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About seven months ago I became involved with a woman whose husband had abandoned her. At first our relationship revolved around her heartbreak over her husband's actions. He had been unfaithful to her on at least two occasions. He had moved out of the house twice. He had run up credit card debt in the tens of thousands. The first time he left she begged and barganed for him to return and he eventually did. Less than a year after that, he took all his stuff and left again. He refused to answer any calls and ignored and abandoned her completely. He had also emotionally abused her in many other ways too numerous to go into here. (However, interestingly, he did much the same thing with his previous wife; multiple infidelities and he left her three times.)


I had met her about seven months after he left her, and with her children's encouragement she started dating other men (me).


Initially, I just listened and provided a sympathetic ear for all her problems. I told her that I would try to help make the pain go away. Slowly we became closer and closer, until one day she told me she was in love with me and that indeed I had made her pain go away. I fell in love also and we began a very close and loving relationship. I met and became involved with her grown children and her parents. She became involved with my children and I introduced her to my friends and family.


She filed for divorce about three months ago and all the paperwork has been submitted. In this state, the divorce becomes final six months after the day she filed.


After he was served papers, I overheard a telephone conversation when he called her and I shocked to hear unbelievable verbal abuse coming from him. He screamed profanities at her and made treats against her. Turns out she asked to split the value of a piece of property in the divorce which he felt was his alone. I watched as she just listened to this abuse. Afterwards I told her that his behavior was awful. She stated that "he's just mad", no big deal. I was a little leery that she was so prepared to rationalize for him. In the end she capitulated and she told him that he could keep his property.


So our lives became closer and closer and we finally became engaged to be married. She swore everlasting love to me, she would forever be faithful, and she swore that we would always be together. She swore that she could never put anyone through the pain she has suffered. We were together every evening (we both have our own houses)and made several fun and bonding trips together. Our relationship was faith based and I truly thought God had brought us together.


About six weeks ago her ex-husband found out about our relationship. (You can probably tell where this is going) He started to phone her constantly. At first she told him not to call. But he persisted in a obsessive way. He would call fifteen or twenty times a night. I told her not to return the calls, not to talk to him, and that whatever she does, do not meet him.


Slowly she started to give in to his insistence. He would keep her on the phone and drag out the conversation. He promised her that he would do anything, including go to church (which he had always refused to do before), go to counseling (which he had always refused to do) if she would just take him back. Then he kicked it up a notch, and confessed all the things he did to her including the adulteries. He said that he was the worst husband there ever was and he doesn't blame her for leaving. But now, he has reformed. He has learned a painful lesson and he will never do anything wrong again if she will just take him back. He calls her and cries and sobs on the phone. He plays the "I'm still your husband" card. Then last week she agreed to see him. More tears and begging.


This affected her greatly. She told me she feels so guilty. She says she feels such pressure and that she wanted to be alone.


After a day of agony, we spoke and agreed that the day apart did nothing for either of us. At her parents encouragement (all of her family and friends despise her ex-husband) we went away for three days and left her cell phone behind. It was the most peaceful and loving experience. We recommitted our vows to each other and I really thought we were going to get through this.


But when we got back she listened to her messages and there he was crying and sobbing begging to take her back. I told her that this was pure manipulation and control. It not her that he wants. He doesn't want her to be with me. And by the way, every friend and member of her family tell her the same thing. She seemed to agree and things seem to improve.

Last night we had a wonderful evening together. But when she got home he was waiting for her. More theatrics and tears. I thought this was getting to a critical point so I dashed over to her house. I pleaded with her to stop this insanity. She had to be firm and tell her ex-husband the truth about us and to let him go. She said that she would take care of it.


Today I woke up to none of my usual email messages from her. Or phone calls. So I tried to email her and phone her. Nothing. Nothing all morning.


Around noon I received an email that stated this:


" I would like to share a few thoughts I've had recently. I know there are no guarantees when it comes to love. Real love requires risk, putting one's feelings out there in the most vulnerable state. Without that risk, we will never share true love with anyone. The thought of risking another chance with Steve scares me to death, but in reality, the risk would be no less with anyone. No one knows what the future holds for us. The best we can do is put our faith in God and pray that he will lead us down the right path. That path does not always lead to what we think is our best interest, but it does lead to God's will. I believe in this with all my heart."


This happen about eight days ago. She eventually phoned and said that she wanted to have some time alone to sort things out. So I did not contact her. She called me two days later and told me again how much she loved me and missed me. * Three days ago we went together for a counseling session with a licensed psychiatrist. He asked me to stay behind after the joint session and told me in no uncertain terms that she had serious and significant emotional issues. He stated that she really needed treatment and that it would probably require a long term commitment. He recommended several different agencies and types of providers, and he also said that I had better seriously reconsider the relationship.Two days ago I told her that I could no longer sustain a relationship like this. I said that if she could not choose then I would would help her. I said goodbye, and have not contacted her. But it has been difficult for me. I would appreciate any words of wisdom about this situation. Thanks.



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Three days ago we went together for a counseling session with a licensed psychiatrist. He asked me to stay behind after the joint session and told me in no uncertain terms that she had serious and significant emotional issues. He stated that she really needed treatment and that it would probably require a long term commitment. He recommended several different agencies and types of providers, and he also said that I had better seriously reconsider the relationship.


Take the hint. Sorry to be so brief, but I don't see how the writing on the wall can be any clearer. Just like she is heading into a world of pain by even reconsidering getting back with her ex, you would heading down that same road if you reconcile with her.


Life is too short to be stuck in an uncertain, unstable relationship, with no light at the end of the tunnel in sight.

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Welcome to eNotalone David,


I am touched by your story as this must be very heart wrenching for you. But to sum things up, I believe you have done the right thing for the sake of your sanity.


I think it is clear that this woman is not ready for a healthy relationship. She has some serious issues that she will have to resolve first. And that isn't something you can do for her. I see that you love her, but right now she isn't capable of the kind of love that you need in return.

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Life is too short to be stuck in an uncertain, unstable relationship, with no light at the end of the tunnel in sight.



Couldn't have said it better myself.


I feel sorry for the woman (and for you), but really, you will bring yourself nothing but heartache by having anything more to do with her. There are so many other potential partners out there for you to spend so much time and energy on someone with so many problems.


If you think you are hurting now, just wait until she starts contact you again. She likely will, so brace yourself for it. "I was so stupid to take him back. He cheated on me again, he abused me again. I'm so sorry for leaving you. Will you take me back?"


I can only imagine how hard this all must have been on you. You treat the woman like gold when she is on the rebound from such an abusive loser, and she still can't be happy with you. Rationally it is understandable when you understand how abuse victims feel/think, but emotionally, it must be rough. Maybe you should consider a few sessions with a therapist yourself for this.


In future, never date a person who is married no matter what the circumstances. Divorce pending, separated, abandoned - whatever. Unless the divorce is final you shouldn't even consider it. Also, avoid anyone who is still hung up on their ex emotionally and hasn't moved on yet.

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Hi David.


I'm sorry to hear that you are suffering right now. I have a few ideas for you, if you'd like to listen.


First off; from the outside, I do not see this as the breaking up of a loving commited relationship.

I'm not trying to be cruel. This is the reality as I see it.

This lady never was commited to you. She couldn't be. Her mind and heart has been bound with her husband.


And you knew that. You took a chance on her, and waited for her to come around to you.

She didn't.


That hurts. I'm sorry you hurt.


It seems to me that you have done something that many, many men (and women) do : You tried to rescue someone with broken wings.


There is a lot of discussion about this on this forum. I hope you'll stick around to check it out.


As painful as things are for you, this is a great opportunity for you to learn some important things about yourself. Because there is someone out there in the world who can show you the abundance of love and commitment back, that you clearly have to give. You deserve that.


You will find love again, when you are ready. This lady can not give that to you.

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I agree with everyone else. I think you really tried to stick it out, to make things work, but that you did the right thing in letting her go. Like DN said, she has some bond with her ex that hasn't been broken, and until that happens, she will never be able to move on.


And that the psychiatrist told you this! that is serious.


anyways, hang in there. I think that this breakup was for the best, you deserve a healthy stable relationship, and this relationship between you and her certainly wasn't.


good luck

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You are correct about most of what you say, but I did not realize that there was a serious connection problem until it went off the rails in the end. Then it became very obvious. I entered this relationship slowly and with caution. As it became more serious my failure was to recognize that nothing she said or promised was sincere. At least not when we got to the final chapters.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks everyone. An update. After two weeks, we got in contact again. I asked her if she was happy and was this what she wanted. She said no and wanted us to try again. I told her I would under the condition that she, and we go to consistant and effective counseling. I also insisted that she, and we attend support group meetings. And I said that she would have to stop all contact with her ex-husband. She agreed to all the conditions. I told that I considered a deal a deal and we shook hands.


The next day we went for a couseling session, and after I told the story she started waffling about the deal we had. She actually lied to the counselor and said that we hadn't made the deal. After that I told her that she is really messed up. I haven't seen her since but have exchanged a few emails. I really need to move on.

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I received a letter from a woman who said she was stuck in the same abusive situation. Her case was actually a little different. She was 29 years old, no job (he won't let her), two kids and nowhere to go. It broke my heart to read her story. I advised her to devise an escape plan. Begin to prepare the plan. Believe always in her plan, no matter how long it takes. And when she has everthing prepared, execute her plan and never, never look back.


In my case the woman I was involved with is in little different situation. Which is why it baffled me so much. She is 47 years old. She is financially independent. There were no children involved. She had been living on her own for 7 months before we met. We had been together for 6 months before he found out and decided he wanted her back. I just couldn't believe that she would even consider the proposal. But she did. Furthermore, she genuinely doesn't see the manipulation or just denies it.


She said;

" I know you think it is sick but I really do love you still to this day. I think about you all the time. I don't just love someone and then stop that's what makes this all so painful no matter which way I turn. How do you stop doing it. Someone is going to get hurt. Everyone. You hurt, I hurt, he hurts even though he's the one who has caused all of this."


So you can see from her last sentence what I have been up against. Now he has started phoning me and hanging up the phone. I'm not sure if he is harassing me or just checking when her line is busy to see if she is talking with me. Either way I won't tolerate any more of that.


And so I have to just let go. It has been a very painful and destructive process. I learned that the pain of heartache is the same as hunger pain. So when you live with it all day, and all night you become numb to it. I went 48 hours with no sleep and nothing to eat. I'm now down 21 pounds. But once I get through the pain I look forward to re-building my life again.


I have never cheated or been unfaithful in my life. How does one justify in their own mind and soul such betrayal? I used to wonder about that when I would see if from the outside. But now being on the inside it is really shocking to me.


Oh well. Thanks again everybody for your great responses. Really comforting for me when I needed it.

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