Not sure what to do or how to feel
OK, so I have been divorced for 3 years from my ex husband; we have been together for almost 23 years and even after the divorce, we stayed friends. In fact, we got along better after we divorced some days than we did while we were married. I wanted the divorce; he wanted to try to work things out. I had been cheating on him, had cheated on him throughout our marriage. Yes, it was bad. He should have gotten rid of me a long time ago, but wanted to hold on.
So about a year after we divorced, we tried getting back together. I moved back into the house for a while, but still wanted to buy a house. Growing up, my mom never owned her own place and when she would change boyfriends, we would move. I wanted something of my own, even though the house I moved back into my ex and I bought together. He kept it, of course, since he paid for it and put all the money into it. So last summer, I started looking and told him. It wasn't that I wanted to end our relationship, I didn't want to just live with someone for the rest of my life. I wanted marriage again. Problem is, we had trust issues. Of course. I did everything I could to ensure he knew what I was doing, until I went to ball game with one of my army buddies and his kids. Our mutual friend had extra seats and she couldn't use them, so we went. THe ex was out of town so I went alone. I had a blast. The one thing about my ex is I felt like when we went out he was a lump on a log and I wanted to have fun. I felt like I couldn't because I felt guilty for leaving him to talk to others, say at a happy hour.
So I go and have a blast, and a few weeks later go out with that same guy and our mutual friend to an amateur roller derby show and then to the movies. Didn't invite my ex. Yes, I am a schmuck. I should have, but wasn't sure how he would feel about going to roller derby. I wanted to spend time with my friends. I started hanging out more with this friend, who I later found out had wanted to date me for years but he was married. He separated a few months before the ball game.
OK, long story short, I cheated again on my ex while we were dating and living under the same roof. My ex went on a dating website and had a few dates, I bought the house (very cute, by the way), but had a bad feeling about it before buying it. I bought it anyway. So, I move out and am still seeing both men. My ex and I never figured out where our relationship was headed. I'd ask him where he thought we were going nd he said he didn't know. OK, neither did I, fair enough.
So the ex and I go on a short vacation to another state over Christmas, and had a blast. My ex kept pressuring me to choose between the two, and I couldn't. He represented stability and the other guy represented fun. So, I treated my ex like crap; he said recently he was done with me, he felt like he was being pulled like a puppet on a stroing and that we would never be together again. He is seeing someone who he had contacted right before we got back together and says he is more relaxed and happy. He and I still talk and are still good friends. She doesn't understand that and I am willing to step away if it means a better future for him. The last straw was when I dumped both of them under the premise of being busy for an 8 week class and working, but joined a dating site to meet new people. I was tired of the pressure and feeling like I was going crazy. I was seeing a therapist but have stopped for a lot of different reasons. My counselor said that when I was with my ex I was more grounded, but when I moved away from him I started wandering. I now see that is true.
I am mourning the loss of this relationship, even though it was entirely my fault. He wanted to go to counseling and I said no, we had tried that route before. He said we both never wanted to try at the same time. Now he's off and happy and I am still mourning this loss. I wish I could go back to last summer and make different choices. No, I don't want him back because someone else has him, which I think was the case when we got back together; I want him back because I miss him and miss being with him. I read somewhere this morning that if you don't change something in yourself, if you go back to an ex, it will fail because you're doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
I am going to work on me, possibly let the guy I am seeing go, especially since he is seeing someone else, but I have some questions: 1) Is it ok to maintain a friendship with him, and 2) once I do more work on myself, how can I show him I have changed? Can I get to the point where I dont do the things I used to, or because I cheated in the past, will I always remain a cheater? I don't want to be and didn't cheat in any other relationship I have had since them. Should I just forget about him and move on, since he has? Should I leave it be?
Ok so at first I was immensely concerned at your post but when I got down to the two last paragraphs I see my concerns where unwarranted.
1) Is it ok to maintain a friendship with him? – No, truth be told. If you maintain friendships with your ex’s you never really are moving on. Some folks may say they have made it work. But all I have seen and heard is inevitably it leads to a new set of complications down the road.
2) Once I do more work on myself, how can I show him I have changed? - I’m afraid you are hoping for a fantasy that simply would only cause more heartache for you and him. Why does it matter now that you are separated?
3) Can I get to the point where I don’t do the things I used to? – Give me one reason supported by facts, (not emotion or presumption) that you can’t change your habits or even yourself? It’s simply a matter of doing it in a healthy manner.
4) Will I always remain a cheater? – No, even now you are not a “cheater,” or “liar.” You’re a human being who is many things and not just one thing. But so long as you ask yourself “one titled questions,” then no matter what anyone else says you will believe what you are only one.
5) Should I just forget about him and move on, since he has? – This one requires a bigger answer… Absolutely not, surprisingly. If you forget then how are you going to learn from your trips and falls? (I’m not comparing you to a child, I’m comparing the concept.) When a child falls on its face, how does it learn to not do that anymore, its pain. Sure parents teach it, basically gave it the instructions or guidance, but do we really learn in the instructions booklet or do we learn in the actual experience? The child in this scenario hopefully will analyze the parent’s teachings and then learn from each slip and fall. This is done through necessity and desire of the child.
Concerning your situation, is the necessity and desire strong enough that your discomfort, internally, is something you never want to experience again? If so, remember this hard lesson you’re going through and remember how to stand on your two feet from these consequences and choices that have led you here.
6) Should I leave it be? – Yes you should let him and that part of your old life be.
To be honest, I am eager for you to begin this new chapter you have the option of opening in your life. Are you going to write one that has a positive essence about it? Will it be negative? Or are you simply going to stick to the old chapter and continue trying to make it work. A clean sheet of paper is a lot easier to write on.