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How can a man be abusive with one partner but not with the next?

Tagged as: Big Questions, Health, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (1 March 2008) 4 Answers - (Newest, 4 March 2008)
A female United Kingdom age 51-59, anonymous writes:

How can a man be physically and emotionally abusive and controlling with one partner but not with the next?

Hitting a woman is wrong, most of us believe that to be true and that it is also wrong to blame it on the woman, saying she provoked him. If you visit any domestic violence website or book there will always be claims that it isn't the woman's fault.

Yet I have a problem with this. I was abused in a relationship, physically but emotionally the worst. He did some pretty awful things to me, hurt me very much. But he is with someone else and they are very happy.

I know of other situations; I have heard of men to hit their partners and then get married and not hit their wives for 10 years?!? This seems to go against all that domestic violent experts say; such men can only change if they want to. Yet such men just seemed to be different with different partners.

It begs the question: was it me? What did I do wrong? Like most abused women, I blame myself...but perhaps I have a justified cause to? Why did he hit me and not her??

Please help.

View related questions: emotionally abusive, violent

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (4 March 2008):

Honey, it's not you. It's Him, *with* you.

I had a brief reunion with my ex-husband who was distraught that his second wife of 6+ years had just left him; he begged me to come over "to talk like old friends."

I hadn't seen him in 10+ years, but had heard that he'd mellowed and that Lisa wore the pants. They were right. A scared, confused, lonely old SOB answered the door. His living room was filled with floral upholstered furniture that would have never made it into the house back when we were together. His bedroom was frilly; lacy; feminine; nothing like the old days. The old dog's eyes were filled with tears as he recounted all the ways Lisa had hurt him; how he "never expected to be all alone again at age 60."

I realized right away the resentment I had over My Life with SOB vs. Lisa's Life with SOB would make a ...whatever... impossible (a floral freaking sofa, indeed!). Later on, I asked a friend if I had a "Kick Me" sign on my back, because I'd taken so much @#%& from him, while Lisa had taken none. Her answer was that some people aren't meant to be together, and their spirits rebel with physical, mental, and/or verbal abuse.

I think it's more likely that because he and Lisa met in AA, Lisa's just as self-absorbed and "my way or the highway" as SOB, and she wasn't going to put up with any of his crap. And after 6 years, he was probably letting his guard down a little...

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (2 March 2008):

People can change.

Somthing inside him may have changed.

Or he may not and is lying.

Either way is it really any of your concern?

Flynn 24

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A male reader, Dave70 United States +, writes (1 March 2008):

Dave70 agony auntWhat makes u believe what u are hearing is true? Why would he admit he hits his new woman? He probably is just the same.

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A female reader, DrPsych United Kingdom +, writes (1 March 2008):

DrPsych agony auntDon't blame yourself but feel proud that you left such an awful situation. As for his new partner...how do you know they are happy and the relationship is not abusive? Just because she is not walking around with a face full of bruises doesn't give you a real insight into what goes on behind closed doors after all. In most cases of domestic violence, perpetrators do need help to change because they don't see what they do as wrong or that they have a big problem. It is possible that a perpetrator would learn a big life lesson by having an abusive relationship where the victim said no and walked away...this may make them less likely to abuse in the future as they learn how unacceptable it is in a clear way. However, I tend to think leopards don't change their spots without help in most cases!

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