'I finally broke up with my abusive boyfriend. A week later, he asked my mum out to lunch.'



This post contains mentions of abuse and may be triggering for some readers.

I broke up with my first love via email.

I have to admit, it wasn’t my first choice for breaking up with someone. I believe that if you have spent a significant amount of time with someone romantically, you owe it to them to finish things in person (or via video chat, if you find yourself on the other side of the planet).

Which I tried to do. Three times.

Mamamia staff members confess the worst reasons we’ve broken up with someone. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

Over three separate days, I hopped on Skype with my first love, telling him I was officially ending things.

It was the last straw for me — I had been studying in South Korea for approximately three weeks, and in that time he had spent the first week in contact, the second high as a kite and living with one of his female coworkers (and me telling him I obviously wasn’t comfortable with that, and that he should go back to his own home), and the third week receiving concerned messages from his family because they didn’t know where he was.

SPOILER ALERT: He was still living with that female coworker at her apartment — the same one he told me had communicated that she ‘wanted to sleep with him’ right before I headed to South Korea.


So, unsurprisingly to most, I was done with his inconsiderate behaviour and blatant lack of respect for our commitment to each other.

I chose to leave him.

And I would have to cut the final cord via email because he wouldn’t dignify my right to leave.

Apparently he was utterly heartbroken that I left him.

Not really sure what he expected after spending our whole relationship being completely inappropriate with other women, emotionally abusing me, and then putting the nail in our “Love Coffin”, if you will, by sexually assaulting me.

Worth noting that even after leaving him, in the months that followed, it still hadn’t settled in that I had been in an abusive relationship, and I was living with PTSD from a sexual assault that I was still referring to as a “close call” while I remained in denial over what had happened to me.

A week or two after I broke up with him, he reached out to my mother asking if they could meet up for lunch.

In the year and a half we’d been together, he’d been welcomed into my family with open arms. Coming from a fairly dysfunctional family, it was a relief to spend time with my own, who are fairly healthy as most families go.

He’d grown close to my parents — we all felt bad for him, even I did.

So, when my mum asked if I was okay with her meeting with him, I had no qualms.

I should have known he was ramping up to butter her up with his charm.


She wasn’t having any of it.

My mother is a smart woman — she wasn’t going to be fooled.

I think it was around this time that she got a snapshot into the emotionally abusive nature of our relationship before I even saw it for myself.

He’s a manipulative character and especially knows how to use the compassion or empathy of others for his own personal gain.

He went to that lunch with a specific purpose — seeking my mother’s aid or direct assistance in winning me back.

He began his performance by expressing his utter heartbreak, and swearing up and down to my mother that we were meant to be together.

He knew that our breaking up was a mistake. He was determined to win me back.

Listen to Mamamia’s separation podcast, The Split. If you think your relationship is over and need some advice, this is the episode for you. Post continues below.

It was at this point that he started picking my mother’s brain for advice for how he could successfully win me back. What did he need to do? What did he need to say? What did he need to change about himself?

Kudos to my mum for not budging a single inch. Because we would later piece together that my ex would play the part of whoever or whatever he needed to obtain what he wanted.

She instead was my biggest advocate.

My mother wasn’t looking to play games. She had my back and simply said, “Look — you have to take her at her word. Gillian says it’s over — that means it’s over.”


That wasn’t the answer my ex was looking for.

He pushed a bit more, and I believe at this point he came to realise that my mother wasn’t as naive or easily manipulated as her daughter was.

His charm only went so far, and frankly, my mother saw right through it.

Finally, I was free.

Finally, he couldn’t sink his talons into me anymore.

The tie was fully severed.

I would spend the next four months having the time of my life in South Korea, enjoying my freedom and learning to fall in love with myself again.

When I returned from Korea, I discovered that he had been cheating on me our entire relationship, including sleeping with his ex before me three months in.

When I heard that, I can assure you I no longer felt bad about breaking up with him via email.

Feature Image: Getty.

This article originally appeared on Medium and was republished here with full permission. For more from Gillian Sisley, you can find her on Twitter.

If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home.

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