Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Help moving on. Emotionally abusive ex vs new relationship(40 Posts)
I've been separated from my emotionally abusive ex for over 2 years now and slowly dating a new guy for the past 10 months, more seriously the past 6. I'm scared to tell my ex. Petrified.New guy has given the ultimate tell ex about us or it's over.
Ex spends weekend daytime with our children (4 and 7) and me. I know that's an usual set up but his world is falling apart and although I don't want to be with him and his anger anymore I want to support him seeing the children as they mean everything to him. He doesn't see children on his own. New man wants this to change too.
I understand his perspective I really do but he's withdrawn from me and backed off. He's distanced himself. I would have much less of a problem telling ex if I was in a happy stable relationship where I knew we were in a strong place together. I've asked him to show me this but he can't. He can't provide me with this until I tell my ex.
Years of emotional abuse and fear have affected my ability to know what is right. I want to find happiness & perhaps here is an opportunity for that but my ex can be so so difficult and irrational I don't know what to do. Is giving an ultimatum fair or am I walking into fire again.
Any words of wisdom gratefully received!
red flags from this new guy
Unless you tell your ex about him the relationships over.
withdrawing until you conform to his wishes...not a good sign.
If I were you I would let the new guy leave...he seems like another potential abuser.
While it is a little worrying that you are finding it hard to let your ex know about your new relationship it is much more worrying to me that the new guy sees this as SO important and that he is willing to manipulate and control you in this way. This is not the action of a kind or respectful person. I know it's hard but I think you need to take note of this and not bow to any of his 'demands'. He is being abusive, and after so soon it is a very bad sign
I’m confused as to why you are spending weekends with an emotionally abusive ex.
Why can’t he just see the children on his own?
I wouldn’t keep someone a secret that long. He probably still thinks there is a flame burning for your ex and just wants you to show him that you are serious about the relationship.
As for your ex seeing the kids: is there no one else who can facilitate this? If not a family member or Mutual friend then perhaps a contact centre?
It does not seem healthy to me that you are spending weekends with an emotionally abusive ex.
If you have no concerns with how he is with the kids on his own then maybe he could take them out for the day instead of having them at your house?
Tbh I would be the same as your new man if I was in his position. I would want to know I was more important to you than your ex or would walk away for my own MH.
This seems like a very confusing situation.
Do DCs have a relationship with or ever see your new man? If so they will tell their Dad in the end anyway and he will be more angry that he found out that way than being told straight.
If you are that worried about his reaction (eg. That he might get violent) then you should not be on your own with him, and may need to question how safe the kids really are if he is really so mentally unstable?
Good luck OP whatever you decide to do. It may be that your new man is not right for you and that you have not really left it enough time to get over your ex. It may be that new man is in fact controlling/abusive himself, or just feeling insecure.
think you need to consider your ongoing relationship with your ex. He's effectively keeping you on the hook with implied threats and fear. If the children genuinely mean everything to him he will continue to see them without you present, even if that means he has to use a contact centre. However, your new partner is being controlling and think you need to be very careful how you proceed with him as well. Frankly, I think you'd be much better off without any contact with either of them.
The new one is exhibiting signs of manipulation which is emotional abuse.
If your ex isn't a risk to the children he should care for them alone. The fact is he makes you feel responsible for his ability or inability to spend time with his children. That could also be him being manipulative.
So, now your relationship is contingent on you doing what bf wants. Your ex's relationship with his children is contingent on you doing what ex wants. You do now how to pick them!
There is a very real possibility that your ex wants you locked in to playing happy families. The new guy probably just wants to spend quality time with you without the kids.
At the moment you are a reed blown about by the wind. Take control. Decide what you want to happen. That might be to gradually withdraw from playing happy families to give yourself the space and time to have a relationship, but maybe don't rush to spend that time and invest too much into this new man. Make it clear to him you will make time for him, you will tell people about him but you won't be blackmailed.
It is not emotional abuse to give someone an ultimatum. You always have the choice to walk away 😊
Thanks everyone, I know the situation with my ex and the kids isn't good. Initially when I left I wasn't confident to leave them alone & did worry about his anger. He's better now, although is under immense stress from other aspects of his life which means that he finds it hard to deal with them. He's not got family here and only comes back from work at weekends to see girls (works hours away). He's struggling and I want to support him as he has lost everything. But he does still control me (either consciously or not) & I still struggle to go against any decision he makes in fear of his reaction.
The new guys motives seem to be genuine he wants a normal relationship, to show my children how much he cares... but I can also see the red flag flying. He doesn't have contact with my children at the moment.
Why does an ex have to know about a relationship? It's no one's business but yours.
I'd personally see this as a red flag. If I was with someone I couldn't care less if their ex knew about me or not - they are an ex for a reason.
This man sounds like he has trust issues and self esteem issues if he's threatening to break up with you over something like this.
I'd be giving this relationship a serious rethink, especially considering you've already been in one abusive relationship.
Did you do the Freedom Programme when you split from your abusive Ex?
If not then call Womens Aid and get on the course ASAP.
You are missing a whole tonne of red flags here with the new guy and have not managed so far to set good boundaries with your Ex.
The Freedom Programme can help you with all of that.
Isthisreal: I am kind of in your situation. I left in feb, and have been seeing someone quite unexpectedly since April (I known it was early, was meant to be a one or two night type thing didn't think it would carry on so long).
i have 2 kids with my ex and we were together 21 years. He has issues with anxiety and depression and we live abroad so are both a little bit isolated in terms of support. He has the kids alone, but for example on Sunday night we had huge fires here and our house nearly burnt down. He was going to come here and stay with me, so I knew he was safe, but decided like an idiot to stay in the house. Anyway, my point is the next day we were both a bit shell shocked and went for dinner. Today I went to see a new house he is looking at with him. Some people find it strange, but its a hard thing to break. However I have managed to install boundaries and I can walk away when he starts or ignore and he knows this now. He knows we are not getting back together.
Anyway, new guy and I have been seeing each other a lot, he is totally cool with the situation and has not put any pressure on me at all to tell me ex. I am just not ready for the fall out that will come, and in a sense that is him still controlling me. But also I am not ready to be in a conventional relationship with this guy, I am happy and so is he about how things are.
I understand about why you might not want to tell your ex, but its been two years now. I was waiting until we sold our family home just to keep things as calm as possible. For now the kids have something stable, we get on well when we are all together, and to rock that is scary.
Just wanted to say, you need to do it at your own pace, but perhaps the time is coming to tell your ex, but don't be pressured by the new guy. I see where he is coming from in a way, he wants probably to do normal things with you etc and share your life more, but its your decision.
I have done the Freedom Program and of If you stick to everything they tell you you will end up on your own (y’know when you discover that absolutely everyone you know, yourself included, show some of those negative traits some of the time).
It can help you become aware of yours and others behaviours, but it is not realistic that in a relationship you will never say anything mean, shout at or criticise your partner. Or that you’ll never slam a door etc.
It is a brilliant program, don’t get me wrong, but I’m sure on any given day both my DP and I will show one of those negative traits in some way despite not being in an abusive relationship.
There is a spectrum of abusiveness from abusive psychopath to passive angel and nobody is a pure example of either, we are all on that spectrum.
I think you're seriously in danger of going from one abusive relationship into another. As pp have said, do the Freedom programme and some work on relationship boundaries.
You need to get your new bf to back off. It's good you haven't introduced him to your dc yet. I'm worried that he says things like he wants to "show my children how much he cares" - he doesn't know them, it's too effusive, it's too much, it's not genuine. If I were you, I would seriously put the brakes on here.
Regarding your ex, you are carrying too much guilt and responsibility for his emotions - he's lost everything through his own fault and he's a full grown adult man. Spending every weekend with him and the dc is allowing him to continue to manipulate and control you - what you need is better boundaries and distance.
In all honesty, I don't think you should be dating right now. I think you should sort out the situation with your ex, do the Freedom programme and take some time out from relationships.
I don't think it's a red flag for someone in a relationship for 10 months to not want their relationship to be hidden and have to accept the person they're in a relationship with spending every weekend with an abusive ex-partner while they're kept a secret.
I wouldn't be happy with that scenario and I would say things needed to change or I could not see a future.
It's okay in relationships for someone to say what they're unhappy with and that things need to change or they'll move on. That's not manipulative or controlling, it's honesty.
To be honest, I would be withdrawing from you too. I'd see it as you still being controlled by the ex partner and not making any moves to change. I'd think you didn't care enough/respect me or our relationship. I'd see it as you wanting me to commit to you emotionally while you hide our relationship and do whatever to keep the ex happy.
I would have sympathy with you but I'd be wondering if this hasn't changed and isn't changing after almost a year, when would it? Where's the future? We couldn't move on to live together or move forward in our relationship because it would have to be a secret to keep the ex happy.
Really, who would be happy with that? I think he's been honest and if you don't feel able to change things, he's right to walk away.
Thank you allthelightsgoout could not agree more 😊
I can just imagine the responses if a woman posted "I've been seeing a guy for ten months now, more seriously for the past six months. The problem I have is that he refuses to tell his ex about us because he says he's afraid of how she'll react. Also, he and his ex spend every weekend together with the kids, and he says that it's because he wants to support her since she has lost so much."
Responses would be anything from "walk away now," to "he's likely still married and she doesn't know that you're the OW. No-one would suggest that it was emotionally abusive or a red flag to not be happy with this arrangement.
Have you and your ex actually split OP? Because it really doesn't seem like it. If you've not distanced yourself from him then you haven't actually split up have you? The only way you can end this relationship is to tell him that it's over and that you're not responsible for his emotional wellbeing. As for the kids, assuming he's not a danger to them he should be making his own arrangements for contact.
Reality is that this relationship cannot become serious while you're still emotionally bonded to your ex. It's one thing to have a good relationship post split, very positive and something which should be encouraged IMO. But to have a relationship where you are to all intents and purposes still together and you're holding yourself emotionally responsible for his wellbeing? No way would I enter into a relationship with someone in that position, and would tell anyone considering it to run for the hills.
You need to decide what you want here. Because while you're still in this limbo with your ex you're not in a position to move forward with your own life.
The new one is exhibiting signs of manipulation which is emotional abuse
How is it manipulation? He's has said exactly what he feels. Tell him about me or the relationship is finished. To be honest, I would feel the same as the new b/f.
This man sounds like he has trust issues and self esteem issues if he's threatening to break up with you over something like this
For god sake, who wants to be kept a secret? The only one with issues here is the OP and the ex(sorry OP). I understand it's a difficult situation but your b/f is right IMO.
It's time for your ex to see the DCs on his own or give it up. I would ditch the new one as well. Time for a fresh start with no one controlling you.
It's not controlling to suggest that he not be kept a secret after ten months. It's not controlling to suggest that the OP is not responsible for the ex's wellbeing and that given they're supposedly separated they're still playing happy families together every weekend. In fact it very much suggests that they're still together when the ex works away every week and comes home to the OP and his family every weekend.
There is not a person on MN who would tel a poster in this situation that she was controlling if this scenario was presented from the other side.
I really worry about my DS growing up in this world 😞
Men can hardly move without being accused of abuse these days
I will fight every injustice my daughter receives but also every double standard that smacks my son in the face.
Ffs. It is not abusive to leave a situation you no longer want to be in. It is the adult and responsible choice:
To be clear, I don't think it's wrong for the new guy to not like the OP spending the weekends with her ex, but the whole wanting to "show the dc how much he cares" is creepy. Start getting to know them would be one thing, but that's just too much. It's early to want to meet young dc. That he might be right about the contact with the ex doesn't mean he isn't also wrong in other ways.
Given the short break between the two relationships and the fact the OP is still wading through the emotional abuse of her ex doesn't bode well for this being a healthy relationship with the new guy.
Nope, they've been together for ten months. OP is saying that the relationship is becoming serious. It's normal for a new partner to have met children by now.
And while there could be potential for the BF to not yet have met the DC even if the ex wasn't in the picture, the fact is that if the ex is still a part of the family the DC may not even be aware that their parents aren't together any more given they all are together as a family every weekend, and as such we're talking further years not months before the DC even enter into the realms of the OP's new relationship.
That's not realistic because it's A not fair on the DC as by the time they even know of a BF's existance the OP and he will have been in a relationship for years and they will either want to know why they've been excluded for so long, or as they grow up they'll think that there was an overlap and believe that the new man was an affair partner and potentially reason for the split between their parents.
And it's not fair on the BF because he's being expected to wait until a time which suits the OP to break up properly with her ex and to then move forward in a relationship with him.
To put it bluntly, the whole thing is a bloody mess, and the OP is in no situation to be in a relationship with this bloke anyway and he should rightly walk away to find someone who respects him and is free to be with him.
Getout - I hardly see an ex not knowing about ones love life as a 'secret'. It's none of his business. Given that the ex is/was abusive I'd think a reasonable person could see why them knowing would not be a good idea anyway. The continuing weekends together and the current partner's discomfort at this is understandable and, OP, it's time these stopped because it's not good for you.
If, OP, you have any continuing concerns about your children's wellbeing in their father's company then you need to address those but apart from that, for your own mental health, let him get on with it and use the free time to enjoy yourself.
Join the discussion
Already registered? Log in with:
Please login first.