How to Find Strength to Get Out of a Bad Relationship

Are you stuck in a relationship that is going nowhere? Here are six tips on how to find strength to get out of a bad relationship.

Finding the Strength to Get Out of a Bad RelationshipMy first suggestion is to read On My Own: The Art of Being a Woman Alone by Florence Falk. She’s a psychologist with 13 years of counseling experience, and she helps women whose unresolved issues keep them stuck in bad relationships or marriages – even years after a divorce is final. Part of finding strength to get out of a relationship is learning how to leave the past behind. My second suggestion is to get in-person support from a counselor, support group, or trusted friend. If you want to get out of a relationship but you’re scared, you need to surround yourself with women who have survived and thrived after their marriages ended.

I wrote this article for a reader, who said: “I recently found out that my husband has been having an affair with an ex-high school girlfriend,” says “Lisa” on Is My Husband Lying About Cheating? 4 Ways to Tell. “Now he tells me that he feels empty and without purpose, and wants to save our marriage. I want to leave him because I know he’ll cheat again and I don’t trust him, but I’m scared. Help me!”

Finding the Strength to Get Out of a Bad Relationship

Knowing how you’ve survived difficult situations in the bast is the best way to find strength to leave. What works for me may not work for you! These tips are what helped me leave unhealthy relationships…

Figure out what you’re getting out of the relationship

Many people – both men and women – don’t have the strength to end relationships, even when the relationship is bad, unhealthy, or going nowhere. The reasons for staying in bad relationships are different for everyone, and depend on the type of relationship it is. But, the bottom line is that there is a reason you’re staying with this person: you’re getting something out of it…even if it’s just protection from the discomfort of saying good-bye! The sooner you figure out your reasons for staying, the easier it’ll be to find the courage to end the relationship.

Learn about the different reasons for staying

Why do people stay in marriages, work partnerships, or love relationships that are going nowhere? Here’s a list of reasons; use it to figure out why you’re staying. Or, use it to help you brainstorm at least five reasons for not leaving.

Possible reasons you can’t find strength to leave:

  • Fear of being alone
  • Lack of motivation to find someone new (eg, a new hair stylist, better business partner, more suitable roommate, etc).
  • Fear of not being loved or accepted by anyone else
  • Feelings of low self-worth, or even self-loathing
  • Concern about what friends and family will say
  • Financial problems
  • Poor role models (eg, parents or friends who lack courage to change their lives)

Figuring out why you’re staying in a loveless marriage may help you find the courage to get out of a bad relationship.

Let go of the need to control other people’s feelings

You can’t control how people – friends, family, or the person you’re breaking up with – will respond when you break off the relationship. You can’t control what they do, how they feel, who they tell, or how they think. That’s their business. Let it go. Focus on what you can change in your life, such as your own behavior and words, and your response to other people. This can involve protecting your boundaries despite criticism.

Think of a time when you did something that required courage

What was the most difficult, frightening thing you’ve ever done? Reflect on it for a few moments. Then, figure out what gave you strength and courage. For one woman, it could be a soul sister, a support group, or a parent. Another woman could find the courage to say good-bye in a book about self-confidence, or a particular issue of a magazine such as  O, The Oprah Magazine (reading Oprah’s magazine is one of my favorite ways to stay authentic and grounded in who I am!). You need to figure out how YOU get your strength…and one of the best ways to do that is to recall when you’ve been brave in the past.

Ask other women how they found strength to leave bad relationships

We can learn so much from smart, strong women!

how to find strength to leave a relationship

How to Find Strength to Get Out of a Bad Relationship

The women around us can help us build better, happier, more successful lives, even if we don’t know them personally. Take Nicole Kidman, for instance: I love knowing that a woman of her fame and fortune is as vulnerable as “normal” women are. She doesn’t know what the future holds, and has to strive to be positive just like we do. Her struggles and successes give me strength. If there’s a woman in your life that you admire, or one loved and lost, then talk to her. Gain strength and wisdom from her experience.

And when you’re talking to strong women, remember that sometimes the worst thing you fear could be the best thing that ever happened to you. An article like Was My Marriage a Waste of Time? The Silver Lining of Break Ups can help you see this.

Tap into your spiritual strength to find courage to leave a bad relationship

A solid inner strength can get you through almost anything – whether you’re feeling guilty about ending a relationship or worried about dissolving a business partnership. Spirituality or a reliance God, Buddha, or even Mother Nature can give you access to strength you didn’t even know you had. Find ways to maintain a strong connection between your heart, soul, and mind, and you’ll be stronger than you thought possible!

For more tips on getting out of a bad relationship, read How to Let Go of Someone You Love.

Do you have the strength to get out? I welcome your comments below. I can’t give advice because I don’t know the details of your situation…but I believe you know exactly what you should do. Don’t you?


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66 thoughts on “How to Find Strength to Get Out of a Bad Relationship”

  1. 20 years married …feelimg that I have failed I grew up in care and always wanted a family have 6 children but I know my marriage is dead has been for years and took him back and again its broken down he has no where to go I feel responsible for him today after he did not
    ..come home agin not knowing where he was turning up drunk I wanted to kill him o … I cant go on like this I don’t want people to think im cruel its been like this for 20 years I have 6 kids witnessing this my family told him to go that’s it but I feel a a failure I feel so empty he has destroyed my soul im 37 and feel 60 I know I have to be strong he has made me feel like im not worth nothing to anyone that no one likes me my friends say that he talks bad about me I feel so broken my friends have stopped coming round they cant bare to see the way he treats me

  2. I’ve made married to my husband now almost 10 years now were high school sweetheart we had a lot heartache in the beginning of our marriage and some when we’re dating in high school but we overcame a lot of it and we forgave each other but now it just seems like he takes me for granted he kind of does what he wants to do I don’t have evidence that he’s actually cheated but he has entertained a lot of women via text message or Facebook and and I asked him no more sometimes you just be honest with me to what he wants or what he’s doing and he says it’s always nothing but I feel like there’s a whole lot he’s doing a whole lot that he’s hiding I just don’t know how to get out…why can’t he be honest??

    1. I’m going thru the same thing. I wanna leave but at the same time I don’t wanna lose him. Its not okay for them to entertain females via text or social media, just the same as its not OK to physically cheat. He has done it in the past and I try to leave but I come right back idk what to do I’m so lost 😢

      1. Hey Michelle

        I know how difficult it can feel to leave, but what is it that makes you stay? Why do you not want to lose him? Asking yourself these questions may help you gain some strength in knowing what you deserve.

        I hate seeing women in unhappy relationships settling and suppress themselves. You deserve to feel worthy lady and you totally can in the right relationship

    2. Hey Kim I came across your comment and just felt the urge to reply to you, because I hate to see women suppressing themselves in their relationships. I see you are asking your partner to be honest with you but are you being honest with yourself? Have you asked yourself what you really want and thought about what you deserve? You have so much power but you need to believe in yourself and your worth

  3. The only way to find strength to get out of a bad relationship is to find a different source of strength. You can’t move on if you keep looking backwards. You’ll never be free if you keep doubting yourself. And, you can’t find strength if you allow your emotions to dictate your thoughts and decisions.
    If you can’t rely on your own willpower to break free, then who or what can you rely on? What is another source of power and courage in your life?

  4. Currently so lost and hurt! After a failed marriage I finally starting dating what I thought was the ideal man, single father of three( kids Mom no where in the picture) fell in love with his kids same ages as mines 11,8,6 yrs, a man that offered me more than I was, amazing father, ever offered in my failed marriage, fell in love did the whole nine moved in, only to find out it wasn’t as I thought, he wasn’t over his ex fiancé, cheated on numerous times with many women, many many nights I cried, he would always come back with sorry and I swear I would never do so again! The love I felt the love I desired badly had me try again not once twice but numerious times, only to go back to the same and worse, single mother of three beautiful kids hard working and soooo loving, I can’t seem to get rid of the pain I can’t seem to just walk away from someone I know will never treat me as I deserve, no friends no family just my kids I get manipulated into thinking that one day the man I love will change! I know I’m beautiful I know I’m an amazing mother yet can’t see my value because I’m so hurt and destroyed. I need to let him go yet can’t find the courage to just never answer, stop believing and just find my own happiness! Just recently found out he was diagnosed with depression, sexual addiction and drug addictions, sooooo painful how do I turn my back on someone I love and finally get it in my head that what I’m experiencing is not love yet just hurt! I love him and his kids! How do I get him out of my head how do I realize that it’s not love?! He says he doesn’t want to hurt me but realizes that I’m an amazing women just has to face his demons! How do I find the strength to walk away and not feel guilt for fighting for someone I love?! I don’t have friends cause I’m constantly working, and attending to my kids all my family live extremely far! Every time I feel strong to go on my kids remind me of him and his kids… how do I walk away??? Anyone been through this how you find the strength?! What you do?! Do I fight? Do I go?! Words of encouragement desperately needed

  5. Dear Jasmine,

    It’s so hard to find the strength to get out of a relationship — even when you know it’s not good for you! You still love your boyfriend, yet you know it’s unhealthy and even destructive to stay together. I understand the feeling.

    Ending a relationship is never easy. Give yourself time to make the decision, and surround yourself with positive, supportive, healthy people who can help you through the painful parts. You’ll grieve the end of this relationship…but remember that it’s not good for you to stay!

    Here’s an article that may help:

    How to Move On From a Relationship When You’re Still in Love

    Take good care of yourself, and come back anytime to let me know how you’re doing.


  6. I’ve been with my other for 6 years and now I feel like he havent been MINE not one time the whole while together we have have twins girls together recently that are now in have he habe had kids after kids behind my back also that are also in heaven he have a beautiful little girl that did make it , he have never showed he loves me until I question it when he gets caught talking to other girls . every time we break up there’s ALWAYS another girl EVEN after we get back together which I know I shouldn’t ive knew him all my teenage life I love him to death but can’t take being hurt I allow him to hurt me by letting him come back and cheat again its hard leaving someone that’s always been there .. I just want out the loves still there but I want out its to,hurtful . yess I have moved on numerous of times but always find my way back.. Why? I want him to change I don’t believe he will .. I want out I know this isn’t what got had for me , but he’s the only thing that makes me smile I dont know what to do ? why I love him so much knowing he’s never going to,change no matter how hard I try im only 21 years only and have been thru it all all because of I wont leave …

  7. I left my marriage because i fell for a woman and we moved intogether after 3 years, i cant stand her and i only stay for i have gone down hill in health since i have met her and i am on her medical insurance which she had great benefits, i do not work right now due to health issues. My 15year old son loves her. No matter when or what, every time I am around her i want to jump out of my skin. Please help me what do i do. Should i stay because my son loves her and i feel guilty about leaving his dad, and i need the heath benifits or should i just stay and hate her from the inside.

  8. Dear Lost and confused,

    It sounds like you need a big dose of strength and courage! It also sounds like your friends have given you some great relationship advice (they said to leave the relationship because your boyfriend isn’t good for you).

    I won’t give you relationship advice because I don’t actually think you need it. You already know what you should do about your boyfriend…the question you need to answer for yourself is why you don’t do what you know you should do.

    Here are some questions for you:
    If your boyfriend or relationship never changes, what will you do?
    What has to happen for you to make a healthy, good decision in your life?
    Where can you find the strength you need to leave this relationship once and for all?

    And here’s an article that may help:

    10 Ways to Stop Being a Needy Girlfriend and Feel Confident Again

    May you find the strength and courage you need to follow through with what your brain and heart is telling you to do. May you look upwards in faith and inwards in peace. And, may you remember that everything you need is right inside of you. God created you for a beautiful, happy, healthy life and relationship…and He wants you to trust Him with your life.


  9. I have been with a guy for a little over a year and i dont know what to do anymore. Everytime i am with a friend he thinks i am with another man, so i try to not go out or i dont tell him i am out. I cant even go anywhere without him getting mad, doubting me and starting a fight. We used to not fight so much but now we fight almost everyday. I am now living with him and all my friends keep telling me to leave him. I have so much stress and feel like i hit rock bottom. Every time we argue he gets so mad and says things and i feel like he is this way because he knows i will be by his side and wont leave him. I often try to stop talking to him but that doesnt work out and we end up reconnecting and the worst part is.. we arent even dating.. help..

  10. Dear Lee,

    You might the strength you need to get out of a bad relationship by connecting with women who are strong, healthy, and whole. It’s hard to do anything alone – we need each other to help us move forward!

    Connect with women in your community. Make friends, reach out to people around you. You might even find online groups helpful – I have a Facebook group called SheBlossoms, and a newsletter.

    You may find this article helpful: What to Do About Your Relationship Problems

    You need to get emotionally and spiritually strong, and the only way to do that is to start looking inwards. Where do you need to start, what do you need to do?

  11. I got out of a 6 year relationship and started dating my high school crush for 2 years now… we have a daughter and I feel like maybe that’s one of the reasons this is so hard…I have caught him talking with other girls and it’s bee. Hard to trust again.i recently moved hourssssss away from my family to be close to his family. And now I feel horrible I feel like this isn’t going to get better but I’m terrified of being lone especially here that I have no one.. sometimes I want to just pick up and go be STRONG get a new place and leave with my baby but I’m scared to do it alone… someone please help!!!!

  12. When you need strength to leave a relationship, you need to take it one step at a time. Don’t throw yourself into the future, thinking about all the “what if’s”!

    Instead, break down what you need to do into small pieces. The first piece might be calling a friend, family member, or women’s help line. The second piece might be admitting that you are in a bad place in your life, and you need help.

    You have the power to strengthen yourself. You know where to get strong, and you know what the first steps are.

    But do you really want to leave?

    And if you do leave your relationship, do you have the strength to stay away?

    How to Be Strong About Not Getting Back Together

    Take a deep breath, and take care of yourself. This is the only life you’ll be given. Don’t waste it in pain and suffering.

  13. Do I have the strength to leave, I don’t know. I left my husband of 20 years because I just wasn’t i love with him anymore. But this is harder, I know I’ll never be number one because he’s made that clear. He still wants his wife he’s been separated from for a year. We have tried to walk away a few times but he always calls and I always take him. Even when I know I’m just going to end up broken. I’m not a weak person, why can’t I let him go. Is it because I promised I would always be there as long as he needed me?? I don’t know, but I’m tired of questioning and not being number one.

    1. MK, I’m in a similar situation. I’ve been told by him he doesn’t care and I know I’m not #1 in his life. Everything else comes before me until he needs something. I feel like a roll of tissue paper. Used when needed. I’m constantly put down and talked about negatively never nothing positive. I’ve been with this man for over 20 years and have three beautiful children. I realize I have lost me and allowed him to treat me this way. I don’t feel loved and I want out but too weak to do so. I’ve been robbed of my self esteem.

  14. I have been in a relationship with a guy for almost 2 1/2 years, he has cheated on me multiple times and yet i still stay with him. Ive tried leaving him, it only lasted a month before we were dating again. That whole month i cried every single day, only wanting him back. I hear stories about girls who get out of bad relationships and end up finding themselves, i want to be that girl. I am afraid of being alone though, ive lost friends for staying with him so the fear of going through this alone kills me. I want to find strength in myself, i just dont think i have it in me.

    1. luna, I am sorry about your break up. are you broken up and trying to regain yourself now or have you decided to continue the relationship?

  15. I remember hearing about Nicole Kidman’s divorce to Tom Cruise in the media. Thought how sad to be so “exposed” during such a challenging time in life.

    When I went through my divorce, remember having 3 solid months of just crying… everyday for a couple of hours! Crying!

    My process to acceptance included allowing all that emotion to just flow out of me.. without the judgment of myself for feeling that way or the blame on my ex-husband for “making me feel that way”. Then I’d get to the end of that and go put on my makeup and go about my life… until the next day.

  16. Hi,

    I don’t know what to do. I met a lovely guy and we entered into a relationship and things were going so well. We took our time in a sexual sense until a couple of weeks ago where the first two attempts were ok. Upon the third attempt he was unable to stay erect and it then came out he is obsessed about men at the moment and previously had sex with one.

    I decided to try to stay with him as he promised me that he does love me and that this is just a phase. He then asked me to help him come out of this phase by flirting and being with a woman. This goes against my morals and I am feeling broken about the entire situation.

    He has promised to seek help and I don’t like giving up on people but part of me knows that this is making me lose my self-esteem and terribly unhappy.

    I will also just say that when I have mentioned leaving him he would cry and talk of suicide

    Can anyone help give me advice?

  17. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    It takes a lot of strength to share what you’re going through, Sheryl! Writing about your relationship is scary, but you found courage to express yourself.

    I believe in you, that you have the strength and courage you need to get out of a bad relationship. You are stronger than you think, smarter than you know, and more courageous than you believe.

    Trust yourself. Learn how to listen to that still, small voice that encourages you to believe in tomorrow.

    Have faith that your life will improve, and that you and your son will be happier in the long run!

  18. Hi I don’t know what to do. I met my boyfriend a year ago. He told me he was married but the relationship was over but they stilled live in the house together in separate rooms. Two months later I thought something wasn’t right so I emailed his wife who told me that they weren’t split up and was really angry. I ended it but was heartbroken. She then told me a lot of stuff he had, that they hadn’t had set for nearly a year and that he did sleep in another room. He begged for me to go back with him and because she admitted that their relationship wasn’t a happy one and he was moving out anyway I stayed with him. It’s been a very stressful year he’s wife who I understand is very upset and angry uses their daughter against him and causes arguments between us all the time. He also says he doent have an alchol problem but he puts beers before heating the house and has now got me in quite a bit od debt. I’ve lost a stone and a half in weight and feel crappie all the time but I just can’t seem to walk away even though ugh I know eventually it’ll improve my son and I life

  19. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear Jesse,

    I’m sorry you’re stuck in this relationship, and that you know you should leave but you don’t have the strength.

    Maybe it’s a process. Maybe you need to sit with the idea of staying with him, pretend that this is how the rest of your life will unfold. Maybe if you stop struggling with the decision to leave this relationship, you’ll feel the full weight of your future on your shoulders…and maybe that’ll give you strength to leave this relationship.

    Sometimes that’s how I make decisions – I sit with one option. If it’s unbearable or makes me feel unhappy, then I change my mind.

    Both decisions are difficult – whether you stay or whether you leave. Either way, you will have to make sacrifices…and either way, you have some work to do.

    But, the work of leaving may be worth it in the long run. What do you think?

  20. My boyfriend and I,have been together for 5 years.I knew that he cheated on me a few time,I had no idea that he has daughter he kept me secret for 2 years.his mom was the one who told that he have daughter I felt betrayed and cheated on.when I asked him why ?he didn’t tell me, you got someone pregnant he said that he wasn’t sure if the baby were his waiting for DNA .but I don’t have the courage to leave him I love him so much but I think he takes advantage of me by knowing that every time he does something bad I’ll always forgive him.I don’t know what to do anymore I feel something keeps from leaving ,I know our relationship will never work out. I just feel apart of me still love him. I need some advise.

  21. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear LostWanderer,

    I’m sorry that your relationship isn’t going well. It sounds abusive, actually – you should never be physically harmed by someone you love!

    You’re right: somebody who loves you would never hurt you that way. Your boyfriend needs help with his anger and actions towards you, and you can’t give him the help he needs. He has to decide to get professional counseling.

    You need to find a source of strength to leave this relationship. Better yet, find several sources of strength! Your family, friends, and even neighbors are a good place to start. It’s also helpful to call your local shelters and women’s organizations, and find out what resources are available for women who need to leave a violent relationship.

    It’s time for you to start thinking about taking your next step. Take it one day at a time, one step at a time. Take a deep breath, and reach out — in person — to one person today who can help you. Don’t put it off a day longer.

    You CAN find the strength you need to leave this relationship, but you need courage and hope. Trust and believe that you will be happier and healthier one day!

    Be well, come back anytime,

  22. I am in desperate need of some wisdom and advice. I have been with my boyfriend for almost 4 years. We have a 2 year old together and i am hopelessly in love with him. But there are so so so many problems in our relationship. I am not perfect. Far from it.. but i cant help feeling like i am losing myself by staying with this man. Long story short, we met in florida through close friends and hit it off right away. Within 6 months we moved in together. Within 1 year he had developed an addiction to cocaine that eventually led to shooting cocaine through a needle. I tried to be the supportive loving forgiving woman. We moved 1500 miles away from fl to get him away from his easy access to drugs. I have no friends or family in this new state. Everything was glitter and rainbows when we first moved, however, recently we got into it pretty bad and he put hands on me. Now, to my knowledge he is not using drugs anymore. I ended up with about 23 bruises over my face arms legs and back. He has never done anything like this before and hasnt since. But now his new thing is not coming home. As a matter of fact as i am writing this its nearly 230 am and i havent gotten a call nor text from him since 930 this evening. Not to mention we live together. We were arguing when he left over the fact that a few months back he cheated on me with a stripper. His defense is that he didnt know she was a stripper. Somehow everything above i mentioned is my fault according to him. He turned to drugs because i wasnt giving him enough of my time (we worked opposite shifts at the time. He worked days 6am to 3pm, and i worked nights 7pm to 5am as a nurse) He beat me up because i swung first (also true. He called me a mouthful of terrible horrible cuss words and made fun of my hideous stretch marks and saggy breasts. I snapped) and he cheated because (he didnt feel love in our relationship because of all our arguing) so as i said.. i am not perfect. Not even close. I love this man with all my heart but i feel i cant trust him. I feel he doesnt love me despite how much he tells me he does. Someone who loves you doesnt say and do these kind of things, right? I am turning into someone i dont know anymore. I feel sad more than happy. I miss my friends and family. I dont know how to walk away from him. I should have when he cheated. I almost did. I wouldnt speak to him for weeks and didnt see him for almost 2 months. But somehow he found a way to get back into my life. As childish as it sounds, i wish i could erase all the bad we have gone through and go back to the day we met. We were so happy and perfect for each other. We have so much in common and i have never been able to talk to someone the way i can talk to him. Im falling apart inside. Someone please help me. What do i do? How? I wish with all my heart i could make this better again but im afraid we are too far gone now.

    1. Hello, I just want to say, I know how you feel, except I have allowed my daughters father to do this for 11 years, are circumstances are so similar, and I wish I could go back to our 4th year, and leave.. Things have only gotten worse his actions only more hurtful. I to am not perfect, co dependent to say the least but I take part in his craziness and allow it to continue. I know your lonely, so am I, and even still it’s like he is the only thing that makes me feel better.. But don’t wait if you can leave now, you can find the strength to get out of a bad relationship.

  23. I read the first three lines of this article and I thought it could be helpful but then I realized its another article that victimizes women. I’m a guy and I stuck in a bad relationship and I feel its going nowhere. my girlfriend asked me to move our relationship to the next step (marriage) or she is going to leave me. we went through these conversations before, we broke up and then we came back together. the reason that I don’t see a future with her is I don’t trust her feelings. I feel all she needs is a husband no matter who the guy is. there are also many other negative factors in her that scares me to marry her including her short temper behaviors. I’m stuck so bad in this relationship and I’m afraid of loosing my chance with the right person since I cant move on take the right decision.

  24. Dear Jax,

    I think I understand what you wrote…you and your husband sound like you’re on very different life paths and you’re very different people…and you can’t seem to shake him out of his depressed, unmotivated, unhappy state of mind.

    You left your comments on this article about getting strength to get out of a relationship. Does that mean you need help leaving your marriage? Or, do you need help saving your marriage? Your answer says alot about what you intend to do with your life…

  25. I am so lost. I have been married 5 years been with my husband 8. Our relationship started with my 2 children so we have never really had us time. We started off very attracted to on another i just left a terrible relationship. We started a business together, his dream was to have a store so i quit my job and did a business plan for him did all the books and marketing etc… Our relationship was very business related. We never did anything really with my kids it was me amd my kids and business. Myself and kids spent hours and hours a day at store helping him and came home and worked more. I got pregnant and thought this would slow things down and we could have a familytogether. That did not work so well as he couldnt take breaks and so much happened with the business. Anyways time went on got pregnant again was totally in love with him but the family connection not there. We married before my fourth was born. Sex life crap and still our relationship business based. There were some things we had in common but it was only what interested him and never involved social activities or things i considered fun. I was constantly sexually rejected unless we were looking at other girls or had them over. I did this because it turned the heat up and really was the only way to get some action after time. He and i are considered toboth be very attractive but he would always be flirting and it made me uncomfortable because he always wanted me to kiss the girls he liked. Eventually none of my friends would come over because of this. So again no sex. So on top of no sex the business is a failure he refuses to let go of it…he is miserable depressed sick all the time has a migrain or egsautsted. speaks of not wanting to live anymore frequently. i cant do anything to make him happy. When i bring it up he is in complete denial. I feel like i live in darkness now. He is depressing me. I have no more energy left. He gets upset if i ask for grocery money. I pay mortgage amd bills he only needs to give me that. I have stayed at home woth kids or worked for him. Just recently did a xoarse for new career since all kids are in school. No support from him at all. Meanwhile i supported what he wanted to do for years. So i know im venting and all over the place lol but we seperated a couple months ago for a short time… I met someone well i knew him before and there was strong feelings. However i hurt so bad losing my husband that hubby moved back in. He said he was going to try that lasted a couple weeks. I never felt that same with him.. I feel our lives are taking seperate direction. Thats the heartbreaker. Thats the confusion. I have never stopped thinking about the other one either. Now we are at a point again where we are not talking things are worse then ever but i am scared about being a single mom even though thats pretty much what ive been. I also am heartbroken that we just have different dreams goals desires outlooks etc… We have nothing in common. I know maybe me having thinking about someone else doesnt help but thats really not the issue. The iasue is i want so much for my amd childrens life he wants nothing. He is paranoid about life wont let kids eat things go places etc… I feel like im suffocating. This could go on and on i feel like i just need guidance amd strength. Is it normal that im the one who wants to end things and im he one that feels like my world is being ripped apart? We have tried. I have tried everyhing i know to make him happy and want me. But still he is lifeless sexless depressed and has no motivation or drive to do fun things i am bored and drained frustrated and sad. If you can even understand all i wrote… Please help me.


  26. Dear scaredy cat,

    It sounds like you’ve been through a lot with this man, and with your past relationships. You’re already strong enough to share what you’re going through — and that’s a wonderful first step to figuring out where you want to go from here!

    It takes strength and courage to change your life, which is why many people don’t change. It’s time for you to change your expectations, thoughts, and behaviors. It’s time for your daughter to see what a strong, healthy, courageous woman does to improve her life and be happy!

    I encourage you to talk to a counselor in person. There are many organizations that offer free support and guidance for women who want to leave bad relationships, but feel stuck and helpless. It sounds like you’re involved in some sort of pattern in your life, and you need help seeing it so you can leave it behind you.

    Call a counselor, and tell me what you learn. Try a helpline, or social services, or a distress line. I don’t know what is available in your area — but the first step is to reach out and talk to someone in person about what is happening in your life.

    I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers, and hope you come back to let me know how you’re doing and what progress you’re making!


  27. I am now 34. I have been in and out of abusive relationships my entire life. Mostly physical. This one is different. It’s been 4 years now, we don’t live together, he’s cheated and I don’t really think he wants a “future” with me such as marriage. I have a 13 year old daughter he is not close to. In the past she was hurt when her father and I split up so I do keep them somewhat distant. He has children I have never even met. We don’t live together. He makes me feel like I am never good enough. He makes me sad all the time. He always has to be right and I don’t have it in me to argue anymore. He has to be in control of everything. I have gotten pregnant and he was very angry and blamed me. I had an abortion like he wanted and I’m torn up over it. I feel like I’m 34 now why can’t I just be happy. The mental and emotional abuse is worse than physical in the past. Atleast they would say sorry and be nice for a while. Not him bc he’s right I’m wrong. This is one of the only guys who never hit me. I don’t even know what a “normal” relationship would be. I love him I keep thinking if I wait he will want to move forward but I’m tired of not doing that. We also work together kind of like around a lot of the same people. I know when we break up it will be horrible to deal with. I miss him all the time but I know I need out. Idk how to do this idk if I want to be alone again. I’m scared. I’m not who I use to be I feel like I have no fight left in me. I use to fight back I use to stand up for myself but this time I feel destroyed within. There’s barely even a trace of me left only whats he’s put in my mind who and what I should be. Please help

    1. **also he has cheated on me. He has still never admitted it but I have talked to the girl. We had a mutual friend. All he could do was tell me he would never talk to her again. Idk if he does or doesn’t I am attractive. Slim pretty look way younger than I am she was large and not pretty so idk why he would cheat on me with her. That makes this even more confusing

  28. Dear Sarafena,

    I hope you find strength and courage to get out of this relationship. Sometimes what really helps is to surround yourself with strong, supportive, healthy, happy, independent women. Their energy and courage will brush off on you!

    And take it one step at a time. Don’t overwhelm yourself by thinking of all the things you need to take care of. Just do one thing at a time.

    Come back anytime, let me know how you are.


  29. Hey there ive been in a relationship for a while now but of lately ings jus does not matter to me anymore i feel like hes made me feel so bad about myself that i dont feel like a person anymore. I feel like im just existing in this world. ive been tryin fora couple months to make things work but it seems like its just gettin worst n i think im jus ready to give up. Its jus to me not worth it anymore…….

  30. Dear Gisele,

    You sound so unhappy and confused about your relationship. Your boyfriend has needs that aren’t quite normal – they seem excessive and gross. And, it sounds like he’s using you.

    How does that make you feel, to hear he’s using you? How do you feel about yourself in this relationship?

    I’m curious if you’re looking for strength to leave him, or if you want to stay in this relationship. He won’t change, Gisele. You need to accept him the way he is right now, or get out. He doesn’t care about your relationship the way you do.

    I’m also curious why you’re with this guy, who seems so similar to your previous husband. How did this happen?


  31. Dear JoAnna,

    I recently came across your page here. My story is this: I met the man of my dreams so I thought through an online dating service. After two years of long distance dating I gave up my apartment, my great job and family/friends and moved to another state and in with him. It did not take long for the man that I thought I knew to be himself. We have lived together for three years, been together for five. Since I have moved in with him he stated not coming to bed at night. He owns his own business and said that he had work to do. Well, long story short..he does have work, but after I went to bed I came back down three times now (varies times) to find him watching porn and masterbating to it. Needless to say this erupted into a huge fight. AND we called off the wedding last year because of me finding him and the fight. We used to have sex everyday to atleast three times a week to now it can go a month or so. I have real issues going to bed at night alone, thinking what he may be doing…feel he prefers that to me the real thing. He watches very sexual movies when I am asleep I discover on Netflix seems to prefer Russian woman (????). I am at a lost. I have asked him to stop as it destroys me and makes me feel horrible and unwanted, he claims he isn’t, but I still find him doing it…so he lies to cover up and will not admit to it. He does take prescribed drugs, but he misuses them by taking to much usually. He can stay up for two to three days through the night and will crash out for an entire day. Seems like he is just wrapped up in himself and feels nothing for me. I do everything around the house for him. from cleaning a HUGE home. taking care of his son as he has full custody, to cooking and BRINGING his dinner to him, to getting him drinks, etc when he demands, to mowing the yard, etc etc to helping him with his work whatever needs to be done from deliveries to office work. I feel he is so self centered I am not sure what to do. Am I crazy for even being here with him? I had an abusive marriage of almost 20 years that including porn and cheating. I made it clear how I felt about both. I have even offered to watch porn with him if that is his desire (not what I want to do though). Our sex life was full of passion and was wonderful…note that I said was…now it is rare and if it does happen it is always from midnight to 2-3 AM and he can go on and on and on..sometimes 2 hours!!! I end up exhausted and sore. I can not initiate sex…he always turns me down and tells me to I have given up even trying…I just wait. I want this relstionship to work, but I feel so unhappy right now.

    1. Hi Gisele. I know this post is over a year old but I just came across and it almost looks like that I could write it. My bf is same way thoughts don’t have kid , I have 2 daughters. But everything else pretty much matches what I’m going thru. How are you doing ? Are you still in the relationship ?

  32. Dear upset and confused,

    I will pray that you find the strength and courage you need to leave that man before he hurts you really bad! Please talk to your friends and family, and call a womens support line for help. Don’t try to leave him alone – talk to people in your life, and get help today!

    Many women stay in bad relationships far longer than they should. You’re not the only one who is stuck in a relationship that hurts. Many women also find the strength and courage they need to leave – and I hope and pray you will, too.

    Come back and let me know how you are.


  33. upsetandconfused

    so confused. my partner often gets cross, usually but not always at a little thing I’ve done or caused, and flies off the rails. he hits me hard, spits on me, kicks me and drags me to the floor and around the house by my hair.
    he now says he’s going to cheat on me any opportunity he gets and made me promise that its fine.
    unlike others, he does not control finances. he doesn’t earn anything so its all from me.
    please give me strength. i think i have to leave but no one at all know about this. he’s perfectly normal and lovely with everyone else.
    the other thing i battle with is that we are perfectly normal 50% of the time so i feel guilty then thinking about leaving and also that it would seem like me being silly and melodramatic and that’s what he would say. i desperately want to tell my mum but why give her this burden. i am so unsure. scared he will one day go to far. he said next time he attacks he’s going to use razorblades.

  34. Dear scared to leave,

    I really admire your honesty! Your fears about leaving are normal and natural – you are voicing what most men and women feel when they think about leaving bad relationships.

    Does it help to know that you are totally normal?

    When I was in my 20s, I hated not having any family to support me. I’m all alone – my mom is schizophrenic, my dad abandoned us when I was a year old, and my sister is unreliable and unstable. I was really scared to do the things I wanted in life, but I got tired of being scared and helpless. So I decided to do things anyway – take risks even though I didn’t know how things would turn out. It was super scary – I even went to welfare to ask for money when I couldn’t pay my rent!

    But it all turned out fine. I was scared, I was alone, and I was embarrassed…but I didn’t give up.

    Do you want to say the same thing about your life? What about when your kids are growing up…do you want to be an encouraging, inspirational role model?

    I think your first step towards gaining the strength to leave a bad relationship is to connect with just one person who supports you.

    Do you have one friend or family member who believes in you?

  35. I am needing help, i am in a relationship where my partner spends more money then me and does not even live with me, he does not watch the kids and if he does its after hes moaned and carried on about it, i never leave the house due to have 3 young babies and finding it hard, and a lot of the time it can go 1/2 days before he even calls me. we have been together since i was 17 im now 25, i realise i need to leave him but i am to scared to.

    Im scared of been alone, of having no one my family are not supportive, my partner only watches the kids when i really need to because we are together if we split, he would not have them even if it was drs etc meaning i would not be able to get there.

    Im also afraid of what my family will say, they all have had relationships end all my sisters have kids to different dads, and i feel happy to have still been with my partner for this long, and try to sort it however if i left him i know my family would not care, and would say it was my own fault etc and i am lucky to have even had him come see me and kids as a lot of their kids dads don’t.

    I know my life would be so much better with out him but atm he is the only person i see even if its only 2/3 times a week, if my children where older walking etc i know i could get out meet people but right now its just to hard.

  36. Dear Just want to get out,

    There is nothing wrong with you – you’re a normal woman! So many of us are in bad or half-hearted relationships, and we lack the strength to leave. It’s not that we’re broken, weak, or dumb.

    Staying with the man we know and love is easier than leaving a relationship and starting over. It’s painful to walk away, because it’s a disconnection and we love and crave connection! It’s more normal to stick with a partner who says he’s sorry and he loves you, than to walk away from the potential of a great relationship.

    To find the strength to leave, you need to stay focused on what you want out of your life. You want a man who loves and respects you, right? You do NOT want a man who is violent.

    Now that you know it’s normal to stay in a bad relationship, you can focus on what it means to create a good, healthy one.

    What do you think?

    1. I need out also. We live with his mother and she supply’s him with alcohol everyday. And blames me for the yelling and screaming that he constantly does that to me. I’ve tried leaving but then I get crap thrown in my face and used against me. Its all verbal abuse and not physical yet. Just a slap here and there. I have nowhere to go my parents died when I was eight years old. Have an uncle who has supported me most my life but I don’t think he knows what I endure everyday. This man don’t work he is supported by his mother which leaves me to fend for myself. They don’t like me and I don’t like them. I’m 160 miles away from my family and grown boys. I have no vehicle or a job or money. He controls me and tells me to get the f out. I would but where and how ? Please help me I’m desperate. Thanks Leah

  37. I am 20 years old will be 21 in 2 months, and ive been in a HORRABLE relationship since i was 17. When me and him first got together everything was great! My mom liked liked him…HELL my whole family did. But then about 5 months into after i decided to move in with him..”which was a huge mistake by the way” he started showing signs of controlling/abusive behavior. Constantly going through my phone, if i didnt text him right back he would FREAK OUT!!! It got so bad I literatly lost all of my friends because of him. And my family did not like him any more either because of how isolated he had me. He has been physical lots of times too. Mostly when he is drunk. He just is driving me crazy, i just left him a week ago because he came home drunk and got violent. I called cops on him, and have not spoke to him until today he called me at work. and for some reason i start feeling bad and wanting to go back. When i know how much I want out of it when I’m with it. I knoe it will never change..but WHY do i still want to try again.?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME??!!!

  38. Dear Anna,

    Where do you want to be in six months? It sounds like it’s time to decide if you should stay in this relationship, or find the strength to leave.

    Yes, it’s embarrassing to ask for help from your parents or friends. It’s embarrassing to admit that your relationship isn’t working out, because it feels like a direct reflection on you.

    Women all over the world, of all ages, have “put up and shut up” in bad relationships because they didn’t want to be judged, shamed, or embarrassed. They stayed married because it seemed easier than leaving.

    I can’t tell you if you should leave this relationship (though I bet you can guess what I think :-) ). I just want you to think about where you want your life to go, and who you want to spend your days with.

    Because how you spend your days is how you spend your life.

    There is strength and dignity in admitting that a relationship isn’t working out. It’s not a failure; it’s just not a good fit.

    What do you think?

  39. I’ve been with my boyfriend for almost two years. We have both been horrible in verbal abuse of the other, and recently has escalated into physical violence, on both sides. It is almost on a clock with the cycle; HUGE fight, apologies, promises, good attempts to correct behavior (counseling/”communication meetings” together, couples books, etc.). Then a short amount of “normal” relationship time passes(up to seven days) and then it starts all over. I know it’s not healthy on both sides, but I feel guilty since I have done my own damage to him and the relationship. Bottom line though, he tries to control me (takes my car away from me), has been psychical and has threatened suicide on several occasions. My parents arent rich and I know they would help me, but I’m overcome with embarrassment. And I doubt myself, questioning that if we both continue therapy it could work. I NEVER thought I would be in this situation; I assumed those who were abused were weak. I see now that’s not the case, it’s the very opposite. I still don’t know – if I should stay and work on things, or run like hell.

    Thanks Laurie.

  40. Dear Chan,

    You have been through so much lately! You are a true survivor, and I know you’ll come through this stronger and healthier than ever before.

    I think you need to get in-person support, from a counselor or social worker or someone who can help you figure out how to get the strength to leave him. I can’t help you over the internet. You need someone you can talk to for a few hours, who can give you the resources necessary to start a new life.

    It might also be good to talk to a lawyer, and figure out what legal rights you have for alimony and child support. I don’t know what the laws are where you are, which is why you need in-person support.

    I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful. Please call a legal aid office or women’s support network, and find out what resources exist in your area.

    Let me know how you’re doing, okay? I’d love if you came back and kept me posted on how things are going!


  41. I am 24 with 2 young children aged 3 and 1 and was expecting my 3rd but due to unforseen circumstances lost my baby a day before my 24th birthday last month. In June me and my husband were having problems and I had got back in to contact with my family after a very long 18 years and decided to go and stay with my half sister and get to know her. I was away for two weeks and my husband decided to palm our children off to his mothers and had a girl i disliked in to our family home and cheated on me. I knew something had gone on and questioned him, he denied it and I believed him. A week after I had lost my baby the girl messaged me a very nasty message and stated my husband had a secret to share with me.. when questioned about the message he said he didnt know what she was talking about and he denied it again and when pressured to tell me the truth he finally told me they had infact slept together that night in our family home. He claims to have been so drunk he didnt know what he was doing. Since that day he has said to me how sorry he is and how he can’t bare the thought of losing me or our children. I do love him but can’t trust a word he says to me… I feel I deserve to be treated better and I need to be strong for my children I don’t know whether to stay or leave,i have no family support where i am please help

  42. Dear brokenhearted girl,

    I think you need to go back to your family for help. I know they feel betrayed because you stopped spending time with them, but they love you and care about you! Your boyfriend deliberately created a rift between you and your family, because that’s part of his unhealthy pattern and abuse.

    To get strength to leave, you need to reconnect with your family. Today — call them today! It won’t be easy, but you need to tell them what’s going on. Don’t hide from them anymore.

    And, you need to get support from other women who found the strength to leave their bad relationships. Call an abuse hotline or a local women’s organization. Read articles about women leaving bad relationships.

    But I really think you need to call your family. You WILL rebuild your life and find happiness again, but you need to take the first, hardest step.

    Let me know how it goes, okay?


  43. Hi… I have a boyfriend we have been together for two years… Everything stared off great and it seems like a couple of months later everything changes… I started getting abuses physically and verbally…. I wanted to leave but I just couldn’t… I had a great job I lost it because of him… He became controlling and started accusing me of cheating while at work just out if the blue… I had no cellphone or anyway to contact anyone outside of my relationship …. He would to attend any of my family outings… And he stopped me from going to any just because he could not go… He started checking me account to see how much my checks were but hey that’s my man so I had no issue … then he started to tell me how we are going to spend my money… Buying himself things…and I’m in way too deep.. I don’t know how to get out… My family feels like I betrayed them because I stopped calling and coming over…he’s never gotten me anything for any holiday… I’ve had two birthdays and NOTHING…I tried to leave but I found myself right back living with him…its like something is holding me back… I’m tired of the abuse but just don’t have the courage to leave.. HELP ME PLEASE .

  44. I recently found out my spouse cheated on me, it’s been a few months . I decided to give him a second chance, I was not going to give him the chance though. Now that we are back I just feel very depressed, betrayed, unhappy, a mixture of emotions. As much as he tries to make it up, I just don’t feel comfortable or trust him. I am working but have a very low income coming in, and I dont’ have the financial support from anyone, my family is mad with me so i can’t seem to decide if i should have a back up plan save and stick with this marriage for a longer time until i have enough to leave or if i should get theraphy to rebuilt this marriage. It’s just complicated.

  45. I am madly in love with my boyfriend, and I can’t seem to figure out why, because he flirts with other girls excessively, when I say that, I am NOT overexaggerating. He cheated once before, well that I know of, umm… he tells more attractive girls that he’s not in a relationship and that he’s not in love with anyone, (on facebook) yet he tells me he’s in love with me, that he loves me soooo much.
    I’ve always been a very emotionally strong person, it’s just… now, it’s like he zaps all that strength every time I try to tell him it’s over. I really, don’t know what to do right now.
    my best friend, once made up this fake facebook account (without my consent) and started talking to him, the girl in the profile pictures was stunning. i have no idea where she got them from, but they were talking and talking, talking and talking about how much he didn’t love me.
    I don’t know who he’s lying to and I really couldnt care less, I just want to get out the relationship.

  46. Dear Sad Lady,

    I wrote this article for you:

    You’re Tired of Trying to Make Your Marriage Work…What Next?


  47. Hello,
    I have been with my husband for 11 years and we have been married for 8 years. We have 3 beautiful small children together ages 2, 4 and 5. I am not happy at all and I must leave now before it really effect my kids. I have tried and tried to make it work. I am so scared to be alone with 3 small kids. I already don’t take them out much unless someone is with me because I need help with the kids. I feel so stupid for even marrying him. I got with my husband when I first turned 18 so I haven’t got a chance to enjoy my adulthood single. I am so depressed and my 4 year old is going through some health issues as well as myself. To top things off, my husband just got a liver problem and he stops breathing in his sleep and I feel so bad to leave him… He is not going to take care of himself. I’m so scared for my kids but I think it’s the best thing for us to do. My husband has a bad drug problem. So bad that he spends all his money and he never keeps a job. My kids always wonder where daddy is for days at a time. He finally surprised me and in September he stopped staying out, Until he got a job 8 months later and got his first paycheck. I cannot do this anymore. I haven’t been to work since January because I got sick. I’m going back to work next week and I want to go back to school. I’m going to take my kids and leave… I just don’t know how, I don’t even have a driver license, no money. I have never been so scared in my life. No family to help. PLEASE give my some advice.

    1. I came across the website that you wrote in 2012. I would like to ask how is your life know? Did it change? I lived a similar situation too. Controlling, Manipulation, Cuss me in front my kids, putting down….

  48. i love my husband so much but he had already expressed his longing to be free. he abused me and now he is starting to display his anger in front of our children. i want to save our relationship but the worry i have for my children witnessing his anger and frustrations are far more intense reasons why i am thinking of getting out of this.. i hope i can have more strength and will power before its too late..

  49. I divorced the man three years ago and still haven’t left him. Now I have a job and can move
    far away with my job, but I don’t have enough money to do it yet. I have to bring my 25 year old
    daughter and her 7 year old that my husband and I have been raising since she was 18 months old.
    I’m looking for the financial help now and hope I can make that plan to leave within a month.

  50. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear JoAnna,

    Thanks for sharing your story. I’m sorry that your husband is so unsupportive, and that you can’t leave your relationship yet. I wish you all the best, and pray you’ll have the strength to stay in your marriage for the next five years.

    If you need to share your feelings, please come back anytime.


  51. Unfortunately there is no easy solution to the financial bonds. Four years ago I went back to college thinking when I graduated, the job market would be better and I could find a great job to provide for myself and my children with a college degree. But the economy has gotten worse, not better. I have my degree, but still no job.

    My getting the degree has made my marriage even worse than it was. He can’t stand the fact that I have a degree and he doesn’t. He can’t stand the fact that he can’t keep me locked up at home anymore (I was a SAHM for 15 years– he did not want me to work outside the home and liked the fact that I was isolated from the world.)

    I have three children at home. In 5 years, the day the youngest turns 18, I am gone. I am waiting for that day, and trying to find work to save enough to be able to make it on my own. It’s not easy living this way, but I refuse to leave my children behind with this poor excuse of a man.

    1. JoAnna, this may seem weird to you, but I just read this article and several other replies to it. I found yours and went back to it because of the date you left it. If I could stand up right now, I’d look at my planner from then and could probably tell you that I was drunk and we were fighting.

      I’ve been married to my husband since the same date in 1997. Sounds like, in spite of all of my sessions in counselling and the fact that I’ve taken almost every anti-depressant known to man (I’m currently on another one I hadn’t tried…not working so well,) we are still headed for divorce. Your situation is like mine in many ways. According to what you wrote then, you have one more year before your youngest is 18. I have 2. She’ll be 16 next week and her father says that doing this (what he does almost weekly…he drives truck) right now won’t ruin her birthday or his chance of her going with him. He knows that losing my daughter is my only fear and he claims he is going to make it happen.

      I’m curious to know where you are now and how things are for you. Did you get divorced yet? Or are you still waiting for the kids to grow up? Do you work yet? I’d really like to talk to you.