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How can I make this work? I want to get back with her. My family think I'm crazy to try.

Tagged as: Big Questions, Breaking up, Cheating, Dating, Family, Pregnancy, Trust issues<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (22 March 2016) 10 Answers - (Newest, 24 March 2016)
A male Canada age 30-35, *arperJake writes:

My ex girlfriend and I had a pretty intense relationship. We met when she was pregnant with her son, we became friends first but started dating shortly after her son was born.

I hadn't had much contact with my family for a few years but once we started dating I realized how important family was. We dated for three years but broke up when I cheated on her.

We had a messy break up, she was annoyed (and had every reason to be) she did a lot of nasty things and even though I cheated my family thought she went too far.

I was the only father figure her son had in his life so I kept that role and we shared custody of him. We ended up sleeping together a few times and she got pregnant (we used protection but the condom broke one night ). Without the pregnancy we would get along but then have major blow out fights (a lot of them taking place in front of my family)

I was there along with my family for the birth of my daughter. Now two months later I want to make things work.

My family thinks I'm crazy and doesn't think it will work and said I'll get over the feelings soon enough.

After watching her give birth and seeing how devoted she is to our kids I want to make her happy.

My biggest worry is how do I make it work ? Can I get her to forgive me for what I did ? And how do I get my family to stay out of it ?

View related questions: broke up, condom, ex girlfriend

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A male reader, Danielepew Mexico +, writes (24 March 2016):

Danielepew agony auntI agree with your family: The relationship has no future. You cheated on her and she may forgive you, but will never forget that. In her eyes, you're not reliable. Trust is easy to lose and maybe impossible to restore.

I recommend that you try to stay civil to her and work something out to be the father figure that both children need. You will have to provide for them, take them places, et cetera. Like any other divorced father would do.

I am curious about where the father of the first child is. You see, I don't think many women would do what she did: Date a man only three months after her child was born, and then stay as a "date", not a girlfriend or a wife or a stable partner, for a period of three years. I would expect her to want stability after the first child, and she doesn't seem to have received it, and she seems to have been fine with that (but maybe she didn't like it, but couldn't get you to be more than a "date").

I also don't think many women who already have a child would sleep with the man who cheated. You see, I don't think you're the only one with issues here.

Your family may be bad but I don't think they have anything at all to do with all the problems you have. You say that you want your family to "stay out". I wonder if they should do that, considering that they have a biological granddaughter whose parents are not in good terms. I would want to meet the granddaughter and be part of her life. I don't think it's right of you to want them "out". You can certainly ask them not to mess with you and your ex, but they have a right to be there for their relative.

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A male reader, HarperJake  Canada +, writes (23 March 2016):

HarperJake is verified as being by the original poster of the question

I grew with very strict parents, both very respected public figures in my home town. I guess you could say I rebelled, I wanted nothing to do with being in the public eye or the future jobs they had in mind . So I started getting into trouble in my early 20's then left town pretty much cutting off contact with them. I spent a few years partying , drinking and just bouncing from one friends couch to another. Once that got boring and I realized it wasn't a life I could continue I found a job and tried to get my life in order. I knew if I went home it would have been "I told you so" and back to being what they wanted. I met my ex and she taught me a lot about myself. She had literally just left an abusive relationship because she was pregnant and we became friends. When her son was three months old we officially started dating and that's when I realized that I was proud of my life , it might not have been the life my parents planned but I felt like I needed them. I came back to my home town , got a job and we moved here.

My ex is very free sprited , I call her my modern day hippy . She just loves life. She's not into material things like my family at all. But she gets along with my family. Well did , right up until it break up.

I know I'll never cheat again, I lost a year and half with the girl I love for nothing . I'm missing simple things with my kids because i chose to have sex with a girl that meant nothing to me.

I'm not blaming it on my friends , I willing slept with her but it made me reevaluate my friends. The guys were a group of guys from work, they weren't people in my normal circle of friends. But we went out weekly just as a guy thing. They all cheated on their wives . They would joke about it. I was actually one of the few that hadn't cheated before . I know I was the one that made the decision to cheat but I wish I could turn back time . I was happy , I know a lot of people ask me that question but I really was. We had a good relationship , we had fun together and we had an amazing sex life so it wasn't that I wasn't getting it at home. I really had no reason to do it .

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A female reader, YouWish United States + , writes (23 March 2016):

YouWish agony aunt"I cheated because I could, there really wasn't a reason".

That about sums it up.

Unless you took a set of garden shears and cut off your own penis, you *still* could cheat. You went out once a week, and your girlfriend trusted you completely.

If there's one thing that has become clear, it's that she really loved you before you broke her heart. Now, you can't unscramble that egg no matter what you do. You didn't think of the little kid who loved you. You didn't think of the girlfriend who loves you. You thought with your penis, and your girlfriend was nothing to you.

Telling her after you did it?? Let me guess - in your fights with her, you held *that* up as something you didn't have to do, didn't you? Do you know how insulting that is to hear that she doesn't have the right to be so hurt and angry with you because you told her??

Your inner turmoil over the value of your girlfriend should have started BEFORE your 10 second orgasm with this bartender, not afterwards. You can never take it back.

As for your family, they are biased. They're taking your side, even when you are wrong.

The only way you can possibly hope for your relationship is to do two things:

1. STOP making light of your cheating. Not having a reason is a lie. You cheated because you were selfish. Did your girlfriend have once per week outings with the girls as well?? How would you feel if she woke you up to tell you that she had sex with another man, that he picked her up and then within the hour, he was having intercourse with her?? You wouldn't be so glib. You need to be TERRIFIED and spend your life making sure that there is not the slightest chance it will ever happen again, and if that means leaving the friends who egged you on to cheat, leaving the bar where she was, or leaving the drinking itself behind, then do it. You need to tell her that your horror for what you did has rocked you to the core so that the thought of betraying her in that way again is unfathomable.

2. Stop treating the relationship as a "make it work". Destroy it and start again from point blank. When people want to build a skyscraper in a city with an old skyscraper, they don't try to build the new one while the old still stands. They blow up or implode the old, clear it away, and rebuild from scratch. I was at ground zero in New York City after 9/11, and I can tell you that they didn't leave the debris of the old buildings in place to rebuild. They worked day and night to sweep it and then rebuilt from scratch stronger and taller and better.

That is what you need to do. Stop thinking you know her. Stop assuming she knows you. Destroy the old debris of your failed relationship. No more. Start from scratch and take the time to rebuild. No more "We've been together for 3 years". That's dead. Gone.

Start from NOW.

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A female reader, LJCX United Kingdom +, writes (23 March 2016):

LJCX agony auntJust noticed you saying that they didn't say anything while you were together but did when you split up, they'd more than likely just go back to keeping it to themselves if you were back together.

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A female reader, LJCX United Kingdom +, writes (23 March 2016):

LJCX agony auntIf you don't mind me asking why did you stop seeing your family? It's pretty unfair of them to blame her if they hadn't seen you for a long time, it'd be strange if you hadn't changed in all of that time.

Your friends were a bit out of line encouraging you to sleep with her, I totally understand why your girlfriend finds it hard to trust you when your family don't really like her and your friends egg you on to cheat on her. But does she know all of that. Try not to tell her what your family think as that will just add to making her feel a bit angry.

If you genuinely want to make a go of all this show her that you can be trusted, it's good that you straight away came clean, that goes a long way to repairing some of the damage. I don't think it's so much that your family are dead against this it sounds like you have separate issues with them that need work too.

It's your life and you can be with who you want to be with. Like another responder said keep it quiet for a while and when you are solid tell them. They wouldn't have any reason to pick holes then. If it doesn't end up working out at least you know you tried. She's having doubts but it can only go on for so long, even though you hurt her it's not the best seeking revenge or holding a grudge. Try and think what you would feel like if she cheated on you and what you'd like to hear if you were in her position.

Usually people cheat because they aren't happy with things but you said it was all fine. So do you think you've gotten it out of your system wanting to sleep with other women? If you still want to do that there is no reason you can't be great parents but separated. My children were a bit upset when their father and I split up but that's because they were at an age when they understood things, your little girl doesn't. A few years down the line mine love having two Christmases lol. It's like they have double the love because they have quality time with both of us one on one.

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A male reader, HarperJake  Canada +, writes (22 March 2016):

HarperJake is verified as being by the original poster of the question

I cheated because I could , there really wasn't a reason. I would put once a week with some guys from work , the bartender would flirt I'd flirt back not thinking anything of it. One night she wasn't working she came to our table we all started drinking and she asked me to go home with her. I laughed thinking she was joking. My friends thought I was nuts for turning her down and I ended up sleeping with her. I was purely sex. I had no feeling towards her, no emotional connection and haven't spoken to her since then.

There's a really good chance I could have not said a thing and my ex would have never found out but I felt guilty. I came home that night, I couldn't sleep and told her the moment she woke up.

We didn't really "fix things" we argued , she asked me to leave and I did. She did go out for revenge , she was hurt , she was angry and I don't blame her.

Our fights can get bad sometimes but before we broke up they weren't like that at all. We hardly ever argued and if we did we could solve things pretty calmly. Through out the pregnancy she talked about getting back together but kept saying she wasn't sure she could trust me . I never pushed for it , I wanted it to be her choice. But now I kinda think she wanted me to fight for her , to show I cared maybe.

I do plan on being there for my kids. I'm there ever day. We don't really have a visitation schedule. I have her son every other weekend and every Tuesday and Wednesday which we kept but now that the baby is her it kinda went out the window. I can't keep the baby over night because she is breastfeeding so I visit everyday. If she's tired or had a tough night I'll take our son for her. We are doing really well with co parenting . I've spent the night (on the couch) to help her out. And she asked me to spend this weekend with them for Easter.

My parents want to blame her for me changing but in reality I changed long before i met her. I didn't have contact with them for almost 5 years , I went through a lot and changed a lot in that time. So when we talked again I was with her and different . They didn't say anything because we were together but as soon as we broke up they wanted to blame it on her. Yes we fought in front of them but it was on purpose , she was hurting and i should have never left so easily

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A female reader, janniepeg Canada + , writes (22 March 2016):

janniepeg agony auntI think the major blow out fights are signs that she had trapped frustration about your previous cheating and did not know how to deal with her feelings. Underneath the fighting, I believe there is a desire for a happy relationship, if only you know how to communicate better, and how to take your relationship seriously. She will also have insecurities about her weight gain and her saggy skin. After you had cheated, her self esteem plummeted. If she revenged cheated, she probably wanted to feel desired and sexy. She needs to hear from you genuinely that you find her attractive. If you don't, then the relationship is not going to work.

She isn't sure if you love her. A person who loves another would say something like this, "it breaks my heart to see you hurt like this, I am deeply sorry about my mistake and I wouldn't dream of making another one again." That applies to her also. She needs to know how much she hurt you too, even if it's for revenge.

Of course you don't want your family to influence your decision. Right now the best thing to do is to keep your relationship quiet. You need to take slow steps in rebuilding trust. Be patient and kind. Then when you feel confident about your relationship you can be a couple again in front of your family.

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A female reader, LJCX United Kingdom +, writes (22 March 2016):

LJCX agony auntThe thing about intense relationships is that although you have seriously bad lows you also more than likely have extremely good highs that keep you going back. But should a child be around to see that? It's quite frightening for a small child to be around and I'm guessing you do argue around them.

Not to make you feel bad as it's hard to keep your cool at all times but you need to think about this knowing it will probably happen again. I bet most couples have little spats or even big ones around children from time to time but it's more unusual doing it in front of the family, that's letting anger take control.

There is nothing wrong with splitting up if it's volatile, it would be better for your children to have two separate happy parents rather than unhappy but together ones.

Why did you cheat in the first place by the way? I don't think your family should judge too harshly about her going over the top, if you were there for her and her son when she probably needed somebody the most it must have been hard to deal with you cheating and worrying about what would happen to her and her son. Not your responsibility to take care of her whole life but it would have definitely made her have a mini meltdown.

Are you in a relationship right now? Have these blow outs in front of your family happened recently or was this all before she had the baby. It would be a good idea to give it a really good try instead of years later regretting just giving up. But make a promise to end it if this anger rears it's head again. People make mistakes and do stupid things, you can both change but be clear that you won't keep going on and on with it if nothing does change.

Your family should support your decision and it would cause more harm them being off with your daughters mother, your daughter will grow up feeling badly about that and as she's her mother she will love her and not want to see her family giving her the cold shoulder.

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A female reader, WhenCowsAttack United States +, writes (22 March 2016):

Goodness, if your arguments were so bad that you two were blowing up at one another in front of your families that is horrible. It would be even more horrible for the kids if they were to grow up seeing that.

Personally I think you should each start with individual counseling for your anger issues. Then perhaps you could move on to couples counseling to see whether there is any chance of making it work.

You don't mention whether she wants to get back together.

Mainly you need to think about your children right now. I'm sure you don't want to see them traumatized because their parents get into horrible screaming arguments in front of them do you? Because that would be an awful childhood.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (22 March 2016):

Honeypie agony auntYou can't "make" her do anything.

You can ASK your family to back up and support you, but again, you can't "MAKE" the do anything.

Have you considered that your family are thinking of YOUR best interest in all this? That they aren't just "labeling" her as an crazy EX for no reason at all?

You two didn't work. You even cheated on her and she retaliated in "revenge". That all SCREAMS not a good fit, not a good match.

And from your story it doesn't seem like you two EVER resolved the issues you two had. You just did a little F-buddy thing, arguments and a unplanned pregnancy. It sounds like SUCH a mess.

Why not start with something simple? LIKE being a good DAD for the kids? Being consistent with visitation and help out where that is needed.

Take some time and figure out (without blaming HER) why you cheated, and why you two argue so easily. If family was SO important to you... why was cheating so easy?

You need to figure that out and take responsibility for it.

Having a kid together doesn't mean you are a good match relationship-wise and honestly, if there has been a lot of drama I think that hurts kids more than having parents who aren't together.

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