Relationship Advice

Punch Drunk Love

20ish woman

I just got out of a three-year relationship with a man I thought was the love of my life. We had plans to start a family and grow old together. I'm struggling to accept this will no longer happen, even though he treated me horribly in the end.

A few months ago we went out for a friend's birthday and had a nice time. On our walk home, out of nowhere, a switch flipped. He started verbally abusing me, saying anything he could to destroy my self-esteem. He tried to kick me out of our house at four in the morning.

After that night I packed a bag and stayed with my mom for a few days to let things blow over. I returned home because of my forgiving nature. I expected him to come with flowers, begging for forgiveness. Instead, he broke up with me in an insensitive way. A few days later, while he was gone, a friend helped me move the majority of my stuff.

Once he came home to an empty house and realized I was really gone, apologies flooded in. He begged me for a chance to talk. After a few weeks of the silent treatment, I agreed to meet him for coffee. I couldn't tolerate the pain of not seeing him any longer. It was strange how he seemed to be a completely different person. He was sweeter and more attentive than ever.

So I got this crazy idea in my head that this was going to be a better us and help us have a healthier relationship. Which it did for about a month. Then I saw the monster in him slowly creeping out again.

Next came the night I still have nightmares about. I walked to his house expecting him to be happy to see me. Instead, he literally ran away without a word. He texted, telling me to get the rest of my things and have a nice life. So my friend and I went upstairs to gather my remaining belongings.

He came into the bedroom, insulted my every move, and asked me if I was smart enough to figure out how to unplug my lights. To avoid a fight I tried to ignore him, which made him even madder. He started breaking my things, shattering wood and glass everywhere.

The next day he still felt the need to hurt my already stomped-on soul. He texted to let me know how horrible I am and how he never wants anything to do with me. He also texted hurtful things to my mom, who has done nothing but kind things for him.

After all this, I have waited for the feeling of relief to set in because I am free from his abuse. But I am still deeply in love with him. This frustrates me because I know I should never speak to him again.

I am so depressed I can't eat or sleep. I'm ready to be happy again. Do you think I should talk to him in a few months to gain closure? If not, what steps should I take to let him go and move on?

Brionna


Brionna, there are people who cannot feel pain. That's why, when they are young, they must be coached on how to live in the world. Your case is a little different. You can feel pain, but you cannot take the appropriate action once it is felt.

That you would consider contacting him again means he has severely damaged your self-esteem. That's why our advice is never see him again, change your phone number, and never go near his physical location. The next time around it may be more than glass and wood that gets shattered.

The closure you need is counseling to understand why you seek, what you yourself describe as abuse, and why you interpret that as caring.

Don't use closure as an excuse to come under the thrall of this monster. Not only would going back minimize the abuse you suffered, it would justify the abuse in his mind. "She came back. It must have been perfectly all right what I did. She deserved it. Her return proves that."

In just the two incidents you mentioned, his behavior escalated. There is something wrong in thinking you still love him. It is like saying, "I love to put my hands on a hot stove; I love to play on the train tracks."

Instead of love, what you feel is desperation, self-loathing, or something else. But it is not love. Your emotions are out of kilter with the facts. You feel pain, but you need to be coached how to take the appropriate action.

Wayne & Tamara

Email Wayne & Tamara: DirectAnswers@WayneAndTamara.com