Ask Toi: How to Forgive a Cheating Parent?

Reader’s father cheated on their mother and reader needs help….

It’s hard to not have your parent on a peddlestool especially a father. As a kid you may have been sheltered from the things that were really going on. That’s understandable, that’s what adults should do. They shouldn’t be as open as they want with their lives for the sake of children. We know in these times some folks don’t care and do whatever they want to do. With that in mind, you’re an adult now. The wounds don’t hurt any less by finding out about your dad’s infidelity. Keep things in perspective. It’s okay to feel like you have lost respect for him. That’s actually quite normal. You’re not a kid you can express how you feel. You can also make a decision if you want to continue a relationship. I am not on team cut him off in any way. I don’t know him enough. I know in time it can be repaired if he’s willing to do the work to do so. If you’re willing to forgive and move forward is going to be key as well.

Also keep in mind that at the end of the day, your dad has to live with his decisions and most importantly your mother is dealing with it mostly. Take some time to process it. Deal with it and do not wave it under a rug like it’s no big deal.  As an adult it may help to speak to your dad one on one. Remove him from your mom and have an adult conversation. Speak candidly and maybe even go to a public place to keep you in aligned to attempt to remain calm when you speak. Remember you don’t have to take his issues on as your own but you can be verbal about where you stand.

You may hear, I am your father respect me. You can respect title and lose respect for your dad. He has to work through earning respect as harsh as it sounds.  Keep in mind that his pain doesn’t just sit with your mom and him but the kids adult or not feel the brunt of the betrayal of the family too. I don’t get why people don’t see the other side of it. Talk to someone you trust that can be a sounding board to help you through and not just someone who wants the details of what happened. If your mom and him work it out that’s great.  If they do not, that’s their marriage to work through. Support your mom in what she needs too. She is hurting too. Take a break from trying to fix it all. You are their child but not a child. You do not need to bandage this in any way to make it okay. It’s not your fight.  Be firm when you speak, say what you mean but don’t be mean when you say it.

I pray you receive closure. I send love your mom’s way and clarity to your dad. I pray he is remorseful and willing to do whatever it takes to restore balance in the family structure without taking offense to the responses. I find men tend to think that once the cheating comes out, the children and women are to GIVE this level of instant respect without ever acknowledging the pain. I find it hard to understand the lack of understanding of the pain of the betrayal. Your dad can’t shrug this off like no big deal. The family ideology has been broken. He needs to be in the forefront to fix it. Everyone will need grace during this time!

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Ask Toi: I cheated and my husband holds it over my head, should I leave?

I can’t give you that answer. I wonder if you two have done the work to heal. If you have been seeing a counselor and you have talked or are talking it out I would say let it run its course. I think regardless of who cheated meaning this goes for women and men, the person who is holding the cards is usually the one who has been cheated. You can’t determine how long that person grieves this betrayal. That is what it is your husband feels betrayed. Men are also wired differently they could be a cheater but don’t get over being cheated on. Women also cheats for other reasons than simply sex. So you need to figure out the reason that you cheated and if that reasoning has been resolved. If not you may find you doing it again. So I would seek counseling in addition to martial counseling. However you also aren’t trapped into your marriage. If its worth to go through this pain you may find that you and your husband to be stronger. But it has to be both wanting it. If you find that only you are interested in making it right, you have to make that decision. The only thing is that counseling will help so that you don’t take the same patterns into another relationship. I remember my husband going to counseling and our counselor let us know it’s not an easy fix. It wasn’t about cheating but the same principle applies. Counseling isn’t a fix. It helps you weed out your feelings and helps you determine your threshold for love and work. I wish you peace as you continue but ONLY you can determine how long you should work or if you should throw in the towel. I would say counseling is the best way to go about it to start the journey.

Mature Love

Let’s face it with the wave of reality television society obviously loves drama. We thrive on. We take it in.  We gravitate towards it. In the last 2 years I have taken on a journey to dismiss a lot of the drama in my life in the form of television and media. In addition to that in the last few years I have eliminated drama in my personal life and especially in marriage.

I think about the wonder years of college. Here I had come from this small town and I had recently been holding on to my high school sweetheart. I was so torn on keeping up this relationship but happy to start this new adult life. With limited time I ended one relationship and set out on a journey to find myself. In the midst of finding myself, I found a new relationship. In the beginning I kept telling myself to keep my options open but I fell hard and heavy with this tall glass of water who I later would end up marrying and having a family.  Oh the relationship goals I hear people speak of when I post my beautiful family is encouraging.  It encourages my husband and I to honor each other more and to be the example to ourselves and children.

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Let me dip my baby toe into the early years when we weren’t as gracious in relating to one another as we should. The drama and fights and break ups to make up were really out-of-pocket. My college years were filled with too much of it.  Our friends God bless their hearts had seen their fair share. From me moving off campus, to not being able to go down the street without a fight, goodness. Yes not anything physical but all that ratchet yelling could have made a lot of this reality television look like Elmo’s World. We were in love and I will speak for me unable to handle and know what adult love was supposed to look like. The cursing each other out, seeing or attempting to see other folks (depending on who you ask), acting a fool in public, breaking up and making up and not telling others, just exhausting to write let alone live. Back in the day it seemed like a whirlwind. It seemed normal. Everyone on campus knew we were toxic and out-of-pocket. Just a mess!

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Separating and allowing space and time and for me to honestly deal with some inner struggles led us back to each other. People think we just woke up one day and decided to give this thing called love a try. We were tested in that love several times almost ending our marriage. What turned things around from college and marriage was living and learning about myself. Finding out what worked for me. I found out my passions. I had learned to live with myself enough to not allow someone else to come into my space that wouldn’t allow me to be me. This allowance has come up several times in our current marriage. The ability to let your partner balance their lives with you is necessary. One day in our car we were at the point of divorce, he looked at me and said, “are we in or out?” He said if we are in lets stick together and make it and if we are out, lets find a way to be honorable with our children.  He looked me in my eyes and I knew he wasn’t playing.

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We at that moment lived by our mantra” us against the world.” We had stated that mantra in college but it solidified with me and him that day. That was at least 2 years into our marriage. There are no cute pictures you can take when two people have kids and are literally walking around like hateful roommates. What picture can you show when you are at the point of no return?  what picture can you show when you have enough and only doing the bare minimal?  So I always go back to the picture below.  When we were happy and made the decision to love each other forever. The time where we were so in love that nothing before that mattered and now nothing after should be to the point where we can’t work together.  We are willing to be with one another and this picture reminds me to take a mental break, wait for an answer, love despite of, and go back to the basics of what makes us, us!

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We don’t have the answers. We live each day but we know what works for us. We were friends first. We have “truth moments.” We give each safe space to be vulnerable.  We are learning to listen and talk to and not at each other. These are things that we learned in counseling the first months of our first year! I stepped out what we should be in our marriage and looked at the value of what we are able to make and hold on to when disaster hits. We are stronger together because we still want to be teammates in this thing called life.  As holidays like Valentine’s Day comes we love love or at least I who loves all holidays love these and any love related holidays, but to know that we are working through things and have matured beyond the college days is a miracle of staying the course! I want to leave a highlight with you, don’t think you have to struggle to get to this great point. If you can avoid it, please do so. Know yourself before you enter any relationship. The best thing is to work on you, get counseling before considering dating because uniting with a person can be a trigger in itself, and be clear about boundaries.  I am not glorifying bad behavior.  You can have healthy love. I am glad that we did the work to get to where we are. Nobody wants that perfect love story, but our love story is perfectly fitting for us!

Ask Toi: How do I handle my ex-husband when I’ve asked him to clean his home before the kids come for their visits?

Back story for my readers is they have a custody order to split time. It’s been working. The problem is the kids are old enough to verbally state that not only is the home unclean but its more or less on the hoarding side. There are bugs running around and the kids no longer want to visit until he cleans. She the wife has asked him to clean it up and he the father has suggested that its his house and the kids must still come over.

My answer is simple:

If simple communication between you and your ex-husband isn’t working, you must get the courts involved. Here are my rules when it comes to houses.

One if you are a dirty person it should only affect you. When there are children involved every house may have some clutter. It’s not okay to have so much clutter and dirt and bugs running around. That is a health issue. Now I am not going to act all holier than thou and act like I have never in my life seen a roach or two, but the way the house is being described its unfit. If its unfit the kids shouldn’t have to come and visit in that mess. He needs to clean up his act. His kids well being is and should be the most important thing to both of them. It is his space to do as he pleases. He can’t have children in an unclean home. She should go and file an emergency junction to have a court appointed person go and do a welfare check of the home and if it deemed nasty and unfit he needs to clean it and have it checked before the kids can come over. Simple and plain. As a parent you shouldn’t have to have the courts in-between this. His kids have expressed their concerns to their father and his response to his children are, you are going to be in here however I have it. Wrong answer. I couldn’t imagine my children telling me they were in an unfit home and not speak up and try to work it out only to hear my ex husband say this is his space. I am going to side eye him quick! This is simply unacceptable behavior and response. 

Now before everyone get in their feelings. I see a few things to look at. Was he always this unclean?  Could it be that as wife was able to manage that home they once shared?  If he is going through some depressive state and is unable to see this as an issue, this needs to be evaluated. If not having your children come and visit you doesn’t prompt this man to clean, the children are the only concern.  It needs to be cleaned sooner or later. I don’t get how people think any human can operate with that much clutter and uncleanliness around them. Momma go and get this fixed asap! One of the worst things about co-parenting is learning boundaries and coming together for the sake of the children. It’s important to remember that if you have a child with someone you are bonded for life. Even if your marriage doesn’t last, you will forever be in some form of commitment to the children and the other parent. Keeping communication and a warm heart to speak when things aren’t okay is necessary to make sure that the child gets as much as they can from both parents!

Ask Toi: Follow up To the Wife who’s Husband’s Mother paid him to leave her

So this was a suggestion from a reader to find out what happened to the couple whose mother paid the husband to leave his wife and he took the money:

If you didn’t get a chance to read the original article, get it here

The update is that they are happily divorced. They hadn’t been married that long and the mother in law was an issue throughout the relationship. The wife once she knew that he had taken the money, stayed about 6 months so she could save money to move out. She moved out and filed for divorced the same day. She is currently not dating but in school and focusing on what she wants to do. She stated that leaving was the  hardest yet best decision she could have made. She knew that her mother in law was messy but not that messy. She said that the part that hurt the most was that he took the money stating he was going to use the money for them to buy a house together.

I asked her about any red flags and she stated the following:

The mother in law definitely had a vote in what the couple did. The husband would talk to the mother in law every time an argument or disagreement was had. She also noticed that the son had been giving the mother in law large amounts of money and would be late paying bills. The mother in law was always told and then the money was borrowed back. She also noticed that the mother in law spent all of her time at the couple’s home. She would insist she needed to see her son daily. Anytime she would assert herself in her own home, the mother in law would tell the son that she was being disrespectful towards her.

I think this was by far the worst of a mother in law story I have heard to date. I have never personally experienced anything so horrible. I will say that a marriage needs to be about the husband and wife and not letting everyone in.  No one has more of a vote than the two individuals that made the covenant. Being balanced is knowing when to vent and when to learn to heal and deal with your spouse. I have always said be careful of the information that you give to others about your relationship. You will get over things quicker than the outsider. Mother in-laws should always be respected and so should wives. There should be attempts to resolve issues where both can be honored. However if a mother is disrespecting your wife you should speak up.

I am so sorry that you had to go through that but when people show you who you are its wise to believe them. I wish you much success in school and that you continue to develop into the woman you are meant to be.  It sounds like you really weren’t going to win in this situation. If divorce was for you and you’re happy I wish you much more happiness in all that you do. There is someone who is going to be on the same page of life and relationship when you get to that point of wanting to get back out and date. In the mean time, study hard and enjoy!

Love Energy

If you ever worked out you know how it can feel. Sometimes you feel super motivated. Other times you have a love/hate relationship.  However if you are consistent in it you will notice how better you feel and eventually you will see results. When you are consistent and you see results it keeps you feeling amazing and keeps you going even when you have days when you slack off.

The energy behind that feeling of working out, eating better, or doing better is the same type of energy that needs to be put into your love relationship. You should feel loved on everyday. The days where arguments seem to be on a thousand, and you’re not getting along, should be way less than the days you and your partner spend loving on each other. One thing that I am realizing is the more energy into the relationship, the better the results. The times in your relationships where BOTH partners are attempting to meet in the middle is key to making it work.

Energy never lies. I don’t care what a person says, if the energy that a person is giving or lack thereof, is the key to how things hold up. You can never go on record with your spouse naming the things that you do in response to responsibilities alone if the energy in how you love isn’t being shown. I learned that in counseling on my own. I went to counseling about my life in general and if I am honest my marriage came up. My counselor was a man and he said to me that I know the energy in which my marriage is giving and if that energy is slacking, it won’t hold up. I either had to do my part, wait to see if my husband’s part would match, and if it don’t match, I knew what I had to do. This doesn’t mean my counselor was encouraging to divorce, etc, but he was making me aware of things that love blinds you to.

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Love is amazing. If you are being loved right, it shows. A woman glows better when she’s loving herself and her partner is loving her correctly. There is no denying that. Energy is all about what you give to your partner. If all you do is harp on what your partner does that is negative than don’t get mad when that person goes looking for someone to encourage them. Let me say it for the folks in the back, this is not a oh well if they cheat clause. I am saying if you’re honest and you know you aren’t speaking good into your relationship and over the person you claim to love and all you do is tearing that individual them, gaslighting them, and downing their every move, eventually that ugly side of you becomes less and less attractive. No ONE wants to be put down. You can’t come with a smile, ever? You don’t have not one nice thing to say, ever? There is something wrong, always? Don’t nobody got time for that. If you have an issue with something, speak up but it don’t have to be drawn into a picture with a neon sign everyday! Speak love. Speak encouragement. Put into the relationship what you want out of it.

One last nugget my counselor told me that we tend to say, if I was with “this” person whatever the “this” represents, we would….. If you don’t work out in yourself whatever negative issues you feel from what you get out of your mate, you can leave them and run right back into that same type of person later. Check your loves of the past, do they all share common traits? If so than maybe there’s something in you that needs to be worked out. Energy never lies. If you feel miserable and you’re working on yourself and find that the person you are with is not and its dragging you down, speak up. After awhile things will naturally take its course. Don’t ignore the warning signs cause you love this person!

Evaluate Your Life

I think doing check ins with yourself is important. It’s not just something you do when the New Year hits or on your birthday. A life check up and check in helps to reinforce your goals. T

So what do you do when you check in and discover your life is heading left and you are off task of completing your goals?

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You take a deep breath. You find out what caused you to lose focus. Was it not investing enough time into yourself. This happens more often than most people think. If you aren’t doing a monthly or even weekly check up you can find that on your lists of importance you are on the bottom. You can’t give to someone when you have nothing to give of yourself. Take the time to put you back on the top of your list and make your dreams come true.

What if you don’t have enough resources?

A lot of us don’t have enough resources. We simply are acquiring them as we go along. Join the crowd. End of day, you can still make things happen. If you work your plan and find hiccups, set some intentions. Research what you need and how others in your same position got them. If it worked for them it can work for you. The difference is when you don’t have resources you have to learn to make them. Ask a mom who has limited resources but her children have many needs. If she loves her kids, she gets up and makes it happen.

What if the list are long and overwhelming?

Take that list and put them into categories. What can you do right now? What will take time? List them in order of the time you think it will take to make it happen. Not all dreams if not most are build over night. You have to be doing the work and being consistent. Its like the stories of those who are looking for a job and interviewing. They may hear a thousand Nos until they get to that Yes. Be consistent and keep moving.

What if you lose hope?

Hope isn’t lost its just shifted. You have to be able to refocus yourself. How do you refocus yourself? Look at what you want. Is it something that no matter how many times you put it down, you keep coming back to it? Is it a passion that you feel on a daily basis. If you are at work is it always on your mind? This is where your hope is. Just because you laid your dream down, it didn’t die its crying out to you to pick it up. This is why you talk about it all the time. This is why the desire is burning so bright. It has a hold of you tighter than you have a hold on it. Tighten it up. Get back out there. Be ready for a few Nos. Be ready for times when you feel overwhelmed.

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Evaluating your life can be exhausting. It can be mentally draining. All you do is focus on what you don’t have, where you aren’t, the time wasted, etc. you will find it hard to keep going. Find the little victories along the way. Get back up, dust yourself. and get back into your life. Don’t quit on life, make your life happen. Even if that dream takes years as long as you keep moving you will get there. Everyday there is at least one more thing you can do to make your dream happen. If you aren’t doing something everyday than you aren’t working hard enough or smart enough. If you want to lose weight, everyday you should be drinking your water, increasing your exercise, substituting better food in place of bad food. This is daily. If you want to go to school, you need to prepare. Have you gone to the school of your choice and spoke to a counselor? Have you applied for grants online and in your community? Have you filled out the application? Are you working hard in the day to finance school? This is called an action plan. The part where you take your dreams from off the paper and push them into the atmosphere of action so you can see the reward!