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Dear Debra
Dear Debra, Advice Columnist
Category: Relationship
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Hi guys, new to this forum, so Im not sure if Im out my depth

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Hi guys, new to this forum, so I'm not sure if I'm out my depth here.:boggled:

Before I start I'll apologize for my being so needy.

The thing is, I split with my long-term partner (13 years and we have eight year old boy) on the 26th of last month.

Over the years we've had a pretty turbulent relationship, but we usually managed to iron things out - which was probably the problem - ie the real issues were being papered over.

Nevertheless, we were together at Xmas and New Year, but had a fall-out in early January.

Now usually, when we had a fall-out I would stick around and try to work it out (we've never been great communicators) but this time I left after asking my partner if she wanted me to go - something I'd never done before.

Anyway, after a week or so, we talked, I slept on the couch for a couple of days and then went back to my mothers to stay (we're both 39) and then we talked some more and I slept on the couch and I went back to my mothers again...then slept together for a few days then I had to leave again...back and forth, back and forth - all this while I kept asking my partner to let me come home for good in order for us to finally try to work things out like never before - I'd realized that our lives couldn't go on like this.

In truth - I'd recognized we had major issues a long while ago - I'll get to these in future if someone replies to this post.

Now to the split up - two weeks ago I stayed all week and went to a meeting (behavioural) on the Thursday - that evening my son and I had an argument (he wouldn't sleep in his own bed) and my partner told me that was more staying over etc. Nevertheless, she texted me early the next morning wanting to know if I was staying that this point I'd finished work and gone to my mothers, so I said no...anyway, my partner had a night out with her friends on the Saturday night and I took our son to my mothers to stay with me for the night....usually I'd take him back early on the Sunday, but my partner brought her friends back and continued to drink most of the day Sunday. This being the case I didn't our boy back until early Monday morning.

Nearly done, I'm sorry... So Monday morning me and jnr jump into bed with his mum and all's ok. Tuesday however, is different and I phone her and ask how her night (two nights) went and she eventually - I had to drag it out of her - admits that she kissed another guy at a nightclub.

To say I'm devastated is an understatement....and I'm really confused.

Can anyone help me with this please...I've taken it really, really badly and don't know what to make of it.

Deardebra :

Your relationship together is something I feel can be worked out but communication is very important when it comes to a relationship.

Deardebra :

You mentioned that she kissed another guy

Deardebra :

This is something she has admitted to and I feel it was a moment of weakness that she had and that it will not happen again.

Deardebra :

The reason why she told you was because she felt guilty and wanted you to know what she did.

Deardebra :

I feel that she does not want anything to ruin the relationship you both have together.

Deardebra :

I want to see you both take the steps to getting back together and working things out.


How do I go about trying to work it out though?

Deardebra :

There is just a lot of emotions and feelings in this relationship that needs to be discussed. You both love each other bit you both have these protective walls up because each of you are afraid to get hurt by each other.

Deardebra :

When it comes to love you have to take risk, put your heart to there.


Down the years our relationship has been at times unhealthy, toxic if you will - and I'm ashamed to admit it.

My partner and I have been through quite a few dramas and I'm really quite surprised we lasted so long - if you want more details I'll make them available.

The point in hand here is though that, this last week has given me a huge shake up and I'm not willing to lay down and roll over on the possibility of working things out. I am more than willing to try, for the sake of my son and my partner, to patch things up as I myself came from a broken home. That said, I'm not interested in a continuation of our past relationship, I'm only trying to reach out in order to have a new relationship (time apart and counselling) which will benefit my child.


For my part, I want to sort this out so we can all be together. But my partner and I have issues which need addressing - I'm currently in the process of trying to cope with my problems as I've seen how far things have gone wrong - I've got anger-managment issues which no doubt are in turn related to issues with alcohol - hence the behavioural classes I was attending. I've been to two separate specialists already this week to make a start on them - something my ex never thought I would do.

All I want is a happy and settled family life, the same as my partner had intimated - everything just came to a head during the 3 months running up to Xmas as I was was working 16 hour days 6 days a week due to my job. And on top of that, my ex-partners mother is ill and my ex-partner spends most Saturday nights there looking after her as no-one else will do it on the weekend (Saturday night is my only night off - so we didn't really see each other - we spent one night together over Xmas and New Year) I realize how difficult I can be to live with at times but my son thinks the sun shines out my backside and I don't want him growing up without me.

As for my ex? I've never really told her how much of an amazing a woman I think she is. She's been through so much - she's on anti-depressants (a result of something which happened as a child and only came out when we had our son) additionally, she had IBS for about two years and ended up having to see a psycho-therapist for it, and then 18 months ago we had a miscarraige which shattered both of us - there's even more than that, but I'll leave that out.

I know what I want to do for the best, XXXXX XXXXX fact is after last week I'm scared to contact her unless it is anything to with junior . I cried for about two days after she told me what had happened, and she phoned me those two days to to see if I was okay - which confused me even more.

I don't want to hassle/pester her so she thinks I'm needy - I just really want her to know that I'm willing to fight for our family by sorting my problems out. I know I can't fix anything without fixing my own issues.


Also, she is going out again this weekend for a birthday bash with people from her work and its her own birthday on Sunday...I'm really scared to talk to her at the moment in case I push her further away from me.

Deardebra :

I want you to tell her how you feel, you said about her being amazing. Someone you love so deeply should hear such amazing words from you. Right now she doesn't know how you feel. Yes, I see there has been problems in the past but that is the past and you both have made changes to move forward. you are taking the steps to get the help you need and even if you do not see it or know it you are changing as a person. You want to be a family again and I feel that if you both communicate your feelings you both can have a happy healthy relationship.


How and when should I contact her though. As I don't want her to feel pressured by me as I fear this may push her away further?

Deardebra :

You want to call and ask her if you both can talk.

Deardebra :

You want to have a place where you both can have no distraction so you both can say what is on your mind.


Should I wait until the weekend is over and give her time. I'm not comfy because I don't want her to think I'm pestering her.

Deardebra :

I feel that communication is what this relationship needs.

Deardebra :

I wouldn't wait that long.

Deardebra :

You want to tell her now how you feel. The longer you wait the more she has time to think.

Deardebra :

You want her to know know that you do nt want to move on without her in your life.


That's very difficult due to no-one being able to watch our son...and I don't want to ruin her weekend by having thoughts about me in the background.

Deardebra :

That is ok if your son is there you both can talk very calmly.

Deardebra :

You want her to be thinking of you.


I know, I'm desperate for her to be thinking of us but I pestered her a bit after she told my about kissing the other guy and asked if it was irritrievable - she said yes. But she phoned me the next couple of days afterwards.

Deardebra :

The reason why she phones you was because she feels bad.

Deardebra :

She doesn't want to hurt you and I know she wants to take that back, but she can't so she has to move on and so do you.

Deardebra :

I would not mention that topic again. I want you both to focus on each other. Do not feel you are pestering her either.

Deardebra :

This is someone you love, you have a child together.


I've had our son for the last four days and she's phoned twice a day to see how he is - which is more than usual. She also phoned this morning as I didn't phone my boy last night (had to get out I was going daft just thinking about them) 13 years is a long time and there's been so much water under the bridge that I will fight tooth and nail to sort this out - just wish I could get some sign of encouragement from her.

Deardebra :

I feel the encouragement from her is there and she is calling more that is the sign you need.

Deardebra :

This is someone that cares and loves you bout doesn't know how to react.

Deardebra :

This is why you need to tell her how you feel.


By "move on" do you mean try to put the kissing incident behnd us?

Deardebra :

I feels she is just waiting for you to tell her how you feel so then she can tell you.

Deardebra :

I would put that kissing thing in the past.


Okay Debra thanks very much for your time. You've gave me a bit of hope...thanks

Dear Debra and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi, Debra,


I haven't had the time yet to sit and have a real prolonged talk to my ex (Susan) yet.


I had to work on the weekend, but we had a small talk on Friday when I went to pick our son up, so Susan go go out for the night.


I was supposed to take him back yesterday, but I asked if I could keep him for the night and she said she would phone him later that evening. Well, she didn't and I phoned her and she was out with her friends again.


I don't know how to feel, at the moment it's as if I don't matter to her unless I'm needed to watch our boy.


I told her on Friday that I'm beginning to get counselling (alcohol) and I'm booked in (myself only) for relationship counselling also.


She always made noises about wanting a happy and settled famiiy life (she told me this again on Friday) holidays, relaxed nights in more of a social life, no arguing and a happy household etc....


I really want to give her these things but I feel I'm now being pushed further away because she seems more interested n going out and getting drunk and enjoying herself.


I really don't know what it is she wants - she asked me to sort myself put before we can mend anything and I've made a start....I'm just desperate for her to show me some sort of sign that will give me a little bit of hope.


We've had thirteen years and a baby together and I just think that that is too much to let go of without a fight.





I want you to really listen to the little things she says. You said she always said about having a happy settled family life. That is what she always wanted but feels she has not got that yet. She also feels that you need to fix things with yourself that is something you are doing and she sees you really trying to change. Right now she is going out and trying to block out how she is feeling. I feel she wants to give you the chance but is worried so she is just blocking her feels by going out and not dealing with her true emotions. It is very clear what she want and that is a happy home with you and your child. This is what you need to show her a normal happy family life. I want you to plan a day out with you, her and your son. Show her how things are going to be. Give her a glimpse of what the future is going to bring. Right now shred is just not facing the problems she is going out to take her mind off them but what she really wants is to be home with you and be a family.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The thing is, I never really gave her much of a social life - going for dinner, drinks etc. Financially it was difficult, as was getting someone to look after David - but I could have done more and she knows it.


It's her birthday today(40) as well, so I won't be seeing her as she's having dinner out with her family.


I'm really confused about my next course of action - as almost everyone is telling me to keep my distance and let her start to miss me when she's about the house on her own with time to think - part of me thinks this is a good idea, but the other half of me is worried that the longer I leave contacting her the more she'll think I'm losing interest - anything but of course.


Also, won't I come across as weak and needy if I keep trying to broach the subject of getting back together? The truth of the matter is that I don't want our old relationship - I told her that on Friday and she seemed surprised, I had to explain that I want a new and better relationship than the one we had, but I nee to get my own house in order first.

One of the things people always say is that if you distance yourself the person will miss you which is false. What happens is the more distance the more the person learns to live without you. If you are not their then they feel like you no longer care and want to be a part of their lives, so that is not true at all. You want to show her more, she is looking for you to show her changes. You love her she loves you, you need to show her that things are going to change. It is not about being needy it is about being you and showing her you love and care for her. She wants to be a family, you need to show her the you can be there and do that for her. I would set up something for her birthday with you, her and your son. That would be nice. Even if it is past her birthday because she already has plans. I would show her that you are thinking of her.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi again,


I asked her a few weeks ago (when we were still seeing one-another on and off) if she'd like to go away for the night/weekend with me and junior but she said no as "we've split up" and "that's not what couples that have split up do". At this point we were still spending three or four nights together and sleeping together....can you see why I so confused and mixed up here? I'm not so sure she would go for your suggestion.


I'd love to go for it but I'm fearful that she'll give me the same response. I think that she really needs to see that I'm trying to improve myself and get back to the guy she wanted in the first instance.


I'm viewing a house tomorrow which is close by so I can be with our son whenever he needs me, and I'm also applying to go back to university to complete my Masters degree....I'm absolutely sure that going back to finish what I started ant university is the correct course of action, but I'm not sure if getting my own place will upset her...and I really don't want to be away from her any longer than I have to.



I think you both better talked about you getting a house because that to her is like saying that you are moving on with your life and that there is not going to be a relationship. This is taking the steps forward. Everything you are doing is saying too her I am moving forward with my life. Going back to school is such a wonderful idea and one that is so positive. Everyone needs something that sparks their interests, you have to have goals and I feel that the goal you chose is an amazing one. I feel that she will see the changes in you and those changes will attract her too you. I think she will get nervous that if you get a home and go to school she will lose you for good. I think she will be more cautious on what she says too you in order for you not to get the wrong impression. Right now she says things like you both are not together and couple go out together which she is saying you are not. I feel that this will change if she sees you taking steps to move on. If you could please accept my answer.
Dear Debra and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.



I spoke to my ex partner on Thursday and informed her that I've booked myself into to see a relationship counsellor - I asked if she would come along a couple of weeks down the line and she said yes. However, I spoke to her again on Saturday when I was picking our son up and I told her all the steps I'm taking to try to fix my problems (relationship counselling, anger-mangement classes and alcohol issue counselling too, also going back to university to do my masters degree - which would mean a better job and far less frustration and financial worries) when I told her all of this she got angry and upset at me - she told me all I was concerned with was me, and that "I make a big mess and then just walk away from it leaving her with the aftermath".


I'm really struggling to work out what is happening - she told me she was angry with me because I didn't do this before and she didn't want to break-up with me but felt she had to as she could no longer stand the fighting. She also told me that she wouldn't come to the counselling with me. My first session is tonight and I don't know what to expect to be honest.


I'm just so confused with it all - I thought she would be pleased to see that I'm taking steps to get myself on track, but it didn't seem that way - she was really quite upset and crying - I'd do anything for her and my son, but I can't understand what she is thinking or wanting anymore.


I'm lost.

I feel that she has a lot of sadness when it comes to this relationship. There has been so much that has happened that she wish never happened. What she is saying is she wished that you did these things before you broke up. She wishes things could be different and she feels that you trying to change should have happened before you lost her. She has a lot of emotions and she is angry because she wanted you to do thid before she had to make the decision to break up. I can tell you she loves you very much and I feel she wants to be with you but is worried that you will not change and she will get hurt again. She needs to see that you are not the same person and that you are going to change. This is what I want you to do, she knows what you are doing to change, but I want you to talk about her and how she is doing, what she needs. Give her a future with you. You want her to see that she is in your life. She was upset because you are doing all these things without her even though you did include her in the counseling. You are now going to go to counseling and I feel this will help you understand your emotions better. It will help in making your changes. You are already bettering yourself by going back to school. She also might be worried that when you fully get back on track that you will not want to be with her. She needs to be reassured that you are trying to get her back and you are doing this not only for you, but for her and your son.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Ok Debra, I'm gong to take your advice about talking to her yo see how she feels and what she needs. I know that she is worried about finances at the moment and I've done all I can a present to help her out in that area.


I'm not sure how to go about finding out how she if feeling and what her needs are though - it's tough when I don't get to see her. I only really contact her in the evening to speak to our son to see how he is doing.


Also, as you know I went to relationship counselling (on my own) yesterday. However, Susan had said previously that she would come along, but when she got angry and upset at the weekend she said she wasn't gong to go and I'd to go on my own - I'm not sure whether she said this through anger or not, and the councellor would like for Susan to come along to the next session so she can speak with Susan on her own.


I thought that I had opened a door by inviting her as I thought I would help both of us. But when I asked her on Saturday why she said no after previously stating she would be willing to go along, she said she was only going to go as she thought it would help me - once again I'm not sure if this was said through anger or she was genuine.


I'd really love her to go to the next session and come along with me in future but I'm not sure how to go about making this happen - I'm doing everything in baby-steps at the moment because I don't want to make anymore mistakes when trying to solve things - I think I've made more than enough errors down the years.



I feel that she was torn whether or not she wanted to go. I think she thought I will go to support him, but then thought she was only doing something for you and not herself. I think she felt like this was one more thing where it was a problem you needed to solve. I think she thought it was best if you went first to talk about your emotions without all the pressure of her being there. But now I feel that she should go because I feel you could work this relationship out with someone helping you together. It will give you both a chance to talk, to listen to each other. The counselor will be able to mediate any problems that may arise. I feel that you should tell her it is important for us that we do this together. Tell her there is no more just me, it is us. I feel she thinks things are always about you and need to be about her some times and I feel that is why she got angry with you. Now that she has thought things through I think you should tell her that you love her and you feel it is important for us to go and work on this relationship together.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi, Debra.


Susan has agreed to go to see the councellor on her own this evening as the councellor asked. she told me last night that she was 100 percent that she wouldnt have me back, but last saturday she was crying nd told me that she did not want to break up but felt she had to. she also said that she had two choices 1) take me back and put up with all the old issues and 2) split up and be on her own and struggle --to my mind there is third option, ie - we try to work things out. I'm confused a why she is wanting to go tonight?? -I've already paid for tonights session and youhave to pay a week in advance - should I jst give her the money to pay for next week if shes willingfor us both to go toghether - I don't want to seem pushy and I'm not sure what she wants.


Since the initial split - we have never actually sat down and talked about things - I think was just happy to be with her even if it was on and off..

I feel you should give her the money for next week because you don't want money to be an issue for her. This is very good news because she is willing to try. She needs to see that the past issues are no more. They are gone because you are working on them putting in a lot of effort to be that person she wants and needs in her life. She is afraid if she takes you back you will stop trying to change and she is now getting comfortable with you changing into the person she always wanted, so let her see that the person she sees now is here to stay.