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My Ex-husband Tells Me He Wants To Be With Me Again But Won't Move Out Of His Girlfriend's House

Question:

I have a really messed up situation that I hope some sort of enlightenment can help.

My ex-husband and I have been trying to work things out, we have a 3 year old son. When we were married, he had an affair on me with the woman he is living with currently. Well, he left her saying that he made the biggest mistake of his life leaving me and our son but moved out into his own home. He did not want to be with her anymore. He lost his job and couldnt make it so he asked her if he could move back in just for a bit to get things together then he will be gone again. He didn’t ask me to move in because at the time we werent talking, I was still upset about the whole situation, divorce, etc.

These past couple of months, he has been telling me that he made the biggest mistake of his life and that he will do anything to get us back, and wants to make sure that I trust him again, and that there is absolutely nothing going on with her, but he doesn’t have the resources to move out anywhere right now. I will admit I still do love him, and I would like for things to work out eventually, not only for us but our son.

My HUGE problem is that, now if I am going to make the effort to work on things with him, I DO NOT want him living there or having anything to do with her. I told him that to make things work, you cannot be living there, so I offered for him to move back in. That way he can be with his son again full time, which is what he missed the most, but would make things easier for me to deal with as well with her being out of the picture. He keeps saying that he can’t move out of there yet, but he will when the time is right. And that I should be looking at the situation as this is only a stumbling block and that when he is back, we have the rest of our lifetime to be together. I am thinking you have got to be kidding me… The way I see things is that if you really want to make this work, you will do anything, right? I see it as, he has a choice and he is not making the right one for our relationship. And it seems like he is just making excuses.

Am I selling myself short? Am I wasting my time? What do I have to do to get him to realize how serious this is? I told him there are things that I will tolerate and there are things that I will not tolerate, and it just seems he keeps coming dangerously close to things that he knows I won’t put up with. I want this to work and it seems that the only thing I can come up with is to give him an ultimatum. Thank you.

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Answer:

I can’t help you with enlightenment (grin!) but I can give you my perspective, which actually closely mirrors your own. If your husband is with this woman for purely financial reasons as he claims, then your offer to have him move in with you should be acceptable to him, provided that he truly wants to be with you and make your marriage work. There is something else going on that he has not been straight with you about, I think. He may be continuing a relationship with this other woman (which seems likely given that he is living with her). More charitably, he may be thinking that she can’t live without him and he is afraid to hurt her feelings. Either way, I think he is making excuses to not act the way he says he wants to act.

There is a phrase to the effect of "voting with your feet" meaning that how you act is a better indicator of how you truly feel versus what you say. "Talk is cheap" is another cliched way to express this sentiment. "Put your money where your mouth is" is still another. All of these common phrases exist to suggest to people that they need to act in concert with the goals and values they talk about. I don’t see anything wrong with your insisting, gently but firmly, that he do just that. I think if you don’t insist on him choosing you (within some defined amount of time) that you will indeed be selling yourself short. You have to be willing to lose the whole thing, becuase if you aren’t and give in to his demand (to stay involved with you and this other woman at the same time) you will not like yourself. That is a worse fate than being alone.

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