At what point do I end a relationship with someone I truly love who has a temper, who treats me badly, but always say he's going to change? And how do I end this relationship when I am always wanting and willing to accept his apologies and take him back? He is my everything and I don't know what to do. Please help! — Reliant Rachel
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Dear Reliant Rachel,
While I hear you when you say you love your boyfriend, I can not reiterate enough that being with someone who has a bad temper and treats you poorly is a disaster waiting to happen — if not a current disaster.
Feeling like your boyfriend is your everything definitely adds an element of difficulty to this process, but Rachel, if all he's offering you are false promises, it's time to end this relationship. The only way he will change is if he's willing to, and it's pretty clear by the desperation in your tone that he's not. Abuse of any kind does not belong in a relationship, so get out before it's too late. You haven't given me much information here, but if you are in immediate peril, you must leave him right away, and if you've been physically hurt in any way, call 911 ASAP.
If you don't live together, this breakup will be much easier. You should immediately change your locks, install a security system, and tell your friends and family that you've decided to leave him so they are aware of the situation. However if you do live together, you must leave the house ASAP, but be sure you have an emergency plan in place first — somewhere to go, an escape route, and someone you can call for support. You should also have an emergency kit packed and easily accessible with the necessities: an ID, money, social security card, passport, an extra set of keys, and any prescription medication. (This is a good idea to have even if you don't live together as you never know when you might need it.)
The The National Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year if you need help finding a safe place to stay or an anonymous listening ear. I don't need to tell you that domestic abuse is a very serious matter, and although you have faith that your boyfriend will change, chances are you're just wishfully thinking. Love yourself more than him, Rachel, and take all the necessary steps to make sure you're safe and out of harm's way. Turn to your friends and family for emotional support, remember that you are not alone, and consider talking with a therapist who is trained in domestic abuse. After the dust settles, hopefully you'll be able to see that being with someone that doesn't treat you well is no relationship to be in. You deserve to be happy, to be respected, and most of all to be loved. Be safe and good luck to you.