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Are these red flags even in unusual circumstances

(22 Posts)
yentil Sun 12-Jan-14 11:20:46

I am a lurker and wish to get your advice for my close friend who doesn't use MN. I worry for her leaving her DH for another man. They have been together for 16 years. He was her first and only love. They have 2 children. She met someone else when going through what I think was a mini mid life crisis / grass is greener crisis and separated around same time. Partly because her DH and her both work full time never longer had time for each - the usual and partly because she had never had sex with anyone else before and I know this recently became an 'is this it?' Issue. Anyway. She met a man and has 'fallen in love with him' as he is so 'manly' compared to stbxh. But I get weekly calls of break ups (they get back together when she calls and repents for her sins) with new man due to weird behaviour: he flies off the handle if she doesn't pick up phone (she says he thinks she is with stbxh so has a right to get angry). He took her shopping and shouted and told her to F-off when she decided against some trousers he wanted to buy for her - she said they were hideous and two sizes too small so didn't try them on cos she could see it would be embarrassing - he says she was rude not to try them on and called her an effing weirdo then ranted on about ex girlfriends that were 'just like her' (she said he had girlfriends in the past who made it clear he wasn't sophisticated enough to choose clothes for them); he calls ex girlfriends slags and bitches when he talks about them. she says nothing and told me she feels guilty cos he has to put up with a lot being with someone who is still officially married so it's a lot if pressure in him....she says this a lot. His mother abandoned him and he grew up in care and I have suggested he may have issues with women. He also makes her paranoid about her weight mentioning food she eats (he is 14 years older than her and she is really attractive). There are several other examples. I think I am wondering if I am worrying for nothing. I am biased in that I think her stbxh is fantastic and most people do. He works hard looks after kids never tried to control her (although she says that's why she lost interest because he didn't show any) and always supported her and adored her (fat or thin). He wants to make a go of things again and this may be her last chance. She told me she would have if not for this man in her life. But I worry this may be a ticking timebomb of controlling behaviours and not only will she have lost out on rekindling marriage but now be in relationship from hell. Thanks for reading (BTW I intend to show her this at some point)

Yes2014 Sun 12-Jan-14 11:27:51

Red flags!

AliceinWinterWonderland Sun 12-Jan-14 11:36:17

Ticking timebomb. Tell her to run fast and run far from him! He sounds controlling, abusive, and a hamburger short of a Happy Meal!

rainbowfeet Sun 12-Jan-14 11:36:23

Speaking as someone who threw away my marriage because of a ml crisis / breakdown whatever you call it.. (Don't remember too much about that time, I was completely numb & not in the right frame of mind ) .. The grass is not greener on the other side. I didn't have an affair but got into a relationship very quickly.. Laid my heart on the line & he broke it as have a few others since!!

During the breakdown of my marriage.. I pushed my exh away, I think I was convinced it was him I needed to escape but in hindsight it was just things going on in my life.. I should have stuck to him like glue to get through it... We had lots of support for our situation (child with life limited condition) but nobody ever said "& how are you as a couple" tbh I never really thought about it I just ended the marriage.hmm
I was in a very fragile mental state & needed help not to leave my stable, strong (maybe a little boring) but reliable husband ... I always urge people who say he's a good man but the sparks gone to try harder because life on your own I'd hard. To live with the guilt of splitting up my family is hard... My mental health is still fragile... My life is quite shit tbh.. I'm thankful exh has gotten over the break up & moved on & now happy.. I'm still working at finding peace let alone anything else.

Your friends new partner sounds like a bully & she is very vulnerable.. If she totally believes her marriage is over then she should have time on her own before getting into another relationship she may realise that exh wasn't that bad after all

Yes2014 Sun 12-Jan-14 11:44:09

Yep. I'd also say that in fact the circumstances are a big part of the red flag. By this I mean that the man being attracted to such a set of circumstances is part of the problem in the first place- your friend is vulnerable, and it may be that the partner gets a kind of kick out of the boundary issues as well as the fact that he will have an 'excuse' for this behaviour forever- even after the divorce is done and dusted he can still 'use' it as a stick to beat her with. And your friend will always have to have contact with her exh because of the dcs so if her abusive p chooses to he can kick off about that whenever it suits him. And he will.
If you're a good friend, tell your friend straight and keep telling her. She's making a mistake.

yentil Sun 12-Jan-14 11:49:00

I also have been close to a breakup from a long relationship but rekindled things so I know how she feels but luckily I didn't meet anyone else to sway me. I do worry she is justifying all his behaviours by the stress she is putting on him. He always says to her he can't beleive he's fall end for someone who is in such a grey area. He's so black and white blah blah blah. She feels guilty again and consequently puts up with more. Another incident is that he was angry she took her kids away in holiday and didn't invite him. She doesn't want the kids to meet him as she isn't sure and her stbxh is such a great dad she wants him to remain the only 'male' in their lives. New man thinks this is incredibly selfish (I kind of agree) and sometimes gives her silent treatment to show his anger at the situation. Oh yes and he withholds sex (never knew men did this)......but again she thinks her limited experience makes this ok and she's sure loads of men do!?

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 12-Jan-14 11:50:24

I think, with respect, you should tell her once that this new bloke is a nightmare and then stay well out of the whole grisly mess. He's obviously abusive and if she'd rather bleat about it to you & enjoy the drama than walk away fast in the opposite direction, there is nothing you can do to save her. Also, however nice her STBXH may seem, there will be a good reason why she's arrived at this point in her romantic life with zero self-esteem. It is unlikely to be as simplistic as a mid-life crisis or 'grass is greener'.

onetiredmummy Sun 12-Jan-14 11:50:45

yentil your friend's new man sounds dangerous & things seem to me as if they will only get worse not better. The behaviours he is exhibiting (controlling, angry, verbally abusive) are behaviours that are massive red flags & really cannot be excused by history or background. Remember that these are only the behaviours she has seen so far & time & time again on mumsnet there are boyfriends whose behaviour worsens after a year or so. This is actually the honeymoon period & his starting point, so if he does get worse we are talking some serious shit. This is the best he will ever be.

In my opinion your friend needs to leave him & quickly, but as to the exH perhaps he is not right either. Maybe your friend needs a bit of a break from men to get her equilibrium back.

Yes, he is a bully.
He's emotionally controlling her, guilt tripping her, tracking her movements, controlling her food, what she wears. He will cut her off from her friends, her family and will make her feel bad and guilty about normal everyday things.

She is vulnerable at the moment, when she wakes up she will find her self trapped if she's not careful. A large house with a mortgage she can't pay on her own, all her saving sunk into something she can't get at, will have given up her job, or moved away.

Sooo many red flags. I hope she gets away.

yentil Sun 12-Jan-14 11:54:53

Thanks all. She is like a sister to me. So in don't want to cut her off and tell her ONCE and leave it. I think I'm the only person she can be honest with. I am godmother to her children. So we are very close. I will think about showing her thread as she thinks I'm biased.

onetiredmummy Sun 12-Jan-14 11:58:56

Sorry OP & I don't mean to hijack your thread.

But rainbowfeet remember that in a breakup there comes a time when all the bad stuff is glossed over & you get nostalgic for the good times. (Its a bit like childbirth, you forget just how painful it is & remember the good parts.) There were good & valid reasons why you left him & all the guilt should not be at your door. You did not break up the family, you made the best decision you could with the facts available to you at the time, which is the best any of us can do. Be kind to yourself sweetheart, & let the past go brew

KouignAmann Sun 12-Jan-14 12:03:21

Get her to read the Red Flags thread. He is festooned in bunting!
I second a bit of space for her to sort her head out. I left my H in a midlife crisis moment too, and it took at least a year to get my head straight. I met a Twunt online but the MN red flag directory saw him off.
My best friend helped me hugely by telling me exactly what she thought of the XH ("a knob") the Twunt ("dangerous") and now DP ("lovely - go for it!") and it made a real difference to have someone validate my opinion when I was fragile. Stick with her and don't let him push you away. Tell her if he tries it!

KouignAmann Sun 12-Jan-14 12:04:37

Nice post onetiredmummy it is hard to forgive yourself!

Yes2014 Sun 12-Jan-14 12:08:58

I disagree with cogito on one thing, I think, about telling her once- in my case, with a similarish situation, I could have really done with people spelling it out to me again and again that a partner was abusive and I needed time and space to really, really, really think everything over. Also, in an abusive relationship sometimes people just don't get it, they justify the partners behaviour and take the blame themselves. I tentatively tried to sound friends out at times but couldn't confide the worst of it all. Two friends said things that I will never forget and I am forever grateful to them.

yentil Sun 12-Jan-14 12:10:47

Thanks kouigan. He has already told her that a friend of ours (who has chosen not to have children) is not happy. Why? Because she goes skydiving. She needs and wants kids apparently. He's never met her and he hasn't had kids himself. Says no woman has been good enough to have his children. Although 'jokes' that my friend may just be the lucky girl (she had been adamant she doesn't want anymore and told him early on)...

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 12-Jan-14 12:11:21

If someone wants to minimise a partner's behaviour, having it spelled out again and again just starts to sound like hectoring. Digs their heels in. Be there for the woman by all means OP just don't see it as your sole responsibility to open her eyes or save her from poor decisions. If she genuinely believed this man was normal she wouldn't even be talking about his behaviour.

TalkativeJim Sun 12-Jan-14 12:17:11

Tell her to RUN RUN RUN!!!!

He is a bad one.

I hope you can make her see some sense. Maybe show her this??

Meerka Sun 12-Jan-14 12:18:18

She is headed to a train crash. A bad one.

The way he speaks to her and the way he tries to control her is dreadful behaviour. Slagging off his exes is another massive red flag.

I really hope she sees what is going on in time, but don't hold your breath. The future, unfortunately, looks grim :/ Hope you can be there for her, but don't be surprised if he manages to isolate her from you too.

yentil Sun 12-Jan-14 12:19:16

Yes cogito. I did point out that I have heard more about him in one year than I heard about her ex in 16 years.

Allergictoironing Sun 12-Jan-14 12:34:43

I think what she's done is gone for someone the complete opposite of how she sees her exH. She saw him as maybe not strong & "manly" enough in his behaviours so she's fallen for someone who is exceptionally dominating, and ignored that there is a middle ground between wuss and bully. I'm not saying her exH IS a wuss, but there can be a very fine line between being considerate & being a bit doormat-ish & she might perceive the line to be somewhere slightly different from where he sees it.

I agree with Cogito that being pushy on a subject like this can sometimes be counterproductive, so if she starts justifying his behaviour more & more then it might even be better to back off a bit - the most important thing is to ensure that he doesn't manage to isolate her from you (as he is almost guaranteed to do).

Charlie50 Sun 12-Jan-14 12:44:13

Hello yes please show her the thread and advise her non- judgementally that this guy is bad news, and why he is.
As another poster said, if he is like this in the honeymoon period, what will he be like when he relaxes!
I was in a relationship like this and I ignored friends warnings because I felt sorry for this guys awful childhood etc; sounds like she feels she has to make allowances because he grew up in care etc. He is still an arsehole and yes the red flags are there! Show her this and some other sites about abuse in relationships. These type of 'men' can be hard to get rid off but presume she isn't living with him. Her husband sounds nice and I don't think he is necessarily responsible for her low self-esteem; all my relationships until I met abusive guy were good. It is amazing how quickly someone can destroy your self-esteem.

Yes2014 Sun 12-Jan-14 13:43:28

I wish my friends had warned me, they were too gentle! It was only on here that I learnt it was gas lighting, sexual abuse etc.
Your friend really MUST take a step back, take time out and work her head out- the road she is on is not safe and this man would be a problem in ANY circumstances.

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