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Guy was abusive, we've been broken up for 9 mos, why am I still pining for him?

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Old 09-10-2005, 09:54 AM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 5
relapseprone HB User
Guy was abusive, we've been broken up for 9 mos, why am I still pining for him?

I was with this guy for 5 and a half years - about 2 yrs in, he started hitting me. I wasn't strong enough to leave him then, but I started planning my escape by applying to graduate school on the other side of the country. 3 years later I finally got away and for the past year, I've been living on my own, going back to school, really trying to rebuild myself. For the first few months I was so stunned by all the changes in my life that I didn't get out of the house much, but finally this summer I started dating - I have been with 3 different guys since my ex. Also lost 10 pounds, and school is going really well - it has already opened all kinds of doors for me. I'm so sure I did the right thing and I'm proud of myself for my newfound independence.

The PROBLEM is, since school started up again this year, I CAN'T STOP THINKING ABOUT MY EX and all the nice things about our relationship. This is so terrifying because I really thought I was over him. Why is my brain so willing to forget all the OBVIOUS PROBLEMS to preserve some sentimental, romantic picture of what we had? I am worried that this kind of thinking is what led me blindly into an abusive relationship in the first place. Even in the last summer we were together he was still hurting me - smothering my face and pushing my head into the bed when I said something whiney one time, and tearing one of my favorite books into pieces in another fight. So obviously things were not as rosy as I want to think they were, but I still seem to focus only on the things I loved about him.

He made it pretty easy for me to move on by not really communicating with me for the first 6 months after we broke up, but this summer he started calling and e-mailing about how he wished things had turned out differently and how he couldn't stop thinking about me. He has a new girlfriend, whom he started dating only 2 months after we broke up, and when I think about that I get furious for some reason. But the point is, I know he is playing mindgames on me by trying to suck me back in, but nonetheless it is working!!! Is it normal to have a relapse like this, after you feel like you've made progress away from someone? How do I get him off my mind this time? I've done all the recommended things: I have tons of friends and family to support me here, I'm busy all the time with things I care about, I'm staying in shape, I am good to myself. But all the time, underneath everything, I have a gut-wrenching sadness about this relationship that I can't seem to shake.

My friends and family are sick of hearing about it - they don't tolerate my relapses because they just don't see why someone so ****** would have such a hold on me. They were very relieved when I moved away and seemed to be getting over him, and I don't want to disappoint them by showing weakness now.

Any advice?

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Old 09-10-2005, 11:18 AM   #2
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 2
qpwoei HB User
Re: Guy was abusive, we've been broken up for 9 mos, why am I still pining for him?

I know this situation a little... I've experienced something like that in the past. Of course I have never dated anyone for 5!!!! years but still had problems getting over broken bonds.

When you break up with someone or someone breaks up with you there's a certain period to recover. And the length of this period depends on how much emotions you had put in the relationship. It seems to me that in your case there has been a whole spectrum of emotions - from wonderful to terrible. You feel uncomfortable now because none of those 3 guys you dated lately could bring you that deep emotional experience you used to have.

Your thoughts of your ex are an attempt to fill the lack of emotions that appeared after that break up. You might also be afraid that you will never be able to let anyone so close to yourself. And another thing that could happen is that you feel sorry for the unsuccessful relationship... maybe there's a second chance?

Nope, NOT and NEVER is there a second chance. And there is only one simple reason for not coming back - he beat you up. Every good relationship is based on mutual respect, trust and understanding. I can never imagine myself giving someone I respect a dusting. I have a cat that misbehaves sometimes. When it happens I beat him up lightly. But it only happens because cats are brought up on reactions. He does something bad - gets beaten up - bad reaction - never does that again. He behaves himself - gets caressed - good reaction - tryes to conduct properly. It's never going to work with people. If your ex used to beat you it WILL happen again because you showed weakness once and tolerated it. The worst scenario I can imagine in your case is that when you come back to him he will be beating you in the face of your children - not good for a happy family.

What you need to do is concentrate on the things you need to do at the moment. You will forget about the guy eventually. You won't need him anymore with time. Simply beleive and be ready that one day you will meet a guy who will respect you and your children.

My advice - Love yourself for now and men will love you for this.

Old 09-10-2005, 06:42 PM   #3
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 621
evy38 HB User
Re: Guy was abusive, we've been broken up for 9 mos, why am I still pining for him?

You started thinking about him because he contacted you. Cut off all contact with him and you must stick with it. That, and all the good things you are doing for yourself, will eventually pay off. You know, nobody ever said you wouldn't love him, even if he is bad to and for you. But also, nobody ever said you should stay with him, if he is bad to and for you, just because you love him. And finally, nobody ever said you can't eventually love someone more, even if you still have feelings of love for him now.

Old 09-12-2005, 08:45 PM   #4
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 5
relapseprone HB User
Re: Guy was abusive, we've been broken up for 9 mos, why am I still pining for him?

Qpwoie and Evy,

You guys have given me faith as a first-timer posting on this board. Wow, the things you said were so right-on that you made tears come to my eyes.

In particular, Qpwoie, I think you're right about trying to achieve a depth of emotion that I haven't had since being with my ex - I think I must have gotten some kind of rush out of the problems and fights we had - partly because after a fight was the only time that he was ever really open and sweet to me. Also I've noticed that the process of breaking up with him has had an uncanny resemblance to getting over an addiction. My first instinct when I'm feeling empty is to turn to him because I know at least it won't be bland, even if it isn't good. I have gotten pretty good at squashing this instinct, but it is still there every time I get in a low mood.

Which is why I think Evy, you're right that the best thing to do is cut off contact. It's hard, because the nice things he's saying now are the things I always wanted to hear from him, but I have to keep reminding myself that they are a mirage - if I give in to his manipulation, I'll be right back in the misery that was slowly cutting off oxygen to my brain and making me a shell of my former self. I also appreciated your comments about leaving him even though I love him - most of my friends don't understand how I can say I love him (I know they're just trying to protect me and it's got to be hard for them to watch me flail) - but unfortunately it's true. But you're also right that it doesn't mean I have to stay with him.

Also, Qpwoie, thanks for reminding me that one of the main reasons I left is that, even though *I* could tolerate his abuse, I would never in a million years subject any children of mine to behavior like that. That was, and still is, an unequivocal dealbreaker for me. But I needed some reinforcement, so thanks.

You guys gave great advice. I really appreciate it, and I'll keep you posted.

Old 09-12-2005, 09:02 PM   #5
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 327
eaglesgirl37 HB User
Re: Guy was abusive, we've been broken up for 9 mos, why am I still pining for him?

I thought that advice was great too, and I agree with Evy (as usual ) that cutting off contact is definitely the smartest move here. As far as breaking up being similar to an addiction, this is not uncommon, and I've seen at least a few books there about how to break your "addiction" to an unhealthy relationship. It's definitely worth running a search or checking out a bookstore to see if one of these books might be helpful...sometimes detailed advice like that can be just what you need to stay on track and make healthy choices. I hope you are feeling better soon, but please don't be down on yourself for taking some time to get past this. It's just not realistic to get over such an intensely emotional long term relationship in a flash...I'm struggling with that myself, though fortunately my ex treated me well throughout our relationship. Anyway, I wish you lots of luck, and I'm glad to see you found the boards helpful! Hopefully you'll keep us posted and share the insights you're gaining with people in similar situations .

I ran a search for "breaking up" at an online book store and came up with lots of books that looked promising, including one called "How to Break Your Addiction to a Person" that you might want to check out.

Last edited by eaglesgirl37; 09-12-2005 at 09:04 PM.

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