I’ve met a good man so why am I drawn back to one who treats me terribly?

Ask Roe: Will I ever be able to have a healthy relationship after all I’ve been through?

Why would I sabotage the lovely relationship I have with my boyfriend, or even just my peace of mind, for this guy who has so little to offer? Photograph: Getty

Why would I sabotage the lovely relationship I have with my boyfriend, or even just my peace of mind, for this guy who has so little to offer? Photograph: Getty

Dear Roe,
I escaped an abusive marriage a few years ago. The marriage was awful – physical and emotional abuse, coercive control, financial abuse. I was already co-dependent, having grown up with an alcoholic parent, so it was normal and natural for me to put all my efforts into
“fixing” myself to meet his increasingly unreasonable demands rather than question the situation and see the abuse as it really was.

Eventually I found the strength to finish the marriage, even though several years of turmoil ensued as my ex tried to keep control over me. I was delighted to finally get legally divorced. It was a shock to be single when I ended my marriage. I soon found myself in an on and off “friends with benefits” situation. He was very charming and charismatic and I was madly attracted to him but I could see that it was unhealthy. He was fickle and would alternate between “love bombing” and keeping his distance. I knew I deserved better so, after a while, I made a strong resolve to put it behind me.

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