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WHY do some people do the cold, sneery distant thing when they have met someone else?

(11 Posts)
OneMoreGo Sun 02-Dec-12 12:20:10

Just a hypothetical question as I am single, but this has happened to me in the past. And I read about it ALL THE TIME on here when there is an OW/OM and the persons beloved partner turns from a loving, gentle nice to be around person into a cold, fault-finding twat. It seems so common, but WHY do some people do this?

Even putting aside the 'I have met someone else' thing... because some folk will just say 'Look, I'm so sorry but I have met someone else' and regretfully but kindly end the current relationship. Why do other people act like complete cocks and literally have a personality transplant almost overnight? What is it about falling for someone else - or even being mildly interested and flirty with someone else - that makes some people lose all respect and consideration for the person they once appeared to love and cherish so much?

Genuine question, and really interested to hear all viewpoints. I am completely stumped, as I have seen this happen time and again all around me and it's really depressing to watch. I would have thought it was just a human nature thing but not all people do this, do they?

EdithWeston Sun 02-Dec-12 12:25:28

I think it I because they have to find a way to give themselves permission for actions they know to be wrong. It is a sign that they are not facing their problems (for all marriages go through flat or bad patches) in a healthy way, by turning to their spouse (or a therapist) to work it out, nor having the moral courageto leave, instead they create a self-fulfilling prophecy of marital strife, and use that as shabby justification for their dishonest actions.

Charbon Sun 02-Dec-12 12:55:51

IME, there are two reasons for this. Sometimes you get one without the other and sometimes they overlap.

The lesser-known reason is that some people find it impossible to continue a close, loving relationship when they want someone else as well. Although rationally they don't want to lose their sanctioned relationship, in their psyche it's not possible (or permissible) to want 2 simultaneous relationships, so they must detach and create a gap in the first, to allow the second one airspace. Usually with people like this, there is also some guilt at receiving the normal kindnesses from a partner they've always been close to, so the best way of reducing that guilt is to engineer destructive behaviour that will result in a partner withdrawing his/her affection and acceptance. Sometimes this is done in an entirely unconscious way and the people are not cognitively aware they are doing it, until after the event when a partner complains or there is discovery and a partner tells them what life was really like on the receiving end of this behaviour.

The more well-known reason is that when people do wrong at a time when they are unable and unwilling to stop the 'wrong' behaviour, they must find a 'reason' for acting badly in order to live with themselves. So they manufacture current arguments or unearth/re-write/exaggerate past grievances, to find a justification for behaving badly. It's not uncommon in people who do this, to resurrect ancient conflicts that had long ago been resolved and forgiven.

OneMoreGo Sun 02-Dec-12 13:03:28

Thanks, that's interesting.

What about when the relationship is over and they are with the new person but all pleasantness towards their ex melts away? I'll never get this. Often blokes will stop seeing their children or making any effort, will be rude and obstructive and generally difficult to their ex partner. And women are I'm sure just as capable of this as well, although it seems to happen less often that way round.
I'm partly thinking of the thread recently about how the OW could possibly think 'wow he's a real catch, I want to have babies with him' when she has seen him behaving like a complete tool to his ex.

alexrider Sun 02-Dec-12 13:17:23

My H is guilty of this, in fact to me he's had a complete personality transplant and if someone had told me six months ago he would have behaved like this then I would have laughed at them. After 20 years of knowing him he has had a complete personality transplant.

I think for him is he always has to be seen as the nice guy by others, so even though he had an affair and then ended our marriage with a quick phone call, and I found out about the OW on Facebook, he needs to make it my fault that we've split up. He has completely severed all relationships with any of our joint friends, anybody who knows me he no longer speaks to, but now when he acts like a twat he can justify it to this new group of friends who don't know me that it's because I'm the bitch ex-wife. So whenever he says anything, nobody can pull him up on it because they don't know me and they believe him. He completely changes the facts of any situation to make himself look like the poor put upon guy.

It's the same with the DCs, he chooses to only visit them once a month or once every six weeks, he chooses to do this because he wants to spend time with the OW and her DC. But to justify it to her or others, or perhaps even himself, he says it's because I won't let him stay at the house when he comes to visit and make him go to a hotel. So I'm being obstructive. The thing is he's obviously saying these things so much, he ends up believing it, so when he's speaking to me he'll come out with all this crap and then I have to point out to him things like well actually you chose to take holiday from work when the OW's children were on half term and spend time with them, and you chose not to take the holiday a week later when your own DCs were on half term. I didn't make that decision for you and I didn't stop you seeing the DCs. It's weird how he completely tries to change any situation to make himself out to be a victim.

I wonder if it's guilt or justification for their actions. My H has changed the truth so much he's tried to incorporate it into the divorce proceedings, he hasn't occurred to him that I have proof of the actual truth.

Charbon Sun 02-Dec-12 13:19:09

It's the same concept and it relates to low personal responsibility and inability to confront guilt. That's why you'll often see wise posters commenting that it's a red flag in a new relationship if all previous partners are described as 'psycho exes' with whom they have very poor relationships. People who need to demonise previous partners will often go on to do the same to a current partner.

I haven't seen the thread you refer to, but unfortunately people are capable of extraordinary feats of irrationality when it suits them. The most usual trade-off is that 'he won't be like that with me....because he loves me more/is happier with me' but that pre-supposes that people's personalities are defined exclusively by their romantic relationships and the feelings they have for one person. It's completely illogical. If someone is bad at taking personal responsibility, that will transcend every relationship no matter who it is with.

ISayHolmes Sun 02-Dec-12 13:23:20

They feel bad.

And people hate feeling bad about themselves.

So they get angry at the guilt they're feeling and turn it around on the ex. Then they don't have to feel any unpleasant emotions anymore.

fiventhree Sun 02-Dec-12 16:02:34

Alex "so even though he had an affair and then ended our (20 year) marriage with a quick phone call" ???????

You are so well rid.

alexrider Sun 02-Dec-12 16:18:10

Yeah, phone call lasted three minutes, he was on his mobile, walking along the street, and phoned up, said "I've decided I don't want to be married to you anymore, I'll support the kids but I'm not supporting you. Bye" Followed, two days later by an email, setting out why he thought I was a shit wife, then he turned his phone off. Announced he was in a relationship with another woman on Facebook, has visited his kids twice since, and is arguing over whether he needs to pay the fees for the divorce.

Complete twat and I'm well shot. In fact, after getting over the shock at first, I feel like I've had a huge weight lifted from my shoulders, I didn't realise what a dark presence he had over our lives.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Sun 02-Dec-12 16:44:24

The new love of ex's life only sees what she wants and she'll only have heard his side of the story. Any reaction from cast off partner is interpreted as mad bad jealous controlling witch of ex wife. And any issues over children will be further "proof".

Result = Extra ego stroking and validation. Arousing protectiveness in new partner and reassurance he has done the Right Thing!

alexrider good luck to you, good riddance to charmless ex.

OneMoreGo Mon 03-Dec-12 15:50:45

Blimey, alex, he sounds like a right tosser. Well rid indeed.

ISayHolmes, you may be on to something. (and delighted I just got to write that grin )

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