Indecision Collision

10 Apr

Dear LetterBalm: I’m in a tough spot, and I need help to get out of it. I can’t blame anybody else because it’s totally my fault. Four years ago, I left my husband for a man I thought was the love of my life. But then things went awry. He was married and left his wife to move in with me. I got a divorce, but he never got his and now we have a child. He goes back and forth between his wife and me, usually when we have an argument. I hate myself, and I feel like I’m trapped. I love him, but I’ve lost respect for him and can’t make the break because of our son. How can I convince him to commit to me exclusively?

–In Limbo

The hard truth: It’s very unlikely your man will ever be yours alone. He has a great deal, ping-ponging between two women, one of whom he’s married to, when things get bumpy. Do you even want a man who would do this to his wife?  Take stock and consider. We all make mistakes in life – the trick is to move beyond them, even to turn them into advantages. It sounds like you live in your own home, and, presumably, he’s not supporting you. Ms. L.B. suggests you see a therapist first to gain some perspective and strength, then a lawyer. You need to know your legal options, including the father’s responsibilities to his child. If you formalize contact with this man, emotions are removed from the picture – which means you can move forward and bring this unhealthy arrangement to an end. It will take time and anguish, but once you’ve realized this for the sake of your son, you can sit down with him and an attorney and say this:

Randy, this is important. Starting today, there will be serious changes in our lives, which is why there’s a lawyer here. You will no longer live in my home. You will not be moving back and forth between my home and Mona’s. Your contact with our son will be according to an agreement we will both sign, and you’ll have a generous visitation schedule because you’re a good father. You’ll also be financially responsible for a percentage of Tyrell’s support, which I don’t think will be a problem for you. Randy, I want you to move your things out today. If it means moving in full-time with Mona, I hope you consider working on your marriage. She’s your wife and she deserves a resolution one way or the other in your relationship. I’m sorry I contributed to her pain. I wish you well, but you need to know that all this unhealthy behavior stops now for the sake of our son.

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