Do you need to let go of a bad relationship? Let these readers' questions to our Ask the Dating Coach help you break free.
Let Go of Bad Relationship Today
I've been in a relationship with my boyfriend for about 9 months and 2 weeks. He has changed so much since I first met him. He used to call me all the time and was so sweet to me -- like I was the only thing in his life. It's so frustrating because he's very handsome. He says I'm too pretty for him because most of his old girlfriends are very ugly. I have to beg him to try this relationship. It seems like he doesn't care anymore; he can do anything and get away with it because I always stay with him or I come back to him. Recently I found out that he was cheating on me for 2 months. I was really hurt but I actually knew ahead of time. We hardly talk anymore as he hates talking on the phone. He also blames me for him cheating on me????? When we do talk we fight or he plays mind games with me. I love him so much. Recently he criticizes me and calls me a cry baby. He gives me hardly any attention anymore -- all he wants to do is have sex. It seems like that is all he wants from me. I don't know what to do? I really feel stupid. I thought he had changed because after I moved out he said if I came back things would be the like it was before but it is not. Can you please give me some advice? What can I do? or What can he do?
When you first started dating your boyfriend he was sweet, made time for you and paid attention to you. This is because the relationship was new and exciting. It is also because your boyfriend was very interested in you, so he made time to be with you, to call you and to take you out. At some point his feeling for you changed and so did the way he treats you. Now, he shows little regard for your feelings; he has cheated on you and probably still is cheating. He says mean and hateful things to you and mostly sees you when he wants sex.
Worse than the way he treats you is the way you let him. You beg him to be in a relationship with you. You give him sex after he ignores you, hurts your feelings, and cheats on you so that he can be with another woman. Throughout his cruel treatment, you forgive him. It seems the meaner he gets, the more tolerance you seem to have for being treated so terribly. The relationship has moved from being one of respect for equals to a relationship of power and submission. I believe you have confused feelings of love for feelings of desperation.
The longing, insecurity and emptiness you feel when he is not with you, blames you or 'plays mind games' with you are all emotions stemming from thoughts of being abandoned. Feelings of abandonment are often rooted in fear. Fear is a very powerful emotion. It triggers behaviors like you are demonstrating in your relationship with your boyfriend. This strong emotional tug of the heart and psyche is how women find themselves in a cycle or pattern of choosing partners who treat them so mean, are abusive or controlling.
Breaking this cycle begins with changing your pattern of responses. This means you have to stop begging your boyfriend to be in a relationship with you. You have to stop seeing him only for the purpose of having sex. You have to believe in yourself enough to say to your boyfriend it is not OK to call you names or blame you for his behaviors. This approach to your relationship may not be easy for you. If this is the case, I would recommend you speak with a therapist, clergy or professional who specializes in domestic violence issues.
You and your current boyfriend are locked in a way of interacting with one another, similar to a dance, in which one person leads and the other follows. To change this negative relationship means you'll need to change the dance step. This may include letting go of the current relationship in order for you to experience a healthy and loving relationship.
Letting Go of the Past
I have recently left an abusive relationship. I feel that I am not completely over this individual. I was in love with him...the good qualities he did offer. He has been dating someone new and I have already been approached by her (we all live in the same small town) with questions about him and what happened between us (i.e. the abuse, orders of protection, etc). It is hard enough having to see him nearly everyday, but he goes out of his way to be where I am or at least make sure that I see him and that he's nearby! Wherever I am in town, he finds me where I am at usually three or four times if not more. What's disturbing, is his new girlfriend is now in the car with him while he's doing this? I don't purposely seek them out or show up at bars/restaurants where they are, I would and do go elsewhere. I can't help but wonder what she's thinking or how this behavior must make her feel. He's probably controlling anf abusing her just like he did me. Any thought or words of advice would be greatly appreciated please. Thank you!-- Contributed by: Jeana
Given that you and your ex were dating for a while, live in a small town and that you are not completely over him, I'd say that it is no coincidence that you and he keep running into each other. You both know the social spots the two of you used to frequent both when you were singles and as a couple. There is a saying, leopards don't change their spots, meaning that if either one of you wanted to be seen by your ex, all you'd have to do is go to any one of these social places. So while you say that you are not 'purposely' seeking him out, your behavior says otherwise. If you truly don't want to run into your ex, then find new places to hang out. This may mean that you hang out in a different town.
As for why his current girlfriend is asking you questions about your ex, I am guessing that either he has told her you aren't over him (which is correct) or he is trying to make her jealous by using you. Either way, you are the one who comes across as the one pursuing him.
I think you spend a lot of time thinking about your ex and his current girlfriend, too much time in fact. Breaking up is hard enough; it is even harder when you are still holding on to parts of the old relationship. You can't move forward and date someone fantastic until you let go of the past. Moreover, no guy is going to want to date you if you are still holding a flame for your ex.
Wake Up and Give Yourself Some Respect
I have currently been with my boyfriend for 3 yrs now. I'm 20 and he's 23. Kind-of early in our relationship he's gave me 3 STDs (at the same time) and this was after I've taken care of him for 6 months while he was incarcerated. I only seem to see him late at night and most times, we just have sex then. We don't go out, he doesn't open up to me and have a meaningful conversation about really anything! And when I try to tell him how I feel he gets mad and basically thinks I'm nagging. I've had a mini stroke he wasn't very comforting at all. He wasn't there for me, he didn't try to take care of me financially, which is what I needed because I was out of the job for a while. I don't think he understands the basic concept of a relationship. He doesn't even spend time with me on special days like Valentine's or my birthday. This year on my birthday, he didn't even call until 3 days later. We have broken up several times (my doing) and I go back thinking and believing what he tells me ( he loves me, he's been hurt before). He uses his past 8 year relationship with the mother of his child as an excuse of why its so hard for him to open up, really trust me, and show some affection, claiming that she's hurt him so badly. So I guess you can say that's the same excuse I use for myself to stay in this. Please help me and talk to me as you would your daughter... please tell me what to do...-- Contributed by: wut to do???
Dear Wut to do,
Most children don't want to hear their parent's advice. Therefore, they rebel against their parents. I am not going to talk with you as if you were my daughter, because the chances are great that for every argument I make against your relationship, you will have a response that is in support of this guy. Likewise, if I argue in his favor, you will respond with arguments against him. I am in a no-win situation.
My suggestion is that you be the parent and talk with the child inside of you. What would you tell your child to do with a man her gives her STDs, only uses her for booty calls, and doesn't help or support her when she needs it most? Would you tell her to suck it up and take it? Or, would you tell her, she is beautiful both inside and out and she deserves to be loved and treated with respect? Would you tell her that when a man truly, deeply loves a woman, he would move mountains to be with her? Would you tell her that he is feeding her excuses for his poor behavior? Would you tell her that until she is willing to let go of this selfish man, a decent man will not enter her life. Would you tell her that as hard as it will be to tell this man good-bye, it would be much harder to continue to stay in a relationship and be treated so poorly? I can tell you if I were talking to my child, who I love and believe in; this is what I would tell her.