Six months ago, I began a committed relationship with a colleague. I’m 32, never married, no kids.
He’s 49, divorced four times, has five children. He said his last divorce finalized five years ago, so I thought any “ex-wife drama” would be long over.
I initially resisted his advances because we worked together, and of repeat divorces.
Eventually, he won me over and we both fell deeply in love.
I later found his most recent ex-wife’s Facebook status showed “Married,” and old photos of my boyfriend, and comments still calling him her husband. He claimed she was having trouble letting go.
I had trouble trusting him.
He later admitted to having attempted reconciliation with her last year, but it only lasted three weeks.
He’s been a very attentive and loving partner. We talk on the phone constantly during the day. He says I’m his soul mate and the centre of his world.
However, he can be verbally abusive when we argue and that’s made me hesitant when he asked me to move in, and/or speaks of getting engaged.
His kids (still unmet) have talked to me while on the phone. He’s told our co-workers of our relationship.
But it's still confusing why his ex would pretend to be married. He showed me copies of divorce papers when I asked.
I was still suspicious and discovered he created a dating profile online. He claims it was to check if I was on there (but why use his real photo?).
I have a hard time believing he's been faithful.
I love him but can no longer trust him, so I tried to break up. He kept calling me, crying, threatening suicide (he owns several guns).
I said we could get back together.
I told him that if I discover he's still married I'll tell everyone in the office that he took advantage of me. He said if he lost his job, he’d slit my throat. He apologized right after.
On my insistence, he went to a therapist, once. I ignored his calls one night during another fight and he sent the police to my house telling them I was threatening to drive while drunk (complete lies).
He told them I was harassing him, though he was calling me incessantly after I told him goodbye.
How do I get out of this situation? I'm embarrassed to tell friends and family about everything.
I'm worried he’ll harm himself or involve the police again. We no longer work for the same company so I don't worry about that anymore. But it seems he could do anything to make my life miserable.
I'm still in love with him but I know he’s bad for me and I need to cut all ties.
Talk to the police immediately. Get a restraining order against him, based on his threats.
Make a plan for your own safety. This may involve moving to a safe haven for a while. Inform family, and friends that you need their support.
Change your phone numbers, and be wary going to and from work.
This is not love, it’s addiction on both your parts. He’s a serial manipulator, you’ve been a vulnerable target. It’s a toxic combo.
See a therapist. Probe why you risked a relationship with a man flashing “trouble ahead” signs. Stay with counselling till you’re strong enough to never be swayed by him again.
After four divorces (and he did try reconciliations before, likely threatening then, too), he’s not your responsibility.
FEEDBACK Regarding the grandmother who is staying in a Bed and Breakfast hoping to visit her daughter and grandchild (Oct.1):
Reader – “You gave her great advice. I’d like to add one thought.
“Her focus should be on helping her daughter, not just on seeing the new baby.
“It is a tremendous opportunity to mend their own fractured relationship, but especially to help a new mother. She can save her dated child-rearing advice unless asked.
She needs to concentrate on being the “grand” parent to her daughter.
“Although she’s gone there to her daughter’s location, as a visitor, by focusing all her attention on the new baby, this can be burdensome and threatening to a new mom.”
Devoted Mom and Grandma
Ellie – Wise added thought. Grandparents are often so enthused about sharing their own past experience with babies and youngsters, that they can overwhelm a new mother and father adjusting to freshly-demanding roles.
Tip of the day:
When a relationship’s toxic and threatening, RUN for safety and end contact.