Too Late to Get Back Together?

Q: After an eight-year relationship and having two children together, I moved out a year ago when my partner stated that she was no longer happy. We had separated twice before, but this time I thought it was time for me to leave permanently. Problem is I still have feelings for her. She recently got sick and I came over to look after her and the kids. She is constantly giving me mixed signals: one second she is warm and wants to cuddle, next she's cold and distant. Should I just give up the whole idea of ever working things out? -- Nelson, 39

Dr. Susan: You owe it to yourselves and your kids to get on the same page. Either you're together, in which case cuddle all you want, or you're not together, in which case, hold off on the cuddling and move on with your lives in a consistent way. You were together a long time, so it's no surprise you still have feelings for her. The thing is, you don't build a lifetime on "feelings" alone. You have "feelings," she has mixed feelings, she was unhappy, and so on. What a confusing world you're making for your kids (and yourselves). Sit her down and figure out what you both can commit to. Happiness and loving feelings won't always be there, but they will keep returning if the two of you work at it together. If you want to work things out, ask her if she would like to do the same. If you're both mature enough to make this a project, the rewards will be worthwhile. If she continues to be negative and wishy-washy, figure out what's best for you and for your kids and go for it.

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