Walk Away Wife Syndrome

Here's an ex of mine from the archives!

I was raised in an abusive family that tolerated a lot of toxicity, so I tend to be easily gaslighted by people who pretend to be sincerely 'trying to change' and those who plead 'ignorant' or 'stupid.'

I give chances, give chances, and then, something snaps. It always does.

I'm not sure why, but most of my bad exes like to softly erode boundaries, which I don't tend to notice. But then they do something massively unforgivable. It's something extreme that nobody would tolerate. Like cheating, attempting to rape a friend of mine, manipulating my friends, etc. And they always acted surprised that I'd 'dump them over something so ridiculous.'

My ex was a friend for years. We courted from a distance, and he was very attentive and sweet. He sent thoughtful gifts and begged me to visit more often. I moved in after an apartment fire destroyed everything. He bought replacements unasked. My moving in made sense, financially speaking, as it cost him almost nothing for room and board. He's wealthy. I still paid my way and did landscaping to restore his dead yard and flowerbeds.

But within a few months, his mask came off.

My ex was very conflict-avoidant. He is morbidly obese, which he claimed was due to heart surgeries and resultant swelling and inactivity, not due to an addiction to binge eating. He claimed he'd lose the weight. But it turns out he has trouble keeping his fat folds clean. I stopped being intimate with him once I learned he had given me skin infections. Rather than go to a dermatologist, he stalled, but kept trying to get romantic, as though I'd forget he had a yeast infection and just... I don't know... be ok getting a raging infection? I refused.

I planned to move out, but he begged me to stay and to just stay friends and landscape.

The only time I'd really talk to him after the breakup was to warn him or explain why his behavior was hurtful to others or me. For example, I explained that when he wasn't wearing his CPAP, he was at risk for another heart incident.

He never did chores or yardwork unless he wanted attention, and 50% of the time, he'd 'accidentally' 'pull his back.' Then he'd literally blorp across the lawn like a seal, crawl up the stairs, whining and bawling for help and tap pitifully on my door. The hospital would dope him up with morphine, and he'd sob pitifully about how he'd lose weight 'this time' as I 'scolded' him for not wearing support belts and doing dangerous chores.

I knew would self-sabotage his own health for attention ,but I didn't realize he'd hurt me or his dog to get attention.

We'd broken up, with the understanding that I'd move out . He wasn't happy, but pretended to be supportive and begged me to stay so he wouldn't be alone while he awaited surgery for another self-inflicted injury.

He'd tried to carry a load of laundry, tripped on his feet, and detached his quad muscle from the bone. He didn't get it treated and tried walking on it for months. Then he finally went in for help and was advised that surgery was necessary. Without consulting me, he asked his retired parents to move in for a few months. They hated me for 'breaking their baby's heart,' and he forbade them from talking to me. I was ok with not talking. He swore they were there to take care of his large dog.

It turns out that he wanted his mother to clean his trashed rooms with the excuse the 'he had surgery and couldn't move.' He'd left his rooms filthy for years.

His parents are both morbidly obese with mobility issues and couldn't walk the dog or bend at the waist. Their actual job was to sometimes let the dog out to poop in the landscaping projects, and to enable my exes binge eating. It wasn't my business, I didn't comment.

But my ex wanted attention from me.

When he got the dog as a puppy, he promised he would get a small one and have her trained. He bought a large dog behind my back and begged for forgiveness. We were still dating at the time. I explained, in detail, how I have CPTSD and am triggered by large dogs being aggressive or loud. He swore he was an expert at dog care.

Fast forward to his father living downstairs, ignoring the dog shit.

The dog was not trained and can't hold still. She barked if anyone gets too close to the stairs or doors and tried to bite. Before his dad moved in, my ex kept the dog away from the stairs and doors so she wouldn't bark at me. But his dad didn't take care of the dog and let her roam anywhere without her training collar. My ex would let her bark and then loudly shout "No! Shame on you for barking!"

I talked to him several times about how being startled by dog barking is a trigger that causes me to dissociate and experience horrific flashbacks to CSA involving a dog. He sobbed and promised he 'forgot,' 'didn't know,' and was 'trying' to train her not to. He refused to hire a trainer, claiming he would get around to it once he had surgery, but he just couldn't send her to a kennel because she was too untrained to qualify. He swore his dad would do it. Then, later, he confessed that his dad was too fat and out of shape and unwilling to train the dog.

I looked up dog trainers who do house visits. My ex refused, claiming that he'd called before, but that they asked him seriously why he kept a dog that large with no fence in the backyard, no other stimulation, and no prior training. The ex said he felt insulted and didn't want to give them business.

I told him to get a shock collar or at least a vibrator collar, which he said was 'too cruel for the dog.'

He finally agreed to get the automatic vibrator collar. I told him that this was non-negotiable and essential for my health and sanity. The dog was too aggressive for me to train, and I was 'forbidden' for talking strategy about training with his dad. He sobbed and swore he didn't mean to hurt me and that he appreciated my telling him so many times how important it was, and that he got it immediately.

That night, that very night, I pass the stairs and hear the dog nails on the floor. It barks and I tailspin into another horrific flashback.

It was then that I realized that he did that on purpose. He was purposefully using his dog to torture a CSA victim. I finally stopped being nice in my talks with him and told him how manipulative, selfish, and cowardly each specific choice and behavior was to me, his dog, and his parents.

He sobbed and apologized and hoped we could still be friends and he thanked me for "caring enough to be mad."

And that's when I realized that he was basically getting a rush from my giving him any kind of attention, even negative attention, and he was willing to neglect his dog and torture a child abusive victim with memories of CSA to get his fix.

I quietly made that observation, and when he wouldn't look me in the eye, still denying everything, I left.

/r/TwoXChromosomes Thread