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Has anyone managed to get into a healthy relationship after a string of abusive ones?

(9 Posts)
hhorvath Sat 08-Apr-17 14:21:29

I could use a bit of hope right now.

I'm late 20s and finally getting clarity in terms of the men I choose to spend time with and the bad situations I put myself in, and I want things to change. I want to break the pattern. I've no DC but would like them someday. I've put my parents through hell with my relationships; they've been worried about me throughout my entire adult life because I've been blinded by love, and they described me as brainwashed in my past relationships.

I've read "Why Does He Do That?" and re-educated myself by reading Mumsnet (I used to have another account). All the stuff I used to think was a byproduct of passion was actually abusive. I used to put up with lines like "I hold you to such high standards because I care about you more than anyone else", "look what you made me do!" when smashing something, "I will never love you as much as I love weed", "we are just friends", "you're lucky I found you, you were nothing without me", "I would never lay a hand on you".

I got "lucky" in that I never got into a seriously physically abusive relationship. The worst was my ex pushing me over once, and it never recurred. There was violent/degrading sex and a lot of emotional manipulation.

I want things to change. I don't want to date for a year or more. But I want to be ready to assess a future partner with a cool, rational head and to listen to my own alarm bells. I don't want to make a mistake I made this year, which was to think "this guy is nothing like X or Y, he must be a good one!" when he was just an abuser in a different wrapper.

So I'd like to hear any stories where women have gone on to bigger, better things and made a life for themselves. Thank you.

Not a lot of advice, but

I don't want to make a mistake I made this year, which was to think "this guy is nothing like X or Y, he must be a good one!" when he was just an abuser in a different wrapper.

... makes me think you've got it nailed already.

You've read the books, you know a lot of red flags, you'll be cautious.

Another thing I heard that non-abusive men don't tread on boundaries, which makes them seem like they don't care, but they're only really being respectful. Don't think I worded it well.blush

Mermaidinthesea123 Sat 08-Apr-17 14:32:19

I'm late 50's and no. Sorry. I live alone now and that suits me just fine.

hhorvath Sat 08-Apr-17 16:11:33

Mermaid that's fine, it still sounds like a happy ending to me!

Thanks Preemptive. I think I get what you mean. When I was younger, I used to turn down nicer men because I thought they just weren't that into me, as they weren't crossing boundaries like mad.

Rubyslippers7780 Sat 08-Apr-17 17:15:51

I think you need to take a break from dating. Don't put a time scale on anything. Be comfortable with yourself first and then you are more likely to see other people / potential partners more honestly.

SailAwayWithMeHoney Sat 08-Apr-17 17:45:28

Another thing I heard that non-abusive men don't tread on boundaries, which makes them seem like they don't care, but they're only really being respectful

This. Very much this.

I'm 24 - I fled my abusive boyfriend 3 years ago and went into a refuge with our then 1-year-old. Like you I've read books, I've done the freedom programme etc. Now I can spot red flags and warning signs.
I have "Jerk Radar" by Stephen McCrea which I find is really informative, picks apart some of the "jerky" behaviours and explains what the aim of those behaviours are - it'll probably be quite similar to Lundy's book tbf.

Looking back I can think of 2 boyfriends (other than my 'main' perp if you like) that definitely displayed abusive behaviours. One of them had a couple of little red flags, and then a massive one and I left him. And he didn't get another shot. The next one was alot more subtle, by the time he started showing big flags I was in way too deep (and he knew my perp who I was hiding from). I've been no-contact with him for coming up to 7 months, and I've no interest in seeing him again.

There's been another couple of men that I've been "seeing" here and there, but I very much operate a 3-strikes rule. Depending what the red flags are, some are more serious than others, a man will get 3 chances. Because imo a couple of red flags are normal, there are early warning signs that loads of non-abusive people do, but when you start getting 3 or 4 or 5 or massive big ones (criminal history for dv or interpersonal crimes, rape jokes, overriding physical boundaries, history of abusing partners/family, animal abuse, child cruelty etc) then I cut them loose because imo there's no getting better from there.

I think alot of it is trial and error and trusting your ability to cut someone off and call an end to it if something feels wrong.

I'm still in therapy and things so am in no position to be wanting a new relationship, I need to learn to love and trust myself first! But I have met women who've moved on and have wonderful, loving, equal relationships with perfectly normal men. x

Cinnamon2013 Sat 08-Apr-17 17:49:19

Yes, I did. Still here 7 years and two kids later.

I did it by taking pretty similar steps to you - working out why I had chosen badly/not left soon enough before and working out what I really wanted and what would make me feel happy.

You can and will be happy in a relationship with your true equal. From your post I feel really sure about that.

Cinnamon2013 Sat 08-Apr-17 17:50:08

I periodically want to mess it all up but that's another question!

NarcsBegone Sat 08-Apr-17 17:55:02

I'm 38 and only figured out that I make bad choices in men a few years ago! I'm very happily single and don't want another relationship, ever! I wish I had had the insight you have about my choices at your age, it could have saved a lot of heartache, pain and abuse.
I think there's definitely something to be said for having a break from relationships and working on what you want and who you are, maybe learning why you choose these people and how to make different choices in the future.

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