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I met my girlfriend online. We met in person a few times, and then she moved several hundred miles to be with me. Would it be awful to break up with her even though she is emotionally abusive?

3 Answers
Last Updated: 01/15/2020 at 7:57pm
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Terrence Sawyer, MS Counseling Psychology

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Top Rated Answers
January 14th, 2020 7:56am
Hey. First of all: I am very sorry to hear that you have been put in this position with this dilemma to solve. I often tend to quote Dr. Phil in situations like these: the only thing worse than being in a bad relationship for a thousand days, is being in a bad relationship for thousand days plus one. I completely get that you would feel guilty and awful for breaking up with her while she has left so much behind and moved hundreds of miles just to be with you; but she's still an abuser. Emotional abuse is terrible abuse as well and makes it a bad relationship. So in that case: make sure it doesn't last a thousand plus one days. However, there are multiple ways to get out of a bad relationship. Breaking up is one way, but there are other ways as well. Depending on how serious the both of you are about making this relationship work, you could consider relationship counseling as well. Try to ask yourself this question: "if she wouldn't have been abusive, what would happen then? Would we be happy together? Would the idea of breaking up with her cross my mind as well?" If you answer yes and no in that order, it is a sign to still fight for your relationship. And people can definitely change. But in the end, you are also depending on her willingness to change this toxic behavior. And to answer your specific question: it is not awful to break up to get out of an abusive relationship. Saying that it is awful would be blaming the victim, and if there's one thing I hate it is victim blaming. I wish you all the best with this dilemma that has been put on your path.
January 15th, 2020 2:38am are never obligated to stay in a bad relationship, especially if you feel abused. Neither of you is served by being unhappy together. The fact that she moved to be with you after having only met you a few times is also a red flag. I don't know the situation well enough to really gauge just how toxic the situation is, but it doesn't sound like either of you are in a healthy position. If you encouraged her to move and now you want to dump her, then I would examine why you compelled her to upend her life when you didn't actually know what you wanted. If she pushed for moving without really knowing you, then it sounds like she has some boundary and co-dependence issues. Not criticizing you since we all make bad decisions, but use this as an opportunity for self-reflection and growth and by all means get the hell out of a bad situation.
January 15th, 2020 7:57pm
It is NEVER wrong to leave any relationship where you are being abused. Your physical and emotional health takes priority. Pay attention to your feelings -- if you are afraid to speak to your partner, that's something to really look at. Are you afraid they will leave? They will threaten or hurt you? Or are you just having anxiety about the idea of expressing your needs? If you often feel uncomfortable setting boundaries in relationships or have a hard time asking for what you need or want, you may benefit from a support group like CoDependents Anonymous. Online/long distance relationships are especially difficult to sort out: we can develop strong feelings of connection and attachment based on text messages, but that's not the same thing as really being with somebody day in and day out, seeing how they behave and interact with us in regular life situations. Online romance can easily have the appearance of perfection because it is so removed from the things we deal with IRL. Unfortunately, it can also be a way for some people to conceal the truth about themselves, that they are not good at face-to-face communication, or worse, that they are outright lying about their life circumstances (they could be in another relationship!) and may be trying to take advantage of the other person financially. Be very cautious in the future when meeting people online -- even if you text and chat for a year, consider the "in person" portion of your experience to be the only "dating" time you've had. Would you move in with someone after meeting in person "only a few times"? I hope this perspective is helpful to you. Take care of yourself. You deserve it!
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