I’ve been with my boyfriend for one and a half years now. We moved to a new city together a couple months ago, because we both got a job at the same place. Ever since we’ve been living together, he has been getting angrier and angrier. He shouts out of anger at least once a day now. I’ve asked him to get help, but he refused to see that there is a problem. He says I’m just too sensitive, because I generally am a very sensitive person, but I’ve never seen anyone being so angry on a regular basis and I’m certain it’s not normal. He gets mean and insults me and later he becomes upset because I’m upset about it and;I should know not to take anything seriously that he says when he’s angry. I’ve thought about leaving him, but he keeps switching back to the sweet, caring person I fell in love with and then I can’t. Also, I can’t move out, because my dad would flip out, since he spent a lot of money on this appartment, our bed, the moving van etc. He wouldn’t understand and is generally a person who cares more about his money than other people (even his own children). I feel trapped and controlled in this relationship. I’m having bad breakdowns again and I know it’s mostly because of my boyfriend. Also I’ve started to develop feelings for a coworker and I don’t know whether to take them seriously or not, because I still love my boyfriend. He just seems like two separate people and the side I don’t love, comes out more and more often. I think the thing I’m most afraid of is being all alone. If I break up with him my depression might get worse, because I’ve only been keeping it together out of love for him. I also fear the money problems that would come with him leaving, hurting his feelings, the judgement of my friends and family for having failed another relationship and seeing him every day at work after the break up. I just don’t know what to do. I fear breaking up with him would make my already hard life so much worse, but I don’t feel comfortable in this relationship. I don’t feel free and I don’t feel like myself. What should I do? (From Germany)
It is time for your boyfriend to get help or go. Since your dad paid for the apartment, the move and the bed, I think it is fair to tell your boyfriend that the relationship isn’t working and unless he goes for some therapy individually or together with you in counseling, he has to leave. Don’t waste your time with someone who refuses to see their own issues and work on them.
You have the trifecta of indications that conditions will get worse if you don’t take control of this situation now. First you say you are trapped — staying in the relationship because you are afraid of his reaction or your depression through loneliness; secondly, although you are afraid to leave you are already having breakdowns in the relationship; and finally, you are noticing you are attracted to another person. These are the very ingredients signaling a need for change.
I encourage you to get some individual therapy first, and then give your boyfriend an opportunity to change or go. Waiting for things to get better isn’t a good option.
Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.
APA Reference Tomasulo, D. (2018). My Boyfriend Is Always Angry and I Can’t Break Up. Psych Central.
Retrieved on June 18, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2017/12/28/my-boyfriend-is-always-angry-and-i-cant-break-up/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.