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10 May 2004

A little older, a little wiser?
Dear Cybershrink,
You may remember me, you may not. Some months ago I submitted a posting regarding my having been in what I perceived as being in an abusive relationship with my then fiancé (C). It has now been a year since I left him and relocated back to Gauteng after living with C who was my fiancé. From the beginning when I met him 3yrs ago we both had issues that needed sorting out. He had just come out of a divorce where his ex had left him for a childhood sweetheart and I had just terminated my engagement after 5yrs after my partner had had an office affair. To cut a long story short, I have relocated from Gauteng to Cape Town three times now. Every time I have left my job and family for him. When I moved to CT it would be a matter of weeks before the pattern would repeat itself. He would be upset if any male friends would phone / email or text me. And me, feeling that my privacy was invaded would act defensively and he would interpret me as being secretive. And I would be hurt and upset by his verbal outbursts as I am not accustomed to people shouting at me, let alone my partner - (he has never physically hurt me) I never was unfaithful just sometimes wanted to have friends since I had none in CT. He would then act in a fashion where he would throw his toys out the cot and tell me to leave – well knowing that I had nowhere to go to. He suffers from low seratonum levels and is diagnosed with anxiety. At times he can get so impatient that one can just feel the tenseness rubbing off on those around him. I am 32 and he is 40.
Since I have been back in Gauteng (1 yr), we have on the odd occasion had normal telephonic discussions. We both have tried dating other people since and have had short term unfulfilling relationships. In all honesty, I have to say that I know he loves me and has never been shy to display it, outsiders have also noticed this. I know I love him too, till this day. Although we have dated, we can not find in others what we have found in eachother. He has his own company and is financially very stable. I am not, and quitting my job to be with him in the past does not count favourably for me on my CV.
Last night he phoned and we spoke to eachother in all earnesty. I am so afraid to return to him because its hard to trust someone who has thrown me out of his house in the past. Last time I left CT was because he saw a text on my cell from a male friend and he told me to leave but wanted to scare me again (he promised never to do that again PRIOR to that happening) and when I left he was shocked that I did! He later said that he said it but did not mean it. (he has since admitted that he made a mistake by kicking me out of his house and regrets it) In the meantime I can kind of understand his behaviour, I would also be hurt if my partner had friends of the opposite sex who sms'ed him. He says that his behavior is a reaction to my actions. Had I not behaved in that fashion then he would not have treated me like that. Truth is I do see him as being special and know that in many ways he can fulfill me, if only I could trust him not to kick me out when he feels insecure or hurt. Other factors which made things difficult was that he works from home so I would be around him all day – at that time he did not want me to work – probably due to his insecurity. What drained me also was that he needed so much emotional reinforcement from me. I had to be at his beck and call.
If I am to return to him, (he has asked to fly me up to CT this weekend) how could I know or work at it to make matters work THIS TIME, and for good. I know he is flying me down with the intent of trying to amend our relationship. Technically I am still engaged to him. On my last stay in CT we both went to numerous sessions for couple counseling with a psychologist/psychiatrist. I felt intimidated when we were all together in a session as I felt that the psychologist would take sides and not understand my point of view as C has a strong and domineering personality. Although I have a solid personality, I am not forceful on others and perhaps we clash. I try to submit on matters which may not make such a difference but stand firm on those that are important.
I have as I said dated and observed others around me and sometimes I think that perhaps my reasons for leaving C was not as serious as what I thought. Did we both just over react as we are both very sensitive beings. NEVER would he be unfaithful and he is a loving father to his two kids. Just over-emotional!
I CANNOT afford another disaster in my life. It gets harder each time to find work and to get my heart sorted. Its just too draining and I want to settle, happily and start a family.
What can one compromise on here, what should I look out for, what conditions can I / should I enforce to be present in order to conduct a healthy functional relationship. I can compromise to an extent but I need to be assured that he will do the same.

Answer 359 views

01 Jan 0001

Hello again, Jasmine !
Unles you are trying to build up your Frequent Flyer miles, after all those relocations, shouldn't you face the likelihood that he is not going to change for the better ( at 40, such change is far harder to achieve than earlier in life ) and that going back to him only leads to further repetitions of the patterns you know so well and love so little?
Abusers oten express regret between heir abusive episodes, and the regret is worthless, as they still repeat the bad patterns. They express regret, but doing so in words it totally worthless, until they can express it in actions over many years, and it really doesn't sound as if he can.
His behaviour is NOT " a response to your actions" --- that's an absolutely typical line from abusers, who always blame their victims. There are 1000 different ways he could choose to respond to any of your actions, but he repeatedly chose the hurtful and abusive response. Why do you keep analysing the problem as if (a) it is really your fault ( yet it isn't) and (b) as if he were the only man in the world with whom you could be happy ( and he certainly is not that ). ?
It sounds as if so far you have made all the real compromises, not he. I'll leave it to our other readers, who have walked this path themselves, to respond to your closing questions. I would find it dificult to advise you on how to compromise to get back with a man who has caused you recurrent unhappiness, when you deserve so much more.
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