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Would anyone consider taking him back?

(164 Posts)
parisinspring Mon 11-Aug-14 14:27:05

I am so confused and wanted to get some advice from someone outside of the situation on what I should do.

I was in a long term relationship with a man who was was kind, affectionate, generous, funny, gentle, giving, supportive. He was my best friend and we had a wonderful romantic life. We were together for three years, living together for two.

He was so supportive to me in the last year when I lost my job and took 8 months to find a new one and supported me financially and emotionally through. He was also a very loving stepfather to my two children (now 8 and 10). He had his own children (now 7 and 9) who are fantastic, and I loved them as did my kids.

The only problem was his ex wife. My ex partner always put her first. He kept saying he could not risk losing his children, but it got to the point of being ridiculous and I never really said anything because I didn't want him to have to choose between me and his kids - which was how he saw it.

The ex wife lived with her new husband (who she left my ex partner for) but yet she made our lives as miserable as possible. Constantly telling my ex that he had made his children feel replaced by living with me and my kids and laying guilt on him and constantly letting us live under the threat of not being able to see the kids.

She made it impossible for us to ever go out as a couple by ensuring we had the kids every weekend and also ensuring it was not acceptable for us to get a babysitter. Things like this made it really hard for us to enjoy our lives like normal people.

It culminated in the end when she decided one of her kids was sad because she thought he had been replaced by my kids in their fathers affection (even thought he bent over backwards to make his kids feel special to the point where he favouritised them and caused arguments) and she banned her kids from seeing mine.

This went on for two months (during which time he went every weekend with his kids to his parents house) and it put a lot of strain between us.

I told him eventually that it couldn't go on like this and that he was going to have to deal with it. He told me he loved me and was going to "have it out with her" and when he came back he was crying, said it was hopeless and told me he was sorry but it was over.

He packed his bags the next morning and left. He wouldn't talk about it, he had just made his mind up. He was cold after that and really refused contact with me for a very long time because he needed time and space to "get over it".

This happened 11 months ago and I have hardly seen or spoken to him since.

It was really painful for me and my kids, and his kids too who I hear were hit very hard by it too and I hear that his kids still ask for us and my kids still constantly ask for his. He's never let them see each other. He thought it was easier to make a clean break.

Without making this too long, it was the hardest thing I have ever been through and would not wish it on my worst enemy.

He was also devastated and I have heard from many people he was crying for months and didn't go out and even needed time off work and was signed off with depression. He's not met anyone else or moved on at all and neither have I.

He is now back in contact and is saying how sorry he is and that he has been in counselling and realising he should have stood up to his ex wife and put me first and he says he has never loved anyone the way he loves me and would do anything for another chance. He says he want to marry me.

I still love him, but I don't now where to begin with how complicated this decision is.

There are kids to think of, so many bridges were burned (my family and friends hate him because of what he did), and then there's all the trust gone and how much he hurt me.

I am torn between wanting him back so much and having no idea how to make this work even if I wanted to. It's not like there is a re-set button.

Is there a way back or is it better to forget and try and move on?

Smilesandpiles Mon 11-Aug-14 14:30:50

No.

Messing you about is one thing. Messing the kids about is something else.

arsenaltilidie Mon 11-Aug-14 14:40:33

Chances are he is a victim of emotional abuse from his ex.

It's all well and good he's going into counselling.
But do you really want to bring your children into that environment.
Favouritism against your children?
Those are the little things than can really damage your children.
And how do you even respect him?

AndTheBandPlayedOn Mon 11-Aug-14 14:45:51

No. No. No.

I agree with Smilesandpiles. His behavior in the middle of it, putting his kids first/favoritism, is the truth here. Then blowing everyone out of the water ... he is weak and wants to save his own skin.

The only way to be sure that doesn't happen again is to never take him back. His pleadings and counselling and repenting and remorse and tears and and and... I am an old cynic but is just so much lip service. Don't listen to it. Actions speak louder than words and I do not see how you could come back from his previous actions.

cailindana Mon 11-Aug-14 14:50:54

Wow, tough one.

It sounds like his ex wife was a manipulative shit and used his love for his children against him. In that sense he was a victim and he was so worried about not seeing his children that he let his ex ruin his life. It's hard not to feel sorry for him on that score.

But I presume the ex is still in the picture? And in that case what has changed?

Do you want to take him back?

No way back and there's no way at all you can forget what has happened here. You must move forward now and without this man in your life at all.

parisinspring Mon 11-Aug-14 14:59:05

I agree with what everyone is saying, and I knew the answer really before I posted but just needed real affirmations from people.

I do have a lot of sympathy for him, I do think he is a good person but that he was too weak and yes, I do think he saved his own skin at my expense. But there's no doubt he loved me (and us) and that he has devastated himself too.

Yes, I want him back and wish there was a way to press that re-set button and I am hoping I can be sensible through this.

Unfortunately, yes, the ex is on the scene and counselling or not I think this need to bend to her will is a compulsion so deep over 20 years of relationship with her (they met in school!) that I honestly don't think he could ever stop.

I honestly think he's got severe issues that would take years of therapy to fix. It's just as shame as we do love each other. I know life isn't that simple.

AlpacaMyBags Mon 11-Aug-14 15:04:04

But has he actually stood up to his ex wife and laid down how things will be from now on?

parisinspring Mon 11-Aug-14 15:06:10

No. He's only told me what he wants and I told him it was too late.

parisinspring Mon 11-Aug-14 15:11:40

I am not sure why I feel like this point is pertinent...but I feel like the reason he refused the kids contact in the wake of this is that his ex wife would not like it. She wanted us gone, and that was what she got.

For some reason that part bothers me more than any of the rest of it. That I was even denied a normal break up with normal civility and consideration to the children because he was so scared of her.

It's not that she would have raged at him, knowing her, she would have said "I think it's best to make a clean break" and he would have repeated this to me like a puppet.

I know all this sounds awful. I know there's no way to have a relationship with someone that deeply under the control of an outsider.

Smilesandpiles Mon 11-Aug-14 15:12:31

11 months of very little contact after leaving without saying a word about it is in itself reason not to take him back. That's without going into the reasons why or the issues he has.

AlpacaMyBags Mon 11-Aug-14 15:16:15

I think the fact he hasn't actually made any changes, tells you everything you need to know. It's all just words.

Smilesandpiles Mon 11-Aug-14 15:17:49

Don't take him back. Find yourself someone with a back bone.

He'll only abandon you all again the second his ex blinks.

Itcantbelove Mon 11-Aug-14 15:18:06

He would probably never stand up to her in the future either.
You could never trust him.

It's a sad story though and from what you say he was just too scared of losing his children.

Phalenopsis Mon 11-Aug-14 15:18:49

The fact that he hasn't confronted his ex and told that he won't allow her to come between you speaks volumes to me. Also the fact that he hasn't spoken to you much in 11 months and now professes undying love? hmmm.

And I suspect OP that oyu only have his word that he is attending counselling? He could be lying to you.

ouryve Mon 11-Aug-14 15:19:09

I don't think he could ever have a proper relationship with you unless he was willing to get the whole situation with his ex and kids sorted out. She sounds quite controlling - she didn't want him, but doesn't want you to have him either, to the point that she'll use his kids to hurt him.

Meanwhile, he doesn't have the resilience to deal with that and be with you.

parisinspring Mon 11-Aug-14 15:39:20

I do agree he won't ever stand up to her. I just can't see it happening.

I put up with a lot. A lot of personal sacrifice to accommodate her wishes in order to not rock the boat and make his life harder, but I can see I sold away a lot of my own wishes in that.

I did that because I really loved him and knew he really loved me and on a daily basis we just fit together like a hand in a glove and made each other happy. I figured over the years it would change slowly and I was wiling to be patient.

And then he left me.

I couldn't have ever have left him - it wouldn't have been an option for me, so I know something is deeply off in that, and also in the way that I was cut out of the decision process completely.

He is in counselling, I have talked to the counsellor on the phone! I do also know he has been completely devastated and has no life at all. His friends tell me he refuses to go out, is on anti-depressants and just gave up.

It'd be easier to hate him if he'd spent 11 months chasing women and enjoying life but I know that's just me feeling sorry for him which is silly because he did it to himself.

Jan45 Mon 11-Aug-14 15:47:50

You went through a lot of shit basically in 3 years only to be abandoned, I couldn't trust him not to do it again, you seem to be thinking the same. Perhaps you could date again, let him show you by his actions etc....or perhaps you need to meet up for some kind of closure as it doesn't seem you were given much of an explanation.

DocDaneeka Mon 11-Aug-14 15:49:40

It'd be easier to hate him if he'd spent 11 months chasing women and enjoying life but I know that's just me feeling sorry for him which is silly because he did it to himself

Exactly. He has a huge problem. He jumped when she told him to jump. Then moped about for months. There is something seriously wrong with him and his outlook. Now that is really sad for him, and particularly awful as it might be as the result of her abusive conditioning of him. BUT it ain't your job to fix him. And he sure as hell ain't fixed yet.

parisinspring Mon 11-Aug-14 15:50:57

Yes, I went through a whole lot of shit for three years only to be abandoned. Sums it up really.

OneSkinnyChip Mon 11-Aug-14 15:54:41

I feel very sorry for both of you. I was involved briefly with a man like this and chose to walk away. We got back together a few years later - again briefly - because I realised that nothing had changed. Also that he was fundamentally terrified of his ex and her power over contact.

BUT it's easy to look at this from the outside and say run away. The reality is that you MAY have a future. As his children get older they will have the power to insist on seeing him without fitting neatly in with their mother's plans. The man I was involved with was waiting for DC to be old enough to ask for contact - he knew that if he didn't toe the line his ex (who was truly off the planet abusive) would stop contact.

You could talk to him honestly. Pour out your rage and hurt. Tell him exactly what you expect from him. See if he delivers. All of this before you go near him. This may mean him taking her to court to get the access he deserves. He sounds like a devoted father who has been worn down completely by this women.

All of this will help him because even if you don't get back together he will be in a better, stronger position. You don't have to do this for him btw - but it's the only way to have any chance of being with him and having any kind of life together. If you still want it of course.

No one on here can tell you if you can forgive him but equally no one will advise you to be with him again unless he demonstrates that he's ready to break free from her and sets a plan in motion. Even if he does you still don't have to take him back. The reality is, even if he 'wins' he won't really. This woman will always be in your life. Issues over graduations, weddings, grandchildren. You are signing up for a life of shit because people like his ex are vindictive beyond the powers of comprehension. Walking away will be easier, no matter how painful. It doesn't stop me feeling sorry for him though, for both of you.

Viviennemary Mon 11-Aug-14 15:54:50

No. He had ages to sort it out and didn't. I would steer clear if you can. I don't think anything willchange. But you know best. Hope things work out for you. He has to make some changes in his life by his own choice. I agree it's not your job to fix him.

MaliceInWonderland78 Mon 11-Aug-14 15:58:22

I'm going to go against the grain here slightly (a speciality of mine!). I wouldn't suggest jumping into marriage or anything at this stage, but it sounds as if he's been dealing with a bully.

If he can do things (such as get access to the kids ordered by court if necessary) that can prove that he's prepared to stand up to his ex-wife, then why not take things slowly and give him another chance.

For example, he could insist on having the kids every other weekend. That might give you some confidence that he's on the right track - and also give you a chance to re-discover one another and see if there is a chance of salvaging anything..

Isetan Mon 11-Aug-14 16:23:55

Him wanting to come back is premature at best and at worst, another demonstration of him putting his needs before yours. It sounds like he wants your support again but you've been there and done that and he left. It would be very difficult to trust him again with your heart, let alone with your kids affections.

Youre not an antidote to his Ex wife's venom, your job isn't to prop him up or to provide and maintain the alternative happy family universe. As sad as it is, his presence is far too great a risk to you and your family.

parisinspring Mon 11-Aug-14 16:43:59

Honestly, I think he would rather be lonely for the rest of his life than ever take her to court.

She is a bully, but I think part of him lets everyone do this to him. He also let other family members, and even members of his ex wife's family call the shots in our lives. Not because they threatened him, but because he was very concerned with what people thought.

He'd get visibility panicked if someone had a go at him.

I used to see him as selfless and lovely and I always found the way he always wanted to do what he saw as "right" as being a sign he was a good person with integrity, but now I just think it's selfish and dysfunctional. He was so busy trying to keep everyone happy because he was afraid of reactions or of being told off or criticised, not because he was wanting to do the right thing.

If he had integrity and was the man I thought he was, then he would have found the courage from somewhere to handle this better than he did.

I am writing this and realising I just can't take him back. It doesn't matter how much I love him or how much I understand how scary the threat of losing your children must be.

You have to be able to completely rely on someone.

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