Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Left H last week but his reaction has completely blindsided me (long winded - sorry)

(126 Posts)
AvaLeStrange Tue 02-Aug-16 20:19:39

Been together 20 years and have a 12yo DD.

It's always been a rollercoaster relationship, downs marked by him being moody, sulky & uncommunicative. Over the years this has escalated to aggressive and intimidating behaviour (stonewalling, door slamming, throwing things, vigorous 'tidying up'). He can be controlling, disrespectful, critical, anally retentive, rarely interested in engaging with my friends and family...you get the idea. He's incapable of dealing with/communicating negative feelings and basically takes them out on me.

In the interests of balance, when he's 'normal', which can be for months at a time, he's mostly no more annoying than any other bloke - gainfully employed, remembers special occasions, does his bit re home/childcare, decent in bed.

As the years have gone on though, its been harder and harder to get over the bad patches when he returns to his normal self. The last year has been particularly awful. I can count the good times in weeks (and those in single figures), and when he's snapped out of his moods I've been increasingly unable to forgive and forget. His behaviour has also started to impact our DD who is now getting support with anxiety from school and the local youth support service.

So last week, DD and I left. I fully expected him to go 70 shades of apeshit, threaten all sorts and change the locks. Instead he is devastated. He's staying with his parents as can't cope with being in the house alone, has been in touch with the Samaritans, made an appt with GP to ask about some kind of individual counselling/therapy and made a huge list of all the things he wants to change/improve.

We have seen him 3 times since moving out (DD doesn't want to see him alone yet) and whilst I believe he is genuine at least on a superficial level, I'm not convinced his reasons are sound (suspect he is worried about the material side of things and his reputation as much as losing me, not so much DD tbf).

He is also pushing for us to spend time together as a family, and already talking about us going on dates to try and work things out. I'm going along with the former so he and DD can see each other, but dates?!!

I have told him I am open to seeing how things pan out but it will be a long haul and I cannot promise my feelings for him will return, or that I will ever be able to trust him enough to resurrect our marriage. I've made it clear that he will have to get through individual therapy before I'll consider any kind of couples work, if at that point I feel it would be appropriate/beneficial.

I just don't really know where to go from here. I have my doubts that things can be worked out, but there is no reason for me not to wait and see if he can change. I do need to put some boundaries in place in the meantime though for mine and DDs sake. I felt fine for the 3 days post move but have started having panic attacks since seeing him and feel absolutely exhausted afterwards. He tries to be affectionate and is upset and ermotional not just with me but with DD.

Mostly just letting off steam here really, but if anyone has anynwords of wisdom they'd be much appreciated.

thestamp Tue 02-Aug-16 20:26:48

My ex was like this too. He did the same routine of crying etc. The thing is though OP, people generally don't change. Even if they want to change, they tend not to be able to sustain it.

If you get back with him, he's almost certainly going to revert to type. My ex did it too. and my ex is an intelligent man who actually means well. But he is who he is. It's almost uncompassionate to expect another person to even be able to change. I mean you couldn't manage to change to fit with your H could you? Even though you probably wished you could? Of course he doesn't want you to go, no-one likes to have their comfort zone invaded... but does that mean he's actually going to be able to become a different person?

Take a lot of space from him. I know what you mean about panic attacks when seeing him etc. You need a LOT of space from this man and so does DD. If your ex is still a changed man in a year from now, despite you not spending much time together, maybe reassess then. Without space you can't look at the situation rationally.

Don't let him call the shots OP, it's not like you haven't tried so hard for so long. That he's suddenly had a change of heart isn't actually your problem.

Please note also... men do this a lot when they realise that they've fucked up and are going to lose something... but it does make you wonder, are you going to have to leave him every time before he'll change his ways? Is this what it has to come to? Is this the extent you have to go to just to make him treat you decently? It shouldn't be this hard...

Wishing you and DD the best...

ElspethFlashman Tue 02-Aug-16 20:28:10

Yes there is a reason not to "wait and see if he can change".

Your daughter. Her head is wrecked enough already. She doesn't need any dithering from you.

Babymamamama Tue 02-Aug-16 20:29:11

You have been very brave taking this step. Hope others come along with more direct experience but in the meantime wanted to acknowledge your post. I think you are right to steer clear of the dates. Mixed messages. Hopefully your dp can get his act together.

AvaLeStrange Tue 02-Aug-16 20:40:06

Thanks.

I have been very honest with both him and DD about my feelings.

They have a shared, seasonal hobby with which a few of our other friends are involved, and I'm hoping by the time this starts in a couple of weeks she'll be ok to go along without me. Then once school starts we'll be able to structure things a bit more.

No dates until after he's had individual counselling (if I feel I want to at that point), and I think he needs to try and be a bit less full on/emotional with DD tbh.

That's all reasonably sensible isn't it? We're living with my parents atm while I get back on my feet financially and planning to review our living arrangements in 6 months so that's my mental deadline for completely calling it a day.

1weekdown5togo Tue 02-Aug-16 21:07:54

The problem with giving him the benefit of the doubt and seeing how it goes is it is giving him false hope in a way. My ex did this and I felt I should try again. He did try to change but it was too late for me and my heart wasn't in it then when I ended it once and for all he was even worse. I am still paying the price 5 years on. It would be easier for you all to go through the pain barrier now rather than prolong the agony.

Gatehouse77 Tue 02-Aug-16 21:14:27

I can recognise the roller coaster but DH wasn't abusive. He could be destructive when in a rage (rare) but it was the walking on egg shells and the amount of energy used to keep things on an even keel that was exhausting.

DH and I separated at my instigation. I told him we had to do that before I started to hate him and I didn't want to the hate the father of my children. He knew how hard he was to live with. He'd had various counselling, anti-depressants, CBT, etc. but hadn't truly put the work in to help himself let alone us as a whole.

I'm not claiming I was faultless but I had become increasingly indifferent towards him and his mood swings.

I explained (told!) him that he needed to sort himself out before we could move forward. The first 6 months were really hard. He wanted to come home and make amends. The next 2 years we found a happy balance and life was good. The last 2 years we were often described as a married couple who loved apart.

After 4.5 years we did get back together and have been very happy.

It wasn't that DH needed to change so much as get back to the man I married. Ultimately, he did too.

I wish you all the best. It can work out but both parties have to be committed and put the child/ren at the forefront.

GooseFriend Tue 02-Aug-16 21:17:21

His reaction has thrown you but in all you describe coming before that you were very clear. A lot of his behaviour you describe reads like domestic abuse to me. People talk about the vicious circle of domestic abuse but this less constant version is very common too. I'm also unconvinced reading your description of what he's doing now. It sounds like casting you as the meanie and him as the hero trying to win you back. He's also putting an inordinate amount of pressure on you and demanding things (family time, dates, seasonal hobby). At this point in time you are split up - he doesn't get to structure what that looks like.

I work with those who have left domestic abuse so will hold my hands up to being biased if that's what you think, but I think he sounds manipulative.

Have a think, maybe with your own independent therapist which doesn't know about why you left and why you think that's now not legitimate.

Good luck

GooseFriend Tue 02-Aug-16 21:19:21

Have a think, maybe with your own independent therapist which he doesn't know about, to reflect on why you left and why you think that's now not legitimate.

Apologies - typos

Shizzlestix Tue 02-Aug-16 21:19:46

Can you move back into the family home if it's empty? I know I'm missing the point, but it seems a sensible idea for your DD, as long as your H doesn't then think it's a sign that you're willing to get back together.

AvaLeStrange Tue 02-Aug-16 23:47:15

he's almost certainly going to revert to type. My ex did it too. and my ex is an intelligent man who actually means well. But he is who he is

This is how I feel about H. He is hurtling toward 50 and has previously been totally dismissive of any suggestion of counselling/therapy. Just 4-5 days before we left I broached the subject to the response 'I'm not wasting money of that kind of effing crap'.

He also is still trying to blame his behaviour on outside factors - work and family stresses. I'm sure plenty of people deal with these kind of things without resorting to such appalling behaviour to those they are supposed to be closest to.

Goose you are not wrong. When I took DD to the GP for a counselling referral she told me she was in two minds whether to flag it up as a safeguarding issue sadangry.

Shizzle I'm pretty sure if we were to do that he'd be straight back wanting to play happy families. Apparently he said to DD today that he hopes we'll move back in before the school holidays are out confused.

AnyFucker Tue 02-Aug-16 23:52:23

Your gp is telling you that he thinks your daughter's anxiety is a direct result of her father's behaviour. He has given you a direct strike across the bows

And you are still questioning whether you and him have a future together ?

The mind boggles

AnyFucker Tue 02-Aug-16 23:52:54

Sorry she (the gp)

Lweji Tue 02-Aug-16 23:57:42

I suspect (from experience) that if you tell him it's truly over, then you'll get the apeshit version.

AvaLeStrange Wed 03-Aug-16 00:02:24

I think it's a combo of his behaviour and the uncertainty of knowing when/how we would leave and where we would be going to that caused the anxiety. It took a few months to get my 'ducks in a row' and DD was aware of what was going on.

I never expected him to react the way he has, so us having a future beyond my leaving him was never on my radar. Now I guess guilt and uncertainty are kicking in, and I am aware that it doesn't make much sense at all under the circumstances.

AvaLeStrange Wed 03-Aug-16 00:06:25

Yes Lweji I think you're probably right.

I have told him there are no guarantees, insisted that we tell friends and family, started sorting out the financials & seen a solicitor.

I'm trying to make it clear, firmly but gently, that we are separated and what the future holds is an unknown quantity.

I think I need to be a bit firmer.

AnyFucker Wed 03-Aug-16 00:10:09

A bit firmer ?

He is telling your mentally unwell daughter (whose illness is as a result of your dysfunctional relationship) that he will be moving back in within weeks

I think he is right

Lweji Wed 03-Aug-16 00:10:24

The script usually reads (in no particular order):
promises it will be better
token gestures to show some good will (or lies)
sadness
anger
emotional blackmail
threats
blaming you
putting you down.

If you don't fall for his act now, expect versions and combinations of the above.

Lilacpink40 Wed 03-Aug-16 00:10:50

Poor little victim him and nasty guilt-ridden you...but the truth is he has behaved appallingly for years and this is his comeuppance!

You offered him counselling, this change didn't come from nowhere.

He's still manipulating you.

Doinmummy Wed 03-Aug-16 00:10:53

It's too little too late . He's been like this for years and has seen no reason to seek help before now.

Your DD has /is suffering , your first obligation is to her. It's an awful situation but surely not as awful as the years you've wasted living with this man and his behaviour .

AnyFucker Wed 03-Aug-16 00:13:12

Lweji...you missed out fuck with the dc's head to manipulate the situation even further

And op is just going to be a "little bit firmer"

Deary me. No wonder a health professional was on the verge of referring to safeguarding. I don't think you are in a position to protect your daughter, ava.

Lilacpink40 Wed 03-Aug-16 00:15:42

Manipulation takes all your sane thoughts and ties them into knots so you doubt yourself over basic common sense.

Keep stopping, write your thoughts down, write his comments / behaviour down, re-read and then realise you are not in a stable position. You can be stable by yourself.

AvaLeStrange Wed 03-Aug-16 00:17:12

I know, I know...!

confused AF?

DD and I have moved in with my parents so it's completely my call if we move back into the family home or not (it's in his name but I've filed with land reg for matrimonial homes rights). I have already told him it will be months at a minimum before I'd consider it and that neither of us may be able to trust him enough to live with him again.

I guess the bottom line is that he's talking the talk but really doesn't seem to be listening or taking on board what DD & I want/need.

Aside from feeling the need to talk to someone impartial about the situation, DD is doing incredibly well. She has a counselling assessment next week and interim support from a youth worker.

Mamamimi Wed 03-Aug-16 00:19:07

My DF had this reaction when my DM decided she'd had enough of similar behaviour and told him she wanted out & had left briefly.

She went back because of all his promises and his crying, begging and pleading.

Wasn't very long before everything slipped back to the way it was with him making no effort anymore.

I think she wishes she had made a move when she (and me & DSis) were younger but now feels she doesn't have the strength to do it again so just puts up sad

Fairenuff Wed 03-Aug-16 00:20:03

Why have you left the marital home? Move back in and he can continue to stay with his parents.

You'll probably see a change in his behaviour if you do and the 'real' him will be back.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now