Hi Annie

I have been in my previous relationship for almost ten years and we have two kids together. This year I decided enough is enough and I walked out because I couldn’t take the abuse any longer.

The abuse was not so much physical as it was verbal and mental

I felt like someone who is going to end up in a mental institution. I’ve tried everything I could but my best wasn’t good enough.

I feel like I have failed my children by allowing this to go on for so long. My eldest son (not his child) used to visit me but he decided to stop because he couldn’t take it any longer.

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We had stayed together for seven years when I decided to move out. The abuse then became more physical. His brother and girlfriend also stayed with us which placed more stress on the relationship.

Since I left, he hasn’t seen the children, and I am not sure if it’s a good idea for him to see them because he hasn’t changed at all.

I have met someone else and now it feels like I have to pay him to come and see me

He has been married before but is divorced. His children are staying with him.

I have this weird feeling, not that he is cheating, but that he is hiding something from me. He has met my family and kids but I haven’t met his yet.

Should I be concerned? When I asked him what his parents say he just says that it’s not their decision but his. He has asked me to marry him.

I am confused. Please help.

Thanks
Confused

Dear Confused

Thank you for your letter. Ten years is ten too many to be in an abusive relationship.

Perhaps you were hopeful that he would change and things would get better. Perhaps the alternative seemed worse for you.

Women stay in abusive relationships for a number of different reasons

While it would seem that the number one reason should be â??brain deadâ?, it can be more complicated that. It is not as simple as stamping your foot (unless maybe if it was very strategically placed) and demanding that you be treated better.

Perhaps the first time your man is abusive, he is pathetically remorseful enough for you to believe that it will never happen again. If he truly is remorseful, he will agree to go for counselling and get the appropriate support. This man is worth you giving the benefit of the doubt to.

However, if he is sorry but not willing to be accountable to anyone, best you head for the hills while you still can.

The second type of abuser is the ‘let’s-be-wrong-together’ man

He admits that what he has done is wrong, but points out that you provoked him and are therefore just as wrong. If you are able to morph into a celestial being, perhaps this marriage could work sans abuse, but then only because you could fly as well as walk and thus get away from his punch-swinging faster.

This man is not going to accept responsibility for his abusive behaviour and the chance of the abuse stopping is the same as the fat girl who is blaming the chocolate for not getting thin.

This man is not going to accept responsibility for his abusive behaviour and the chance of the abuse stopping is the same as the fat girl who is blaming the chocolate for not getting thin.

You say that you felt like you may end up in a mental institution. I am glad that you got out before you did. Coincidentally Mae West said that she believed in the institution of marriage, but she did not feel ready to be institutionalised!

It is never too late for you and your children to attend counselling to allow you all a safe space to process what you have been through.

Positive growth and maturity can spring from life’s manure situations if we let them. This does mean that we need to stop wallowing in the manure and seek help.

Proceed wisely with your next relationship

Not wanting to jump from the frying pan into the fire so to speak, I think it wise to proceed cautiously with your next relationship.

It is integral that you meet each other’s families and friends. This gives you the chance to see how he interacts and how they view him. You may all be seeing the same movie but you can be sure that you’re the only one who has chosen the wow 3D glasses option.

They see him like a 2D movie rerun. You want that clarity too before you choose to make a commitment.

Albert Einstein observed that when a man marries a woman, he hopes that she will stay the same. When a woman marries a man she hopes that he will change

Albert Einstein observed that when a man marries a woman, he hopes that she will stay the same. When a woman marries a man she hopes that he will change. Invariably both are disappointed.

I trust that, as you allow yourself time to heal and take it slow, you will see clearly what choices will make you happy in the long-term.

You are beautiful!
Love and blessings
Annie