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.
Ex-DP - need advice(40 Posts)
I have been in an on-off relationship with Ex-DP for over 12 years. Brief history: We got together when he was 23, I was a single mum of 17. While I was working, he was having an EA (at the time I thought it was more) with the next-door neighbour. Forgave, we moved, he moved out into a flat-share without leaving me, I fucked up and cheated on him (revenge, at the time, for the thing with the neighbour), we split up. We'd been together for 18 months.
We got back together 6 months later, his depression (which he's always had, but has good times and bad times) got worse, we split up after another 6 months.
We were apart for 3 yrs, in which time I got married and had DS1, then divorced when I found out Ex-H was cheating on mewith a so-called friend (Karma?). I got back with Ex-DP almost straight away, and fell pg with DS2. We were together for 2-ish years that time, but he couldn't cope with my dx of epilepsy, and me 'needing' him, we split up.
Got back together after a yr apart. Then my epilepsy got worse, he couldn't cope, so a yr later we split up again.
We were then apart for 2 yrs, and after I split up with a very abusive (physically, sexually and emotionally) partner, Ex-DP 'caught' me while I was still recovering, and chased me until I gave in, basically. We got back together, I had DS3, then Ex-DP walked out again when DS3 was 4 months old.
Every time he leaves, he instantly bcomes the person I fell in love with again, so when he chases me and promises me things will be different, his depression is better, etc, I cave and take him back. But within a couple of months of us being back together, he reverts back to falling asleep as soon as he gets in from work, arguing, making me feel like I'm going mad, making threats that he'll leave me if he can't spend at least one day out of his 2 days off a week with his Mum (without me as she hates me), Letting his Mum treat me like a total c*nt and never standing up for me with her blah blah blah (don't want to drip feed but on this thread I will probably have to).
As soon as he has walked out, he starts offering to help, coming round to mow the lawn, giving me a break from the dc, doing housework for me etc. I think that he doesn't mind doing it when we're apart as it makes HIM look 'nice', but he wont do ANYTHINGH when we live together, as it's expected of him.
Sorry for long post. The question is, he's being SO nice and helpful right now, do I forgive him for treating me like a slave when DS3 was newborn, and walking out and leaving me when I refused to be treated like that when DS3 was only 4 months old? He is saying he wants to get back with me and take things slowly, but I think deep down, he'll never be able to cope with a live-together relationship, and I will never be truly happy with a part-time relationship. (Which I told him bluntly before we got back together LAST time). BUT, so help me god, I'm wavering when he's being so nice and helpful and has told me he wants to get back together. We've only been aprt for 11 weeks. Help me be strong, and figure out WHY this keeps happening.
Should also add, I had an AMAZINGLY awful childhood, has affected me for years, but leaves me with low self esteem, and some 'unusual' coping techniques. He ALSO had a bad childhood, and we BOTH have Narc mothers. I have learnt to keep mine at (very) arms length, he hasn't.
Sorry for length, and thank you for any advice / help.
Have you had counselling?
My suggestion, if you want it, is to cut contact with this man (bar any necessary contact over DC), and work with a therapist on your childhood issues, your self-esteem, and on developing healthier coping techniques.
Wait until your twat radar is better tuned and your self-esteem up before engaging in any new or old romantic relationships.
Tried counselling, but it was all geared to my childhood, which I've mostly dealt with (hadn't at 17, have by 30). Can't have no contact, he comes here to see DS3 as DS3 is not-quite 7mo, and is still bf and is a bottle refuser. Also he doesn't have anywhere to take him as he lives in a room in a house share.
Self esteem much better, won't put up with shit, hence him leaving.
It's just soooo hard when he is acting(?) like the man I fell in love with again. Why is he only like this when he is not living here? How to keep him at arms length? Why can't hebe like this when we live together?
Tried the minimal contact before, he still managed to wear me down by being extra-nice on dc pick=ups, and gradually worked his way back into my life!
To be honest, when I read about emotional abuse, Ex-DP rings a LOT of the bells, but, he is SO nice when we are split up and he wants me back, I think I am second-guessing myself IYSWIM. Part of me knows it's an 'act' to get me back, so no-one else has me, but the other part of me tries to see the good in him, and I have to be honest, he is right that his last AD's did change his behaviour. But how much was the AD's and how much was just 'him'.
<<Tears hair out>>
Part of knows it would be insane to get back with him, in a part-time realtionship (like he wants, living elsewhere, free time when he wants it blah blah blah), when I know I don't want that, haven't for years (decided after my abusive relationship that I wanted a commited relationship, not one where I begged for scraps of time, I deserve more than that).
Yet another part of me sees that he came round last night to let me have a nap and look after dc, cook dinner and wash up as I've got raging toothache (dentist for filling this afternoon). He didn't have to, he was really super-nice about it.
Yet he wouldn't have done ANY of that if we were living together, I'd still have had to get on with it. <<Raaaaaahhh>>
And, of course - I love him. I can't just switch that off after 12 years and 2 dc's. It'd be easier if he DID shag someone else, I could just say, ah, fuck him!
Bump for more advice. Will be back later after dentist has finished
torturing me filling my tooth.
Perhaps it would be a good idea to consider the possibility that you are not made to leave together? perhaps is better to keep him as a "friend".
You have tried so many times and it is clear that neither of you are at their best in a living together situation. Perhaps acknowledging that may be the best way forward rather than continue hurting each other trying to force something that is not meant to be?
Just a thought.
Sorry, but you know exactly what will happen if you let him come back - he'll stop being the person you love and be an asshole again. The person you love isn't the real him - it's just he can sustain the act while you're apart and he's working to get you back. You've been through this cycle with him so many times, he hasn't changed, he won't change.
You found his traits in the information on the emotional abuser, and the nice/nasty cycle is a major part of that - an abusive guy would never keep a partner as long as they often do without being able to turn on the charm and give their dp hope and glimpses of what life could be.
So the obvious answer is not to let him back. You have to work on emotionally detaching from him. I reckon you might want to look at taking the Freedom Programme with Women's Aid.
Thank you. If I could only stay strong in the face of, well, such niceness...Do you have a link to the freedom programme?
Bump for any more advice, I'm really confused, and don't really know whether I'm coming or going anymore. The DC really miss Ex-DP, I miss him, but I don't want to get back with him only to end up in the same shitty situation yet again.
He was here today to look after the dc while I had my tooth removed and he was so nice and helpful. Why is he being so nice to me if he walked out on me? When he said he was going to go, I think he wanted me to beg him to stay, and when I didn't, he went. I'm NOT going to beg anyone, but now he's practically begging ME for another chance. <<Brain melting>>
Have you considered staying together but not living together? It does work for some couples and it might work for you.
I have considered it, but it's not what I want from a relationship - I feel that a relationship is about having a shared life, not fragments here or there when one partner feels like it. And I made this VERY plain to Ex-DP 2 years ago before we got back together - 3 months before actually, and I told him to bear in mind that if we did get back together, that he was doing it because HE wanted a relationship like that, and was sure he could manage it, because I didn't want to be hurt again, and I didn't want the dc hurt again. I KNOW in my head he can't have changed that much in 11 weeks, without any counselling, but my heart is telling me "Look, he's being so nice, and helpful, maybe he has changed".
If you need to get back together with him in order to be disrespected and heartbroken again, in order to convince your heart to follow your head, then maybe that's what you need to do.
I really can't recommend it, though. You know how much it hurts. Why go through that again? Is it because the highs are so high that it makes up for the lows being so low? That sounds dangerously like an addiction.
Going back to someone like him again and again and again is a form of self torture most probably rooted in low self esteem. I have been there too. You need to realize that many others in your situation, while loving the man very much in the same way you do, simply wouldn't have given him chance after chance to fuck you around. That you have done so, says everything about you and how you view yourself, and very little about him.
I'd suggest reading the entire contents of the Baggage Reclaim website and getting yourself some more counselling, with this tendency in your behaviour as something you specifically want to work on, understand and eventually remove. Otherwise you know as well as I do that you'll keep falling for niceness until you're 90.
Thing is, I don't feel like I've got low self-esteem. I am ok looking, if a little squidgier around the edges after 4dc, I still get people trying to 'chat me up', I won't accept being treated like a slave, I'll never make excuses like I did with my abisive Ex (not the one I keep going back to btw), I know what I want from a relationship, and what I DON'T expect to happen IYSWIM. I have learnt that I can hang the phone up on my Narc mother without feeling guilty, SHE'S the one with the issues there. I have loved this man my whole adult life, and we have dc together - it's hard to accept we just will not make each other happy in a relationship. HOW do you get your head around that when faced with such niceness, and him just generally behaving the way he should have when we were living together.
And also, being on benefits makes it very hard to have a 'part-time' relationship with someone, as you can't have them to stay more than once a week, or it will affect your benefits, so it's not really an option when he's working and I'm not. Also, I start feeling resentful when we have tried that in the past, that I have to be on duty with the dc all the time, but he gets 6 nights out of 7 to do whatever he wants. Which is why a PT relationship just won't work for me.
Thing is, it isn't a 'highs and lows' situation - when we first get back together, it's comfortable like a relationship should be after 12 years. But slowly and surely, he 'withdraws' from the relationship - falling asleep at all times of the day, sleeping 16+ hours a day on his days off, never initiating cuddles unless he wants sex (which is rare in itself, he does have a lower sex drive than me), Not helping round the house, amongst other things. Then he leaves, and within 2 weeks, he is doing all these things and more. So it's not so much 'highs and lows' - I've had relationships like that before.
I know some of it is his
evil mother in his ear telling him to leave - she even did so when she found out I was pg with DS3 - Ex-DP was in tears saying that he didn't want to leave me, he loves me, and he wanted to be there for his baby. I was sitting there cuddling him. And could hear every word. No doubt she has been insidiously drip, drip, dripping in his ear for months before he left, which won't have helped him. She's done it before, in some quite spectacularly awful ways. She didn't attend her own daughter's wedding because she didn't like her DD husband. They haven't spoken for 20 years...
The breaking point this time with DP came because I do not want any more dc, the PCT say I'm too young for sterilisation (am just 30, they won't put me on the list until I'm 32), and I can't take hormonal contraception, so I asked Ex-DP to get a vasectomy. When he refused, I told him I was not prepared to fall pg again, so I would not be having sex with him until he had taken responsibility for contraception. He felt unloved because I wasn't 'affectionate', and I felt unloved because my feelings of ensuring I do NOT fall pg again did not matter to him.
God there's so many things that would be wrong for us to get back together, but if he could only act the way he does when we are apart, when we are together, everything would be fine!
But he doesn't - how he is when you get back together is also him, just being himself. You need to decide if you can cope with that.
You can't change him. Perhaps he's not happy with you, he's certainly acting that way. Sounds hard work for you all, this to-ing and fro-ing. Is it really worth the emotional energy?
It's not even as if he WANTS any more dc - he just doesn't want to have to have an injection - he wouldn't even have the flu jab (which he was offered for free as he works in a hospital) when I was pg, despite the fact that I was pg, had had pneumonia less than 4 months before I fell pg, and I AND DS2 are asthmatic.
His mother 'imagines' slights against her, and uses them to put massive guilt trips on Ex-DP. I came through my own front door in a Narky mood because Id had to take DS3 to London to get his tongue-tie cut, and had had an AWFUL journey home which culminated in me getting sworn at by 2 bus drivers and a random driver whilst trying to shove DS3's pram in my stepdad's boot, so was in a shitty mood. I got home to MIL there, when I had told DP I wanted house empty when I got in. Before I was even fully in the door, MIL was crying to Ex-DP in the kitchen that I had 'given her a nasty look'. Then proceeded to BLANK me in my own home. Then called me a moody bitch who should stop being nasty to her, when Ex-DP couldn't hear her. When I said I expected an apology from her to Ex-DP, he spoke to his mum, all set to tell her this - then came off the phone saying I needed to apologise to his mum! I bloody think not. Sounds trivial, but really wasn't, it was the last straw when I've been trying to get Ex-DP to realise that his mothers feelings are NOT more important than mine. I certainly don't put up with it when MY mother tries the whole guilt tripping thing - I won't enable my mother the way he enables his!
Probably NOT worth the emotional energy. But every time we are apart, he chases me, with niceness, and sometimes it can take 2 years for him to wear me down, but in the end I always seem to aquiesce(SP?) and get back with him, thinking that if he can be that nice and helpful for that long, then he'll be fine when we are together. The longest he lasts is either 6 months, or if I NEED his support.
How do I stay strong, and NOT get back with him?
Well, you need to stop letting him support you - so no more coming round and doing chores, no sex/affection, keep him very much at arm's length, get him to take the kids to the park or somewhere else when he sees them, like other normal NRP, instead of hanging around your house - stop accepting his 'niceness'.
While you let him do all these things for you, you're creating an opening. You need to drop contact as much as you can to create more distance, so stopping entering into non-child-related/non-financial conversation would be another thing to do.
Start moving on with your life - get some plans for a career/training/whatever, start building a greater social network, find a future you want that he doesn't keep intruding into.
Join the discussion
Please login first.