Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

His Take: “How Can I Tell Dates My Ex Hit Me?”

When it comes to dating, my problem is with disclosing the reason for my divorce. I don’t bring it up, but it comes up naturally in the conversation. Usually, when I’m asked why I’m divorced, I say “My ex hit me.” and move on to another topic. EVERY single guy says “I would never do that, blah blah blah” (even though I never ask “are you an abuser?”). And then EVERY single guy feels sorry for me. I do not want that. I’m not a victim anymore; I’m trying to move on with my life. I truthfully answered a question, and I want to move on from that specific topic. (Yes, I know, social norms and empathy are at work here. But if I change the subject, why do they go back?)

The way they act afterwards tells me what kind of person they are. Some guys (few) are not very understanding of my emotional hang-ups. But I tell them – “I’m not comfortable with this,” and they back off. And then they try again five minutes later. Needless to say, there won’t be a lot of dates after that. Other guys take my need to take things slow to mean that I (want to?) run the show and they stop initiating anything. So, then, instead of taking things slow, things stop moving at all.

How do I tell guys that I’m normal, and that they should treat me just like they would treat any other woman, but expect things to move a little more slowly because I need time to be able to trust them with my safety? Maybe other women trust them instantly, but they have to earn their trust with me. How do I approach this, short of giving every guy I meet an “Instructions manual”? Should I be vague about the reason for my divorce? I don’t want to lie about it, and if I say “I’m not comfortable discussing it,” it may come out as I have something to hide. — Slow, but not a Victim

MATT: Everyone’s story is different. Your story is that someone significantly diminished your ability to trust, and that sucks. But you pointed out the happy ending: there’s trust in the future and you do not think of yourself as a victim. You got out of an abusive situation.

When you ask to be treated as “normal,” you must grant the same courtesy to the person across the pillow. Even though this abuse story is old and tired to you, it is the first time someone else is hearing it, and he can’t be left alone to figure it out or respond just as you’d like, all tidy and neat. I think it is “normal” for a lover to want to show compassion or ask questions or potentially be mindful of their behavior no matter what information they’re hearing. Suppose a lover were telling you they like to be tied up or spanked; how would you respond to that story? I would assume you would want to explain how you feel about it, or that you might have questions, or that you might be hesitant to be the one to initiate it.

I appreciate that you wrote the words “I’m trying to move on with my life”; you are addressing
this in the present tense as an ongoing process. Maybe the guy who gets it right for you will come along at a time when this chapter can be viewed in the rearview mirror. Just keep communicating as simply and directly as you know how. Slow is okay for everybody.

JAREK: One thing to understand is that the weird behavior coming from these guys is not a reflection of you. It’s all us. We tend to psych ourselves out when we learn that someone we’re on a date with was abused in a past relationship. It gets in our head and we don’t know how to respond. The short of it is that we don’t want you associating us with your ex or thinking of us as an abuser. There are a handful of labels or attributes which no man ever wants to be associated with and “abuser” is fairly high on that list. This is probably why you are finding most are more comfortable leaving you 100% in control regarding moving forward; we don’t want to come off as controlling or too aggressive.

A date’s curiosity in your previous relationship is completely normal and the question is going to come up eventually. How much you choose to share, however, is completely in your control. So to avoid having a guy psych himself out like this, simply choose not to share the specifics of your divorce. Save that information for when you two are exclusive and a pattern of trust and familiarity has already been established. If he asked why you got divorced, which he will, just tell him that your ex wasn’t the man you thought you married. If he follows up and asks you to elaborate, which he probably will, just say there were some trust issues and that you found you no longer loved him. If he still pushes it, try to brush it off. Maybe say “oh, enough about my ex – let’s get to you, where did you go on your last vacation…” or whatever. Any guy who pushes you to divulge a lot of details from your last relationship so early on is being inappropriate. You can’t change what happened, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t changed you. You’ve come out of a terrible situation wiser and more aware, and for that you are a better person. If you decide that you don’t want your life to be defined by your marriage then it doesn’t have to be, and no one needs to know that but you. The secrets of your life should be reserved for those you trust most, not handed out during dating conversations.

JOE: I think that you’re absolutely right when you say that social norms and empathy are the reason why the reaction is so universal. One suggestion might be to answer instead with something like “I had to leave an abusive situation, but it’s not a pleasant memory and we’re having such a great time here, so let’s just leave that topic for some other time.” That response is true, is sufficient for the moment, and leaves the topic open for later… when the second part of your letter comes into play.

When people have been abused, they emerge with a wide range of responses to new relationships. In your case, you seem to be saying that you want the man to continue to move things along – just at a slower pace. That’s absolutely fine and normal. However, others who have been through something similar might want to initiate all of the moves until they feel comfortable. Still others are almost reckless, moving things along faster than normal. Some men know that each woman’s response is going to be specific to her and not universal. Others are going to be afraid to seem too aggressive and will assume that you would want to call the shots to “prove” they’re not going to hurt you.

So, no matter who you date, you’ll need to provide some guidance about what you need to feel comfortable. It’s important to have introduced the fact earlier that your ex was abusive so that, at this point, you can explain that the abuse was physical, and, while you’re OK and normal and interested in New Guy and want him to initiate things, you need him to know that he has to move a bit slower so you can get comfortable with being vulnerable around him. Tell him you’ll let him know if he moves too quickly, and be sure to respond positively when his moves are what you want. It shouldn’t need to be more than a brief conversation, and with the right man, it’ll help things move past awkward and into comfortable with a minimum of confusion.

DAVID JAY: You are a rare gem. In a world full of wannabe reality stars wanting to portray themselves as victims, you take it the other way. I respect that. As usual, I won’t pull any punches: You ARE a victim. It happened and it is now part of your “life’s resume.” You are also SMART (to divorce him) and STRONG (to get back on your feet). While you claim to be normal, you instantly contradict that by implying you need special handling instructions. That indicates that your journey to wellness is still incomplete. I hope you are attending a domestic violence support group so you can find the peace you need, and frankly, deserve.

As far as broaching the subject on a date, why even do it until the relationship gets serious enough to warrant full disclosure? If he asks, say “I’m divorced.” If he presses, say “he didn’t want children” or something that redirects the conversation. By doing this, you give him time to see YOU as the person you truly are. I think that is what you want. It is also the only fair way you will get to see what kind of person he really is.

Final note: Replace the phrase “My ex hit me” with “I am a survivor of domestic violence.” It makes all the difference to your psyche.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter.

35 comments… add one
  • Lindsay June 16, 2011, 12:18 pm

    Maybe you could initially tell them that your ex had anger problems? Then, if your relationship progresses, you can tell him what that meant specifically. I also liked Joe’s answer. What happened to you was obviously had a big impact on your life, but it doesn’t define you, and I think being more vague or not indulging them in the details early on will keep other people from looking at it that way.

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    • Instant Karma June 18, 2011, 5:39 pm

      I totally agree with this. Stating that your ex had anger issues will briefly explain why you left him and why you’re not the quickest to trust others, but probably won’t make a man feel like he has to treat you with kid gloves. If a relationship develops and you see long term potential, you can explain what happened more thoroughly. You don’t have to let a date know about your ex’s abuse from the get-go, and any man who needs to hear intricate details of your divorce on date #1 is really insecure. I wish you the best of luck in the dating world! 🙂

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  • cmarie June 16, 2011, 12:21 pm

    Many people who have been abused prefer to think of themselves as survivors rather than victims. Every woman has special handling instructions, whether she’s been abused or not. Your ex might like A but I like B. She might want this but she wants that. Every woman is different and we are all “normal”. I think Joe has wonderful advice. I agreed with every part of it. LW, you are truly and amazing individual, so brave and so strong to have survived that situation and not only gotten out of it, but moved past it. Don’t get discouraged!

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    • SpaceySteph June 16, 2011, 12:35 pm

      Haha “every woman has special handling instructions!” Love it.
      When I started dating my ex, my special handling instructions were “I’m a virgin, I need to take it slow.” When I started dating my next boyfriend, they were “I have decided I only sleep with guys once I’m in a committed relationship, I want to take this slow.”
      Basically, some girls without your history still want to take things slow. If a guy won’t take it slow with you, or with me, or with anyone else who wants it that way, regardless of our reasons, then they are not the right guy for you. I suggest that you tell guys what you want them to know, and that even if you tell them nothing about your abusive ex, you still have a right to expect that they will take things slow because you asked them to… and you should dump any guy that will not.

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      • PFG-SCR June 16, 2011, 12:45 pm

        @SpaceySteph: As I shared below in my comment, I agree with the fact that many women have reasons that they want to take things slow. What I don’t know is how her level of distrust presents itself – if she gets anxious at certain things that seem a bit more extreme or atypical, she might want to disclose the reason, especially if she feels something for the guy. This will help him understand better why she is a certain way about things, and he won’t be left feeling confused or awkward.

  • melikeycheesecake June 16, 2011, 12:31 pm

    Joe’s advice is spot on.

    Congrats on getting out of a difficult and painful relationship.. and moving on for that matter. You’re a strong woman!

    Best of luck LW!!!!

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  • MsMisery June 16, 2011, 12:31 pm

    David Jay- I disagree with this statement: “You ARE a victim.” I think this should be “You WERE a victim.” We all have special handling instructions regardless of what happened in our pasts, but it doesn’t mean we have to revel in our past or our victim status forever. The LW WAS married, she WAS abused, and she WAS a victim of that abuse, but it sounds very much like she is not surrounding herself with the frenzy that comes with being the victim of a crime or a trauma.

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    • Buzzlebee June 16, 2011, 2:13 pm

      I agree with this idea but want to point out one distinction that I have come across. LW WAS a victim but she IS a survivor. However she defines that for herself.

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    • Dave Jay June 19, 2011, 12:09 am

      She IS a victim, and will always be. Whether she was a victim of breast cancer or domestic abuse, it doesn’t matter. It affects the rest of her life forever, and she will interpret things differently. Anything short of that is DENIAL.

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      • SaraiLuv June 20, 2011, 4:18 pm

        Davey, it appears you may be in need of a grammar lesson. The use of Is and Was is important her ni how she identifies herself. Since she is no longer a victim to the abuse of her husband, then she should in fact identify herself by saying she was a victim. Saying she is makes it seem as though she is still stuck in that situation. Sometimes those words that seem so small matter. Saying that it’s denial because she won’t say she is a victim seems a little foolish to me. I’m not trying to be rude Davey but your response in the comments just seemed a little harsh in response. What really strikes me as odd is the fact that you end your letter saying to identify herself as a survivor. Doesn’t that indicate she made it through something? I definitely describe myself as a survivor since I’ve been in the LW’s shoes before, but I definitely don’t define myself as a victim.

      • kdog June 21, 2011, 2:38 pm

        It seems like you are trying to say she should own the reality of what happened to her, but what you’re failing to understand is that the reality of being a victim is something very damagine to carry around. It is disempowering and makes it more likely that we pursue more situations where we are victims, since that is how we have defined ourselves. You can own those feelings in a temporal way (she WAS a victim) which respects the truth of what happened, but doesn’t make it your present or furture.

  • PFG-SCR June 16, 2011, 12:32 pm

    While I understand that the reason for your divorce likely comes up with dates, you could be a bit more vague, if you are uncomfortable with the way the guys react after they find out so early in the dating. Some of the guys above gave examples, but even a “It wasn’t a healthy relationship…” explanation with then re-directing the conversation might appease their curiosity a bit longer. I agree with the comment above that you’re not under any obligation to divulge details about your past to someone you barely know, and I think you can give enough of an explanation to them but making it a bit clear with how you move on with the conversation that it’s not a topic that you want to discuss further. You can do this without seeming rude or hiding something, but at a certain point as you get more involved with a guy, it’s something that you likely want to share with him.

    There are a lot of women who want to take things slower with guys, and it’s not just because of a past abusive relationship. I don’t think you necessarily need to divulge that’s the reason – you can communicate this more matter-of-fact than in response to your past abuse, unless it manifests itself in ways that you really need to share this so the guy understands the “bigger picture”.

    Best of luck, LW.

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    • TheOtherMe June 16, 2011, 2:07 pm

      I agree about being more vague. It’s not really something that you HAVE TO disclose. I am divorced and the rare times that I’ve been asked the reasons “why” I’ve always said it was because the marriage just didn’t work anymore.

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  • beans629 June 16, 2011, 12:37 pm

    All of the responses are good solid advice on moving forward after domestic violence.

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    leilani June 16, 2011, 12:39 pm

    I liked Joe’s response the best, although I probably would choose not to disclose that information from the get-go. If you don’t want to talk about it on a first date, I wouldn’t mention it at all. If they asked why you were divorced, I would say something to the tune of “It was a really unhealthy relationship and I had to leave” or something equally vague, and then steer the conversation elsewhere. I would wait to get into the specifics until we were close enough that I would WANT to discuss it, and want to explain to them what that meant for me and a future potential relationship. This could happen on Date #2 or Date #10, whatever you’re comfortable with. If you don’t want to be seen as a victim by potential suitors, which is completely understandable, maybe it would be better to withhold this information until they know you well enough to see that this was just one aspect of your past, not your whole persona.

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  • TheGirl June 16, 2011, 12:41 pm

    I think all the guys here gave some spot on advice. I’d probably go with Jarek, if I had to pick. There’s no reason to lie, but there’s also no reason to share the full intimate details of your life with someone on the first date. Just let them know that your ex wasn’t the person you thought he was, and let them know that you like to take things slow. There’s no need to go further than that.

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  • Bostonian Thinker June 16, 2011, 12:42 pm

    Responding to a question about why you got divorced (which, I may add, is way too prying if you have been only dating a little while) with “he hit me” is bound to get startled or awkward responses. What response could they have that would be acceptable to you? If you said, “He was a real jerk” or something and move on, that would be more appropriate. Then, before you become intimate you could tell the guy that since you have expereinced violence, you want to take things slow, that seems like a better time to tell them about it. If someone I was dating told me this information, I would be caught off guard and not really know what to say.

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  • ele4phant June 16, 2011, 1:01 pm

    So, I have no background or experience with having survived an abusive relationship, so I don’t really know what I’m talking about, but how could “My ex hit me” come up naturally on a date? I am not saying the LW should hide her past, or be ashamed of what she survived, but sheesh, that’s a pretty rough topic to bring up to someone you’ve just met. I was on a first date with a dude who told me he was molested as a child, and while I sympathesized for him, it was too much too soon. I couldn’t go on a date with him again, it was just too weird. Had we already established feelings for one another, maybe I could have handled it better. Certainly if the LW finds herself getting into a serious relationship, it needs to be brought up somehow, but for the first getting-to-know-you dates, shouldn’t saying something like “The end of my marriage was complex and too long a story for a first date” suffice?

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  • Amber June 16, 2011, 1:24 pm

    The answer to this is so simple: When you are dating men casually and they ask about the divorce, don’t get into specifics.

    When you get serious with someone, tell them about it then if you feel you need to.

    I suspect the reason you tell them early on though, is this: “The way they act afterwards tells me what kind of person they are.”

    You’re using you history of abuse as some sort of weird litmus test for guys you are newly dating. And how they react is not an accurate gage of a person’s character.

    Keep it to yourself until things get serious, and before then, simply tell them that you have trust issues due to your divorce. End of story.

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    • Elle June 17, 2011, 5:48 pm

      It was actually the other way around. In my opinion, by telling them “My ex hit me” I was honestly answering a straight question about my divorce. In my mind, this would have explained why I don’t want them to come pick me up, for example. Because I couldn’t be alone in a car with someone I just met without freaking out. Also, that they should not expect sex right away, for the same reason – I can’t be alone with someone I just met. I am handling these things a lot better now.

      And only after I told a few guys about it, I noticed these two patterns emerging. There were guys pressuring me, and I was very uncomfortable, so I would stop seeing them. And then the other guys, who would stop initiating anything. My “sample” is pretty small though – maybe 5-6 guys.

      Now that I know I can use this as a litmus test, it’s pretty tempting to keep saying it. But I won’t, since I don’t want to psych them out at the very beginning.

      Guess I’ll live and learn!

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  • heidikins June 16, 2011, 12:35 pm

    Wow, the gents hit this on the head I think! I also got divorced because “my ex hit me” and I found that as I went forward in a new relationship it was best to keep the reasons mostly under wraps until I completely trusted a person with the whole story. I didn’t even mention I was divorced for at least a month of regular dating. It made me who I am, but I don’t want it to run my life or direct a relationship. If it came up early-on, I’d say something like “it’s a long story, but the short of it is that I was better off single.” If pressed for more info I’d flat out say “look, it’s a really hairy, emotional story and I don’t think I’m ready to share that with you right now. Is that okay?” Only the jackasses and other abusers will demand full disclosure at that point, and that’s a pretty good reason to break up with them.

    While we clearly don’t have the full story, I absolutely agree with David, you are not fully healed and talking to a therapist of sorts will probably do you good. Soon you’ll be able to distance yourself from that messy situation enough that it won’t encroach on current relationships in any tangible way. You’re on the right track, LW, you just need to keep going.


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  • MiMi June 16, 2011, 1:49 pm

    Jarek is 100% spot on. Absolutely no need to get specific with your date until you’ve achieved a comfortable level of trust to be open with him, because this is a topic that requires more disclosure from you than a clipped, “My husband hit me.”
    If you threw out a “I have a brain tumor” or “I just got evicted yesterday from my foreclosed home” into a first or second date conversation, would you honestly expect your date to not ask a question or feel weird about not knowing quite how to respond or behave, because you’re over it? That’s an unreasonable stance to take, and perhaps a bit disrespectful of your date’s feelings. If you’re going to set off a stink bomb, you have to be willing to let people tell you how bad they think it smells…

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  • BoomChakaLaka June 16, 2011, 1:51 pm

    I’m taking a Marketing Class right now and one of the points that my professor emphasizes is that there is need to know, nice to know and want to know information. You should spend resources (money, time, etc) on the need to know. The other stuff will have to wait. I honestly do think that those words apply to life in general.

    That said, I don’t think this is something that every guy you *date* needs to know. Heck, I don’t think its something that anyone you come across needs to know. By divulging that information, you are setting up yourself to be labeled/represented as such (a victim/survivor of domestic abuse). Not saying its right, but thats what generally happens. I think the guys do realize that you do have special handling instructions and those that don’t feel up to the task walk away. I think you should be ok with that.

    When on dates, such be elusive about the topic. I don’t think its wrong to mention that you were once married, but as a commenter mentioned above, you can always say “He wasn’t the man you married.” No further questions will need to be asked once you also add “It’s a long story, that I’ll tell you later, but (segue into another topic of conversation.”

    Once you begin to see where the situation between yourself and a guy is going and if it seems to be progressing well, then ask yourself: is it time? If you don’t feel right about it, don’t reveal the information. But if you do, go ahead and let him know.

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  • XanderTaylor June 16, 2011, 2:10 pm

    I came out of a disasterous 2nd marraige which included physical, sexual, verbal, & emotional abuse. When I first came out of that relationship I was very proud of myself and I told my next few boyfriends (it was 4.5 years ago). That revelation literally ruined those relationships. None of those guys could understand why I stayed as long as I did (22 months) & it basically became a blame the victim situation or a situation where I just had too much baggage for them to deal with.

    Want to know how I changed that? I stopped telling people about it. I know I was not fully healed when I was telling my story over & over again. I am thinking you may not be fully healed, either, if you are telling guys this right from the get go. My opinion is that if you feel you have to tell guys right away to justify your behavior, you are not ready to be dating & certainly not ready to get into a trust relationship with a man. It takes time – lots of time – to deal with the abuse & to move on. I use to tell people he beat the he** out of me. I don’t do that any more because I am no longer defined by his behavior. I am defined by my own.

    Everyone is allowed to take relationships at their own pace. You do not have to tell guys it is because of abuse. You can tell them that is just the way you do things. You want to get to know them slowly to see if there is really anything there. Period.

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    Budjer June 16, 2011, 2:10 pm

    All the guys had great advice.

    I’d elaborate on the communication aspect. If you are intent on divulging this type of information immediately you also need to realize that a lot of the guys that will back off if you say the words “moving too fast”, that know of your history with your ex, like and respect you enough not to push it. This means that you are going to have to communicate to them what is and isn’t ok and when you are receptive to moving forward physically.

    On the flip side of this…you could keep it to yourself IF “your take” on taking it slow is still something considered typical when compared to the vast array of time people take to get physical. It sounds like you’ve met enough guys that are willing to wait and not clueing them in on the reason might not make them second guess initiating something at a future point in time…..longer than 5 minutes at least.

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  • AKchic June 16, 2011, 3:18 pm

    LW – welcome to the Club. The Ones Who Got Away. Discussing the reason(s) why we left our abusers is always going to be a delicate subject, both in the dating realm and out. Our society loves victims, but for a lot of us, we don’t like playing the victim. We just want to move on.

    When discussing my 1st husband in public, especially around my kids, I had to learn to choose my words wisely. I did not want to sound trashy (I was 19 when I started my divorce), and I didn’t want my 18 month old and 3 year old knowing the particulars. I used some of the following:
    “He was a tempermental person and didn’t want to change his ways”
    “He changed. He became a very different person from the one I met. It wasn’t a good change.”
    “He is a controlling person, and I just didn’t fit his image of the perfect wife, so I left so he could find a better fit.”
    “There is a family history of mental instability, and he refused to seek treatment. He saw it as a positive trait, and relished the violence of it.”

    Depending on what date you are on will depend on what excuse you can use. I would not open up to physical abuse on the first date. ALL men, including abusive ones, will go out of their way to prove they are NOT abusers on the first few dates. All you need to do is explain that you had an unhappy marriage and divorce and that you would like to take things slow as you tippy-toe back into the dating world. Once you get a few dates in, or a few months in, you can explain a little more in depth about the abuse, as you see fit.

    Take time for yourself. If you jump back in too soon, you could repeat your abusive choice patterns. I wish you luck and happiness out there.

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  • Jess June 16, 2011, 4:53 pm

    Man, these dear wendy guys give such nicey-nice answers. Look, if you don’t like the way men are reacting to the way you say “My ex hit me”, then why don’t you just stop saying that. It sounds like your telling this to guys on the first or second date, the first time they ask you about your divorce. You don’t have to give them all the details. Just say “he had anger issues” you can go into the hitting once you get to know these guys better, once they get to know *you* better, and once it won’t be so awkward. My dad abused me heavily as a child, and I think if I mentioned that to every single person who asked me about my dad I would get annoyed at all the awkwardness too. Some things are just best left unsaid until you know someone better.

    It’d be one thing if you weren’t writing in complaining about these guys responses, but you are. So that’s the “no nicey-nice bullshit” response.

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  • LW/Elle June 16, 2011, 10:37 pm

    Guys, first of all, thank you for helping me understand what’s going on in your heads when you hear something like that. I only knew my side of the story, and couldn’t figure out what is going on in their head. To me, it is a piece of my past that I’ve moved on from (I did start therapy, and it’s still ongoing), and one sign that I’ve moved on is that I started dating. For about a year and a half after the abuse, I didn’t even want to talk to any guy, even acquaintances, guys that I knew for years. I’ve made a lot of progress.

    Also, I’d like to thank the other commenters for their input. I did notice these patterns, I had an inkling it might be related to the reason for my divorce, and you told me that my inkling is true. I will definitely follow your advice with my future dates. I’m usually an honest person, and if I don’t answer something honestly, I feel like I’m lying. But you are right, it’s too much too soon, and gradually sharing information is not the same as lying. In the future, I will save that bit of information for someone who I’m really comfortable with, and with whom I can communicate openly.

    I also learned that sometimes, things just fall into place. The odds are tiny, but the coincidence is mind boggling. Today, the day that Wendy ran my letter in her column, I had a job interview (at the same freaking time!!! – 12pm-3pm), and I got the job. Huge improvement over my last job. I will be moving to a new, bigger town. Really excited for both the job and the greatly improved dating prospects!

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    • _jsw_ June 17, 2011, 1:09 am

      Thank you so much for writing in, and I’m very happy for you with respect to your new job and new potential dates!

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    • kali June 17, 2011, 4:19 pm

      Congrats on the new job and best of luck with the move, the new gig and in your dating future! You sound like life is on the right track!

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    • SpyGlassez June 17, 2011, 8:48 pm

      Congrats, Elle – sounds like you are doing well and I know what you mean with the “if I don’t answer honestly, I feel like I’m lying.” I have the same problem. I think since you were smart enough to both notice the pattern AND suspect what was causing it, that you’ll do fine. Good luck and best wishes!

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    • Dave Jay June 19, 2011, 12:13 am

      Glad you found it useful. I wish you ALL of the best in your quest for a “normal” man!!! (Yes… they ARE out there!)

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    • AKchic June 20, 2011, 2:40 pm

      It’s not “lying”. It’s just “holding off telling the entire truth right away”. You are telling the truth. A very vague, generalization of the truth, but it is still the truth when you say “he had anger issues” or “we grew apart”, or “he changed in a negative way”.

      For some of us, we still feel the need to be 100% honest all the time because we knew before that if we weren’t completely forthcoming with answers that we would be considered “lying” or “hiding something” and by doing that, it seemed suspicious, therefore, something had to be “done” about us by our abusers. It can take a very long time to break that habit, especially when we pride ourselves on honesty and integrity anyways.

      Good luck out there 🙂

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    • Elle June 21, 2011, 2:51 pm

      Another freakin’ mind-blowing coincidence: one of my best friends from grad school was hired at the same time I was, in the same department. I am over the freakin’ moon!!! Did all stars align last Thursday? Did hell freeze over? Karma decided I had enough, and started to reward me? I don’t know how much more I can take, although I’ll be grateful for whatever else comes my way! (But seriously, karma, you can stop now, and save some for later!)

      I was thinking about moving to a new town, where I didn’t know anyone, 2-3 hours away from all my friends, and now this! He is one of the 2 guys in the whole wide world that I trust with my life (outside of my family). Just what are the freakin’ odds?

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  • anna December 11, 2012, 8:17 pm

    I’m having the same issue. I’ve decided I am not going to tell anyone I’m dating about why my ex and i broke up because first of all, i don’t want them looking at me as a victim. Secondly, that is very personal. Thirdly, my friend told me i shouldn’t because if I do, they will think they can maybe abuse me too since I stayed with my abuser for 2 years that it was happening. There’s nothing wrong with being vague. Be vague. If they prove they deserve to know your whole life story later on down the line, then you can give it at that time although i won’t be because i realize that all men i know look qt you as a victim if you tell them what id have to say and screw that. anyway.. Good luck.

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