Home > Abusive relationships, Marriage, relationships > 12 Signs You Should Break Up With Your Girlfriend or Boyfriend or Spouse

12 Signs You Should Break Up With Your Girlfriend or Boyfriend or Spouse

Breaking up is never easy (especially if it’s not your decision), but oftentimes it is necessary. Perhaps it’s a matter of growing apart or falling out of love. Perhaps one or both of you just aren’t into each other anymore. In extreme cases, perhaps the relationship has become emotionally and/or physically abusive, alternating between cold, sullen resentment and overt hostility.

People stay in unsatisfying and/or toxic relationships for a variety of reasons: fear of being alone, fear of change, the comfort of forked-heartthe familiar vs. the fear of the unknown, financial reasons, children, religious beliefs, etc. We tell ourselves it’s not that bad or things will get better as a reason (i.e., excuse) not to make a difficult, but positive change. Unhappiness in your primary relationship affects every area of your life—physical and mental health, career and other relationships.

Below are some strong signs that it’s time to end your current relationship:

1.    If you’ve been hurt physically.
Ignore excuses and apologies; if violence has surfaced, it will surface again. Get out at the very first strike. This goes for men, too. If your partner, pushes, kicks, shoves or slaps you and/or throw things at you; GET OUT. Physical violence isn’t acceptable from either sex.

2.    When you’re totally incompatible.
If your partner’s dream is to travel the road as a wandering musician and you’re a city person with ambitions, one or both of you will probably be unhappy if you stay together. Relationships have a better chance at being successful with people whom we share similar values and goals.

3.    When he or she isn’t even close to your fantasy.
You may be tempted to stay with someone just because they’re available and willing, but this is generally a bad idea. There should be some chemistry in order to have a successful future.

4.    When he or she just can’t say I love you.
Even if there’s chemistry, if someone can’t express their love for you with affectionate gestures, nurturing, and the words “I love you,” you’ll never really feel satisfied with them.

5.    When he or she just isn’t there for you.
If you’ve been together a while and can’t count on him or her to come get you if your car breaks down, or to attend family or work events, then you don’t have a solid relationship.

6.    When you’re afraid to express yourself.
Being in love should bring out the best in you. It should help you to be less self-conscious and make you more open and alive. If you feel like you’re walking on eggshells all the time because your partner is emotionally volatile and verbally abusive, it’s probably a sign that this is not the right relationship for you.

7.    When your self-esteem is suffering.
If your relationship is demeaning, makes you feel bad about yourself, leaves you feeling like you’re not heard, and you’re getting more criticism than praise, then it’s time to end it. A good relationship makes you feel respected and loved, worthwhile and good about yourself.

8.    When he or she is a philanderer.
Serial philanderers usually have a pattern of behavior. If you discover your mate has that kind of history, don’t believe “never again.” The heartache and torment will never end.

9.    When he or she commits an unforgivable act.
There are single acts so horrid that they should mean the END. If he or she sleeps with your best friend, is disrespectful to your family, consistently criticizes and undermines you, stands you up at the altar, or commits murder, end the relationship with no second chances.

10.    When the same problems recur again and again.
Loving someone doesn’t always guarantee you can spend the rest of your lives together. If you’ve broken up and reunited and you’re still having the same fights, the same problems or different versions of the same problem, especially if you’ve tried relationship counseling, it’s probably best to end the relationship. Saying, “things will be better” and actually making things better by changing attitudes and behaviors aren’t the same thing. The former is lip service and mollification; the latter is growth.

11.    When he or she says, “I need some space.”
The relationship seems to have stalled and your partner says something like, “I want time,” or “I want space,” or “I think we should see other people,” or “I need to devote myself to my career.” Almost always, what he or she means is “I want out.” These things happen, don’t drag it out. You might say, “Sounds like you want to break up. I’m sorry you feel that way, but I understand. I hope we can remain friends.”

12.    When the relationship just doesn’t progress.
Relationships have a natural progression. If you’re not progressing and you can’t pinpoint the cause, you might want to try couple’s counseling. However, if he or she won’t go, or goes but doesn’t think there’s a problem or can’t see his or her role in the problem, and/or uses counseling to blame and trash you while exonerating him- or herself, the relationship is coming to an end.

by Dr Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Private Consultation and Coaching

I provide confidential, fee-for-service, consultation/coaching services to help both men and women work through their relationship issues via telephone and/or Skype chat. My practice combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit Services and Products for professional inquiries.


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Forked Heart by Barsho on flickr.

  1. Christy
    December 10, 2010 at 9:10 am

    Hi, I sort of stumbled upon this blog and hope you don’t mind if I add to the discussion.

    Jeff, I think you should leave the relationship. Right now, it looks like you have become her punching bag for her problems. :(

    I understand that you love her very much and breaking up is hard but if she does indeed resents you for losing her kids, things will definitely not improve. And in my opinion, resentment breeds hatred.

    I think it is better for both of you to go separate ways for good because both of you are just repeating the same cycle of mood swings-happy then angry, you trying to smooth things over, her traumas, and her leaving and then going back.

    It appears to me that you might be in a symbiotic relationship that is extremely unhealthy (http://www.relationships-explained.com/pages/Symbiosis.html).

  2. jeff
    December 8, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    Dr. Tara….thank you so much for getting back to me. It is much appreciated.

    You ask a question about custody which I feel I should respond to. No, I never saw the documents via the case. I know that it is rare for a woman to not get custody of her children. He ex told her he would not destroy her relationship with her kids as long as she never found someone else. When she started seeing me (and he has a new wife as well)…he went ballistic. He filed flase charges that I had touched his kids. The case was instantly dismissed by the social workers involved…but it affected me deeply. At that point, she decided she and her children should not see one another until the children themselves want that. She explained this to them. They want no contact with her. He himself has a long record via his miltary time and was discharged against his will with a personality disorder. I have seen first hand how much of a psychopath he is. This is not to simply defend her, but she ran into a situation where the courts simply pulled back (siteing that his discharge could not be mentioned in court as it was in the past ect)…
    But I will read the things you suggest. I feel very lost…I love her…and she goes day to day loving me and hating me. Blaming me for pretty much everything. My feeling is that deep down, perhaps she blames me for losing her children as being with me is what drove her insane ex to do what he did. That, if true, is something I cannot beat. She says it has nothing to do with her now…that she is over her children ect ect…tho I will say that when she tried to commit suicide, she told those in the ambulance that she wanted to die because she was a dead mother in her childrens’ minds…I should know better…I have a PhD and did my doctorate on Freud…but then again, via this situation I can’t see the forest from the proverbial trees…thank you for the response…

  3. jeff
    December 8, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    I would like some advice from the good folks here and I am happy I stumbled across it. My live in girlfriend of three years is constantly pulling what I call the “Nuclear” option. She has left many times only to come back. I care about her a great deal but feel like I am in a dark room while someone is swinging something…just waiting for the next trauma to come out of the blue. She also has the deepest anger problem of anyone I have ever met or been close to. During a fight she will say absolutely anything. There are no limits verbally.

    A few details about her. She lost her two children in a vicious custody battle 4 years ago. To be honest, it really was nothing she did…her ex husband came up with everything in the book including false charges, brainwashing the children. She has no contact whatsoever with her children. So I have always felt for her about this as it is a terrible thing. She has also told me that she feels her ex did this to her because she knows deep down was became a total bitch to him…hating him the last few years of the marraige and showing him that daily but was unable to leave because of the children. I now worry that she is doing the same things to me…hating me but unable to go.
    Last xmas, she tried to commit suicide and spent a few weeks in the hospital. She took their advice and got on meds, saw a therapist ect…but within a few months, quit the meds and stopped seeing the therapist, saying she is fine.

    My problem is that I can barely seem to recover from one trauma to the next. I feel she is bipolar as she loses her temper in a extreme way over the slightest of things. We can spend a wonderful sunday together watching football together (she is a big fan as well as me) and at the end of the day she can find a glass in the cabinet that isnt as clean as she thinks it should be and she will lose it. Then go inside herself after the outburst and act cold. I then find myself tryin gto get back on her goodside, wanting to get along. It is just a small example but I tell it to represent how the smallest of things can come out of the blue.
    Not sure where I am going with all of this but I have read many folks on here with good advice and wanted to see what folks, maybe including Dr. Tara as well, might have to say…thanks for reading

    • shrink4men
      December 8, 2010 at 3:12 pm

      Hi Jeff,

      Given the behaviors you describe, I recommend a healthy dose of skepticism re: the stories she’s telling you about her ex. Seems like a typical smear campaign that portrays her as the victim in need of rescue. Maybe her husband did these things. On the other hand, it is extremely rare that a husband receives full custody. When it occurs, it’s typically because there’s overwhelming evidence that the mother is unfit. Also, is there a court order not allowing her to see her children or is she refusing to see them because she’s angry that her ex received custody?

      Last xmas, she tried to commit suicide and spent a few weeks in the hospital. She took their advice and got on meds, saw a therapist ect…but within a few months, quit the meds and stopped seeing the therapist, saying she is fine. This is alarming. Furthermore, if she has a history of this kind of behavior, it probably has something to do with why she doesn’t have custody. I recommend you read some of the articles on this site and the new site, http://www.shrink4men.com. Borderline Personality Disorder is often mistaken for Bipolar. I can’t diagnose someone I’ve never met. However, you live with this woman and have observed her firsthand. You can’t diagnose her either, but I’d start reading about BPD (borderline) and see if anything seems familiar to you.

      You’re absolutely correct that you’re being traumatized by your girlfriend’s behavior. It’s not healthy for anyone to expose themselves to those kinds of angry outbursts and abuse. Would you tolerate this kind of behavior from someone else?

      My live in girlfriend of three years is constantly pulling what I call the “Nuclear” option. She has left many times only to come back. I care about her a great deal but feel like I am in a dark room while someone is swinging something…just waiting for the next trauma to come out of the blue. She also has the deepest anger problem of anyone I have ever met or been close to. During a fight she will say absolutely anything. There are no limits verbally.

      This is abuse. Maybe next time she leaves, you don’t let her come back.

      Dr Tara

  4. Dumbass
    October 5, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    I feel like I am in a never ending fight with my girlfriend. She is a total control freak. We have been living together for 1 1/2 years (almost) and it seems everything I do is wrong. She has a daughter and I treat her as my own but I feel like she expects me to be there for every thing when her real father is no where to be found. Never a thanks or anything for anything I do. Its like I owe her or something. Then she is always messing with me at my job starting fights and long e-mails for telling me we have this problem and that problem and our lives are not in order. I dont feel like that at all. I work pay bills we go on vacations kids in piano and softball ect… I feel we have a nice home and good lives but I am starting to realize it will never be enough. She never cooks (I do) if she does its the same old thing. The house is a mess and she is home 2hrs before me from work but nothing is picked up so I end up cooking doing dishes ect… But she complains still to me if I lay down because I am tired ( are you going to bed already?) Everything is so cold and I love her daughter and the life we could have but I am starting to feel like her demands are not realistic for our situation. Demands are: wants our money together ( I make more). Wants to be able to e-mail me about anything and everything at work. Tells me I cant watch porn or see my friends that are girls that I have known all my life. Its just complain complain complain… I am exausted and have ran out of tears. I am sick of the yelling the fights the lack of respect and most of all the lack of love. I have really let myself down and I truly feel mad at ME for letting my life turn into this blunder! HELP!!!!!!!

    • TheGirlInside
      October 5, 2010 at 11:55 pm


      I don’t see in your posts anything that says your girlfriends are handicapped or incapable of working full time. What is keeping you from dumping her? Many people have been dumped for FAR less.

      You’re not married; do you have children together? So what’s the tie that binds you to these women who either don’t or can’t love you the way you (anyone) deserves? What are you waiting for?

  5. guy
    August 24, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    I believe me and my wife have one of the most complicated relationships i’ve come across. We’ve only been married for a year and i always hear the first year is the hardest but it sometimes doesnt seem like were progressing. She lies a lot and i ask her to stop and she doesnt she pretends shes not even lying and she makes up so many reasons if she ends up getting caught red hand with them dripping red. I have never HIT her when she goes into these little rage modes she has i try to stop her from breaking things or throwing things by hold her saying stop. we both yell when we fight and neither are nice all though ive been trying harder not to say hurtful things during the fight but its hard when she lies right to my face and when she just avoids everything she cant talk about anything and i feel like a woman even havent to ask her to talk about something thought it was supposed to be the other way around no offense to any women out there. She can be nice too and make days special but she cant really be nice more than 2 days in a row. we both work hard at our jobs and she always argues how she works harder so she shouldnt have to do anything and shes a fastfood cook ive worked fast food my self and she just keeps finding things to fight about. it takes 2 to fight obviously and ive even tried to say look im not going to argue and she just pitches a fit and goes to sleep like she always does. a lot of people tell me it could be a chemical imbalance in her head and that some times things dont work right up there, but even if thats true after all this time of being with her i have no idea how to handle it and i cant fix it.

  6. Kaye
    August 11, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    Hey, we have only been together for 20 months. But i feel like i really love him a lot and i know that i can’t possibly be happy if i end our relationship. The situation is that, recently, for the past two months, what is defined in number 10, 11 and 12 has been happening to us. I don’t know what to do. I just cry at night to let my feelings out, because i feel like he doesn’t care anymore.

    • guy
      August 24, 2010 at 5:49 pm

      Why do you feel he doesn’t care for you anymore? What do you mean by 10, 11, and 12 has been happening to you. If he makes you the happiest person in the world and you feel you want to spend the rest of your life with him, then you love him but if he doesnt even make you happy or cant say he loves you or even act like he loves you if you 2 fight everyday and argue nonstop then maybe your not the happiest couple in the world and need to work on some things if it doesnt help then you might not be right for eachother just because you love him and THNK you cant do without him doesnt make it true id say probably 50 percent of people in relationships have those feeling at 1 point or another, ive felt that for 2 women 1 in which i am no longer seeing and 1 in which im currently in my first marriage and HOPEFULLY my last with. try to think everything over and see if everything is the same and if your relationship is how you want it to be. Of course im by far no therapist just speaking from my little bit of personal interactions trying to help out let me know how things went go if youd like.

  7. July 10, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    I meant “calling it a marriage doesn’t make it one.”

    Just like, calling an elephant a poodle doesn’t make it one.
    Dressing it up, putting ribbons in the elephant’s ears and tail, calling it “Fifi” and feeding it dog food, does NOT make it a poodle.

    Okay, I’ll stop now. :)

  8. July 10, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    Old Guy :I had time to reflect and seriously thought about just calling the whole thing off because I’d already had numerous red flags pop up.

    Please – men (and women): Read over Old Guy’s words very carefully before making this huge decison. I wanted to get on my friend’s case for (sensitive information about his past) letting his AW get away with her Sh** by essentially rewarding her…but, then realized…oh yeah, I did the same thing. Wrote a letter (chickenly) to my first ex, breaking up with him…couldn’t bring myself to give it to him…ended up marrying him. He dumped me 4 months into it, to be with his married GF. It was a nightmare. He dragged my name all over the place…Just THIS YEAR, I heard some crazy rumor about that i was ‘tough’ on him…WTF?!?!?

    Then, the second ex; I also wanted to break up with him…and tried to, passively…but couldn’t muster up the courage (I was still living with the lies of my upbringing at that time). So, I (drum-roll, please) married him. It went from bad to worse, and spend 8 years living with someone ‘just like’ my NPD mother.

    I have two children, one from each ‘marriage.’ It’s not something I like to advertise, as it makes me seem like a real loser.

    Please, please PLEASE listen to your body and YOUR OWN SELF before taking on marriage, especially with someone who ‘only’ gets ‘crazy’ or hits you ‘once in a while.’ If you EVER say, “I deserved it…I wasn’t where I was supposed to be, or answer the phone quickly enough, or respond to the text soon enough…” stop and think very carefully.

    Someone ‘pretending’ to be Martin (trying to remember page 1 post) said that this is an anti-marriage site. I contend that it is a pro-ACTUAL marriage site, but an anti-FAKE marriage. In other words, if you are getting married for reasons like guilt, obligation, confusion, fear, lust…and especially if you marry someone who turns out to be completely different behind closed doors than who they ‘advertised’ themselves to be, it’s not really a marriage. Just because two people make promises in church, doesn’t make them married in God’s eyes. We make all sorts of promises that are not necessarily God-driven. Calling it a marriage doesn’t make it on.

    I could go on and on…but will stop here (today!;D)

    • July 11, 2010 at 1:29 pm

      I have two children, one from each ‘marriage.’ It’s not something I like to advertise, as it makes me seem like a real loser.

      I don’t see you as being a “real loser”.

      At any rate, given that most of us have spent years living with crazy people, I don’t see where we’d be in any position to pin the “loser” label on anyone else.

      Not that I think any of us are losers.

      I think your advice and comments about marriage hit the nail on the head.

      One of the things that tripped me up with my wife was the “savior” complex I have since realized I seem to had at the time.

      I never saw my wife as being in any way a potential love interest when we first met.

      However, I enjoyed talking to her.

      I’d never heard of “love bombing” … if it even existed … at the time or personality disorders.

      In retrospect, I realize I was “love bombed”.

      Anyway, my wife and I began spending more and more time together and my feeling that we were emotionally in-sync and enjoyment spending time with her grew as time went on.

      During that time, I heard a great deal about her unfortunate childhood and family circumstances, which created great empathy in me for her.

      I saw many good qualities in her and she often discussed her hopes, ambitions, etc., and her desire for a better life than what she’d had.

      Maybe she actually believed the stuff she told me … some of which she’s still saying today … and maybe she didn’t but, I believed her and was really supportive of her stated goals.

      Eventually, I had to acknowledge to myself that I “loved” her. Whether this feeling was “real” or not, or was more an empathetic response, saviour complex, etc., is largely a moot point now.

      Even then though, I was aware she had “issues” and could be “difficult” at times and she was not really the person I’d ever pictured as a wife, so was hesitant to become involved with her beyond the platonic friendship we had.

      The tipping point for me was when the “saviour” stuff really kicked in.

      I believed very strongly in her but, couldn’t see how she’d make it without support from someone who did really believe in her and love her … which of course ended up being me.

      She was, and is, very good at the professional victim and waif roles.

      The “savior” issue was one of the primary factors in my decision to proceed with the marriage however, this time it was directed more towards her children, who I’d grown close to and wanted to see have some sort of chance at a decent life, which I wasn’t sure would be the case if I exited the picture.

      In the end, it was what you call a “fake marriage” because I entered it for the wrong reasons and I don’t believe now that my wife was ever capable of understanding or fulfilling her side of the vows.

      And being honest with myself, I don’t think she would have been interested in marrying me if it were not for her two children.

      On the other hand, if I had walked away, I think I would have had many “what ifs” in the years that followed and had to live with some level of guilt associated with “abandoning” the kids.

      I don’t kick myself over any decision I made in respect of my wife because at the end of the day, I didn’t have the knowledge or experience I need to make what might have been better decision and all of my decisions were made with good intentions.

      The folks in charge of paving the road to hell probably feel very towards me.

      As you more or less point out, most of us easily recognize the mistakes we believe others are making but often not so great at doing the same for ourselves.

      It’s always much easier to identify where someone else has gone wrong in doing something than it is to do it right ourselves.

      These blindspots are nothing to get down on ourselves about … just part of being human.

  9. July 8, 2010 at 12:56 am

    jp :RUN.
    She’s a taker. She doesn’t respect you. She demeans and insults you. What else do you need to know?
    And deep down she probably hates you, but don’t take it too personally…she probably hates all men.
    Tell her “if you loved me you wouldn’t ask for bigger diamond.” Then dump her.

    Ditto. Ignore any and all attempts at reconciliation…if she’s this bad in the “in love” engaged stage of your relationship, imagine how she’ll be after she gets married, bored, with children, tired, stressed…and having to ‘put up with’ all your ‘crazy’ expectations of keeping the house/ her working/ taking care of the chidren/ cooking a meal from time to time (not to mention sex every few months or so–the nerve!)…run, baby, run!

    As my dad would say, “Chalk it up to experience,” cut your losses, and consider it a life lesson learned. It’s not too late.

  10. jp
    July 7, 2010 at 10:08 pm


    She’s a taker. She doesn’t respect you. She demeans and insults you. What else do you need to know?

    And deep down she probably hates you, but don’t take it too personally…she probably hates all men.

    Tell her “if you loved me you wouldn’t ask for bigger diamond.” Then dump her.


    • shrink4men
      July 7, 2010 at 10:40 pm

      Right on!

  11. cj
    July 7, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    I am currently engaged to the girl of my dreams, or that is what i thought. I am not here to bash her, but i am in a pickle of sorts. We have been together for 3 years and engaged for one. We have the date set for 3 months from now… we live togehter and i have always been the one to pay the rend, cable and utilites, she claims that she cannot afford to help out; as of recently she has been saying that she wants a bigger diamond for her ring (one that cost me a pretty penny)and that “if i loved her i would buy a bigger diamond.” I am so confussed to the point where i am wanting to call this engagment off, i have already tried talking to her about that and when i do it is world war III. She is also on me b/c i am the one paying for the wedding and i am supposed to give her $3000 cash to replace some money she used for the wedding. I am not a dumb man, i admit i was lost and still am. She consistantly lets me know that i am stupid and that she does not trust me b/c i am not coming up with this money the day she demands it. I am simply not sure if i should end this relationship b/c of all that occurs… I seriously do whatever i can to make “us” work and i am more then willing to keep us in this relationship, but i feel like all i am doing id just giving and giving, but not receiving anyhting in return. This is my first “true” love or atleast i thought so, i guess i am just looking for advise on what i should do.

    • July 8, 2010 at 1:16 pm

      I agree with other commenters who have advised you to walk away now.

      This might not be easy or pleasant however, you’ll be saving yourself a lot of future grief and it is much easier to leave now than it will be if you marry and perhaps have children.

      Marriage is bound to fail if the partners don’t trust each other. Assuming you gaven’t given your GF a reason to distrust you, my opinion would be that she’s either projecting her own feelings onto you, i.e., she is the one who is actually the untrustworthy one, and/or she is just playing a game to soak more out of you, e.g., manipulating you into trying to prove you’re trustworthy by actions that earn her trust or show you trust her, e.g., buying a car in her name that you pay for, buying a bigger diamond, joint bank account … with her making little or no contribution.

      My own wife did the “I don’t trust you” thing for many years and I got sucked into it most times, even though I hadn’t done anything to abuse her trust and she often did things to abuse mine.

      In my own case, my employment situation gave me a few weeks apart from my soon to be wife prior to our marriage. I had time to reflect and seriously thought about just calling the whole thing off because I’d already had numerous red flags pop up.

      However, I ended up going through with the marriage for a number of reasons, and regretted it for most of the next seventeen or so years.

      If I’d had access to the information on this blog prior to my marriage, I would have walked away then.

      You do have access to this information and can use it to assess your own situation and make the best decision for you … which based on the information you gave in your comment would seem to be to get out now.

      I really hope you don’t make the same mistake I did.

    • Mellaril
      July 8, 2010 at 3:12 pm

      I agree with the other posters and Dr. T. My only addition is that if you walk now you’ll likely take along a lot of “what if?” To save yourself some future angst, I suggest you recommend some heavy pre-marital counselling with some who has experience in Cluster Bs and find the therapist before you bring up the subject. If she agrees and things get better, you’ve saved the relationship. My guess is that she’ll either refuse and go ballistic or she’ll agree and back out or otherwise sabotage the effort. If the latter happena, that should tell you something. I told my exgf if she wanted to get back together, she had to agree to see a marriage counsellor to figure out what was going on. She declined and that spoke volumes. On the other hand, my wife and I were in a marriage counsellor’s office within a year after we were married. 21 years later we still are. The difference is my wife wanted things to work and was willing to do what it took to make it happen.

      Don’t cave in to her.

      • July 8, 2010 at 3:50 pm

        I don’t disagree with your advice, Mellaril.

        The only caution I would make is the GF is likely quite capable of playing the “counselling” game pre-marriage but, things could revert back to what the cj is describing post-marriage and it will be much more difficult to deal with then.

        I did the “what ifs” before I married my wife and these were part of the reason I ended up doing so.

        However at the time, I didn’t have access to the information on this and similar sites.

        In all honesty, I think most of the “what ifs” anyone might have are pretty much answered here in the posts and commenters descriptions of their own experience.

        My opinion is that it just isn’t worth the risk, i.e., maintain the relationship in the hope of a positive outcome.

        There are plenty of people out there who aren’t abusive bullies and/or personality disordered.

        If you can’t connect with one of these, I’d suggest you’re still better off alone than settling for an abusive relationship in the vain hope it will improve.

        Only my opinion though.

        • Mellaril
          July 8, 2010 at 5:02 pm

          I totally agree it’s risky and a positive outcome would be by accident and not design but if you know what you’re dealing with going in you can mitigate the risk. When I made the suggestion to my exgf I already knew the answer, I wanted it validated.

          It’s kind of a litmus test. I based the suggestion on what cj said about her reaction when he talked about calling things off. I think of it as “advance closure.” He’s unlikely to get any from her.

  12. Ashley
    June 17, 2010 at 1:06 am

    My on again off again boyfriend of 4 months smokes weed and will not quit for me. He said he aint changing for no1. He wants to become a cop & is in school for it, but isn’t going to stop smoking until he HAS to to test. I really love him & this is my first real relationship. I find myself being very attached to him, i break up with him but cant stop calling him or trying to be around him. I want to break away from him but can never find the courage to just really stop talking to him. I really love him, he is my first love, but i know my relationship isnt going anywhere. we were going to move in together but i said that wouldnt be a good idea because he smokes too much and likes to be with friends, while i’d rather stay at home and i dont smoke at all. We are both 19 years old. He hangs up on me alot & when he gets mad very disrespctful things come out of his mouth. I just don’t know, the sex is really good though, but other than that im extremely confused! What should i do?

    • Jason
      June 17, 2010 at 5:01 pm

      Walk away.

      You already said “i know my relationship isnt going anywhere”.

      You are 19. Move on.

      Two other points: 1) smokers and non-smokers don’t mix and 2) anyone who wants to be a cop, but doesn’t respect the law, has no integrity.

      It sounds like cliche, but breaking up is hard to do. Really hard. But it will get only harder if you delay.

      My oldest daughter hooked up with a guy at 16 who ended up being verbally, emotionally and physically abusive. I only knew a part of it, but it really bothered me that a girl I’d raised to be independent would keep going back to him. Fortunately, she finally broke free and is now engaged to a charming man and they have a darling little girl.

      One thing to consider–moving far away.

      But please, act on your doubts. I did not and have spent years regretting it.

    • torn and frayed
      June 17, 2010 at 10:02 pm

      ^ lighten up! that’s my advice to you. Who cares if he smokes pot? seriously. That is no reason to break up with him and asking him to stop completely for you is very rude imho. Just chill out. Lots of cops smoke when they are off duty.

      • Jason
        June 18, 2010 at 3:43 pm

        This may be the worse advise ever, especially on this site. One of the repeated points of this site is that people compromised who they were to please the other person (who didn’t return the favor.)

        All relationships require some compromise, but as the signs in this article stress, there is a point where enough is enough.

        To compromise one’s standards for a person who won’t budge an inch is a huge warning sign. Massive in fact. Looking back, I wish I had something so glaringly obvious to at least slow down my relationship with the woman I all too quickly married.

        So, Ashley, read the warning signs, be brutally honest with yourself and run, don’t walk, away. Find someone with whom you are compatible. If you have disagreements like this while at this stage in your relationship, it will only get worse.

  13. janet perez
    June 14, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    i feel like i am going through the same situation maybe i am just naive that there might be a chance that i will work out cause i feel like i still love him you know but sometimes i wonder how i feel if i just break up with him and be a new relashinship cause i am not really happy in the relashinship i am in currently

  14. SadAndAngry
    June 2, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    My wife of 17 years recently threatened to divorce me via email; I didn’t respond exactly the way she wanted me to, so she involved my ten year old daughter to call me and convince me to “fight for her” and to ask if my mother “had gotten to me.” (My wife doesn’t like my mother’s influence (read:support) for me). I live about four hours away for work and come home on weekends, but in order to keep from invalidating my daughter’s attempt at peacemaker, drove home and tried to at least console my wife.

    When I got home, she apologized non-specifically for everything she’s ever done wrong, and asked me to list out what I needed–what I thought was good progress. I sent her the list, but she rebutted everything on the it (my list was a litany of Emotional Abusive behaviors, including threatening suicide and driving my friends away) as my fault because I don’t pay enough attention to her, or denial that she’d ever done those things. I responded with specific instances and reasons, but she refuses to respond because she thinks I’m still “seeing only the worst in her” and “not giving her a chance.”

    Is there any chance she’s going to change? Should I just cut and run?

    • SadAndAngry
      June 2, 2010 at 2:05 pm

      Just thought I’d add that she also accused me of being depressed, and too sensitive.

    • sam
      June 2, 2010 at 4:02 pm

      Sounds like she requested an opportunity to change, you offered that opportunity, and she refused it. Guess that answers your question. Before you CAN change, you have to WANT to change and be willing to see flaws in yourself. Doesn’t seem like she’s close.

      • SadAndAngry
        June 2, 2010 at 7:34 pm

        Sam, you’re exactly right. Now it’s just gathering the strength to move forward. Whew!

  15. Martin
    March 26, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    Dr T Some of these comments, with my name, are not me? I think there must have been a hacker at wotk. #29 is but #32 is not???
    Maybe time to look at the system!

  16. MH
    March 26, 2010 at 9:06 am

    I do the following: Have intense relationships with lots of conflict, and/or breakups. I Have frequent arguments with my boyfriend.Experience ups and downs in my relationship (for example, going from feeling as i’m so in love with my boyfriend to feeling as if i need to get far away from him. I Often feel disappointment or even hatred toward him.

    Should I break up with the poor man? Because I know he will never break up with me. I don’t mean to be so horrible to him. I just get so frustrated with him sometimes and I’ve noticed lately that I seem, to put him down a lot. He doesn’t stand up for himself, which makes me disrespect him and be meaner to try and get a reaction. I also try being being nice and approachable and discuss it with him when I’ve calmed down. I know that he won’t stand up for him self because his scared of me. I don’t mean to be scary but I am and bossy. I need to break up with a man who is scared of me don’t I.

  17. Gina
    March 24, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    I really love my boyfriend, and I’ve told him that, but I feel like he is not as into me as I’m into him. Also, I can’t get over the fact that he was with lots of girls while we were broken up for a year. The problem is, I can’t just walk away- we’re expecting a child and now going to be tied to each other for life. That makes it so much more difficult to come to a decision. Please give me advice.

  18. Melissa
    March 23, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    My boyfriend and I have been together for 2 years, however broke up twice and got back together. The first time we broke up because at a drunken night out he kissed a girl and he knew that he needed to sort out his head because he is not that type of person and would never cheat otherwise. 3 weeks later he begged me to take him back.

    The second time I broke up with him because for the past 2 months I felt he had not been treating me right. He had become more distant and did not want to talk to me as much on the phone and amongst the many things he said was that he felt the spark was gone and that he felt I suffocated him. So i decided that he must not be that into me anymore. This was over christmas, and after 2 weeks he tries to call me (I had been ignoring his calls and texts) and eventually we meet up and he sayd he misses me and that he loves me, but because we had been arguing that much he felt the connection had gone (we had been arguing because I felt like he was so distance to me).

    So far, we have been having it good. However I feel it is because I am trying to “change” the way I think and act. Just last weekened it was BIG night out with the boys and he took away time from studying(at that time he had exams in 2 weeks time) to go out two nights in a row. I was a bit upset because prior to this, he had never taken time out to hang out with him and I felt hurt that he took out time to spend time with his friends. We got over it and I thought that maybe I was being irrational( this is what I mean that I am trying to change the way I act and thing).

    This thursday his exams are going to be over and his year is having a big night out. He mentions that in the evening all his mates (10 of them) are having a birthdaydinner for the girl(who he kissed last year). I tried to sound cheerful however I still feel that sting of pain. However what I become upset about is that he does not invite me to come out afterwards to celebrate with him and his friends.
    I question him about this(I should not have but I could not help it…) and he says that he did not think about it – but that he thought that I would feel excluded since it is his and his friends end of the exams and not mine. Also I ask him to answer me honestly if he wants me to go – which he answers that he feels like he wants to celebrate with his friends.

    So I act all nice and say okay that is fine. But inside I am so hurt…. I dont understand why I cant join in the celebration? Why doesnt he ask me to come later? He texts me later saying that he loves me…but then why doesnt he understand what his actions makes me feel? And how can i mention it AGAIN without him becoming angry, or without him slipping away? I dont want what happened last time we broke up to happen again….

    Please give me advice…. I dont know what to do and I cant tell my friends…not yet :(…. I am 23 and he is 23…

Comment pages
  1. January 9, 2011 at 3:06 am
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