DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: Over the past five years I’ve had a very toxic relationship, which has now ended. In that time I’ve changed and grown as a woman and mother, now having a completely different attitude from five years ago. I’ve now made the right moves for a secure and stable future. I couldn’t have that with my ex. My ex-partner never changed or grew at all, even though he promised to try. I decided that enough was enough, I was never going to have a life I want if I stayed with that man. To put it in a nutshell: in our five years together he’s spent 2-3 in prison, 1 year out with his friends and the rest in between my home and others.
Now I’ve had the space to think, I don’t believe I’ve let that rubbish be normality for so long. Don’t get me wrong we was very much in love at one point, but not going nowhere in life which I couldn’t stand. Neither of us had the strength to walk away and we were in a pattern of breaking up and getting back together. Now I’ve got myself together away from him, I feel absolutely fine. I Am proud I had the strength to get out of that rut. I genuinely have no bad feelings towards him I’ve let it all go so I can move on with my own life, wishing him the best of luck for his future.
I moved on and I met somebody else. I started to get feelings for him which I was very surprised at; I expected it would take me a long time to love again. He felt the same way- or at least he made me believe that he did.
(My ex always drummed into my head that no one would love me, so it was strange at first for me)
I thought the new relationship was going to be great. We had the same expectations and goals in life,. I decided to keep it quiet as I know what my ex-boyfriend is like and 100% would cause trouble. The only person who knew is my best friend at the time. However, my ex began to see her. Unfortunately for her I could see the bigger picture and knew that he was using her to hurt me. Which he did. I was very disappointed in her but I didn’t expect any different from him and got over it pretty quickly. I even wished them luck. I didn’t see why I should hold on to feelings that didn’t matter anymore to me.
When my ex found out about my new partner, he then began to start so much trouble. Other people started spreading rumors. It’s really frustrating because I can see the bigger picture that he and I were not good together and I would rather him be happy with somebody else. I wouldn’t even get involved in his life. He just can’t seem to feel the same for me. All the trouble made my new boyfriend back right off. I wouldn’t even say he was my boyfriend anymore; I’ve barely had any contact with him for 2-3 week. He has given me mixed signals. I’ve stepped back and left him to deal with his own thoughts. It did make me feel like my new relationship rushed. Like we had to prove something to others, I don’t know. It’s quite annoying; it made all the fun go away. I’m feeling very confused. Should I just forgot about my current boyfriend now?
Back In The Saddle Again
DEAR BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN: Damn, BITSA, it’s a damned good thing that you and your ex broke up. He sounds like an incredibly toxic person and you’re far better off without him. Sadly, he seems to disagree, judging by the fact he went out of his way to make trouble for your current relationship.
Considering how all the s
t went down, you need to do is start taking steps to excise your ex from your life and insulate yourself from his future attempts at manipulation. You don’t need to keep your dating on the down-low but you do need to make sure that the people in your life who are privy to your relationship status changes know about your dirtbag ex-boyfriend. Doing things like dating your best friend in order to mine information about you isn’t just creepy, it’s potentially dangerous. That’s some serious stalker behavior in and of itself. Starting a whisper campaign to sabotage your current relationship is equally disturbing.
(Also: Christ, high-school never ends for some people, does it?)
The first thing you should do is start putting your information on lockdown. Tighten up all of your privacy settings on your social media and let your friends know what he’s doing. Some stalkers and abusers will try to insinuate themselves into the lives of their victim’s friends in order to gain access to the victim; they may even start relationships with friends in order to use those friends as catspaws. I’ve seen plenty of vengeful exes (see also: GamerGate) try to pour poison into people’s social circles as a means of getting their revenge and “punishing” their victims. As cold-blooded as it may be, if any of your friends continue to let him into their lives, you may need to consider cutting them out of yours. This includes friends who were willing vectors for the gossip he was spreading. The less access he has to you – either directly or by proxy – the less damage he can do. If he continues to interfere with your life, you may want to consider talking to a lawyer and see what your options are with regards to getting a restraining order filed against him. Even high-school grade bulls
t can have a toxic effect on your life.
Once you’ve cleaned house and sealed this guy off from you… then it’s time to reconsider your current relationship. Right now, all that drama has made your current boyfriend take a few steps back. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about that; very few people want to date a drama bomb, even when that drama is being inflicted by other people. It’s not fair to you, but it’s the current state of play. It takes a special kind of relationship to last when the shit hits the fan like it has here.
Did you and your current beau rush into things? I can’t say. You don’t mention how long it’d been since you and your ex broke up when you got together or how quickly things progressed. This is made even more complicated by the fact that your ex has done a serious number on you and your self-esteem. It may be best to let things with your current boyfriend go for now and take time to recover – not just from this bulls
t, but from your relationship with your ex. Getting away from him was the first step. The next is to let the wounds heal and excise the poison he’s left in you. It may be worth your time to talk to a counselor, just to process things.
TL;DR – lock your ex and his proxies out of your life and then take some time to recover from the damage he’s done. Surround yourself with Team You and take care of yourself until you’re sure you’re ready for a new relationship.
Please send your questions to Dr. NerdLove at his website (www.doctornerdlove.com/contact); or to his email, firstname.lastname@example.org)