My lazy lover used me to babysit his children while he went out on the pull

DEAR DEIDRE: I WAS swept off my feet by a man I thought would be the father of my children.

But fast-forward two years and I am convinced he was using me to babysit his children while he went out on the pull. I feel like a complete mug.

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I am a 27-year-old woman and met him after coming out of a long-term relationship which ended because my ex didn’t want children, while I do.

When I met this charmer down my local, he came across as a dedicated dad whose flighty ex had left him to look after their children single-handedly.

I fell for it hook, line and sinker.

He was 31 then. He quickly introduced me to his children — a girl of five and a three-year-old boy.

I was happy to cook and clean for them as they are great kids — polite and lots of fun.

After just two months we moved in together and I felt like we could be a proper family.

But once I was living with him, he didn’t make as much of an effort with me.

I was doing all the housework as well as being the only earner.

He claimed he was too busy looking after the children to work but never cooked or cleaned up after them.

He started needing to “get out for some fresh air”, which I soon learned meant spending the night in the pub.

I didn’t mind to begin with, as I really liked tucking in the kids at night.

It was the thing I had looked forward to most about being a mum.

But before long he was down the pub more than he was at home.

When he did get back, he would be so drunk he couldn’t make it up the stairs and passed out on the sofa most nights.

I started to suspect he was messing around with other women, as he was constantly distracted by his phone.

One night he came home slurring and reeking of perfume. Another night, his shirt buttons were torn.

If I asked him to stay in, he accused me of trying to tie him down.

We ended up having huge screaming matches.

Then, just over two months ago, he announced he had met someone else and wanted me out within 24 hours.

I was devastated, mostly because I couldn’t say a proper goodbye to the children.

It took him four weeks to move in his next girlfriend and I’ve heard through mutual friends he is staying at home much more with her — but only because the pubs are closed.

I would like my own family still but am scared of being played by another man.

How can I make sure I won’t make a complete idiot of myself again?

Flying off the handle

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DEIDRE SAYS: His behaviour suggests this man is resentful of being left with the children.

Not that it excuses his poor treatment of you and his children, but it does go some way to explaining it.

He homed in on the fact you wanted children and abused your caring nature.

But your warmth is an asset. Don’t feel weak for being open to love.

When restrictions allow, get out and socialise with your friends.

You are still young and I’m sure someone who will treat you in the way you deserve will come along in good time. There is no need to rush it.

NEXT IN TODAY'S DEAR DEIDRE My violent partner has turned my life into a blur of depression and pain

READ DEIDRE'S PHOTO CASEBOOK Milly feels stuck with Zack until she's able to go out and meet someone else

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