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Thread: Holding our past relationships against our current one

  1. #1
    joesbabygirl's Avatar
    joesbabygirl is offline Senior Member
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    Holding our past relationships against our current one

    I have a question, brought to me by a few people over the last couple of days to which I cannot answer.

    I always believed that we should learn from our mistakes. Within a relationship this means, ... he hit me, and i stayed, so he hits me again, and I now know if I stay, he will do it again, so I leave.

    VS.

    S.O. 1 hit me and I stayed, then he hit me and I left, so now new S.O hits me so I know if i stay he too will hit me again, so I leave. Or do I say, OK, he hit me, he promised it wont happen again, and so I should give him another chance, because he is not like my other guy was and so he may never ever hit me again.

    I hope I was able to get across what I needed to.

  2. #2
    SheLikesKitties's Avatar
    SheLikesKitties is offline OW/YM 21YR GAP
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    This is a very complex question because it has too many variables.

    What I did learn once is that if you love, and you are loved, you try and make the relationship work, you forgive if needed, you have patience if needed, you swallow your pride sometimes if needed, because at the end if you lose that love, you will be wondering "what if I would have...?".

    On the other hand if you are totally head over heals for one person you are more likely to be more forgiving of this person's mistakes.
    You know it's love when the pain of being apart is greater than the pain of being together.

  3. #3
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    People learn from their experiences. Some people learn "Hey, it wasn't that bad so I can, and probably will, do it again!" Other people learn, "That sucked, NO WAY am I doing that again!" This takes place whether it's something bad (as in the JBG's example) or something good (like trying a new recipe or trying something new in bed )

    Using the JBG's example, SO #1 learned "Hey it wasn't that bad" so he did it again. SO#2 may do the same. Or he may be in the latter category of "That sucked, never doing that again." Unfortunately for you, only HE knows which category he falls into. YOUR choice is to trust what he's telling you he learned...or not.

    Similarly, you learned from your experience. Hence your current dilemma.

    To help with that current dilemma, try to look at it objectively (which is probably why you are posting it on here ).

    First of all, your current SO is not your ex. You say he's a "totally different person" than your ex. So he has that going for him.

    Secondly, what was your role in this? Let me start by clarifying that I believe it is never acceptable for someone (man or woman) to use physical force on his/her partner--especially in anger. But sometimes, a partner gets so wrapped up in the moment that he/she is unaware that his/her partner is reaching the boiling point. Many times, a partner cries that "He hit me!" or "She bit me!" yet they don't reveal that moments before that took place, they themselves were screaming, cussing, and threatening to whack their partner with a frying pan.

    Was he so mad at something that happened to him earlier that he just "snapped" and took it out on you? Were you trying to walk away from an escalating argument so you could calm down and he came after you? If that's the case, it's not cool and it's on him. But were you up in his face, yelling and screaming at him? Were you threatening him in any way? If so, you both have some issues you need to work out.
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  4. #4
    Blue-Angel75's Avatar
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    Such as complex scenario.

    OLD mentality and old schooling says to me that a man should never under any circumstance touch a woman violently.

    I grew up seeing my parents go toe to toe, and down in Central America this kind of behaivour was accepted by many, not encouraged, but not punishable either. Mentality such as: man goes to work, while the lady stays home to cook and clean--which is NO longer something WE practice in our era.

    Men do no have the power anylonger, where now females are also stepping up into the corporate world, nasa.....


    to come back to topic. I think it would be SUCH a dangerous comment for me to say: IT DEPENDS On the situation, because a female SHOULD never be hit or damaged like that.

    I think this is one of those scenarios where LOVE IS NOT ENOUGH.

    Will he do it again? Plenty of room for that in the future.

    Can a man change his ways? ABSOLUTELY he can!!! With the right coaching anybody can change their ways, as long as he/she is willing to of course.

    Sometimes leaving the thing that you care for the most in this world, so that you can live healthy is the only thing you may be able to do.

    I hope I helped. (for what it's worth I grew up seeing violence in my home...but I NEVER TOUCHED a girl like that, and never will!!!)


    Blue Angel
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  5. #5
    Redhead's Avatar
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    This is indeed a difficult question. It all depends. My exhusband was an alcoholic and cheated on me. I would, resulting from that, not assume that any other man cheats. In my two relationships since the marriage I was not overly jealous, and I had no issues. But you addressed violence as an example. I firmly believe that someone who hits once will hit again. So if someone ever hits me, it will be over. No discussion (for me at least).
    I have put up with a lot of verbal violence, sleep withdrawal, etc. in my alcoholic marriage. So violence is an "finish it" criterion. And I will never ever listen to a "I am sorry, I did not know what I was saying. I was drunk." Never. Ever. No discussion.

    After my alcoholic marriage, when I had not learnt my lesson sufficiently yet, I first fell in love with somebody who was obsessed with work and then with somebody who was obsessed with saving money. Then I began to see a certain pattern and I broke it, and it was good. This is what it means for me to learn from experience. In contrast to that: to get divorced from a verbally abusive alcoholic and to then date an alcoholic and think "I am sure I can fix him" or to date someone who hit me and to say "I have to give him another chance - after all he said he was sorry - and this is a different man and not responsible for what happened in the past" whould be sheer stupidity.

    "I am sorry" does not fix everything. At least not for me.
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  6. #6
    Dil
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    This topic touched home for me. My father hit my mom when I was a child and I witnessed it, it was only one time but it still affected me for life. I also witnessed my uncle physically abusing me and my mom after my parents divorce, because he believed he was in control of us. And he was the reason my family was able to move to america. My uncle only did this 3 times, but it was enough that it never left my memories. My cousin tells me to this very day he has changed I should give him another chance. One time or 100 times it is never right. I have the heart to forgive but how can you forget? There is never a need to get that angry to hit another person.
    In the midst of all this, I got into a short relationship in end of high school, towards the beg years of college, where my ex was verbally abusing me. My very first relationship, convinced by peer pressure through a ex best friend. I thought well he is not hitting me, he is not like my father or my uncle. But he also never understood the meaning of no. These scars I will live with forever, but it made me the person I am today. Yes, we all make mistakes but one mistake maybe enough to change your life forever. Not every mistake is the same especially when it comes to domestic violence. You have to choose what is right for you and what is enough for you. You also have to see what part you took in the situation for it to escalate to that level. Some women scream and scream and the men say stop he will blow but they do not listen. But I still do not think it is right to raise your hand against a person. You can also tell a lot by a person pattern of behavior. Usually there are signs people tend to ignore when it comes to relationship because they are blinded by love. You will know by reading these signs if this person will ever make these mistakes again. I know couples where one person cheated once and he never did this ever again. It is learning to trust your intuition and reading the signs. With my ex I did not trust my intuition and signs that he was not going to change.

  7. #7
    Angel's Avatar
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    I agree with PinkUnicorn's response. I think the circumstances of how things happened matter.

    I'm a *huge* supporter of identifying the difference between a life learning lesson and a pattern of behavior. Remember, he is the younger partner. He does not have 14 years of extra experience that you are carrying. When I met my YM he was 18. Part of being with him was accepting that those life learning lessons would be learned with me. That's not a very comforting thought, but the alternative is him learning these lessons with someone else which is even less appealing. It is the downfall of a younger partner. It doesn't mean one should tolerate mistreatment, but that the poor behavior has to be viewed in an appropriate context. It can be very misleading to forget our partners are not where we are emotionally/mentally no matter how often they appear to be.

    You cannot project your experience/wisdom onto him. Yes, maybe you know that path all too well and how it will turn out, but you don't have the right or obligation as the older partner to tell him how to 'walk it'. He has to do it himself and you agreed to go along for the ride. Remember, he hasn't had to learn over and over again in a very painful manner through bad partner choices. He was blessed with someone as amazing as you very early on. Unfortunately that leaves you having to balance giving him room to grow without allowing yourself to become a doormat. His burden is trying to catch up with you and yours is to not crucify him for every misstep along the way.

    The only way to find out if this will be a pattern of behavior (for example, passive aggressive) or a life learning lesson (for example, driving and not paying attention) is to move forward with him. If you can't imagine doing that then leave, but do not stay and dig your heels in refusing to budge because in order for him to change he needs the space and opportunity to do so. Sometimes we don't recognize we have a limit until we're pushed to it and the experience is so uncomfortable that you realize the triggers that drove you there and avoid them. Other times we excuse the behavior as being "beyond our control". You find out which one it is by moving forward without the blinders of love on.

    The choice is up to both of you. Build something based in reality, not perfection, or put the blinders back on for the next whammy. Because no matter how great your relationship is that whammy will come. We're just two selfish humans trying to create this illusion of a safe haven that never really exists. We're all one bad choice from ruining our relationship no matter how many years we've succeeded. You have to get to a place where you understand your limits and know that trusting each other doesn't mean you don't fail each other, but that in those failures you learn how to love each other a bit better than you did yesterday.

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  8. #8
    joesbabygirl's Avatar
    joesbabygirl is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angel View Post
    He was blessed with someone as amazing as you very early on.

    See why I luv ya !


    Just to chime in a little ... there was no hitting. I went to extreme because I think no one should accept that. That there are things in a relationship that one couple would look at like ... no biggie ... while for another couple, it could mean the end. I think our past has alot to do with it. So I chose something (hitting) where it would be hard to accept for anyone.

    Angel has a bit of an edge as she knows everything, but all of the comments have been helpful whether you know it or not.

    I think for my personal situation here, forgiving him is the way to go. Seeing if he really does live up to his apologies and promises. I love him that much, I love what we have that much, and its worth hanging on to.

    Thank you !!!

  9. #9
    MissMuffins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joesbabygirl View Post
    I have a question, brought to me by a few people over the last couple of days to which I cannot answer.

    I always believed that we should learn from our mistakes. Within a relationship this means, ... he hit me, and i stayed, so he hits me again, and I now know if I stay, he will do it again, so I leave.

    VS.

    S.O. 1 hit me and I stayed, then he hit me and I left, so now new S.O hits me so I know if i stay he too will hit me again, so I leave. Or do I say, OK, he hit me, he promised it wont happen again, and so I should give him another chance, because he is not like my other guy was and so he may never ever hit me again.

    I hope I was able to get across what I needed to.
    There's a big difference in using something like "he hit me" as an example for the sake of the discussion and being in a situation where someone has actually struck you.

    People who've been through abusive relationships--physically abusive, emotionally abusive, verbally abusive, etc.--have a different threshold, or tolerance level, for abusive behaviors. Either we tolerate far too much, or we become intolerant of even the most innocent mistakes. It shows up in the way we transact business, our relationships at work with our coworkers and supervisors, and our relationships with our children, friends, in-laws and significant others. (In my experience and observation, those of us who tolerate too much far outnumber those who become intolerant.)

    That said, I also believe there is such a thing as a "mutually combative" relationship, in which both partners are equally abusive to one another. This takes as many different forms as there are mutually combative relationships--both partners may be physically abusive, or one partner is physically abusive while the other is verbally abusive, or one "pushes the other's buttons" until the other explodes.

    Now I'm going to put some stuff from my own past out here for you to look at. If you see anything there that "speaks" to you and your situation, we'll just have to trust the universe that there's a reason for that.

    My first husband never hit me. He put his hands on my arms and backed me up until I was pressed against the wall and he held me there, but he never hit me. He stole from me, he insulted me, he controlled who my friends were, he intimidated me, he lied to me, he cheated on me, he had sex with me when I didn't want to, and he is probably the one who infected me with an STI, but by God he made sure that he never hit me. Look at all the crap I put up with because "he never hit me."

    My second husband hit me once. He made a smart remark comment and I gave him what I thought was a playful slap on the shoulder as he walked past. He turned around and punched me on the arm with a closed fist. I was surprised, but he looked more surprised than I was. It was met with some raised eyebrows from me, and my sons--who at the time were ages 13 and 11 or thereabouts. He apologized left and right, said it was just a reflex, and that was the end of it...for a few weeks.

    Son 1 did some "typical teenager" irritating thing and my second husband threatened to lock him out of the house if he did it again, which is Something We Don't Do In Our Family. (I was locked out often as a child, and swore I'd never do that to my own children.) Son 1 said something to the effect of "like hell you will" and my second husband had just enough time to hit Son 1 on the shoulder or arm with a closed fist before I grabbed a handful of his jumper (sweatshirt), pulled him back, and told him that any man who thought he was going to hit my child with a closed fist had another think coming--I didn't give a **** that the kid was 14 years old and stood 6 inches taller than him--he was the adult, what he did was wrong, and if he ever did it again, I'd call immigration myself and send him home (back to Australia).

    Son 2 was notorious for provoking people until they exploded and running his own mouth when he was upset. I dealt with it by sending him to his room until he felt like he could control himself. One day Son 2 said or did something when he was upset, and my second husband slapped him across the shoulder. Son 1 and I heard it and saw it happen, and we both felt that Son 2 had it coming. However, my second husband then slapped Son 2 on the back a second time, hard enough to make him fall down, which was absolutely uncalled for. In the time it took Son 1 and me to cross the room, my second husband had grabbed Son 2 by the collar, begun to drag him to the center of the room, and was just set to begin kicking Son 2 when Son 1 and I reached them and pulled them apart.

    Every single one of those instances was "pushing the limit, but not quite over the line" according to what was normal to us at the time. Technically, I had hit him first. Son 1 provoked it by talking back, and Son 2 provoked it by running his mouth when he was mad. My second husband's responses to those situations weren't exactly okay, but they were understandable and we intervened before it got out of control. Those three incidents were nothing in comparison to how my mom, dad and sister treated me or the boys. My first husband's dad was just as bad or worse verbally, and my first husband was just as bad through passive-aggression, neglect and absenteeism. Still, my second husband's behavior looked an awful lot like a pattern to me.

    When my second husband returned to Australia of his own accord a few weeks after the incident with Son 2, I didn't make any effort to stop him. In the next 2 years I made two trips to Australia to see if things really would be different there. Even without the stress of step-parenting two teen aged boys and dealing with my first husband, although my second husband never again raised his hand to me, there were still issues with his temper. He didn't see it as a problem, I did, and that didn't leave any middle ground.

    Look at how much crap I've put up with from my current SO. Even though he's never hit me, his issues with alcohol and online dating are far more than most people would have accepted. When that is pointed out to me and I say "He's a good man and by comparison, this is better than any other relationship I've known," it's met with, "So? You deserve better!"

    I *do* deserve better, and I probably wouldn't have tolerated half that crap if I hadn't come from an abusive family of origin. Although others would probably define "better" as a different SO, I get to define "better" for myself. I felt that it was worth giving my SO the opportunity to commit to different behavior and building a better relationship with me. If he doesn't continue to follow through on those commitments, I am committed to being in a different relationship status.

    You know what the right answer is for your situation. If at any moment you feel that you're in physical danger, you need to leave and not look back. If you know there's more to the story and really truly believe there are mitigating circumstances and this was a one time deal, you're the only person who can make that determination. One time thing or not, I think relationship counseling is in order just because this was a big enough deal for you to seek feedback. If he won't go, I'd take it as a sign that: a) it's something he thinks is okay, and/or b) it's something that will probably happen again. If that's the size of things and it's a deal breaker for you, I'd suggest start building an exit plan.

    MM
    Last edited by MissMuffins; 12-27-2012 at 08:10 PM.
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    "Our past is a story existing only in our minds. Look, analyze, understand, and forgive. Then, as quickly as possible, chuck it." ~ Marianne Williamson

  10. #10
    laurad121 is offline Senior Member
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    I have never been hit by a SO but witnessed my parents going at it (my mom actually hit him not other way around) and they worked it out and are still married. Personally, it would depend on how bad the first incident was. If it was me beat to a blody pulp I would be out the door. Otherwise I would try to work it out and have to hear a lot of remorse and talking it out together to make sure he knows that is not acceptable and that he needs to find a better outlet for his emotions. I don't know what you are specifically going through but wish you clarity and insight on the situation and hope it can be worked out Hang in there....

  11. #11
    SheLikesKitties's Avatar
    SheLikesKitties is offline OW/YM 21YR GAP
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    The day I saw my son (then 13) cringe when my ex raised his hand against him was the day I decided to separate. I did not want him to feel fear.

    I am more likely to forgive wrongs against me, than wrongs against my loved ones. I will not forgive those.
    Last edited by SheLikesKitties; 12-28-2012 at 12:24 AM.
    You know it's love when the pain of being apart is greater than the pain of being together.

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