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When your b****** ex is in a successful new relationship...

(43 Posts)
101trees Wed 01-Nov-17 16:03:23

First ever post! Spent a lot of time reading excellent advice from this forum in the past and it helped me define boundaries in the past when I really needed them - thanks for that.

I've been separated from my ExH for nearly 4 years, we have one DS (8) together. He has a new partner and 2 additional children with her as well as her DS (9).

He was a real arse, self-confessed lack of empathy or understanding of people's feelings, fits of rage, constantly berated me for not being good enough at anything, essentially being an inadequate person.This is really the tip of the iceberg - there were times he pressured and pretty much forced me into sex, the time he pinned me on the bed and shouted in my face, friends he insisted I never see again, relationships ruined forever... the time he threatened to beat (then baby) DS because he wouldn't go to sleep... the list is endless.

Doubtlessly he was an total twat and I did the right thing in leaving... I've never felt the level of stress and emotional break down at any other point, I'm not sure how I survived it. He was in a furious state of disbelief when I left him for a long time.

I built a new life with my DS, we now have a great life and relationship with each other and all has finally stabilised. We have shared care which is OK, DS feels he is loved by all involved, loves his new siblings and feels we all get on..

The issue I now have is - how oh how oh how is his new relationship so successful? Does this mean it was me in some way? Why is she OK where I wasn't?

I feel so lost and confused about how to make a connection again with someone new. How do I put this behind me enough to seriously consider someone new in a relationship? I've dated plenty of people since then, one for 8 months who was lovely, but I don't seem to be able to consider someone as an actual partner. Suspect I may now have the dreaded commitment issues blush

Sorry about the length of the post - thanks for reading, any help much appreciated...

SallyAnneMarie Wed 01-Nov-17 16:06:28

A leopard doesn't change its spots and who knows what goes on behind closed doors spring to mind.

BenLui Wed 01-Nov-17 16:06:34

She might not be ok. She might be struggling as you were.

She might not be ok. She might just be more prepared to put up with the abuse.

Alternatively he might have learned something from losing you.

Either way, it’s not you.

flowers

Bettydownthehall Wed 01-Nov-17 16:06:48

You don't know it is successful? She could be subject to this shit. Or she could be a worse bastard to him. You'll never ever know the ins and outs of any other relationship I'm afraid.

hellsbellsmelons Wed 01-Nov-17 16:08:28

how is his new relationship so successful?
How do you know it is?
Can you see behind closed doors?
Did people your relationship was successful?
He's an abuser.
He won't have changed.
He will be putting her through the same things soon enough.
Try not to think about it.
You'll torture yourself.
You've moved on and made a nice quiet life with your DS.
Take that - and party!

userxx Wed 01-Nov-17 16:10:24

It absolutely wasn't anything to do with you, it was all about him. Vile bully. I'm guessing he wasn't on his own very long after you left him, his type needs to have someone. How do you know he doesn't treat her the same way he treated you? She may just be as miserable.

Maybe you would benefit from some counselling if you are feeling stuck - anybody would have doubts about forming new relationships after the experience you have had.

101trees Wed 01-Nov-17 16:12:41

Thanks so much for responding.

I've never really told anyone IRL about most of it and it seems almost unbelievable to see it written out there for others to see.

I hope for her that it is different and I hope that relationship stays together for my DS's sake if nothing else.

I suppose my fear is that the problem was with my lack of ability to enforce proper boundaries early enough on in the relationship - and that if I had done then things would have turned out differently. I'd just never dealt with anything like that before and had no experience to draw on - it's like the reactions I would expect from someone else just never came from him (love, understanding, kindness) and I didn't know how to react.

I think I just don't want there to be a problem with me.

101trees Wed 01-Nov-17 16:14:09

Take that - and party!

Haha I love this - thank you!

KarateKitten Wed 01-Nov-17 16:16:04

In a healthy relationship, nobody needs to enforce boundaries. Both are respectful enough to not cross them without them needing to be set up. So you have nothing to regret there OP. The onus was not on you to make him behave better.

Vitalogy Wed 01-Nov-17 16:18:32

No one knows what goes on behind closed doors.

101trees Wed 01-Nov-17 16:21:37

Thank you to all - it's so great to actually have opened up about this and hear some other people's thoughts instead of my own internal monologue.

Userxx - you are totally right, he was essentially a bully and yes, he did move on at lightening speed. Less than 2 months before he moved in with her. I have had some counselling in the past and did find it helpful to some extent, I think it's just taken me a while to really process what's happened.

Karate Kitten - that is good to hear, I think I've forgotten this somehow about relationships, makes me wonder what else I have forgotten...

hellsbellsmelons Wed 01-Nov-17 16:23:14

No-one knows, or should, have to enforce boundaries.
If you know nothing about abuse how would you know what to do?
I know I wouldn't either.
With an abuser boundaries don't work.
You never put up with any abuse in any relationship.
But you know that now.
I hope she's not going through the same but I fear she probably is.

StereophonicallyChallenged Wed 01-Nov-17 16:33:37

Fwiw it took me at least 5 or 6 years to get over my abusive ex. And even then, I probably still had wobbles.
Am happily seeing someone else now, and have even talked things through with ex, who weirdly turned to me for relationship advice last year hmmshock

When someone's wrecked your head like that, it can take a long time to get over. Be kind to yourself, and just remember it was him not you however it may appear in his new relationship smile

101trees Wed 01-Nov-17 16:35:41

Thanks hellsbells - that makes absolute sense when I see it come from someone else.

I also hope she isn't going through the same, I wouldn't wish that on anyone and she seems like a nice person, she has certainly cared for my DS over the last few years. I know DS still struggles with his relationship with his Dad, but he seems to present them as a united front.

It is of course impossible to know what goes on behind closed doors - I suppose it is just my insecurity about the situation.

pinkpixie83 Wed 01-Nov-17 16:36:18

I left a bully of an ex husband and have similar feelings.
He's just moved in with his girlfriend and her kids, while I have a failed 2 year relationship behind me.
I have to keep telling myself I can't believe what I see on the outside.
It does feel horrible tho and like you aren't good enough I have to try and convince myself daily that's not how it is tho.

Sorry you are also going through it

pudding21 Wed 01-Nov-17 16:37:41

Op I get what you are talking about. Left my abusive ex 9 months ago. i was so patient with him and put up with so much, but ultimately I felt I couldn't make him happy. I tried to help him, he didn't even try to change one tiny bit.

At the weekend he met a girl through a mutual friend. They are going on a date (I know this through my friend), he is smitten already. Funny thing is she is a psychologist. So i have already started playing in my mind about how I bet he can and will be nice to her (atleast at the start) and maybe she will be the one to help him and support him, where I couldn't.

i don't regret leaving him, not one bit, but the thought he could and might change for someone else is hurtful. I suppose the only one thing is that losing you, made him change his ways (If he has, he probably hasn't).

MrSnrubYesThatsIt Wed 01-Nov-17 16:39:22

You do realise though that his new woman has got the booby prize don't you?

101trees Wed 01-Nov-17 16:39:57

*Fwiw it took me at least 5 or 6 years to get over my abusive ex. And even then, I probably still had wobbles.
Am happily seeing someone else now, and have even talked things through with ex, who weirdly turned to me for relationship advice last year hmmshock

When someone's wrecked your head like that, it can take a long time to get over. Be kind to yourself, and just remember it was him not you however it may appear in his new relationship smile*

This is really reassuring - thanks. I feel as if I should be over it by now, and I think on a day to day basis I am - I don't walk around thinking about it, I don't have any strong feelings, but I feel a little shut down to the romantic relationships side of life. Have some great friendships and family relationships and DS is fantastic, but the idea of having a partner is a complicated one for me. I'm hoping it gets better in time - although it has now been some considerable time...

Brakebackcyclebot Wed 01-Nov-17 16:44:36

I suppose my fear is that the problem was with my lack of ability to enforce proper boundaries early enough on in the relationship - and that if I had done then things would have turned out differently

The problem was never you. This sounds like a hangover from the abuse - you are blaming yourself for HIS abuse of you. It was never your fault.

Remember you know nothing about the reality of his relationship now. You mentioned that you've never really told anyone IRL about his abuse of you. Maybe she isn't either.

Or maybe he's changed. But personally, I think that's unlikely.

Have you read Lundy Bancroft's book, Why does he do that? It changed my life.

POFuserred Wed 01-Nov-17 16:48:35

I totally understand how you feel OP. I had similar issues with my exDH and we have been apart for just over a year. He did the classic and found another partner within 2 months of me telling him I couldn’t tolerate our 25 year marriage anymore. She and her DD have moved in with him. My DD tells me that Dad doesn’t talk to his girlfriend the way he used to talk to me. It really hurts me, I told him time and time again that the way he treated me wasn’t acceptable but it seems the only thing that made him listen was divorcing him. He’s also the Dad he never was to our kids (who have now left Home) to his girlfriend’s child and is to all intents and purposes a real family man now- something he was never interested in before! Makes me feel very bitter.

NataliaOsipova Wed 01-Nov-17 16:48:40

I think I just don't want there to be a problem with me.

Just because there was a problem with the two of you together does not in any shape or form mean there is a problem with you. Equally, it doesn't necessarily mean there's a problem with him, either - just that the two of you weren't right together, at that point in time.

You can have two absolutely fantastic people - who just don't gel together. For whatever reason. Doesn't have to be one person's fault. Doesn't have to be anything fundamentally wrong with anyone else.

It must be hard to see him effectively move on when there's been so much pain involved for you, so you have my sympathy! But this doesn't reflect on you in any way at all. Focus on yourself and your son and the future.

Dozer Wed 01-Nov-17 16:51:23

I’m sorry you were abused by him.

It’s very unlikely that he has stopped behaving abusively. Poor woman and her poor DD and other DC.

SandyY2K Wed 01-Nov-17 16:52:15

could be a few things.
1) She's suffering like you did.

2) She put her foot down from day 1 and he knows better than to do that with her

3) He learnt that his behaviour won't keep him in a marriage and has changed.

101trees Wed 01-Nov-17 16:53:23

MrSnrub - that is an excellent point, much overlooked by me - thanks for the reminder! Really it is irrational that I think about it any other way, it's unfortunate that we are so irrational about some issues.

Pudding - that sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, I would wait to see how that one turns out before giving it too much headspace, you can at least have the consoling thought - which I did, that you did the absolute best you could at the time. All of those people above who have said that it's not me it's him (thank you - you have no idea how good it is to hear that!) are right - and it wasn't your job to change him, just as it isn't Mrs Psychologists either (except with her patients).

I'm really sorry to hear others incl pinkpixie have been through similar.

The comment that losing me might have made him change his ways is one that haunts me a little - he kept telling me when I left that he had learnt his lesson but by that point I didn't believe it - I believed that the problems I had with him were an integral part of who he was and his upbringing and I wasn't prepared to give him another chance. But I feel guilty for my DS who is still upset about us separating.

Mooncuplanding Wed 01-Nov-17 16:56:18

Yy to all previous posts and to add to that it is great you are looking at your own role in the relationship. It's eventually healthy and conscience clearing.

It's hard not to be accused of victim blaming with what I'm going to say but part of my healing from abusive ex was understanding how I put up with it and whether I did aggravate it. Why didn't I leave on the first incident? Why did I lose my rag in retaliation?

The conclusions I got to were varied and I don't feel like I always acted amazingly in response to him, BUT I also know that overall I have a clear conscience on how I was. So it wasn't 'me'

I've never before or since had such a relationship but it did leave me unsure about myself and who I was (the gaslighting doesn't help where they tell you it is you! ).

I've also always tried hard to accept responsibility where I need to but abusive relationships twist all that and make you question yourself. I'm sure as you continue to question yourself and your actions you will be hard pushed to come to the conclusion it was you and your confidence will return.

I agree re the behind closed doors thing. Really unlikely he's transformed into a empathetic caring man, she possibly is just in denial at the moment.

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