Did he ever love me?

I don’t feel forgiveness for my abusive ex-partner just yet, it is far too soon for that. However, I am incredibly proud of my progress, because I no longer have any feelings of loathing, bitterness or regret towards him either. I freely admit that I did harbour those feelings towards the end of our relationship and even more so after he had been prosecuted and charged for his final assault on me. Carrying those obstructive feelings was an exhausting burden which definitely worsened my mental state and ability to function as a human being. It has taken me a full year and a hell of a lot of support from family and friends, but I have now reached the point where I really don’t feel anything for him at all.

Other than the guilt I felt for allowing my children to be part of something so destructive (I shall talk about this another time), the biggest emotional trauma that I have had to come to terms with, after my ex-partner was prosecuted, was that he probably never loved me. In one sense, coming to terms with this has helped me to recover from the loss of the relationship, as it was never really genuine and therefore, I hadn’t really lost anything of any worth. It’s hard to explain but, the relationship that I was mourning the loss of, didn’t really exist anyway-I was actually grieving for the relationship that I wish I’d had.

In another sense, doubting that my ex-partner ever loved me and probably didn’t value me for who I was, also had a hugely negative effect as it made me feel ridiculous, pitiful and exploited. It left me in excruciating pain. Even now, a year on, I can’t say that I have completely healed from that, it caused a huge hit to my self-esteem. Still, time is helping me to stop the damaging self-assessments, let go of the shame and focus on accepting what happened, so that I can find value in my experience.

My ex partner was, and probably still is, a user by nature and had very little (if any) empathy for others around him. For around two years I had been coping with the anxiety of living with this unpredictably aggressive man and for the latter part of the relationship, I was also looking after the children on my own (due to him regularly going AWOL), as well as working to pay the bills single-handedly. When he admitted a drug addiction I finally asked him to leave the family home because I could no longer tolerate his insufferable behaviour and as a mother of two small children, I was incredibly fearful of such an antagonistic situation. This man had brought a world so incredibly alien to me, into my sanctuary and I wanted him out. I had given him so many chances already and for my own sanity, but more importantly my children’s safety, I needed him to leave. The problem was that if he left, he had nowhere to go and no means of supporting himself. His drug habit and chaotic living had meant that he had accumulated incredible amounts of debt and ruined the reputation of his business. Not only that, but this was a man who had a sense of entitlement and who expected everything domestic to be done for him.

During the next few weeks and months I lived with his emotional blackmail, having to cope with endless phone calls and messages, as well as several suicide threats. He insisted that if I didn’t let him move home, that I would be responsible for his deterioration. His desire to be at home wasn’t because he loved and missed me and the children-he was a man totally motivated by his own needs. He had no comprehension of the distress his behaviour was bringing to mine and the children’s life. It didn’t matter to him that we were suffering and in danger, all that mattered was that he was comfortable, fed and cared for. His manipulation was incredibly effective and I carried with me a huge amount of guilt for asking him to leave. For some reason, I felt a responsibility for this man and I couldn’t live the idea that I might be to blame for his what he was becoming and what he no longer had. These conflicting emotions troubled me so much that on too many occasions I gave into him and let him come to visit or stay with us for a few days. If only I could have borrowed some of his disregard and malignance, I may have been able to cut him out for good. I had the reasons, but I didn’t have the strength or desire.

My abusive ex-partner, even after his arrest for domestic violence, never considered that he had done anything seriously wrong. On the rare occasion that he did admit wrongdoing, he would claim that it was in response to my wrongdoing. Every time he was emotionally, verbally or physically abusive, he insisted that he wouldn’t be that way if he felt that I loved him. He was often vile, insensitive and crude, but he still expected nothing but warmth and big gestures of affection from me in return. When he didn’t get that, he sulked or flew into a rage. Since his prosecution for the assault on me, I have come to learn through the family court process, that he had been reported to the police for domestic abuse by two previous partners. He has also been reported by his current partner. On being questioned about these assaults by Children’s Services, he claimed that all the woman who had reported him had done so because they were, quote, “nutters. Whether my ex can ever love anyone is a question I can’t answer.

As strange as it may seem to some, for a long while, I loved that man with all my heart, even when I had every reason in the world not to. The fact that he probably never loved me was deeply saddening and hard to accept to begin with. I probably do love greatly and have too much faith in the human race, which ultimately makes me vulnerable to hurt in some ways, but despite what has happened, I will always choose to be that way. Isn’t it better to be able to love, be kind and compassionate and risk being hurt, than it is to never know what it feels like to love at all?



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