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dating after abusive relationships. What realisations have you made?

(74 Posts)
chocoreturns Mon 26-Aug-13 08:37:11

I was talking to a friend about this last night who also had an abusive relationship and I found it incredibly reassuring to know it's not just me who feels like a crazy person now that I've dated a nice, normal guy.

So here's a few things I thought I'd share, please add your own experiences so that we can see that we're not mental when we think crazy things with non-abusive partners... things like these crackers - welcome to my internal dialogue!!

"I said I'm not in the mood for sex and he accepted it, no questions asked. Doe this mean he's not into me??"
- NO. He's just not rapey. Well done for finding a nice guy.

"I offered to pay for dinner and he said he would love to pay for me this time. What does he want from me, will I have to pay him back later?"
- NO. He' just wants to do something nice for you. Say thank you!

"He sends me messages after I go home telling me how much he likes me, what's his game? Why do I feel like he's setting me up?"
- HE JUST LIKES YOU. Not every guy says nice things as a prelude to tearing you down. Sometimes he actually just, you know, likes you. You are likeable you know.

"I might have to dump him. I don't know if I can stay with someone who is just so nice. It feels a bit wrong and boring."
- This is the biggest and worst legacy of all. It's ok to not have the crazy highs and lows, nice isn't bad, and nice isn't boring. Being safe is not boring. Being appreciated and treated politely isn't boring. And if you can stick with it and be patient, you might find that actually, nice is sexy as hell because when you stop walking on eggshells and relax a little, you'll find out that it's actually rather lovely to not be waiting for the next drama to arrive!

DragonsAreReal Mon 26-Aug-13 08:40:57

I want this, just not ready to date again after my merry go round with ex. I was convinced for years I had terrible PMT but funny how he's not here that has disappeared!

Dearjackie Mon 26-Aug-13 09:12:39

choco I am going to save this thread for when I eventually start dating again ( nowhere near yet) as I've just been dumped by my abusive BF. I've had every single example you've given done to me, plus more and they all have an ulterior motive. You have to PAY in some way for everything. Yet I still wonder if I'm imagining the ulterior motive. Maybe it's not until your in a good relationship that you realise it wasn't your imagination

mammadiggingdeep Mon 26-Aug-13 09:39:11

I can imagine what mine will be....that moment when the first disagreement/argument happens and it gets discussed.....and resolved....and hugs and apologies exchanged. Think I'll faint.....what no being ignored for a week??? No door slamming? No shouting? What, you're not gonna call me a fucking idiot???

Not ready at all yet....but when the time comes it's going to be great smile

Lahti Mon 26-Aug-13 09:42:48

I'm going to save this for future reference.

Kernowgal Mon 26-Aug-13 10:08:52

I'll save this too. I'm just not interested in dating at the moment but as my ex was my first big relationship I've based my expectations on what he was like, and I now expect every man to be like him, which I know is ridiculous.

somanyfake Mon 26-Aug-13 13:46:22

do they really exist
THE GOOD GUYS I MEAN

VelvetSpoon Mon 26-Aug-13 13:57:12

I've only met liars, bullshitters, perverts and misogynsts since my Ex (who was an abusive tosser but at least a relatively honest person) so I haven't found anything positive in it. Its simply reaffirmed my belief that most men are not very nice, and the decent ones have already been snapped up by someone else.

My Ex left my self-esteem on the floor, and being told I am unattractive, too fat, not girlfriend material, or just not good enough for whatever reason by a series of men since hasn't done much to improve that!

ofmiceandmen Mon 26-Aug-13 14:05:58

^I'd like to think they do... but I think you may know them as 'nice' guys grin.

OP this is going to be a slim thread.

It's a tough one. If we build our walls too high - only the idiots are brave enough to want to climb it because of the challenge factor.

We build our walls too low and everyone just tramps in and out as they chose.

Bull shitters say exactly the same thing as genuine people say.

"we get the kind of lover we think we deserve"

use this mantra and you'll weed out the bad treatment early, set your standards high but don't build a wall.

Now I only wish I could take my own advise sometimes. hmm ... ah well!

LemonDrizzled Mon 26-Aug-13 14:51:24

It was such a surprise when I did meet a nice man who doesn't get angry, sulk, or punish me for stupid mistakes. A hug and an apology fix most things. And there is unconditional approval. It is still astonishing!!

kasareem Mon 26-Aug-13 17:22:02

Oh wow, just stumbled across this thread and realised this is exactly what I was thinking when I first left my ex. 3 years later, I'm now newly married to my amazingly wonderful husband. I still get surprised by how thoughtful and kind he is, but in a nice way, not a suspicious 'what does he really want' way! Hang on in there and give yourselves time. And don't let any amount of awful, mean, selfish abusive men make you expect less than you deserve!

chocoreturns Mon 26-Aug-13 19:42:06

ahh thanks Lemon and Kasareem! lovely uplifting posts. I do believe the nice guys are out there. But it's taken me by surprise how quickly my head has taken to convincing me that I should sling the one I appear to be seeing, because I am so un-used to 'nice' that I seem to insert 'boring' or 'timid' or 'lying' in place. So I'm trying very hard to de-program myself and just enjoy it. I hope that 3 years from now I could be saying something has happy as the last two posters have. For all the rest of us still trying to get there, I'm just going to try and have patience with the crazy nonsense my head comes up with!!

TwoStepsBeyond Mon 26-Aug-13 20:02:42

I've realised that I can't trust my own judgment any more, as I put up with so much crap thinking that it was ok that I really don't know what is what any more!

I've also realised that even when red flags are pointed out by caring friends, that I can justify them and overlook them because my bar is set so low.

I need to raise it and make sure my DP is able to reach the dizzying heights of being a compassionate loving man without a hint of twuntiness. Am I asking too much?!

P.s. N/C from DoingIt x

dandydorset Mon 26-Aug-13 20:11:37

intresting thread

after 6 month split from my physical,mental abusive ex i met somebody a few months ago

its turned into an utter disaster and must have gullable written on my head,i even noticed red flags and tried to ignore them but couldnt

within 3 weeks he was spying/stalking me,accusing me of cheating on 6 guys with him and basically was an utter tosser

we finished this week i couldnt take anymore and wonder if im just use to this type

will i ever learn i dont think i will,utterly depressing

Kernowgal Mon 26-Aug-13 21:55:37

Dandy you obviously have learned because you've finished with him, you know his behaviour isn't OK and you've got out of the relationship.

All the abusive guys are nice at the start, otherwise we'd have never given them the time of day!

Of mice's 'we get the lover we think we deserve' is an interesting thought - I think I'm worthy of someone nice but my choices in men to date have demonstrated that I don't think much of myself at all!

dandydorset Mon 26-Aug-13 22:04:58

i suppose i like to think so somewhat,that i got out before i got hooked

im honestly horrified the amount of women that have/been in abusive relationships

why is this,are men more abusive than women generally??

pretty depressing in genral

mcmooncup Mon 26-Aug-13 22:12:54

Fantastic description of what it's like dating a 'normal' guy OP.

I have been dating for 2 years since my abusive marriage and have run a mile from nice guys because I didn't 'get it' and it didn't feel right. My right, I now painfully realise, is just so wrong.
I still find it very difficult to let someone pay for me.
I still find it very difficult to say my feelings to someone and they understand and listen and that they may actually care, rather than dismiss my feelings and humiliate me.
I still find it hard when I have done something to piss them off and get panicky at how they might flip out.
But overall I am getting so much better. I know my triggers, I recognise that I do a weird 'freezing' thing when I am triggered, I go into a daze, a sort of survival daze - think there is a word for it....it's not fight, not flight, I literally freeze. And I have started to take control of that freezing and see it as my friend to recognise something has been triggered.
It has been known for me now if I am with a guy and this happens, to go to the toilet and just sit there and work out what the fuck is going on. It really really works.

I have recently met someone who I am really fond of. I know he is nice. But I still get triggers, but the recovery is underway and it is the healthiest relationship I have had in my life.

mcmooncup Mon 26-Aug-13 22:14:26

6 months is nothing, dandy. I think you have done great to end this relationship.....abusive men do come in different guises and we have to learn all the signs.
But you have done it. You have ditched him.
Every day is a school day grin

MamaTo3Boys Mon 26-Aug-13 22:16:17

I wish sad

18 months on and I'm still not ready to even talk to guys in a flirty kinda way, never mind date one!

Stepinstone Mon 26-Aug-13 22:22:21

I'm also with a nice guy now ... For me the hardest thing is that I get so stressed if I have to discuss something difficult. I think he will leave or get angry. He doesn't. Everything carries on. He holds me and tells me everything will be ok. He doesn't stop talking to me for a week.

I am so guarded though. Not sure I could live with anyone really. I expect it all to go wrong all the time.

Lackedpunchesforever Mon 26-Aug-13 22:23:44

I feel way too broken to date. And I feel fine with that. I can't trust my judgement and there is no way I could go through it all again.I've done Journey to Freedom and all it's done is convince me that dating is just too risky.

mcmooncup Mon 26-Aug-13 22:30:03

I completely get what you are feeling mamato3boys and lackedpunches however I did make a decision to say that I would not let my past dictate my future. I have really really enjoyed being single and dating, discovering things about myself, how I relate to men, I really want to get to a point where I do trust my own judgement. Risky I know, but I think I deserve it. Get me eh? wink

kasareem Tue 27-Aug-13 00:05:05

Mooncup, I know exgety what you mean. I was so lucky to have supportive family and friends, and the strength to say that one bad relationship wasn't going to change me. I am a very trusting person, and I look for the best in people and I was determined not to let some bloke change that. As in a lot of cases (I guess...) drink and drugs were a factor in my ex's nastiness.

actually still get the panic when something happens which would have produced a bad reaction from my ex, but it's momentary now and a kind word or hug from hubby soon sorts it out! I know it seems like it would be impossible at the time, but if you think how quickly you learned to be scared and defensive, you realise how quickly you could learn to trust again in the right circumstances. chocoreturns, try to resist the urge to get out of a happy/'boring' relationship straight away...give it a chance! Honestly the peace you get from not living a soap opera life is worth any amount of 'excitement'/fear.

LemonDrizzled Tue 27-Aug-13 00:11:33

Dandy my first date after leaving EA XH was a man festooned with a marquee full of red bunting! There was a red flag thread on here not long ago worth a read. I managed to decide (with help from MN) that he was bad for me.
That freed me to meet the lovely kind sexy man I am with now and to recognize his qualities. Nothing is wasted! Even a bad relationship helps calibrate the Twat Radar

VelvetSpoon Tue 27-Aug-13 00:26:33

I guess you have to believe there are nice men out there - 4 years of singledom and being treated pretty much as badly as I was in my abusive relationship have left me with very little faith that there is anyone nice and single left, let alone that I have any chance of meeting one of them!

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