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Q: How to leave my boyfriend ( Answered,   9 Comments )
Subject: How to leave my boyfriend
Category: Family and Home > Relationships
Asked by: ellusion-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 13 Aug 2003 09:04 PDT
Expires: 12 Sep 2003 09:04 PDT
Question ID: 244252
I need a way to leave my boyfriend, but I have to make sure he doesn't
get hurt.
He is currently a Phd student, and should graduate within 1.5 years.
My original plan was to wait until he

graduate before I suggest a breakup, as I believe if I do so before
that he may have problem graduating.

I met him when I entered our department 2 years ago. At first I
promised to be his girlfriend without much

consideration, as he seemed as a great guy to me. But soon enough I
found out that we have too much

incompatibilities eg. personalities and thoughts. I have wanted to
leave my boyfriend since then, but I didn't

have the courage to try it again. The last and only time I mentioned
this to him was a year ago, but he was so

shocked that he banged his head on the wall so loud that I apologized
immediately and never dared to do so


The major reason is, I feel that during these 2 years, I have grown up
much more than him. I have already

tolerated this relationship for 2 years and I don't think I can bare
anymore... I'd be more than grateful if

there is a way I can leave him without hurting him too much.
Subject: Re: How to leave my boyfriend
Answered By: politicalguru-ga on 27 Aug 2003 04:13 PDT
Dear Ellusion, 

First of all, let me express my agreement with most of the comments
you received so far. I applaud your determination to end this
unhealthy relationship, and understand why it is so hard to do it.

Let's start with this episode of him banging his head against a wall
in order to "prevent" you for leaving him. As you must have already
figured, this doesn't indicate a sound personality, but one that uses
all kinds of emotional extortions and blackmails its ways through
life. This is, and of course, I hope I am wrong, the perfect profile
of a future violent boyfriend/husband: if he can't get what he wants,
he threatens to hurt himself and/or his partner. Discussion or retreat
is not an option, and having the partner is more important than
providing her with happiness or love. This is a person who should be
treated before he is dangerous to himself or others.

My first advice, is to estimate, if you think that he might do
something to himself (or worse, to you) after you break up. If so, I
suggest you'll take several precautions:
- Let people know that you're meeting. 
- Meet in a public place - quiet cafe/restaurant, park - somewhere
where he could not pull off to many "shows" and scenes.
- Let some friend of him that you know and trust, know about it. 
- If you really think he (or you) might be in physical harm, don't
hesitate to get professionals involved. In most campuses there's a
counsellor dealing with emotional abuse, like the one your boyfriend
puts you through. In every county, let it be the furthest and most
remote, there is some kind of helpline for abuse victims.
- Make sure that there is someone with you - close friend or family
member - afterwards, because it will be emotionally draining, and
might even be one of the most emotionally abusive events you're going
to experience.
- Plan what you mean to say. Run in your head scenarios of his
possible reactions and your reactions to them. Don't be caught off

However, having all these precautions don't mean that you don't have
to do it ASAP (I actually hope, that by the way you read it, you
already managed to break up with him ...), and very clear. Don't let
him interpret that as one of your other failed attempts to break up
with him. Don't let him understand that it would be okay if he tried.
This type of guys would use it against you. I would suggest a cold
clear cut - "I don't want to see you no more, only on
professional/faculty affairs", not something like "let's stay
friends". It might seem easier to break up through an email, a phone
call or a letter, but that's not fair. You have to face him and to be
clear about what you want to say.

I sense that you feel guilty leaving him, and don't want to hurt him.
I'm afraid that it means that his emotional abuse is effective. Your
feelings, and you as a human being, should come above such
calculations. If you care about him, you should tell him exactly
what's the problem with your relationships, which is more than just
"too much incompatibilities eg. personalities and thoughts" or even
that your "outgrew him". It his attempt to control you by putting you
in a position where you feel at unease not to do what he wants. You
could tell him, that if he really loves you, he should give you the
space you need, and not try to extort you emotionally into having him

Think of your and his future. Do you see a future of the two of you
together? You said yourself that you're staying with him only because
you're afraid he'll break apart if you don't. However, if you stayed
with him, it wouldn't stop. When he'll finish his PhD, he'll have
other pressures (finding a job after his graduation, for a start). I
guess you were just hoping it will die away, just like your liking for
him faded.

The period after the break-up was not mentioned by the commentators,
but it is very important that you'll be in a supportive environment
right after the break-up. Hang around friends and family, volunteer
somewhere (I would say, I hope it is not too mean, in a shelter for
battered wives, so you'll see where those who stayed with such men end
up), and do some sports, anything that would keep you from thinking
about how he handles the situation.

More Advices
"My boyfriend is emotionally abusive and I want OUT!", 

How to break up gracefully By Kristin Kloberdanz
- practically repeats what I said here about the meeting: plan ahead
what to say, go to a public place.

"How-To Break Up"
- very good advices.

I hope that answered your question. I used relevant terms (such as
["how to break up" ]) in order to locate more sites for you, but most
is based on experience. If you need any further clarifications on this
answer, don't hesitate to ask. I'd be pleased to clarify my question
before you rate/tip it.
Subject: Re: How to leave my boyfriend
From: respree-ga on 13 Aug 2003 09:29 PDT
You appear to be a very compassionate person.  I wouldn't beat
yourself up too badly.  You can be held responsible for how another
person feels.  He's going to feel however he want to feel.  I wouldn't
wait much longer though.  I have found that if you keep putting off
difficult things that must be done, they get harder, not easier, with

You may find these articles of interest.  Good luck.
Subject: Re: How to leave my boyfriend
From: respree-ga on 13 Aug 2003 09:30 PDT
Sorry, that should have read "you *can't* be held.."
Subject: Re: How to leave my boyfriend
From: mvguy-ga on 13 Aug 2003 09:39 PDT
To use a cliché, run, don't walk, to a counselor who can help you do
what you already know you need to do. I can't make a judgment without
knowing all the facts, but it appears that he is using his own
emotional insecurities to control you.  You already know it's not good
for you to stay with him. And the truth is, you aren't doing him any
favor either.  It is better for him to deal with your honesty.
Subject: Re: How to leave my boyfriend
From: akt4pay-ga on 13 Aug 2003 09:41 PDT
Anyone who bangs his head against a wall rather than deal with your
bringing up an issue needs more psychiatric help than you can give.
Even if you were a psychiatrist yourself you'd be too close to the
situation to effectively aid him.

My advice -and this sounds harsh because it is- is to get out as
quickly and cleanly as possible. Of course, there will be fall-out,
but this is inevitable. There is no such thing as a break-up without
hurt. I understand that you care about this person and want to cause
him as little pain as possible, but from your description this sounds
beyond your control. There are acceptable and unacceptable ways to
deal with hurt -it is unacceptable for him to try to physically harm
you or himself, but you can't prevent him harming himself. If the
relationship is making you miserable, you have to find it within
yourself to GET OUT. His graduating or not is not your concern - if
you're not his wife, stop acting like it.

Be careful, be strong, be resolute.  

I hate to bring this up -but the way you've described his personality
it sounds like there is a strong possibility that you may at some
point be in need of a restraining order. Perhaps how to go about
getting one is another question you should post?

Good luck.
Subject: Re: How to leave my boyfriend
From: snsh-ga on 13 Aug 2003 10:30 PDT
respree-ga: i think you were right the first time!  you CAN be
responsible for how he feels.  but, you CANNOT be responsible for what
he does (bang head on walls, disengage from life, not graduate, etc.)
Subject: Re: How to leave my boyfriend
From: vinods-ga on 13 Aug 2003 10:40 PDT
1. Does it seem unusual to you that he may be very attached to you? 
2. Are there any specific reasons for your "too much incompatibilities
eg. personalities and thoughts"?
3. It may also be that when you "promised to be his girlfriend without
much consideration", you were expecting a more casual relationship
than he was?
4. Whatever made you feel "he seemed as a great guy to me" that does
not hold for you now?

In any case, I would say you do what you want to do now instead of as
he would rather get the idea now that he may be expecting much more
from you than you are willing to give.

Why keep the big break from happening when it has already been
decided? It may for no reason become more complicated than it already
is, at least in your mind.

To "tolerate" something is more hurt than ever. When he will get to
know from you that you had 'tolerated' him for over two years, that
will make him feel worse.

In my opinion, you have much to blame yourself for, by your
indecision, and what you are trying to do now is to ask for anonymous
opinion to whet your decision / find you an alternate way to 'make it
easy' on him. Actually this is more to make it easy on yourself.

I feel you should reduce the sycophancy and be more active - vocalise
your feelings to him. Should he be "shocked that he banged his head on
the wall so loud" which I don't think he will do for a second time, do
let him do it. If he values his head (which I think anyone will) he
will stop before a concussion. Your stopping him and again 'promising
him not to dare' to bring it up again will be of no help.

Relationships are causal, they are dynamic, they are analogous to
'conditions of the weather'. I am sure he would have some things to
say about you in terms of "personalities and thoughts" that may cause
you to react too.

-  vinods-ga
Subject: Re: How to leave my boyfriend
From: probonopublico-ga on 13 Aug 2003 10:56 PDT
Will you still see him (say at places you both go to) after the big break?

One way is to have an excuse not to see him as much or at all.

Perhaps you could start a course that is going to be VERY demanding on your time?
Subject: Re: How to leave my boyfriend
From: yourguardianangel-ga on 25 Aug 2003 14:43 PDT

You don't need a way to leave your boyfriend. Can't you see!!!

While you are afraid of hurting his feelings, You are really hurting
yourself. I am sure everytime you go out without him you feel free and
comfortable but god forbid another person you are attracted to, should
become to close you feel guilty.

Honesty is the best policy. Just be plain honest and remain has
friends (if you can). If he can't accept that is not your problem.
Then he should get help for himself. We are all individuals on this
earth, and if you don't take care of yourself first you are not able
to focus right and give others your heart.

Guardian Angel
Subject: Re: How to leave my boyfriend
From: capitaineformidable-ga on 03 Nov 2004 14:42 PST
I've just noticed that this is quite an old question so I hope for you
that it is all done and dusted by now. Lots of good advice and many
valid points, so just to reiterate and make some new points. Don't be
the but end of his guilt feelings. If you do something I don't like
then I am going to (kill myself / flunk my exams / sulk forever) and
it will all be your fault. Well its not your fault, you are not
responsible for his bad behaviour so don't take the guilt trip. Make a
clean break. Agree to meet in a puplic place where he will not want to
make a scene. Nothing too fancy. The college library restaurant for
example where you can talk quietly but have some friends from the
football team on a nearby table if things get out of hand.

It's only human to want to put off something unpleasant for as long as
possible but don't do a three hour prologue before you get round to
making your point. By that time you might have forgotten what it
exactley was and the football team might have gone home. Get it in
within the first two minutes something like 'It was fun in the
beginning but things have changed and we must both realise that it is
not going to work out in the long run'. And 'Ive decided that it would
be better for both of us (or at least me)to end it now'.
Don't leave the door open with a weak comment like ' - if we ended it now'

On a more frivalous note I have always found that 'Piss off you bore
me' worked quite well for me but you sound like too caring a person
for this approach.

After having said all this its good to remember the words of a song by Donovan
(I'm giving my age away now)
       'There are no rules to follow. There is no advice to take.
       You're the only one who can give yourself a shake.'

The rest of your life may depend on how you handle this now.

Bite the bullet and the best of luck.

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