My Boyfriend is a Verbally Abusive, Physically Abusive, Emotionally Abusive, Sexually Unfaithful Man. What Should I Do?

abusive boyfriend


I met this guy (he’s 53, I’m 43) on an online dating site, and our first and second date went so well, we slept together on the second date. However, the first shoe dropped right when we were in bed before the sex act. He informed me that he had slept with a woman just last week. THEN, he called me a couple of days after and asked to see me the very next day because he had two women flying in for sex, one right after the other, and he wouldn’t be able to see me for two weeks! Furious, I told him that unless he told the women to cancel their trips, it was over. He refused, saying plane tickets had already been bought, so I ended it. A few days later I get a few e-mails laced with anger, repeated phone calls and lastly, an e-mail asking me to forgive him, professing how he’d been doing nothing but crying since we last spoke and saying he’d made a mistake and wanted me back. And you guessed it, I was stupid enough to give this man a second chance.

We were in a relationship for 3 months and it turned out to be a living hell!

When I’d come over, he wanted to have sex FIRST. Whatever else we planned to do came after he got his rocks off. He started pressuring me.

He refused to divorce his wife (they have been separated for 6 years) who he shares custody of his 4 kids with. He told me he just hadn’t gotten around to it yet. It never happened.

Corinne’s guy is verbally abusive, selfish, and sexually unfaithful.

He still continued to take vacations with his wife and spend the holiday with her.

He started to become cruel and insulting to me. He got in my face one day and circled me during an argument and taunted me.

All the women he had sex with (including me) was done while his two teenage daughters and their friends were in the house, even in the daylight hours.

I would catch him frowning at me sometimes. He started to want to communicate with me only be e-mail. The phone calls lessened.

The final straw came when he refused to allow me around his young sons (who had recently come back from a vacation in Hawaii). He stated the reason was because I was selfish and it was always about, “me, me, me”.

At that point, I told him I was either to be included around his sons, or I wouldn’t be with him at all.

The one thing he loved about me was the sex. All throughout the relationship, he talked about how amazing it was for him. I believe that was why the “relationship” lasted as long as it did. So, Evan, what can I learn from this situation? That I was dating a loser and a jerk? Well, that I know. Anything else? Thanks!


I have been in a relationship with this guy for eight years, four of which we have been engaged for. Before he gave me a ring, he cheated on me all of the time and that cheating sometimes included serious relationships. However, in the end though, he always seemed to be using the other girl for something that would benefit him, i.e. new clothes, new toys, drugs, clubbing, whatever. He promised me after I got the ring that if he ever doubted our relationship, he would ask me to take it off, as a sign that he wouldn’t cheat on me with the ring on.

Since then, we have had two children and we are still not married; a big sore in my eyes. Well, I had my newest child only six months ago, and shortly after I had her, he asked me to take my ring off. Needless to say, I should have known something was up when he wouldn’t come home at night but I believed all of his lies. He had a new girlfriend, and when he asked me to take the ring off, I asked him to move out. So he did move out and in with a buddy; that’s when I found out that his new girlfriend (with no kids and money) moved in too. The whole time he was gone he would always text me how much he missed me.

I let him move back home with the faith that he would stop talking to his ex-girlfriend. But he hasn’t, and after a serious talk, he still refuses too. He says they are not together, even though she wishes they were. He claims that they are best friends, and even if he stops talking to her it wouldn’t make our relationship better.

Jamie’s guy is a liar, selfish, and sexually unfaithful.
Laura’s guy is verbally AND physically abusive, selfish, and sexually unfaithful.

He says he loves me very much, but the spark is gone. I tried to explain to him that love changes over the years and you have to work at it, but he says if loves feels the way he does about me, then he doesn’t want it. I told him that I want him to pick our children up from daycare and meet me at home as I get off work, we could cook dinner, eat as a family, then just spend time with our little family. We could do stuff with friends or go out on the weekends. His response was “No, I don’t want that I don’t want to be at home with you.” I have put up with this for months and I am just really fed up. I want to be with him and even more because of my children but this is all just not fair to me. He seems so selfish. I would do anything to make this relationship work but he refuses to even try by not stopping talking to his girlfriend. So I want to move out, and I really think that’s what he has been working on, so I will be blamed when our children are older, because I moved out. So flat out, I think I deserve better, and I want a guy that is considerate to others, doesn’t lie or cheat, and etc. I am really ready to leave it all behind, but what if I hold on just a little longer and things get better? They did before we got engaged.


I have been with a man for two years now and it was a wonderful love story. He has never been physically abusive to me but has displayed passive-aggressive tendencies, which I put down to the fact that his father was an abusive alcoholic who tried to kill him, resulting in him leaving home at a young age. His mother works two jobs, cleans the house from top to bottom every day whilst putting up with the ugly abuse from the father who sits around drinking all day. This is what he knows to be family and the role model of a woman, mother and wife.

So imagine the problems that started to arise when I refused to do daily chores because I have an extremely high-pressured and stressful job (which incidentally causes problems as I earn twice as much as him) and after working silly hours, the last thing I want to do is to start playing mummy to my partner. Major problems began to arise when my boyfriend’s best friend and his girlfriend from his home country moved over here. My boyfriend started spending a lot more time at their house and going out with his best friend while the girlfriend was working nights. To top it all, I got pregnant and we agreed on a termination within a two month period of my mother’s death. I became extremely depressed, and I tried to kill myself.

My boyfriend didn’t ring to ask how I was while I was sitting at home being miserable and became less and less interested in being at home. Eventually I went into his email account which is something I would not normally have done and came across a dating site. He told me that his friend had told him to do it and that he had not actually replied to any of the people that had contacted him. So I forgave him… And then I found another one a couple of months later and was so incensed that I told him it was over.

He refused to give me his key, and what followed was a bit of a scuffle, resulting in him hitting me and me calling the police. Since then, we would talk on the phone and sometimes even watch movies together in an attempt to try and rescue the beautiful relationship we had had. However, that all changed when I went out by myself one weekend and he called me up to find out where I had been, what time I came home and how many men I had talked to, and he actually drove to my home to call me a “slut”.

He is a lovely boy but I see that he is going to turn out to be his father’s son, not to mention jealous and possessive. This still does not take away from the fact that I am his first love, and the chemistry is so great many people openly express their admiration. What to do? Give him time to develop and mature a bit more, because essentially I am happy when he is not being insecure? Or do I call it a day due to cultural differences, gather my self-respect and channel my energy into understanding myself and what it is that I am looking for?


I want to make a confession. I was watching VH1’s Tool Academy the other day.


In this “reality” show, 9 frustrated women who are dating thoughtless, lying, cheating, arrogant “tools”, desperately try to save their relationships with these hunks of meat. Basically, a therapist puts these couples through exercises designed to teach communication, trust, and self-awareness — and the winning couple — the one whose muscled, spray-tanned, spiky-haired himbo is not voted off the show — wins $100,000.

Needless to say, I was riveted.

In videotaped confessions, each of these men brag about how they’ve got their girlfriends “trained” to accept being doormats. They tick off their sexual conquests — unfaithful sexual conquests — all while the teary girlfriends watch them like wounded puppies.

And all I could think when watching this show — all ANYONE could think when watching this show was this:


Corinne’s guy is verbally abusive, selfish, and sexually unfaithful.

Jamie’s guy is a liar, selfish, and sexually unfaithful.

Laura’s guy is verbally AND physically abusive, selfish, and sexually unfaithful.

What is there to learn? What is there to say that hasn’t been said before?

There are millions of women out there in this position; I know, because thousands of them write to me. But how low does your self-esteem have to be to put up with an irredeemable, disrespectful cheater for years at a time?

So tell me, readers, what could possibly compel an otherwise sane woman to stay with such an awful specimen of a man, when that man has given no indication that he has the capacity to be either faithful or truthful?

Join our conversation (115 Comments).
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  1. 1

    Good looks (in absolute and relative terms) and/or a chemical (oxytocin) bond.

  2. 2

    First, I like the new look of the site!

    Second, I don’t think it’s just a ‘self esteem’ problem. I think that phrase gets thrown around too often and it’s almost too easy. I think there is so much more to it. The common thread with these women, and women like them, is that they have convinced themselves that this is acceptable behavior. Clearly not ideal, but acceptable. Their partner is giving them something, even if its no where near apparent to us what it is, that is critical to them, and they don’t beleive they’ll be able to find it anywhere else.

    The only advice I can give these ladies is- change your mind. It’s possible to get what you need without dealing with all of these atrocities (cause really, that’s what they are). You won’t do better until you at least believe you can. Good relationships aren’t just for ‘other’ women. They are for you too.

    1. 2.1

      A reason that has little to do with self-esteem is simply the environment these women were subjected to growing up. Such dysfunction is what they know to be ‘normal’ so they replicate it in their adult relationships and don’t see anything wrong with it until it gets to the point where it is completely unworkable and impractical (esp if you have kids, that becomes obvious fast) and/or any friends they have in actual normal relationships make them realize the insanity of their existence with these Tools. Or they get themselves into some sort of counseling or therapy and a professional points out the issues to them. I know that’s what happened in my situation!

  3. 3
    The Seductress Within

    Sad, sad, sad. Women who put themselves in these situations don’t respect themselves and do not believe they deserve better or could get any better.

    It’s really that simple. And no, it’s not new information. But each one of those women after listing the various despicable traits of their “loves” actually feel the need to ask someone ‘what they should do’.

    What they really want to know is, what can I do to change him, make him love and respect me, basically turn him into a completely different person so I can feel better that picked him?

    We teach people how to treat us by the boundaries that we set and what behavior we accept. These are not victims. They volunteered for these pathetic relationships and can just as easily grow a backbone and opt out.

  4. 4

    I’m just going to throw out a few ideas based on what I’ve seen friends and family members do.

    Staying for the kids: There should be a male role model, studies show that kids from two-family homes tend to come out better, and the person may (or may not) actually be a good parent even if they’re a sucky significant other. So they stick around.

    Normative behavior: They actually don’t know any better because in their families/social circles it’s normal for the male to cheat or to be physically abusive. They think that the normal, treats-you-well kind of guy seen in movies exists only in movies, so they don’t seek it out in their real lives. It’s so sad that my students think it’s normal that when someone imbibes too much that they’re going to end up beating others. Or when someone’s boyfriend cheats on them, it’s the other woman’s fault, not the boyfriend’s. Go figure.

    Chemistry: They think that a romantic relationship must have the butterflies in the stomach, weak in the knees, heart racing sensation, and they don’t ever feel that with the nice guys. So they stick with the very bad boys who give them that feeling (when they’re not being abusive jerks).

    Validation: If the jerk finally turns around and becomes a nice guy, then it shows they were right to spend so much time in a sucky relationship. But if they leave while it’s still sucky, then they consider that the whole relationship was a waste of time. Or, that they’ve done just enough to improve the guy for the next woman, but won’t receive any benefit themselves.

    Low self-esteem: Even if they think good guys exist, they don’t think they’re good enough to actually get one to be interested in them.

    Social standing/economics: Many jerks actually act like good catches in public, and a woman may not want to disrupt the fa ade of having a great relationship. Or, the woman has become economically dependant on the guy and feels as though she can’t do without his income (stay-at-home moms are probably particularly susceptible to this).

  5. 5

    It goes without saying that I was horrified reading these stories. But honestly, what is there to say?

    These women know there’s something seriously wrong with their situations (and that’s an understatement). They know they have serious emotional issues. And yet they ask you if they should ‘hold on longer’ and ‘what should they learn.’ They KNOW what’s wrong- they KNOW what you and everybody else who’s stable and sane is going to tell them. What other kind of answers are they looking for?

    I had a friend one time who was being horribly emotionally abused by her boyfriend. Me and the rest of the world offered sympathetic ears. We told her to leave. We gave the guy dirty looks. We told her to get therapy. Guess what she did? She stayed with the guy and ignored everybody’s advice. Did she go to therapy? Hell no.

    I want to offer advice and support to these women, but the thing is there’s nothing anyone can do. It’s like banging your head against a brick wall. One day these women are going to (hopefully) wake up and find the strength to change on their own. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s too late.

    And not to beat a dead horse, but the first woman’s story is the reason I stick to my ‘no sex before relationship’ rule- and even if the rest of the United States disagree with me, I’ll stand by it. At least I’ll have mental peace.

  6. 6

    “The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.”
    “People don’t change, their eccentricities just become more pronounced.”

    Problem is, the longer you have been with some one, the more you have invested in a relationship (especially if you have children together), the more you feel it is “worth it” to reconcile/try to save the relationship. More so for women, than men. Effects of oxytocin etc., pressure from social conventions, “married until death do you part”, and often financial factors.

    If you’re a stay-at-home Mom, with outdated work skills / no recent work experience, in the current economy I can see why you might be prepared to turn a blind eye to your husband’s misdemeanors in exchange for support/shelter/food etc. that you couldn’t nearly afford on your own dime (assuming you could even get a job).

    Not a position I would like to be in at all.

  7. 7

    Evan- I don’t know if my above comment fully answered your question, which was:

    well….I think we all know the answer to that, so I won’t go into issues of psychological childhood trauma, low self-esteem, etc.

    But I think Pearl Jam said it best regarding the above women’s mentality-

    “Better Man”
    Waitin, watchin the clock, its four oclock, its got to stop
    Tell him, take no more, she practices her speech
    As he opens the door, she rolls over…
    Pretends to sleep as he looks her over
    She lies and says shes in love with him, cant find a better man…
    She dreams in color, she dreams in red, cant find a better man…
    Cant find a better man (2x)

    Talkin to herself, theres no one else who needs to know…
    She tells herself, oh…
    Memories back when she was bold and strong
    And waiting for the world to come along…
    Swears she knew it, now she swears hes gone
    She lies and says shes in love with him, cant find a better man…
    She dreams in color, she dreams in red, cant find a better man…
    She lies and says she still loves him, cant find a better man…
    She dreams in color, she dreams in red, cant find a better man…
    Cant find a better man (2x)

    She loved him, yeah…she dont want to leave this way
    She feeds him, yeah…thats why shell be back again
    Cant find a better man (3x)
    Cant find a better…man…
    Uh huh… (5x)

  8. 8

    Dear Evan:

    I was horrified while reading these horrendous tales of woe from such intelligent woman. What in the world is going through their minds? All the men involved with them appear to let the woman know right away that they mean them no good. Yet, the women continue to accept their sordid behavior. What gives here?

    Evan, I know that you will give tthese women much needed advice. I just cannot believe what I just read! I am truly shocked that this type of subhuman behavior is still acceptable to some women.

    Evan, I am learning so much from you pertaining to the dating scene. I am truly happy a friend of mine informed me of your wonderful site. As you can see, men and women really need to log into your site. I am now more aware of the games men can and do play during the dating process. Before I started reading your emails, I was not always sure about their intentions. However, your site has really opened up my eyes. A thousand thanks for your fantastic advice.



  9. 9

    I’m a LPC in Texas with a masters in marriage & family therapy & I have to say, Evan, you’re pretty damn good at what you do & what you say.

    As for why these women and a whole host of others accept unacceptable behavio? There are many reasons & combinations of reasons. Their self esteem may be low to begin with, or it may be low in this particular area. It may come from messages they have heard all of their lives…some variation of “your worthless” or “you’ll be lucky to find a man”. Women in my parents genration (not all, but a lot) got the message that there was something wrong with them if they could not find a man & hang on to them. They were blamed, not their husbands when things went wrong in a marriage. Sometimes it’s more insidious than that. A woman meets a man. At first all is great, and then he slowly, quietly eats away at her self esteem an separates her from her family & friends. Sometimes these women are at vunerable points in their lives such as the loss of a family member, a break-up or divorce, or some other traumatic event. I had to deal some of it when I was in grad school. It’s hard to work with, because it seems that the answer is so simple, leave the %#&#@* (insert word here) but there is so much more involved. There has been some research done in the field of trauma. (And what is abuse, if not trauma) I’m not not really up on all of it, but it suggests that repeated exposure to trauma causes changes in the brain.

  10. 10

    You know, when I read some of the stuff on this blog, all my “problems” seem just laughable in comparison.

    Well, you already know why they put up with this kind of crap – low self-esteem (most likely a result of abusive childhood) combined with lack or complete absence of self-awareness.

  11. 11

    good or great sex has the ability to cloud someone’s otherwise rational decision making. add in insecurity due to being overweight or feeling otherwise undesireable and you have just the person willing to put up with or overlook abuse, infidelity & all sorts of other demeaning treatment from a partner. it’s really unfortunate, no one will end a relationship until they are truly convinced that they are better off without their partner than with them.

    JNez´s last blog post…President Obama: Everybody Rejoice!

  12. 12

    @A-L #4- Completely agree with your post, particularly the point about validation.

  13. 13

    Just become everything you would ever want to marry…

  14. 14

    Post #1-
    “The common thread with these women, and women like them, is that they have convinced themselves that this is acceptable behavior.”

    Have they, though? Then why are they writing to Evan? Obviously they know something is seriously wrong, and it’s not acceptable.

    I think it just goes down to this (well, not ‘just’ but one of the factors)- these women believe there aren’t better men in society (see my Pearl Jam lyrics)- and media, literature doesn’t do much to sway us from that fact. Do they want Evan to tell them not to worry, as soon as they leave a better man (forget ‘better’ because these men aren’t even good to begin with) will come along? Is it reassurance they want that better men are out there?

    I wish that day would come when all women would rise up and refuse to take abuse and s-t from men like the above samples anymore, but I’m living in Dreamland apparently.

  15. 15

    A-L’s paragraph on “Chemistry” is the core of most relationships, from what I am told. Kind of like seeing most “nice” women, they can be, boring….

  16. 16

    @Sayanta #14- I agree with you. I say ‘acceptable’ because they have been accepting it, in most cases for years. agree that the reason they have convinced themselves that this is acceptable behavior is because they don’t expect more (due to media, society, their own thoughts, etc.).

    I think they are writing Evan because they are getting fed up and want their men to shape up now. It’s almost like ‘I expect to have to deal with b.s. for a while, but hasn’t it been long enough now?’

  17. 17

    JNez: according to many surveys, sexual satisfaction makes relationship termination unlikely.

    That most heterosexual relationships in non-repressive societies are ended by women kind of suggests that social norms now have little to do with women letting men physically abuse them. With very young women (more naive and more sensitive to chemistry) an exception and women from certain circles another exception, perhaps. Purely emotional abuse – anyone know?

    Maybe somebody can find a study that delves into heterosexual relationships. As you can see, in gay males, some of the reasons for tolerating violence are subtly or overtly related to attraction (“love”) and appearance.

  18. 18

    Also, concerning chemistry and good looks, a cursory glance at research suggests that men who are low in testosterone are deemed less physically attractive and are less violent within relationships.

  19. 19

    “I think they are writing Evan because they are getting fed up and want their men to shape up now.”

    True. I think a lot of women, as everyone knows, try to change their men. But men know no one can change unless they want to and walk out. I’ve actually always admired men’s common sense in this regard.

  20. 20

    Satexaslady alluded to it, as did you, Evan, when you described the reality show contestants who had their SOs “trained” to act like door mats: it’s the insidious nature of the abuse. Most relationships with abusers don’t start out with overt abuse. It would be too ineffective, too much of a red flag. It’s the slow, steady erosion of self-esteem and support that allows the abuse to escalate with these couples.

    Take one women who has had a traumatic childhood or upbringing where she’s constantly devalued. Add a couple of early bad relationships or a divorce. Now add to that a man who consciously or not, looks for vulnerable partners. He reels her in, then slowly, over months or years, starts the devaluing process all over again (but it’s easier now, because that’s the dynamic she’s used to). At first it’s just “negging,” little back-handed not-quite-compliments that are actually meant to make her question her appearance, her parenting, her cooking, whatever. Then it progresses to insulting her in front of other people, which is a test to see how much verbal abuse she might be willing to take. Of course, the negging has made her question her self worth, so she doesn’t fight back. Isolate her from her friends and family, so she loses her support system and starts to question her own judgment. Take away her financial independence. You now have the ingredients to make the toxic cocktail of angry verbal abuse (yelling, swearing, etc.), physical abuse (shoving, hitting, beating), and sexual abuse (rape, infidelity).

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