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Looking back with and without regret

justanotherstepstory's picture

Hi everyone. I am new to this site and have been reading the forums today and decided to join. First a little background on me here. I am a childless woman who was in a step parent/step family dynamic for nearly four years. My ex boyfriend has two children from his first marriage who are now 8 and 10 and when we were together thier ages were 3-8 and 5-9 who I got to know very well and had an overall positive relationship with. I also got to know his family well as I have never been very close with my family. We never moved in together although we discussed it plenty of times and I spent the majority of time at his place. The first two years of our relationship were great. Although there were bumps in the road his kids and family welcomed me with open arms. I was very much in love with him and enjoyed spending time with his kids. For the first time in my life I felt I had a family who cared about me and whom loved me. Three years in some problems began to surface. I discovered he had been talking behind my back to his mother, and family about me and our problems. This bothered me immensely and hurt. Whenever we would have disagreements it owuld result in him getting very angry with me. One time he even went out of town to visit a female whom he had been friends with all of his life whom I had never met and his mother encouraged this. I do not believe he cheated on me but I always felt if I did not make him happy he would always involved other people(old female friends, his ex, his mother, sister, etc) as a way to make me feel like I was the outsider and wrong. I also found out he had a closer relaitonship with ex than he mentioned and found out he had been hanging out with her and his kids without mentioning it to me (call me possesive but it bothered me). When I confronted him about both things he got very angry with me and would yell at me, accuse me of being controlling and tell me to leave his place. This resulted in me leaving his place and us not speaking for days (I was hurt and did not know how to handle this so I didn't speak to him). I also began to have issues on parenting disagreements. I did not agree with some of the ways he parented but I chose to stay out of it as I was not their parent however resentment began to build when I was around his kids and they would interrupt us talking constantly, have their dad pick up after them and wait on them without a please or thank you, whine quite a bit when things were not to their liking and became extremely picky about everything incdluing food and he would do whatever they wanted to make them happy without them showing an appreciation nor manners. I did not like the way this was going. I also did not like how he never offered to genuinely reimburse me for all of the times I bougth groceries, dinner, took his kids places. I would never have acccepted it and enjoyed doing it but the fact that he really never offered bothered me slightly. I do know he had some financial problems so that may have played into it. All of these things together were not terrible however it made me extremely reluctant to move in with him. During our fourth year we began counselling due to my encouraging and he agreed.  I will give him credit for going however the counselling sessions turned into me being the one with the problem because of my childhood and family history of neglect and abuse. He never accepted any responsibiltiy or fault for his part in our problems and the counsellor sided with him, not me. Out last year together we barely saw one another unless I put in the effort. I found out his ex wife and him had been helping one another with a lot of things like home projects, financial stuff, school events, etc. and hanging out together. When I brought this up and how it bothered me he would yell at me and say "At least she helps me unlike you, you are just jealous." This really upset me because I was more than willing to help but he never asked me to be involved in any of these things. This was also interesting since when we first got together all I would hear from him and his mother about was how awful a person his ex wife was, how she was selfish, narcissistic etc. When I mentioned this he would blow up at me and say how they were good friends now and got along great now that they were not married. I was hurt by many things. He never invited me to a work event that he attended with his mother and when I asked about it he accused me of being controlling and possesive once again as did his mother. Whenever his kdis would misbehave or be rude and I would distance myself he would say I was not motherly and did not like kids. His mother would agree with him and I felt ganged up on. I ended the relationship not long after that as I felt I was in a situation that was not mendable. Fast forward to a year later and my ex is now married to another woman (that was quick) and I have just began seeing a man who treats me well and makes me feel like I matter in the relationship and I am not just there to please him and his kids. We have recently began discussing moving in together and I was cleaning out my house (that and being bored from Covid isolation) and discovered many photos of me and my ex together, his kids and numeorus cards and love letters he had written me earlier in our relationship. This made me very sad and I began to cry because I do believe he loved me and we had something great, at least for awhile, however love was not enough to make the situation work. I also feel that I failed him in many ways. Maybe I was too possesive. Maybe him and his mom were right in that I am not meant to be a mother. Maybe I was not understanding enough. This made me incredibly sad, that coupled with the fact that he already remarried so soon and that his new wife is a better woman than me and much better at parenting and being a wife than I ever was. It makes me feel flawed in many ways and very sad. I also am reluctant to move forward with my new relationship even though my bf is a great man and treats me very well (no one is prefect of course but I feel for the first time in five years that someone really loves me for me). How do I deal with all of these incredible feeling of sadness and possible regret?

readingandlearning's picture

You are sad because you are looking back and remembering the good times when you discover the photos and love notes. This is normal. We all do that. However there were plenty of bad times as well. Keep that in mind. Him remarrying so quickly says a lot about him and not in a good way. He sounds like a user who lacks real attachment who also was bordering on being psychologically abusive towards you. He was good at manipulating every situation to make you seem like you were always in the wrong. You were not. Abusers are very good at this and this is why you feel this way. Abusers aren't always abusive and can be loving and great at times too. That is why it is so confusing for you. Are you still in counselling? His new marriage is new so things will likely be great for the first few years however give it time and she will get the same treatment you did (anger outbursts, being taken advantage of financially, being lied to, being manipulated, being raged at, being told to leave, being subjected to an over bearing mother in law in the mix, being triangulated, being part of an invasive relationship with an ex, poorly behaved entitled kids, etc.) if not worse. Just wait until those enittled little ones become teenagers. lol. However by then she may be stuck. Consider yourself the smart one and the lucky one for not moving in with or marrying him. 

relationshipguru's picture

Whatever you do please DO NOT have seconds thoughts about leaving this man. If what it takes is to quit looking at old photos and love poems please do so. Put them in a box and put them away, somewhere out of sight. Throw them away if you have to. You absolutely made the right decision to leave him. His new women has been put in your shoes as a replacement and nothing more. He views people with such little worth that they are there to serve his needs and are easily replaceable to him. He is emotionally abusive, manipulative and also dishonest. People like that do not change without years of therapy and work. This is not the type of man anyone should be married to. His current marriage will crack eventually in time. It is still new. Keep that in mind.

pwoodlson's picture

Stay positive and have no regrets about leaving the abusive man child and his entitled brats.

Rags's picture

So, you are lamenting the demise of a toxic relationship with a POS failed man, failed parent and failed partner?  You think you caused the demise of the relationship and implosion of this asshole and his entire shallow and polluted gene pool starting with his mother?  


You are embracing the anxiety of this progressively more distant historic relationship and letting it suck the joy out of your life.  Look up the description of an Incubus.  This POS was just that. He sucks the joy out of your life and you continue to let he and his Haggy Succubus womb donor of a mother to continue to destroy your bliss.

Living well is the best possible revenge and has the amazing side effect of making your life amazing.  So, live your amazing life, write that stanky shallow and polluted gene pool off, put them far behind you, and embrace your life.

Please, do not saddle your new boyfriend with your self sabotaging crap. Let him move on to an enjoyable life of his own.  Do not ruin anyone else's life until you get your proverbial shit together and purge your X and any residual infection you picked up from that POS total failure from your life. Then, and only then, move forward with someone else.

Live well.  Enjoy your revenge. Do not give any of that toxic sludge of genetic refuse continued space in  your head.

markwvualum's picture

Why would you regret leaving an a-hole? His mother should be ashamed of herself. She raised a real piece of work and now he is raising entitled brats. Be glad they are all out of your life. Entitled children become entitled, and more often than not dysfunctional and abusive adults. 

CLove's picture

I read your post with a sense of relief that this was your EX. and not your current.

Please continue counseling and allow yourself time to grieve, and time to rebuild yourself before getting too too serious with new guy.

TheBrightSide's picture

Sometimes we grieve the loss of what we hoped the relationship could be.  When you're looking back at old love letters and photos, you're missing a happy time with a man who didn't reveal to you who he really was.

Its okay to be sad.  Be sad, then remember the facts.  

You got this.