Abusive relationships: How to get out of them?
Lisa in New Jersey, "I have a boyfriend who is so confusing. Well, one day I complained to him that he was ignoring me, which he was, and he just stopped speaking to me. Then we got back together and I discovered how much of a jerk he can be when he was making fun of his sister. Well, so on the fourth of July we "broke up". Not really because neither he nor I said anything to each other. I tried speaking to him but he would just stay away from me. Even when we were/are going out he would/will totally ignore me and spend time with his friends that influence him to be a total and complete jerk. So I went to a game with my friend (his sister), her family, and him. He had just gotten off work and he was in such a bad mood. So as other guys always hit on me and try to speak to me, he totally ignores me. So when we were leaving the game and guys were checking me out, he would give them the stare of death. The guys would get intimidated and move away. I still sense that he still has feelings for me as I have feelings for him. My friends, cousins, and sister say to find someone better. They tell me to forget him, but I can't. I still am totally obsessed with him and like him. I have mixed emotions on this subject; part of me hates him with a passion and part of me loves him and wants him back. This is pure torture. I am afraid to break up with him officially because of the fact that he might still like me. I am afraid to speak to him because I am afraid I might hurt his feelings and part of me wants to slap him. What do I do? Where do I go from here? What is the wisest choice? Should I speak to him or find someone else?"
First of all, we agree with your friends, cousins, and sister that you need to find a man who will care for you so that you can be in a loving relationship, rather than be in an abusive relationship like this. Paul Hegstrom has written an excellent book Angry Men and the Women Who Love Them: Breaking the Cycle of Physical and Emotional Abuse that you might want to read to realize what you are really experiencing.
Let us just take a moment to revisit what a romantic relationship is all about. Without getting too complex, a good romantic relationship is based on mutual trust and respect with the sole motive of bringing happiness to each other. For this man, you should be the most important person - someone to be the center of attention and never to be ignored. By ignoring, harassing, mistreating, or abusing the other person, you are basically abusing that person and not loving her or him. Using this simple definition, you are in a relationship that is destined to cause you misery the rest of your life, if it lasts that long.
Having said that, it is easy to understand why you are so confused, why your self-esteem is so low, and why you do not want to breakup with a man who is treating you like garbage. There must be something great about this man for you to fall in love with him in the first place. Therefore, it is hard for you to realize that either you made a terrible mistake in reading this person or he just changed drastically. There is nothing wrong with liking him either because there are parts of his personality that you fell in love with and many of these have not changed. What has changed, however, is of fundamental importance in a relationship: caring for each other and respecting the other person.
We, therefore, recommend that you leave him as soon as you can. You do not have to fight with him. You can politely tell him that you would like to move on. And then you can try to start your search again.
Here is a list of some useful articles with tips on when to breakup and how to restart after a breakup:
When should you breakup? Think before you end a relationship
Getting ready for a new relationship. Surviving a breakup