lot, is why he thought he could add to your pain and that of your children by leaving. And not just for one or two nights, but for weeks.

I understand different breaking points and that people do not properly know their limits until they are tested. However, I would still want my partner to be able to not act completely selfishly when the whole family is hurting. While I would maybe be more understanding if it was just me and my partner, once children are involved I would be so very disappointed for my DCs being let down by someone who, although more quipped to deal with such a crisis by virtue of being an adult, still chose to run. There is a marked difference IMO between not being supportive and adding to the crisis through reckless behaviour.

The lack of honesty between the two of you at the moment and the unhappy sexual situation (to put it mildly) is definitely not helping. Why do you feel as though you cannot be honest with him? Is it because you are scared he will run again? Or is it something else?

One way or another, I would certainly try counselling. I think you struggle to think your way out of this conundrum, and when I have been in similar situations talking to a therapist really helped. Go alone or with him if you feel able to open up. While waiting with your decision wrt the relationship for weeks or months would probably be counterproductive, you don't have to decide anything today. You can take your time and re-examine your feelings.

Once again, I am so sorry. Both about the bereavement, and about the added trauma of the separation for you and the DCs.

Layla0000 Wed 22-Jan-14 22:30:47

I don't think he would either. I don't want to split up because he might do it again. Just because he changed everything when he did it that one time. I know what you are saying about limits is true. I just think his limit was in a place that was not acceptable to me.

I think I really do want this. I will sleep on it for a few days to be sure. I feel right now like I just want to be with the kids and have him stay away. I know I might just need time or counselling or whatever but right now I want to be away from him.

quietlysuggests Wed 22-Jan-14 22:25:54

I disagree that the chances are that he will "bail again"
When faced with exceptional once in a life time stress we all risk
Fight / Flight / Freeze.
And we ALL think we would rise to the occasion and stay and fight the Tiger.
But the majority of us would actually freeze or flee. That's just the truth of life.
There are very few heros, or at least people who are always the Hero.
Most of us try our best, and that is pretty much all we can do.

Layla0000 Wed 22-Jan-14 22:23:54

Lweji. Sex was always one of our biggest connections. Also, I want the sex myself but as soon as we start having it I want to cry. I feel like I want to connect with him on that level but it just feels gross once it starts. He won't mind if I ask for a break from it.

jeannie46. That's it. It was his instinct.

I am feeling really, and have been felling all day (which is why I posted) that I am done with the relationship. I just can't seem to make myself move past it. Maybe I will ask for a break for a few months so I can properly think.

jeannie46 Wed 22-Jan-14 22:17:57

Hmm, well you are going to go through similar crises in the future; that's how life is. And he's not going to change. So the question is, can you continue knowing that? Knowing that the chances are he will bail again.

I think that faced with a crisis you act instinctively according to your deepest convictions. Most mothers wouldn't have to think or weigh it up, they would protect their child. His instinct was to run.

Are you happy to continue knowing that you are stronger than him and will always have to 'carry' him? That his morals are questionable?

This is a solitary life you are choosing either way.

If you can honestly say you love him as he is and can accept him for what he is, you may have a chance but it will be a very one sided relationship.

Lweji Wed 22-Jan-14 22:17:34

I do think you should stop having sex until you have decided what to do and sort it out in your head one way or the other. It is likely to confuse matters and it may actually be the thing that is not allowing you to resolve this, because it is hurting you too.
Why are you sleeping with him? For you or for him, because he misses sex?
You'll know what sort of man he is in his attitude if you tell him you want to stop having sex unless you have decided you want to get back together, and the reason why.

Layla0000 Wed 22-Jan-14 21:54:42

I think I was being critical and harsh and angry when I started this thread smile

quietlysuggests Wed 22-Jan-14 21:46:29

Oh Layla, its such a down side of being a kind and wise and reasonable woman - you don't allow yourself to be selfish, and self centred and angry and petulant and human.
Hopefully you will never see him pushed to his limit again in your life together.
But you might still need to go back in time and get mad at him. Maybe with the guidance of a good counsellor?
Or maybe by giving yourself permission to stop understanding him for a moment and allow yourself to be critical and harsh and let down and angry.
Maybe do it in private? In writing? To your closest female friend? To him?
If you don't express your justifiable anger, it risks lingering on as a low level numbness, a resentment, almost a sulk. Its horrible.
The very best of luck.

I don't think I could get past it. I would be wondering when the next big problem would happen, and he would leave me again. I know you've said the chain of events would mean it is unlikely but what if a bigger tragedy that effects both of you happens, and your left alone to deal with it again. I would rather know I'm facing it alone to start with, if thats make sense, than worrying if a situation is going to get bad enough for him to run away.

Layla0000 Wed 22-Jan-14 21:26:36

That was amazing, thank you. It made it a bit easier to put into perspective. I tend to see things in black and white and I know I have high expectations, but I give a lot and expect it back. I suppose that's it. I thought he would stand in front of a man with a knife and he didn't and then hated himself. It made me feel like the person I am supposed to rely on hasn't got my back. Yes, I did move straight from shocked to understanding and completely skipped getting angry.

quietlysuggests Wed 22-Jan-14 21:04:10

But people DO have different limits.
My DH and I climbed Kilimanjaro - his life long dream - he is really fit - I am really not. Everyone assumed he would have to drag me up the mountain.
But we reached a level that was, surprisingly, his limit. He just couldn't cope with the altitude, he couldn't breathe. He really tried, he never thought he would struggle, he tried to do mind-over-matter, but he just could not keep walking on as he couldn't breathe.
We all have different limits, and we mostly think we would be strong, with no limits at all.
I imagine I would stand in front of a gun or a knife to protect my children. But I might not. Imagine if that happened and I actually left my children and ran away? It could happen and it would destroy me as a person.
My DH thought it was his dream to climb that mountain and not for a second did he think I would finish it without him. There is still a hole in his self-image that will not go away as he is not "the man he thought he would be"

Look I KNOW its not the same thing. But we all have our limits and we just don't know what they are until we are pushed to those limits.

If you understand and you are a kind person, then you will forgive him and move on.
BUT, you really sound like such a kind and thoughtful woman, I would not be surprised if you went straight from hurt/shocked to understanding/ accepting.
You skipped ANGER by any chance?
Could that be the reason your forgiveness is getting stuck because you understood him and accepted him and you were reasonable and not demanding and you didn't get to be MAD?
Just some thoughts..

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