I love my boyfriend of three years very much and we have recently moved in together. Things are mostly OK between us but every now and then he gets upset over a trivial matter and yells at me often using abusive language. Once he even slapped me. How do I stop this before the abuse worsens?
There is only one way to stop abuse: refuse to live with it. I am sure you’ve told him that you’ll leave if he continues to be abusive. Trouble is, he doesn’t believe you. Why not? Because it isn’t true.
If you really didn’t want to live with abuse, you wouldn’t have moved in with him. But you love him. How could you ever leave?
Here is some news for you and the rest of the lovesick. You don’t have to live with the person you love. You can tell him or her, “I really love you but I will not live with abuse. So I cannot live with you.” If the abuse continues, you say goodbye.
Tolerating abuse sets you up for abusive relationships. How can you attract a loving, supportive, non-abusive relationship if you settle for less? People who put up with abuse are not martyrs. They are getting something very valuable from the relationship. In between the abuse, things are fine. He is probably loving and caring. The truth is, you are not willing to forgo this. You want all the good things he offers you. Having moved in, you now want him to change. You don’t want the negative element. But that isn’t the deal. You need to realise he comes as a package. You get both: the good and the bad.
You think you are tied to him with love. But putting up with abuse isn’t loving either to him or to you.
What this is really about is need. You need him. Why? Because no one has ever loved you like this. Because no one ever made you feel special in this way. Because you are afraid of being alone. Because no one else will want you.
One of these will likely fit.
It’s time to be honest about your needs and your fears. Staying in an abusive relationship is a form of dishonesty. Embark on the hard work of self-discovery. What do you need and why? Where did your fears come from? How realistic are they?
Living in an abusive relationship is very destructive to your self-esteem. You are compromising your ideals and values. Over time, if you stay, you will be weakened emotionally, physically and spiritually. It is a very high price to pay.
It’s time you valued yourself more highly. Choose the course of action that is best for you in the long term. And don’t assume your boyfriend will change. Most abusers cannot see their own behaviour clearly. But if you leave him, it might just force him to take a long hard look at himself.