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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5810
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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My husband and I are getting a divorce. We are in the final

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My husband and I are getting a divorce. We are in the final process. I left him because it was an abusive marriage for 15 out of the 23 years we were married. The abuse was physical only 3 times, but that should be enough. It was mostly sexual and emotional abuse on a daily basis I had to put up with. I stayed for my children's sake. I left and I am very happy and I met a man and am ready to move on. It will be 2 years, by the way. My problem is that I am still on friendly terms with my ex and I guess that's a mistake because he can't let go of me no matter how many times I tell him that I will never come back. I don't like to argue, but how can I tell him to let go and move forward on his own?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

Abuse is always about control (and insecurity as well) so when your ex abused you, he thought he controlled you. Your ability to divorce him and move on makes him lose that control. So now he tries to maintain it any way he can. Adding to that, the divorce is not yet final so he may think he still can have control over you.

Some people cannot be friends with their ex's. Issues such as abuse or drug and alcohol use that made the relationship dysfunctional in the first place interferes with a normal relationship after the divorce. The person causing the behavior, in this case your husband, is not able to function on a normal, healthy level in a relationship. So even a divorce does not stop him from acting out and trying to control you because that is the only way he knows how to relate to you.

You may need to end contact all together. But because of the nature of your relationship when you were married, you may want to slowly back off instead of just ending it abruptly. Still see him, but shorten the time you have contact and also stop seeing him as often. Don't tell him why, but say instead that you are busy or other things are going on. The goal here is to avoid turning this into a stalker situation, which can happen because stalking is also about control. So taking it slow and backing off gently is the best approach.

I hope this has helped you,

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