It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today, we hear from “Seeking Tough Love” who wondered if she should give her abusive ex-boyfriend another chance and whether she should consider moving in with him in October. Keep reading to see where things are between them now.
I’ve been waiting to write an update because I feel like my situation is somewhat unresolved. I did break up with my boyfriend about 2-3 months ago, after which he did the same things he generally does after our breakups: beg for me back, make promises to change, etc. However, this time he started taking some more positive steps towards getting to the root of his anger problems: he purchased an anger work book and is consciously working to prevent his anger from escalating in all parts of his life; he began working out again; he began meditating; and he is also seeing a therapist regularly.
I have remained friends with him but have limited our talking and seeing each other. When we have hung out, I am really amazed at how he is handling situations now. From his friend knocking over his plant, to people cutting him off in traffic, he really is taking a different approach to how he is handling stressful situations. He has also acknowledged the problems we had in our relationship and how he was having problems communicating. Obviously, I still have feelings for him, and whenever the thought of taking him back crosses my mind, I re-read your response (which, by the way, was really amazing and my roommate even reads it to her friends when they need to MOA).
I know I should just MOA (which I am trying to do), but I still have reservations about his willingness to change, and in the back of my mind I wonder if this progress is worth considering or should I just actually sever ties for good. My main issue is that with all the men I’ve met, I have never met someone with whom I’ve had so much in common in regards to goals, ambition, personality and lifestyle. I guess I’m scared I will never meet someone that has all that AND will also let my dogs sleep in the bed (lol).
I feel like the comments to this update will be similar to my original post – cycle of abuse, get out now, he can’t change, etc. Anyway, that’s where I’m at now — a little better off than before but still really conflicted.
You know, maybe your ex can change. Maybe his workbook and his therapy and what not will have wonderful long-lasting effects on him. And maybe you can be his friend again one day. But with all the baggage you have, I’d never advise trying a relationship again. And with your feelings still so raw, you have to give yourself lots of time and space to heal and move on before you can try a friendship (read this column about how long people should wait before being friends with an ex).
Just because you haven’t found someone you connect with as well as your ex doesn’t mean you won’t. But it will be much, much harder to find him if you’re still so hung up on someone else.
If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at email@example.com with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.
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