Dear Dr. NerdLove,
I’ve been together with my boyfriend for a cumulative 5 months. We were head over heels for each other almost immediately. It was like something out of an Avril Lavigne song – he was a video game animator, she was a model, what more can I say?
His father had passed away a year ago, and he immediately started to treat me like the only bright spot in his life. I had just gotten out of an abusive relationship, and was so grateful to him for legitimately wanting me to be happy and, you know, not hitting me. I realize that these are pretty terrible reasons to love someone.
After 4 months, I got a job in New Jersey, and he got a job in California. So we parted ways with promises to make the distance work. But once I had some space away from him, I started to get some perspective. I realized that we had 3 major problems.
1. He didn’t really respect my needs or wishes. He often wouldn’t take no for an answer. If I didn’t want to have sex, or if I didn’t want to drink anymore, often he would just ooze through my boundaries and I would find myself unexpectedly doing things that I didn’t want to be doing.
2. I was always frustrated with him for being irresponsible. He’s A LOT older than me, but I always felt like I had to be Mommy.
3. I have no backbone. I panic and lock up at the thought of telling people things that will upset them, especially in the context of relationships and dating.
So. When he returned to the east coast, I drove 6 hours to meet him and break things off. It seemed like the decent thing to do. But as soon as I started saying that I wasn’t happy in the relationship, he interrupted me, saying “Well I’ve never loved anyone as much as you. I’ve never wanted to be with someone for the rest of my life.” And then HE PROPOSED. I said that it didn’t seem like a good idea to get married when we were on the rocks. I then fled the state, and broke up with him over the phone once I was safely home.
A month later, he hopped on a train to New Jersey to win me back. I felt so guilty, and he’s really good at feeding that guilt. The truth is, I should have stuck to my guns. I shouldn’t even have agreed to see him. But I did see him, and I did take him back.
I can’t persuade him. I can’t talk to him and have my words register in his one-track mind. How do I get out of this relationship for good? I know that texting someone to break up is pretty much the worst, but I’m scared that if I give him any opportunity to respond, that I’ll give in and remain trapped in this situation.