“Is He Abusive? Or Just Insensitive And Selfish?”

by Annie Kaszina on August 6, 2010

Dear Annie,

I can't determine whether I am in a relationship with an extremely thoughtless,
insensitive man or whether there is evidence of abuse. 

My partner and I have been together a little over 2 years although neither
live together nor are married. He does nice things for me sometimes and appears
to care but little niggles have always been at the back of my mind; he doesn't
trust women because 2 previous wives left him for someone else. He has also had
an abusive upbringing…

I feel so alone,

Sue

Hi Sue,

A
question for you: if your partner is only extremely
thoughtless, and insensitive, does that make the relationship
viable?

I ask
you that fairly brutally, because it is an imporant
question.
 

You
were in an abusive marriage for 17 years, and I'm guessing that this man is an
improvement on your husband.  All that tells me is that he is less
bad.
 

I note
also that you are not living with him.  This means that he is likely to behave
better to you than he would do if he had greater access to, and power over,
you.
 

There
could be various reasons for his behaviour – none of them particularly
reassuring.  But the bottom line is this:

 

  • two
    wives have already left him. Why?  (And were there more?)
  • He
    doesn't trust women,
  • He is
    emotionally inaccessible
  • He is
    very insensitive to your feelings
  • Far
    from supporting you at a very difficult time, he is actually wanting you to tone
    down your response; presumably so that you will be easier to be around for him –
    because you will be less needy
  • He is your partner, and yet you feel very alone

It
doesn't sound good.
 

And
the fact that you have doubts tends to suggest that, deep down, you know this
relationship is far from healthy.
 

With
your parent's health problems, you need someone who will be there for you, not
someone who will add to the emotional problems you have to deal
with, by his emotional detachment from you.
 

One
last question: you say: "he appears to care"; how do you know that he does
care?
 

I
can't see how he cannot be emotionally abusive.  And he certainly is damaging to
you.
 

Sorry
to have to say that to you.
 

Warm
wishes,


Annie

   

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