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Thread: Who do I choose?

  1. #1

    Who do I choose?

    So this I need to explain the build up before I explain my predicament. Iím hoping I donít come across as a monster.
    Iím 28 (almost) and my Dad died when I was 18. This was quite life-defining for me as I sought comfort (and what turned into a relationship) with a man in a wheelchair. He was kind and easy to be around and felt safe, which I needed at the time. 7 years on, we have two daughters- 6 and 4. A year into our relationship, when I got pregnant, his parents didnít like it and my partner almost left me because they told him he wouldnít manage. He left me in tears for 48 hours a week before Christmas holding our 7 day old baby. We managed to repair the relationship but his parents cut us out for 5 1/2 years. My partner and I have been comfortable and loving. But I have to be the Male a lot. (I lost a lot of blood during my first labour and had to carry the car seat out of the hospital because my partner was not physically able to as one example.) The linger we have been together, the more I have realised he is also unable to contribute intellectually as he struggles with budgeting etc and can often be quite naive and almost childlike about important matters. Ultimately, I feel like the only adult. This of course affected our sex life which became non-existent. (And this didnít really faze him.)
    We have a mutual friend who has always supported us (moving/fixing things etc) and I know heís liked me for a while. He got into a relationship and had a baby and we both met up about 3 years ago and started having a sexual relationship despite both having partners, because we were both unhappy on some level.
    I felt and feel alive and noticed around him.
    His relationship crumbled eventually (for multiple reasons) and became very toxic but he loved her and couldnít let her go, even though sheíd blocked him from her life and wouldnít let him see his child. He has a dominant personality and can be quite unreasonable but he is also protective and struggled to separate from someone he loved. They entered a custody battle as she was an abusive parent and that battle has only just concluded.
    In this time, he and I have continued our Ďaffairí and I am still with my
    Partner.
    (I know how awful I sound.)
    Our youngest daughter has now been diagnosed with my partnerís disability. (She walker until she was 3 and then she stopped being able to.) My partner was told by his parents that he had cerebral palsy and it would not be passed on to his children. Since we have resumed contact with them (to find out about how his disability presented for our daughters sake) they have told us that he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy just to give his disability a label.
    So this was all going on while I was supporting my Ďloverí with his custody/getting over his ex/he supported me too.
    Having this Ďloverí in the background felt like something for me. That for those timeís i was with him, i could be the one who didnít have to carry the heavy things and who could feel feminine and attractive. By this stage, I feel more like my partnerís mother and carer.
    Earlier this year, when things between my Ďloverí and his ex had gone completely, he moved in with us for 2 months. My partner did not know we were having an affair but he is not the most observant. (I know I sound like a monster.) This time was the happiest, most exciting time Iíve felt for years. Then my Ďloverí tells me he wants to be with me (itís been six months since he was with his ex by this point) and that once he has his daughter, we could be a family.
    Part of me wants this, part of me is terrified. My partner is loving to our children but not able to have any boundaries at all. Heís like one of the children. My Ďloverí is very alpha with the children but also very fair and affectionate and they like him. And he can help me with the constant wheelchair lifting/lifting my disabled daughter which isnít easy.
    My partner and I have had so many bitter arguments because heís switched off and has enough trouble getting himself about, let alone being able to help me with the children.
    So for about 6 months I have maintained this Ďrelationshipí in the shadows with my Ďloverí who is wholly a part of my life and has raised suspicions with my mother and family, a little. Which I have denied. (I know :/ ) saying I need to leave my partner but being too scared/feeling too guilty to do it. He is mine and my childrenís financial stability an I still love him so much, but not romantically. We havenít slept together for over a year. But heís not too bothered. He makes the occasional hint but doesnít get cross when I say no. He never gets angry with me. And heís kind and well meaning, if naive and (Iím so sorry) but clueless about life and responsibility.
    My Ďloverí is passionate and attentive, but also controlling and can be cold and passive-aggressive. I have tried so many times to cut contact with him but it never works. Heís frustrated too because heís tried the same and we keep being pulled back together somehow. And everytime I donít talk to him/cut him from my life Iím depressed and tearful.
    So heís now told me that he cannot go on as my second boyfriend (I canít bear this limbo anymore either) and that if I want to be with him, my partner has to move out by the end of November. I thought on it, and agreed. I was excited to be facing a real life, but also feeling sick to my stomach with guilt and sadness for my current partner.
    And now Iím spinning out. Iíve told my current partner that our struggles are too many and my body is tired- in 27 and full-time carer to two out of the four people in our family. Plus my other daughter. He was so kind and accepting, but heís scared to move back in with his parents. I feel like Iím leaving him with nothing. And I love his company as a best friend, and I would happily see him everyday but Ďloverí doesnít like this. Heís accepting that my partner is my girls father but wouldnít cope with us meeting up regularly. I donít want to get lonely.
    My Ďloverí has won the custody battle but must reside at his parents with his two year old daughter for a year. So he wonít be around that much but heís making me leave my partner/company/childrenís father for the times that he will stay over. He has also resumed contact with his ex to support contact between his daughter and her. But she has made comments and I feel she may be interested in him again and given how we started, I canít trust him. But donít want to show this. Hes assured me he is not at all interested in her but I just donít know. My Ďloverí is currently unemployed as he has his daughter.

    Itís all too much and I donít know what to do or who to choose?

    Do I leave a stable, loving but boring and dead-ended relationship for a potentially volatile but excitement-filled one?

  2. #2
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Well...

    I'm not going to flame you as a monsterótoo easy and avoids the real juice, which is that you're a human. That said, in terms of this choice? Well, my hard advice is probably not going to be want you want to hear, but it basically goes: you choose neitheróand, in that, choose yourself.

    This is messy. Very, very messy. You laid that all out surgically, so you don't need me to rehash the specifics. But the Cliff's Notes? Your relationship with your partneróbuilt on a vulnerable, rickety, emotionally charged foundationóhas run its course. If you could go back to 18 and do it all a bit differently, perhaps you would have dealt with the searing pain of losing your father a bit differently? I ask that seriously, and here's why...

    Because right now you're doing the same thing. You are in a vulnerably, rickey, emotionally charged place and looking to "solve" it through a man. Not just a man, but a man who may as well have "bad news" tattooed on his forehead. His life is a mess. You're part of that, of course, but still: a mess is a mess. He also sounds super controlling, in that he is already taking your co-parenting arrangement into his hands? Um, no. That is skull-and-crossbones stuff. However alive he makes you feel right now, that is the stuff that will leach the life right out of you, quick.

    I know, I know. Not what you want to hear. But look: you are young! If you got super real with yourself right now you could be living large by 30. You get out of this relationship and the affair. You get into therapy, untangle some knots. You take the base level stuff you've gotten from this dallianceóthe bedroom spice, the alpha flair, the feeling of being aliveóand you think of that as a little preview of what you want. A preview delivered by the unhealthiest of behaviors, yes.

    Which means: the real thing comes from getting healthy, and getting honest. Which means: the real thing is not any of these guys, but you pulling up the bootstraps and getting healthy. You will be 30 in five minutes, 35 in about fifteen. You will thank yourself for making this sort of choice now, whereas I think you're looking at a world of pain with either of the choices you've laid out.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member ThatwasThen's Avatar
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    So heís now told me that he cannot go on as my second boyfriend (I canít bear this limbo anymore either) and that if I want to be with him, my partner has to move out by the end of November.
    He expects you to kick out a disabled man that has title to the home more than he certainly does? What?

    He sounds like a right douche to be honest and I think he has you dazzled with his science. Certainly you don't 'need' either of these men in your life like you think you do... so why are you going on as if its either one or the other?

    Why don't you take time for yourself, get you into therapy so you can learn how to take care of YOU for a change without the need of some man who took advantage of your loneliness and feelings of being over-burdened to the point that you both ended up cheating on your spouses. Had he not been sniffing around would you even be thinking about leaving your disabled spouse? If you wouldn't be thinking of doing that when you were so unhappy being with him, then you have to address why you put self care last on your list of things to do.

    You have a lot on your plate and taking on a passive aggressive brute who has no guilt over honing in on another man's wife isn't the way to unburden yourself.

    Pick neither of them until you've looked into yourself with the help of someone who will listen without judgement. Do not bow to your brute's ultimatum, you will, in likely no time at all regret it if you do.

  4. #4
    Thank you so much for your replies. Of course, choosing myself is the sensible option and I definitely agree that I need therapy. Iíve actually requested the first session for my birthday present from my family. (How sad is that! Lol.)

    So I think I may have painted the situation very black and white, however, your advice still stands as the conclusion Iím afraid to consider but is the only real option ultimately. I agree but Iím afraid.

    My Ďloverí is filled with guilt because my partner is also his friend and he cannot continue to lie to him. (He wonít tell him about the past 3 years, but after about a year, he wants us to be known to the world.)

    He is also guilt-filled for putting the ultimatum out there. He said he was fairly certain I wouldnít choose him, but he couldnít continue with the limbo. He said if I chose to be without him, he needed to cut me from his life completely. This scares me because it sends me spiralling (weak, I know) and I have to suffer in silence (I deserve this, I know) but it is torture. I am also bonded with his daughter. As are my children. And his daughter is due to attend the same preschool as my youngest.

    Anyway, thank you again for your advice. It means a lot to me. For 3 years I have told no one about this and it feels good to discuss it.

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  6. #5
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Keep discussing it.

    First off: asking for help is about the coolest, strongest, bravest, humblest, most mature thing a human can do, so asking for help for your birthday? If anything is the opposite of "sad" I don't know what it is.

    I start there not just to make you feel a little betteróbecause, hey, you have made some dicey choicesóbut to highlight what strikes me as far and away the biggest problem here: your sense of self and self-worth is shot. Probably goes back to your dad dyingóor, who knows, how dad was when he was alive. With plenty of other stuff stirred in there. Stuff for therapy.

    Men are not therapy. Your partner, your relationship, and your affair is that great lesson. It's a hard one, a consequential one, but it is right now begging you to listen to it. Listen to that lesson and you'll get stronger, more self-inhabited, and a whole lot of stuff fogging your windshield will clear up. You'll see yourself as a human, not a monster. You will, as the fortune cookies say, learn to love yourselfóand, in that, learn what love is. It will change your lifeóand your life, to beat the drum, is just starting.

    All this, though? No. I'm sorry, but: no. I'm 40, and you'll just have to take my word that I have seen some stuff out thereóand gotten myself into some decent sized knots. Never, ever have I seen someone untangle a knot by pulling it tighteróand that is what this guy represents. Same coin you were flipping at 19, just a new side: alpha to beta.

    Next to him, with him, you are two things: Ms. Sexy and Ms. Monster. What you are not? You are not you. When the price of salvation is fifth you just don't get it. You get dirty.

    Finally, some hard talk: Oh, is he "guilty" for putting out an ultimatum? So what? No one gets a gold star for feeling guilty for being a dunce. I'd feel guilty if I shot someone, which is why I don't shoot people, rather than ask for sympathy after I pull the trigger. He knows you are scared and fragile, and knows he has power over you. This is not mental knowledge, but cellular stuff, dangerous stuff. He is exploiting your weakness to his gain. I don't care what kind of foundation we are talking about in romance, from a rightward swipe on an app for virgins to a messy affairóthat is bad news.

    Inhale, exhale. Therapy, therapy, therapy. You have more power in you right now than you know and more fragility. Discover more of both sides and you'll be free, looking into the mirror and not seeing a monster who deserves to suffer, but a human who made some mistakes, learned to love, learned to forgive, and learned to live just as life was starting.

  7. #6
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    My first thoughts are - can you support yourself and your children (do you have a job)? And do they have reliable childcare? If yes and yes, once your partner leaves you can sort yourself out and take your time.

    I don't think it's a good idea to enter another relationship after separating from your partner. Give yourself room to breathe. You're doing yourself a great disservice by hopping too quickly from one relationship to another. I'm also questioning the soundness of this other man (your "lover")'s judgment and where he's at. I think he has a lot of figuring out to do and being unemployed right now is a big question mark or should be a big question mark to you.

    If you're concerned about your younger girl, try looking into some help or find a support network of other mums of kids with disabilities. This diagnosis or her disability was just discovered very recently and I think you are in shock and still trying to process things. I think you're isolated and really grasping at straws when you say it's a relief to have someone be able to lift your daughter (in reference to your "lover"). There are other ways to learn about how to deal with your child's disability. If you do end up going to therapy, maybe speak to your therapist about support networks for parents of children with disabilities.

    All this being said, I don't think your lover is that bad of a man. I do think he needs time just as you need time. Don't try rushing this. The time now should be about you and you finding sound and good and positive ways of dealing with your child's disability and helping her help herself as she grows. You also need time with your older daughter... don't forget her too. I hope you find peace and the support you need. It does not always mean we find these things in a relationship. It sometimes means branching out and learning more about other forms of support for yourself, taking that time and finding that network of other people/friends/help/new ways and ideas of coping and thriving for yourself.

  8. #7
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    I also don't think you should be with either man.

    Whose home is it? Why should a disabled man potentially leave his home due to your infidelity?

    Let's be honest here, neither you or the guy you are cheating with feel too bad about it. You have been sleeping with each other for 3 years which says to me you don't respect or care for your partner. There's never any excuse for cheating ever. Moving your lover in for 2 months under his nose? Awful.

    Once you came to the conclusion you didn't love your partner then you should have ended it and sought ways to both be good parents. I can appreciate that his disabilities make life tough I really can but it's still no justification for your behaviour.

    You knew about his medical conditions when you got together? I'm not sure what you expected to happen 5-10 years down the line from getting together. Were you told there was a chance he may walk in the future? Even if you were that's some terrible set of conditions to attach to beginning a relationship for the both of you.

    Which leads me to suggesting you need therapy and I'm genuinely glad you are getting that because this is a terrible situation you now find yourself in.

    Concentrate on your kids. Do the decent thing by your poor partner and end it. Work on finding a fair family solution.
    The family unit is reeling right now from your daughters tragic news. Both parents should be working on finding a way forward with that.

    Forget the other guy. Something tells me you 2 won't last if times get tough. I think you are just an escape for each other. I have feeling that once he got bored in his relationship he made a beeline for you once he sensed your frustrations and knew that a disabled man could not offer what he could. Hardly the behaviour of a man of high morals or character.

    I would tread slowly and carefully going forward as no matter how badly you might think things are now there's a chance you could make things even worse. End it with your partner too.

  9. #8
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    I'm going with, choose your children. Less exciting, I know, but they really ought not be exposed to this turmoil.

  10. #9
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    I'm glad you said that. I think that's the right choice.

    You obviously don't fully trust or feel secure with your lover or you would be with him which should be setting off warning alarms in yourself.

    Don't worry about life being less exciting for now. You are still young and in a few years time with therapy and everything calmed down you will likely find yourself in a much better and happier place and be able to make much better decisions regarding relationships.

  11. #10
    Thank you again for your thoughts.

    Ninjabib, I certainly did know his physical symptoms when we got together although I did not know they were hereditary because I was told it was categorically it would not be passed on to them. If I had known, I would not have had children with him. His physical symptoms were not the issue. I would support him til the day I die if he were intellectually present and able to share lifeís responsibilities with me in mind if not in body. But he was coddled (and perhaps part of his disability) which became evident with time- heís just not able to be a partner in this. And he doesnít try to be. Heís loving and sweet with the children (when heís not annoyed that they are keeping him from sitting on his phone.) I have effectively raised a teenager at the same time as having two children fairly young with little to no support. That is a scary, stressful place to be and leaves you blindly clawing for someone/anyone to meet any of your screaming, neglected needs. Hence the Ďloverí becoming involved.

    ĎLoverí isnít a man of high morals, itís true. (Pot-Kettle here) but I actually donít judge myself for what happened. I do feel guilty, but for 7 years I met my partnerís needs and cared for him. The Ďloverí gave me the fire/energy to do this. He is controlling to a certain extent and as you say, saying he feels guilty is self-inflicted and no excuse when he triggered the reaction himself. Much like myself feeling guilty about my partner.

    I would also like to add (to paint a clearer picture)- emotionally, I have been ready to meet someone for a year at least. I became my partnerís carer and love him almost as a mother would love a child now. Believe me, considering him moving out causes me great pain because of his vulnerability and almost childlike trust. He is not without his cold, passive-aggressive side too. Itís not as bad now his parents are involved again but it was cutting. The property we live in is rented. If my partner did not need support I would have left him the home. But he couldnít live independently and he acknowledges that too.

    My Ďloverí is so different with my children to my partner. My partner is good at the constant being present in body but not great at interaction or actual parenting. The Ďloverí plays with them and is physically able to swing my older daughter around and run with her at the park. She so needs this. And she is always exposed to my partnerís melancholy and slight irritation because he canít do things physical and expects people to remember that- so the Ďloverí is light and fun and she thrives with this.

    I know I need to find a way to be on my own. What Iíd landed on really, although it feels like tearing off a limb because of the fear and worry for my partner, if I used my Ďloverísí (unfair) ultimatum to move forward and separate from my partner I can then use this time to find myself. But I am afraid of being alone and left behind by life. I think thatís why Iím clinging to them both like a life raft. I was left alone at 18 (my mum was living elsewhere) and my much older siblings were absent- and Iím absolutely terrified of getting stuck there again with two beautiful little girls in tow.

    Just as a side note, my low self esteem comes from my mum I think. She is a volatile character too who Iím fairly sure has undiagnosed bipolar but thatís another issue.

    Thank you all for your thoughts. Really, really appreciate them.

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