Psych Central

Why am I Staying with my Boyfriend?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

OMG I am so confused and so frustrated by my confusion. If I am leaving my boyfriend and I know for sure that I am, then why do I care where he goes, who he’s with, what he does or who he does? It doesn’t make any sense to me! I don’t love him, never have, never will. And now I am to the point where I really don’t even like him. The entire time we were dating, he treated me poorly (disrespected me, took me for granted, called me names, blamed me for nearly all the problems etc.). I never could see a future with him and thought about leaving him at least once a day for the past year and a half. I was never happy in our relationship since it was always physical. We never talk about things, like I really don’t know that much about him. So I really do feel used. He wasn’t helping me with our son until recently, instead of taking me out on an actual date once a week he chooses to go out with his friends three times a week, instead of buying things that we still need for the apt or for his son, he buys himself toys…I could go on and on and on about all the things that he does that anger me, but there is really no need for that.

So why haven’t i left him already then? I should have left him like a year ago since our relationship has always been so bad, especially if I didn’t love him. I guess I was trying to give my son both parents, but how couldn’t I’ve known that my boyfriend wasn’t going to be a good dad because he really wasn’t a good boyfriend to me? How could I put my son in this situation? what was i thinking? I am just so disappointed right now :( My boyfriend is the biggest mistake of my life!

I know I have a choice, I could go and stay some place else and I know I would be happier that way. But why don’t I do that? Does it sound like I’m afraid to be alone? That I’d rather be in an abusive relationship in which I clearly am unhappy, rather then being alone? I am just so tired of living life like this, confused, irritated, miserable etc. I’m afraid that once i leave him I will still come back because I will feel bad for him and because I will miss him since I am so used to him. I am 100% sure that I want to end this relationship, but the first 2 weeks after a break up are the hardest and I’m afraid I’m not going to be strong enough to ever leave him for good…unless…I find someone else to replace him and see I don’t want to do that either. It’s unhealthy and really doesn’t look good for me. AAhhhhh I know I have to leave him and that I want to as well, but how do I do that without coming back to him again? Please, can anyone answer my questions? I could really use some help right now, thank you :)

A: The answer to your question is complicated. Women who are in abusive relationships take an average of seven attempts before they actually leave for good! Why? Lots of mostly bad reasons. I wrote an article for PsychCentral some time ago that outlines the most common ones. Go to this link for a fuller explanation than I can give you here.

In your case (and in the case of other women with children), I hope you will think of your son first. He doesn’t deserve to live in an atmosphere of barely controlled hostility. He shouldn’t be learning that an abusive relationship is normal. Make no mistake: That is what he is learning. Kids are all input at his age. He is taking in the choices you are making now and developing a map for how life should be.

Yes, making a relationship with this boyfriend was a mistake. But a bigger mistake is to keep on doing it. Please find the women’s center near you for some support and advice – especially during those first few weeks. You are not alone in your struggle to free yourself emotionally from someone you once loved. Women’s Resource Centers and therapists are expert in helping women like you both let go and move on.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 26 Aug 2012

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2012). Why am I Staying with my Boyfriend?. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/08/26/why-am-i-staying-with-my-boyfriend/