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You Asked: Will He Ever Be Nice Again?

Dear Sugar,

My boyfriend and I have been together for over a year. I love him so much and I don't say that lightly. I know he loves me so much too — he does the sweetest things and treats me like a princess — sometimes. At other times he can be dismissive, cold, ugly and cruel. He never calls names or tries to make me feel bad about myself, he's just a jerk. I'm not a mean person. I try to let him know when he hurts me and I try to make him understand why but he tells me I'm too sensitive and he breaks up with me. A few days later, he's back to the guy who can't live without me and he says he'll try to be more careful with his words, but it ends up being the same cycle every time.

I don't want to leave him, but if things don't get better I can't allow myself to stay. What else can I do besides talking to him? — In the Dumps Deborah

To see Dear Sugar's answer

Dear In the Dumps Deborah,

It sounds like your boyfriend has a bit of a split personality here. You must be so confused by his actions since one second he is loving and adoring you, then the next he is breaking up with you. If you ask me, that's no relationship so something's gotta give ASAP. I'm glad that you're standing up for yourself, but it sounds like he's not hearing you. You need to set some boundaries, or else he isn't going to realize how serious you are.

The next time you sense Dr. Jekyll coming on, talk to him before you reach the fighting breaking point. Tell him how much you love him, but when he puts you down, you not only question his feelings for you but also your own part in this relationship. Let him know that you deserve to be respected by him and tell him how confusing it is for your heart to be constantly pulled in two different directions.

I hear that you love this man, but you need to love yourself more. Love is a funny thing and it's OK to turn a blind eye to the small things, but his sporadic actions could be the sign of a bigger problem later on down the road. If he's being cruel or unfair to you, he clearly doesn't love you as much as you think he does. If your chat doesn't change things, I advise you to breakup with him before any more damage is done. Good luck.


Join The Conversation
ShanaB ShanaB 9 years
When the bad times start to out way the good or the arguments out way the compliments i would say thats when you know your relationship is over. you deserve so much more so why settle for less?
Gdeeaz Gdeeaz 9 years
if i was telling the man i love, how he makes me feel when he is being mean, and he said i was being to sensitive and he broke up with me and then he tried to come back, i would give him one more chance and that is it. im not gunna put up with that over and over again.
Soniabonya Soniabonya 9 years
It's emotional abuse. Plain and simple. You're letting yourself be abused by a person that supposedly loves you. Abuse doesn't have to be phsycial, it's a mental and emotional as well. If you stay with him he may very much lead into physical abuse. If he truly loved you then he wouldn't be breaking up with you one day and coming back the next. How can you love a guy that hurts you (unless you want to be hurt)? Learn to love yourself. You're better than that crud and deserve better. Get out of the relationship, stay off men for a while and build yourself up.
Papaya Papaya 9 years
If he has a psychological problem, he can get it diagnosed and finds way to cope with it. It's not like a psychological problem damns you for the rest of your life. That's why people get help. Honestly, I do the same thing. I can get very cold to my boyfriend, and when the storm passes, I get really frustrated and depressed with myself because I know I'm not a mean person or abusive. But I also get help, do yoga, and let him know my moods, so we can work with it (and it's getting much better! :)). It's not "immature" to not be able to handle stress, either. IF he's willing to work on it, then I don't see why you should dump the relationship. If he was really abusive, I'd think he would be calling you names and trying to make you feel bad about yourself. I would talk to him about it before jumping the gun on emotional abuse.
Vsugar Vsugar 9 years
OMG that was so long. Sorry.
Vsugar Vsugar 9 years
Yeah, this pattern sounds really abusive. It's the same EXACT thing that men who hit women do. They beat the you-know-what out of them, and then come back and say they can't live without them and they'll change and they'll try harder. Do you love him because it makes you feel good when he comes to you and tells you he needs you and can't live without you? Is it the feeling needed part that makes you love him? Because that's not love, honey. If you want to feel good about being needed, get a dog. A man who respected you and wanted to be a partner in your life wouldn't treat you this way. Really great people can be big jerks once in a while, and if in the course of a 40 year marriage you told me your husband was such a jerk that he actually wounded and hurt your soul a couple of times, or threatened to break up with you once, but that generally it had been a great marriage and the good times far out-weighed the bad, and you loved him SO much and you knew he'd loved you, I'd say, OK - nice people can be jerks once in a while. Stumbling blocks or miscommunications that turn nasty a FEW times over the course of a long relationship like that are bound to happen, and really lovely, good people can, the heat of extreme stress, say and do really nasty things. But you've only been together for a YEAR and this keeps happening? Drop him NOW before it really turns into the abuse it sounds like he's grooming you for. This should be the honeymoon phase for you two. A fight now and then is bound to happen, but people can be angry with one another and still be civil, and not cruel, and be respectful - my fiance and I had a couple of pretty big fights during our first year together, but I don't ever remember thinking 'This is it -he's gonna break up with me!!' Or, ick, what a yucky human being - how could he say something so hurtful to me??? We are pretty nice to each other when we fight, even when we're steamed!! You need to figure out EXACTLY what it is you say you love "so much" about this man, because I don't think you are being completely honest with yourself about what you want in a relationship.I think you need to think about what it means to you to feel love for someone else and to feel loved BY someone else, and then see if this relationship fits the bill. I wager a guess that it won't. Good Luck.
jimmalou1978 jimmalou1978 9 years
Leave him. Who is saying this is not "abuse"? This IS emotional and mental abuse! You deserve to be with someone who will treat you right ALL THE TIME, not in cycles. I had that for 6 years, and yes, they ALWAYS apologize and act "nice" for a bit, but you enable them to treat you like crap!
The-Grizz The-Grizz 9 years
or maybe it was just asshole
The-Grizz The-Grizz 9 years
And that is sooo cool how when I type ass it automatically inserts *
The-Grizz The-Grizz 9 years
So I kinda feel ya. I love my boyfriend to death...but he is a grumpy asshole. I stay with him because he is getting better. And he is grumpy with the whole damn world and not just me. Maybe it is unhealthy but I want to stay with him because I know why he is the way he is and as long as he makes an effort to change, why shouldn't I be there for him. And (this sounds bad) everytime he starts to get in his mood I either tell him to snap out of it or I go do something and leave him alone. He has gotten to where he realizes he is doing it and changes. But you HAVE to let him know ASAP that you are not putting up with it anymore. He can either change or you won't think twice before walking out that door. But maybe I am emotionally abused...but I feel like its ok because so is he. Healthy relationship, huh? It works.
princess_eab princess_eab 9 years
I was also in one of these. It does not get better. The bottom line is that anyone who treats you cruelly of their own free will does not really love you at all. That is not love.
Merlin713 Merlin713 9 years
The only **thing it does. Oops.
Merlin713 Merlin713 9 years
I was in a four year relationship like this. The only it does is keep repeating and gets worse. Leave him. You need to be happy, and he's not consistently doing that for you. It is not worth it and not right in any way, shape, or form.
MsWalton MsWalton 9 years
While I'm sure you may not want to read this, your boyfriend is emotionally abusive. Any person who can treat you the way he does KNOWING your sensitive is well aware of the power they have. You need to leave him and move on. It's going to be rough, but this pattern is just going to manifest into something worse if you stay. It's not worth it.
jadorexcouture jadorexcouture 9 years
as i read through these comments i am getting more and more disgusted that so many of us have gone through emotional abuse and were not aware of it. I too put up with it for three years and yes- my ex really has NO IDEA what he did to me. in fact, I'm sure he still believes I ruined our relationship. you need to get out of this immediately....he may not call you names now but I can almost guarantee you he will start to. it wasn't until about two years into it that he started calling me a wh*re, moron, stupid, etc on a regular basis. he even made a darn facebook group about me, calling me all sorts of names. real mature, huh? anyways, please, for your own sanity and your mental health, leave him. you don't deserve it. I think our society needs to raise the awareness of emotional abuse because SO MANY people go through it and don't realize it.... best of luck xx
alltherage alltherage 9 years
emotional abuse is so much harder to detect. unlike physical abuse there are no phyiscal signs. but in some ways its so much worse. i dealt with it for over three years. and even a year after we broke up he still thinks he did nothing wrong and though he broke it off cruelly its stil all my fault. the only difference is without him ive become stronger and i know i can do better, that he's an abuser and therefore full of it. :)
MGallu MGallu 9 years
This is weird I am going through the same thing with my boyfriend. But he does say things that are mean. I mean he will call me an A$$hole and stuff like that And the thing that gets me is he complains when other guys do it to their girlfriends and I say to him do you think you are any better? Your worse !! And he gets highly upset but realizes after some poking and prodding of his own that he really is worse. I mean I have my streaks where the nasty ruthlessness comes out but usually after being provoked by him to no end. I told him flat out actually last week Don't talk to me that way or call me names because the next time you do I'm gonna smack your face in and walk the hell out for good. And some other man is going to get to have a chance at what I have to offer. He gets mad but it makes him realize.......I mean I am not ssaying what he does is Right because I sure a Hell know it isn't and it has only happened a few times.....but he knows I am a woman of my Don't Mess with me !!!
TheMissus TheMissus 9 years
He's gotta go, honey. I understand that people have stresses and express them emotionally/physically in various ways... But what he i doing is immature. And do you really want to spend your time with someone who is immature? No way.
yaliyah yaliyah 9 years
You are right that he could have a psychological problem, but it results in an abusive pattern that his girlfriend has to deal with...
Papaya Papaya 9 years
I don't think this is abuse at all. He sounds like he might have some clinical emotional problems that he loses control over. I suggest he talks to a psychologist to see if it's indeed some kind of emotional problem and then the both of you come up with a way to deal with it.
lilegwene lilegwene 9 years
I don't think there is enough information to say this is an abusive relationship. What does he actually do when he acts like a jerk? He doesn't call you names or try to make you feel bad about yourself, so what does he do?? Functional relationships are about adults who support each other and want each other to succeed. If he is cruel or malicious to you in any way, get out of the relationship. That is an abusive relationship. If it is something like he doesn't pay attention to you when you're talking to him, that can definitely be a problem. However, look at it from his point of view too. Are you smothering him? Does he need some time alone? The whole "breaking up/getting back together" cycle is silly. You either love each other enough to stick it out, talk things through, and make things work, or this relationship is going nowhere.
BlairBear BlairBear 9 years
I got out of a marriage that was like this. I think you should leave him now! It won't get better, trust me and soon you'll just be a shell of what you once were, it happened to me. k8 rckstr you should never consider marrying someone that is like this. He should get help before you make a big commitment like that and it end up in divorce like me. Good luck to both of you!
onesong onesong 9 years
Tell him "I'm sick of hearing that you're done, you always come back. Next time you say it, plan on being done for good." Basically let him take care of the problem himself. My bf was pulling this stunt regarding living together again next year, and it finally got to the point where I wasn't hurt anymore, I was PISSED. Every time we would have an argument he'd say "well maybe we don't need to live together next year" until finally I said, honestly, I don't give a crap WHAT you want to do, just make a decision and stick to it. Sometimes I think it just helps if you show him how ridiculous he's being. It might not register to him that he's doing it--like he's so in a rut/habit of acting this way it doesn't even register as crazy. Talk to him BEFORE he hurts your feelings again and tell him that you need to be able to tell him how you're feeling (even if it's bad or not waht he wants to hear) without having to wonder if he's going to pull the break-up-get-back-together game. Explain to him that it's exhausting and you don't want to do it anymore. Then see what happens. If it continues, tell him to go to h-e-double-hockey-sticks on the double, because he's an immature jerk!
yaliyah yaliyah 9 years
unfortunately this has happened to too many women that i know - including me. It is the abuse - honeymoon cycle all over again. He acts like an ass, hurts you in some way, you wonder what you did and would do anything to have him back, he blames you for the way he treated you, he gives you another chance (when it's really the other way around), you get back together and have a short period of bliss. Then the cycle continues. A man who jerks around your emotions and makes you feel emotionally unstable does not love you. In some ways I think this kind of abuse is worse than the physical kind. get out and run free. Find a man who doesn't feel the need to treat you horribly and take you back as a way to show love.
groem6 groem6 9 years
Realionships of physical abuse rarely starts with the physical abuse, but with tearing down the victim's self esteem. That's well on it's way here, it seems. I don't say this _has_ to be it in your case, but the chance is bigger that it will be than not. So get out of there. Next time he dumps you, don't let him back in. He's giving you plenty of windows to get away, climb out. I almost think it's a good thing he is the dumper, since that'll give you the argument of "_You_ left _me_" whenever he tries to come back. Loving the good moments is NOT the same as loving him.
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