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“My partner won't get the help he needs”

My partner and I have been together for 18 months. It all happened very suddenly and took both of us by surprise. Even with his history (divorced, 2 kids) as cliché as it is, it was like fate. He and his ex wife have been divorced for a few years but neither have had a serious partner so the custody arrangement has not been adhered to. As he works away from where we live and his kids also live quite a distance away, he would just stay with them whenever he went to see the kids.

I was always uncomfortable with this arrangement, but their relationship ended because of her infidelity and he swore that he had no intention or interest at going back there. He just wanted to keep everything amicable for the sake of the kids. Every time he suggested having the kids on his own, she would push back and come up with some reason that she had to be there. She would repeatedly talk to him about her sex life even after he asked her to stop. Whenever he pushed back she would stop answering and cut contact with the kids. I trusted him implicitly and believed that he was working on changing their arrangements so as we could build a life together. What I was aware of but underestimated was her manipulative nature and how deep her hooks are still into him.

Late last year he was visiting the kids and tried to break up with me. It came from nowhere and my gut was telling me that I didn’t have the full story. It didn’t take much for him to break down and say that he got really drunk and has a vague recollection that potentially something happened between them. He said she swore it didn’t but he didn’t believe her. We talked, I yelled, we both cried and we agreed that he needed to speak to a psychologist to learn how to deal with her. He suffers from anxiety when he is near her and it doesn’t lift until he is on the plane to come home. They were together for 15 years – she knows how to press his buttons.

Long story short – we worked out the indiscretion with his ex-wife on the proviso that he sought help. Since then there have been some changes at his work and he has been away for an extended period of time. Therefore, has not done anything about seeing a psychologist and we have hardly spent any time together – he knows I am angry about that and he has been very withdrawn and not talking to me as regularly. When he came home a couple of weeks ago, he again ended it saying that there was still too much he had to deal with from his divorce, the kids and that his work situation was just not conducive to a relationship.

He then went to see the kids and the whole thing just wasn’t sitting right with me. I have trouble letting things go when they don’t make sense to me. After badgering him for a proper answer, it turns out he still feels guilty about what happened and how horribly he has treated me. I still could not see why we could not work through all of that together… until today when I learnt that after he ended it again he slept with his ex wife. He can’t explain the control that she has over him and he knows she is a narcissist and manipulative but he isn’t doing anything to help himself.

I am so angry at him but also I love him so much and can’t shake wanting to work through this but it took him making the same mistake twice to actually make the appointment with the psychologist. I know I deserve better but I am totally destroyed and torn about walking away. If he would just help himself and do the things he is saying he will – we could go back to the supportive relationship we had. So to recap - she is manipulative, he is weak and I am still in love. Somebody please talk some sense into me before I drunkenly beg him to keep working on fixing us.

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