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He’s in therapy and promised to change. Should I take him back?


somegirl313
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Hi everyone. My ex (23 M) and I (21 F) have had serious issues in our relationship that never seemed to be making any progress and for that reason I dumped him and we have been broken up for over a month now. I have posted on this forum about our issues before, so little back story: https://www.enotalone.com/forum/showthread.php?t=561671

 

Tl;dr version: I hooked up with someone a few times during the “talking stage” with my ex. He found out a few months later when we became a couple and has verbally/emotionally abused me for more than half a year over the same issue.

 

Fast forward to now, we are still broken up but have kept contact and remained friends since we have a 4 hour long class together at school and are in the same lab group. He has been trying for a month to get back with me and has taken steps to change. In the first few weeks there were A LOT of begging, pleading, telling me he needs me, blowing up my phone with apologies, waiting outside my house for me to come out and talk to him, leaving voicemails of him crying and apologizing...he has now stopped most of this behavior after starting therapy which I am very proud of him for doing. I’ve just been having a really hard time dealing with all of this and my feelings for him. I don’t miss him terribly. I still love him, just not as much as I did before. Some days I want to take him back and other days I don’t. I don’t know if I miss him or just the familiarity of our relationship. I know a lot of advice columns online talk about narcissistic abusers, or those who are ill-willed and manipulate to gain control and power over the victim. But I don't believe my ex is like that... and this is making me second guess. I think he is just an emotionally troubled guy with insecurities and a rough childhood. His dad is an alcoholic and can be abusive when intoxicated. He really wants me to give him one last chance chance to show me that he’s changed, that he’s trying, that things will be different this time because he got to experience what it’s like to really lose me (I was unresponsive and unreachable for a while, also started seeing other people and he knows this). He’s expressed a lot of remorse and told me he’s very ashamed over how he treated me. He told me his issue was that he didn’t know how to forgive and that his therapist gave him a worksheet to fill out that helped him immensely, but I don’t know...

 

Any thoughts and advice would be appreciated.

Edited by somegirl313
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Please do not mother, fix, change, doctor or try to control anyone like this. Sadly it's a way to keep the focus off yourself and your own issues. He is not your project. Leave him alone. Delete and block him and all his people from all your devices messaging apps and social media.

 

Ask your parents to get a restraining order and call the police if he shows up like this. Why are your parents tolerating this? Do they know you are clinging to an "abusive relationship"?

 

Focus instead on your issues and what kind of help would help you out best. You do not have to be his 'friend". In fact you are far from a friend and he is equally toxic toward you.

has verbally/emotionally abused me for more than half a year over the same issue.

 

waiting outside my house for me to come out and talk to him, leaving voicemails of him crying and apologizing..

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With luck he will continue his therapy. In the mean time no you dont take him back, and really I dont think you should ever consider getting back together with him. Dont let him push you into anything. If you need a restraining order, get one. You can block and delete him from your phone.

 

The world is full of nice guys who dont act like jerks!

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The therapy he is having now and the lessons he learnt with you, is to improve himself for some other woman in the future.

You and he will not work a second time around.

 

I can also see why he felt so insecure. I don't feel as though you behaved very well either. Hooking up with someone else while talking to another man, isn't exactly great behavior and in future, I hope you learnt a lesson to on how your choices could affect someone someday.

 

But as for you and he..those days are done.

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I recall your last thread vividly.

 

Here is my most generous take on this: The true sign that he had changed? It would be letting go of you, for real, for a good long time. Not hours, not weeks, but about a year. No contact. You live your life, he lives his, processing this chapter, living the lessons, digging deep in therapy, and then reconnecting from a completely different angle.

 

What you're describing? It's the opposite of change, since he's just trying to get you back, to "win," and what he's actually shown you is that he is very impatient when it comes to getting that validation. In other words, it's just staying exactly where you two have been, in the exact same unhealthy dynamic, but just with some window dressing of "change" sprinkled about. Not fun to hear, I know, but I say it from a lot of experience on all sides of this coin.

 

Your take on him? That he's not a monster, but just a troubled dude? It might be accurate. Still, what does that get you? You're 21, with a life to live. Why hitch that life onto someone who you yourself deem troubled and who has shown you—repeatedly, a few different ways, including what he's doing right now—that he lacks the ability to treat you with kindness? That's a bit like investing your life savings in a mutual fund with a history of producing nothing but losses, or perhaps staking your fortunes on a the blackjack table.

 

You have a lot of feeling tied up in this man, I get it. But "lots of feelings" is not always the same as "valuable," and certainly not the same as "healthy." You can do some very hard drugs and feel all sorts of feelings, many of them wonderful, but that does not mean it's advisable to do those drugs, if that makes sense.

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Do your friends abuse you? No, right? So why do you continue to stay in touch with a guy who abuses you and call him a friend? Do you think that's love? No, that's not what love and caring looks like.

 

As others pointed out, abusive people do not change, not even with therapy. Usually "I'm in therapy" is just a ruse, a lie to get you back under their control that they can carry on for a long time. This guy doesn't see you as a human being, he sees you as a possession that is currently out of control and needs to be brought back under control.

 

Please do yourself a huge favor and block and delete this guy permanently from your life. No contact whatsoever ever again. I'll say this again - this is NOT what love looks like. Someone who actually cares about you as a person, as a woman, as a human being is not going to be abusive toward you. Abuse is NOT caring, it's the opposite of that.

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I know this and I am definitely not proud of what I did. I’ve apologized to him a lot and tried to fix things. However, he did ask me during our talking stage if I was seeing anyone else and I told him I was. But I can still see how what I did was hurtful and I do regret it.

 

The therapy he is having now and the lessons he learnt with you, is to improve himself for some other woman in the future.

You and he will not work a second time around.

 

I can also see why he felt so insecure. I don't feel as though you behaved very well either. Hooking up with someone else while talking to another man, isn't exactly great behavior and in future, I hope you learnt a lesson to on how your choices could affect someone someday.

 

But as for you and he..those days are done.

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somegirl, both of you need to heal, and unfortunately, you cannot heal together.

 

This is the type of situation that it went from bad to worse and stayed that way. No amount of talking is going to undo what's been done.

It is sad for both of you, as I am sure you both have regrets, but you both have to come to terms with the fact that it is now over.

 

It is painful, for sure. But it is something both of you are going to have to let go of now.

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No, I would not take him back. You are way too young to commit yourself to someone you have such a rough history with.

 

Instead, I would wish him the best on his journey and part ways. You can take the lessons you learned here and move forward, and someday on to a healthy relationship with a guy who is already emotionally mature and healthy.

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I know this and I am definitely not proud of what I did. I’ve apologized to him a lot and tried to fix things. However, he did ask me during our talking stage if I was seeing anyone else and I told him I was. But I can still see how what I did was hurtful and I do regret it.

 

I really, really hope that some day you will look back on these words and forgive yourself for being so hard on yourself, for punishing yourself like this, since you'd have come to see how warped your perception of yourself became inside this dynamic.

 

You were single, with zero obligations. You made no promises, had no commitment. In short, you have nothing—nothing—to regret. Sure, yeah, maybe you behave differently in future dating scenarios, but that's not to atone for some kind of sin but just to connect more authentically and be your most authentic self. The work-in-progress stuff, not the whip-yourself stuff.

 

A man with a lick of integrity and maturity would not punish you for those false sins, would not make you feel the way you have felt, not for a minute. If it was too much for him, he would accept that personal truth, and bow out gracefully. It is that simple, and it's a thing that happens between people, in dating, a million times a day. Heck, if you were a year into a committed relationship and cheated on a man with a lick of integrity and maturity, he would just break up with you, for good, gracefully. No drama, no punishment. Just a hard, firm goodbye.

 

This guy, for reasons it will take him real time in therapy to understand? He wanted to hurt you. He wanted you to hurt. That instinct—to process your own hurt by hurting others—is about as dangerous as it gets. It's petty, vindictive, and controlling. A close sibling to that danger? Being open to being hurt, assigning value to that hurt, and calling that hurt love, as you've done with him. That's two people finding toxic sides in each other and triggering them, over and over.

 

Some people, even good people, are toxic together. It's another thing that happens a million times a day, and it's a sad thing. If you are hellbent on not labeling him a monster, which I can understand, as I don't believe most people are awful, then I really suggest you challenge yourself to accept that you plus him equals something toxic. If you think of your history together as a laboratory experiment, in which two chemicals are poured into a beaker over and over again, then what you know is that the result is volatile, explosive, never actually stable. Happens. But you don't find stability by conducting the same experiment, but moving on to new ones.

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He told you last time you reconciled with him he would change. He promised to. Then he didn't. So this is not the first time you've wanted to get back together with him.

 

The same thing that happened the last time you reconciled will happen again. And it will the next time, and the next time after that.

 

I get that you feel you love him, but seriously, there are other guys out there, guys who do not abuse.

 

Please consider therapy to understand why you believe you still love a guy who abused you.

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somegirl313,

 

I read your previous post per your link.

 

Both of you are incompatible.

 

Your heart's not into him and no amount of your force to be with him will make you happy despite his groveling.

 

Give him the courtesy by telling him that it's time for both of you to go your separate ways. If continues to be relentless, seriously go NC (no contact), ghost, delete and block him permanently.

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Caveat: I did not read the other thread op linked to.

 

I will be the lone voice here. I don’t know if it’s been long enough in your ex’s particular situation to really make much progress, but if you truly still have feelings for him I would say it’s okay to have an open mind to the possibility of real change.

 

First of all people on this forum suggest therapy left and right, every day, all the time. The reason they do that is because they know if somebody really undertakes the journey of change that it works. If it didn’t work, these wise folks would not suggest it.

 

Also, as a recovered alcoholic I’ve experienced a fundamental and profound change in own life...so I know it’s possible. Just ask my family, boss, neighbors, etc. haha the list could go on....

 

So while I wouldn’t personally jump right back into it with him, I would save a little space for hope in my heart and let him DEMONSTRATE that he can be calm, rational and NOT desperate. If he learns to be content with himself and develops a sense of centeredness in his life, why not date him? Just wouldn’t hold my breath and in the meantime I would work on cultivating my own sense of “okayness” too. Maybe with some time apart with little or no contact?

 

Good luck!

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Caveat: I did not read the other thread op linked to.

 

I will be the lone voice here. I don’t know if it’s been long enough in your ex’s particular situation to really make much progress, but if you truly still have feelings for him I would say it’s okay to have an open mind to the possibility of real change.

 

First of all people on this forum suggest therapy left and right, every day, all the time. The reason they do that is because they know if somebody really undertakes the journey of change that it works. If it didn’t work, these wise folks would not suggest it.

 

Also, as a recovered alcoholic I’ve experienced a fundamental and profound change in own life...so I know it’s possible. Just ask my family, boss, neighbors, etc. haha the list could go on....

 

So while I wouldn’t personally jump right back into it with him, I would save a little space for hope in my heart and let him DEMONSTRATE that he can be calm, rational and NOT desperate. If he learns to be content with himself and develops a sense of centeredness in his life, why not date him? Just wouldn’t hold my breath and in the meantime I would work on cultivating my own sense of “okayness” too. Maybe with some time apart with little or no contact?

 

Good luck!

 

He abused her for months. No one suddenly becomes not-abusive after a few therapy sessions.

 

I don't think it's a good idea to encourage anyone to even entertain the idea of returning to an abuser.

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Caveat: I did not read the other thread op linked to.

 

I will be the lone voice here. I don’t know if it’s been long enough in your ex’s particular situation to really make much progress, but if you truly still have feelings for him I would say it’s okay to have an open mind to the possibility of real change.

 

First of all people on this forum suggest therapy left and right, every day, all the time. The reason they do that is because they know if somebody really undertakes the journey of change that it works. If it didn’t work, these wise folks would not suggest it.

 

Also, as a recovered alcoholic I’ve experienced a fundamental and profound change in own life...so I know it’s possible. Just ask my family, boss, neighbors, etc. haha the list could go on....

 

So while I wouldn’t personally jump right back into it with him, I would save a little space for hope in my heart and let him DEMONSTRATE that he can be calm, rational and NOT desperate. If he learns to be content with himself and develops a sense of centeredness in his life, why not date him? Just wouldn’t hold my breath and in the meantime I would work on cultivating my own sense of “okayness” too. Maybe with some time apart with little or no contact?

 

Good luck!

 

 

He was abusive the entire time they dated. It is not like she even has a good side to refer to. He set her up. Knew she was dating another and used it against her. He also knew who to target and manipulate. He is abusive and a bully.

 

OP, Please reflect on why you would allow someone to treat you like this. The entire relationship was bad.

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