Your relationship isn’t working out, but you’re worried about what your boyfriend might do if you break up with him. Breaking up is always hard – but it’s even worse when you feel anxious or scared of how your boyfriend will respond.
Here are three quick tips when you’re scared to break up with your boyfriend: First, change how you see your relationship. Second, find someone to walk beside you through the breakup. Third, keep coming back to the reasons you’re scared to break up with your boyfriend. Why? Because the reasons you’re afraid of breaking up are the very reasons you need to end the relationship.
These breakup tips are based on five examples or signs of emotional abuse in a relationship. The reason you’re scared to break up with your boyfriend is because of some form of emotional abuse. Your boyfriend is threatening or manipulating you in some way. If you change how you see your relationship by recognizing these signs of emotional abuse, you can break free.
Some types of emotional abuse are easy to recognize. Name calling, insults and cruel criticism are verbally abusive behaviors in a relationship. But what about the less obvious signs of emotional abuse? A clear sign of an emotionally abusive relationship is when someone says, “I’m scared to break up with my boyfriend.”
Other types of emotional abuse are more hidden, less obvious or direct. The silent treatment is an example of emotional abuse. If you’re not sure if your boyfriend is emotionally abusive, read 5 Obvious Signs of Mind Games in Relationships.
How do you get out of a relationship when you’re scared of your boyfriend’s reaction? The most important thing to remember – after you learn the signs of an emotionally abusive relationship – is that it takes time to plan your escape. If you live with your boyfriend, your plan should address the stages of leaving an abusive relationship.
5 Tips for Breaking Up With Your Boyfriend When You’re Scared of Him
Learning to recognize the signs of an emotionally abusive relationship is crucial! If you’re scared of your boyfriend’s reaction to the breakup, then he is threatening you. He is trying to manipulate or control you. If you can learn to see his threats for what they are – forms of emotional abuse – then you’ll start to get your power back.
1. Look at your boyfriend with fresh eyes
Pretend you’re meeting your boyfriend for the first time. How does he act, what does he say, who is he? Does he seem like the type of guy you’d want to date or be in a serious relationship with? Maybe your intuition is immediately telling you that something is off, not quite right, or a little unsettling about this guy. You may not immediately know he’s the type of boyfriend you’d be scared to leave…but you know something doesn’t sit or feel right. Maybe your friends or family doesn’t like him, or you rushed into the relationship so fast that you didn’t have a chance to get to know him.
Start seeing your relationship with a more objective perspective. If you’re scared to break up with your boyfriend because you want to save your relationship, read From Charm to Harm: The Guide to Spotting, Naming, and Stopping Emotional Abuse in Intimate Relationships by Amy Lewis Bear. You’ll learn how to determine if your boyfriend is emotionally abusive, the effects on you, and how you may be enabling the abuse. You’ll also learn how “charm turns to harm” when one partner needs to control the other. Learning about emotional abuse will help you decide if you should break up or try to save your relationship.
2. Describe three reasons you’re scared to break up with your boyfriend
Exactly what is hold you back from ending this relationship? Don’t judge your reasons for being scared, or try to defend yourself – or your boyfriend. Simply list and describe the reasons you’re scared of his reaction to the breakup. What will your boyfriend say and do when you tell him it’s time to end the relationship?
Writing down your boyfriend’s response to the breakup will help you face your fears. Start by recognizing what you’re afraid of. Notice what your boyfriend’s words and actions are doing to your self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-identity. Don’t judge yourself or him…just be honest about your relationship. This is how you develop self-awareness and grow into an emotionally healthy woman. The healthier you are psychologically, spiritually and physically, the better you can care for yourself.
3. Imagine telling your friends or family how you feel about the breakup
In Are You Hiding the Truth About Your Marriage? we discovered that one of the most powerful weapons emotionally abusive husbands have is their wives’ silence. It’s the same in dating relationships! If you can’t talk about how your boyfriend treats you – or say “I’m scared to break up with him” – then you are hiding the truth about your relationship. You’re protecting your boyfriend. You’re keeping yourself trapped, weak, and helpless. Your silence and secrecy will keep you stuck in this unhealthy relationship.
Imagine telling your friends or family that you want out of your relationship but you’re scared of your boyfriend’s response. What would it feel like to talk about it? Who can you tell, and how might they respond? What advice or breakup tips have you already received? Just imagine what it’d be like to talk openly and honestly about your fears.
4. Borrow someone else’s strength
Two of the biggest signs of an emotionally abusive boyfriend are low self-esteem and insecurity – in both partners. Boyfriends who threaten and try to control their girlfriends have learned how to steal her power, choice, and freedom. Emotionally abusive men are manipulators, bullies, and liars. Their girlfriends feel weak, insecure and powerless because his words have been destroying you. That’s girlfriends in emotionally abusive relationships are scared to break up with their boyfriends.
When you feel too weak or scared to leave, lean on someone else’s strength. This is where you find someone you trust to walk through the breakup with you. You don’t necessarily need close friends or family members to lean on; you can borrow strength from a crisis support worker at a safe house or shelter, or a neighbor. You can lean on someone who is part of your church, synagogue, or faith tradition. And you can lean on the most powerful source of strength in the universe: God.
5. Reimagine your self-image and identity
If your boyfriend is emotionally manipulative, he’s learned how to control what you think about yourself. If you’ve been in a emotionally abusive relationship for years, then you may have lost your self-image and self-identity long ago. This means it’s time to reimagine, recreate, and reinvent yourself! Start by remembering who you were before. Picture yourself healthy, happy, whole. Who did God create you to be?
If you’re scared that breaking up with your boyfriend means you’ll never be loved, remember that a healthy self-identity doesn’t come from relationships, possessions, or your appearance. It comes from God. If you accept yourself as a beloved child of God, you will have more strength than you ever thought possible! How do you find the love of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit? By deepening your relationship with God. If you’re rooted in Him, you have nothing to fear. Not even breaking up with your boyfriend.
How to Let Go of Someone You Love
Are you scared to break up with your boyfriend because you don’t want to be alone? Or maybe you love him so much, you can’t imagine life without him.
Read How to Let Go of Someone You Love: 3 Powerful Secrets (and 75 Tips!) for Healing Your Heart. You’ll find comfort, healing and hope. It’s an ebook – available immediately – that will help you start moving forward with confidence and strength.
You won’t always feel this way. You will get through this, and you will find happiness and hope if you keep growing forward.
If my breakup tips didn’t help, read How to Get Away From an Abusive Husband After 20 Years of Marriage. If you think breaking up with your boyfriend is hard, try leaving an abusive husband after decades of marriage! May it never happen to you.
Is your relationship in trouble? Get 7 Steps to Fixing Your Marriage from relationship coach Mort Fertel. It's free and helpful, no strings attached.
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