Dear Dr. Archer,
I'm a 24 year old mom with a 3 year old boy, and I've been with his father since 2008. We've been through hell; our relationship is always on again and off again, but I truly love him.
There are things that I don't like about him, but I know he can change. In the years that we've been together, he has cheated on me three times, and I always end up taking him back.
Our last breakup was four months ago. Before the breakup we decided to start fresh. I know he was trying; it was like I was with another man. But then I messed up and stopped doing things with him; we even stopped having sex.
I was feeling a grudge because of all the women he has cheated with; I actually thought about moving on, but I didn't. He got angry and walked out on us! I texted him, telling him I want him back, but he texted back that he was not going to fall for me again, that he is dating someone new and that he's happy.
He loves me and thinks about me, but he can't be with me at the moment. He says that in the future we will get back together, but I feel so hurt right now! I can't believe he would choose her instead of me, especially when he's only been with her for three months. What should I do? I'm a psychological wreck!
There seems to be plenty of immaturity to go around, and personally I think both of you have to do some growing up before your relationship stands a chance. Quit texting him and quit pining away for him.
Start putting your focus on the little boy you chose to bring into this world, because he's the innocent victim here. He deserves more than he's getting, from both of you.
Please, Izzy, I want you to take a few lessons away from your letter:
(1) Never enter into a relationship because you think you will be able to change him. It's not going to work, no matter how influential you think you are. Love someone for who they are. If you think he’s ‘bad’ but also a piece of clay that you can form into what you're looking for, please.... RUN! There are so many lessons to learn, from how you treated him to how he treated you.
(2) The way he treats you now is the way he's going to treat you in the future. What makes you think things would change? The way your significant other treats you during the dating phase is how he's going to treat you if you get married. Look at the way things are now. That's your future. It's not nourishing and it doesn't feel good; you're much better off alone than being miserable.
(3) If you put someone first, shouldn't you be first in his life, as well? Working towards a common goal can bring two people much closer together. You would like to think the two of you are on the same page, but it doesn't even sound like you and your boyfriend are even in the same book. You and the son you had together have been discarded for another woman -- he doesn't sound like desirable material to me.
I suggest you start looking at things the way they are and not the way you want them to be. You're 24 years old; you're old enough to take responsibility and ‘own’ your choices; they are yours, no one made you do it.
You've been making excuses for this guy long enough. If you remain with him, your future will always be hell (your words) and your relationship will always be on again and off again (your words) and you'll have a cheater.
You say he chose her instead of you? Great! You want to know what to do? Your son depends on you and he is the one who deserves the time and energy you're wasting on this guy. Raise him to the best of your ability, because his future depends on it.