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Struggling with new relationship after abusive one

(12 Posts)
Surfboredcat Sat 13-Dec-14 22:51:50

I'm not really sure what I'm asking for on here but I'm alone at home with time to reflect on things, which is unusual (and seemingly not a good thing!)
I've been in a new relationship with a guy who seems like a great match for me for about 3 months now.
So early days.
We're both coming out of long term relationships (he is getting divorced) and are still getting a bit of shit throughout this process.
The problem I'm having is, that up until now everything has seemed amazing.
Too good to be true, if you will. We talk, we fancy each other intensely, we have fun and laugh, we seem to understand each other. Etc. all these things were definitely missing from my previous relationship which was also emotionally and physically abusive.
The thing is, I don't know whether I'm scared of getting hurt, self sabotaging or if there are some small red flags coming up, so need a bit of help.
1) while we were out earlier this week and last night, he kept commenting on the bar maid. Not in a lecherous way but more noticing the way she was dressed and that she'd changed her hair since the last time we'd been in there. The second time he made a couple of comments which alluded to the fact that he found the bar maid attractive. Which is fine. But mentioning it several times, surely isn't fine? Am I making a mountain out of a molehill?
I mentioned it to him in a not so subtle way, which is a first for me because I usually have difficulties asserting boundaries in these sort of circumstances: 'if you keep talking like that I'm likely to get pissed off' and he kept apologising for it and tried to reassure me but I sort of feel like he shouldn't have done it in The first place. (Am I being harsh or overly cautious?!) he does compliment me on my appearance but not a great deal so it probably compounded that fact.
2) he sticks up for his wife all the time when she behaves badly towards him. Always makes excuses for her and tries to justify her behaviour. He also seems to be unnecessarily critical of her in other situations. (She ended the marriage)
This really annoys me as its like he can't see what she does in an objective way.
3) he 'cheated' on his wife by having online chats with other women (I don't really see this as cheating to be honest but respect the fact that she does as I know a lot of people would see it similarly). He told me about it himself but it took a good 2.5 months for him to volunteer the information after I started to think some things didn't add up.
There are plenty of positives too: he tells me how much he cares about me, does little nice things for me, is supportive emotionally etc.
The problem I have is my last relationship was really abusive and unhealthy and I don't know if I'm being unreasonable or not or just running scared/looking for an escape route.
How can I tell the difference? I'm so confused!

Drumdrum60 Sat 13-Dec-14 23:12:23

I agree it was rude to keep mentioning the bar maid. Why on earth would he be mentioning her when you're in the first heady days of your relationship.

My gut reaction was that he isn't being fully honest about why his wife left him. It sounds like it was probably more than chats. He feels guilty and that's why he sticks up for his wife. He wouldn't have left her if she hadn't found out about his extra curricular.

BlackDaisies Sat 13-Dec-14 23:13:46

I think eyeing up other women so openly when he's out with you is not a good sign at all. It shows a lack of respect for you. His history of "online chats" would bother me too. And finally, it seeming "too good to be true" after just three months would make me wary! Personally I'd listen to that gut feeling you obviously have and get out of this relationship (that would be based on the eyeing up other women alone, but even more so with everything else.)

overslept Sat 13-Dec-14 23:21:22

You don't sound ready for a relationship, and to be honest neither does he. He obviously has mixed feelings over his ex if he is sticking up for her when she behaves badly but also becomes critical. What situations bring out the criticism? It sounds like a lot of baggage to be dealing with, new relationships are meant to be fun.

The barmaid thing would annoy me. I'd actually probably say something to the tune of "Really? Why don't you go and see if she feels like same about you?" then give the cold stare. If a hint wasn't taken at that point I'd be off, huge turn off when a man seems more interested in staff/other people than the person he took there! I would have lost interest in somebody who behaved this way pretty much instantly.

The cheating/online chats is a red flag. He was caught by his wife I assume? He knew she would see this as a betrayal and he still did it behind her back. If you stayed with him and he began to chat to women online, if you did not have a problem with it you would be enabling it, and that could be a gateway to him taking the next step. Meeting somebody who he chats to etc. He betrayed his wife, he could do the same to you even if that meant going "further". How his wife felt obviously didn't stop him doing something he knew she would be hurt by.

I'd give up on this one OP, it sounds like hard work for little return. If 3 months in you are having these problems then it's probably only going to get worse. And he sounds like a bit of a prick to be honest.

Surfboredcat Sat 13-Dec-14 23:33:35

Gosh! I was half expecting to be told I'm being unreasonable!
I feel a little bit like my feelings have changed towards him since I found out about the cheating (unsurprisingly) and the only reason I can imagine he mentioned the bar maids is because I'm quite liberal sexually (we have shared fantasies about other people being involved etc but afaic that's all they are) but it actually really fucked me off. I also then felt guilty for bringing it up because he kept apologising, even after I asked him not to.
This weekend is the first time I've felt like this about him, until now things have seemed great.
He is seeing a sex therapist about the cheating but I don't think I'm very happy that he kept it from me for so long.
I might not be emotionally ready for a relationship yet, either, which is a good point. I need the physical side (sex, touch etc) and the talking/laughing but I don't know if I can emotionally commit to anyone yet.
Still so confused!

Patchworkqueen Sat 13-Dec-14 23:54:56

The online chats are cheating though aren't they? But I suspect he is minimising greatly and I think you are right to trust your instincts about red flags. I don't think him commenting about the barmaid is appropriate at all either btw.

I don't think you are ready at all tbh.

Surfboredcat Sat 13-Dec-14 23:56:53

I suppose what I meant by the online chats not being cheating was that it's not a deal breaker for me but I understand that it definitely was cheating in his previous relationship.
He seemed so contrite about it all when he told me!

Patchworkqueen Sun 14-Dec-14 00:23:35

I would wonder if online chats went further though - I don't think many men start online chats without hoping it will progress to meeting up. Of course he would be contrite and minimise wouldn't he - that is pretty standard in this type of situation?

HelenaDove Sun 14-Dec-14 00:52:59

I think he kept on about the barmaid to try and start testing how much you would put up with.

DoIknowitschristmas Sun 14-Dec-14 03:07:26

3 months in, you are starting to get to know him. I have recently ended a 3 month relationship which started with such promise but there were a few niggles like yours. Now it's over I feel relieved.

And your comments about not being ready for a full relationship but needing the intimacy ring true for me too. What is the answer to that one?!

Surfboredcat Sun 14-Dec-14 07:59:23

I hadn't thought about the fact that you're starting to get to know them properly 3 months in. Do you mind me asking what your niggles were doiknow?
I wish I knew what the answer to the intimacy with no full relationship! I really don't want someone just to sleep with as that's not all I need and I'm pretty sure I'll end up getting hurt.confused

FreudianGymSlip Sun 14-Dec-14 09:14:12

I don't think either of you are ready for a relationship and even if you were, would you really want a bloke whose marriage ended because he was chatting to women online regardless of his then wife's objections.

You sound vulnerable and like you need time to process and recover from your previous relationship before you jump into anything. Intimacy takes time to build and two people who are genuinely ready and able to commit. Dating during shitty divorces is often less about liking and wanting a new partner than proving to the previous one that 'I'm so over you'. IMHO anyway.

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