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I Need Boyfriend to Understand

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From the U.S.: My boyfriend and I have been together close to 10 years. Recently, I left him after an argument, one of many. It was the breaking point for me after spending years of him abusing me verbally, mentally, emotionally, and with his constant accusation of infidelity and drug abuse on a daily basis.

Because I left him he has not accepted that I need to work on my well- being as a whole and I can’t do it while dealing with his crap, so I need to be away from him, at the same time he needs to seek help as well for past history of abuse as a child, which he finally agrees to because he states he wants us in his life.

However, his constant texting/calling/messaging multiple times everyday is not allowing me to do what I need to do. If I don’t answer his text, he messages by messenger and if I don’t answer that, he calls and he sometimes pops up out of nowhere at our sons school or my parents where I am staying at and it’s causing me anxiety. Either way, He claims to miss us (I have our son with me) and loves us, yet questions as to what I am doing at that moment and where everyone is or wants us to come over and spend time with him.

Before leaving him, he always got aggravated if I didn’t spend time with him, even though I never went out of the house, except to go to my parents every other weekend to visit with my two oldest sons from a previous relationship, or to pick- up/drop- off our 4 year old son at HeadStart.

He works 3 days out of the week Fri-Sun and the rest he is home (unless he decides to work extra hours) and I was with him ALL THE TIME. I also understand that he has the right to talk to his son. But he expects me to talk to me afterwards, and I feel he uses our son as a way to talk to me.

He claims my lack of communication with him is because I don’t love him, yet I do. I just need to be alone to work on me because I’m a train wreck mentally, physically, and emotionally. I can’t take care or protect my son that way. How do I get him to understand that?

I Need Boyfriend to Understand

Answered by on -



A:  You will never get him to “understand.” The problem is not about getting him to understand. He perfectly understands what he is doing. He has always been controlling you and he is trying to continue controlling you now.

You are caught up in the cycle of abuse that is common in this kind of relationship. You keep trying to reassure him, to gain some distance, and to develop a life separate from him. The more you do that, the more he reasserts control. The more he controls, the more you try to reassure. It simply doesn’t, and won’t, work.

I strongly urge you to see if there is a women’s shelter or a domestic violence program near you. Such programs have counselors available who are familiar with the cycle of abuse and who can coach you about how to withdraw safely from this relationship.

I also urge you to consult with a lawyer about your rights. You may need a restraining order to get your boyfriend to respect some boundaries.

In the meantime, do contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1 800 799 SAFE (7233). From their website ( : “Our highly-trained advocates are available 24/7 to talk confidentially with anyone experiencing domestic violence, seeking resources or information, or questioning unhealthy aspects of their relationship.”

Stay safe: Controlling men often get angry and even violent if they learn that their partner is seeking help. If there is any chance your boyfriend can get access to your phone or your computer, erase this message and use a friend’s or a library computer or phone to contact the Hotline.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

I Need Boyfriend to Understand

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). I Need Boyfriend to Understand. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 5, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 14 Jul 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.