Ending a Relationship: How Do You Know When Enough Is Enough?
When deciding on ending a relationship, the first question we ask ourselves is: How do I know when enough is enough? Someone very special and beautiful asked me that question this week.
In our culture, we are faced with all kinds of messages about relationships: see the good in people, relationships take work, rise above, and don't have too many expectations. Then, don't put up with anyone's disrespect, take care of yourself, set limits, leave abuse. These messages convolute all our decisions on how to set boundaries in relationships or know when it is right for us to leave them. We don't know who to blame, us or them. Add to it worry and fear about being alone, or being abandoned, or about other people judging you, and it becomes a maze to wade through.
Unconditional Love and Ending a Relationship
Problems in significant relationships effect our anxiety and depression more than any other factor in our life because our relationships and their success define us. These are huge decisions. The heaviness of making the right one, can be immobilizing. One can either open to reconnecting, nor can they step away to relieve themselves. Above all, they lose all trust in themselves, staying in misery and passing it back and forth between them.
We think we are supposed to have unconditional love for our partners and mistake this for having an unconditional relationship. Relationships have conditions! All relationship arrangements are negotiable, and there is usually aspects that for one or both partners that are not negotiable.
It is not easy to chose to leave a relationship and I do not have a prescription answer. Sometimes, it is best and other times it is not, and these both can depend. One thing I do understand is that if you make a decision, you make that your decision. Whichever you decide, you live that decision with your best self. Look deep inside you, beyond all fear and all guilt and there you'll find the answer. Ask your higher self what is the best for everyone involved. Step back from the situation and see yourself and your partner from a distance. This intention and perspective can help you get clarity.
The Ending a Relationship Decision
There is no right decision. Decisions are like everything else, relative. It doesn't matter if it is "right" or not, you make a decision and then make it right for you.
You might decide to postpone your decision to end a relationship, but even that is a decision to be lived instead of lamented. Don't beat yourself up for "not deciding," postpone consciously. But before making a decision about whether to stay in or leave a relationship, think about this:
- Know you are exactly where you are supposed to be. You are perfect and awesome.
- There is nothing to be afraid of, you cannot chose wrong.
- Get people that love you around you.
- Find your worth and know who you are and your purpose.
Then, and only then, the preferable choice will be as clear as day.
How have you decided to stay in or leave a relationship? Let my friend know how you did it. Comment below!
Lobozzo, J. (2012, July 18). Ending a Relationship: How Do You Know When Enough Is Enough?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, June 3 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2012/07/how-do-you-know-when-enough-is-enough
Author: Jodi Lobozzo Aman, LCSW-R
But it feels so empty and really like the end of the world.
I have been with my boyfriend for about 3 years. Recently I have anxiety that he isn't right for me. I am also unsure sometimes if I love him. This is my first serious relationship so are these doubts normal? I'm 25 and he's 28. We have several things we both like to do but he had many interests that I'll listen to him talk about but I'm not interested in.
I have previously been mostly attracted to guys who are more outgoing than me since I'm shy, but he is not. He is very introverted and just has a couple friends. He treats me well, is kind, loving, smart, hardworking, and fun. He dresses sloppily which has started to bug me more recently. A lot of the anxiety had gotten worse due to living 1.5 hrs apart due to his phd program but this would just be for 8 more months... He wants to get married and I am honestly unsure at this point. Sometimes I can see us getting married and other times I think I should break up with him due to my uncertainty. In general, I am not a confident person and I have anxiety. Any advice? Is it saying something about the relationship if I'm not sure about marriage after 3 years? Or does it sometimes take a while to feel sure especially with nothing to compare it to? He knows about these doubts and is very patient with me. I just feel filthy about not knowing if I want to spend my life with him after a few years together.
I never comment on sites; somehow the vibe in here seems real warm and genuine, so I wanted to share my story. I truly love my bf of 2 years, but I wonder if that love is just friendship love now. It started out with him wanting to be with me and me not liking him, but eventually I gave in, and now we're engaged. He's been good to me, the supportive type, but to be honest we have very little to talk about, have opposing views on practically everything (except family and the future), and a really lame sex life. Yep, I'm in a sexless relationship and it sucks (He is *always* at home so he's not seeing anyone elsel. This isn't something new, that hasn't been discussed in everyway possible: he knows full well what's up.
I consider myself to be strong and independent. My relationships aren't usually like this, normally the men I see are more bohemian-type, you know, "living the moment", have deep conversation, and so on. I've learned to let them come and go. But my current relationship really catches me off guard, as it seems like the "right" guy but is completely unfulfilling. I mean, it's like we're roomates. For a long time now, my gut has been telling me to end this, but my impulsiveness has betrayed me before... At this point, we are emotionally and financially codependent, and although I've asked him to leave several times in the heat of arguments, he never leaves. My family and friends are all over him so asking them for help is out of the question - he is extremely manipulative.
I don't know how to go about ending this as he's locked on like a leech and it's *my* apartment. About 8 months back I was laid off and haven't been able to get a decent job since, so I've recently ventured into starting my own business. I'm stuck at that point: he supoorts me financially(borderline) and emotionally, but I just can't stand the guy anymore. It's hard when he's so manipulative, passive-aggressive, possibly homosexual, and friend and family-less to boot. *sigh* What to do? I'm not evil, I don't hate him, actually I wish him the best but I just can't seem to get past this ugly situation.
Maybe you can get yourself financially stable and then it'll be clearer? Hope so! <3
Thank you Jodi! I will need luck... Yesterday we talked and he was so, but so down and really, really sad :(. I think he is depressed, but he doesn't what to get professional help. He tried to come back, but I kept my word and my decision. I was his safe place, but he didn't value that when we were together, he mistreated me, my feeling and actions. I can't forget that, but I really do feel sorry for him... It's hard to handle, but I will succeed!
I broke up my relationship 2 weeks ago. I have been thinking about it for about 2 months. And, even though I was already decided to make that move, I gave him 3 more chances. My relationship was good and then we move in together. Things started to fall apart. I've talked and talked with him, but things didn't change :(. Until 2 weeks ago. I still have feelings for him, he says that he has feelings for me also, but... Too much damage has been made in my heart and my mind. I miss him, my heart is really tight, but my mind is always telling me that I made what was right. If I continued in that relationship, @ this moment, I would be crazy. I feel sad, but I feel good. What will happen in the future?? Only God can tell. Thank you for your article, it helped me very much!
Good luck with the process, Irina. We might know it is right but still grieve the good stuff. Just because it is right for you, doesn't mean it doesn't hurt. xo
I really needed to read this post. Just two days ago I found out that while me and my boyfriend were broken up/going through a rough patch in the beginning of the year he went out, got drunk, & got his ex pregnant and the baby will be here in about two months. We've been together for over four years & we've had our share of problems that we always manage to get through. He hid this from me & his family, we all just found out. I know how much we love each other, more than anything, & we want to marry each other when we'll be ready to take that step financially & career-wise. Deep down inside I feel like I don't have anything to think about, I want to stay with him without a doubt, I love him purely and unconditionally. We call each other our soul mate/other half, but I don't know if later on down the line I stay but I can't handle this. In my heart I've already accepted his baby. I just can't get over that somebody else has his child growing inside of them, somebody else forever has a piece of him, forever. I'm so hurt, so lost. Every time I wake up all I do is cry because reality comes rushing right back to me. & all I wanna do is sleep so that I can forget about all of this for a little while.
I am so sorry about all this that you are going through. Give yourself some time to get your mind around this. Don't judge yourself. Time will help you know what to do. You don't have to decide right now. There will be time.
Thanks so much for your response. Is there anything you recommend I do while I'm taking this time out to think. Should I seek professional help? I just started graduate school less than one week ago & yet I feel like the life has been sucked out of me. Even though I'm a spiritual person & I draw much strength from my spirituality I feel that my spirit has been broken in some way. I could barely bring myself to read my bible once I opened it. I am in so much pain & don't know where to turn.
Yes, there will be a counseling center at scholl free to students. Go there. Having someone to talk to is precious and helpful! Bless you, my dear! If you want to do online counseling, let me know, but your best bet is going to the campus center. xo
Thanks so much for all your help.
I kinder got someting out of reading your article - I have been in a relationship for nearly 6 months and it was good in the begining ut now im not happy and i feel sad & weepy all the time. He is depressed and almost wallows in self pity and his dragging me down - he shuts me out and i feel as thou i am banging my head against a brick wall. My heart says work it out but my head says you dont need someone who makes you unhappy - wish i knew what to do!!!
Listen to your head. Your heart is speaking from fear, not love. Fear that you can't find anyone better or that you might have done something to cause him to be like this. Anna find someone else! Love yourself enough to. xo
I've been through a similar situation and I broke the relationship 2 weeks ago. We have been together for 7 months, and I felt exactly the way you are feeling. I couldn't breathe right, I couldn't eat well, I was always sad and unsatisfied, among other things. It was really hard (still is), but was for the best :D! You better get out of that situation while you still love and respect yourself. Best of luck!!
I have written here twice.
It's been four months since I left an 8 year relationship.
The house is sold, he's gone - I've been aimlessly moving around.
Now, I'm so stuck I can't get up.
Can hardly breathe.
He's in my thoughts late at night wondering if him and our dogs are ok.
In the mornings, I wonder if he's ok.
This was all on me to make the decision and the guilt is crippling.
Why couldn't he leave !?
Fuzzy, He made his choice passively. You were the strong one, let go of the guilt. He made his bed. Not you! xo Get around people if you can. It's the best thing you can do!
i have been reading there comments all morning and have inspired me greatly.
i came on this looking for inspiration to help my decision on ending my 6yr relationship.
we have three beautiful children under 6 but im far from happy and they keep me grounded. i suffer from anxiety and mental health . and he has acontrolling and manipulative attitude . which has destroyed me. i have wanted to leave for so long but i can't bare to hurt him or take kids away from him. last night he accused me of an affair even though i don't leave house. he says he trusts me yet turns on me in a second. i knew enough is enough. im petrified of becoming a single mum but im sure its alto better than the. situation i am in now
I have been with my bf since 2004 so it's been 9 years now. We broke up in 2008, after a horrible argument and got back together a year later. We were friends for a while before we started to dating and due to the financial situation we moved in together quickly. We spent a lot of time together. We would have arguments about things because he does not like to negotiate, if he doesn't wanna do things then he would say you can do that but I don't want to and I'm still gonna go do it on my own. Over time I found it easier to just let him have things way and I got used to not making much decisions. In 2008, I had to go on a business trip overseas for few days, when I was out there, I called him to check in. He had been out with his friends -he loves drinking , and binge drinks often- and he said he had meet this girl who is really cool and I should meet her sometime. Later I I found out that she came back to our place and hung out and according to my bf nothing had happened. I thought it was really disrespectful to do that while I was out of town, and I felt like he told me because there were other friends that new about the incident. Despite of "nothing happened", I was very disappointed, and was also not happy with how our relationship was going at the time. And after few months we broke up. Since I was the one who made the decision, it was hard but I could move on. We were intertwined with our work situation so we had to see each other very often, but I could handle it ok. He started dating other girls, and even brought her to our gatherings but I was surprisingly ok. After about a year, we still saw each other with mutual friends, he could not date girls more than few weeks, and came back to me. He asked me to give it a other try, and I have realized that I still loved him, so we got back together in 2009. Since then things seemed to be a lot better, seemed like we have learned how much we love each other through this experience. But over time I still see the core issues are still there, his non-compromising, self centered perspective, communication issue and etc. we have different cultural background, my parents don't speak English. Every year I spent holidays at his parents place. My bf does not wanna visit my family and when he does-like once a year- he sits and stars at his iPhone entire time. My parents are very understanding and say that they understand why he would be uncomfortable but it still hurts their feelings. He doesn't even try to engage. He is not interested in my career, and passion, never remembers my big moments. When I was graduating after long years of study, he complained about having to come to the ceremony on a weekday morning, and left right afterward because he did not wanna have lunch with my family. When we got back together, we sort of had a new anniversary, but he complains that it is not even a real anniversary and it's stupid that I care so much. So This year I did not mention anything, and he went out with his friends all weekend coming home at 4 in the morning. He thinks marriage is stupid and something that society forces people into, he had mentioned that we would marry once he is settled financially, after he buys a house, but it all seems like excuses. I started to feel like this isnt really going anywhere and I'm not really happy lately. It is really confusing because I feel that I still do love him but I'm not satisfied. When I read your blog, I resonated with 'enough is enough' but I still can't decide what I wanna do. I'm turning 30 soon and I feel like I need to think about my future... Am I just having a entering 30 crisis? I'm so confused!!!
No, this is your intuition telling you to move onto to someone you deserve. Listen to your inner voice. He is not changing anytime soon. Better to move on now than to divorce later when things ar more complicated. xo Jodi
I have been looking for a love spell to bring back my wife after been separated for 2years,I have tried 3 different spell caster which I paid them money and non of them was able to get my wife back and this make me look frustrated until a friend of mine direct me to Mr Ibadan who did what I called black magic I was in contact with Mr IBADAN and after 48hours my wife call me and said she want us to be together and now we are back again with my 12 years old son and there is more romance in our relationship.
Lady Xara, hugs. Hugs to you. You have been through so much life at only 31. I hope you will untangle yourself and run. I believe if you could be aline with yourself you would see you are far better and more loving company than what you have had for 15, or actually 31 years. You can only go up from here.
This was so sad to me to read. I have been in a wonderful relationship with a guy who had commitment issues in the past. I walked away then, knowing I'd done nothing wrong, though I'd given him two second chances after he was cold. I knew he'd been through a lot and had no desire to retaliate because I knew I would take more away than he had to give. A long time went by. He contacted me again, and pursued me. He commited to therapy and promised to go to couple's counseling in the future. He promised he would be committed to me and love me, show love in the way I receive it.
I gave him a chance, he followed through. We fell in love and adored each other, it was a cherishing, committed and wonderful relationship. He worked on hus temper and had a few outbursts (cold, defensive, raised voice) and I held onto his promises. I cant take emotional volatility. I didn't stop to ask why he was angry, I just shut down. He was not abusive, I just cant take it. I failed to acknowledge his progress and wanted couples counseling. He refused. It had been humiliating to him in the past. I didnt know what to do. He is an amazing person who has been hurt so many times and is closed off, but he'd been feeling better about life, us, his issues. We felt newly in love except I have problem expressing my needs as far as communication.
He had given me the impression he was sure of me all along but when marriage came up he wanted us to get to know each other better. After a year I wanted to check in and he freaked out, ran. When he tried to make amends in a really sweet meaningful way, I lashed out this time. He immediately broke it off with me, no explanation, no communication, nothing. No grace or second chances for me. I feel stunned, devastated, confused. I loved us, so did he. I feel sorrow for hurting him. I think he made a foolish choice for both of us, but I have no say. I had no say at all, he wont speak to me at all. It was cruel and degrading. I dont know what to think. Maybe he was checking out the whole time.
What makes me sad is, if at some point he realizes he made the wrong decision and regrets it, even though he's returned so many times, now that this was real and not shallow dating, now will be the time he does not return. Maybe one day I will get angry but I guess I just loved him more. I dont know. It feels like a death and I could move on if not for the fact I think I hurt him. I am harder on myself than anyone in the world could ever be. :(
Stop worrying about hurting him. He's a big boy and this was his choice. Stop judging yourself and it will be easier to move on! I promise!
I just broke off my engagement about a month ago and keep flip flopping on whether I am making the right decision. We had been together for 8 years and have a 2 year old child together. I also have a 13 year old to whom he has been a step-father. Looking back at our relationship I have realized that I allowed him to treat me less than I deserve. I always felt as if I was chasing him and craving his love and affection. He not only has cheated on me several times but while I was pregnant with our child so why am I still feeling as if I am not sure I made the right choice. He tells me he knows what he did wrong and that he didn't appreciate me the way he should've. If I just give him one last chance he can PROVE that he will change. I feel like I have nothing left to give. I gave my entire heart throughout this relationship and wasn't getting it back. Why do I still feel as though I owe it to him to prove he can be different? Can he change now that he says he recognizes all the wrong he did? I am also seeking a counselor to help understand why I chose a man like this and how to heal myself so that I don't fall into this pattern again. Please help I don't know where to turn to.
I hope your counseling in helping, but if not I am available! <3 You don't owe it to him to prove he can be different, he just wants you to think that. He has manipulated you to think that. I am sorry! let me know if I can help! xo Jodi
It is good to find this. I struggle to find relationship forums that don't revolve around 20 year old lamenting their 1 year college/uni relationship (but I don't mean any malice by that). I am contemplating finally leaving a 15 yr relationship. No kids, a ring (11 yrs ago) but no marriage. I am 31. Oh god, I don't even know where to start ,it's so complicated... OK... we were both exposed to domestic abuse growing up...he more mental/verbal towards his mother, mine more physical. He has always had serious communication issues - resorts to name callings, serious criticisms & personal attacks at this slightest perception of insult followed by days of silent treatment. He very, very rarely apologises & when it's important enough for me to return to the topic it just reangers him & all of the nastues reiterated, no remorse. Over past 4 years he continually threatens to break up with me after fights but nothing is ever followed thru. I feel beyond pathetic that I have allowed this to happen. He finally sort of officially broke it off after strtching finances to buy a house we can barely afford requiring a lot of work...changed fb status, secretly signed up to si gles dating sites etc but then says we have to finidh the work, that I need to prove to myself & maybe him that I have motivation (um, I may as well br a tradie I work that hard on the physical stuff). So we haven't slept in same bed since last Nov, except when parent or friends stay & he suggests 'maintaining the illusion', not had sex for this time either. Maybe a hug or 2 during a nasty argument (tho this is new...). My friends are all starting families & I wanted this too ( as I know he eventually wanted). Through miscommunication & carelessness on his part I fell pregnant. When I told him, it was ugly. He indicated that to keep it would be to ruin everything we had worked for etc. Asked if it was even his. Got very angry. Left me on side of road, then when finally returning, drove me to where we were temporarily staying with a friend & told me to pack bags & go. After agonising & absolutely no support I made an awful decision. To this day he maintains that somehow we were not together & I would have f***ed evrything. He does want kids, even alluded once recently after an extreme upset( where he said he can't wait toget the f** away from me) that life is over if I wasn't going to be the mother of his child... it's so... as I write this it sounds insane...both what he says & does, and the fact that I am still here for some reason, all love withdrawn but a vague promise that if we finush the hous without all the emotional drama that maybe then we can put the required effort in to maybe fix the relationship...but i am so broken, ths cabln't be right. I don't know who I am, what is right, how to make any decisions at alo...just round & round in useless, painful circles. I know I should go, all the boundaries ilof a healthy relationship are destroyed...but....why can't I find the clarity & certainty that I need to go, that there may still be hope to have a happy healthy relationship & family.
"just round & round in useless, painful circles. I know I should go, all the boundaries ilof a healthy relationship are destroyed." Sounds clear and certain to me, ask yourself what is stopping you?
My feelings go out to those people who know enough is enough,but are paralyzed with fear. This fear of the unknown is holding them back from taking the steps needed to break free from their miserable relationship.
They accept the situation they are in is intolerable, but see no way out.
Last October, after a lot of thought and circumstance of the relationship I was in (separated and estranged from husband but in an intense relationship with another separated man) I took the very difficult but clearly thought out decision of ending the relationship of 8 months. For me it was the 'right' thing to do, I was depressed, felt that I deserved more of a commitment and in some way used and living a lie yet he had enriched my life so much I still loved him. He cried, apologied and turned around and said you're stuck with me in your life whether you like it or not -friends. The pain was as described by many excruciating, tears, I stopped eating, a mutual friend of ours took me under his wing (I'd known him 10years vs the 5yrs I knew mr frog shall we call him). He was very concerned and kept a close eye on me, needless to say he did tell me a few things after the break up and so after about 3 weeks of self pity I then made another decision move on, move up and find yourself. December 1st that's what I did. I reconnected with old and new friends, went to the gym, days out, then all of a sudden mr frog starts contacting me, I ignore him because I was finding myself in a better more comfortable place. More contact, I thought I am ready to reply so I did kept it short and meaningless. I return to work after 5 weeks sick and I find out we are on the same shifts, it was difficult but I stayed strong how? I chose to. More contact, coffee invitations, I declined but said thanks.
Christmas party was my gotten over it realisation, for mr frogs think word got back about how everyone was impressed with my legs. Anyways, I'm told I have a present and whether he could see Christmas Day, not a good idea. Come Christmas Day I'm asked would I come in early so he could speak to me, I did and there he lets the bombshell. Even though I dumped him and ended the relationship he was still in love with me (to be truthful as I were with him) I was taken aback due to thinking all his contact was stalking or harassing me instead he had never wanted to let me go but didn't realise how strongly he felt or the impact I had on his life until I was no longer there. I chose not to make a decision on this. I'm glad because I end up in hospital over new year seriously ill, nearly died of pneumonia. He visited and brought me stuff and told me that he wanted me back and regrets not fighting the hiatus.
During my illness I reflected on the reasons why I ended the relationship and how getting back together would be - the same? Or could it be different? What has changed? What hasn't? I'm happier without him and do not need him but I still wanted him by choice. I took the decision to rekindle and start the relationship afresh why? because he fought for me, no one ever has until now, i wanted to, my attitude had changed because it had to for myself and i accept him with his imperfections, faults and baggage, a man who admittedly is not good at relationships yet gives the relationship and you a second chance and wants it work as do I -wow.
-Fast forward 5 months and we are steady, communicate better and are committed to our happiness as well as the welfare of each other.
Jodi thank you for a thought provoking piece and I hope we all have the courage to do right by ourselves and be strong x
Wow, Kerry, what a story. I do know some people can change and in our hearts we know that and can make a choice like you did! good luck to you both! xo
I've been with my boyfriend for a year now. We live together and my son lives with us. -he is not the father. However he treats him like his own and they share that love. My boyfriend had always had a stubborn attitude, mostly when we argue. He almost never tries to fix things when we are arguing. We usually argue over small issues and he gets so mad it lasts for days. he's distant and won't talk to me until I basically beg for him or kiss his butt to make things better. I do love him so much, and when things are good we are so happy. We have our futures planned together and we are basically a family, but I'm so hurt constantly by his lack of trying. lately he is distant and doesn't show affection unless I make him. I've told him all of this and poured my heart out to him and nothing seems to change. I don't want to give up on him because I do love him and I believe you should never give up on someone you love. but I also don't want to keep hurting each time we argue. my son is only 3 and I don't want him growing up into a broken relationship. I feel like he does truly love me, but lets his anger take over because of his past relationships. We're both pretty much alone in the world. All we have Is each other and my son. which is why I don't understand why he can't change and be good to me all the time. maybe I'm doing something wrong? I have separation anxiety and don't know how to walk away or ask him to leave. I feel like I will go crazy alone. I'm so scared and I don't know what to do. I have no friends or family
to help me through it just God generally. help :(
It's usually just scary until you do it. In the guise of protecting us from what is scary, our fear sometimes keeps us suffering. You won't go crazy alone. I don't know why he is choosing not to change, maybe because he doesn't have to-you are staying and fixing things.
"I don’t want to give up on him because I do love him and I believe you should never give up on someone you love." Why is taking care of yourself giving up on him? You can love someone forever (from a distance) and still wish them well, still believe there is goodness in their heart, forgive them fully AND not be available to the hurt any more. Good luck, my dear, follow your gut.
Lots of love,
I really appreciate reading what everyone has written. It makes me feel less alone. I recently ended a tumultuous relationship. It was filled with broken/empty promises to change behavior and actions that were hurtful and destructive to me and to the relationship. I am not sure if what I experienced was emotional abuse or just a man who has serious communication issues. If I tried to tell him that something upset me or hurt my feelings, I would be shut down or dismissed; ignored; left; or broken up with. Days would pass and suddenly he is begging to get me back and his words are filled with remorse, regret, and apologies. I would feel sorry for him and open my heart again and take him back. After all, he said he did not mean it. This scenario has happened over and over. I am tired of being blindsided by a break up and the frequency has escalated from monthly to weekly. He kept promising to stop. He bought me a ring as proof; he swore on his daughter's life; he started therapy. But he still kept breaking up with me and ignoring me and playing mind games. There are many good qualities that I truly enjoy about him but his behavior is too painful and disrespectful for me. I finally ended things. I am questioning if I did the right thing. Did I give him enough of a chance to change? Was I compassionate enough with whatever his issues are that cause him to act like this? Can he ever change? I realize how pathetic I sound and I am not proud of that. I also realize that I am responsible for taking him back; I am not trying to be a victim. I just started feeling punished and like I was a doormat or a revolving door for him to come and go as he pleases. Any advice?
I am questioning if I did the right thing. Yes. Did I give him enough of a chance to change? Yes. Was I compassionate enough with whatever his issues are that cause him to act like this? Absolutely. Can he ever change? Only if he choses it, there is nothing you can do. I realize how pathetic I sound and I am not proud of that. Not at all pathetic, just human and loving. I also realize that I am responsible for taking him back; I am not trying to be a victim. I just started feeling punished and like I was a doormat or a revolving door for him to come and go as he pleases. Any advice? Treat yourself like the queen you are and then soon someone will come along and do the same.
I am approaching the three year mark with my boyfriend, and am currently seeing a therapist for depression. I do not feel my relationship meets my needs and I've been told [by peers] that my bf is using me. I have struggled every day for 6 months with leaving or staying, and have walked away briefly a few times. I am then greeted with the "I'm sorry we can work this out" speech, then all is fine for a short time, then the rut comes back. We basically live like roommates, and I promised myself [in lieu of antidepressants] that I would not let his behavior upset me anymore. I am working on making myself happy [or happier] and have somewhat settled into an existence that is tolerable -- but still unhealthy. I stopped investing in "couple maintenance" and we rarely spend time together, outside family functions. What really sucks however, is the game that is played at those functions. Everyone telling us we're so perfect together, and he plays the game all too well. I think it's because his parents are sick and he wants them to be proud that he has a good person in his life. The act gets turned off like a switch right after and I'm back to being a roommate. I also get good behavior just before a function -- especially with his family. They love me dearly, and I truly love them, so I give in. I don't want to be the bad guy and walk away, and I don't want to hurt him, either. Honestly speaking, he does not deserve me in his life and no one will love him like I have. I just keep thinking that neither of us will get what we need with each other.
I'm so sorry Brooke, you know what to do. He'll stay like this forever. It's hard to leave, but you'll feel better very soon, I promise!
I am at the stage on deciding on whether to stay or go. I have been with him for seven years now and he is also a long term cannabis user! This only occurred once we got together though him meeting new people. I cannot stand the stuff and all the lies and betrayl I get from him because of it. He often promises he will change but only ever does for a week or two at most. I don't trust him with money and I'm constantly paranoid incase he's going behind my back or lying to me. We have often spoke about this but he's not very understanding of my feelings or of the fact of how unhappy this is making me. I have already left twice because of this and have threatened to again but it does not stop him. In general other than this we get on ok. Can anyone help me?
What do you need help with Vicky? Figuring out how to leave? It seems clear you know what to do. We often need lots of support of a community to help us do this. xo
Great article. I have been in a very tumultuous relationship for 4 years with a guy who has serious trouble expressing his love. He grew up in a house without a father, and a mother who became a workaholic in order to support the family. He has always held me at arms length, until I threaten to leave. Then all the walls come down and I fall in love with him all over again. I see a side that I believe will become more prevalent in our relationship, but things always end up back to cold, shut off, unaffectionate, neglectful after a few months. He never suggests we take the next step - it's always me prodding and pushing to move in/ have the talk about marriage, kids etc. I never even hear "i love you" unless I say it first.
This has taken a serious toll on me emotionally, but I have always told myself that I don't need a man to validate me, so i've condoned the neglect the whole time. Whenever we have our deep talks about our relationship, breaking up is always an option, but for some reason we figure out ways that we are going to work on it and make it better - well it's still the same old stuff. He says he can't say he sees a future with me because we haven't been consistently happy enough for him to picture the rest of his life with someone who considers leaving every two months.
I am more interested in sex than he, which he justifies as "being in a long term relationship, the sex dies off a bit" or that "he's 35 and not 25 anymore". His drive in life is quite minimal, and mine is pretty well through the roof, which I fear will cause a greater imbalance down the road if I stay.
Perhaps I will read this back over and feel insane for still questioning things, but I love him. I have anxiety when I think about leaving. I have left, and always go back because he appears to be the man I have always wanted in these situations.
Meagan, It seems like you know what to do. Anxiety is holding you back, love is an excuse. We love tons of people we aren't good life partners with. These things will only get worse. Best to you! xo
I also would like to thank you for this post. I don't know what to do. I have been with my fiancee for almost seven years and I am becoming exhausted and tired of making it work. I am not a saint and I realize that I don't prioritize or relationship as much as he needs (although he has NO friends outside of our relationship and I feel so smothered) and he gets very frustrated with some of my basic behaviors (hygiene, driving, eating habits, short term memory issues). Since we became engaged (which I basically proposed to him, he doesn't believe in marriage) he has become increasingly more incessant that I change every little thing that he has a problem with. I feel like this is very one sided. He has serious anger issues, that while he isn't physically abusive it does cross the verbal line. For a while it seemed he was working on things, but after many years it seems we have the same old arguments! He hates all of my friends, family and thinks the things I like are stupid. He claims to love me, but I don't understand it.
All these things are things that he will sometimes acknowledge are issues and we will agree to work on them and say the right things and try and compromise. I am just not seeing the results on his side. Last night I told him my sister was pregnant and he went into a rage about how people shouldn't have kids and how society is going to hell and that is my kid I want because he won't bring another innocent life into this world. I was not surprised, but I realized that this engagement and our timeline to have kids is all my doing. He doesn't want it, but we are determined to make things work. I'm not sure I am willing to bring a child into a relationship that as I right this can tell isn't healthy.
On the other hand I feel like these are normal problems and issues that every longterm relationship has and that I need to open communication and work things out. This is what I loved about your article, trying to differenciate between when to tough it out and when to throw in the towel and that there isn't SHAME in doing so.
With all this rolling through my mind I feel like I can't involve him in the decision to end things. I don't know how to bring it up and the consequences will be staggering, but I feel like I have made up my mind. I don't think I have the guts to do anything though. This man made me give up my cat of 11 years because he hated him. (my cat was scared of him, which made my fiancee angry).
Sorry to ramble this is all very fresh and the beginning of the thinking process. I want to treat this relationship with respect and not make a rash decision.
These are not normal problems in long term relationships. Read this and be witness to your own words. you already know what you have to do... Good luck!
I've been with my boyfriend for 6 years now.He has had massive debts from a difficult time in his life before he met me and he spent years whilst we were together paying them off and he has many regrets. He still has a lot to pay off. Over the last few years I've tried talking to him about the future and what I want and whether he wants the same. I was faced with an angry brick wall and it's been difficult! He has felt he can't afford marriage etc and so just cut off from thinking about the future and cut himself off from me. He lives in the moment. He loves me very much but I've got to the point now I'm not sure I love him like I used to after all the emotional hurt I've been through. He recently starting talking to me about the future after I was saying that I might have to leave but I'm worried it's too late! I need to decide what to do very soon because I've agreed to pay off his debt and help us move forward in our relationship which is all I've ever wanted to do. I feel i will break him if i leave, he doesn't have a strong bond with his family and has little friends. I hope time will tell and give me strength to know what to do! I'm scared deep down I know.
Thankyou for your blog post, it's been helpful to read! x
Don't stay with someone bc you might break them. Don't prevent him from having an experience he needs to have. I'm sure you didnt tell us the whole story of his emotional baggage. Talk to some girlfriends, get some feedback. Not always, but lots of times, a good friend will reflect back to you what you aleady know and this will be an affirmation. Good luck!
Well my story starts like this. I thought I met the most wonderful man one day on my way to work. We would see each other everyday for about 2wksthe and then we exchanged numbers. We dated for about 2 1/2 months and things moved very fast. All of the above happened in this relationship 6 breakups, long heart to heart talks and he even mentioned me one day being his wife. But something never quite seem right or honest with him. We told each other we loved each, but I just didn't believe him. He would not act the words he talked. Although he was a very affectionate man, he just appeared to be a liar. And always accused me of seeing other men, which was not true. I spent everyday with him and devote most of my time to this relationship.
Well a few days ago I decided to breakup for the last time. It hurts because I thought I loved him. But I guess not enough to stay though the emotional abuse. Im confused, hurt, I want to call him. Because I did the childest thing he hung up on me and I broke the relationship off in a text. I know not a good move but I was hurt by his actions.
I know I will be fine but it scary being alone again!
You will be fine. You will find peace in the freedom from his insecurities! Good for you! Get involved in something fun!
Thank you for your post - it's the most helpful I have come across in some time.
I am struggling with the decision to end my year long relationship - our anniversary is actually today, and it has made me particularly reflective.
He has generalized anxiety disorder - which I knew from the outset. He has been in therapy for over 20 years and did a successful run of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy several years ago. He seemed quite well adjusted when I met him. He fell in love with me extremely quickly, and I followed suit soon after. A series of unfortunate events occurred for him soon after our relationship blossomed though - he lost his high profile job, his best friend died suddenly, he was displaced to another country for a job (being displaced is what causes most of his anxiety) for 6 weeks, and soonafter I was displaced for 6 weeks (which made things even worse). Then we moved in together, which I'm realizing was a big mistake.
Every time another stressful event occurred, and he acted out (constant panic attacks, social isolation, suicidal talk), it was clear his problem was in no way solved, but I reasoned that what he was going through was just because of current events, and things would get better. Well, it's been 4 months now without a 'bad' incident, and he only seems to get worse. I try to be fully supportive and help him through his depression and anxiety, but I am exhausted. I am a very strong, stable person, and I know that's a big reason why he fell for me, but I'm exhausted and annoyed with him. But I'm wracked with guilt when I think of leaving him.
Since he's so anxious, he is sensitive and senses me pulling away emotionally. In those moments he reverts to a child like state and says things like, 'You hate me' and 'Don't leave me. I can't live without you.' I can't respond to these things with mature conversation. Soothing and reassuring him are the only things that calm him. He also constantly 'jokes' about wanting to die and says he has suicidal thoughts all the time. When I said I found that disturbing he countered that his therapist (he has been seeing the same one for 20 years...which makes me think that he's just an enabler at this point) says that it's 'normal'.
I'm pretty sure I know that I have to end this for both of our sakes - I'm striving to continue to live my busy and social life, while he mostly stays at home isolating himself from everything. I'm constantly biting my tongue and swallowing my annoyance and disappointment in him, but he's a skilled manipulator (arguments with him always leave me in tears because he just emotionally attacks until I break) and I'm finding it really really hard to get to a strong enough place to tell it like it is, whether it destroys him or not.
The thought of me leaving him while he's in such a bad state makes me feel awful...I know it will take years for him to get over some of the things he's been through...but I guess it's not fair to merely stay with somebody out of guilt.
I anticipate that leaving him might be the hardest thing i will ever do. I hope I find the strength to do it soon.
It's normal to want to escape bad feelings when they come, but not joke about or think about suicide constantly. Think about it this way... He may need to be desparate enough to take the steps he needs to heal. Your break up may be the catalyst he needs.
I could probably write a book..I don't know what to do . This is my 2nd marriage n aslo his I have 2 kids from my first marriage n 1 with my husband now. We have had problems from the beginning. He is a awesome man a great provider our sexual life is good when we are not at each other heads. My husband works with computers networking so he knows every little thing there is .. I have never cheated disrespect him in any way to hurt him. Maybe not give him much attention but how can I . I only work part time but as the woman with all boys cleaning cooking washing food shopping organization is all me. He comes home n bam on couch n the laptop or phone or tv do not leave his site. It is very hard to deal with . We argue now n then . It used to get bad not physical but broken things n verbal abuse to me is normal I don't even listen anymore I block it out . Well in my gut I felt he was cheating never had evidence but week ago found porn being sent tohis friends from his email n in spam and trash alot of stuff but not open to what I saw. I am so lost n hurt. Things are so different . Yes I'm scared he is the provider. . I would have to go to my moms and at 40 that's a hard choice. We have a house which was mine when we met I lived here 6 years with 2 children n was doing ok. I opened my heart again after 5 years of si gle life . Now I get I can get out leave so on. I can not afford this. I did leave twice n both times talk me in coming back. I know he loves me but there is so much confusing hurt sadness does this ever stop. I do not trust him. He has went to talk to someonen they did put him on meds. But this was about the time with the sites n stuff. Also we have account together which I have no mac card do not know what goes in n out but my names are on the checks .this seems so messed up ! What do I do ~