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Advice needed RE issues with XP

(19 Posts)

This is my first 'serious' post on MN, so please be gentle. I've been working up the courage to ask for help with this for a while, but I'm stuck on a quiet night shift with all this going round in my head and I know it's stupid, but I'm feeling really messed up. Please bear with me, this is long, but I've lurked for long enough to know that drip feeding is a bad thing!

I split up with XP over a year ago. I took a long time over my decision to end the relationship- things were wring for a good 2 years before it ended. I was very young (17) when we got together and over the 8 years I went to uni, got a job and basically grew up. He was older (32) and hadn't changed much over the relationship.

I thought that was the main reason for the break up, but looking back with hindsight lots of strange things about the relationship have occured to me.

There was little to no sex. We Had sex about 10 times over the final 2 years of our relationship. I tried EVERYTHING possible to initiate it, but he just didn't want me, despite supposedly being TTC which he had talked me into. I felt I was too young and wanted to get married first, but he persuaded me.

We lived in his flat and I paid half the bills, but we never decorated or made it look like 'our home'. We bought a few pictures and things, but we never put them up. He said we couldn't afford to decorate, but it was all cosmetic work and I felt like he couldn't be bothered.

He constantly made comments about my appearence. I took all my peircings out because he didn't like them. He hated it if I wore a different perfume to ususal. If I had a snack he would comment on it. He told me he hated people who wore glasses all the time so I got contact lenses. He admitted that he found a couple of my friends more attractive then me. He even asked my best friend out first- I always felt like he'd settled for second best with me.

His drinking really worried me. We got int the habit of drinking a bottle- sometimes 2- every night with dinner. Every time I called him when I was at uni he sounded like he'd had a drink. He often turned up to meet me obviously slightly drunk and would then admit having a few glasses of wine. He thought nothing of drinking a bottle of wine and then driving. He lied to me about the amount he was drinking and when.

This is why I didn't leave for a long time, despite friends and Dsis urging me to; I'm not particularly confident and have very low self esteem, and I'm aware this sounds really pathetic, but for a long while I thought that no other man would want me or find me attractive. Tbh, part of me still feels that way.

There are a few other things which I now think of as very strange behavior, but that's the general gist. I tried and tried to talk to him about our problems. Silly thing is, we got on really well generally and had a good laugh and chatted about day to day stuff, but as soon as I tried to talk to him about anything serious he would tell me to "shut up". Repeatedly. Over and over again, until I lost my temper and shouted at him. Then he'd shout back and storm off. Every time. Eventually, we were living separate lives. I took a lot of overtime and we went out with separate friends. The day out relationship ended he came home upset. I asked what was wrong. He said "this isn't working is it", I said no. We hugged. I went to work. I went on holiday the nect day and moved out when I came back. And that was it. No talk, no row no anything.

He has maintained occasional (and sometimes not so occasional) text contact and has recently asked if I want to go for a drink. He says he has been depressed since our break up and has had counselling, which has made me feel a bit crap since he didn't really seem that bothered at the time. I've also got a few boxes of stuff at his place that I really need to pick up, but I just can't work up the enthusiasm to see him. I feel like we need to talk things through, but I can't see it happening. He promises he will talk to me, and that the counselling has made him realise that he "didn't help the situation" but I just don't know if it will help or make any difference.

Please help me make sense of this. I know I'm being really silly, but the thought of seeing him fills me with dread. How should I handle the conversation? Or should I just send Ddad and Dsis over to get my stuff and stay away?

BoysBoysBoysAndMe Tue 28-Aug-12 05:54:10

If you re read your post it sounds there was no love or respect coming from him at all. Talking about day to day life doesn't make a relationship.

I personally feel there is no point in meeting for any reason. Get someone else to pick your things up and move on.

Someone who treats you like that and had no consideration for you at the time is not likely to have changed much at all.

Wishing you lots of confidence and luck!

Thanks boys. A lot of my RL friends have said the same. I can see that point of view, but we were happy for a good 5 years- Part of me still wants to know what went wrong. Especially the lack of sex- I want to know if that was something to do with me or something I did IYSWIM.

BoysBoysBoysAndMe Tue 28-Aug-12 06:08:38

I would assume its absolutely nothing to do with you, more to do with his drinking and selfish behaviour. My mum is a drinker (well a functioning alcoholic) and she lies a lot. Things are never her fault. She always brushes problems under the carpet because she finds discussing them difficult. Etc

You may get answers from him from meeting up. But you may not. And it may open a whole can of worms for you when you have already made such a huge step of leaving him.

Some people are just not compatible.

Google the freedom programme sweetie + do the online version.

Send the family for yr stuff + thank the lord that you DIDN'T have kids with this man + get tied in with him forever.

You deserve a man to love + respect you for who you are not who HE wants you to be.

I never really thought of him as an alcoholic tbh. The lying made me angry, and turning up drunk when we were going out seemed rude. But looking back I guess there was probably more to it.

I'm starting to feel like I wasted a lot of time on this relationship. Tis not a good feeling.

Blue think of it not as wasted but making you the person you are moving forward to a better future!

I know that is the logical way to think of it. But I can't shake the feeling that it must have been at least partially my fault. It can't have all been him. I feel I may have painted him in a bad light- he was lovely in lots of ways.

I know it sounds like I'm really self involved, but I just don't want to make the same mistakes again so I feel like I need to understand exactly what happened.

Blue you were young + if you made mistakes, so what? He made more & sounds very controlling.

Basically he was an emotional abuser as well as an alcoholic & yes they can be very charming & lovely when they want but that is part of the game to keep you with them so you forgive their bad behaviours.

You were very brave to recognise the need to leave, have you considered getting some counselling to support you moving forward?

I don't think he was deliberately emotionally abusive- more that he's a bit childish and not able to deal with his own emotions.

I've thought about counselling, but I'm not really sure what it entails or if it would help. I think part of the problem is me taking things to heart too much. I could stand to be a lot less sensitive.

Guiltypleasures001 Tue 28-Aug-12 09:15:32

Hi Blue

it is very telling that you have listed a whole post love with stuff that was odd or abusive, or drink fueled, with no comminucation no sex. But further down the posts you then say it was good for 5yrs?

Hunni you havnt had the chance to find yourself yet, maybe there was problems in your childhood and family that ultimatly drove you to him and kept you there. You have not experienced a normal respectful loving relationship yet, and because he now says he has had counselling and it might all be sorted you are talking yourself in to going back and seeing if it can be done all over again.

To be honest it would be criminal for you to have anything to do with him, he's plenty older than you and for him to chose now to change is laughable and more than likely not true, he needs a carer not a partner.

Listen to your friends if youve done without your stuff for a year then none of it is that important, leave it there or get it collected, go get some counselling for yourself, and get out there and see the world un incumbered by drunks and old men.

xx

Guiltypleasures001 Tue 28-Aug-12 09:19:42

The lack of sex will be down to the drink hun possbily his age and other health reasons, its nowt to do with you, ide go as far to say none of it was. This is not what you need or deserve, bringing kids in to the equation to would be awful.

superdragonmama Tue 28-Aug-12 09:34:03

Hi Blue

I was in similar situation to you, at around your age, and feel a lot if sympathy for you. It's hard to walk away, isn't it? But you've shown real courage to do so, despite some misgivings, and from what you've said this was the best decision for you.

I feel a bit of an alarm going off when you say he's childish. Do you think you can mother him into maturity? - you can't because he's actually a dysfunctional adult. Do you feel sorry for him? - I suggest you direct your sympathy towards yourself, and nurture your own inner self instead of his.

As you have low self esteem, why not seek out a great counsellor for yourself? Has done wonders for me!

You've made such an important step walking away when you did, please don't devote any more if your precious time to this man - he had his chance and its over - devote your time to building yourself up now instead.

And you will find someone great, who respects you and loves you for who you are - not someone who demands you change to meet their unpleasant and unreasonable expectations - you will!

superdragonmama Tue 28-Aug-12 09:44:41

Oh yes, counselling.

I accessed my local psychology services via my gp when I was going through nightmare divorce 6 yrs ago. Lifesaver for me at that time, and again in recent years has been life saver for my teenagers as they struggled to cope with the damage caused by their father's fuckwittery.

Had to wait about 3 months for first appointment.

It's just talking really. All very positive. I found that the sessions gave me different insights into problems that I was 'stuck' with, like blaming myself for breakdown of marriage - took me ages to accept ex had been very controlling for years, etc - so that I could reach acceptance of the past, and move forwards. The sessions were challenging, but in a controlled way - nothing scary at all - though I did cry a lot, but it was ok.

This is only my experience. As many people as go to such sessions will experience different things. But just wanted you to know that this person found them extremely supportive and helpful and, well, kind and positive.

Guiltypleasures001 Tue 28-Aug-12 09:51:41

Hi Blue if it helps, at the moment I am counselling adolescents, some come of their own accord some have been asked by family and their gp, I always ask if they are there because they want to not because of anyone else, I cant counsel anyone who has been forced.

We dont judge we are there for you and only you, we will believe whatever you say no matter what it is, we dont pry or ask awkward questions, we guide and gently challenge, never push or demand anything of you. We are sounding boards and sometimes confessionals, but whatever you need us for it is always believed and is always confidential. x

if you are under 25/26 speak to your nearest YMCA they are normally pretty fast organising free counselling for people.

Ok, I will think about some counselling. But I would still like some answers. Any ideas on how to handle the conversation with him, without it descending into an argument?

NarkedRaspberry Tue 28-Aug-12 17:22:05

I don't think you'll find the answers you're looking for from him.

Yes, part of it was you. The longer you stay with someone like your ex, the more they wear you down. The constant drip drip drip of criticism makes you doubt yourself. You start to see the behaviour as normal.

You got away from that! That's why 'looking back with hindsight lots of strange things about the relationship have occured to me.' You're starting to see him and the relationship for what it was. I wouldn't bother wasting time talking to him or allowing him to blame you for his behaviour and try to make you feel worse about yourself.

Focus on someone you love - your sister, a good friend etc. What would you want for them when it comes to a relationship? How would you want them to be treated? How would you expect their DP to talk to them? That's what you deserve too.

NarkedRaspberry Tue 28-Aug-12 17:27:30

Another thing worth thinking about is the start of the relationship. How old are you now? 26? How would you feel about being in a relationship with a 17 year old? Would you feel that was an equal relationship? Your ex was 32. I'm sure at the time it was exactly what you wanted, but it's not generally a recipe for a balanced relationship.

Guiltypleasures001 Tue 28-Aug-12 19:32:22

Blue I understand you want answers, but what if they dont make sense or sometimes there just arent any? I fear that opening this can of worms for yourself in enabling him to cause you yet more angst and after a year all your hard one victories youve won for yourself will count for nothing if you get sucked back in.

Sometimes love there are no answers good enough...what about if he turned round and said ..because I didnt love you , you were easy prey and easy to manipulate and I couldnt care less about you? what on earth could you do with that if it were true? nothing is going to satisfy you questions of why where or what, its the way of the world, all you can do is not engage and stay going forwards, looking back is a hiding to nowhere, the real answers are in you, such as what can I learn from this for future relationships, and seeing things and people what what they really are. x

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