To give you the background, me and my girlfriend were together for over 8 years initially and it is fair to say, we had our ups and downs. My girlfriend has suffered with depression/anxiety for a long time and this would often put her in a down mood which I would try to help with, but it would often mean that she would take things out on me or the kids. This became a constant thing for a long period, and she would often lie to me to try and cover things up (e.g. spending lots, hidden debts) which caused friction between us. But the worst was when she just wouldn't put the effort in with looking after the children (e.g. cuddle, spend time with them, often shout at them, wouldn't help with homework, etc) and I just could not cope with it anymore. We tried talking about it for a long time, but things didn't change so I decided that we needed to split up. We still lived together but things were ok because we did still love each other but we were both feeling a lot of pain, but also knew things weren't working. Straight away we then looked for a new place which was suitable for my ex (and the children when they stayed there in the week) and paid for that. We also sorted separate holidays and the plan was for my ex to move into the new house after her holiday with the children.
So when she returned from holiday, she moved into her new home. At this time, we were both emotionally troubled, but my ex more so. I felt a lot of guilt and would try and help her with anything from putting her furniture together, looking after the children all the first week even though she was meant to be for half of it due to my work. I also helped with a lot of money, and just talking to her to. Unfortunately, this did lead to us getting intimate on the Saturday of the first weekend she lived in her new house. By the Monday I was wondering if by splitting up, I was doing the right thing. I was missing her, and wondered if it was because I was not doing enough in the relationship myself. Which I think was true due to the resentment that my ex was not putting effort in with our children due to her down moments. So I had a real heart to heart and explained that the few weeks break (her holiday and the week away in the new house) has made me realise that I want to make it work but we both need to we both need to put more effort in, and she agreed and wanted to make it work too.
So the following night we decided we would have our first date night to start again. We went out and had a lovely evening, but we did discuss what needed to change. I explained that knew that I need to put more effort in with her, but I felt that she needed to do some of the simple things with the children. Although she agreed, she said she finds it really hard to cope with sometimes which we discussed in more detail. However, what I didn't realise at this point was that she didn't believe she could be the person I was expecting so as she says, she "panicked" and thought we wouldn't work. And just to add, I wasn't expecting miracles, it was only just simple things like showing them love and affection but also making sure they followed simple rules (e.g. brush teeth) so to me, nothing out of the ordinary, but I was always the one who did this with little help and I worked a lot more. So in her "panicked" state, that same evening (including whilst on our date when I was in the gents or at the bar), she messaged other guys trying to arrange to meet up later that week!
I only found out because she was showing me some photos on her phone and a message popped up. I was distraught that she could be like that after 8 years with me. I told her that I couldn't be with someone like that and said thats the end. Over the next few days, she continued to say she "panicked", and did put lots of effort in with me and the kids. So I decided to give it a go, but explained that I needed to continue to see her put effort in and explained that we would take it slow. A week later, my now again girlfriend had put in a lot of effort with me and the kids, but I then find out that my ex had slept with another guy over the weekend after she moved out (when we weren't together). We had a long discussion, where she said it was a one night stand when she was struggling but there was nothing else that happened with him or anyone else. Then again, a few days later, I find out she also slept with yet another random on the same weekend. I found these details out through a friend (very close to my girlfriends friend) and my girlfriend then very reluctantly admitted (she tried to lie about it all at first). A couple of months after this, I did also find out that she also had phone sex with another random that same weekend but didn't meet him. These were all random men from either tinder or met on the night out with friends. Now, these all happened when we weren't together, but it was the first weekend she moved out, and all in one weekend, plus I was also intimate with her on the Saturday day. Now I know it was my mistake to be intimate with her whilst single, yet I naively thought that she wouldn't do that too me. Because we weren't together, I kind of just tried to move on knowing this, but it still hurt a lot that she just put herself out there whilst also slept with me. One guy on the Friday, me Saturday day, another random Saturday night, and another random for phone sex on Sunday day....who does that?!?! I never thought she was like that so was a huge surprise and a massive kick in the teeth. For the two guys she had sex with, she did tell me she used protection so was safe.
Then not long after, it then became apparent that my girlfriend was pregnant and she reluctantly admitted that actually, she wasn't safe with either of the other guys! She aborted the pregnancy. I was so angry and got checked out but thankfully was given the all clear. I was so emotionally struggling by this point, because I felt like the hurt was relentless....every time I thought I was over it, something else came along. I didn't leave my girlfriend at this stage, even though everything inside me was saying to, mainly because I didn't feel like I could cope, let alone the kids. I felt as though I had always put the effort in with the family, whereas she had done a lot of selfish things in the past and continued to when we were broken up but I kept saying, we weren't together and she struggled. Who am I to judge during that period. So I decided to let everything settle, see how I felt after the dust settled and take it from there.
Fast forward six months to now, and she has put a lot more effort into the relationship and the kids. She now does put effort in with the children which is great to see. Our times together as a couple and as a family are happier. However, after everything that has gone on, I just feel really poorly treated and have lost the ability to trust her. She lied a lot before we broke up (over the kids, debts, etc), and after we looked to get back together again. You can argue that of course she wouldn't tell me all the details of other guys during the break, but she was supposed to be trying to gain my trust back. Yet she lied and lied and lied, and because the truth was drip fed to me (including other lies which I haven't detailed on here but are not as bad), I just feel I can't trust her. After 8 years of being with someone, I thought I knew her really well and understood her. But a lot has happened which I didn't think she could do and changed my view. Part of me does see that she has matured over the past 6 months and I can see how her depression hit her hard. But can I ever trust her to continue with the effort I have seen over the past months? You may ask why it has taken me six months to ask this question....well I have been asking myself that question everyday but I didn't have the strength to do anything else other than continue as is (also gone through a work restructure at same time whilst my mum has gone into a home). Now I just don't know what is best. If I stay with the girlfriend, I believe it could work with a lot of effort, but it does depend if she can continue that effort and if I can get past all the pain. I am stuck in limbo, and don't know what is best, and I really struggle with my emotions over all of this. I just don't know how to move forward and which direction to take. Any guidance is appreciated.