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How Do You Forgive Your Abusive Ex?

A Story of Reflection and [Possible] Forgiveness

By Nicole HerstPublished 3 years ago 3 min read

How do you forgive your abusive ex?

I've been wondering for years after going through several stages of emotions when thinking back on my four year relationship with an abusive man. I was with him for so long because I hadn't yet realized just how horrible things were. He would apologize and admit to being an a-hole, so I thought everything was okay, even when it happened over and over again. It wasn't until a year after we broke up (and stayed best friends) that I realized just how wrong and toxic the relationship (and friendship) were.

The moment he told me he was going to start a relationship with the woman he cheated on me with, I knew I had to end all communication and contact with him; our friendship would be over, which seemed like the end of the world. But once we weren't friends anymore and I finally started telling my friends and family the stories and memories, I came to realize the toxicity.

Then came a few years of reflection and anger. Even to this day, I'm angry; that I let it happen for so long, that I didn't ever stand up for myself, that he married that woman and I'm still single after all this time. I'm not single for lack of trying, but I've come to realize that the relationship broke me. He broke me. No guy has been able to measure up to the standards I created for myself. So why does that mean I get to be mad at him for settling down? I honestly don't know; it doesn't seem fair, does it?

After four years together, before I really put together the problematic things he said and did, I started talking to him about engagement and marriage and it scared him off. So why, after the same amount of time with her, did he feel like it was okay? Was he settling after knowing what he did to me? Was he punishing himself for losing me? Or is he genuinely happy with her when he wasn't with me?

I also think a lot about whether he treats her the same. He married her, and she him, so you'd think they're happy, right? Of course, no one knows what happens behind closed doors, but I'm thinking he doesn't treat her that way. That's frustrating to me, because, why me? What did I ever say or do to make him abusive towards me? Should I blame myself or let it go? Can I let it go? Last year I posted a status about how three years prior I ended an abusive friendship/relationship (without mentioning who, because, who does that), and she sent me a message degrading me for it. I blocked her and never responded (even though I really really wanted to), so I guess he's good to her. I should be happy for her. I should be happy for them so I can move on right?

Here's the thing; I can't. I can't be happy for an abusive cheater and a girl who we knew for years, and knew we were in relationship to help. I can't be happy for two people who deliberately hurt me, when I did nothing to help them. Okay, so that does mean I'm being petty? Does it mean I can never move on? Does it mean I'm not moving on?

I don't think about it every second, or even every week, but sometimes a reminder or memory pops into my head, or, like last night, I have a dream about him and it makes me think and reconsider all of it. Last night's dream made me feel like I wanted to call and talk to him. It made me feel like I forgave everything (even though his family told me they hate her and miss me). I'm not sure what I'm allowed to do, or what I should do. I just know I want to move forward with someone knew, and I don't know if that can happen because of him.


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    Nicole HerstWritten by Nicole Herst

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