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Finally left EA husband. Have I made a mistake?

(36 Posts)
Tangledfairy Fri 18-Nov-16 21:33:34

Hi - long time lurker and I really hope someone with a similar experience can help me. Sorry this is so long.

A bit of background. For many years now I have been unhappy in my 20 year marriage. My DH is basically a good man but very controlling. He is a classic Mr Right from Lundy Bancroft's book and Mr Power from "Too Good to Leave, too bad to stay". For example, opens my mail, rushes to pick up my mobile and refuses to hand it over until he has read the latest messages, our email accounts were all linked so nothing was private there (although I could read his too), continually makes digs about my weight as I have been 2.5 stone overweight for years, my cooking is never up to scratch, he puts me down a lot and tells me I am stupid. He is constantly moaning about life in general and me in particular.

There is anger bubbling under the surface all the time which flares up during the day over trivial things, and he totally overreacts to every unimportant little thing, eg someone spilling something or breaking a cup. He makes a problem where there isn't one. He also belittles people and can be quite a bully. His brothers always talk about their unhappy childhood with their very strict father and their unemotional, cold mother. He doesn't seem to remember any of this, although his mother said he got the worst of his father's beatings as he was the eldest.

I have dreamed of leaving him for years when he is being nasty, but then things settle down, but never lasts. I have tried to discuss things in the past (about 15 years ago when we were going through a bad patch) and he got quite threatening, so that's why I didn't discuss things before I left, as he refuses to. He won't even discuss going on anti depressants (either ignores me or snaps 'No') as I believe they have helped him in the past.

He does have a lot of good points, really good with the grandchildren, plays with them and takes them for walks and to the park etc. Always willing to give anyone a lift or help anyone with anything. He says he likes helping people. He has been a hard worker over the years and worked long hours, but he loved his job. He is now retired.

There have been many many instances of his nastiness over the years - so uncaring, unaffectionate, rude, hurtful, and the final straw was his lack of emotional support when my mother died a few weeks ago. Not even a hug or commiseration on her death when he returned home. He was really unpleasant and was saying things like he might not come to the funeral, or not come in the funeral car with the family, as he had fallen out with my father on holiday. This was the final push for me to go. With all the sadness it was extra stress I didn't need. In actual fact he did come to the funeral and after that things did Improve for a couple of weeks, but everything for my move had already been set in motion by then.

I am 59 now with limited mobility and so leaving was a huge decision. I found a little house to rent and gradually moved smaller stuff in, and then on a day when he was out, a few weeks ago, I hired a removal company to move a bed and sofa. My family all helped me settle in and after a week everything looked great.

The moving day was very traumatic, my stomach was churning and I had a lump in my throat that wouldn't go away. My husband rang when he got home that evening, but unfortunately before he had read the email I had sent him. We had a long conversation and he was reasonably calm, but got angry towards the end and hung up. After the initial euphoria wore off, I started to doubt my decision.

A week later I was toying with the idea of going round to the house to talk to him and discuss the reasons for leaving more fully, but then I had a voicemail from MIL's carer saying was everything OK as she couldn't get in touch with DH. That got me worried, as in spite of all the nastiness I wouldn't want anything to happen to him. So I went round and he let me in. We started talking and he was absolutely distraught. I've never seen anyone so upset. Said his head felt as though it was going to explode and he couldn't stay in the house alone. He had joined about five social groups and had been out on three meet ups in that first week.

We talked all afternoon and he really wanted me to come back and promised to try and control his anger. He said I don't show him any affection, which is true, because he is always angry with me. We don't touch or kiss or cuddle at all and haven't for years. If, after a month, I didn't think he had changed in that respect then he would go to counselling or we would both go. I found during that talk that I did want to come back and try again, but I think my decision was partly influenced by seeing him so upset and by guilt at the way I sneaked away. I also missed my lovely comfortable home that we have built up over the years. Anyway I've been back a week now and things have been OK, but obviously he is on his best behaviour and I am trying to be more affectionate. I did used to be really affectionate to him, but gradually stopped after all the hurtful things he did and said.

So my problem is have I made the right decision to come back. I've signed a six month tenancy for the new house, taken on a broadband contract, arranged utilities etc. and spent quite a bit of money on furniture, and all my family have spent time helping me get settled. They didn't think it was a good idea to go back to him so quickly as they know what he is like. He is their DSF not DF. During the week I've been back home there have been several digs about the money I have wasted, and how it would have paid for two holidays. He has stood back and let me pay for two food shops and a meal out, and I've seen him bite words back a couple of times. Also during the initial talk my weight was mentioned again. My weight is a big thing for him.

I feel so torn. My life will be easier financially if I come back, but it wasn't just the anger, there were so many other things that wore me down. I couldn't face another twenty years of the life I was living, the feeling of being on edge in case he insulted someone (which he would call just joking) and the damage to my self esteem.

I welcome your advice and thoughts on what a disaster I have made of things. Has anyone had a partner like this who changed. According to the self help books a 'Mr Power' does not usually change. My rented house is still waiting for me if I want to go back.

Cricrichan Fri 18-Nov-16 21:49:13

Hi lovely. I think you should move out. You've got it all lined up so move out. See what it's like to live without him because I'm sure you'll be a lot happier.

splendidglenda Fri 18-Nov-16 21:54:24

I'm not in the best position to give advice but just wanted to give you theseflowersbrew

splendidglenda Fri 18-Nov-16 21:56:45

A major positive here is that you have the space and freedom to move out quickly if you need. You're in a better position than you were before

ElspethFlashman Fri 18-Nov-16 22:01:32

I give it another week before he can't keep the lid on it any more. Maybe two.

Thank god you have your escape route.

softboiledeggs Fri 18-Nov-16 22:09:45

Hmm the several digs about the 'wasted' money while he's on best behaviour doesn't bode well.
Had he treated you better you wouldn't have had to take the steps you did.
If he was truly sorry surely he would be showing remorse for pushing you away not making digs at you about it?
It sounds like money well spent, I hope he can change for you but if he doesn't you have a home to go to that's all your own flowers

Fontella Fri 18-Nov-16 22:10:04

Leave while you still can and stay away this time. You have had years of unhappiness and you are signing yourself up for years more.


jeaux90 Fri 18-Nov-16 22:10:54

People don't change love. They can adapt their behaviour a bit for a while but they don't change. X

Costacoffeeplease Fri 18-Nov-16 22:14:02

He really won't change permanently- go back to your sanctuary

DamePlata Fri 18-Nov-16 22:24:57

Be brave and see it through. brew

DamePlata Fri 18-Nov-16 22:28:11

Rather than reflect on why you left him, how he nearly lost you, instead he got you back and chose to reprimand you for ''wasting money''. And that is in the immediate aftermath of your return. What will he be like next week.

I left my x once and foolishly returned and he made digs about my ''tin pot parade''.

My tin pot parade!! I left him for about twenty excellent reasons. The second time I left it was no ''tin pot'' parade.

TrishanFlips Fri 18-Nov-16 22:39:38

I don't think he will change. Leave him. Get divorced so you are in control of your own life. But you could perhaps develop a friendship with him, meet up for meals, days out etc. at least you will be indecent that

TrishanFlips Fri 18-Nov-16 22:40:28


hesterton Fri 18-Nov-16 22:45:44

Look, he joined social groups not because he missed you but because he is too inadequate to be on his own. He's terrified of not having someone to make him feel like the big man.

Please, please move back to your rented place. This man will let you down again. Probably about a week after you've given up the rental.

Featherybum Fri 18-Nov-16 23:30:22

He sounds horrible tbh. Please think about going back to your new place. If he's determined to work through his issues with therapy then you can do that if you want (and only if YOU want, stuff what he wants tbh) but tbh it sounds like he's made you very unhappy. You deserve better op, i know it must be harder if you are at an age whete your children have grown up and you have put up with EA fpr so many years but you still have rhe rest of your life to enjoy, and be free and be yourself.

PurpleWithRed Fri 18-Nov-16 23:42:40

If you feel you have to stay - and I can understand you might - think now about what the deal breakers for you will be. What is the line he must not step over again? What would tell you he hasn't changed and your decision to leave was right? Whatever happens hang on to your bolthole and make it clear to him he's on trial.

nicenewdusters Fri 18-Nov-16 23:46:47

Absolutely go back - to your new home, your new life, away from this vile, horrible, bullying man-child.

He can't cope on his own, without someone to control to make himself feel better. Tough luck. All those tears were for him, not you.

Leave before you're posting after another year, 5 years, 10 years.

You've done a massively brave thing. Leave and carry on being brave.

category12 Sat 19-Nov-16 00:41:01

Go back to your nice little house and enjoy the 6 months tenancy. If you still want to go back to him after that, do it. But give yourself that time to see what life is like.

goddessofsmallthings Sat 19-Nov-16 00:42:52

He had joined about five social groups and had been out on three meet ups in that first week

What does that tell you about him? When his wife cum cook/cleaner, launderess/emotional punchbag walked out on him, his first thought was to find a replacement asap.

All you are to him is, as regular poster SolidGoldBrass would say, a domestic appliance with a vagina and it's abundantly clear that he doesn't give a flying fuck for your feelings.

You left because you "couldn't face another twenty years" of the life you were living and "the feeling of being on edge in case he insulted someone (which he would call just joking)" and the "damage it was doing" to your self esteem and I suspect that your lovely family are wringing their hands in despair at the thought of you signing up for another 20 years of being on the wrong end of this controlling and abusive twat's temper and tongue.

You know that hoping he'll undergo any kind of change for the better is the equivalent of pissing in the wind and that, unless you want to spend the rest of your life being a martyr to his cause, you should return to your newly created sanctuary and institute proceedings to divorce without further ado.

Your h's spots won't turn to stripes in this lifetime and joint marital counselling won't produce a different outcome as it's not recommended when one party to the marriage is an abuser.

Tell him that you've got no intention of wasting the money that would have "paid for two holidays" and that when the "lovely comfortable home" that has been "built up over the years" is sold, you'll be checking into a health spa and going on a world cruise lot more vacations. smile

AcrossthePond55 Sat 19-Nov-16 01:07:31

Leave. If he is truly interested in healing your marriage he will be eager to go to marital counseling whilst you are living apart. He'll be eager to 'earn' you back by seeking counseling himself as well to change his EA behaviour. And that does require separate counseling. If he's not willing to do that now, before you consider coming home, then all he's interested in is a housekeeper and whipping boy. You deserve much better than that. Remember, it's better to be alone, than to wish you were!

You're right, he's simply on his 'best' behaviour right now. And that never lasts.

Hidingtonothing Sat 19-Nov-16 01:32:07

You've gone back out of guilt and a touch of the sunk cost fallacy from the sounds of it OP, neither of which are enough to sustain staying with him long term. He hasn't even been able to restrain himself from criticising for the short time you've been back so I suspect within another week or two it will become clear to you that nothing has really changed, nor is it likely to and your decision will become clear.

You're in a good position, your bolthole is there waiting for you and, when you go back, you can be sure in your own mind that you tried your best. I think that's all this (you going back) is, your way of confirming to yourself that you haven't acted too hastily and that leaving really is the right thing to do.

saintagur Sat 19-Nov-16 02:50:24

Don't waste the remainder of your life out of pity or obligation to him. You owe him nothing but the honesty to explain why you had to leave, which you have done. He is clearly inadequate and totally dependent upon you. A home, however comfortable, is not really a home when you are living with an abuser.

You have been very brave in doing what you have done in getting away, especially after such a long relationship, and the reasons for doing this still exist. Perhaps in time, as a PP suggests, you might be friends, see him for meals etc.

Please don't go back to him or, at least, stay in your new place for the duration of the tenancy, to give your self physical and head space. You are being emotionally blackmailed into returning; don't go there! He is still making nasty personal comments, even when on his best behaviour. Once the tenancy is up, there will be virtually no chance of you getting away again. It's probably your last and only chance to escape. You do know that, don't you?

Aussiemum78 Sat 19-Nov-16 04:01:18

I left a similar man in march after 17 years.

I've been through every emotion - relief, hope for a happier future. He chased me for awhile, threatened suicide, then when that wasn't working started ignoring our daughter and moved another woman into my home. I know I've made the right decision, but I won't lie - all the years of being told I'm not good enough and him moving on so quick have had me doubting myself. But that's emotions, I know logically he will be the same with the next girl before long - he's too selfish and bad tempered to change at 45.

For the record I left once before and went back after 9 months. He behaved better until I sold the second property and was not working full time anymore - then the old him resurfaced. I wasted another 7 years trying to fix it.

Ohdearducks Sat 19-Nov-16 04:34:30

He will not ever change, it sounds like he's chomping at the bit to unleash his true self again. I suspect when your tenancy is up and you no longer have an escape route (if he can hold it in that long) he will show his true colours again.
After 20 years of abuse he doesn't deserve this millionth chance to change. He doesn't love you I'm sorry to say, you're just a means to fuel his superior ego, he's unhappy that he had no one to bully anymore. Sorry to be so blunt OP but I can't urge you enough to run like fucking wind.

TheGirlWithAllTheGits Sat 19-Nov-16 04:51:30

You said in your OP that he is "basically a good man" and then listed the bad things he does.

I see it the other way around - he is basically a terrible man who somehow manages to hide it enough for you to think he is worth being married to.

As someone else said, you still have a lot of time left in your life to find happiness and joy and love.

Leave him.

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