He Said He’s A New Man. Now What?

veterans dayl 

Good Monday friends,

If you are a Veteran, I want to thank you for serving our country and sacrificing yourself for my freedom. I’d love to thank you by gifting you with a CD, The TRUTH Principle. Just e-mail my assistant Donna at assistant@leslievernick.com with your name and address, and I will personally sign it for you and mail it out.

Last night I had the opportunity to be at a Keith and Krystyn Getty Concert. If you’ve never heard them, they are fabulous. Here is a clip of them on You Tube:

 

They are modern hymn writers, and it was an uplifting, worshipful, musically excellent concert. It made me long for heaven where we won’t have to talk anymore about the dark side of life; it will all be good.

I just returned from being Nana to three wonderful little girls. We played monster, made cookies, took walks, played “this little piggy” hundreds of times on tiny toes and sang “The Wheel’s on the Bus Go Round and Round” at least 1,000 times. I forgot how exhaustingly wonderful little minds and hearts can be and how good it feels when a child fully trusts that you will do her good, not harm.

Today’s Question: I've watched your videos and have thought about sharing them with my spouse, but I am not sure if it would help or hinder.

I left my spouse almost 2 months ago because I determined, with the help of the local women's resource center, a therapist, my family doctor, 2 of my sisters, and my best friend, that I have been in an emotionally abusive relationship. It was picking up pace with verbal threats of physical violence and minor acts of physical violence.

Within two weeks of leaving, my husband told me he had changed so much that I would not recognize him. He started going to a marriage counselor, and I was asked to attend as well. I went one time on my own and shared a written history (basically specific events from last year, but also generalized behaviors over our 10 years of marriage) as well as talked to the therapist about why I would not attend with my husband now–primarily because I had asked over the past 5 years to go to counseling with or without my husband and each time he criticized me and the counseling community as a entirety.

By the end of the session, the counselor stated that she would like me to call her to find out how my husband is progressing in 8 weeks (which will be soon). She did not ask me to attend with him at this time.

My husband has also been attending an anger management class and claims that he will no longer yell at me or get angry. However, I do not see his anger or yelling as the primary concern. I believe it is deeper. I have not been able to dress, get my hair cut, drink water, breath, sleep, talk about my work, talk to my family, have friends, do any preparation for my career (I am a teacher) at home, or bake or cook what I want as I must eat what he eats and be readily accessible to him at all times, etc. It is deeper than just anger in my mind.

He wants me to come home and let him show me that he is a different person.

I feel nothing at all anymore. I do not miss him. I do not miss anyone. I am unhappy where I am, but I also feel that my soul, my purpose, my life was dead when I was at home. I was anxious and afraid just to open the door to our home, but I could go back and feel no better or worse. I think I am just dead inside so it really doesn't matter.

I am now also working with a priest who actually tells me many of the things that you speak of in your videos.

Answer: You’ve got a lot going on, and I want to help you make the next right choices. First, it sounds like you had good support when you made your decision to separate, but where is that support now? From what you describe, you sound weary and may be depressed. You say you feel nothing anymore. “Numb” or “dead inside” are the words women often use to describe how they feel when they suffer from depression. This is a difficult time to make good decisions. You need time to heal and take care of yourself before you can tend to issues in your marriage.

You also stated that because of these dead feelings, it really doesn’t matter what decision you make.

That’s a lie. It does matter what decision you make right now. It matters for your future and for your husband’s future. Also, you as a person matter–you matter to God, you matter to your sisters, family, best friend and students, and you matter to this community here who wants to support and encourage you. So before you think about what to do with your marriage, please get some additional help for yourself. I’m glad you’re seeing your priest. You need to get stronger and more clear-minded. Perhaps you also need to mention these numb and hopeless feelings to your medical doctor who might be able to help with some temporary medication if indeed you are experiencing depression, visit https://www.opaortho.com/ambien-sleep-medicine/.

Living with an angry, controlling person takes its toll on a woman’s mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health. She begins to feel flattened out, and her life energy and her soul song disappears. She loses herself and becomes an object whose sole purpose is to meet the needs, wishes, desires, fantasies and demands of her husband.

You are wise to grasp that your husband’s anger is not his (or your) primary problem. You said, “I have not been able to dress, get my hair cut, drink water, breath, sleep, talk about my work, talk to my family, have friends, do any preparation for my career (I am a teacher) at home, bake or cook what I want as I must eat what he eats and be readily accessible to him at all times, etc.” When you tried to do these things, what happened? I hope these are the kinds of things you shared with his counselor.

His anger has been the means by which he controls you and intimidates you to comply. If he gives up using his anger without a deeper healing, he will simply switch to another tactic to control–no less toxic or lethal to you–but one in which you probably won’t be able to get legal protection against.

It’s not enough for you to see the deeper issues. He too must recognize his demand that he be your god and that you revolve your life around serving him and making him happy. From what you say, it appears he “sees” his anger now as inappropriate but, if he still believes he’s entitled to be your god and you are to bow to his demands, nothing will change if you return home.

Therefore, I encourage you not to move home so that he can prove to you he’s changed. Once he’s got you back home, it will be much harder to assert your independence or leave again. He thinks he’s doing better, but my guess is he’s doing better because he doesn’t have much contact with you. He’s afraid he’s going to lose you so he’s “complying” to win you back but not because he’s acknowledged the true seriousness of his offenses or problems.

If you move back home now, you may enjoy a brief honeymoon period, but trust me, his attempts to control you will rear their ugly head once again and the cycle will repeat. This time he may use guilt trips, financial pressure, emotional battering or spiritual sounding words, including Bible passages, to get you to do what he wants. His fundamental issues of selfness and entitlement have not been addressed. If they have been touched on, they take a long time to change.

So what I’d recommend for now is to stay where you are or find a more permanent place to live while separated. Get all the help you need to get clear, strong, sane and safe. Allow yourself to be defined by God, not your spouse. He knows you better than you know yourself. If you have any contact with your spouse, be assertive with him–in a respectful way–but do not capitulate to his demands or even his requests if they don’t sit well with you. See how he handles your separateness, your voice, your choices, your independence, your “No.”

When you function as a healthy person instead of an object whose sole purpose is to meet his needs, he will feel unglued and extremely unhappy for a season. That’s to be expected, but then it will be crucial for him to learn how to deal with those uncomfortable and unhappy feelings on his own so that he doesn’t put his entire well-being on your shoulders. He needs to learn how to be in an intimate relationship with a real person who is separate from him and not just one who caters entirely to him.

This process can take a long time for him to learn. Many men will not be willing to endure the pain to get to the change they need. They sometimes get more demanding and insist you move home and may even threaten divorce if you refuse, or they will find a new object to use and abuse.

Take your time with this process. It is the only way to tell what’s happening in him. Two weeks or two months is not enough time. Eight weeks of counseling is not enough time. His counselor will not be able to tell you if he’s really changed, only you will be able to tell if he’s really changed.

How does he treat you on the phone when you need to hang up and do your lesson plans for school the next day? When you don’t’ want to talk anymore? When you have financial needs and ask him for money? When you put your own family ahead of his needs and don’t call him back? When you disagree on something? Phone calls can tell you a lot about how a person is or is not changing without you taking the risk of being injured by moving back home. Is he respecting you? Allowing you to be different? Accepting when you can’t or don’t want to meet his need right then?

If phone calls go well over a period of time, then, if you want to, you could try short date nights where you drive separately to a public place so that you are not in a confined space with no choices. (If you have any concern for your safety do not do this). As you continue to grow and get stronger, does he honor and respect you or try to squash you back down? Is he learning to tolerate his own negative emotions in a healthier way? Again, short intervals of contact can tell you a whole lot before you ever move home. Moving home is the last step of the process, not the first step, and there are a whole lot of steps in between. Don’t cut them short believing his ideas of a quick fix. There is no such thing in these kinds of marriages.

Friends, share what specific things that have helped you know whether someone is changing as well as what you did to breathe new life into your flattened out personhood?

 

55 Comments

  1. Jennifer on November 11, 2013 at 11:17 am

    I agree that this wife needs to heed the warnings her heart is giving her. I allowed my emotionally abusive husband to move back home after a separation and affair (his) at the encouragement of a counselor, even though I had very good reason to believe that his heart had not changed. I felt like I would look like I was the one impeding the process of healing if I refused. I allowed him him back in the house and he immediately began to complain that I wasn’t making him welcome enough. All of the old ways returned and worse. He discontinued seeing the counselor because ‘he was fine’. I feel now that I am not in a good position to have him take me seriously because he has what he wants. I refuse to believe that the battle is lost but I feel that it was a major strategical error and I should have listened to my gut. I know my heart is to heal my marriage and benefit my husband and I shouldn’t have doubted myself. If your therapist cannot see your husbands manipulating ways I urge you to see guidance and wisdom from The Lord and put off his moving home until you are comfortable. Get a new therapist or counselor if needed. Your husband can show his heart has changed before he moves home. If he hasn’t you are right to doubt and right to suspect that he is just appeasing and not actually changing.
    Praying for you.

  2. Linda@Creekside on November 11, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    ‘By their fruit you’ll know them.’ It takes quite a span of time for healthy seeds to germinate, to sprout, to grow. Sometimes it takes years for fruit to be seen. And, sadly, sometimes the fruit never comes to be.

    Leslie, I love those questions you asked toward the end. They are clarifying, evaluating, heart-searching.

    And my prayer is for this dear sister to focus on her own strengthening, healing, and peace. May God bring loving, sane, safe people into your life to walk with you during this season …

  3. Brenda on November 11, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    If you aren’t feeling good about the situation or feeling anything for him, moving back in together won’t solve anything. I think for the first time I disagree with Leslie (sorry), if you don’t feel anything for him you won’t have a good yet short honeymoon period, because if you feel nothing for him, you won’t want him to touch you. I have had that experience. I stayed with my former husband because “he changed, he will be different” for 3 years, but I felt nothing for him and having him touch me was about the last thing I wanted. There was no honeymoon period at all. Just more of the same.

    A man who is as controlling as this man is doesn’t change in just a few weeks without running smack into Jesus. My boundary timeframe was a year and then see what happens. It would be different for everyone, but X has shown me nothing so far. Same thing, different day. I am beginning to feel lonely living alone after 5 months, but I have to remind myself that I felt lonely living with him, as well.

    • Leslie Vernick on November 11, 2013 at 4:20 pm

      Brenda, thanks for the correction – I didn’t mean honeymoon phase as in “romantic feelings” but in lack of abusive/controlling behavior. I hope that clarifies.

      • Brenda on November 11, 2013 at 4:49 pm

        That makes sense. Somehow it all seems to go together though. My husband would expect sex and did, but I was not even close to feeling that way. When I didn’t conform, he would say I wasn’t trying. Well trying always meant his way.

  4. RayLene on November 11, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    The biggest thing you can do is to listen to your own truth. YOU know the truth of your life with your husband better than anybody else, and no one can take that away from you. You are the only one who knows him as he really is. NO ONE else can tell if he has really changed, except you, because he does not show his true nature to anyone but you.
    One of the things that I really struggled with was being able to listen to my own voice. I felt like everybody had a voice in what I could or should be doing, except me. I received counsel, and well-meaning advice from lots of sources, and everybody thought I should listen to them. I found the only voice that didn’t seem to matter was my own. How could that be when it is MY life and I was the one living the nightmare? When I was the one who would have to live with it if allowing him to return home was a mistake? When I was the ONLY one who knew how he CONTINUED to treat me when he wasn’t in front of others? When only I knew the very desperate straits my own soul was in when I finally made him leave? When I am the only one who lived for years with all the broken promises and empty commitments for change? The choice to return is yours and yours alone. Not your husband, not your pastor, not any counselor, not family and friends. Only YOURS!
    When a person lives as we have for so long, you lose something very important. I didn’t even recognize it until the end, and even though I’ve been separated from my abusive husband for almost a 1 1/2 years, I still struggle with it. It is the understanding and the ability to act on the idea that I have the freedom to make my own choices. For too long, you and I, and so many others like us have had that taken away. I did not leave my husband, though I wanted to, until I had the validation or permission from many other people that it was alright to do so. For some reason, many other people had control over my life, but I had none. It became much more difficult when people started pressuring me to go back to my husband. I have however stood strong. It has been hard. It has been scary. It has cost me. I have lost my church family, and most of my support system. Because my husband has managed to convince others how “changed” he is, I am the one who is now perceived as the problem. Unfortunately, no one else see the e-mails, hears the phone calls, or witnesses his rages against me. He keeps telling me that he’s changed. He tells me how everyone else thinks he’s changed, but I know and have seen the truth, and I do not let others sway me from what I know to be true.
    You are ONLY answerable to God. When I was able to see that I had a profound lack of faith in God to take care of me (and my children), and that I was staying with my husband because I felt that I had no choice in order to survive, that changed my world. I decided to step out in faith, and walk away from the man that was destroying me, and walk toward my Heavenly Father who loves me. And guess what? God has taken perfectly good care of me! I have seen Him provide and work in ways I could not have imagined. He has proven to be a loving and faithful Father, who was more than ready to care for me once I gave Him the chance. God has not ever led me back to my husband, because He also knows the “truth”.
    I tell people that I stepped out of hell, when I stepped away from my husband. I will NOT be stepping back. I know I would not survive. I can tell from your letter that you do not believe your husband has changed. Allowing others to pressure you to return to that is like choosing to walk the gangplank, right back into your how personal Hell. That would “flatten” anybody’s soul.
    And the other thing I can definitely tell is that YOU have not healed enough to return to your marriage. That’s another thing that I’ve recognized about myself. Even if my husband had truly changed, it does not matter, because I have not healed enough to be able to live with him again. The anxiety I feel just seeing I have an e-mail, the absolute dread I feel if I have to speak to him on the phone, and the sheer panic I feel if I have to be with him in person, is a pretty good indicator that I could not bring him home.
    While my husband routinely demands, threatens, pressures, guilt-trips, manipulates, and intimidates me to reconcile, I know I cannot. I always have to tell him that I cannot reconcile with him as he is. Nor can I reconcile with him as I am. While my refusal to “submit to him and let him come home” drives him to great anger, I have stood strong, and I am daily making the choice to protect myself and my children. It is MY choice, about my own life, and I get to make it. NO ONE else can make it for me. I cannot explain the feeling of being “set free from bondage” that you will experience when you grasp that truth for yourself. Your soul will “inflate”!
    Let me add one disclaimer. I have not blown off seeking advice and counsel. I do so routinely. However, I have limited it to people who do not pressure me into making the choices they want me to make. They offer their advice or counsel, but respect that the choice is mine to make.
    I wish you healing, wisdom, and strength my fellow sister.

    • Brenda on November 11, 2013 at 4:50 pm

      Well said. The fact that he got angry when you would not “submit and let him come home” says “I have not changed one bit”.

    • V.S. on November 11, 2013 at 4:54 pm

      YES. YES. Yes. Thank you for sharing RayLene! Our voice! Yes!!!

    • Elizabeth on November 15, 2013 at 6:11 pm

      Oh my goodness I am so here….. “When a person lives as we have for so long, you lose something very important. I didn’t even recognize it until the end, and even though I’ve been separated from my abusive husband for almost a 1 1/2 years, I still struggle with it. It is the understanding and the ability to act on the idea that I have the freedom to make my own choices. For too long, you and I, and so many others like us have had that taken away. I did not leave my husband, though I wanted to, until I had the validation or permission from many other people that it was alright to do so. For some reason, many other people had control over my life, but I had none.” Thank you for your post.

    • YC on November 16, 2013 at 9:53 am

      Beautiful, beautiful, wonderful, wonderful reply!! Thank you,RayLene. I think you need your own blog. Sign me up! I am trying to get to the point of making my OWN choice when I have been back again into a corner. It is scary, yet it feels like the only way I can FEEL the hope of anything. And my emo abuse has been much more subtle than these…it’s so easy to deny and everyone around has trouble believing it, even my parents. So, if mine is subtle yet so damaging, there is no doubt that more intense abuse is deflating and worth saving yourself! It’s just scary, but if we are strong enough to survive this crud, we should recognize we are strong enough to make it without it!

      • Leslie Vernick on November 16, 2013 at 4:14 pm

        I love this line – if we are strong enough to survive this crud, we should recognize we are strong enough to make it without it!

    • stacy on November 21, 2013 at 3:54 pm

      ditto to Raylene, i copied this part from what you wrote. Are these guys made from the same mold or what???? Praise God that we have this forum as we come out of the ‘crazymaking’!
      Because my husband has managed to convince others how “changed” he is, I am the one who is now perceived as the problem. Unfortunately, no one else see the e-mails, hears the phone calls, or witnesses his rages against me. He keeps telling me that he’s changed. He tells me how everyone else thinks he’s changed, but I know and have seen the truth, and I do not let others sway me from what I know to be true.
      You are ONLY answerable to God. When I was able to see that I had a profound lack of faith in God to take care of me (and my children), and that I was staying with my husband because I felt that I had no choice in order to survive, that changed my world. I decided to step out in faith, and walk away from the man that was destroying me, and walk toward my Heavenly Father who loves me. And guess what? God has taken perfectly good care of me! I have seen Him provide and work in ways I could not have imagined. He has proven to be a loving and faithful Father, who was more than ready to care for me once I gave Him the chance. God has not ever led me back to my husband, because He also knows the “truth”.

      • Brenda on November 21, 2013 at 4:55 pm

        They surely do have a way of making others think they are the best thing since sliced bread and we are crazy people. God has made all things work. I am wanting for nothing and my relationship with God is so much better since I left. My faith is in Him.

  5. Debbie on November 11, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    This post was so helpful to me! You Leslie, and my domestic abuse advocate are the only people who seem to hear us women in these marriages. Most of my dear friends keep telling me to be more loving, more forgiving etc. I have been abused for 32 years!!! For the past few years I have been counseled by someone who doesn’t understand the abusive component in my marriage and it’s just not helping me. I feel more and more confused every day, and guilty because I can’t seem to be a “good enough” wife. I’ve tried talking, setting boundaries, implementing consequences and nothing changes. He says I’m being mean for implementing consequences to keep myself safe! When I tell him I’m not going to continue conversing when he screams and swears at me-he follows me and screams at my back! I’ve moved out of the bedroom so my only remaining move is out of house-out of my home 🙁
    Like you have said, many men just won’t tolerate the difficulty of changing. He’s one of them. My pastor has given her support for moving forward with separation, but it’s so hard to give up and accept that this is never going to change.
    Thank you for caring.

  6. Jen on November 11, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    I have to agree… I allowed my husband to come back home after 2 separations, several affairs, and emotional abuse that only got worse each time. We are separated again now and should be divorced by the end of this month. What I learned through Divorce Care is that he was never really repentant of his actions, only sorry… mostly for himself. I am sure he still lives with the shame of what he has done but I cannot be the Holy Spirit in his heart, telling him to repent and quit sinning. We have a 19 year old that follows in her dad’s ways. And a 10 year old son, who I saw was becoming emotionally abusive being around his dad for all these years. It just wasn’t worth it to me to see the legacy of my family, see this pattern of affairs and abandonment as normal Christian behavior. My husband is still unrepentant; still lies, blames me, and projects what he is doing onto me. So for the betterment of my own sanity and the future of my kids, we will be divorced. I am heartbroken and really want to see him come to God and repent, and to save our family, but since he has not so far, I have to keep moving forward. I have to be realistic that he may never want to do the work to truly change himself.

    • V.S. on November 11, 2013 at 4:56 pm

      God bless you for your courage and wisdom. May God show up for you daily…

  7. Shan on November 11, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    I agree, take some time on this. Figure out who you are as an individual before you try to get back together as a couple. There are probably things you like to do, or things you like to eat, or people you like to be around, and you have been stuffing that down for so long.
    Also with my ex-husband, it was more about he didn’t want people to find out we were having marriage problems so he was furious that I left and had therefore made it so public. So as Leslie said, there can be many reasons for him to pretend like he has changed very quickly, but it will take some time to see if he is really serious.

  8. V.S. on November 11, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Firstly,
    I want to say that I am separated and doing unbelievably well because of the warnings of this community to a) get out, and b) don’t take him back early, easily or quickly and c) heal well. So, whoever reads this from this group, I thank you.

    To this wife, I want to just send a hug and say until you can feel, until you have opinions and you care about what you live in, you CANNOT go back, because this is piece is about you and not him.
    I agree that he has flattened you and that your soul song is gone (for now). But IT WILL RETURN!!!! Take the time to let it fluff up again!!
    And from THAT soul song-y place is the place to make the decision to move forward (with or without him).

    Here is what I’m doing that came from this community that is so HEALING to my soul:
    – accept full on the devastation I lived in.
    – take time to heal. I’m giving myself a year. An entire year to heal in a separate house, separate life, and begin even in tiny baby steps to ask what I am here for and what I want. It’s taken 4 of the last 5 months to feel like I have ANYTHING to offer the world. I wish I could list here the ways God has rushed in to show up for me, and my son, but I KNOW He’ll show up for you too.
    — Watch ALL 10 of Leslie’s videos on her series leading up to her Emotionally Destructive Marriage book. That has kept my head straight through this whole thing.
    — How I’m finding my soul: Get a massage, take a walk, go on the “hikes” that were never allowed, go to the Indian restaurant you always wondered about, drive 30 min. in one direction and stop at a little side road stand and get tomatoes, save money and take a weekend away at a local sightseeing area, train your dog, hug a tree, find a new recipe, and for every single holiday for a full year – don’t be with him. Carve your own, beautiful, amazing, valuable life.
    Jesus DIED for us, we don’t have to SACRIFICE ourselves!

    And I found this poem the DAY hubby moved out. I wrote it on posterboard and hung it in my bedroom where it is to this day. I would NEVER have hung poetry, so I take great delight in sharing it. These are my “marching orders” when I dont’ know what else to think, maybe they can help you….

    It will be all right in the end, and maybe even in the middle.
    You will not suffer as long as you think you will.
    You are not fated to be unhappy.
    You are not destined for failure.
    Remember who you are.
    Let me say it again.
    Remember who you are.
    Be gentle.
    Practice exquisite acts of self-care.
    You don’t have to be as strong as you think you do.
    You don’t have to be wise and certain about your path. Your frailty is beautiful, and your innocence too. Getting lost is another exercise in navigation.
    You can’t fix everything you touch.
    You won’t break everything you touch.
    Don’t apologize if you’re tired.
    Don’t second-guess your stomach.
    Maintain eye contact with everything, especially yourself.
    Fall to your knees at least once a day.
    Say yes at least twice.
    Love daringly, wholly, unapologetically.
    Believe in magic. Befriend your fear. Look up. Listen. The birds will tell you everything you need to know about flight.
    Forgive yourself your great sadness.
    Unlock what hurts. Make a prayer for loss.
    Unpen your words.
    Get messier than anyone thinks you should. You’ll know when you’re ready. I’ll say it again. You’ll know when you’re ready.
    – Maya Stein (on FB it’s Maya Rachel Stein)

    Bless you, hugs to you, and to everyone who lands here and needs to know we understand… XOXOXOX.
    Vikki 😉

    • Brenda on November 11, 2013 at 5:19 pm

      Thank you I needed that. I am having a cry day.

    • Peg Gentle on November 11, 2013 at 7:30 pm

      V.S. what you wrote is awesome! I admire your strength and firmness.

  9. Elizabeth on November 11, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    The crazy thing about that situation is that when you are in it you feel like you are alone and the only person going through that, and yet there are so many of us here on this blog who can say “I know exactly what you are talking about because I’ve been there!”.
    I would encourage you to watch the videos Leslie has posted, read her books, along with the ones she recommends. They have been a source of sanity to me, you need the constant reminder that you are not crazy and that there are proper steps to take to leave that situation and to heal from that situation.
    I agree wholeheartedly with Leslie and everyone else, going back should be the last step not the first. It took me a while to learn this, like so many other women I took my husband back a few times before realizing it was only escalating to more serious problems. If he is saying you should come home so he can “prove how much he’s changed” that is proof he hasn’t changed at all and is not repentant for anything he has done. If he was truly repentant he would be fully supporting you and encouraging you to live elsewhere until you were confident and he had time to prove himself to you.
    I want to encourage you to take the time to let yourself heal, I’ve been separated 5 months and just last week I started remembering all the things I used to enjoy in life, I have finally started to heal enough to enjoy life again. It takes time, and it’s a different time frame for everyone, but don’t feel guilty about taking whatever time in necessary for you to heal. It is important, you are important, never forget that.

    • Brenda on November 12, 2013 at 9:12 am

      For a while I was doing great. I was annoyed when almost X would email and call all of the time. Now he has another woman, his X and he doesn’t call anymore. I am crying at times that are not good, yet playing the piano again and enjoying it. I feel like I am being torn in 2 directions. I am moving forward yet grieving over the loss. For this 5 months he has continually tried to get me back and at the same time he has been moving on. I don’t want another man yet the thought of being with him again is torment. It is so confusing.

      • V.S. on November 17, 2013 at 6:36 pm

        Brenda, sending hugs as I am on your 5 month track… (and 5 days. I’m totally counting).
        Can I offer you a thought (that I offer myself daily…)
        Just be you right now. Be you without a guy. When it’s time to cry, get the dishrag and have at it. When it’s time for piano, let the ivories fly! When you need to sleep, rest in God’s arms. I’m really convinced that this season in our lives is about us understanding what our baseline normal is. What peace feels like. What we do on a chilly night- bundle up or take 5 min. to breathe outside. What do we eat on Sunday night when no one is home.
        Because I pinky promise this, which I believe wholeheartedly…. one day we will have a relationship and the man we are with will LOVE that we take a quick walk on chilly nights, eat frozen pizza when no one is home, and find joy in playing instruments regardless if he’s in the room or not.

        And I can say this because yesterday hubs showed me he took his ring off. Bam. And yet he still wants me around. Guess what? I’ve had enough time alone on my feet to know this in my heart – he’s always got great words for me, but those actions are the dead giveaways every time.

        We’ve got this Brenda. It’s for our healing. And He’s got us. XOXOXOXOX!

        • Brenda on November 19, 2013 at 1:33 pm

          Oh, VS, another guy isn’t even in my vocabulary. Most days I have no tears for the old one. I finally got to lay down my sword and shield of protection and relax. I think it was just finally time to let it all out. I am taking the time to get to know me and change things that I am finding I don’t like much and adding things that I do. I am attending MS meeting alone and meeting people which I have this disease in common with. I attend church events even though I have to walk in alone. For some reason that is harder for me. Perhaps because so many have seen me with X for several years and I haven’t become confident in that area. I make large batches of soup, put them in individual ziploc bowls in the freezer for easy dinners. I am going to a secular DV support group mostly to meet people and hopefully will be able to put a Christian group together. New Converts would be really nice, too. For the most part I don’t feel sorry for myself in anyway. There isn’t much about the last 5 months and 16 days that I haven’t enjoyed. That is when the X was leaving me alone. In the past week I was able to sit with an elderly friend for several hours in her home and not worry about having to be home. I had lunch with a Christian coworker from another city and spent 4 hours talking and no worries about being home on time. It was truly wonderful. God is good all of the time, and I praise him for his rescue.
          Thank you VS for your encouragement. XOXOXOXOXO

        • Cyndy on November 19, 2013 at 1:58 pm

          YES! YES!
          TRUE! TRUE!
          WAY TO SAY IT!
          WHOO HOO!!!!!!

          I’m ALL there!

  10. Cyndy on November 11, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    To the dear lady whose question Leslie answered:

    I have been separated for just over 2 yrs. God has healed SO much in my heart!! I find myself laughing when I talk about how good HE has been to my daughter and me in taking such good care of us! I had tried to leave 3 yrs. ago with my girls, but was persuaded to stay with my husband for the sake of the people we ministered to. Now I know that was a God-thing because I was not armed with the support and information I gained the following year. Had I left the first time I’m sure I would have ended up returning to my husband. Now I am in a position where I am following God one conversation at a time with my husband. I now have the boldness and BELIEF in the truth of all the things Leslie shares. I just landed on her website and she has simply confirmed EVERYTHING God has been teaching me the last 2 yrs through different churches , counselors, and new friends who GET IT! So finally NOW, I feel armed to boldly speak against the lies and deceptive manipulation of my husband and set bold-for-me consequences. A new friend asked me if I know what it means to be “fully alive”. I thought about that for a few days and realized that I finally do, because I am LIVING that way! It means that I feel SO full and I feel EVERYTHING– love, joy, AND the pain– now that fear has taken a back seat. (NO, fear is in the trunk!) I can be funny (not sarcastic) even when I’m angry. I can sob my guts out and then be so THANKFUL for God’s goodness in taking care of us and surrounding us with incredible support wherever we go! I say all this to say that it does take time…time to heal and learn to be okay with your own opinion and stretching your own wings. And it takes TIME to really SEE and BELIEVE the lies that have been perpetrated for years! It has been a gradual “unfolding” of both over the last 2 yrs. and I can say that, even 2 months ago, I would not have been prepared to have the no-nonsense conversations I am having with my husband right now. So give yourself that gift!! God does! I used to ask Him to change me to be the wife that would make my husband happy. I’m so glad He didn’t! But I have seen how unworried and unhurried He is– how much time He gives us to see as He sees. And in the middle of it all, He protects, and loves, and gives TONS of mercy and grace! So follow His example and REST, not RUSHING back to the place others or even yourself says you “should” be in! As the others have said, you will KNOW when it’s time. God is REALLY TOP-NOTCH at helping us in our weakness!

  11. Teresa on November 12, 2013 at 9:48 am

    WOW all the ladies here are singing the same song. I separated for the second time on Sept.1. I had left before and returned because I thought that my marriage was more important than myself. The Lord has shown me not to get stuck. Faith is an action word. F in faith is the forward movement. The Lord has brought many wonderful people in my life and I am serving the Lord in teaching a class of small children and helping the salvation Army this Christmas season. I have been truly being able to understand HE is my strength.

  12. Debby on November 12, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    Leslie, you are so wise in your specific guidance in this situation. TRUE CHANGE TAKES MUCH TIME. When the other does not truly change, I have found support in sitting before God reading His Word, laying it all out in prayer before Him, and creating things in my daily life that encourage me, like having plaques on the wall with sayings that lift me up when read, planting flowers/winter shrubs outside each window for lovely views year round, choosing a new dish to bake with flavors and colors that I like, pack up a bag of clothes to give to someone or an organization…things like that. Try to do something nice for yourself and/or for another that will bring you satisfaction.

  13. drew on November 13, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    I want to thank Leslie for publishing and responding to my question with such speed and enthusiasm. I also want to thank each of you who have read and also those of you who have commented. I am thinking there are people out there like me who have never commented here before, but maybe will get some strength or understanding from observing.

    I am torn. I know that what many of you are saying is right — it could be dangerous and not helpful for both myself and my spouse for me to return.
    I want to clarify that it is not that I do not love him, but more of I feel nothing. I shut myself off for years because it hurt too much to feel anything, so to turn my feeling on means that I have to start feeling all over again— whether it is positive or negative.

    I am struggling with forgiving and forgetting. My spouse frequently said to me , “Your problem is you don’t forget about the past and yesterday was the past.” Am I too forget everything that hurt me… even if it happened earlier in the day or just yesterday, no matter how mean or cruel? I want to. But when I did his words and actions got meaner and bigger.
    He seriously wants me to come home to rest and be within the comfort of my home and I want to. But how do I grow that trust back…. that is the real concern– not love or like, but trust. How does one trust that she will be respected, supported, and loved when he admits that he did all kinds of negative things to me and can only say it is because of his past and that he carried anger home with him from work and took it out on me in the most bizarre and cruel ways (unrelated to either his past or work— but tore my character, spirit, talents, existence, interests, cares, work, abilities, etc apart on a a daily bases).
    I am a christian woman who wants to be kind, loving and forgiving. How do I do it when I feel as though even that was made out to be wrong in his eyes?

    • Cyndy on November 16, 2013 at 5:02 pm

      A very wise counselor looked at me with his arms crossed over his chest and said that is how I am guarding my heart right now, explaining that it was a GOOD thing! He said I MUST NOT let my guard down in one fell swoop, but allow my husband to earn back my trust one drop at a time. My Dad always used to tell me growing up that the devil says “hurry! hurry!” but God says “wait”. There is no sin or wrong against your husband in waiting, but great potential for healing for you if you wait. And don’t forget, a medical doctor or athletic trainer would NEVER expect a runner with a broken ankle to get back on the track. In fact they would emphatically discourage it–because it could cause greater damage! Only an investor who has something to lose from the runner missing a race would push for him to run against better judgement. Those bones can’t heal in the middle of constant pressure. How much less a broken heart?!!

      • Robin on January 4, 2014 at 7:37 pm

        I love this sentence……..having been someone who has also been very wounded, and needs time to heal and give myself self-care. “A medical doctor or athletic trainer WOULD NEVER expect a runner with a broken ankle, to get back on the track. Those bones can’t heal —-in the middle of constant pressure. How much less, a broken heart!”
        Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of this blog, is how we can be cheerleaders for one another, when we are weak and need to be reminded of staying strong in each of our battles to stop abuse!!!

  14. Missy June on November 14, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    I haven’t had a chance to read everything above yet, but I wanted to say that at this point you have the important privilege of knowing yourself, learning what you want and need and what is right and healthy. I urge you to speak with a therapist if possible to learn how to “un-numb” (we all get that way because shutting down is the only way to survive living in an abusive relationship) and discover what you enjoy. Let yourself get healthy and strong and it will be easier to discern the best course for your relationship. Importantly, how your husband responds and interacts with a healthy you will be very telling about his own recovery.

    What Leslie had to say about, ” He too must recognize his demand that he be your god and that you revolve your life around serving him and making him happy,” is crucial. If he can’t learn this and can’t learn healthy ways to deal with his own disappointments it will continue to fall on you to try to please him … which is a false hope.

    I’m so sorry for the way your feel this day. I have been in your shoes and wish you only the best as you establish your own values and self!

  15. Margaret on November 16, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Thank you so much for this. This is the exact same question I have been wrestling with lately, and I am feeling the exact same “deadness.” It’s horrible.

    If he truly is dealing with his stuff and changing, i want to repair our marriage. But I am stuck in this morass of not knowing if he really has changed, not knowing when it would be same to bring the kids back into a home with him, and honestly not knowing if I can even love him again. It’s not just feeling numb to him–marriage was such hell that I can’t imagine marrying anyone ever again, even the nicest guy in the world. 🙁

    I’m feeling like “I don’t wanna” when it comes to reconciliation, even though I believe I am called to seek reconciliation whenever possible, as a Christian. I was always afraid of losing my husband, when he threatened to leave me over some argument or other. Now? I LOVE being single. I have an amazing family, I have amazing children. I could live like this for the rest of my life and be HAPPY. And yet I feel like I’m supposed to go back to someone who is habitually miserable and has a relational/emotional IQ of 0. 🙁

    • Leslie Vernick on November 16, 2013 at 4:13 pm

      Paul advises us, “As much as it depends on you, be at peace with all people” But what does that mean? What would true peace with your husband look like? What changes do you need to see him make so that your relationship will work – not perfectly, but in a way where you are safe from abuse, able to manage negative emotions in a godly way, deal with differences and conflict in a way which respects both perspectives and works toward a win/win solution? If those changes aren’t taking place, you can’t make a marriage work all by yourself and biblical reconciliation isn’t taking place nor is there biblical peace. If God is truly working in your spouse’s heart, don’t you think he will also work in your heart? Joseph watched his brothers for a long time before he trusted that they changed enough to invite them back into his life (read the story in Genesis 45). Don’t push yourself to move ahead of God. Watch and wait and see what He’s up to.

  16. Faith on November 19, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Thank you so much for your comments ladies. I see that I am not alone in wanting to believe the “good guy” is for real. My husband was on his best behavior for a few months and stupidly I let him back in. Well, his old habits came back when I continued to stand up for what I want. Now he is pushing for separation since I can’t meet his needs. What happened? I was the best thing ever a few weeks ago when I kept him at bay….I just don’t get it.

    • Brenda on November 19, 2013 at 1:14 pm

      The chase. Wanting what he can’t have. Wanting it to be his idea to separate. Control. The reasons are endless for these guys.

  17. Kelly on November 25, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    I hope it’s okay if I post this here. I feel like I am going crazy and need some advice…

    Do I Trust The Change Or Move On?

    I have been married for 15 years. I was 21 when I was married, so I was a very young wife. I thought it was a good comfortable relationship. Things were quite a struggle, but we managed. I have come to realize that my husband is an alcoholic. This actually just dawned on me about 3+ years ago, sadly. He was very controlling and manipulative, but also very charming and funny. Even though I thought I was in a comfortable place with him, I have cheated on him throughout our marriage. I realize now that he was always emotionally distant from me and, though this is NOT an excuse in any way, I was looking for someone to fulfill my lack of love I was receiving at home.

    As I became a Christian, I put those ways behind me, but he found out about one affair in particular eventually. It was a great lifting of a burden for me, and occurred about 7 years go. I repented and he forgave, and everything seemed fine. Until about 3+ years ago…. He continued to drink even though I asked him to stop. He continued to withdraw emotionally from me. He was angry all the time and frustrated. He would yell and talk down to the kids and also to me. I was at my wits end. I literally mourned the death of my marriage, so to speak, and finally was ready to leave him after a few more angry outbursts from him.
    In this past June, I told him I was separating from him. He begged me not to leave and told me that he would work on things. He quit drinking and started to attend Celebrate Recovery at our local church. I put everything behind me again, as this has been our cycle actually, and worked towards being a loving wife. Then the cycle broke again and he was back to being withdrawn and angry – and quite snappy at the children. I finally have had enough and told him I wanted a divorce.

    He begged me to stay once again and I said I wouldn’t. He now has gone into counseling and attends men’s Bible studies on a daily basis. I have come up with a solution of getting an extended stay hotel room and switching off nights there so the kids wouldn’t be as affected and I could take some time to really work things out on myself. I am now struggling with not wanting to work on things with him. I am so scared to make a wrong decision. I don’t want to stay married – and he really does seem like he is changing for the better, but I have changed for the worse. I pray every waking second for the loving feeling to come back – but I can’t even look at him without being repulsed. I don’t even want him touching me.

    I still want a divorce, even though it seems like he has changed into the man I’ve wanted. I’m just scared that it will go back to the same place we were in – we have gone around and around with this so many times in our 15 year marriage. It really has only been a month or so that his change has been noticeable. I just want to move on with my life. I feel so guilty about this. I don’t want to destroy my family just because I’m selfish. I just don’t know if I can go back to loving him.

    I realize that he is very manipulative and I am very co-dependent. I’m more scared about making decisions on my own as I have never done that. I warned him this would happen and he didn’t listen to me – he kept pushing me away. Now he wants me back and I don’t want to stay. When is it okay to say enough is enough? If I leave will God hate me? I’m stuck in this limbo and don’t know which way to go! My heart tells me to run, but the Christian in me says to forgive and stay married… I honestly don’t think I will ever be happy with him. I feel like I am losing my sanity… What do I do!?

    • Leslie Vernick on November 25, 2013 at 9:47 pm

      Kelly, what a brave girl to write so honestly here on this site. I’m sure many of the other regulars will pray for you and give their perspective but let me just share a few things. You are not ready to reconcile your marriage, nor are you really ready to make a wise decision about ending it. Of course you don’t feel very loving towards him. There is just too much bad history right now. Therefore I’d encourage you to give yourselves time before you make such a critical decision as ending your marriage. Let him do his work and you do yours. You need to work on your co-dependency, your relationship with God, build your CORE strength and learning to think wisely as a God-centered woman and not as a man centered or self-centered woman. You are both just in the beginning stages of your healing so you need lots of support, accountability and wise people surrounding your journey. I’d encourage you to find a good church, your own support group whether it is another CR or something else you can go to as well as a Bible study to move your faith from your head to your heart. The first part of your lives and marriage has been full of selfish decision making. Here is your chance to make a change in the way you do things – your husband too. Don’t waste this pain. Allow God to use it to bring you closer to him. If your children see anything, let them see that you’re working on that.

      • Cyndy on November 26, 2013 at 1:00 am

        Yes, move slowly is the key. Don’t let fear or guilt persuade you to make a quick decision either way. But you can’t “wait” alone. I couldn’t have waded through day after day without the new and old friends God surrounded me with! I will ask Him to do the same for you!

    • Brenda on November 26, 2013 at 4:53 am

      Kelly, Give yourself a break and take some time. You are pressuring yourself too hard. Allow yourself the freedom to become the person you need to be. You need to work on you and gain your confidence and self respect. Fearing God is healthy when it is because he is the almighty, but know that he is right there with you and will help you make the right decision in his timing. If it has been a month since your husband made this change and you say it is for the better. Watch and wait. If it is God’s desire for you to return He will let you know and he will soften your heart towards your husband. If you have a place to stay away from your husband it is probably for the best, he will gain a better understanding of what he is missing and if his repentance is true you will see it over a longer term and not fall back into a trap. He needs time to show you that he has truly changed. I pray that he will truly repent and be the husband and father that you deserve. If not, gain strength and confidence in yourself through God’s wisdom. Stay close to Him and work on you. If divorce is necessary down the road God will understand. God hates the sin that caused the divorce not the people in it. You are a beloved daughter of the King and repented and changed your life through Him. Carry on in the path that He takes you while I pray for you to find His will for your life. Be safe.

  18. Lynn on November 26, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    I went to this page today as I was looking for help in assessing my husband’s ‘changed’ attitude. I cannot believe that this was the topic at this time. I have been married for 37 years to a verbally abusive husband. It wasn’t until last year that I read my first article on verbal and emotional abuse. It was life-changing as I realized for the first time what had been happening in my marriage. I confronted him about the abuse, but it got worse and I finally separated from him 3 months ago. I am really struggling with my feelings and emotions from all the years of the abuse. He says that he is sorry for all the abuse and that we should start marriage counseling so that we can reconcile, but several weeks ago he came to where I was staying and told me to get my stuff and return home with him and then proceeded to tell me that he had changed. My pastor, who he is counseling with, is encouraging reconciliation and has told me that my husband has changed. I really do not miss him at this time as I feel the peace of not being under his verbal attacks. I struggle with knowing how to assess if he truly has changed and how to deal with my emotions at this time.

    • Brenda on November 26, 2013 at 5:20 pm

      Lynn don’t move too quickly. 3 months is not very long for an abuser of that many years. Is your pastor knowledgeable RE: abuse and domestic violence. I find it difficult to believe that enough change would happen in that short period. Until you feel ready there is no reason to be rushed by your spouse or pastor.

      My X husband would have had us in marriage counseling a week after I left, which I was not comfortable with at all. I have been through 10 months of counseling, he has yet to show me any confirmation of the counseling he says he had. He will not tell me so much as a name. When I ask, he gets angry and says I am calling him a liar. That response in itself shows me there has been no change.

      Now he tells me that his life is too short and I am not worth waiting for. That hit me very hard at first, but now I see that he just wanted to drag me to the pit with him and I’m not going.

      Take is slow and easy. Watch and listen for anything at all that seems like his apology and true repentance are not the same thing. Most of all keep yourself safe and sane. If you need more time, take it. I will pray for you as you make your decisions.

      • Lynn on December 2, 2013 at 11:28 pm

        Brenda,
        Thank you so much for your wise comments. I am not in a hurry to reconcile because I still am at a point where I can still hear his angry words and feel their effect on me even though we have been apart for 3 months. I do not feel he has totally dealt with his anger to the point I would feel comfortable with him.

        • Brenda on December 8, 2013 at 7:18 pm

          Lynn, I know exactly what you mean. It has been six months, we are now divorced and I still hear his angry vulgar voice and see his scowling face. I see him punching the pillars in the living room and see the glass he is throwing at me.

          X says he is going to “try” to find another counselor. This will make number 4. It will not do any good if he doesn’t see his need and stick with it. More has happened since the separation including him “seeing” his X wife. That is what he calls it. I call it adultery and with a woman that he has not had a kind word for in the over 20 years that I have known him. I cannot look at him as a husband anymore. He isn’t even someone that I would date twice. I can’t even remember what I found attractive about him to begin with. I suppose he was kind for about a minute, but that is about it.

          I do pray that God will give you wisdom while you work through this time. The kind of anger that these men have will take a lot of ongoing work on there part and only if they truly see and want it. Brenda

    • Leslie Vernick on November 29, 2013 at 9:13 am

      Lynn, watch my video’s on my home page, especially # 10,11, 12 to see the process of change. No one changes overnight but if he is sincere, he will evidence the fruits of repentance in his attitudes and actions. And when he messes up, he will make it right. Look for growth in his clarity – he has no excuses for the way he treat you, period. HIs commitment – he is willing to work on improving himself and your marriage over the long haul, His confession – when he slips, he confesses and repents. Community – he is willing to allow trusted people to hold him accountable for the changes he says he wants to make and finally Consequences. He realizes that when he treats someone poorly, they don’t want to be in a close loving relationship with him and he accepts those as the consequences of his refusal to stop engaging in abusive behaviors. HOpe that helps.

      • Lynn on December 2, 2013 at 11:24 pm

        Leslie,
        I have watched your video clips and they were just what I needed to hear. I believe we are in the sanity stage. I went back and watched the other video clips as well. It was like you were telling me about my marriage. I just purchased your book and I can’t wait to read it. Thank you for your teaching and counseling on this topic. What a blessing to know that others believe you and know what you are going through!
        Thank you and God bless.

        • Leslie Vernick on December 8, 2013 at 6:38 pm

          You’re welcome. I am so glad that you are starting to get the help for yourself and your marriage that you need.

  19. Kalpna Sharma on November 28, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    Leslie is SO right when she says, “Do not agree to a quick fix” I have been betrayed in this drama for last 26 years. The irony is he himself is savvy so he will even agree that he is not going for quick fix while after a little while that is what he precisely does! Every time his mess comes up, he repents, shows remorse, cries, agrees to go see the pastor/counselor and then after that he tries to fix me, the game continues. He accuses me of wanting to control him and kids. He even calls me a hypocrite for my godly life. I am advised not to listen to his damaging words. IT has come to a point where the pastors have given up and said, unless he stops playing ‘catch me if you can’ game we are not going to chase him or waste our time. I have been mistreated, taken for granted and looked down on, but I am a child of the King of kings. My husband’s double game of showing that he is ‘working’ on marriage and at the same time continuing his affair/s for over 11 years is SO painful. God exposes him so clearly. Leslie is so right when she says, if he is only giving up one area but not dealing deep down cancer it is going to take another form. Trust me, that is SO true. I see that, he will use any and every person, thing or even kids now to put me down and manipulate and states how difficult i am to live with. I thank God that I am a believer in Christ and seek God’s help, the church friends and those who pray and stand with me. I am in a foreign country with limited visa status so limited options. But I know God is at the center of my struggles and God knew that he deceived me by saying he had become a christian, but God has allowed me to be strong and not accept his nonsense. While I do not condone his abuse, his intimidation, his control over me, i am hoping God would bring good out of this mess. Due to my circumstances, a friend had suggested in-house-separation. Good choice for me! My friends support me in this. It goes well for sometime but then he tries his tricks. I have noticed that even though i give in and later find out he goes back to treating me like trash, I put a boundary and space to let him know i will not be treated or spoken to like that. I have also analyzed that every 4 or so years he gets exposed with nasty stuff of his affairs or his financial messes. So two years of ‘behaving’ change of heart is not good as I know he is not totally broken before God.

    So it is good to not given in so soon. Wait, check for a long term change. I agree with Leslie that try after sometime, test in public places and pray i know God will make you stronger thru this. Thanks for sharing, praying!

    • Lynn on December 2, 2013 at 11:31 pm

      Thank you Kalpna. I have so needed to know that others really do understand and can give me wisdom from their own experiences. God bless you.

  20. Dathel on December 3, 2013 at 9:14 am

    Sisters!
    How I thank God for your transparency in sharing your experiences and your glory to God! I found Leslie’s site very soon after I left my emotionally and physically abusive husband and it made ALL the difference to know that I was not alone, that God loved me and would protect me and my 2 yr old son, and that I could pour my heart out in prayer for not only my situation but yours too. I recently was sent a video that I warn you will bring joyful tears – it is who we are to Christ, loved, respected and adored. Thank you all again for sharing. I have been separated for over 5 months not and have a peace beyond understanding (today!) in this storm. I hope you love and an be encouraged by this video!

    http://www.faithit.com/if-ever-woman-in-the-world-heard-this-message/

    you may have to cut and paste it into your browser.

    • Brenda on December 12, 2013 at 7:06 pm

      Dathel, Thank you for that link. That was awesome.

      • Dathel on December 14, 2013 at 11:38 am

        Thanks Brenda,

        I really appreciate you sharing so openly about your struggles. It is encouraging to see what the Lord is doing in your life during this trial. I started a blod to just mediate on various subjects on abuse, divorce, separating but looking towards the Lord. Would love to have you ladies share! unleavenedbread.wordpress.com/

        I pray that we can come together and encourage each other as sisters. Hope you don’t mind Leslie that I posted this.

      • Dathel on December 14, 2013 at 11:39 am

        blog 🙂 not blod

  21. GL on December 4, 2014 at 4:38 am

    It has been such a gift to read this post and the many rich comments posted. I am afraid that I was foolish and allowed my h to move back in after 2 years of separation and finalizing a legal separation. He claims to be a Christian now after ridiculing my beliefs for nearly two decades. Although he moved back in we are still legally separated but never executed the division of assets. I have really struggled to trust him and am very concerned his changes are not true repentance. I reveny told him I am willing to continue to have him live here but I wanted to execute our division of assets and he said if I did that he would divorce me. He wants me to drop the legal separation so we can ‘move forward’ but I have no peace about this. How can I know for certainty if this is manipulation or of he really has changed? He says I am ‘moving backwards’ if I separate our assets. Thank you dear sisters for your insights.

  22. Brenda on December 4, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    GL,
    I fear that if he is not willing to follow through with what is already done that he is manipulating. If he was sincere he shouldn’t have a problem with continuing with the seperation that is already legally bound by the court. Threatening divorce is you want this is manipulation and control. As I told the X many times, without working through the past there is no future.

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