Dear Uncle Mat

I’ve been with my husband (common law) for almost three years now. I know I love him because through all the b/s we’ve gone through, we still stand strong (or what seems to be strong) in the aftermath.

When I was seven months pregnant (our son is now almost 2) he cheated on me ... I’ve never been betrayed the way he betrayed me (he slept with another female who KNEW we were together and KNEW I was pregnant). I tried to break up with him, but he wouldn’t let me (he has been living with me since I was four months pregnant). Yeah, it sounds stupid that he WOULDN’T let me break up with him, but it’s the truth, he WOULDN’T leave.

Well it’s been almost two years since it’s happened and every chance I get (i.e. every argument we have that is to the point where I tell him to leave) I will throw that in his face. I really do feel bad about it, too, because I wasn’t faithful to him either a few months back. I didn’t sleep with the guy, I just kissed him a few times (take in mind I was drunk), and I STILL told my husband that night. I didn’t cheat on him because he cheated on me almost two years ago, if that were the case I would have cheated right after he did.

He is the only one who loves me for me and not for the sex. He showed me what love was SUPPOSED to feel like and not physically feel (having a lot of sex). Our relationship has a lot to be worked on. We’ve thought about seeing a therapist but never get the chance. I work in the morning and he works at night.

I want our relationship to blossom into more than just “common law.” We’ve talked about marriage and he is dead-set, but I’m not too sure. I have trust issues with him right now. I’m wondering if it’s because I let my guard down the first few months we were together. I guess that is my fault for trusting men ... Me and my sucker self for tattoos and piercings.

— Confused and in Love

Dear Confused,

To quote Mr. Bon Jovi, “You give love a bad name.” Trusting people is a good thing and should never be considered a fault. When someone betrays your trust, you both have to decide if and how to regain that trust. His actions, by your narrative, seem to demonstrate a clear commitment on his part to amend for his transgression. Do you want to be with the guy? Besides tattoos and piercings — which can be found on every other guy in the carpool these days — what does he have that you want? The fact that he loves you for more than sex is great, but if you’re Catholic, so does Jesus and Sister Mary Rulerslap.

How often do you fight and threaten to throw him out? What are these fights about? Yelling at each other is relatively unhealthy in a relationship. He is either the nicest guy on the planet or maybe the stupidest. These fights should not be recurring and may indicate a serious communication gap. The next time you are mad at him, try leaving for a day. Don’t yell and threaten, just say, “I want a break,” and then you leave, since he won’t. Head to mom’s or a friend’s. See how it feels. You may need to stay away for a week. One or both of you might discover that you aren’t in love as much as you are in a habit.

Marriage is the least of your worries. There is a third person in this relationship and he deserves a happy home. This means stop fighting and start raising the kid. You might be better parents apart than together. Lots of people do it and the kids turn out great. Your son needs to live in an environment of respect and trust. You need to figure how and what will make that happen.

Go to therapy. Both of you. You do not have to go together — eventually, yes, if you’re going to stay together, but I bet there are plenty of individual issues to work on for starters: Forgiving and trusting yourself and others, anger management, self esteem …

If building happy, healthy families were easy, we would all shit Care Bears. So get to work.

Much love and hope for your family,

Your Uncle Mat.

Uncle Mat answers questions about relationships, sex, pets, and art. Email him at
[email protected] or Your true identity is safe with him.