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.
rebuilding relationship with abusive ex?(128 Posts)
I'm after some of your wise advice.
me and my dd's dad broke up nearly a year ago after his was emotionally and physically abusive (throwing things, threats, pushes) . Since then we have lived in refuge, moved to across the country to start a new life and are actually going through court at the moment in regards to contact arrangements.
Things have been very up and down between us since we split. mostly down I suppose, him disappearing, making no effort with dd, him lying about drugs and alcohol. He has however moved across the country to be closer to dd in the last couple of months and was on a perpetrator program before he moved and is waiting to get onto a new one in the place down here.
cut a very long story short, we have met up a couple of times recently. talked about whats been happening, talked about our childhoods, our regrets etc. (I have also been having counselling for about 9 months by the way and am A LOT stronger then I was before) . The second time we met up last week he came to my house, after dd had gone to bed we ended up kissing and a bit more. It was wonderful. I have missed him so much and it seemed even more amazing in some ways than when we were happy together.
I am very wary that this could be a dangerous situation to be in for me and my dd. but he is showing signs of change...or am I falling for his lies and charm again?
I told my best mate about it and understandably, she was pissed off. I feel a bit of an idiot because I've come all this way, gone through refuge, counselling, my friends have been here for me and now I might be throwing it all back in their faces by trying again with him.
Does anyone have experience of once abusive relationships working out second time around? I really don't know what to do.
I've only got experience of it absolutely not working out second time around.
I think you know the answer to your own question..... You have come so far, please dont put yourself and your DD in harm's way all over again.
It's too soon.
I've seen the poster boy of a perp programme and tbh, he was FULL of it. I doubt strongly that perp programmes work at all.
What work have YOU done to strengthen yourself? Have you done the Freedom Programme? Counselling? Have you read Lundy Bancroft's book, WHY DOES HE DO THAT?
You will NEVER trust him 100% again. You fled him once. You know it'll be 3x as hard to do it again. You know how hard that was to do.
Get rid and keep him away from you.
He IS lying and he IS on charm mode. No doubt about it, and I don't think you have put enough time and energy into protecting yourself.
You deserve a better man in your lives.
Don't show your DD that it's EVER Ok to be treated like that.
You can work on having a civil working parenting relationship with him, but be careful of how he treats your DD once she starts to have an opinion of her own.
No, he is showing signs of being the man you fell for at first and you WANT him to have changed.
Only a long time apart with considerable effort on his part to learn good/appropriate and respectful behaviours plus plenty of practice in reinventing himself will prevent him from descending into abuse again. Even then it is quite unlikely.
You have let him back into your heart much too fast to be in any way objective. You are vulnerable and have expended a huge amount of emotional energy over the last year and are longing to be cared for and loved.
many, many women have been where you are, have gone back to the relationship only to have the same or worse happen later.
Listen to your friends. they have stood by you, he has not. Don't believe your heart, listen to your head/the statistics and steer well clear.
If you play with fire i.e he you will get burnt. You are in grave danger of falling for his lies and charm again.
Where are your boundaries here let alone your self worth?. He came back to your house!!?. He hit paydirt when he met you.
Its far, far too soon to determine whether he has changed and the likelihood is that he has not done so at all. He could well be just being "nice" enough to hook you in again. So he's told you about his childhood and "regrets"; you are not his therapist and he was never ever your project to rescue and or save fro his own self.
Would suggest you read "Why does he do that?" by Lundy Bancroft and take both a good and hard look at your own self and what you got out of such a dysfunctional relationship in the first place. There is no way that you are ready for any relationship at all let alone with an abusive ex who you are currently going through the courts re access!.
I would also suggest you look at doing the Freedom Programme run by Womens Aid as that could well help you and by turn yuor child.
Stay away from him for your own sake; do not continue to be his codependent and patsy. He has messed up your life enough already and has previously shown no real interest in his child either. He continues to manipulate you and sadly you allow him to do so.
sorry not given much of a reason why I like him now. but basically, still after all this i feel i love him. he is very loving to our dd when he is with her and he makes me really happy. we have the same sense of humour, really close sexually, similar wave length in general, i feel myself around him and we laugh so much. if he sorted out his issues then for me he would be the perfect man.
thank you for posting atilla, i can totally see where you are coming from. I've read the lundy book, had a lot of support from womens aid, and am still doing counselling at the moment. thats why i'm unsure why i am considering trying again. I thought I could see all his little tricks but maybe not... i just feel like i dont want to be with anyone else but him. i cant believe i miss him so much.
I've got experience of one not working too.
I don't want to go into too much detail but we were very young when we met, he was very abusive, something awful happened and the police were involved and we parted. One year on we ended up getting back in touch and he seemed like a changed man, as though he'd really grown up, I still felt a lot of love for him. We ended up back together, moving in, and we went on for over a year and there was no violence, then I became pregnant and it wasn't until the very end of the pregnancy he became violent again only worse than before. I have to go through the whole trauma of starting again, again.
Personally I would urge you to keep away, you've been through a huge upheaval already, only you know how long it's taken you to get this far, please don't risk going back.
Because he has been violent and abusive, and because you are obviously finding it difficult, I would keep contact for your dd on neutral territory and even have a go between for you both.
thank you otehrs too, you posted so fast i didnt notice your messages! I thikn you could all well be right. you were right when i posted about leaving him in the first place. i'm so gutted. i wanted us to be a happy family. as i say, i've got all the help, read the books etc. are there really never any situations where they DO change?
Women don't go to refuges because they fancy a change of scene. You were at risk, and you knew it. Perhaps you were battered. And now you've moved across the country. But he knows where you are and he has followed you.
Please don't tell me it's because of your DD, and because he's such a great Dad.
You are placing yourself in danger because he has made you feel good. But abusive charmers specialise in that. They are also adept at looking amazing, and seeming like the perfect man. That's what they all do. Some of the most dangerous are very good at sex too. (Very good.)
Please listen to your friend, and get him away from you. This won't go anywhere good. I'm sorry.
You decided on the second meeting up with a man who gave up the program he was on to try and help resolve his issues to fall for his charms.
It is understandable that you still love him. However at the moment you are your own worse enemy and you are the danger to yourself.
You want to believe he has changed. You want to believe it will different.
How many times did you think/want that after he had been nasty to you and before you got the balls to leave?
He hasn't been trying over the last year, he as been lying about drugs and drink and not giving a shit about your DD until it suits him to wander back into her life and try and get back into your knickers.
he hasnt really bothered with me up until recently tho. it's stupid i know, but it was me who asked him if he wanted to meet up :S . he recognises his abusive behaviour and has done/waiting for new abuser programme.
He is very unlikely to have changed permanently. When you first got together, he was probably like he's being to you now?
You shouldn't have started meeting him. I think you should stop now.
In the year you've been apart, he has still been lying, taking drugs, boozing, rejected contact with your dd. He hasn't actually completed any perpetrator programme. A couple of months of minor effort from him and you want to fall back in his arms?!
It is just words, the familiar and wishful thinking on your part.
"sorry not given much of a reason why I like him now. but basically, still after all this i feel i love him. he is very loving to our dd when he is with her and he makes me really happy. we have the same sense of humour, really close sexually, similar wave length in general, i feel myself around him and we laugh so much. if he sorted out his issues then for me he would be the perfect man."
I wonder what you learnt about relationships when growing up?. If this guy makes you happy I'd hate to see the type of person who makes you sad.
You need to stop your heart ruling your head here and see this for what it really is now. This is all about power and control.
HE has to be the one who wants to sort out his issues for his own self, doing that for you is doomed to failure. You cannot make him sort out his myriad of issues, he likely does not want to anyway and you should not try either.
The above also sounds like a triumph of hope over experience, he is showing nice behavioiurs towards you at present so you think he's lovely.
Do not forget that he was the one after all who as described in your initial post kept disappearing, made no effort with your DC (still doesn't probably), lying about drugs and alcohol; the list goes on. Addicts are selfish creatures and only care about their own selves; you are letting your heart rule your head here.
As I stated earlier, he hit paydirt when he met you. He has the ideal victim in you who thinks he is going to change for good and the better this time.
You have a choice re him; your child does not. Protect your child; she comes first and foremost. Not him and certainly not your innate need for a man to be in your liferegardless of however inadequate he actually is.
Please listen to the other op. I know from personal experience how hard it is. And I know how hard it is to start all over again.
If you do go back with him, and when he starts abusing you again, because he will. It will be harder to leave a second time, you won't want to admit it's happening again and will end up staying and hiding the abuse. You won't want to admit that people were right.
A year isn't that long to get over someone, especially such a traumatic relationship. Give yourself more time and I don't really think that you should be having direct contact with him under the circumstances. I know it's difficult as you have a dd but something else could be arranged.
2 women a WEEK are killed by their partners.
1 in 4 women are abused in their lifetimes
The Police take a call concerning domestic violence Every second of every day
Your Ex has not changed, he has latched back on. If he were 'cured' he would know what he did to you, how he harmed you and your DD and he'd stay away. So that you and she can heal.
He's come slinking back, cos he sees you as an easy touch.
". he recognises his abusive behaviour and has done/waiting for new abuser programme".
No he does not recognise his abusive behaviour at all and he knows where you now live to boot. He's already not completed one programme and perpatrator programmes do not work for abusive men; they learn how to be more careful next time around in such programmes. Such men continue to abuse.
You may well have to move again ultimately.
He does not think he has done anything wrong in the first place.
You need to look long and hard at your own self here because you are also responsible now for the situation you are now in. You risk going back to square one all over again and for a lowlife like him as well.
You cannot fix such damaged souls by loving them better. You were in a refuge because of him in the first place!.
One more thing to consider, if you let this man back into your home, and when he abuses you again. You may be seen as not capable of protecting your dd.
If you ever have to call the police, or your dd witnesses something and tells someone, ss will be informed.
It's just not worth it. There are plenty of other men out there who won't shout, push you and threaten.
i reslly appreciate all your thoughts. i think its important to let you know that he left hsi original program because of him relocating . he never argues or tries to justify what he has done . he has been the one to say that after the other night we should cool tings off and be very cautious. theres no way that either of us would rush back into being together again. surely some men do change, otherwise the RESPECT programmes would be a total waste of money?
You seem very anxious to justify your decision to get back together with him and very keen for endorsement that people change for the better. But the reason you're not getting any support for that from either your friend or strangers on this board is that most of us have made exactly the same error of judgement and come out of it worse off.
Ultimately it's your life, your decision, and your bed that you'll be lying in. Just think about it long and hard and make sure you're not settling for more punishment just because you're lonely.
I think the success rate is very low - presumably it's better than doing nothing.
Look, he's done nothing to show you he's changed. You have met twice and talked, after a whole year of him being an arse (and how ever many years of abuse prior to that).
If he can change, there is no problem with waiting and have him show you. Continue your counselling, have him complete a programme, not take drugs, not booze, behave well & engage with your dd, all without the carrot of a potential rekindling of your relationship and no direct contact between you.
Wait at least another year or more, focus on rebuilding a life without him in it. If after the dust has properly settled he can demonstrate he's a changed man, then reconsider. Presently he's held it together a few weeks and been nice to you twice.
Gruffalo, good men are not rare. I wonder if there is a part of you that worries if you "let this one go" that you won't find anyone else who makes you feel the way he does? Because I promise you that you will. Maybe not straight away but one day, and believe me there will be people out there who are on your wavelength, shared interests, make you laugh, good in bed, etc etc, but they will be kind, too, and affectionate and thoughtful and will value and admire you for who you are, encourage your dreams, inspire you. I don't know if that sounds impossible (it certainly did to me, a long time ago now!) but the truth is you don't have to compromise in a relationship - there isn't "one" right person for anyone, there are lots of people that they would make a good match with, and lots of people who are a good match in some ways but not in others. Don't fall for thinking that you can be happy with someone in this category, because it just doesn't work long term.
Have you read the Lundy book? There's a section near the end which details the possibility of changing and how you can tell if it's happening or not. He also warns that it is very rare and takes a long, long time. Honestly less than a year is NOT long enough for him to have dealt with all of the issues that made him think that the abuse was okay in the first place, to come to terms with what he has done (fully, not just feeling bad for what he has done because of what he has lost) and to re-form his thinking patterns and how he will deal with future situations to an extent that he will automatically deal with them in the new way rather than having to consciously remember.
Hmmm. I don't think all abusive men are beyond redemption, if they seek the right help, confront the root causes of their behaviour, and are able to admit their failings without making excuses.
I do, however, think it's pretty unlikely that he can change the pattern of behaviour he had with you, if you allow him back into your life. I think he may make a decent non-abusive partner to someone else one day, but I think if you take him back then it will eventually slip into the familiar routine of physical and verbal abuse as soon as he loses his temper over anything. Because that is the script for the pair of you. That is what he knows, and he knows you know that script too - and yet here you are!!! By having him back you've basically sent the message that you've forgiven him, it doesn't matter that much really, whatever you may have said in the past, and you are willing to take the risk again.
And I think you will find yourself, every time there is a row or a disagreement, of being accused of goading him, being smug and superior and just willing him to fail by pushing his buttons.
Join the discussion
Already registered? Log in with:
Please login first.