I think my boyfriend is abusive

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

My boyfriend and me have been dating for almost 3 months and we’ve known each other for almost 3 years. The first 2 weeks of our relationship he got mad at me because I broke up with him and he punched a wall and had scrapes and scratches all over his hand. I have broke up with him more than 8 times and each time he comes back to me. I am diagnosed with depression and bi-polar disorder so I’m kind of messed up too. He’s never physically hit me but he seems like he would eventually. I really don’t think he would cause he seems to love me so much but when he gets mad he goes crazy. I broke up with him in class and he took the book and slammed it. I think it’s my entire fault but I don’t know for sure. He’s very jealous and gets mad when I talk to other guys but I told him that I don’t care what he says cause I can talk to whoever I want and he was like yeah I know, I just wish you wouldn’t. But even my friends and mom say that they see him abusing me eventually and they want us to break up. I love him so much but sometimes I try to make up things to break up with him cause I don’t really like him that much. I have no idea what to do or what to think. I want him but then again I don’t. Please help me!!

A: It sounds like this relationship has you in a great deal of turmoil. You say he has come back to you 8 times. The real question is why do you let him?

The volatility of the relationship, the physicality of his actions, and your disappointment in his lack of consistency and control don’t sound like a match made in heaven. I suggest the next time you break up you gather some support for your decision. In the 3 months you’ve been dating you’ve broken up 8 times—which means the breakups average every 10 days or so—so the opportunity should happen shortly. But this next time I suggest you talk to a guidance counselor in your school about your situation and your concerns. He or she can help you as you untangle yourself from this relationship. When the fear that you will be physically abused is so clear the choice to stay in the relationship doesn’t make sense. I would definitely voice this concern to your school counselor and allow him or her the opportunity to work with you to find the right support.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 12 Oct 2010

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2010). I think my boyfriend is abusive. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 27, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/10/12/i-think-my-boyfriend-is-abusive/