5 Questions to Ask Yourself If You Think Your Partner Is Toxic

5 Questions to Ask Yourself If You Think Your Partner Is Toxic

by Melissa A. Fabello. Originally posted on Everyday Feminism.

I had an intervention once.

Kind of.

It wasn’t like the tearful ones that you see on TV, where a load of loved ones read notes from their pockets begging their person-who-might-have-a-problem to find themselves again.

No, it wasn’t like that at all.

But my mother did get me in a place where I couldn’t easily escape – her car – and, sweetly but sternly, expressed that she had something to say and that I wasn’t going to like it. She told me: “You can’t choose who you love. But you can choose who you’re with.”

I remember seeing her eyes mist while I sat, staring ahead, and just said, “Okay.”

At the time, I was in a toxic relationship.

I was in a relationship with a man who was always unhappy with me. He loved the idea of me much more than he loved my actual self, and he implicitly held me to a standard that I could never attain because it wasn’t reality. He wanted the Melissa that he had painted in his head, not the one standing in front of him.

Although he never caused me direct pain, physically or emotionally, he was constantly disappointed in me – and therefore distant, leaving me in a constant state of desperation.

The night before my intervention, my mother had walked in on me screaming crying on the phone.

Again.

I guess that hearing your twenty-something-year-old daughter crying, night after night, eventually weighs on a mother. So she had to say something.

And I’m glad she did.

Because the truth was, despite it all, I loved him – and that love was not enough.

We need to let go of this notion that it’s harrowingly romantic to work through a relationship that doesn’t feel good, that we should stick with someone who doesn’t serve our higher selves.

And because the emotional connection of love isn’t a binding contract, you can love someone and still let them go.

But how do you know for sure if that’s what you need? How can we tell if our relationship isn’t serving us – if it’s hurting us beyond what’s normal – and if we might be better off alone or in search of someone else?

I can’t quite answer that for you. Mostly, it’s a gut feeling that something isn’t quite right and hasn’t been for a while.

But I can at least offer you some guidance in how to think through it – in how to decide whether or not your partner is one you want to choose to be with.

1. Are They (Implicitly or Explicitly) Trying to Gain Power and Control Over You?

I used to work as a domestic violence prevention educator. I went into schools and community organizations to explain relationship dynamics, and I talked about everything from how to build a healthy relationship to how to improve unhealthy communication to how to spot an abusive partner.

As you can imagine, I got a lot of questions and was privy to a lot of personal stories.

Most of all, and heartbreakingly so, participants frequently asked, after listing out their partner’s behaviors, if I could tell them if they were abusive.

Solemnly, I would tell them, “I can’t answer that for you. But I have two things that I want you to think about to help you work it out for yourself.”

And I would ask them to reflect on two questions: 1) Is it a pattern – something that happens over and over again, over time? And 2) Are they doing it to gain power and control over you?

That is, are they engaging in the actions that they are with the intention of changing your behavior?

Are they accusing you of cheating when you shut your phone off to have dinner with your parents, with the intended outcome being that you always answering when they call?

Are they telling you that they don’t like who you are when you hang out with your best friend and that they’d rather spend more time alone with you, with the intended outcome of your becoming socially dependent on them and them alone?

Are they saying that their jealousy is just a flaw of theirs that you’ll have to learn to love, that they only get jealous because they love you, that their rage is your fault for not being sensitive to that, in hopes that you’ll stop hanging out with your ex?

Because when your partner manages to change your behavior – when you find yourself increasingly changing your usual way of being in order to avoid conflict with your partner – then they gain power and control over you.

And that’s more than toxic. That’s abusive.

Today, I want to talk about unhealthy relationships – relationships that may not necessarily entail abuse, but that are painful and confusing.

I want to talk about toxic relationships – so called because instead of nourishing your growth, as a relationship should, they slowly wither you away like poison in your system.

Because I think that sometimes we get stuck in circles in our minds asking ourselves whether or not a partner is abusive, when really, we should be asking ourselves whether or not they’re healthy for us.

Because relationships with abusive partners are bad – but so are relationships with toxic partners.

Because unhappiness is unhappiness – and you deserve better.

So if you answered “no” to this question, this article is still for you. It’s for exactly you.

And if you answered “yes” and think that you or someone you know might be involved in a relationship with an abusive partner and you’re interested in knowing what your options are, you can call loveisrespect at 1-866-331-9474 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.

2. Is the Relationship Mutually Beneficial?

Quick. Pull up the last cover letter that you wrote to send in with a job application. Trust me, I’m going somewhere useful with this.

Read it through. Tally up how many times you tell your potential employer how their company or organization might benefit you. And then tally up how many times you tell them how you might benefit them.

It should be about equal. Because what you want to prove to them – and take heed of this if you’re on a job hunt – is that the relationship is mutually beneficial.

I read a lot of cover letters when we hire people at Everyday Feminism, and I’ve learned that most people do a lot more of either one or the other – and that’s imbalanced.

Relationships are kind of like that.

Because for any relationship to work – whether romance or employment – there has to be a clear and obvious understanding that you both need one another on some level and that you both will fulfill your duties to bring the other adequate satisfaction.

And in a relationship with a toxic partner, what tends to happen is that you’re bringing your partner a whole lot of satisfaction, but they’re not really bringing it for you in return.

And then the relationship isn’t mutually beneficial anymore. Instead, it’s a relationship where one person gains and the other person loses.

We – especially women – are often taught that being a good person (and, by proxy, a good partner) means making someone else happy.

But rarely are we taught to remember that we, too, should experience happiness in our relationships. And hey. You should. You should experience growth, benefits, and joy in your relationship.

So, like in the cover letter activity, ask yourself: In this relationship, what do you bring to the table? What do you offer to your partner – emotionally, intellectually, sexually, and even financially – that benefits them? And what do they offer you?

And – just like in the cover letter activity – those lists should be pretty evenly spread.

3. Are You Expected to Sacrifice When They Won’t Even Compromise?

When you think of the word “sacrifice,” what comes to mind for you?

For me, it’s goats and blood and stuff, mostly. But it also comes with a general feeling of sadness and defeated resolve.

What about when you think about the word “compromise?”

Because I see people shaking hands and smiling when I think of that word. That’s way different from bloody goats.

The thing is, we often think of these two words as interchangeable. We conflate “sacrifice” and “compromise” a lot in our society, especially when we’re talking about romantic relationships – and we shouldn’t.

Only one of these has a place in our relationships.

When we make a sacrifice, what we’re doing is giving up something that’s meaningful to us in order to allow someone else to have their way. It’s one person getting exactly what they need, while the other gets the exact opposite of what they need. And we already covered “mutually beneficial,” remember?

When we make a compromise, though, we work together with our partner to figure out how to come to a conclusion that minimizes damage and maximizes satisfaction – even if neither party gets exactly what they want.

A sacrifice in a relationship might look like your partner refusing to accompany you to your office party, where you’re being given an award, because they “hate your coworkers.” A compromise would be agreeing to stay only for a couple of hours.

A sacrifice in a relationship might look like your partner expecting you to go vegan because they are. A compromise would be agreeing to use separate pans in which to cook your meals.

Your partner, in general, shouldn’t be asking you to make grand sacrifices.

But if you find that your partner is consistently expecting you to sacrifice your needs, rather than entertaining the idea of a compromise, then they stand to gain a lot more from the relationship that you do.

And that’s toxic.

4. Are You Comfortable Expressing Yourself to Them (And Do They Respect Your Needs)?

Pretty regularly, I open a conversation with my partner with something along the lines of “I just wanted to check in about _____,” where the blank represents some potential misunderstanding or the acknowledgment of one of us doing something hurtful.

What follows is usually a quick back-and-forth about whatever The Thing is, just to make sure we’re at an understanding and have a game plan for how to deal with it going forward.

And then – this is the important part – he ends the conversation by thanking me and reminding me that I can always feel free to broach any subject with him, however controversial or awkward.

That is a normal, healthy, adult way to handle potential conflicts.

And the only reason why I know this information is because of how many times I was in relationships with partners who didn’t pay me the same basic courtesy.

At the end of the day, if you feel like you’re walking on eggshells around your partner, afraid to tell or ask them something, then something is wrong.

Some conversations are uncomfortable to have – that’s real, and it’s never fun. And especially if you’re admitting to something that you did wrong or asking a partner to admit their own wrongs, you might be nervous about bringing up the topic. And that’s okay.

But if you’re fearful that your partner is going to shut down the conversation, express annoyance at your insistence to talk, minimize the importance of the discussion, or if you suspect that your partner won’t follow through on what you (reasonably) ask of them, then really, that’s disrespectful.

Ask yourself: Is this an appropriate conversation to have at this time and in this space? Are my needs rational and fair? Is this discussion important to me and to the success of our relationship?

And if the answers are yes, then ask yourself: Will my partner respond reasonably and genuinely to my concern? Will my partner, even if they get emotional, treat me with love and respect during this conversation? Is there a high likelihood that I’ll feel better once the conversation is over? Will my partner try to come up with a solution with me?

And the answers to those questions should also be yes.

Because relationships take two people. And part of caring about another person is showing up for them and hearing them out.

5. Are You Happy Most of The Time – Or Is the Relationship Confusing or Painful?

This, at the end of the day, is the absolute most important question when trying to work out whether or not a relationship is serving you.

And you wouldn’t know it if you listened to any generic love song on the radio.

Because we have a really damaging cultural understanding (that you can hire me to talk about endlessly) about love: It’s supposed to be confusing and painful, and it’s working through that which makes it worthwhile and romantic.

But I want to let you in on a little secret: Relationships aren’t easy – and they aren’t always fun – but they’re not supposed to hurt.

And the biggest clue, I think, to whether or not your relationship is a healthy one is to consider how happy you are.

You may not be blissfully happy constantly – and I don’t think that would necessarily be healthy either – but your contentedness should be up, and feelings of confusion and pain should be minimal.

And if you’re not sure how to measure this, you can even try recording your emotions in a journal. You can use this list of feelings words to get you started. Most of the time, your feelings should be positive.

And if your partner – or the dynamics of the relationship – is hurting you, or if you find yourself frequently confused about the state of your union and without the comfort to discuss it, then you might be living in emotional disarray.

And that confusion breeds anxiety and resentment, both of which are visceral, I-feel-like-my-lungs-are-filling-slowly-with-concrete emotions that can seep out into your body through your veins.

And that toxicity can eat you alive.

Sometimes your partner is going to hurt your feelings. And sometimes your partner is going to confuse you.

But if that’s the MO, rather than a rare occurrence, then the bottom line is: This relationship might not be the healthiest for your well-being.

***

My mother was right, of course: I can’t choose who I love, but I sure as hell can choose who I’m with.

But that’s usually easier said than done.

Eventually, I did walk away from that relationship and detoxed my heart back in shape.

Thank goodness.

Because love should feel good.

Does yours?

 

Melissa A. Fabello, Co-Managing Editor of Everyday Feminism, is a sexuality educator, eating disorder and body image activist, and media literacy vlogger based out of Philadelphia. She enjoys rainy days, Jurassic Park, and the occasional Taylor Swift song and can be found on YouTube and Tumblr. She holds a B.S. in English Education from Boston University and an M.Ed. in Human Sexuality from Widener University. She is currently working on her PhD. She can be reached on Twitter @fyeahmfabello.

Comment section

38 replies
  1. I’m just here to say that I really appreciate this article. It’s been 7 months since a toxic/abusive relationship I was in has ended and it sucks that sometimes I still need reassurance that I made the right decision. I found this page because I found myself wondering if I overreacted or if I ruined things and if it was really just nbd. Its really hard to think of someone you love as a toxic person or as an abuser. But when the signs are that obvious, that’s the kind of thinking that gets you stuck. It hurts. It hurts a hell of a lot. Often times I reflect on the really good times we shared. And the realization that that behavior was all just a front…is heartbreaking. I lost something that I never really had..that never really existed. And compromised my sanity and my well being wishing and waiting for it to suddenly exist. But that’s besides the point. I just wanted to thank you for creating this article, for that little bit of reassurance that I sometimes need to know that I made the right decision.

    1. Hi Not my real name –

      We’re so glad that this article was helpful to you as you continue to heal from your past relationship. It can be really hard to move on, even if the relationship was toxic or abusive. That’s totally normal, and you’re not alone in that. If you ever want to talk about your situation or find some resources that might help, we’re here for you! Call, chat or text any time.

    2. You put my feelings into words; there is so much heartbreak. Over and over realizing that ‘this’ and ‘that’ (whatever was said and done, in the beginning) is all false. You miss something that was never there. Thank you for sharing.

  2. I just found out that my adult daughter that lives with me was being physically abused by her boyfriend. He beat her in front of my grand-daughter. My daughter has not and will not talk to me about it. I found out through my grand-daughter. How do I get her to open up? I know nothing about the guy. I live with my husband who is disabled and his 92 year old mother. Im afraid if he tries to break into my home.

    1. Hi Tanya,

      Thank you for your comment. This is such a difficult situation to be in, and it’s very understandable that you are concerned about your daughter’s and your family’s safety. We’d like to help in any way we can. Please contact us directly by calling 1-866-331-9474, chatting here on our website or texting loveis to 22522.

  3. I’m glad to have come across this article.it reinforces what my friends and family have been telling me yet the doubt on the decision to be taken never dissipates. I’m married and ticked all 5 signs. It’s the months in between when there is no violence and physical abuse which make me wonder if he really changed. I’ve been in this relationship for too long. I feel like a caged bird. Afraid of flying away. Yet with high dreams and aspirations.
    I’ve always been made to believe that it’s me who did a mistake. It’s me who deserves no respect. It’s me who is the source of all problems. And it’s me who has wanted to run away from everyone and everything so many times. Are the quiet happy days true or is it the abuse – is a question which made me continue.

    1. Hi Ana,

      We’re glad to hear this article was helpful to you. It sounds like you’re struggling with your relationship, and we’d be happy to help in any way we can. If you feel safe enough to do so, please call 1-866-331-9474, chat here on the website or text loveis to 22522 any time!

      1. Finally, I found the courage to leave the toxic relationship behind. It is definitely not easy and I still love him so much. But I can feel the pain of each and every person writing here as my own, having experienced how manipulations and insecurities lead to anger to verbal abuse to the hand being raised to hit.. to the point where he doesn’t even regret his actions and holds you responsible for the anger. I have apologized for every single thing irrespective of my fault, developed patience to keep quiet and not point out his mistake or speak my heart out or share my true feelings. This was a journey where i didn’t even realize when I lost myself.
        And now I’m starting afresh. Not sure where to start from or how. But things will just fall in place someday and I will not regret the choice made. It’s not easy to loose someone after you’ve lost your dad at a very young age, but thanks to your post I realized that I’m not alone and the fact that it’s just not going to change. Thank you for helping me realize it was a pattern and I’m not the only one.

        1. Hi Ana,

          Thank you for sharing some of your story here. It sounds like you’ve been through so much, and you are so courageous to be making a fresh start! We are here to support you on your journey, should you ever want to reach out. Just call 1-866-331-9474, chat here on our website or text “loveis” to 22522 to speak confidentially with one of our advocates!

  4. Currently struggling to leave my emotionally, mentally, and physically abusive relationship. I met this guy when I was 13, (I am now 20) however, we only started dating a year ago. He has been a part of a large chunk of my life. I am so lost. He becomes physical when he is under the influence of his addiction, and has not happened more than a handful of times but its happened and it continues to happen. My mind is so confused at this point, I recently was watching an episode of a show and saw this website popped up, and I am so glad I found it. I just pray every day that I have the strength to be bigger than this, and move on with my life.

    1. Hi Anonymous,

      Thanks for sharing your story here. We’re so sorry to hear that your partner is choosing to be abusive toward you. It sounds like there’s a lot going on, and we’d like to help in any way we can. If you feel safe doing so, please reach out to us by calling 1-866-331-9474, chatting here on the website or texting loveis to 22522. Our services are totally free and confidential!

  5. Been married a long time and I love my husband, but the language has been all wrong for almost the whole time we’ve been married. Jokes about sodomy and other forms of sexual behaviours that I do not like or want are pretty much the only “discussions” we have about sex, besides just continuously telling me that I am not offering enough. But, when all I hear about are the things that disgust me, I don’t know how I’m supposed to always be in the mood. Jokes about how I make so much less money than he does also. I’ve been struggling for a long time because I try to just tell him “what I want” which is what everybody says to do. I’ve given ultimatums before and he always straightens up for a while but I don’t know if I can continue much longer. It sucks because we have a lot of good things together that I don’t want to lose, but I’m getting completely weary with this relationship.

    1. Hi Jane Doe,

      Thanks for your comment. From what you’ve shared, it sounds like there are some unhealthy communication issues in your relationship. It’s not healthy for your husband to put you down or make you uncomfortable with “jokes” about sex. We’d be happy to talk this through with you more. You can always call, chat or text confidentially with a loveisrespect advocate any time, 24/7!

  6. I’m very thankful I came across this article. I have been set free from my toxic relationship for almost 2 months . I still have a very hard time moving forward. I can’t understand how I could miss someone that had no respect for me . I still feel lost but i know little by little I’m finding myself again . I still have my moments where I blame myself for many things but I’ve learned to understand I am not At fault. It’s not worth trying to fix a relationship on your own. I leaned that the hard way. At this point of my life I’m glad and proud of my self for having the courage to say goodbye to that relationship . Everybody deserves respect and if your significant other can’t provide you with such simple request , you don’t deserve them . It’s extremely hard and it will take time ,but wipe those tears put a smile on your face and be thankful.

    1. Hi Karly,

      We’re glad to hear this article was helpful for you. It’s totally normal to have those feelings about your previous relationship, even if it was toxic. Moving on is really hard for a lot of people. If you ever want to talk through your situation, we’re here to support you! Just call 1-866-331-9474, chat here on our website or text loveis to 22522 any time.

  7. This has me taking another look at my longtime relationship. I feel like I’m on the back burner, trapped by his depression, family drama, and the fact that he takes EVERYTHING personally, from wisecracks to politics. Everything seems to be my fault.

    1. Hi Lost,

      Thanks for sharing. It sounds like there are some unhealthy things going on in your relationship. Just know that you’re not alone – we’re here to support you. Call 1-866-331-9474, chat here on our website or text loveis to 22522 any time to speak confidentially with an advocate.

  8. [Admin note: This comment has been edited for safety per our community guidelines.]

    I am reading this article because I came across it while viewing Google images of my search “love is” because, frankly, I’m not certain that it is what I am receiving anymore. My relationship with my boyfriend is a very hot and cold. Sometimes he says the most wonderful things that every girl wants to hear, but other times he can be downright mean. If I dress too pretty to go out to dinner with a girlfriend he says I look like a ho, he thinks I’m cheating if I don’t answer my phone, he is crazy jealous when it comes to men I work around at my job. It wasn’t like this in the beginning and somehow I find myself constantly justifying my actions, explaining myself like I did something wrong (even though I know I haven’t), pleading at times for him to see that he’s overreacting. Before his rite colors started being apparent, back winter, we planned to move in together after I graduated. I planned my whole future this way, spent all my money on a costly internship and prepared to %100 depend on him financially (his idea). Now we are a few weeks away from this internship (FT with no pay), and I’m realizing that I’ve been forced into a position where he is in complete control and financially I cannot survive without him. I didn’t prepare to not have his support. I know this is a toxic relationship, though. I’m worried that things might be worse when we actually move in together. Not sure if it’s worth the heartache.

    1. Hey Conflicted,

      We’re so glad you found us! It sounds like there are some very unhealthy and possibly abusive things going on in your relationship, and it’s great that you’ve identified them. This is a really tough decision to make, and we’d be happy to talk it through with you. We’re here 24/7 – just call 1-866-331-9474, chat here on our website or text loveis to 22522.

  9. Thank you so much for posting this! I relate to many of these stories as I am at this moment going through a break-up with a toxic person. I used to think that I was overreacting, that he was making all the right moves and I was making all the wrong ones. That when I get angry and stated how I felt, I was wrong. Because that’s how he made me feel. That whenever I got mad it “wasn’t that big of a deal and we didn’t need to keep arguing about something so trivial”, which was really just him giving me a cop out instead of hearing what it was I was trying to say. I stuck by him longer than anyone because I wanted to believe he would change, that things would get better. But it doesn’t work like that. I know now how silly I was, but I’m not beating myself up about it. I know I’m not stupid for wanting to see the good in someone, I just need to learn that if someone’s not hearing me, it’s because they don’t want to, and to just let it go. I’m not looking forward to the next couple weeks since he’ll be moving out and I know will try to implore me to take him back, but I’m just going to repeat what you said, “am I happy? is this beneficial to me or just to him?” thanks again for the positive advice, I really needed it.

    1. Hey Anonymous,

      We’re so glad this post was helpful to you. If you ever want/need to talk about what’s going on, you can call, chat or text us any time!

  10. [Admin note: this comment has been edited for safety per our community guidelines]

    I feel like I am the one who is abusive. I love my girlfriend but sometime she makes me angry to the point I want to hit her. I never do. I ignore her when she erks me and I try to be open with her with my emotions but she doesn’t get where I come from. I understand her and sometime I might not agree but I understand. Talking to her bothers my core of

    1. Hi Skylar,

      Thanks for your comment. It sounds like you’re struggling in your relationship, and we’re so glad you’ve had the courage to reach out for help. We’d be happy to talk through your situation and help you come up with some options for moving forward. You can speak confidentially with one of our advocates any time by calling 1-866-331-9474, chatting here on the website or texting loveis to 22522!

  11. Thanks so much for your wonderful advice. I have been in a difficult relationship for many years and things have become so bad recently that I have had to leave. There has been no physical violence but he has become increasingly jealous to the point of banning me from inviting almost all of my friends round and not allowing me to go out socially without him. He constantly criticizes me and I feel I can do nothing right. He makes me feel ashamed and guilty when I have done nothing wrong and I find myself apologizing for no reason. He has expressed so much anger over me texting certain friends I feel I can’t even reply to messages. The problem is I still love him and I know a lot of our problems are down to his own insecurities. After reading your advice it has given me a little more strength to stay away but I wonder if he can change…?

    1. Hi Angel Hope,

      Thank you for sharing your story with our community. It sounds like your partner is isolating you and constantly putting you down, which are definitely abusive behaviors. After all, abuse isn’t just physical. A healthy, loving relationship is based on trust, not jealousy and insecurities. It’s understandable that you still love your partner, but it’s so important to recognize that what he is showing you is not love. It’s possible for people to change, but there is nothing you can do or say to make that happen. He must be the one to make that decision for himself and do the work to stop being abusive. We are here to support you in any way you need. Just give us a call at 1-866-331-9474, chat here on our website or text loveis to 22522!

  12. Thanks for responding to my message.
    When the abuse is not physical it can make you feel like you are over reacting. It’s good to know that there is support out there for people like me. I have found the strength to stay away and not be fooled by his manipulation anymore. It is very hard as you do start to believe all the negative comments after a while. I know I need to be strong now and work on building my self esteem and starting a new life for myself.
    Thanks again, hope this can help others in a similar situation.

  13. I just recently got out of a relationship that, now that I look back, was toxic. He would get really jealous when I would hang out with one of my guy friends and was known to have fits of rage that would cause him to break many things. He never raised a hand to me, he could be a real gentleman. But there was times when my mom would tell him he needed to tone down the PDA. I agreed with her and it felt weird and wrong to do that kind of stuff in front of my own mother. But instead of agreeing and listening to her, he would get upset and walk off. I know that recelty he’s going through a really tough point in his life with his mom, which is why he broke up with me. I only wish him the best and I wish I could’ve helped him cope with his life.

    1. Hi LocalDreamerofSpace,

      Thanks for your comment! It does sound like there were some unhealthy behaviors happening in your previous relationship. It’s great that you wish him the best now, but please know that it’s not your responsibility to help him cope with his life. He needs to take steps for himself to deal with his own feelings in a healthy way. If you’d ever like to talk about this more with a loveisrespect advocate, we’re here for you 24/7! Call, chat or text anytime.

  14. I’m a 63 year old widow. I was married 37 yrs. I would have to say our relationship was fairly normal. My husbands been gone for 31/2 years.
    I meet a man a little over a year ago. He was wonderful. I have to admit there were a few red flags. But 99% of the time was perfect.he was respectful of my loss. Let me talk about my past. Seems to be interested in getting to know my children and grandchildren. He often complement me. Came to church with me.
    Every now and then he would become upset and even suspicious. He would retreat to his rm( yes we moved in together). A day or two later Hingis would be ok. We have had many great times together.
    I have noticed a pattern and the cycles are becoming closer. And ugly. I have asked him to leave on a couple occasions. Now that is held over my head. I know this is a toxic relationship. I’m trying to figure why I stay. I know what loneliness is. But even in my loss I could find joy. I’m feeling very confused now. Many of my days are stressful. I just lost my dad last week after a long illness. Am I afraid of loss to lose again. Well I do know the answers but why do I keep doing this.

    1. Hi Jackie,

      Thank you for sharing your story here. You are dealing with so much right now. It’s totally understandable to be afraid of more loss, and to feel confused about what to do about your current partner. You deserve to be in a loving, respectful relationship. If you’d like to speak to an advocate about what you’re going through, feel free to call, chat or text with us anytime. Alternatively, you can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (24/7), or chat online with them at http://www.thehotline.org from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Central time.

  15. I’m finding myself searching for insights on moving on from an abusive relationship. I can finally acknowledge it as such , even after the abuse turned from emotional and mental to sexual; I still have tried to justify those actions and lessen the blow. I allow myself to sympathize with someone who was selfish and willing to cross boundaries that aren’t normal to cross and it will never be ok whether or not he is in my life it will remain with me forever. We broke up after I confronted these things and I found myself burying the pain of what happened and missing the man I loved. I recognize how twisted that is..my friends and family are very concerned for my mindset and well being. I’ve let my love for him blind my more rational senses. Now that it appears I have forgiven these abusive actions, I can never hold my ground with him again. We can never be a happy couple who has drinks with our friends or Christmas with my family. I will be the girl that was gaslighted, manipulated, abused emotionally, mentally and ultimately raped by the man I love and trusted. And he will always be the man who did that to the person they love. It has been months for me to accept that there is no future anymore, there is no real love because I would never be treated like that by someone who truly loves and respects me as he claims to. My breaking point has been him deflecting responsibility from that night and of his actions in general. He makes excuses and its everyone else’s misconceptions that are poisoning our love when in truth he would let me turn my back on everyone I love if it meant that he could keep me. Even knowing all these things, I still struggle to stay away from him. Our love felt passionate and euphoric as I’m learning abusers have a stronghold, that’s how they can get away with things. They’re charming and apologetic and can make things incredible that you begin to question everything. I do question everything. Myself, him, my family and friends. My realities have shifted and I need to detach and learn to find my footing again. That is easier said than done though.

    1. Hi Ingrid,

      Thank you so much for your comment. It sounds like you have been through a lot of pain, and we’re so sorry to hear your partner treated you that way. He may have told you he loved you, but his actions toward you were not loving. You deserve much better. We are here for you if you want to talk. Please call 1-866-331-9474, chat here on our website or text loveis to 22522 any time!

      1. thank you, I appreciate that. I have on many occasions now utilized the chat and it helps me get through those conflicting thoughts and emotions and help me remain rational about the situation. I have found this website enormously helpful .

  16. I don’t even know where to start; I have been married for eight years and have 2 small children. My husband has spent the last x amount of months/years telling me how I have abused him financially and emotionally, how I have controlled him and manipulated situations for my own gain, crying and becoming “emotionally unstable” when things haven’t gone my way!!

    He had an accident at work which left him unable to work and look after the children for years. I became the sole provider for us all. We went from partners to unequal. Where I saw responsibilities and things that needed to be ‘taken care of’ he saw control and power. All money came from me working and went into my bank account, I took care of bills, mortgage, childcare etc. He never asked for money but then threw it back in my face that I didn’t give him access to accounts – rubbish – only had to say!!

    Well today, he told me the marriage was over, In his words I am irresponsible and having a bad influence on his children. He has been trying to get me to changed for months if not years. If I agree with his opinion then that is great, if not then I don’t know what I am talking about. I have been called every name under the sun yet still adore him and love him to pieces.

    At least i think i do!! I am in bits. Devastated to be getting separated at 36, I married for life and took my vows seriously, I am terrified of starting again, terrified of not being with him, terrified that I have absolutely no idea who I am anymore..been a wife and mother for so long I have forgotten who i am!! Terrified that I might be happy without him, terrified that my parents are going to say I told you so, terrified that he will try to turn the kids against me or worse take them!! I feel totally to blame and have spent the last two years constantly apologising for things I have or have not done and promising to change!!

    Feel rubbish,

    1. Hi Anonymous,

      Thanks for sharing your story here. This sounds like a very difficult and confusing situation, and we’re so sorry to hear that you have been through so much pain with your husband. We’re here to support you, so when you feel safe and ready to do so, please contact us at 1-866-331-9474, chat here on our website or text “loveis” to 22522. Our trained advocates will be happy to help in any way they can.

    2. I can so empathise with you. However i have your pain but without thw children. Why do we accept this behaviour ..my heart reaches out to you. Take care.

  17. Reading these comments have made me realise im not treated very nice. I cut myself off from family and friends as its easier that way. Ive been in my relationship for 17 years but have felt so very lonely for most of them. He refuses to work but still has everything paid by me. I work full time. Mentally drains me. Drinks and is abusive. ..why wont i walk away. He has beaten me before .

    1. Hi Joanne,

      Thank you for sharing your story. I’m sorry to hear that you are feeling drained, you absolutely deserve to be treated well in your relationship. Isolation is a tactic that abusive people often use to maintain control over their partners. We are here for you and encourage you to contact us directly by calling 1-866-331-9474, chatting here on our website or texting loveis to 22522.

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