is it love or rebound for us both?

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-11-2009
is it love or rebound for us both?
Wed, 11-11-2009 - 10:02am

I recently was approached by my ex over FB - this is an ex from roughly 4 years ago - anyway, he sent me a message after occassional email back and forth (approx 3 times) of just innocent banter....revealing that he is still in love with me and didn't realize after all these years of us not speaking literally,that he still has very strong emotions and feelings for me.

The ISSUE is: I'm currently going thru a divorce and have been separated from my soon-to-be ex for months now. Though the love, etc. has been gone from our marriage for almost a year now - hate to say it, but it was verablly and emotionally abusive relationship.

So anyway...the other issue is that he WAS engaged to someone he was with for a total of 2 years until very recently - due to her alcoholism and verbal abuse towards him in their relationship.

So he ended the engagement AND relationship with his ex and then gave me this long explaination of how he didn't realize how much emotion he had left for me and how separate from his relationship with her, he realized that he still is in love with me.

The fact that their relationship was so rocky was just another part of the equation, but says taht isn't the reason he ended it.

The history of US is:
Met in school at 15, summertime crushes at 15, stayed friends through the years, lost my virginity to him at 17 (not on dating terms, just knew he was someone I trusted and wanted to lose it to), stayed friends..he went away to college, I went away to college, started a relationship with my current soon-to-be ex. And in the 12 years since then, my ex and I have broken up 3 'major' times due to his treatment towards me. During those times, in some odd way, this man and I have always ended up re-connecting, the first break up from my soon-to-be-ex was on dating terms; the other 2 times were just on friendship terms...not dating or anything..just as friends hanging out like we used to do years before. My soon-to-be-ex and I got married 3 years ago and unfortunately it all came to a head earlier this year due to same old reasons.

Now I have dated 3 other guys in my lifetime - during the time frame (BEFORE we got married) - when my soon-to-be-ex and I would break up over a weekend or whatever, or for a week (stupid stuff, the make-up-to-break-up routine) and those really were just friends from school, etc. and we'd go out a few times but nothing ever really serious. And he'd date whoever he dated and then ultimately we'd always get back together, blah blah blah. But since we got married, I never dated anyone else, we never even separated - he would yell Divorce and still be abusive, but I stayed thru thick and thin. I also completely cut off contact with this man (old friend) once I got married out of respect for my marriage. Told myself that I was not in love with him, we weren't compatible, etc. and moved on.

My CONCERN is this: I realize in recent weeks how I do still love this man (the old friend) just as much as I always have over the years. But does this mean that he is GENUINELY in love with me? Which I believe he is after all of these years, or is it just a rebound thing for BOTH of us?

The other issue is: he has 5 kids, by 5 different women, I KNOW, crazy. And nothing new, I already knew about all of this. The thing is, he is the sweetest person on earth, has always treated me with respect, cared about what I had to say, loved me to death when we were dating and he keeps saying how he's grown so much over the years and is ready to commit fully (not marriage but just in general) to me and be the person I needed him to be that first time we dated seriously. My issue is, ok yes he has 5 kids - do I hold that against him, when ultimately he is everything else that I've always loved?

I also have 1 child by my soon-to-be ex (who doesn't see his child) and he has even said that he's open and willing to take my situation entirely and be the support for me (that I never even asked for) and be there with me thru thick and thin for me and my son.

Just a little scared, confused, not sure what to do or say.

I know what I think I want, but when comes to relationships I've not always made the best choice, hence my abusive soon-to-be-ex husband.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-18-2006
Thu, 11-12-2009 - 10:12am

It's a rebound. I've been there with my first love for a short time. He came back after his 1st marriage ended, and I was in a relationship. Eventually he found someone else, and I broke up with my now ex. Although it was tempting, it was never going to be a rebound for me.

Let me put it to you this way so you can better understand. When getting out of ANY relationship, whether it be a marriage, or LTR, you need to have time to yourself and to heal...period. You can not be a good partner to someone else until you do so.

What he seems to be doing is reaching out for the nearest "source" that he can rebound to, which a lot of people do after a breakup. With this old BF, it's best for you at this point NOT to get involved and limit your contact with him. As far as all his kids, that's a problem no matter how you look at it. That's a responsibility issue on his part that's lacking, and there's probably something else that he's not telling you regarding all of that mess. Plus he made have all that you want on the surface, but underneath is a whole other story, this guy has hidden red flags that you aren't seeing right now.

One thing to remember is this. When you are at a point with your ex-H when you have divorce, you have stabilized yourself and gotten back on your feet, and after a good year you feel your ready to date again, then maybe, but right now is not a good time for you. It's nice to have that "attention" from the old-BF, but that could turn into a very bad situation. If it's truly love, then you won't be 2nd guessing a thing, and you won't have a doubt in your mind, but clearly right now you do.

If you need to say something to him to limit contact, just tell him that you need time to heal and be by yourself and get your situation together and figure things out. You don't need say anything beyond that and ask that he respect your situation and wish him luck in the future.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-06-2007
Fri, 12-04-2009 - 12:53pm

I say a rebound too. And the fact that you are questioning it even shows me that you also may feel this way, but unsure to trust your gut. I don't like to put too much weight on first loves, those are not meant to last. They are just practice!

As for both of your issues, do you know how you got to be in a verbally/emotionally abusive relationship? Do you know what the signs were that you ignored during the courtship? Do you know if your childhood pre-programmed you to accept this? I also was married to an emotionally abusive man. I did a LOT of work on myself and I discovered the hows and whys of it all. I am very positive that I will never do that again because I have educated myself on abuse, my childhood, what patterns I learned, what codependency is. I feel very whole.

As for the other guy, does he even know why he got involved with an abusive alcoholic woman? He may be just comparing here - you were not like her so he may claim to have feelings for you, when in fact you were just the opposite of her. If two people don't discover their unhealthy patterns and undo them, they could be setting themselves up for a disaster.