Skip Nav
Women
17 Sparkly Halloween Costumes For the Shiniest Girl in the Room
Nostalgia
Nostalgia Alert: 15 Early 2000s Costume Ideas For Couples
Relationships
These Adorable Drawings About Dating Are Too Real

Staying in a Dysfunctional Relationship

Group Therapy: Staying in a Dysfunctional Relationship

This question comes from a Group Therapy post in our TrèsSugar Community. Add your advice in the comments!

I'm in a situation I'm not proud to be in. I've stayed in a dysfunctional relationship for way too long, with a man who is fun and sweet and kind, but who also withholds himself from me on the premise that he needs to take care of himself before he can take care of me.

Our history is complicated and stupid and it's been a lot of on again/off again, and right now we are basically in a relationship, just without the "boyfriend" and "girlfriend" titles. I can feel my self worth, happiness, and energy dwindling away as I keep trying to make it work with this boy who cares about me until I bring up the fact that I'm not happy.

When things are good, they're amazing, but when they're bad, I turn in to this clingy, needy, self-loathing monster who can't seem to survive without him. I don't know how to escape this cycle.

Have a dilemma of your own? Post it, anonymously, to Group Therapy for advice, and check out what else is happening in the TrèsSugar Community.


Image Source: Thinkstock
Around The Web
Join The Conversation
HollyJRockNRoll HollyJRockNRoll 5 years
Why is it dysfunctional that he wants his own space. It sounds like he is not ready to be with you 24/7 or your coming on too strong and need to leave him be. If you want someone who always wants to be with you and stuff, ditch this guy and find someone who is more similar in needs. If you're not happy, bounce. You weren't too specific about the "dysfunction" of your relationship, and as far as I can tell, you are dating someone who is independent, who gets overwhelmed by the clingy factor. Maybe you just need to find someone new if you can't handle this side of him.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 5 years
Sounds like you already know what to do. Just end it already. You'll be a much happier person in the long run.
dexaholic dexaholic 5 years
I know exactly how you're feeling. You're scared. You can't imagine life without him, yet you know you can't be happy with him. I was with my 'first love' for a long time. It was good for a number of years, until it wasn't anymore. My unhappiness sort of crept up on me, because I did everything I could to ignore it for a long time, until I could no longer push my feelings aside and finally accepted how miserable I was. I was terrified. I had spent the whole of my adult life with this man, and the last bit of my teens as well. I couldn't see life on my own, but I knew I couldn't continue being in the relationship.So, after writing a post similar to yours here on Group Therapy and receiving great advice from the community (serious, thank you all again!), I finally worked up the courage and did what I needed to do. I sat down and told him that I was unhappy, that our relationship had become one of convenience instead of love, and that we both knew it wasn't working anymore.To be honest, we gave it another shot after that. But efforts were feeble and we ended things for good two months later.It was one of the hardest things I've ever done in my entire life, maybe the hardest thing I will ever do!You need to think about YOUR future right now, about YOUR happiness. You are much, MUCH stronger than you think you are!
dexaholic dexaholic 5 years
I know exactly how you're feeling. You're scared. You can't imagine life without him, yet you know you can't be happy with him. I was with my 'first love' for a long time. It was good for a number of years, until it wasn't anymore. My unhappiness sort of crept up on me, because I did everything I could to ignore it for a long time, until I could no longer push my feelings aside and finally accepted how miserable I was. I was terrified. I had spent the whole of my adult life with this man, and the last bit of my teens as well. I couldn't see life on my own, but I knew I couldn't continue being in the relationship. So, after writing a post similar to yours here on Group Therapy and receiving great advice from the community (serious, thank you all again!), I finally worked up the courage and did what I needed to do. I sat down and told him that I was unhappy, that our relationship had become one of convenience instead of love, and that we both knew it wasn't working anymore. To be honest, we gave it another shot after that. But efforts were feeble and we ended things for good two months later. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done in my entire life, maybe the hardest thing I will ever do! You need to think about YOUR future right now, about YOUR happiness. You are much, MUCH stronger than you think you are!
LaSigh LaSigh 5 years
You should check out "He's Just Not That Into You" I'm not usually one for self help books but I loved the movie so I read it and found it funny, enlightening, and empowering.
ali321 ali321 5 years
I think the title says it all. You said it was dysfunctional and you probably know you want more than that. Trust me you can have the same amount of good times and love with someone else without the dysfunction and he will be happy to give you the title of girlfriend. It's scary I know but the sooner you move on the sooner you can really be happy with who you are.
lickety-split lickety-split 5 years
how can he be happy with the relationship, knowing, that you aren't happy? if you aren't bf/gf, start dating other people. double date for awhile with this guy as your backup. as you date other people and see how it feels to be treated like you're special, his apeal with fall away.
jenwils jenwils 5 years
You obviously know what you need to do. You're either strong enough to do it now, or you're not. If not, the strength will come, but realize that the meantime is wasted time.
ColeyB ColeyB 5 years
Dear anonymous, I am in your exact situation. I have been with my bf for a few years now. Lately, it seems as though we are perfect strangers. We live together but almost as if were just roommates. It's sad. At times when we fight, I feel like we both know the right thing to do is to break up but both of us are too scared to say it. It's makes you start to question why you're even still together... When things are good, they're great, but when they're bad, life is miserable, right? Sometimes we are too scared to let things go but I believe that if you let something go, it will come back to you if it's meant to be. A relationship isn't supposed to be that hard. Love is complicated but love is supposed to make you happy, not stressed and burdened. I promise you that if you even just took a month off from each other, you would realize how strong and independent you are without him. Life's way to short to be wasted.
ColeyB ColeyB 5 years
Dear anonymous, I am in your exact situation. I have been with my bf for a few years now. Lately, it seems as though we are perfect strangers. We live together but almost as if were just roommates. It's sad. At times when we fight, I feel like we both know the right thing to do is to break up but both of us are too scared to say it. It's makes you start to question why you're even still together... When things are good, they're great, but when they're bad, life is miserable, right? Sometimes we are too scared to let things go but I believe that if you let something go, it will come back to you if it's meant to be. A relationship isn't supposed to be that hard. Love is complicated but love is supposed to make you happy, not stressed and burdened. I promise you that if you even just took a month off from each other, you would realize how strong and independent you are without him. Life's way to short to be wasted.
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 5 years
It sounds like you have taken a really honest look at this relationship and you do know what to do. So do it. Just break it off and then don't talk to him at all. I know it's intimidating to think about someone important in your life being absent from it, but in a year or less you will be so much happier without him. Difficult but simple: just break it off and move on.
nic0lala nic0lala 5 years
I think alot of us girls can say we've been in this situation before. for example I used to be in a relationship with a boy I totally loved (my first ever love). & really I would have done *anything* for this boy. To the point I used to allow him to walk all over me, just so that I could say we were still together... Sounds ridiculous. But I was very young and naive at heart! In the end we were doing everything that a boyfriend and girlfriend would do and like you say without the titles... But do you know what? Without that title it allowed him more so to do what he pleased. Sleep with who he wanted, speak to whoever the hell he wanted, flirt with anyone regardless of how It made me feel. Time went on and I finally realised I was worth ten of this boy, no wait.. perhaps even a million? because I could understand the effects of my own behaviour on other people, I could switch positions in a flash.. I could see things from his point of view, allowing me to realise the effects my actions could have over him! But selfishly he couldn't. Suprisingly I got bored before he did, and it's because I had grown up & eventually went on to have a happier more successful relationship with someone else. I think you'll understand what I'm saying... Move on doll! Get happier.
nic0lala nic0lala 5 years
I think alot of us girls can say we've been in this situation before. for example I used to be in a relationship with a boy I totally loved (my first ever love).& really I would have done *anything* for this boy. To the point I used to allow him to walk all over me, just so that I could say we were still together...Sounds ridiculous. But I was very young and naive at heart! In the end we were doing everything that a boyfriend and girlfriend would do and like you say without the titles... But do you know what? Without that title it allowed him more so to do what he pleased. Sleep with who he wanted, speak to whoever the hell he wanted, flirt with anyone regardless of how It made me feel.Time went on and I finally realised I was worth ten of this boy, no wait.. perhaps even a million? because I could understand the effects of my own behaviour on other people, I could switch positions in a flash.. I could see things from his point of view, allowing me to realise the effects my actions could have over him! But selfishly he couldn't.Suprisingly I got bored before he did, and it's because I had grown up & eventually went on to have a happier more successful relationship with someone else.I think you'll understand what I'm saying... Move on doll! Get happier.
Helen-Danger Helen-Danger 5 years
I need some examples of the issues you mention. Otherwise it's not quite concrete enough for me to know how to respond.
Pauladeanliveshere Pauladeanliveshere 5 years
You need to work on yourself and your self-esteem. The problem is that something in you is emotional bereft. Maybe a bad childhood or bad relationship with parents? Not feeling the love from one or both of them? It is not healthy to be emotionally dependent on someone else because then you will never be happy and content in yourself. And he will start to get annoyed and want to push you away! Start journaling and writing positive things about yourself everyday- you may find that that will start to help you from being so clingy.
Pauladeanliveshere Pauladeanliveshere 5 years
You need to work on yourself and your self-esteem. The problem is that something in you is emotional bereft. Maybe a bad childhood or bad relationship with parents? Not feeling the love from one or both of them?It is not healthy to be emotionally dependent on someone else because then you will never be happy and content in yourself. And he will start to get annoyed and want to push you away!Start journaling and writing positive things about yourself everyday- you may find that that will start to help you from being so clingy.
Fall Bucket List For Couples
Sexy Couples Halloween Costumes
What Men Want in a Girlfriend
Questions to Ask in a Serious Relationship
Confusing Signs Men Like You
Should You Date Before the Divorce Is Finalized?
Why Pretty Girls Are Single

POPSUGAR, the #1 independent media and technology company for women. Where more than 75 million women go for original, inspirational content that feeds their passions and interests.

From Our Partners
Latest Love
X