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Regret staying for so long

(20 Posts)
Songbird13 Tue 23-Feb-21 11:16:44

Just after some advice about how to deal with these feelings. Have been with husband for half of my life and since having DS 15 months ago, have come to realise that he's emotionally abusive and has been for probably the entirety of our relationship and am therefore getting my ducks in a row and planning to leave (I posted a thread about this recently).

I am really struggling with realising that I've missed out on the best days of my life and sacrificed them to maintain a relationship with him. I have been with him since I was 16 and am almost 32. I didn't go to university because he said he would not stay with me if I did. I cut nights out with friends short and eventually stopped going on them because he would always bombard me with messages and didn't like me going out, would wait up to check what time I got home etc. He never wanted to travel or go to live music etc, I turned down going to Japan with my best friend. I am still renting at my age because he is and has always been so terrible with finances I would always end up paying for everything and bailing him out, and now I worry I will never get back on the career ladder and get a mortgage. I know it sounds superficial but my looks are fading and I realise I have given him the best part of me. I have no confidence left at all, no savings and am a shell of my former self. Sorry for the self pity. I wish I had not had my head in the sand all these years.

How do you reclaim your life and overcome the regret of investing so much in someone?

Thank you.

OP’s posts: |
FortunesFave Tue 23-Feb-21 11:42:01

You're so young still. I know you don't feel it but you are.

I'm amost 50 and emigrated aged 44....your life can change into something completely different to what you THINK you have in front of you....if you take control and make it happen.

I was living in a tiny council flat in a rough part of the North West from about age 38....with DH and our DC. We had hardly any money.

I got it my business going...made some money and we left.

Now as I type I can hear the ocean outside my house...there's a balcony where my DD's are sitting and talking.

We're not rich but we're infinitely better than we were...and we made that happen a good bit older than you...well it was mostly ME that made it happen.

What I'm saying OP is that you only have now...make shit happen.

Your baby is very little still...of course you don't need to emigrate to be happy but you can achieve anything at all if you want to.

New career....go to university! You're not too old at all

sofato5miles Tue 23-Feb-21 11:47:56

I left my DH and went back and studied at 45!

Just leave and start your life. You are still bloody young.

And my romatic life has been up and down but not due to shortage of offers.

agreyersky Tue 23-Feb-21 11:58:41

I am heading towards 50! I still attract men! I still date! I started over, in every way, in my mid 40s. With two young children.

Jesus, I would love to have been starting over at 32 rather that over a decade older than that!
You need to allow yourself to feel sadness and regret, but put a time limit on it. 15 mins of regret and pain at a time. Then tell yourself to focus on the solutions, the assets (you are young!) and start moving on. And a massive congratulations to you for getting out of your relationship. You have real strength to do that and that is what is going to carry you forward in this next phase of your life.

agreyersky Tue 23-Feb-21 12:02:51

You an also see what free support and counselling is available from GP, mental health charities, children's charities, family support organisations. There are also likely to be employment support programmes or you could look into support for returning to learning. You don't have to do this alone. There is a lot of support out there and as you start to access in and get in the system you will find more and more support, both practical support and emotional support.

Purplecatshopaholic Tue 23-Feb-21 12:20:23

I went through very similar. And I was way older than you when i got out. I still have days of resentment, mainly at myself for being so weak as to stay when I knew I was miserable. However.. I focus on the positive, and how much better my life is now away from him. I also slowly started to make changes - just little things at first, that made me happy but I couldn’t do with him around (like decorate my house how I like). Over time I started to feel more like the Old Me. It takes time, so be patient.

bombastical Tue 23-Feb-21 12:34:27

I’d give my right arm to be your age and starting over OP. In ten years time you STILL won’t be the age I am now. Starting over at your age is a GIFT. It really is. You’ve realised and now you want to go get your life. You can do this!!

bombastical Tue 23-Feb-21 12:35:40

Write a list. What can you do? University admissions start now for September. Go do a foundation course? What have you always wanted to do? Social work? Health? Teaching? Teaching can take you round the world.

bombastical Tue 23-Feb-21 12:36:20

Oh and if you do choose a course you’ll gain a whole new set of friends at uni or college so you’ll be SET!

bombastical Tue 23-Feb-21 12:37:00

and choose one that has an on site nursery. I know lots about uni. PM me your location and what your dream is and I’ll give you some pointers

AzureHawker Tue 23-Feb-21 12:50:42

No advice but I am in the same boat, I’m 35 have been with my STBex for 17 years. I did nothing in my 20s because we had his kids from a previous relationship every weekend and then we had our own. He doesn’t like me going out without him but has no desire to do anything outside the house! I’ve lost all my friends and I have no financial security and not sure I will ever own my own home.

In the last few years I have started clawing back a little independence from him, firstly learning to drive (he said I would be a terrible driver, refused to help me pay for lessons and had never let me buy my own car even though I’ve had my licence for 5 years now!). 3 years ago I went back to uni to do a degree, he didn’t agree with the decision and has made it very difficult by refusing to help pay for childcare. I’ll be finished my degree next year and I’ve told him I want to separate now. I’m looking forward to the next chapter in my life but worried I could be too old to really make much change now and I wish I had realised what a massive mistake I was making back in my 20s !

Dery Tue 23-Feb-21 13:05:15

I understand your feelings but you’re only 32 - that should mean you have decades of great years ahead of you. I’m now early 50s and IME life just keeps on getting better and that’s without having spent my 20s in an unhappy relationship. What’s done is done. Don’t waste more of your wonderful future berating yourself for what you can’t change. Focus on moving forward and doing what’s best for you and your child.

OverTheRubicon Tue 23-Feb-21 13:05:52

In the same boat. His anxiety ended up overwhelming so much, he's suffered tremendously, but we've been along for the ride.

Like others said, you don't feel it now but you are younger than you think, and your looks are better! Few of us us are out our hottest with 15 month olds, in a pandemic, in abusive relationships. You will blossom once you are free, and you have many opportunities ahead of you. You clearly have the ability to make money for yourself, and the determination to identify the issue and get out early for the sake of your DC, that is powerful. Opportunities for training are a bit short on the ground right now with Covid, but there is a lot online, some free if you are not in work, others very cheap and you can look at what might interest you as a next step, before applying to university (if that is indeed a path you want). You have a good life ahead!

Wanderlusto Tue 23-Feb-21 13:22:36

Your looks are probably fading in part from the stress of him draining the life out of you. When he is gone you'll probably feel years younger and look it too. Treat yourself to a makeover maybe. And invest in some good skincare products.

32 isnt old. Its only a third of the way through life for most ppl. Plenty of time left for finding adventure and fun and peace and happiness. However you wish to do so.

Let's face it, hardly anyone stays with one man their whole life. Men will come and go. Right into old age. The trick is to find one who is worth hanging onto for a while. This one isnt, throw him back.

It isnt a waste or a failure because you've learned things from it. Like how to choose yourself. That's the biggest life lesson and growing up experience anyone can achieve I think, personally. Learning how to love yourself. Seems like you're now starting on that path.

So the next thirty years will hopefully be much happier ones. Onwards and upwards!

agreyersky Tue 23-Feb-21 13:27:00

Your looks are probably fading in part from the stress of him draining the life out of you

Nah, I bet anything this is not true. I have totally noticed that what I see in the mirror is entirely dependent on how good I feel about myself. When I am feeling shit about myself and my life I look in the mirror and see a hag. When I am feeling up and good I look in the mirror and see a good looking woman looking back.

OP, you don't like what you see in the mirror because you are miserable. You will like what you see when you start to reclaim your life.

Cherrysoup Tue 23-Feb-21 14:00:06

You have decades ahead of you. Now is the best time of your life, get out and love your life, you’re doing the right thing. Stop letting this idiot control you!

MrsVogon Tue 23-Feb-21 14:12:20

flowers OP you can do this and you are still young!

Lots of people go back to studying via OU or do taster courses. Once you have sorted out practicalities with leaving him, you will be able to focus on doing things the way you want it. Whilst you will have regrets about staying in the relationship for longer than you should have (I've been there), in contrast, the freedom is immense. You are still very young and can rebuild your life - I did it twice in my late 30s and again in my mid 40s.

TurquoiseDragon Tue 23-Feb-21 14:15:44


*Your looks are probably fading in part from the stress of him draining the life out of you*

Nah, I bet anything this is not true. I have totally noticed that what I see in the mirror is entirely dependent on how good I feel about myself. When I am feeling shit about myself and my life I look in the mirror and see a hag. When I am feeling up and good I look in the mirror and see a good looking woman looking back.

OP, you don't like what you see in the mirror because you are miserable. You will like what you see when you start to reclaim your life.

This, exactly.

I am fat and the wrong side of 50, but I'm losing weight and look miles better than I did because I feel so much better without my ex around. I've had people tell me they think I look younger than I am.

I met him at 18, and left him at 48. I wasted 30 years on him, so OP, you are getting out at a much better time of life than I did.

You're 32, don't try rushing into a new relationship yet, just take time to heal, learn who you are and grow as a person.

I've spent the last 3 years doing that. I'm now doing an access course so I can apply to go to uni next year. Even at my age, I can make a new life. And when I've lost a little more weight, I plan to start dating.

My life is far from over. And it's the same for you, even if you don't see it yet..

LannieDuck Tue 23-Feb-21 14:33:48

Well done for making the decision to leave. The world is your oyster - get excited!

What do you want to do? What sort of job area do you want to work in? Which countries do you want to visit?

Songbird13 Tue 23-Feb-21 19:09:43

Gosh thank you everyone, I wasn't expecting such lovely responses, they have brought me to tears and made me feel empowered and given me food for thought. Already I am thinking of possibilities for the life that lies ahead of me that I would never have considered. Hopefully one day soon I can make my exit and start afresh.

OP’s posts: |

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