Hello, I am in a real dilemma here.
I'm going to throw this out there only because I see the signs.
This is only advice, based on my experience but I'd say that you have exhausted many chances with him, and at some point you need to stay strong & stick to it being the last chance. the back and forth does no good for the kids. In my situation, I was the one who started dating first (as far as I know) during our seperation. I am still with this man, but honestly I have struggled with the what if's. I wonder all the time if I should have waited to date because as soon as he saw I had a boyfriend he turned ugly. He filed for full custody, and started telling the kids that I didn't love them, etc. We currently share custody 50/50 and my kids have adjusted well, and actually love the man I am with now who treats me and them well. However, I still think about life together as a family. I miss that feeling of wholeness. Yesterday for example, it was my ex's day with the kids, and they had soccer games. I show up with my boyfriend to watch them & then leave. It hurts me everytime, but I realize that when I made the choice to start dating I had decided my marriage was done, and there's no going back. I think that may be what your husband is struggling with. He knows he can't be married anymore- he crossed that line of no return, but he has regrets over not giving his marriage a real chance. You may be able to see that side of it, but realize it wouldnt be fair to you to take him back, while he longs for this other woman, or other life. Deep down I know if I tried to work things out with my ex now it would end in divorce anyway because too much has happened. It's not fair to my ex to be the person I settled for just because life is easier & I miss family life with him & my kids. He deserves someone who really loves him, just like you do. We too were best friends. And I miss that as well because he hates me now. You had said that you wished you hated each other- it would be easier. I can tell you first hand that it is not. When someone chooses to get ugly during a divorce it's bad. I am 2 years into my divorce now, and we don't communicate at all. Not even re: the kids. he ignores me. He has all of my assetts hostage while we wait this through, and his hatred towards me has caused me to hate him right back. I no longer remember the man I used to love, the man who held my babies on his chest while they slept. Try to remeber those things about your husband because he is still their Dad, and if you remain friends through this it will be easier for the kids to still feel like they have a mom and dad. My kids want to be with me all the time because of what their father has said & done, he is actually ruining his relationship with them by being hateful toward me.
Good luck to you & remember do what you feel is best at the moment & have no regrets.
Thanks for everyone's insight.
Your last statement is very profound.. You said you dont want to hurt him because he is fragile?? You see I get that because I am a big time codependent and that is the issue. You feel sorry for your husband and want to fix it all and you cant.. Just like Ollie said you cant fix him nor feel sorry for him.. I was married to a somewhat abusive man.. He was the dependent and I was the codependent. I tried to fix him or years.. Nothing worked so I left him one last time and fixed myself.. We are divorced and yes it hurt really bad.. I did not want a divorce and I felt sorry for him and I cried for him.. The day that I cried for me was victory and I knew that I couldnt return to that drama.. My ex now has a new gfriend and the dymanics are the same. He is the dependent abuser and she is the codependent. So unless your hubby searches deep and fixes his own self this will be the same roller coaster ride for you ..
In saying that I do get that you want this to work for your kids but as the saying goes. Kids would rather be from a broken home than to live in one.. but I feel for you on that.. Me and ex had no kids together so it was bit easier I guess.
Maybe you could stay apart from him and see if he would work on his issues. You work on your issues and he works on his and see how that goes..