May 182011
 

Leaving a man you’ve loved for years isn’t just a physical move out of the house…it’s a painful emotional break. These tips on how to leave a man you love but can’t live with will help you decide if it’s time to say good-bye.

How to Leave a Man You Love Deal Breakers: When to Work On a Relationship and When to Walk Away by Dr. Bethany Marshall can help you decide if you want to leave this man you’ve loved for years. Knowing if it’s time to go is a difficult decision, even in the most toxic relationships. This book will help you decide what’s a deal breaker – things you can’t live with – and what you can live with because you don’t want to leave the man you love.

Before reading the tips, remember what Gloria Steinem said: “If the shoe doesn’t fit, must we change the foot?” If your relationship doesn’t suit you, don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to change! Sometimes the only thing you need to change is your circumstances. It’s hard to leave a man you’ve loved forever, but it is possible.

How to Leave a Man You Love

Here are some suggestions for leaving a relationship that’s been over for years or months, motivated by a reader’s question on my article about surviving a marriage crisis.

Deal with the fear that you’ll never be loved again. I’ve been stuck in bad relationships because I was scared nobody else would love me. I didn’t realize that there are plenty of good men who would love to love me, and who would be good for me! My self-esteem and self-confidence was rock bottom, and it held me back from moving on to bigger and better men. To leave your bad boyfriend, you need to build self-confidence.

Get rid of guilty feelings for leaving the man you’ve loved for years. Sometimes, women stay in bad relationships because they feel guilty, or don’t want to leave their boyfriends or husbands in a bad financial, emotional, or social situation. This is misplaced guilt and faulty reasoning! Don’t let negative emotions like fear of what people will think, fear of criticism, or guilt and shame keep you chained to a bad relationship. If you feel like you can’t leave your husband, read How to Survive a Loveless Marriage.

Picture yourself a year from now. Where do you want to be living? What do you want to be doing? Who do you want to be loving – and who do you want loving you? Often, focusing on our goals – our wish list – can give us motivation and strength to do what we need to do…even if it involves letting go of someone we love.

Accept the help you need. Here’s a sobering thought from Gloria Steinem: “If women have young children, they are one man away from welfare.” But, accepting financial help from the government is far more preferable than staying in a bad relationship! When I was a kid, we were on welfare for most of my childhood – and my mom was single, free, and independent (well, as independent as you can be when you rely on the government for support).

leaving a man you love

“How to Leave a Man You Love” image by Laurie

Start asking questions. “God may be in the details, but the goddess is in the questions,” said Steinem. “Once we begin to ask them, there’s no turning back.” Asking questions opens up new possibilities, new ways of thinking, new ways of being in the world. Also, I recently learned that women respond to love in different ways than men, which makes it even more difficult to find the strength to leave a man you’ve loved forever. Is it possible that you can figure out how to leave a man you love but can’t live with by learning how he gives and receives love?

Questions to ask yourself about your life:

  • Who am I now…and who do I want to become?
  • If not now, when?
  • Who do I admire?
  • What did I want my life to be like when I was young, naïve, idealistic, passionate?

Questions to ask yourself about bad relationships and leaving men who aren’t good for you:

  • What am I getting out of this relationship, which I know is bad for me?
  • Who is watching me in this relationship – my kids, nieces, neighbors, family members, friends? What are they learning about me, about life?
  • What would I do about this relationship if I knew I would not fail?

You don’t need to know the answers to these questions right now. Just sit with them, let them simmer in the back of your mind. One day, you’ll be ready to make a decision to be strong and leave your partner…or be strong in a different way, and stay.

Are you struggling to find the strength to leave a man you’ve loved for years? I encourage you to listen to your gut and your brain, and do what it takes to create a life that makes you happy and fulfilled.

For more tips on leaving a man you love, read How to Let Go of Someone You Love.


Fix Your Marriage

When He Says He Doesn’t Love You Anymore is another article I wrote on leaving a man you love, but can’t live with because he doesn’t want to be with you. It may help you let go and move on with your life.

Summary
Article Name
How to Leave a Man You Love - But Can't Live With
Author
Description
Tips on how to leave a man you love but can’t live with, to help women decide if it’s time to say good-bye.
I welcome your thoughts, but I can't give personal advice or feedback. It may help you to share your experience in the comments section below - writing often brings clarity and insight.

  43 Responses to “How to Leave a Man You Love – But Can’t Live With”

  1. Leaving a man you’ve loved for years or even decades might be the hardest decision you ever make…and also the most liberating. Your relationship won’t change, and unless you want to stay feeling trapped, insecure, unhappy, and unloved…you need to be the one to change.

  2. I have read numerous responses on this site. I feel for all of you. At this time, Most of my issues are similar with the man I love. I just wanted to put this out there for many of you woman who have men who lie, don’t keep promises, and don’t share intimacy or communication. I have just researched and read a few books on “Passive Aggressive Disorder.” These men who are elusive, never take responsibility for their actions and never fulfill your emotional needs…are passive aggressive. Read about it. You may discover you’re not crazy after all and that your husband or boyfriend have a real problem.

  3. Dear Carla,

    Thank you for your comments – I’m glad to hear from you. I agree, my ideas for leaving a man you’ve loved for years are quite general.

    Here’s an article I just wrote for you, offering more specific tips:

    http://theadventurouswriter.com/quipstipsrelationships/prepare-walk-away-relationship/

    Somehow, I get the feeling that even that article is too general! What sort of specific tips are you looking for? Do you think it’s possible to get the answers before living through the breakup? I’m not 100% sure I know what you’re looking for….and I believe that it may be impossible to line everything up perfectly before taking the leap into a breakup.

    Breakups are messy, life is messy, and sometimes the only way through is to take one step at a time in the dark.

    That said, however….I wonder if I should write an article on setting up a home after years of living with someone. A list of all the things that need to be taken care of, from electricity to internet to insurance. Would that help, do you think?

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  4. I read your article, but find that it is rather general in it’s language. I have been in a relationship for 11 years, good and bad with the same man – but as I look around, I find that I can no longer handle the bad. I can no longer be lied to, be betrayed. We live together, are finances are mixed. I was hoping that the good would last and grow, but instead it cycles. I am not high maintenance in regards to belongings but I ask for fidelity, loyalty, honesty, and respect – all which I give willingly and lovingly, until lately. I am tired. I am ready, but how! How do I walk away from 11 years, how do I prepare to move my things and sort a home and at the same time deal with the barage of emotion that will come from him and within. I feel trapped in the prison of my own making and I almost think he knows this and takes full advantage of it. The roses of sweet love have wilted, tears now only take their place. I can’t live like this, brokenhearted and disrespected.

    • I’m in the same situation! I just want to feel secure! I can’t even talk to him about my feelings bcuz he blows up on me! I feel like I have to deal with it or just move on! He doesn’t even take the time to console me! I found 2 msgs that he replied to 2 whores on craiglist n I’m supposed to just take it was a big mistake at heart n never ever question it again! He is his own boss n runs around all day and not one phone call! If I bring it up he yells and gets mad that we already discussed it!! I’m supposed to just accept that my man wanted sum whores pictures!!! I want to just walk away!!! But I love him! I feel so insecure that it’s killing me inside yet I can’t talk to him abt it! I am fighting with myself internally! I need to move on! I need help to do this. I feel stuck between love and insecurity! ;((

  5. Dear Danielle,

    Thank you for being here, and for sharing this part of your life!

    It sounds like you’d really like to have a relationship with your boyfriend’s sister, but she isn’t interested. In fact, she doesn’t seem to be a nice person to anyone. She has her own issues that prevent her from forming relationships and attachments to people.

    Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to change her or your boyfriend. He doesn’t see a problem, and thus won’t do anything about his sister.

    It’s up to you to decide if you can stay with your boyfriend in this relationship, exactly the way it is. Unless something unusual (a miracle!) happens, his sister will continue to treat you the way she has been. The only person you can change is yourself — your expectations of your boyfriend. I’m not saying you SHOULD expect more from him…I’m just saying that the only person you have any control over is you.

    Your comments inspired me to write this article:

    http://theadventurouswriter.com/quipstipsrelationships/my-boyfriend-doesnt-stand-up-for-me/

    I hope it helps you a little, and invite you to come back and let me know what you think.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  6. Hi Laurie,

    I’m new to this site but was wondering if you have any articles on how to deal with a lover that never stands up for you? I am having issues with my boyfriend having my back when it comes to his sister…

    My bf and I are in our mid-20s and I have been with him for a little over two years – for most of our relationship his sister has always been very cold to me; she usually makes very judgmental comments to me when he isn’t around and ignores me if I ever text/call her to try and create a relationship with her or invite her to get-togethers that he and I are having. This always leads to a call from his mom or stepdad the next day wondering why I didn’t extend an invitation to his sister, which is untrue. She has also told me that I am the direct reason that she and her brother never spend time together anymore (which is untrue, she moved to a different state after she graduated college) and says that the one thing she misses most is being the number one girl in his life.

    Family is so important to the both of us and I really want to have a relationship with her but I’m afraid that will never be possible – the last thing I ever want to do is put a wedge between my bf and one of his family members but i just feel like her affection for him is becoming a little too much to handle lately.

    He has told me that she has acted like this with his previous GFs, and currently treats his brother’s GF the same way – a woman that she hasn’t even met yet. I also noticed she was very nice to her stepsister to her face but once she left my BFs stepdad’s house she started saying EXTREMELY inappropriate things and making wild accusations about her – and she is only 13. His brother is very nice to me but he let it slip one night that my BFs sister makes discouraging remarks about me to my BF when I’m not around. When I tried to talk to him about it, he said that it never happened. At first, I wanted to believe him but I witnessed her saying disrespectful things about me to our friends this last weekend when she thought I wasn’t around.

    I love him very much but he claims that he has never done anything about it because he hasn’t “witnessed” it. I’ve tried talking to him about it on several occasions but this usually ends up with me giving in because I feel so defeated. Her jealousy is very discomforting and is starting to seem very inappropriate. I realize siblings should adore each other – I know I love and respect my siblings beyond belief and have very good friendships with them, but my BFs sister is very physically affectionate with him – something that he does not reciprocate but also doesn’t ignore. For instance, if he and are holding hands, she tries to hold his hand (he always ignores it and she pouts and walks away), she rests her head on his shoulders in public areas when I’m around and inappropriately pokes his nose with her fingers the same way an affectionate couple would. Needless to say, I and his friends who are around find her behavior a bit disturbing and have actually said something to me about it.

    I know I’m not ready to give up on our relationship – I know he loves me and I love him more than anything. My friends have told me not to care about what his sister thinks of me but I am afraid that this could possibly never rectify itself and in the end family prevails. I am also afraid that if he won’t stand up to his sister for me, then he will never stand up for me to anyone. I get along famously with his family and adore his mother and grandmother – I just feel very defeated and like “I’m not good enough” for him whenever his sister is around.

    Do you have any advice? Do you think there is anything I can say/do that could help the situation? Thanks so much in advance, your website has been helpful beyond belief.

  7. Dear Christy,

    How did it go – did you leave him? I am praying for you, that things are going well as you settle into your new life and that you make friends who support and love you.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  8. Me to lady’s…I’ve been cheated on.lied to,robed,he abused me in every way hecould . I have a 8 yr old he has been mean to all of this in 4 yrs an I left him a yr ago an went back after 6months. I loved him so much I be leaved him when he said he would never treat me like that again. It was nice for a month but after that it got worse he just got a job an now it worse .I just got done with College an he is paying the bills last night he went to the store for a beer an came home four hours later I can see the store from my house!!! I packed his stuff in a hour I’m going to get him from work an tell him to hit the road even if I lose my house.I’m so sad I have no friends becuz of him I just have to do it…. pray for me plz

    • Christy u broke my heart reading this! How are u today? I too have been secluded from everybody bcuz I gave him my whole life! I don’t know how to live without him! But I’m going to have to make a change! I too will lose my house n my vehicle n my world but I need to start from scratch bcuz living like this is unbearable!

  9. Dear Sherry,

    Sometimes a woman’s love isn’t enough to build a healthy, happy relationship. In fact — I’d say a woman’s love is more or less NEVER enough. Her man has to step forward, or she has to learn how to be content with half a boyfriend.

    I wrote this article for you:

    http://theadventurouswriter.com/quipstipsrelationships/how-do-i-make-my-boyfriend-love-me/

    If love was enough, you wouldn’t be here. Your love is strong and true, but it’s not the foundation of a healthy relationship. The foundation has to be both of you making sacrifices and expending energy on your relationship.

    I can’t help you understand why he’s emotionally distant. I also don’t really think his reasons matter, because it won’t change anything.

    Let me know what you think of what I said in the article.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  10. Hi – I’ve been in a relationship with my boyfriend of almost 4 years. When we’re together, it’s good, some people have actually thought we were married that’s how well we complment each other. Our relationship started off strong, he is 48 and I am 45, we both have kids from our previous marriage, but our kids all love each other. We do not live together, we each have our own homes. The problem is he is very close off, he’s never said that he loves me in 4 years. If I say it – it scares him away. So, many of you may wounder – why do I stay with him? Because I fell in love with him. When we are together its great, sex is great, but he can’t communicate his feelings. If I bring up us and where our relationship is headed, he says “I need some space” or “I don’t want to talk about it right now” or he’ll go MIA for a few days to a week and what I mean by that is NO phone calls, NO text, NO emails – however you get a few beers in him and he’s all over me. I don’t understand him, one moment he wants me there all the time and the next he disappears. His own mother has told me that she tought he maybe suffers from depression, but I don’t know – I firmly believe he just doesn’t know how to love or show it. I love him with all my heart & soul, I would die for this man, but to him I’m nothing besides someone he can call for a good time. I want to end the relationship becauce I don’t feel that we are growing together, but I fear that if he does suffer from depression and end things that – that just might send him over the edge. I want to be in a happy-healthy relationship with him and he’s the man I want to grow old with, but I don’t think that he feels the same way. I feel like I’m a relationship that doesn’t even exisit, and I hurt. I want to be loved and care for by him, but I have nothing left to give.
    Please help me to understand the man I love – Why he can’t love…
    Sincerely,
    Sherry

  11. Angie on November 1st. It’s like reading about myself. I’ve been with my husband 7 years though. He has made life so hard. Yet i stay. I don’t know why because i know i deserve better and so do my children. When we are good he can be my bestfriend. But its a very rare thing these days. I’m hurt all the time. I have no trust in him. He lies and makes all the wrong decisions. In and out of jail and has had drug problems. When i read this back i think “you mug. Leave.” but i can’t. Its not like i can’t manage on my own because when he was inside i struggled but i managed it. Its the thought of him making someone Happy when he can’t me. When he’s promised not to break my heart but has. I’m an idiot for listening to his crap. He will never change. I need to find the strength to get him out my life. No more ideal threats. But when he’s gone i can’t think straight. I’m on the phone ringing him screaming at him cos i want him to come home. I want him to want me. To put my feelings first. But it never happens. Then were back to “normal” for a few hours or a day Maybe afew. But constantly I feel gloom. When will he mess up again. Where’s he going. I need help. I feel like I’m cracking up! Scratching my own face and pulling on my hair is not normal behaviour but i Just feel rage when he walks out and acts cold. I’m sorry for the long msg. On my phone so can’t even scroll up to see my babbling! You know. Life was so much easier when he was inside. :(

  12. Dear Ann,

    It sounds like you’re in a very painful relationship. Your partner has issues with love, doesn’t he? He can’t give or receive it. That’s very sad for him, you, and your child.

    Maybe it’s good that you live apart, because he is so toxic and unloving. Are you thinking about getting out of this relationship?

  13. I have been in this relationship for 7 years. Im not allowed to say I love you. He hates my guts and tells me every time he’s mad that he doesn’t want to be with me. Then there’s days he treats me really good but he insist never to say I love you even during good times. We have a 17 month old and we live apart. I wouldn’t wish my life on anyone. If someone told me 7 years ago this is where I would be I wouldn’t believe them. I don’t know myself at all . I’m lost in my sad world.

  14. If you feel freaked out and scared by your man, then you need to look at your relationship. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve loved him; what matters is how happy you are and how healthy your relationship is.

    What would you tell your best friend, if she was in a relationship like yours? What advice would you give her?

  15. Ive been with my boyfriend for 5 years now and were supposed to be getting married but the closer we get to signing the papers the more freaked out i get… I love him to death but i dont think im in love with him anymore. I dont know what to and cant handle the bills on my own.. Im sooo lost. What do i do!?

  16. Im going through a tough time as well rigt now ive been in a relationship for over 5 years im currently 24 years old hes 2 years yunger and there for verry immature i had so much dedication and love for him but i feel like im worn out i want a better economical situation cause i work but he only works certain months of the year and even though he makes good money on those months he spends it faster than he makes it and thats where i have to put in all of my hard earned money to the point i have no clothes cause its all reggety and i want to studdy and i cant due to this.
    i just feel drained but i feel so guilty for giving up on everything weve worked so hard on hes a great boyfriend when it comes to expressions hes verry sweet and caring but its just not enough im living a verry medeocre life with him and i want more for my self and i still have no children so i know im on the right time to get my life back but im afraid of hurting his feelings.
    im afraid that this might be a mistake and i might regret leaving him latter but im really trying to think with my head and keep focused on my life goals so i want to leave on may 2013th.
    I would apreciate some advice…

  17. This really hit home with me. I find myself extremely torn. My husband and I have three children and have been together over 12 years. During this time, we have split up multiple times. This last time, I already had the papers drawn up even but low and behold he is home and I am miserable. Despite loving him, it is simply not enough. My biggest issue is that my middle child became so distraught with him gone, repeatedly telling me that he knew his dad was going to change this time. Our relationship is beyond dysfunctional! Although he has never physically abused me, there is the emotional abuse, lying and just a feeling of gloom I feel when he is around. We were young, only 19 when we got together and if I knew then what I knew now, I would have ran then. Over the last twelve years his problems have done everything but destroy me and our lives. Addiction, multiple arrests, inability to keep a job, you name it. Now, here I am in my early thirties with nothing despite a professional degree. Sorry this post is so long but I just never realized that there were other women in this same predicament. I just wish there were an easy solution that wouldn’t hurt my children.

  18. I have never read anything like this before. I didn’t realize there were so many others out there in bad relationships like mine.
    I can not really talk to anyone because they wouldn’t understand the drama nor would they even care…. I have been with my boyfriend for 5 years now. It has been hell. He’s lied, had a very ugly violent drinking problem, verbally abused me, snuck around behind my back. A few years ago, he tried to change. He stopped drinking, and stopped going out all the time. He says I should be grateful that he changed, but I am not. I am miserable with him. He is not affectionate, doesn’t appreciate everything I do for him, I respect and support him, yet he has never supported me, never understood me, never listens or completely ignores me. He says he loves me through text, but can’t show it. Ever. He ridicules my religion. He is jealous of my 8 year old son. He constantly reminds me of what’s wrong with me, why I make him so angry. He laughs when I am expressing loneliness, he says I am crazy when I tell him his behavior is distant and cold, he says he doesn’t have to say or show love more then once a year or whenever he feels it!!! I love him. I care so much about his feelings. I respect him and I want him to be happy. But why doesn’t he care if I am happy? I am so miserable with him, why can’t I just leave? I am shocked to see there are so many other people out there in such unhappy relationships. I thought I was the freak.

  19. I have been with my boyfriend for 5 years we have 2 children and are expecting our 3rd. I love this man with everything but I am no longer in love with him. He constantly lies and goes behind my back but I havent the courage to leave because of my children. I dont want to have to “share” them or for them to be used to hurt one another and I never want him to try to take them away I would literally die without my children. Please someone help!

  20. I have been married for 20 years. I don’t like to have sex with him at all. I really don’t see myself growing old with him. I see myself growing by myself and being happy. I am broke and need a job. I am so sick of doing things his way. Im tired of the compromise. I dont want to have to explain why I want out. I just want out. I just wish he would find someone else and relieve me of this misery.

  21. Hello, i I too am in a dilemma. I have been with my boyfriend for six years. Like four months into the relationship it turned into a long distance one because he moved away with his family. I was still in high school so I could not relocate. It went well except for a period in which he became distant but we ended up getting back together. The next years were difficult because being apart just made him loose hope at times. I finally made the move and came to live with him a little over a year ago. It went well in the beginning, and then I found out that in that period where he became distant he had cheated on me. It is difficult to forget. Ever since it has been just o but I have come to know him and realize there are things about him that I just cannot live with. He does not keep promises or go through with that he says he will do. He lies a lot, whether its something big or small. His marijuana habit is just unnecessary to me, he is unable to stop and I feel like he should be man enough to realize he has to grow up and it’s just not ok anymore. His priorities are out of order. He has become so boring and predictable in bed and does not care to please me. He is not affectionate like he was when we would see each other. I am just not content and cannot see myself being happy with someone like him for the rest of my life. I want to move away but feel bad because I do love him dearly, I can no longer even sleep without him by my side. He does love me and says nothing has changed about the way he feels about me. I want to leave at times, actually more often than not. He makes me upset on a daily basis. He says I have a temper and attitude problem and I nag. Which is true, but it always is because of him showing immaturity and lack of interest in bettering himself or trying to better our relationship. I have throughout tears come close to making the decision to leave, but I am scared. Scared it might not work out for me on my own, or that I might not find someone to love me or accepts me with my flaws and medical condition. I also think about small details such as leaving and taking my bed and him not having something to sleep on. It hurts me because i love him with all my heart, but here recently I am unhappy, and he says he loves me and still wants to be with me for the rest of our lives. I just want changes to be made and nothing is happening. I do not know what to do. This is tearing me to shreds, so painful.

  22. Hi, i have some simularities to some of you. I been with my boyfriend for 8 years but for the past almost year i find myself unhappy. He has a problem with drinking and sometimes he gets violent. He is the sweetest person when he is sober but when he gets drunk he is an asshole, not just to me but to everyone. We have two beautiful kids together 4 yrs and 2 months but he fights with me in front of them and they cry. I dont want to leave him because of the children, but i want to because im not happy. I dont want my kids to grow up like i did with no father in their life.. What should i do??

  23. I have been with my husband for over 12 years married for 10. I tried to break up with him when we first strated dating, then after 1 year, then came the first baby. Second baby soon after and I tried to leave again when they were 4 and 5. I just wasnt happy, and felt like I would b leaving him alone if I left. Now its been over 12 years, we have 3 children now, still in the same place, broke, fighting, and I just cant make the choice to go. I work full time, and he stays home because the youngest is almost 3 and when our first 2 were little, I stayed home. So I work full time, sometime over 50 hours in the week, and i am just so unappriciated. All of the kids are fighting all the time cause thats what they see, and I just don’t know how to leve!!?? HELP!!!

  24. Janell, I wrote this article for you:

    You Love Him, But You’re Not In Love With Him…Should You Break Up?

    I’ll try to answer the other comments, but am a bit behind!

  25. I’m 30 and I’ve been in a relationship for 6 years, I have 3 children, 2 of which are my boyfriends’. For the most part he is a good person, we were brought up differently with different values and beliefs.. Our biggest issue is our parenting styles. My oldest child (who is not his) doesn’t like him. We don’t have much in common and our communication is almost non-existing. I have talked with him several times asking for compassion, compliments and the need to compromise with parenting and right after the conversation I will get text messages with a compliment but he can’t even be personal enough to do it in person. I don’t feel like he supports me. I just finished school which was difficult having three children and he never thought it was important or felt the need for me to do this.. His lack of motivation drives me crazy.. I have thought for the last 3 years about leaving and 2 kids later I just feel guilty! I love him, but I’m not “in love” with him. The kids love him and visa versa.. Is it selfish of me to take them away from their daddy, the home the know just because I’m done? I could keep on trucking through the relationship, but I know that If we didn’t have kids I would have been gone a long time ago. I know the relationship could be muh worse, but it could also be so much better. I just don’t see anything changing. My biggest fear is 5 years from now still feeling this same way.

  26. I recently left my husband of 3.5 years(together 7.5 years). We were together from my 18th birthday approx. It was an unhealthy relationship for quite some time but for many reasons I stayed. In the beginning I was young and naive. He was my first relationship, and he likely exploited my inexperience. He had a child around 1 year old when we met and he of course told me he was single. I’m sure he lied to his ex since they ended up having a second child, conceived 8 or 9 months after we started dating, and just before he moved in with me. At the time his actions matched his stories so I believed him. The cheating changed a lot. For some reason I stayed!
    To keep this from getting too long, over the next 6-7 years he has lied daily, cheating consistently, and belittled me for it. The most recent and damaging affair began just before we married (didn’t know it then). He never respected my needs (once I confronted him and he confessed) as far as cutting her out of his life. To this day he is in touch with her!
    We have a 10month old and upon learning I was pregnant I’d told myself id try again, thinking if he was ever going to grow up and change, now is the time. Well he didn’t. He’d be out whenever he wanted, with whomever. He’d be gone days at a time, and took a vacation while I was 8+ months pregnant. I was in labor almost 24 hours and had an emergency c section which required general anesthesia. I was in the hospital 4 more days and he visited once, for an hour. My daughter was in NiCU a week, and he only came with me to visit if I got on his case. He has no license so I had to get rides to the hospital. Throughout the pregnancy i was so excited and happy, but he was always ashamed and depressed. He literally ruined this experience for me, although I’m eternally optimistic and ignored his negativity. After his 8day vacation I mentioned, he told me he’d thought about not coming back at all! Shortly after, week or so, he admitted to still talking to his mistress. He doesn’t understand (he claims)why he can’t be friends with her because he cares for her. He says it isn’t her fault what happened, but she met me, and the affair happened in my home. She was there daily while i worked and supported my husband and step kids.
    Anyway! So I left him, finally. I feel very guilty, not that I did anything, just that his life sucks. He doesn’t tell me where he lives, and works for a low wage. He didn’t go to college, although I did while working and raising his kids. He has 0 excuses… I’m just way too kind hearted and understanding. I now moved in with my mom, since I have debt he created (although I didn’t stop it) to pay and the only provider for my daughter. The latter I don’t mind except it hurts he pays $800 to his ex girlfriend for his older 2 kids but nothing to me. In the divorce papers (soon to be court order) he owes $375 a month – childcare is $1100 and health insurance $150 alone). He also has his share of the debt to pay but I won’t see a penny, he has no money. He “tries” to pay but “can’t.” And of course he still “loves me” which makes the emotional side so much harder. He did agree to me having sole custody which is my #1 priority so that I am thankful for. So many details throughout the years would clarify why that is so important to me but it’d take a novel!

    Any insights as to if he really means what he says? I have no plans to return to him just curious if he is as miserable as he makes it seem. He’s a very social creature so the bitterness in me doesn’t believe him.

    Any advice for ridding myself of this guilt?

  27. hi,
    i have a boyfriend and we have been together for 3yrs now..about a month ago i noticed a big change in him..hes goin out more and texting alot on his phone..one time i went thru his phone and found text messages between him and some girl..wen i askd bout it ofcourse he said he didnt knw wat i was talkn bout..but ever since then it hasnt stopd..so now i have this gut feeling ive never had before..and it wnt go away…i swear hes cheating!! HELP!!

  28. I am a bisexual female. For the first time I am in a relationship with a woman.
    Its not going well. I sometimes feel like killing myself, but I wont.
    She complains about me constantly. She even said she would help me get
    my own apt. because our relationship isnt working.
    However, I am not working. I am afraid I may not find work just at the time she decides to stop helping me financially.
    I really adore her, but; know its time for us to move on.
    How can I find the courage to leave her?
    I imagine myself all alone in a cold dark apt. that I worry about keeping.
    I imagine myself alone for many years to come, struggling.

  29. it was very dificult for me to live my boy friend but i know he was cheated me for very long time last septembur i know he was doing ryt because i am not belong to his religion i know he was engaged with some one else i know her name also but i don’t know anything about that i told hundred time pls tell me the truth but he will not saying me the truth you don’t know how i feel when i heard herfriend calling him bhabhi when i called him then he said not bhabhi jaya it was really killing me inside i know every thing about him but then also i am with him what should i do pls tell me pls i have to come over all the things so pls help me i love him alot:(pls help me what should i do should i tell all the thing with her friends or not what should i do…???

  30. Hi Joe,

    I wrote this article for you, and for everyone who wants to leave a man they’ve loved for years, but fear being alone:

    You’re Scared to Be Alone, But Know You Need to End Your Relationship

    I hope it helps you move forward! Leaving a man you love is so difficult, but sometimes you just know that it’s over. The tricky part is gathering the courage and strength to actually leave.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  31. Hi,
    I guess I’m the only guy on here, but I hope I am welcome. I’m gay, & in a monogamous relationship. Unfortunately, I’m the only one in it. I am in bad financial shape because I’m disabled. I love my partner with all my heart, but I can relate to the empty look in his eyes, never hearing I love you unless I say it first, & really am made to feel unwanted. I am honest, good- hearted, and faithful. I would go to the ends of the earth for him, but I just feel like I’m an inconvenience. I’m not physically abused, but emotionally. Not just a little, but A LOT. I have been lied to, cheated on, yelled at often. I’ve NEVER betrayed him whatsoever, nor have I ever had the desire to do so. I confide in family/friends, pray constantly, but things seem to stay the same or get worse. It’s been so bad, I’ve contemplated suicide, but that’s not what I want. I just want some peace & tranquility in my life. We’ve been back together 5 1/2 yrs. after splitting up in 1990. He always has been, & always will be the one true love of my life. I have a tremendous fear of being alone, but even with us living under the same roof, I’m as lonely as anyone can possibly be. I realize it’s over, & I can’t end the relationship & stay as a roommate watching him run around. I can see he’s unhappy, which makes me unhappy. I’d be doing him a favor by leaving, because at least he would have the freedom I know he wants. I’ll be unhappy until I can find a new “groove” to my life, which I pray I can. Please offer ANY suggestions! Thank you kindly!

    God bless,
    Joe

  32. Hello,

    I’ve been with my boyfriend for almost five years now, and he is very good to me. He spoils me in every way he knows how, and I truly love him for everything. But what he gives me and what I want are not the same. I feel pressured to fit in this mold he and his family hav created for me. I feel never good enough, even if he says I am.
    But this biggest issues come in out core values. We are different religions and have opposing life goals. My dreams and plans have always come second to his. Despite the fact that I live him with all my heart, I have decided that leaving is my only choice. I hare myself and feel so guilty for leaving him, but I know staying is even worse. It’s devastating to leave the man you love knowing that you will never see him again once you walk out the door. For me, leaving means moving back home, to the other side of the country where I have family and support. It will be like hitting the reset button- and I’m completely terrified.

  33. I believe there is no hope left for my relationship. I look into his eyes and I see a distant vague look other than a stoned look. His friends seem to know more about him than I do but unfortunately that has always been our problem, mates and drugs. 14yrs and 4 beautiful children and that doesn’t even seem to interest him. His father was not there growing up and so he thinks that JUST being there is enough? I believe that “any person can have a baby, but it takes a REAL person to raise one!”
    I feel like he sees me more as a mother than a partner due to his mother, well , he’s got parent issues. He wasn’t the only one. His were not abusive as much as mine were. Its taken me years to re-cooperate and I still have nightmares. Anyway, He can take off and drop us like it’s hot and leave me to deal with the kids and the chores and paying the bills. I get no social life. There are get togethers but I hate having my kids around drunks, as we live in a small community, I grew up around this and it was not good. So I will go home and he stays.
    When I need him to do important matters concerning our family, he makes excuses or says no, as soon as a mate rocks up – gone like the wind.
    I have exhausted every avenue and cried until my well went dry. I honestly can’t stand the sight of him. All I see are lies and this stupid vacant look that makes me get this horrible ache in my throat and gut and then I just want to beat him stupid to realize that what he is doing is wrong!
    He is soo lazy!!! Drops and runs. I teach the kids to pick up after themselves and he teaches them to pick up after him. Your house is allowed to be a little chaotic with children but I hate picking up after fully grown adults. He brings them around, they make a mess and take off and he leaves me to deal with the mess. He says he has to work, I did too until we had a son with a condition now I a full time Mum, which is cool. I was glad to stop work, due to working and going home to the kids and cleaning, because he did nothing back then too except what he’s still doing now.
    I am a strong woman but he makes me weak. I am very independent but feel I need him. I am an honest, reliable, devoted and loving woman who loves and adores her family with every beat of her heart – So, Why am I last on his list?
    I think it’s emotional blackmail he is putting me through. In previous relationship it was physical abuse and I know no one should have to endure any abuse but I would rather be beaten, for those scars go away. I hardly even think about or see myself with bruises but I remember EVERY emotional aspect of it. Abuse is Abuse though!!!
    He has no spontaneity and passion and family days are ruined due to his habits. I’m bored of same ol’ same ol’. He’s unwilling to change as I have given years of time too. I believe Me and Our children deserve better. They’re used to not seeing him so it could be ok? Yeah right, believe me I’m not that gullible.
    There is only one thing worse than loneliness and that is being in a relationship and feeling alone! It’s a sad and unfortunate reality and I never wanted it to be like this but it’s unhealthy for everyone concerned. I usually bottle everything in because I’m to embarrassed to allow anyone to see how stupid and pathetic I look.There are so many other factors involved but this is just the short version. So thank you for allowing me to unburden my soul as it has been so weary and draining.

  34. Well, I’ve been on my own for three months now, but it’s really hard. I keep telling myself every day that I made the right decision. I struggle every day, because there’s always something reminding me of him, although every day it becomes less and less. But I’m really afraid of the holidays coming up; I don’t want to be alone. My oldest son is still not talking with me and I’m devastated, my kids are my life. So I’m counting on my family very heavily to help me get through this time.
    All I can say at the moment is I take everything with a grain of salt and trying not to let anyone make me feel guilty, for taking care of myself. My therapist keeps telling me I have to learn to love me and I have to stop saying negative things to myself too. How do you love yourself?
    I’m going to keep going along and see what happens, I hope happiness is out there for me.

  35. Well, I’ve finally made the decision to leave, my move out date is 8/19/11 and I’m feeling so scared. I think I have all my ducks in a row, but still I have this incredible guilt for leaving him. My two boys who still live at home are really not talking to me, because I’m leaving. They are 24 and 21, old enough to understand, but still struggling with me leaving. I don’t think they remember, I am the one who always was there for them, and my husband chose to do his own thing. I’m going to therapy and it has helped tremendously. I hope this all works out and I’m making the right choice.

  36. Dear Jennifer, Sherry, and JE,

    Thank you for sharing your lives here! Jennifer and Sherry, your situations are so similar, I wrote this article for both of you:

    When Guilt Keeps You in a Marriage That You Wish Was Over

    I included some of JE’s advice, because it was so good.

    The biggest point in my article about leaving a man you’ve loved for years is that your guilt may be misplaced or inappropriate. I explain it in the article…but the crux of it is, Why do you feel guilty for leaving a relationship that makes you unhappy?

    I guess you have to make a choice between hurting him or continuing to hurt yourself. And truthfully, staying with a man out of guilt isn’t NOT hurting him. You may be doing him a disservice, because he’s not moving on or growing, either.

    I hope the article helps, and welcome your thoughts. Let me know what happens – what you decide to do!

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  37. Sherry- I dont know if anyone has responded to you yet- but I know how you feel. I realize that you have been married for MUCH longer than I have, but I have been with my husband for 6 years and married 3. Before we got married, he had drug addictions, bad financial problems and irresponsibility, and issues with attention/ emailing/ texting other women (which I caught him doing). Then we got married. The finances continued to be terrible…and then I recently caught him in a WAY too close sexually charged and possibly physically intimate “friendship” with a girl from his school while I was working my butt off to support him since he was in school full time AND right after I had a miscarriage for our first pregnancy. Now we are in terrible debt and my emotional and physical health is seriously at risk from all the stress. His behavior has remained the same over the years regardless of how many talks we have had about it all. I even tried therapy. At this point, I just realized that this is not how I want to live my life and none of this is OK. Even if he were to ACTUALLY be able to change, he has already taken so many years from me…and I am taking the rest of my years for myself. I too still feel immense guilt for “doing this to him.” I sometimes forget what it is that HE did to ME. We are now separated and it is still really hard. But everyday I wake up telling myself that I am worth it. I deserve to be respected and loved. Writing in a journal, getting family/ friend support, and a good therapist are the keys.

    I own the condo where we live, and my lawyer basically told me to ask him to leave, and then change the locks. If you want to leave this relationship, make sure you talk to someone you trust about this first and if you can, get a lawyer. Don’t try to do it alone. Reach out. I wish you good luck and prayers!

  38. I understand how you feel, I’ve been married for 25yrs and my marriage has been over for many years. Don’t get me wrong I do love this man but I not in love with him anymore. Our relationship has been one sided and I was always trying to please him. He never talks to me or wants to know how I’m doing. I’ve been living with him but yet I’m so alone. My husband only thinks about himself and what make him happy. I told him I want to leave, but he keeps saying he’ll change and never does.
    I’ve been trying to leave but he makes me feel so guilty. He keeps telling me to wait until after the holidays and it will be easier for him, but what about me? I know I deserve to be happy, but I can’t shake the guilt. How do you leave? Do you leave while he’s at work, or leave while he’s at home? I’m so confused.

  39. Hi, your column helped me…but I am still struggling what to do…
    My relationship was over for three years..but I kept
    plugging along cause I didn’t want to hurt him and
    also it’s hard to leave after a 8 year relationship.
    So we just kept being miserable (putting on a good show
    for friends) and just plugging along…I was hurting inside
    and was really resenting my fiancée for how we were,
    how I felt unloved…kept wanting it over…
    So I found comfort in online chat rooms…met
    someone and had an online relationship for a year…
    And still kept wanting it to be over with my fiancée…
    Now he has found out and I feel so guilty for not
    dealing with things sooner….
    Now I feel guilty for what I did and feel responsible for my
    fiancees feelings cause I hurt him…I have still pain
    From how we used to be…how sad I was, but now he’s saying
    We are going to work it out… I see how he is affected
    and I can’t stomach how I hurt him…but how could we
    ever get over it…we were over a long time ago…plus
    I still resent him for the years of misery…but
    my guilt keeps me back…keeps me staying cause
    I don’t want to hurt him more…plus I do care about him still…
    I don’t want to hurt anyone….please offer me some advice…

  40. Dear Bianca,

    I’m sorry to hear that your husband is so distant from you. Maybe he’s dealing with military stress, and is shutting down emotionally because of that. Regardless of why he’s behaving like that, it must be so painful to be in a marriage without love or connection.

    It must be difficult – not just to leave a man you’ve loved for years, but to have two young daughters. I hope you can find the strength and courage to leave your marriage, and be happy again.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  41. My husband is currently deployed 3 months on his deployment he emotionally shut down on me.. no ilove yous no i miss yous and just really impersonal emails… the rare chance he would skype – he would just catalog all my faults.. really negative about everything.. he said nothing is fixable.. I thought it was just the stress of deployment.. then he came home for two weeks mid-tour leave.. he was cold and detached, no sex no affection or anything then told me he doesn’t love me anymore and in fact was rewriting history.. he said he never loved me anymore and that we were never happy.. I mean we had the usual fights but nothing drastic..We have a 3.5 yr old daughter and a 22 month old daughter. He is now back overseas fighting the war. I also started detaching.. I don’t email or skype. Unless he initiates contact. The rare times we do talk to each other we just end up fighting.. I am so heartbroken. I love him but I can’t force him to love me and stay in this marriage. I am taking it one day at a time.. and praying for enough courage to walk out of this marriage with my dignity, pride and self-respect intact.

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