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He wants the right actions; I want the right words

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I don't want my boyfriend and I to break up, but he refuses counseling, tells me I'm being selfish for suggesting it, since I know the thought of it upsets him. (had to do it with his family when he was younger...didn't go well)


We've been together for eight years. The arguments have increased and for the last few months I have felt like his anger has controlled the arguments, and left me defeated and powerless.


We have hit a dead end in our arguments. He says I don't do the right things, and that his reactions are legitimate. I say that his angry reactions are what is making things worse. He says he believes in actions, not words, and will not admit that the hurtful things he has said are as injurious to the relationship as my actions (the causes of the fights, like not washing dishes, or breaking plans, or doing something that he says he asked me not to). He is generally a controlling person. He has recently been verbally abusive.


I let him know, because I knew that he crossed a line immediately when he called me names, and while he has stopped being verbally abusive, in a technical sense (no-name calling) he is still driven by anger. He is upset because I have labelled him as abusive, although I tried to explain I told him I felt emotionally abused in the situations, that I was not generalizing him as such. Ever since there has been a bigger rift between us. We argue more, and he brings up that I have framed him in such a negative way...destroying our perceptions of each other...our future.


I don't think we can get through this without counseling. He always wants to move on in a positive direction, but I think we are both so hurt by past problems that we cannot move forward without closure of our baggage. I need us to communicate better in order to move forward. I'm afraid to argue because it will make things worse, but I know holding back feelings will be damaging as well.


I know most people will say ditch him if he won't do it, but is it fair for me to pose ultimatums? Are there any other ways to repair besides counseling?

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Some guys don't want counseling because of the stigma, some because they don't like paying someone to fix their problems, some because they don't want to reveal their personal problems to others.


I can relate to you, my (ex?) b/f has been verbally abusive and apologized and hasn't done it again, but it is hard to trust someones intentions when they cross that line, it's hard to trust that they aren't being controlling even though they feel you've portrayed them negatively.


If he doesn't get help there is no way to stop it. Maybe an idea is to take a break, tell him you need a week to cool off and think and figure out where things are going and that he could think too. Maybe during that week he'll decide he loves you enough to try and fix it, maybe not. But a week without any contact at all is probably ideal. What do you think about that?

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Thanks Venus777


We've sort of taken this week off. Except living situation makes no contact difficult. We are supposed to talk tomorrow, hence me writing to this site today, but a no contact period is something I can present to him if we reach the same dead end. I think he will say one of the same things that he says to counseling...that if we need to take that step we are too far gone...but we'll see.

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I suggest you stop being afraid to break up and pose this as a likely solution if you DON'T go to counseling. In all honestly can you make the relationship work?... you have been trying for some time now with little or no success. Counseling seems to be your last option.


Let him know you care about this relationship and you have to figure this out together. If you didn't care about him and the relationship then you wouldn't be suggesting a way to fix things....right? Hopefully he will lower his guard and try it.


If he still does not agree...then stand your ground about how he treats you and how that makes you feel. You can tell him that this need to control you ( and everything) is driving you away ... I doubt that he wants to be alone. Remind him he has something to lose here too if he doesn't change his attitude.


Good luck

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I think he will say one of the same things that he says to counseling...that if we need to take that step we are too far gone...but we'll see.
Wrong, Wrong, Wrong


Counseling is needed by everyone. It may come in different forms - wise psychologist, wise parent or teacher, wise priest or pastor, books. We all need guidance. When we are in a committed relationship, we are in "in it together". And when one person refuses to seek assistance, hope dies. And when hope is dead, there is no future.


Not admitting there is a problem is a deal-breaker, and so is refusing to seek help for the problem.


If he refuses to seek help, the only way you can help him is by leaving him. He may or may not learn a lesson.

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