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My abusive ex husband treats his new gf very lovingly--did he change and I do the right thing, by leaving him?

Tagged as: Breaking up, Marriage problems, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (12 August 2006) 5 Answers - (Newest, 13 August 2006)
A female , *olli99 writes:

My husband and I have been separated for almost 4 years - it was an abusive relationship. Now he is with someone else who is at least 10 years older than him. He is so calm and loving and is even thinking about marrying her - by the way, they are only together about 4 weeks. They are together 24/7. Now I have doubts about whether I should have returned to him with the kids. Have he changed? I am a mess over this. Help please!!!! Does the pattern ever stop?

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A female reader, molli99 +, writes (13 August 2006):

molli99 is verified as being by the original poster of the question

thanks everybody, I really appreciate your thoughts and advice. Deep down I know I am happier not putting up with the physical, emotional and verbal abuse he dished out. Sometimes it's easier to forget about that and romanticize the person I think he is being with his new gf.

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A female reader, DrPsych United Kingdom +, writes (13 August 2006):

DrPsych agony auntOf course you don't want to go back there - you have been a brave woman and left an abusive situation, not just for you but also for your kids. Remember that kids brought up in abusive households go up to expect no better in their own adult lives. By leaving him, you are being an excellent role model to your children! As for his new love...you must know that abusive people don't change without therapeutic intervention (usually) and this leopard hasn't changed his spots. However, I am sure you can recall a 'honeymoon' period in your own relationship with him when you first started dating - he was sweet, attentive and your perfect man...many abusive people only show their true colours when they are 'settled' into a relationship. Men who perpetrate domestic violence crimes are often very full-on, loving and attentive at the start of a relationship - this new love fills a gap in their own personality and when they later feel that this person doesn't fill the 'gap' in the way they expected the violence starts as their thinking tends to be very rigid - I'm right and you are wrong...there is no middle ground. This doesn't mean that the woman is to blame as it is all about what is going on in the abusers head - they prefer to blame the other person, say they are to blame for the violence. Attacking their partner verbally and physically stops them taking responsibility for their own actions - they are weak, ineffective people who know little about communication and cooperation.

I understand that you feel jealous because he has a new lady but I wouldn't hate her, I would feel sorry for her actually. She is the innocent party in all this as she thinks he is a nice guy and she is going to learn a few hard life lessons in the future when she doesn't meet his 'idealistic' vision (she cannot possibly meet his expectations longterm - that is the nature of his personality disorder). I don't really think you can warn her about him - you probably wouldn't have listened to an 'ex' when you started dating him...but you should feel thankful that you had the strength to say no to his abuse, walked away and showed yourself to be better than putting up with that kind of nonsense. Be brave, be strong and keep walking away from this guy for your kids as much as you - there is someone out there who will treat you and your children like a queen!

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A reader, anonymous, writes (13 August 2006):

Hun, I can't help it but I have to say this. I get this feeling that you feel like a 'failure', like only 'you' did something to warrant his abuse, simply because he seems different with his new gf. Dear, your ex husband abused you..he was a slimebucket. All you ever did wrong was you made a poor choice to marry him in the first place..a mistake. But you got out of there and took your kids to safety. Failure would have been staying with him and putting yourself and your children at further risk.

Now about this new gf of his. You say he loves her and is calm with her. Or at least, as far as 'you' know-he is this way with her. You have to remember, it's been just 4 weeks, it probably because they are in the 'honeymoon' phase. Two things are happening here. He's either a changed man (which is unlikely) or....he's on his best behaviour, for now. You know him-do you think he can change? For abusive men, all they know is control and inflicting pain. They are broken people. They have the problem for a lifetimes and quite often it takes years of intensive therapy for a man like this realize the error of his ways. If he abused you..I bet my bottom dollar, he will abuse again. I feel compassion for his new gf-she may end up being his next victim. Time will tell. Get on with your life and don't dwell on this one. You saved your kids and yourself. Stand tall and be proud. The best thing you can do now is stay strong and live your life happy and well. Take care, hun.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (13 August 2006):

Errrrmmmm... generally, NO!

molli surely you already know this - how a couple seem and how they actually are can be two very different things!

Unless you are sneaking in to their house at night, or have climbed up in a tree or nearby gutter and can listen through the window, you have no idea what really goes on between them both. Dedicated, loving partners who are abused do a brilliant job of keeping things together so the outside world thinks they have a great relationship.

But, perhaps, maybe, in his four years, he has changed as a person. I can't really comment on this specifically because you haven't gone in to what this abuse is, nor your relationship, nor his past. I don't know whether or not he was physically beating you, or that it was that you argued all the time and you have labelled him as being emotionally abusive. If the later then perhaps it was that you were not right for each other and you saw his worst side [and he probably saw your worst side]

But, physical or real vindictive, persistant emotional abusive often runs deep in to peoples characters - the way they regard their victims, sub-humans, becomes formed over many, many experiences when they were young, and once you become an adult, it is those experiences that become foundation which all else rests on. You can't simply "re-write" who you are. Or let me rephrase that, it is exceedingly difficult to change such behaviour - at the very least - he will never be entirely "normal".

Any how. Why the heck are you letting this bother you?

You need to get these people out of your life, stop analysing their relationship because it has nothing to do with you and go and find some lovely guy who will sweep you off your feet. And no horrible painful memories of him ever hurting you - how great - and you will too, once you get that confidence back and realise you don't need, nor want such damaged goods!

It is HE that lost out - not you - and don't ever be thinking otherwise, OK?

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A female reader, Astrid Spain +, writes (12 August 2006):

Astrid agony auntI suppose you may feel very stressed and down about it but remember it is the same as when you met him, if he had been abusive you wouldn't have married him honey, he's playing a game and abusing you psychologically but caring her so much in front of you as he may know it makes you feel bad.... I don't think you should enjoy how things are to be for this girl if the situation goes on but please remeber you did break up for the best and there's no man this planet that deserves your life being miserable, there's an arab proverb that goes'' sit by your house door and you'll see your enelies coffin go down the street'', cheer up, you know waht the game is about

love

Astrid

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