Is it time to end my relationship with my boyfriend for good?

He isn't violent, but he has anger issues and deep insecurities. He's working on them and has improved. We started counseling, and he participated in one or two individual sessions, but we broke up again shortly thereafter. Now his constant questions and accusations are getting really draining.

Sherry Katz, LCSW
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Couples and Family Therapist, LCSW

From what you write, you're not too happy with how your boyfriend treats you and how he handles his own life.

What keeps you feeling connected to him in positive ways?

If you're truly not happy most of the time in this relationship, then you're at the time of asking why you'd want to remain in a relationship which is draining.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Sonya Wilson
Sonya Wilson
Licensed Professional Counselor

Sometimes relationships just do not work.  Don't feel that the first, second, or even third relationship is the relationship you are suppose to be in for life.   The one that is meant for you will require work but should be be draining and a constant roller coaster of breaking up. 

It is good you all went to counseling, but one or two sessions may not be enough to make and see a change in behavior.  It takes times and it takes both working toward the same goal. 

I would suggest doing you...meaning focusing on your own growth at the time.  If he wants to grow with you, he will make the necessary steps.  If he doesn't...wish him well.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Robin Landwehr, DBH, LPCC, NCC
Robin Landwehr, DBH, LPCC, NCC
Mental Health in a Primary Care Setting

Hello and thank you for your question. I worked for a number of years with people who have been both abused in their relationships and those who have been abusive. Being involved in a relationship with a partner who does the behaviors you describe can be incredibly difficult, and many would argue is even harder than overcoming actual physical violence.

I was a little confused about whether you're are still broken up with this person or if you are still thinking about it. I am going to assume you are still undecided.

Some of the things you are describing sound like emotional abuse. Even without physical abuse, being emotionally abused can still be traumatizing. When partners question and accuse, they are often trying to exercise power and control over their partners by hurting them with unfounded accusations.  The accusations serve to make someone feel guilty and to manipulate them. For example, if your partner accuses you of cheating when you go out bowling with friends, you may elect not to go bowling just to satisfy your partner and prevent a fight from occurring.

The person being accused or questioned often tries to prove over and over again that they have done nothing wrong, but it doesn't matter.

And that brings me to the point of what some people who experience these behaviors do in order to start feeling like they have some power again. Here are just a few things:

1. They realize there is no right answer. Trying to be logical with someone who doesn't want to be logical doesn't work. Many people simply stop trying to defend themselves against false accusations because there was no answer that would satisfy their partner anyway. In addition, the rules of the relationship seem to change on a daily basis, and what may be okay with your partner one day may make them angry the next. And this can leave people constantly feeling like they are on eggshells.  

2. The find support. Finding a support group or a group of people who remind you on a daily basis that you are a decent person is always a good idea. One of the things that can happen when we are with someone who does emotionally abusive things is begin to have a negative concept of ourselves. Surrounding yourself with people who remind you that you are a good person is a great idea.

3. They reinvest in themselves. Try to find some time for yourself. This couldn't possibly sound more cliché, but it is actually true. Whether that is taking up a new hobby or doing an old one. One thing that can happen when emotional abuse takes place in a relationship is the person being abused can begin to isolate and not do the things that make them enjoy life. Taking some time for the self can sometimes bring things into perspective.

I don't know if you are still in counseling, but if you are and you are getting what you need then that is great. If not, there are others you can try. It's important to find the right fit.

As for the question of whether or not you should leave your partner, that is a question that can only be answered by you. But you could ask yourself some questions  like these to help you decide:

1. What are some of my values about relationships? Do I want Trust? Honesty? Ask yourself if you have these things in your relationship.

2. Do I feel like this relationship brings out the best in me, or does it seem to bring me down?

3. If I want to stay in this relationship, what are some specific things that need to change?

Hope some of these suggestions help.

Good luck to you. Be well.

Robin Landwehr, DBH, LPC, NCC

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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