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Ask Ellie: Leaving serial cheater first step to better future

He’s a repeat offender, so there’s little doubt that it’ll happen again
Advice columnist Ellie Tesher.

Dear Ellie: How do I leave my husband without losing my relationship with my adult children?

He’s cheated on me with numerous women and I’ve always forgiven him. But I’ve never forgiven the women.

I should’ve left him after the first one, but I thought, why give him up for someone who wants what I have? They never showed their interest until they saw our home. That’s when they’d start teasing him.

Now, I don’t care if I stay or go. He got one woman pregnant and she had a baby girl. She called me saying they were soulmates. He’s only seen the child once.

All of these women thought he’d leave me for them. The child is where my forgiveness ends. He thinks I should forget about it and pretend it didn’t happen.

I wonder how stupid I must look to everyone that knows. I got a job and started to rebuild my self-esteem. I now feel that he cheated with my happiness.

I believe he’s a narcissist. Yet I love him very much and take a lot from him mentally. He’d have you believe that everything that’s happened was because of me. I even believe it sometimes.

But my adult children already believe that I’m screwed up because of him.


Regarding your own future, you’ve already started to work on that through your job and resultant self-esteem. Previously, you focused on the women in his affairs. Forget them. He’s as guilty as them. It’s the marriage you must focus on, realistically.

He’s a serial cheater, so there’s little doubt that it’ll happen again. After all the lies and deceit from him, I wonder, “What’s to love? Your house?”

The baby girl is a reality. He has responsibilities to her. If he ignores them, ask yourself, “What’s to respect?”

Your adult children have long ago recognized that their father “screwed you up.” His absences and affairs were likely no secret for them. Stand up for yourself. Tell the children what you plan to do (and your decision about leaving). Show them your resolve to lead a life you can be proud of.

By the way, before you finally decide, stop all your caretaking tasks for this man.

Dear Readers: With Valentine’s Day well behind us, I can finally look at some thoughtful ideas about “love” and relationships… how we keep them, adjust them, discuss them, improve them… etc.

Here’s what Psychotherapist Noel McDermott of Psychotherapy and Consultancy Ltd., with his more than 25 years’ experience in health, social care, and education says:

“Love and intimacy are not grand gestures, they’re often simply small moments of genuine vulnerability.”

Further, “Relationships aren’t just about the big fights and grand gestures. They’re made and broken by the smaller, quieter moments. “

What to avoid in relationships: “Attaching strings/conditions to expressions of love and affection, over-sexualising love and affection, and trying to pacify your partner with love-bombing when you should be apologising and changing.”

But what about forming and keeping relationships?

McDermott advises: “Be realistic about expectations, look for shared values and interests, be honest about what your needs are that should be met outside of the relationship, seek a partner who values growth and openness, and be direct and clear in communicating your wants and needs.”

My add: Remember, living in a meaningful relationship is a life goal, not a date. When you have it, commitment, understanding and trust make “love” a daily reality.

I’m a guy, 24, working at a local gym and into amateur body-building. Last year, I started seeing a lady, 39, who likes muscular guys. We met for casual sex. She was in a long-time relationship with someone older than her and they have teenage kids.

After two months’ dating, she got pregnant and her ex left. I moved in eight months ago, we have twin babies, and her ex often visits. He said he doesn’t blame me, but he’s unhappy with her. I said I wouldn’t stand for him disrespecting her, but he does it when I’m not around.

I want to confront him. He threatens to get a lawyer, take the house and everything. Can he kick my girlfriend, myself and the babies out of the house?


Talk to a lawyer. The father and former common-law partner may have many rights. Meanwhile, here’s my relationship advice: Do not confront him. Get informed, instead.

Ellie’s tip of the day

When a spouse has played fast and loose for their own pleasure, choose a future of which you can be proud.

Send relationship questions to [email protected]