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About to end a five year relationship and I need advice.


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I am about to end a five year relationship and need advice so I can do my best not to hurt her.


For a little background, for the past 2.5 years my girlfriend has treated me like crap, and it borders on emotional abuse (if not crosses the border). The constant criticism, put-downs, name calling, selfishness, etc have taken a toll on my self-esteme, pride, and the way I view myself.


About 3 weeks ago, I broke up with her, only to get back together the next day with her because she promised to change. She has known for a long time that she has an anger problem and has signed up to start therapy in january.


She has been trying hard to be nice (in honestly, is is still Dr Jeckel and Mr Hyde, just a bit nicer Mr Hyde). I realized that if she were trying, I should too ... but that I needed a little time and space to build myself back up as the emotional toll she has taken on me is starting to effect every aspect of my life.


I asked her if it was OK that we didn't talk to or see each other for the 2.5 weeks we will be out of town for the holidays so that I could get over everything (I explained that it wasn't that I didn't want to see her, just that I needed some time to recharge and get over the past so we could move on to the future). She was upset and suggested as a compromise that we talk but not see each other during that time. Within an hour she was mad and yelling at me about it because our relationship problems are not all her fault. The next day she was OK, but the following day she was mad that we weren't going to see each other and thought that I was punishing her. She wanted to go about with the holidays as normal and it was my fault that we are not.


As it stands now, we are talking but not seeing each other over the holidays.


At first, I was a bit upset that she wouldn't give me the space that I needed. But I have realized over the past 2 days that at this point it isn't about her, I really need to take care of myself as I am miserable. Getting that space may not even be enough to let me get over everything, but I was willing to try. Without that space, I see no reason to continue the relationship, not because I don't want to try or because I am mad, but because I need to take care of myself right now (I can't contribute to the relationship if I am miserable).


So, the dilemma is:

Do I break up with her now or after Christmas? She is at her parents house now, which means that I would have to do it over the phone (bad) and that it would probably ruin her Christmas (bad). However, she will be with her family for support (good) and will have a few weeks to get over it before she goes back to school (good). If I do it when we gat back from vacation I can do it in person (good), she will have an OK Christmas (good ... although she will probably be mad the whole time that we aren't going to see each other), she will have her sister for support (OK ... she treats her sister like crap too so the amount of support there is limited), but she will have to deal with it while back in dental school (bad).


Can people please weigh in on which is the better option for her. Thank you, and sorry the story is so long (but it did make me feel a little better to tell someone what is going on). In retrospect, it wasn't fair to her to get back together.

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I think that if you are sure you want this relationship to end (and I think you have more than one reason to)- you should not wait for a christmas-holiday. Let's face it, there is never a convenient time to get hurt, and if you really know it now, why have her celebrate holidays with the hope that things will work out? That would make it really bad for me, knowing in retrospect that my partner checked out and made up his mind earlier than he told me.

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There is no easy way to break up.


If she is emotionally abusive and will go ballistic, perhaps it is better to do it over the phone. You can agree to talk to her for as long as she needs (or as often as she needs) over the break, but just keep gently reinforcing it is over.


If you wait until after the break, it could well affect her school, and that can have lasting consequences.


If you did it now, it is a week before Christmas so she has time to recover before Christmas, and time to recover over the holiday.


I think as soon as you know it is over for sure (and you do) then you just need to bite the bullet and do it. There is no good time to do it, just be as kind as possible, but firm in letting her know you've made up your mind and she won't talk you out of it.

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Break ups over the phone are never a good idea. Keep this statement in mind when it comes time to do the deed, "She is trying hard to be nice". That statement struck me as odd. If you are in a relationship, with someone you supposedly love, why would you have to "try" to be nice? I don't want to hear anything about bi-polar or anything like that. This girl just flat-out doesn't have any respect nor appreciation for you. Keep that in mind when you dump her.

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Go to link removed it's a great website for information on vebal/emotional/mental abuse. She's got a list of further reading material for you. If your interested. Sometimes we who've been in these types of relationships attract the same relationship again and again. So you are correct... You need to heal. There is also a forum, you might want to join... or just read up on. See what other people are going through and how they handle situations.


Kudo's for you to realize that "YOU" need to take care of your well being.

You need to heal yourself. I think that is an amazing step in your self-discovery and self-help.


From what I've learned and read.... When a person realizes they have Anger Management problems and get into therapy. The first thing they need to do is put a bit of distance between themselves and.... whom ever they are conflicting with. SPACE as you called it. For her to get into an anger management program and still continue with your relationship at this point is like an ALCOHOLIC addmiting what he is... getting into a 12 step program... and then getting a job at a bar. Ohhh it's doable... but tough.


I think your best bet is to amputate right now. Don't prolong the agony and wait, just because it is the holidays. If your right arm had gangrene in it... would you wait until after the holidays? I understand you are trying to walk on egg-shells... and you are trying to be kind. But in the end, your kindness will hurt her even more. Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.


You've already decided to end the relationship. So, just end it now and be done with it.

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If she is emotionally abusive and will go ballistic, perhaps it is better to do it over the phone.


If there's a chance for her to go off on you... then I think doing it over

the phone is the best solution.


Here is a point to remember and consider. Be firm...and resolved in your

decisions and what you tell her. Talk to her as calmly as you can. My bet is that she will blow up on the phone. Tell her that you will talk to her only if she stays calm. If not.. HANG UP. And remember... you do have the option to "HANG UP" the phone... and not pick up if you get

blasted with call after call. Sounds easy..."Hanging up".... you'd be surprised. I felt compelled to stay on the phone, long after I should have hung up. It ended up being a 3 hour YELL FEST.. where I was lamb blasted, critisized, cut down to size and then some. I didn't realize 3 hours had gone by.... it felt like minutes. And Why couldn't i just HUNG UP THE PHONE???? so... remember.. you don't need to get abused

over the phone. Just hang up.

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I would wait until after christmas, dealing with it while in school may be difficult, but it may also serve as a helpful distraction, although I guess it depends on the person.


It sounds as if you think you guys could reconnect in the future, even if thats the case don't string her along, as there is NOTHING worse then that. It temporarily feels better to know there may be a chance in the future, but it prevents you from moving on and it prolongs the pain significantly.

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If I was still single I would have asked you to give me her contact information and hand her over to me. I'll take care of it. Some men would not have a problem dating a woman like this.


I sometimes wish my girlfriend would yell at me and call me names every once in awhile. I feel that I need a woman to criticize me. So far she tells me how I should feel lucky to have her. I get turned on by hearing her say that.


Sorry you are going through this. I think you should just end it right now. Do it over the phone since she gets emotional and all.


If you're going to do it in person then be sure to go to her house and give the breakup talk there. The problem with breaking up in a public place is that she will likely drive home upset and get into a car accident as her judgment will be impaired.

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Well looking at the name of your post it would seem that you are more than ready to end this relationship..However I hope you are very sure. The holiday break and time apart would validate this for you either way..perhaps you should take the time apart and have little contact and that way you can be very sure of your future intentions. I thought it was very interesting the way you described your girlfriend as JEKyl and Hyde, I too was referred to as this during my 5year relationship with my ex partner...whom I reconciled with I might add two years ago(we are still together now) A..fter he ended our relationship and I went 6mths NC.. Which made me question why she is full of criticism and supressed anger towards you.. What is the reason?? I can only speak for myself and say that my ex partner cheated on me early in our first 5years together...it tore me apart and he never dealt with me or the hurt I suffered over it effectively.. This made me insecure..negative and critical and basically I lost my sense of self and the happy go lucky girl that I was due to his betrayal..he of course blamed me as I was supposed to be "over" it in 24hours literally. So all I am saying to you is that IF you havent enormously hurt or betrayed your girlfriend during your time together I am curious as to why she is behaving like this IF you have then it is quite understandable...but something has or someone...anyway my advice to you is to be very very sure..perhaps this time apart would be a good thing for you...My partner and I are quite happy now...I was moving on after he dumped me 2 years ago... like you..he made that decision while he felt miserable and disappointed in me, however he was the cause of my pain....he regretted his decision as I knew he would..if you have no guilt about your past history with this girl ...then end it....if you really really believe there are no resolutons in sight.. end it..just be sure and take this time apart to cement that decision one way or the other, regret is a hard thing to live with..... good luck.

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Thank you for your response. Just to let you know a bit more about our relationship, I have never betrayed her or cheated on her and have never done anything to purposely hurt her. That being said, I am not perfect and I am not the perfect boyfriend.


She doesn't just treat me like this, she treats everyone like this. The closer someone is to her, the more she belittles them. She treats her mom and sister the same way she treats me. She treats her few friends a little bit better, but she will still admittedly "punish them" if they do something she doesn't like or don't agree with her.


Thus, her anger problems in the relationship are not completely my fault; she really does have some deep seeded issues that she need to deal with (she stated one time "that after seeing her parents relationship, you were either the one getting slammed into the refrigerator or the one doing the slamming". She decided at an early age to be the one doing the slamming.


For a quick example of a typical interaction. My grandmother (who I was very close to) passed away. I called her from work and told her and she asked that I give her a call before I ordered my plane ticket for the funeral. I ordered my plane ticket without calling her first; wrong on my part, I know, my logic being that I really didn't have much of a choice in plane flights and I had to coordinate with the rest of my family so we could get everyone to and from the airport. Still, I admit that it was wrong on my part that I didn't call her like she asked me. When I did talk to her and she found out that I had already ordered tickets she got very mad started yelling and belittling me ... including making the comment that she "didn't know why I cared so much because I was a $h1tty grandson who didn't call her enough, etc". Now, was I wrong not to call her, yes. Did I deserve to have my heart ripped out and smashed when I needed love and support, no ... the punishment didn't fit the crime.

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Okay Glad that you havent hurt her in the past...bear in Mind anger is fear..it is nothing else..of course it is also a control method.. but basically it is FEAR and to use it so much shows me that your girlfriend is 1. Highly insecure.2. has low self esteem...3. FEARS being abandoned more than anything and at this point her FEAR of losing you will be extremely high...and I would expect she has always feared losing you.. She will be devastated over this split if you choose to go ahead..So I will stick to my original advice ..to date she has not acknowledged or sought help for her fears and anger..could you still be with her is she does this and you have hope of having a loving and fulfilling relationship...these are the questions you need to have definite answers to.. I persoanlly would take the break from her...make your final decison AFTER your time apart. her Xmas will be quite miserable anyway I would expect...Just be very sure about what you want to do. you sound like your at the end of your tether but to date neither of you have worked on resolutions or changes to make this relationship work..What is the balance of this relationship without the anger is it really good when you are both happy....She does sound very difficult however her problem with anger runs much deeper than her criticisms of you and family.....

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Thank you Loolee for all of your advice.


I do realize that her anger, need for control, etc stem from her fear. Truthfully, I believe that she turns to anger instead of being hurt, and also uses anger to scare the people who she cares about so they will be scared of her response if they hurt her. This can easily be seen in the turning point of our relationship when she started to treat me like crap ... it was right after our first disagreement (neither of us were right in this case. here is a post on that ). Once she realized that there could be conflict between us, she started treating me like crap so that I wouldn't hurt her again.


That is what makes it so difficult, I know that she doesn't want to treat me like crap. But I also know that it stems from serious issues, and she is going to have to feel like pain to work through them (where she typically turns to anger instead of pain). Thus, It is going to be a very long and hard road for her, and for me if I stay.


Can I risk putting up with more abuse and risk my well being? If I wasn't already so emotionally distraught I am sure that I could. Right now it is hard for me to trust that she won't hurt me because it isn't her conscience choice, but the way that she deals with emotions. Looking towards the future, it will be hard to trust her not to hurt me again, or to support me when I need it ... it will just be a long time, if ever, that I can trust her again.


That is why I wanted to not have contact with her for 2.5 weeks. So I could get over everything and build myself back up to help her face everything. Unfortunately I am not getting the space I need. She is even mad about the compromise that she proposed ... which comes through when we talk on the phone. Thus, it is hard for me to decide to trust her and work through this when her anger comes accross, even slightly, during our current conversations.

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I forgot to say that our relationship is just so-so when we are both fine and happy. At this point, this means that 1) our conversations are either meaningless babble (partly because I can't tell her anything for fear of her response) or her angry about or criticizing someone else she is close to. and 2) our time spent together is: 50% neutral (no niceness but no anger) and 50% her yelling at me (for opening a soda can the incorrect way, for getting sock lint on the floor, etc).

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Haha @ your username! What made you stay with her for five years??


There's never going to be a "good" time to break up, as the person is going to be hurt regardless. I really don't think it matters whether you do it before or after Christmas. Usually when I'm planning to dump someone, I just do it whenever I have the balls.

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Look at it this way, if she is abusive and freaks out from lint on your socks, there will be NO good time to break up with her and she'll probably pitch the mother of all fits over this.


The advice from professionals is to break up with abusive people over the phone to try to limit the amount of anger and abuse they are able to rain down on you, and to prevent it from escalating out of control (you can hang up if she gets crazy, but if in person, she might attack you or whatever).


I think if you let her get her first wave of rage over with when she's nowhere near you that might be a good idea, so i'd vote for doing it now. She's going to be really upset no matter when you do it, and blame you for wrecking her life, but the point is you have a right to decide not to be her boyfriend, whether she likes it or not.


I wouldn't advise doing it ON Christmas eve or day or ON New Years eve or New Years, but any other time is appropriate.

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Have your time apart you can dictate your own terms..Sit her down nicely and explain to her all the things you replied in your post about why you thinks she is angry..tell her to listen and then she can have her say..tell her clearly how unhappy you have become and how you will not tolerate it any further...the ball is in your court...i do believe kindness and respect go a long way in ending a relationship. if you do walk away for good know in your heart that you ended it in the best way you could I would not end it on the phone 5years together warrants more than a phone call..we arent talking about a mad hatter we are talking about someone who yes has anger issues and is likely to be passsive aggressive in her personality...but she is a person you have shared much with this last 5 years so be kind and follow your heart in your decision. It is very difficult at times to see ourselves outside of our self. Admitting to these problems she has can take a lot of soul searching and brutal inner honesty...she will be forced to acknowledge this at some time in the future, but perhaps not while you are at her convenience. Im sure once she can REALLY see her own behavour that she may take steps to address it...I do feel you are a not at your best emotionally to make such a final decision so take your time away from her..You havent had any thinking time without her around...See how you feel after the hols...let her know in no uncertain terms that your relationship is hanging by a thread. her actions during some time apart should give a very clear indication of what decision to make. Its unfortunate because this problem isnt a huge one to sort and fix BUT ONLY if it is acknowledged as being a major problem within your relationship to start with..and she is the one that needs to do this...Good luck with it all let us know how you get on and what you end up doing....take control of your own life..afterall it is yours to begin with...

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Hi Loulee,


Thank you again for all of your advice. Hopefully, you can give me one last shot of advice.


I just had a heart-to-heart with my two best friends. One told me that my relationship was destroying me. The other said that my relationship is not only destroying me, but everything I have strived for over the past 10 years.


I realized a while ago that this is killing me ... which in turn is killing the career that I have fought though undergrad, gradschool, and a postdoc to obtain. One of my friends, the more pragmatic of the two, actually yelled at me .... "everyone else sees that this relationship is destroying you, you know that this is destroying you, you have worked too hard to let this screw you up, it needs to end, not after Christmas, but now. She had her chance, it is time that you take back the reins of your life."


I knew everything he said, and I agree. Truthfully, as selfish as it is .... I really do need to take back my life .... I can't think about her needs anymore, mine have been forsaken for too long ... I think I should break up with her ASAP.


Granted, over the phone is disrespectful, but how much respect has she shown me over the past 2.5 years, none. Granted it sucks that it is right before Christmas, but it would benefit me to be with my family after the breakup .... and I can't do everything according to her needs anymore.


The bottom line is that the relationship is bad for me ... I know it and the people who love me know it.


I know this sounds like a more aggressive stance than I have taken before. I am really not making the decision out of anger ... but rather out of need (sure maybe selfish). Not good, but I feel like I have put myself after her for too long.


I hope you can give me some advice ... I really don't want to hurt her (which is unavoidable during a breakup) and I won't say anything mean during the conversation. You seem caring enough of her side to help me determine ... now, she gets over the blunt shock with her family over christmas ... or later, she gets over the blunt shock while trying to take exams.



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ok well first off id like to say that my ex was exactly like this, she had extreme anger problems, getting mad over everything at anyone including me, although when the nice times together were nice, they were really nice... with her loving and showing affection/caring etc, but she treated her mom and sisters with no respect and her dad with no respect. i can now see thats where i was heading as well and after hearing many people say that i was just like her father, im glad im not there anymore, she would throw things when she got angry or hit things, she would scream and yell if her hair straightener wasn't in the exact place she put it or if someone had moved her lotion etc. she was never wrong and she was never one that caused ANY problems in the relationship. or so she said it was never her fault. i think you need to break up with her now before christmas no matter how you have to do it, on the phone or whatever it has to be done ASAP. its not good for you, i still love my ex girlfriend but she is crazy and i don't need that in my life, for one it makes you look bad and brings down your class, and for two its just demeaning to who you are. good luck over the holidays it will be tough, even for you


merry christmas

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hi Again....well you sound much more assertive and more sure of yourself now than I thought you were earlier...I was more concerned about about you making a definite decision to break up while you were 1. feeilng very run down and basically depressed 2. hadnt explored all of your options.. I think we make the best decisions about our future when we are not running on the peak of our emotions...particularly in personal relationships..I was never concerned about you breaking up with her over Xmas..really when is a good time? I was more thinking along the lines that you have had no breathing space away from this relationship to concrete your decision either way..As i mentioned take control of your life...you know whats best for you and you should thrive more within a relationship...it is obvious that you are not..because you have remained with this girl for 5 long years I felt that there would have been a lot more to throw away than these problems to date..I personally dont see these problems as being unfixable so to speak..I DO realise though how they bleed into all aspects of your life together and no doubt you feel like you have lost your sense of self...I would bet it has even affected your general sense of humour to a point where you have to think when was the last time we laughed together..or when you just felt really good being together..If you feel strong and definite break up now. Be prepared to be able to walk out the door.(and I do mean literally bags packed) Be honest and truthful.. If the idea of breaking up is starting to feel like a release, and when you walk out the door afterwards and you feel a great sense of relief I would think you have made the best decision. You are not selfish for ending this relationship.take back what was always yours..your life your happiness and your dreams...there will be times that you fell nostalgic...natural really..and I feel that you will be pursued relentlessly for a time..maybe...the kindest thing would be to state your case and not give any glimmer of hope for the future and have little to No contact over the next few months..I think no contact would be best in consideration of her personality..good luck...you do sound like you have thought this through and friends can often see what we can not...maybe its time....let us know how you go and enjoy your holidays...

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I would recommend also that you break up with her asap over the phone. Since you already have decided that this relationship is not healthy for you, your first concern should be you. I commend you for thinking of others first, but she has clearly 'used up' all the courtesy that she deserves. Now it is time that you are putting yourself first: if you don't break up with her before the holidays, YOUR holidays will be sour, because this situation is dragging YOU down.


If you tell her now, you both have your families to lean on. While there will be many more holidays to come to enjoy, exams are kind of once-in-a-lifetime events that you don't want to screw up it you can avoid it.


I know you don't want to hurt her, but she has hurt and is continuing to hurt you constantly.


Once you have broken up with her, go into complete NC. Have your family screen your phone calls if necessary.


Breaking up over the phone may be interpreted as being a coward act, but in this case I think it is the healthier option to do, since you don't know how she might act once she realizes you are serious with the break up.


Under no circumstances should you allow yourself to be dragged into a discussion about the break up. You have to stand firm. You tried to break up before, and she managed to real you back in. This time you have to be much more consistent with your behavior. If you are concerned about her, you could speak to her sister and ask her to look after your ex for some time.


Good luck and strength to you!

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