Q: Dear Meredith,
Two years ago I started dating for the first time since my divorce. It had been 5 years, so I figured it was time to try and get into a relationship. I met my neighbor who was undergoing a separation, we talked, shared stories, and our children got along really well. We kept a very healthy friendship until things started to change, and then about eight months later we were into a relationship. The first few months were great. But once the honeymoon phase wore off, he started the drama with his ex. He made me feel like he was comparing me to her. We were not heading down a healthy road.
I told him that we should end things, and he kept coming back and saying that he could change. So I did. I took him back. I must admit that he did change and that the drama seemed to cool off. But a few months later, he grew distant and was not as invested in the relationship. I felt like there was no emotional connection. He did some things that really hurt me emotionally, and once again I let him go so he could figure things out. Once again, he came back, and I forgave him.
Now, a year-and-a-half later, I am expecting his child, and I just discovered a long-distance affair that ended just a few months ago. The affair was with an old childhood sweetheart. He had the affair for 10 months. When I confronted him about it, he claimed that she was just a friend, and that she did favors for his business. He trusted her with all his heart, and he just was being appreciative to her. I understand that people can have some communication with exes, but not with the intensity or with the attention he was giving her. He would say things like, "Call me, I want to hear your voice," or "I love you and don't forget that." He would basically be in touch with her every other day during the hours I was not around. I feel hurt and stuck in a position where I wished none of this were happening.
He did end the affair two months ago, prior to me getting pregnant. Should I let this go? Or shall I just forgive him and try to start all over again now that we are expecting a baby?
– What's Next, Boston
A: Your relationship with this man has been unsatisfying and turbulent, WN. He's behaved for a few months at a time, but he always comes up short. He might be capable of more, but you can't focus on the what-ifs right now. Your first priority has to be your own comfort. It's time to set up a stable life for yourself that allows you to focus on this child instead of your boyfriend's emotional inconsistencies.
You need to find a nice, warm place where you can raise your children on your own. You can keep the boyfriend nearby -- he's going to be involved in this plan no matter what -- but you don't have to live with him. You also don't have to try to start over with him. There are no do-overs in relationships. Not really. All we can do is move forward.
Get your family and friends together and ask them to help you create this new home. Then talk to your boyfriend about how you'll raise this child together. Make sure that your discussion is about the child, not your romantic relationship. Because as I see it, the romantic relationship has been over for a long time.
Readers? Should she give him another chance because of the baby? What happened here? What about the affair? Help.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.