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Surviving years of relationship hell to wedded bliss with the same man?

(10 Posts)
luckypinkheather Thu 13-Oct-16 01:07:26

I have been with my husband for nearly two decades and married now for 5 years. We have a great relationship and I love him very much.

However for a period of about 5 years in our 20's our relationship was sheer hell, I just felt like he hated me. It was literally so bad I couldn't believe we actually stayed together all that time. He was emotionally abusive, I was walking around on egg shells terrified that any little thing I would do might set him off. He would go into these moods where he would just ignore me and not show me any affection or anything.

We would reach crisis point all the time and I really think he wanted to dump me but didn't. I would often day dream about leaving him too but just couldn't bring myself to do so partly because I did still feel I loved him and partly because I felt I'd never get another boyfriend if I did.

During this time we did always still keep having sex and the sex was good surprisingly but it did help us keep some degree of closeness.

Then somehow things just started to get better between us. I took a job away which gave us some enforced distance and helped us to realise how much we did really love each other. We also both started making more of an effort to be there for each other to share things and to show affection. Now I'd say we are probably one of the happiest couples I know.

The fact that we survied the hell we put each other through all those years seems to have made us stronger like we can survive anything together and that we can rely on each other come what may. But honestly looking back at those bad times I just cannot believe how awful they were and that we survied.

Has anyone else experianced this sort of thing and do you think that other couple going though even a bad period now where splitting up seems the only answer could pull through if they just gave it long enough even if that was years?

Atenco Thu 13-Oct-16 04:17:36

No, never heard of the like. Just goes to show that the exception proves the rule.

leopardchanges Thu 13-Oct-16 05:22:20

No. never heard anything like that.

Great it worked out for you.

The thought springs to mind of the 1 in a million people who keep a loved one on life support for twenty years, having been told they're in a vegetative state with no hope of recovery and should turn off the life support, but refuse, only for the loved one to wake up 20 yrs later and be fine. Then everybody else who finds themselves with a loved one in that situation remembers that one case and thinks they should just hold on a little bit longer.

You were lucky. Many people who remain in abusive relationships end up broken, either figuratively or literally - or dead.

flapjackfairy Thu 13-Oct-16 05:32:44

I was never in an abusive relatonship but i wouldnt wish the early yrs of my marriage on anyone!. We were both v strong people and constantly tried to fight for control(not physically i hasnt to add). We had some (many) times when commitment to the relationship was all that kept us together.
We have now been married nearly 30 yrs and i am so glad we stuck it out! I always loved him but wow the last 15yrs or so have been amazing. We have both grown up and learnt to compromise and i truly have the marriage i always wanted. I adore the man.

So to answer your question yes it does happen and hopefully it doesnt take others as long as it took us !

Strawberry90 Thu 13-Oct-16 05:39:18

Yes we have done this - circumstances out stress on us which we took out on each other. WAs hell and we were both v happy. But then the circumstances changed, less stress and we both grew up a bit and learnt how to manage conflict in our relationship. Not at all easy - took so much and would have been much easier to split but we were both committed to change and too bloody minded to split up. In our case though we were already married when we hit out bad patch.

However if anyone reading this is in a similar bad phase I'd caution against staying together - the heartache and effort it caused me to fix things took so much out of me. Also you should never stay in an abusive relationship.

Strawberry90 Thu 13-Oct-16 05:40:21

Ps someone once told me the secret to staying married is to not want to divorce at the same time!

Anniegetyourgun Thu 13-Oct-16 05:40:33

I kept hanging on for 23 years with that hope. To be fair, it was never as horrible as yours sounds at its worst, but whenever one thing seemed to improve another went downhill. I kept thinking there was progress, I was learning to handle him better, he was "getting it", but then something else would kick off and I'd wonder what the hell was going on. I have reluctantly concluded that he kept shifting the goalposts on purpose to keep me uncertain because he couldn't handle me being confident and comfortable. We were married for just under 25 years. If only I hadn't had that stupid hope thing going on I could have spared myself a couple of decades of shit.

Here's the thing, though: I would have said right up to a couple of years before the end that my marriage was happy... mostly. I had to get over not only the lies he told me but the lies I told myself, based on the misconceptions I had been fed from an early age. I managed to get over my conditioning but he couldn't overcome his.

Strawberry90 Thu 13-Oct-16 05:41:51

Ps meant unhappy in my post obviously - stupid autocorrect!

UptheAnty Thu 13-Oct-16 05:53:13

This is a very interesting thread op, I've thought about this recently as I'm in a very happy stage of my marriage.
I love strawberrys comment above ^^.

We've had some extremely difficult times and both have behaved appallingly towards each other at times.

We have been together for over 20 years, since we were very young. I think we've made all our mistakes together. We didn't evolve separately and take our wisdom and life lessons into our relationship iyswim - we experienced them together. Bad & good.

I think it comes down to the fact that we have a lot of love for each other and are truly committed to our marriage.
I cringe when I think of some of our bad behaviour in the past and sometimes I feel sad at the way we have hurt each other as we weren't respectful or kind enough with our relationship at times.
But ultimately we have arrived at a mutually respectful partnership and may have finally reached a truely mature relationship filled with kindness.

TheSparrowhawk Thu 13-Oct-16 07:25:15

I'm really glad things worked out for you. I hope your DH realises what he put you through and how you hung in there while treated you like shit for such a long time.

I would never advise someone to do what you did. Bad batches of a few months or even a year are to be expected and are worth working through. But 5 years of 'utter hell'? Life is very short, and I wouldn't advise anyone to waste that amount of time being abused.

Perhaps if you had walked away earlier it'd have been resolved sooner. My DH was a shit for 18 months after DC was born. I tried to resolve it, then said I'd had enough and wanted a divorce. He sorted himself out and now we're better than we've ever been.

My point is, passively accepting abuse is never a good idea. If the relationship is genuinely good and your partner genuinely kind then demanding a stop to the abuse will work. If it doesn't work, then it's time to walk away.

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