I broke up with my ex nearly a year ago because he hit me; I knew he had a violent last and had been to prison previously but I believed he was innocent when I first met him and fell madly in love with him. He mentally abused me for pretty much the whole year we were together and eventually it got physical and I left. He has since been going to a domestic violence intervention programme and is nearly at the end of the course. He says he has changed and I have seen a difference in his behaviour but can people really change? If they've spent their whole life abusing people they love; can they actually stop? I'm scared that things might be fine for months or even years and then he might go backwards and snap and loose control. I'm scared to tell my friends that I want to be with him; I lost my best friend as she hated him and since we broke up me and her have been friends ago, but I'm worried I'll lose her again and become isolated again. Any advice?
The thing with abusers is VERY few do change for good and forever. Many who do actually finish the program only do so to "show" how good they are and then like you said yourself- they fall back into their old behavior. It might also be that he only went to the program BECAUSE he had been to prison earlier-- and sometimes the court mandates that they have to go through a whole program or face more jail time....
I would say it is very scary that he abused you in such short time and went to being physical so soon. I can see this escalate if you do go back. It is difficult- we want to see the best in people and give them a chance but bottom line is-- date someone who is not abusive will always always be saver and also more loving. Engaging with a man who already has a violent history can be a dangerous game to enter.
If he has changed- and is one of those rare exceptions- he will never ask you to reduce contact to friends and family and support you wanting to have your own life and live healthy and safe. He will not emotionally or physically abuse you ever again.
My gut tells me to tell anyone who has been abused to stay far far away from this man.
Usually I would think the same as what you've said; he is not doing the programme because of the police, he is the only one there on a voluntary basis and there is also a follow on course that he is talking about doing as well.
If I do decide this is want, I'm worried about losing my friends when I tell them I want to be with him; and that's not through him being controlling it's my friends that I think will be angry at me for going back there. I've been seeing him in secret for the last few months and I've been going out with my friends still which he hasn't had a problem with and seems a lot less controlling and paranoid but I don't want to tell my friends that I have been seeing him behind their back. Do you have any advice on how I should approach the subject with them? Thanks
I would say being straight forward with your friends would out that pressure of needing to hide off your shoulders. If you already decided to give him another chance then a good friend will maybe have a hard time accepting it- given his abuse towards you in the past- at the same time if he continues to behave well then Iam sure over time your friends will also see the change that will hopefully be permanent.
Stay on your feet and read if you can "Why does he do that" by Lundy Bancroft or "Jerk Radar" -- These books will help you look out for any abuse that might creep back into your boyfriends behavior.
There is nothing to be ashamed about-- you are free to choose and change your mind any second of any day. And you live for yourself- not your friends. I am sure if you are happy long term and he has changed they will embrace that too.