Question: Dear Luise: I’m 35 years old. I was married for 2 years. I’ve been divorced for 2 1/2 years because he was physically and verbally abusive. Also, he has an obsessive-compulsive disorder with cleaning the house. I’m still in love with him and now he’s asking me to go back with him and says that he still loves me. He was with another woman who has a boyfriend for 5 months but she’s still with the boyfriend. He told me he doesn’t want to be in that situation and that he’s in love with me. He wants me to give him another opportunity but I’m very confused because even though I love him, I still remember how he used to treat me. M.
Answer: Dear M. From my point of view, loving the guy isn’t the problem, living with him is. That’s probably where the confusion comes from.
Most of us “leopards”, myself included, don’t change our spots easily. We turn over new leaves and really try but we usually revert to the same old behaviors.
After making a mess of things with you, he has branched out and is now in a bigger mess. Doesn’t that tell you something?
Let him know that you love him dearly but you don’t love his behaviors, attitudes, habits and hang-ups and it just isn’t in your best interest to give it another try. Tell him you learned all you needed to know about living with him the first time around. (That’s what people usually tell their spouse when they are getting divorced for the second time. Take the shortcut.)
And I sincerely suggest that you support your own self-respect and self-confidence by expecting more from your next partner. You deserve it. Blessings, Luise