You left, because you felt I didn't make you a better person. You felt that my influence on your life made you complacent and stagnant.
You felt that I didn't bond with your children enough.
I honor your choices and introspection.
In the interest of encouraging your personal growth, after processing everything you told me, I have a few responses.
I believe your introspection started when your ex-wife accused me of not making you a better person. Maybe I'm wrong. This is a person that knows very little about how OUR relationship worked, and even less about me. This is a person who most of the time only has her best interests at heart. I don't need to remind you that she has betrayed you on more than one occasion. She, on a regular basis, tears you down every chance she gets. She plays on your anxiety. That's emotional abuse. It's unhealthy.
Inside your mind lives a man who is terrified of becoming fat, unattractive and possibly unpopular. That man causes you unhealthy guilt and anxiety when you don't work out. He also makes you work out when you are injured, causing you to injure yourself further to the point where you can't work out. And the vicious cycle and the panic I have seen in your eyes repeats itself. I've read articles about exercise addiction, and while I don't know if you are a hard core addict, I do think the things I have pointed out show some tendencies that you should reconcile.
You once believed that I was a good influence. That my healthy eating habits encouraged you to eat healthy. Yes, I have been making poor eating choices lately. But I always pick myself up and get back on the healthy food wagon. I have been doing this for 17 years. But while I was eating bunless burgers and broccoli, you were choosing nachos. This is not a judgement, it is simply the way it was. I am human, I can only be so strong. I can't always be the one in the relationship doing the right thing. I need encouragement and support too.
Me and working out. It is something I have been battling my whole life. I go through really great streaks, and then some not so good streaks. I pointed out to you on more than one occasion that I do better when I have someone to work out with. We tried twice. Then nothing. You went back to your way of doing things. I have pointed out couples exercises. You said they would be too hard. I showed interest in the running club Wednesdays you found on Facebook. You pointed out that you have children on those nights. I wish somewhere along the way you could have met me halfway. I wish I could have been on that part of the journey with you, the way you want a woman to be with you.
Your extremely precious children. I love them. I worry about them. We were just starting to bond. It isn't unusual for that process to take a long time. It takes as long as it takes. You have a daughter that doesn't want to be close to her mother's boyfriend who has been in her life for three or four years. How can you expect her to bond with me so quickly? But she did ask me to curl her hair for school. That's a start. Your other daughter sat on a swing with me for 20 minutes and told me more about herself. She was also curious about me. Your son gave me presents and prizes that he earned. He made sure he gave his mother the same things. He came into your room to show me a video game on his tablet. We played together. Things were growing. They came to me, each in their different ways, on their own terms. They did in the beginning too...They wanted me to play Monopoly and cook healthy food for them.
I originally wanted to go to soccer games, piano recitals, and make birthday cakes to support YOU. But eventually, it was for them too.
I can encourage and support you...but I can't make you be what you want to be. (I mean, come on, you get bucky when people tell you what to do. Have you stretched today?) You don't need to be a hen-pecked man, who only does what he is supposed to when he is driven to by the woman in his life. You have to want it and follow through. You have to take personal responsibility for your own actions. That applies to all areas of your life.
I hope you find what you are looking for in a partner. I hope you find balance. I hope you find a way to heal that hurt anxious person inside you. I love you.