Dear Coleen: My relationship has been terrible since my man cheated. Do I leave?

An exasperated woman.
-Credit: (Image: Getty/iStockphoto.)

Dear Coleen

I'm a woman in my mid-30s and have been with my partner for six years, and we have two young children. Our relationship has been a total car crash over the past two years because he had an affair, which resulted in a child.

To cut a long story short, he ended the affair but had to come clean to me because the other woman told him that if he didn't, she'd tell me herself.

I was angry, humiliated and hurt, but we decided to try to make it work for the sake of all involved. It hasn't been easy but we have made progress.

What's not helping is that the other woman is in our lives a lot, which I'm finding hard to cope with and it's making it difficult to move on.

I expect my partner to do the right thing by providing for his child and being in his life but I don't want to be a part of it or our kids involved either.

However, she often shows up on the doorstep for a visit, calls my partner a lot over things to do with their son, and wants to enrol him in the same nursery that our kids attend.

It all feels like rubbing salt in the wounds. I want to be reasonable but sometimes I think it'd be easier if I just walked away. Please help.

Coleen says

You've been strong and ­incredibly level-headed by acknowledging that none of this is the child's fault and that your husband should do the right thing by him.

I'm not sure what you can do about his mother enrolling him in the same nursery as your kids, other than explain to your husband that it feels too close to home and you don’t want to risk bumping into her every day.

Maybe he can have a word with her, or I suppose you could move your children if it's not too inconvenient for you.

I think it would help if your husband could come to a legal arrangement with the mother of his son, as that would put some boundaries in place – for example, when he sees him and how often, and who's responsible for picking up the child and taking them home.

It could be a situation where you never have to see this woman. When you're finding it hard, keep reminding yourself that the issue now is the child's wellbeing.

And in years to come, you don't know how your kids will feel; they might really want to know their brother and you don't have to be friends with his mum for that to happen.

I do think you'd feel more positive if you were more in control, so start talking to your husband about boundaries and get legal advice. As for the "other woman", she might be taking advantage of the situation (and your good nature).

Or, if we're being kind, maybe she's worried if she doesn't keep showing up your husband won't take his responsibilities seriously. Either way, start answering the door as she may not want to see you either, and she'll start to make proper arrangements.

Don't miss the latest news from around Scotland and beyond - Sign up to our daily newsletter here.