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I have changed, I love you, will do anything to keep us together!!

(156 Posts)
Funnyfishface Thu 09-Oct-14 07:59:12

Married 25 years. 2 grown up DS. Couples counselling 16 months.
Dh is controlling, EA, VA etc.
4 weeks ago I told him that I couldn't go on like this anymore. I care for him but I'm falling out of love with him.
He is in complete denial. And for the last 4 weeks I have the 'changed man', he says he loves me. He has seen the error of his ways and will do anything to keep us together.
Of course we have been here hundreds of times and each time I get reeked back in.
How do I know for sure that THIS time could be different.

I have seen a solicitor, I have spoken to DS and my family. Lots of RL support. No financial worries.
It's just that dilemma - what If this time he means it. My head is saying there is no way he can keep this going. But I'm surprised it's lasted 4 weeks.

Any advice welcome.

cailindana Thu 09-Oct-14 08:07:19

So what if he means it? Does that mean you're required to stay?

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 09-Oct-14 08:08:24

Set against 25 years of abusive behaviour, you have to assume that THIS time it's going to end up exactly the same way as all the others. Suggest you relax, observe, say nothing, but keep a diary and record when this 'changed man' mask starts to slip. As ever, you must hope for the best but plan for the worst. Glad you've taken legal advice.

Funnyfishface Thu 09-Oct-14 08:45:47

It's tiring. And for the first time in forever I have taken control of my life.
25 years is a long time to invest.
My question to him though is why is this time different. And why has it taken so long if he is capable of being this changed man

IAmAShitHotLawyer Thu 09-Oct-14 08:48:53

It's called the hoover maneovre and its yet another tactic abusers use to keep you in the relationship.

Suggest you do what Cogito says, observe his behaviour and make notes.

NewEraNewMindset Thu 09-Oct-14 08:48:57

I don't think there has been any 'investment' at all. There has certainly been depreciation - of respect, kindness, love but nothing that I can see you are gaining my continuing to stay. Please leave.

HolgerDanske Thu 09-Oct-14 08:51:13

25 years is far too long to invest, IMO.

And yes, if it was within his power all along to change so effectively, why on earth should you have suffered all that time? That would be adding insult to injury for me, if I'm honest. I could never forgive that.

It's too late now, it's time to have the life you want and can make for yourself. Don't let him take the rest of your life too.

Quitelikely Thu 09-Oct-14 08:56:36

Sooo would you rather waste another 25 years of your life on this man? Do you respect him?

Do you really think he can magically change after all these years? I don't believe for one minute that he can. Your living in a dream world I'm afraid.

All these years you have stayed on the merry go round and each time the end result was the same. It always will be.

It's up to you whether you want to stay on it or not.............

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 09-Oct-14 09:03:17

"My question to him though is why is this time different"

It's unlikely to be different but you know that already. You're facing a big change in your life, massive upheaval (even with support and no money worries) the break up of the family and you're naturally looking for ways to avoid it. For the last 25 years you've probably also maintained an optimism that he would magically transform personality and become the man you thought you fell in love with.

I call this process 'good cop, bad cop' and it's so common in abusive relationships that it's a cliché. Bad cop gets wheeled out when he thinks you need intimidating into submission. Good cop gets wheeled out when he knows he's gone too far & thinks he needs to soft soap you until the dust settles.

NewEraNewMindset Thu 09-Oct-14 09:03:56

Sometimes you adopt the approach of 'better the devil you know'. You become conditioned to the life you know and either don't think you deserve better or don't have the means or energy to make the changes.

However in your case it sounds as though you do have the energy to break away and have even set the wheels in motion to do so, so keep the momentum up please!!

What I've noticed in my parents EA relationship is as my Fathers health deteriorated the balance of power shifted so that my Mother held all of the cards. It's a very interesting dynamic to watch. Unfortunately she is now left caring for him as she decided to stay, don't let that be you.

kaykayblue Thu 09-Oct-14 09:04:13

No, this is a common thing used by abusers and just plain wankers alike.

When they think that their partner is genuinely on the cusp of leaving, they suddenly do a 180 personality change to reel them back in. Once they are sure they "have" them again, then gradually the mask will slip until it's back to square one.

Also, as a previous poster pointed out - even if this time he WAS a changed man - that implies that for the last TWENTY FIVE YEARS he was treating you like shit by choice. If it was this easy for him to change personalities, why didn't he do it sooner rather than making you suffer?

I suspect you will find that Mr Nice Guy doesn't last very long when you demonstrate that it isn't working, and you still plan to leave.

Are you in contact with women's aid?

Vitalstatistix Thu 09-Oct-14 09:05:18

25 years is a long time to invest.

30 is longer.

40 is longer still

60 is a bloody long one

At some point you just have to cut your losses.

If he's not changed in 25 years, he's not going to change now. He's just saying what he thinks will get you to shut up and have things go back to how they usually are.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 09-Oct-14 09:05:36

BTW..... couples counselling is never recommended where there is any kind of abusive, controlling or bullying behaviour present. It is a complete waste of time. Has someone been letting you pay for that?

Thumbwitch Thu 09-Oct-14 09:32:24

You've already answered your own question really - you've been here 100s of times before, why is this one different? Answer: it isn't. All he's doing is trying to make sure you don't escape - and he will continue to be as pleasant as he can until you give in and say you're staying, at which point he will of course revert to type.

What you really need to be careful of, though, is that he isn't manoeuvring behind the scenes - hiding assets, moving money etc. - and then when you've decided that you'll stay, he'll hit you with a "I want a divorce".

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 09-Oct-14 09:46:44


No decent counsellor should ever have seen the two of you together in the first place. He has likely manipulated the counsellor as well to get this person to feel sorry for him. The fact that you've been in such counselling as well for 16 months is appalling.

Couples counselling was and is a waste of time in your particular circumstances because of his ongoing abuse towards you. Such men never apologise nor take any real responsibility for their actions; he has acted like this because he can.

Now unsurprisingly he has stated again that he will change. He will keep up the act as long as you fall for it and you have done over and over. What draws you back in?. Time to call a halt to this sham of a marriage; you need to get off the merry go round.

It could be that you are getting further caught up in the "sunken costs fallacy" - you state that 25 years is a long time to invest. You have emotionally invested in this but what you forget here is that the damage by you to him has already been done. Being caught up in such a fallacy as well can lead you to make silly decisions i.e. staying with him yet again. You cannot go on repeating your part in this overall cycle of abuse expecting this time a different result because it simply will not happen.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Thu 09-Oct-14 10:06:38

We don't know him like you do but it sounds as if you taking the reins for the first time ever has rattled him.

Twenty five years is a long time but twenty six even longer. Sorrowful, repentant, he buys more time. For what exactly?

thenamehaschanged Thu 09-Oct-14 11:37:03

You can do it Funnyfishface!!! He's never going to change no matter what he says now - don't give him anymore of your precious life. So what you married him, he doesn't own you - forget the bounds of marriage and the weight of family responsibility and just look at him as a shit boyfriend you need to dump!

Dinnaeknowshitfromclay Thu 09-Oct-14 11:46:40

OP, look at this the other way around. He is now a changed man right? Well that means that his piss poor behaviour was a choice. A choice he made on a minute to minute basis. Whether he will revert is almost neither here nor there a dead cert but do you want to waste any more time on someone that has made billions of decisions over that 25 years to abuse you and treat you like shite?

Isetan Thu 09-Oct-14 12:05:59

So which is it, the last 25 years of abuse happened because he didn't realise the pain he was putting you through but faced with the prospect of you leaving he's had an epiphany.


Faced with yet another threat of you leaving, he's employed the often used 'I've changed' tactic that has been so successful for him in the past.

Keep going with your plans to leave, bad cop will soon make a re-appearance when the taxing (to him) good cop doesn't deliver.

Whats different now? Depressingly, absolutely nothing.

AnyFucker Thu 09-Oct-14 12:08:14

And the definition of madness is....

Sallyingforth Thu 09-Oct-14 12:20:47

People do not change their entire way of life overnight.

People cannot change their entire way of life overnight.

Just that.

Meerka Thu 09-Oct-14 13:27:05

What sallly says.

If you change, and a few people do, it takes time, bloody hard work and many, many mistakes and slips before you start really reliably starting on a different path. (unless there's something incredibly dramatic like a near-death experience or travels to the middle east war zones or similar; you're not talking small stuff).

He doesnt want to loose you but he's NOT changed. Not yet and if he's emotionally abusive, he almost certainly never will.

If there is any hope at all for your marriage he needs to give you a long space to think things through because you will be needing to start to recover from 25 years of abuse. He should move out for a while and not take it for granted that you'll be back together again for sure.

Put that to him and see what he says. Also, go to a solicitor and start seeing what your rights are. Actions speak louder than words. And oh, protect your arse - take copies on the quiet of all important paperwork, or hide the ones that are vital like your passport.

Jan45 Thu 09-Oct-14 13:37:20

Cut your losses, things will revert to type as soon as you relax and he thinks it was just you going `off on another one`, you certainly don't need permission from an abuser/bully to live the life YOU want.

TortoiseUpATreeAgain Thu 09-Oct-14 13:56:25

If he hasn't changed in 25 years then he's not going to change now. Really. Really really really.

Or look at it another way.


(a) He can't change; he's too stuck in the old patterns of behaviour and will always fall back into them.


(b) He can change -- and he can do it just like that overnight without any professional input or counselling. It's just that he's only chosen to do it when his own personal comfort is threatened. Nothing that you've been through over the past twenty-five years motivated him to change: your comfort and your unhappiness didn't matter to him. These are not the actions of someone who loves you.

He actually comes out of this slightly better if it's option (a), oddly enough.

helpmekeepstrong Thu 09-Oct-14 16:12:49

You know, in your heart that he can't keep this up. Once he senses that he has persuaded you, yet again, to maintain the status quo, he will fall back into the old routine...... yet again.
Each time he succeeds in this, it must surely confirm to him that you are his to rule.
Be resolute. You have family support and can have independence.
You've invested 25 years and must have some good memories as well as bad.
Spend the next 25 making some more good memories. Just ones that don't involve him.

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