Whether to get back together with an abusive partner who's undergoing therapy
It is quite natural for you to want to save a relationship that you have been in for a while especially if you are still attached to him. After all, even abusive relationships can have moments that are calm and enjoyable. The rosy memory of your relationship that you treasured suddenly breaks in tiny pieces. The partner that you cherished suddenly becomes someone to fear.
For some, professional help and significant changes a relationship can become healthy.
Abusive relationships are a sign of 'imbalance of control and power on the abuser's part. I have to caution you that most abusers aren't able to make the changes needed. Given that many abusers never make the necessary changes, it is not unusual for a counselor to counsel the victim to leave rather than trying to fix the relationship.
On a positive note, your abuser does seem to be taking responsibility for his behaviors and not blaming you. It takes time, deliberation and a lot of action to create the changes needed. Just because someone can change it doesn't mean they will. So if you do decide to return to your partner you will need to look for signs of real change in him. If you find yourself asking if your partner can make the changes needed here is something to consider.
- Change is often unsuccessful if you try not to react or suppress your emotions to prevent a fight. This may result in you exploding with frustration and it results in a violent episode again.
- Reach out for professional relationship counseling - being open to this is a good sign. A counselor can help you both understand the faulty patterns of your relationship and help you address them. A counselor can provide you both with a safe place to discuss your problems, your terms and your future together. Old wounds, fights and wrongdoing and so on, are heavy to hold. You and your partner must be willing to let go of these problems to heal after an abusive relationship. So unresolved issues are one of the major reasons behind ongoing arguments. You will need to resolve your old fights and let go of any resentment you have been holding on to. To fully have a healthy relationship you will both need to unlearn old patterns when facing an argument and find new ways to interact with your partner. Staying in the relationship after the abuse will be possible only if you learn how to argue and resolve your issues - a counselor will help with this.
Many abusers promise to change but fail to do so when it counts. This is what often creates a cycle of abuse. There isn't really a way to measure any change your partner is making. There are however some signs an abuser has changed. I will share some of them with you.
- Conversations about past wrongs - when he talks about the past - does he show remorse and own his mistakes. He will stop being defensive and stop making making excuses like "you wind me up and made me do it" so they take little to no responsibility for their actions.
- Improved patience - You should notice more patience in your partner. Things that used to annoy him no longer do so. You will notice more emotional maturity in your partner.
- Psychological help - if your partner continues to attend counseling the changes are more likely to be permanent.
- Letting go of old habits and patterns - You should notice that your partner starts to let go of the old thought patterns and be more accepting. For example, your partner will be more accepting if he has to wait for you if you are making him wait.
- Increased Respect - You should notice your partner shows you more respect.
Rebuilding a relationship after abuse does not happen over night. It may take many months of effort to start from ground zero in your relationship. It won't be the easiest path to take in the world and it will most definitely require a lot of effort, vulnerability and openness to create the change you will need from both sides.
It is okay to be unsure about staying or leaving the relationship. It is a big decision and indeed one you should not take lightly. The more you think about this the more confusing it can be and it can leave you feeling bewildered, anxious and confusing to say the least. Talk to a friend, a family member you are close with before you make a decision. You can also connect with a professional counselor at BetterHelp before making your decision if you think that will help you.
The power to have a successful relationship reconciliation is actually with the abuser since the majority of responsibility of making the necessary changes and taking responsibility lies with them to - they will need to take responsibility of their actions and need to accept the gravity of their behaviors towards you.
- Regaining a Safe Environment - Successful reconciliation can only happen if you both agree to turn your relationship back to a safe environment. Here are a few tips on how to achieve this:
- Take one step at a time - Expecting things just to change because you want things to be right is unrealistic. You need to pace your partner that they are comfortable with. You cannot rush the process.
- Forgiveness - You will need to forgive your partner for many things and this may not be easy for you and it may take a bit of time.
- Acceptance - You need to accept what has happened - this is not something you can sweep under the carpet or act like an ostrich burning your head in the sand by pretending nothing has happened. You will have to accept things for how they are and move on.
If you are able to absorb the above you will perhaps see there is a lot of work to do - both of you. The decision to stay is a collective one; one you need to both realize that you will have to make major changes in. Making the promises is the easy part, keeping to them is not. It takes a lot of hard work over time.
A relationship can survive domestic abuse if two partners are fully committed to change and both willing to do their part.
Remember, there is help awaiting you at BetterHelp if you need further guidance and support.