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How to move forward from previous dysfunctional/abusiv e relationships

(9 Posts)
knowledgeispower Sat 08-Mar-14 15:49:25

I have posted previously about my current relationship which is abusive.

I'm still in the process of ending it and am now thinking towards the future. My previous relationship was dysfunctional and he was a compulsive gambler. So I've never had a normal loving adult relationship.

In hindsight there were red flags screaming at me from day one with current P. I chose to ignore them. He isn't a gambler and was careful with money etc... all opposite to what I'd experienced with dd father.

So the question is...

Once I'm ready to start dating (next year at the earliest) how do I protect myself from further disastrous relationships? Self esteem has always been a massive issue for me although I am confident in some areas of my life.

I still feel pretty empty and gobsmacked by what has happened to me.

I'd like to also hear from anyone who is now happy and content after coming out the other side.

Thank you in advance thanks

CailinDana Sat 08-Mar-14 16:00:42

Genuine question: why are you already thinking ahead to dating again? Why not just focus on yourself?

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 08-Mar-14 16:02:28

All I can tell you is how I protect myself so take what you will from it.

- Cultivate, embrace and maintain independence.
- Be truly happy in your skin
- Rely on yourself rather than others
- Value yourself, your needs, your dreams & your peace of mind higher than others.

I'll admit it means I have a very low tolerance, do not get emotionally attached easily and I have not had a live-in DP for many years but IMHO it's better than compromising.

knowledgeispower Sat 08-Mar-14 16:17:43

CailinDana that's a very good question and maybe part of the problem?!

Needing to feel wanted and validated by having a partner or feeling a failure if I'm not in a relationship?

In all honesty in my current relationship there has been no physical intimacy of any kind for 4 years and we haven't had full sex since 2009! I had a long period of feeling unattractive, gained weight (which I have now lost) sex-mad (is that all you ever think about) and just plain unwanted. I discovered he was still interested in other women and had joined dating sites specifying that he was looking for 'no strings attached' sex and was in a relationship. He does watch porn as well.

I guess as the relationship has been so dead for so long it's natural to be thinking ahead.

knowledgeispower Sat 08-Mar-14 16:19:28

Thank you Cog smile

CailinDana Sat 08-Mar-14 16:40:36

Wow you've put up with a realky bad relationship for a long time. Cog's advice is good. A relationship should be nice added extra to your life, not the be all and end all. You should be in a position where you're perfectly happy to be on your own but if a great guy who adds to your life and fits in with your freams comes along then you're willing to make room for him, but also willing to walk away if he starts to drag you down.

You say you're in the process of breaking up atm - how's that going?

Hissy Sat 08-Mar-14 17:31:42

Woah! Slow down my love!

You are currently in an abusive relationship.

Deal with that one first! smile

By all means understand that the relationship you have now is stealing time from you that could be spent in a healthy relationship, but know this:

YOU ARE NOT READY TO MEET MR PERFECT

You have to understand what happened to you and why. Why you were targeted, what made you vulnerable to this.

If you don't understand all this, learn how a healthy relationship is different to the relationship you have known, then you will look for familiarity.

What you are familiar with is abuse.

You will repeat the cycle until you break it, and unlearn everything you 'knew' about relationships.

You validate yourself, you invest in yourself, you do all this as it's an insurance policy to stop you ever being abused again.

End this relationship. Do the freedom programme (in the real life groups) and devote yourself to protecting yourself.

You are definitely worth this effort and investment in yourself. It will pay off, I promise.

There will be loads of time an opportunity to date after you've addressed what the DV has done to you.

ApocalypticBlackHorseman Sat 08-Mar-14 17:54:15

Basically what Hissy said.
Start by doing small kind things for yourself, if there were things that you wanted to do in your relationship that you couldn't do then let yourself do them. Spoil yourself, enjoy being free and in control of your life.
Until then, stay away from other relationships because the risk of going from one abusive relationship to another is high until you value yourself and until you can do that it is not worth the risk and enduring the misery all over again.

knowledgeispower Sat 08-Mar-14 21:53:17

CailinDana yep he has done a real number on me! It really came to a head when we were arguing (he is really argumentative) and he slammed one of his fists against the kitchen side. The look in his eyes was what really got me. So much hatred. The main issue is gaslighting. Even though I've caught him read handed exchanging messages with another woman he flat out denied it was him and said someone must have stolen his photo's/hacked his email etc!

It all seems so ridiculous writing it down.

I'm past caring now as since then he has consistently let me down in various ways and any love I had for him has vanished.

In answer to your question, the splitting up. I haven't actually done it as we don't live together but I have minimised the contact as much as possible. I know he sees me as a meal ticket, like I'm a convenience. I've set a date to end it (to fit in with mine and dds plans) Doing it this way will minimise any fallout or disruption.

Hissy and ABH thank you so much for your posts and words of wisdom. I cried when I read them! thanks

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