SheSaid Relationship Advice: Did I do the right thing?

October 12, 2004

SheSaid Relationship Advice: Did I do the right thing?

Question: I am an 18 y/o girl and had been in a serious relationship with my 17 year old boyfriend until 4 days ago. He had a control issue. He always made me ask for permission to see my friends; I was never allowed to go to clubs unless he was with me. He hated my friends, always putting them down to me and when ever I tried to defend them it would always end an argument and me thinking I had done wrong.
Don?t get me wrong he was a sweet guy and treated me like a princess but just wanted me all to himself. Whenever I did get to see my friend I felt bad about not spending enough time with them, so I started to lie to my boyfriend and would tell him I was at my aunt?s house when really I was out with them. I started to fell bad about that because I hate lying and avoid it at all costs. We would always argue and some how I always managed to feel like I had done something wrong. I got sick of it all and broke up with him.
He took me for dinner at centre point restaurant and even made an effort with my friends; the only problem was now they did not want to make the effort with him. A few months went by and I was struggling to keep up with all three of the (my boyfriend and 2 friends) until finally 5 days ago one of my friends turned 18. He let me go clubbing with them only if he could meet up with us later. I was over the moon. He and his friends met up with us. One of his two friends couldn?t get in because he was wearing sneakers so my boyfriend and his 2 friends waited outside watching us dance for an hour while we waited for one of my friends boyfriends. We then left that club in pursuit of another club because of the friend who couldn?t get in. We walked around for another hour then finally found one that would be open. His two friends then didn?t want to go and left for home. We went to the club and he asked me two things
One: did I want to go to the movies with him tomorrow?
Two: he was tried and can we leave soon?
I said I did want to go to the movies and that we could leave as long as I could see them tomorrow. He agreed. We left.
The girls picked me up from his house the following morning at 9:30 and we were going for coffee. We decided not to go for coffee until 11.30, so we went to one of my friend?s houses and relaxed. He called me an hour after and demanded I be home by 1 and that I call him went I leave there, when I get to the caf? and when I am leaving the caf?. Then called back and asked nicely for me to be home by 1 after I went crazy at him. I called him every time he requested.
When we left I had to go past my friend?s house to collect my things. She asked me to stay for a movie, so I did. At 1 he called me demanding that I be home by 4 instead. I wasn?t and decided I needed to break up with him. So I did. He then abused me and my friends, threatening me because I would not get back with him. He calmed down and I spoke to him the next day. I said that what we did was wrong and that we were both at fault because all he wanted to do was watch a movie. He wanted to get back with me. On one condition I could only see my friends when he said so. I thought about it then decided to break it off for good.
I missed out one thing, I lost my virginity to him and I love him. And I am heart broken, so is he and I never wanted to do this to him or me.
Did I do the right thing?
Please reply,

Answer:Dear Confused K,
Only you know if your decision to end this relationship was right for you. Heart break, recriminations, doubt and hurt are all part of the end of a relationship. Even the bad ones carry some hurt and anguish, in fact sometimes they carry more.

Find and buy Mira Kirshenbaum’s book Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay. ($24.26
from the SheSaid Bookshop) It will answer a lot of the questions you have raised in your letter and it may help you make good choices in future. Too many times at the end of a relationship it is tempting to look to friends and family to vilify your ex. There is little point in doing this because at some level, you need to take responsibility for accepting their behaviour. By not setting some very clear boundaries with your boyfriend, you (knowingly or not) gave him permission to treat you this way. By staying in the relationship while he exerted this level of control over you, you were agreeing to his terms. In fact by working within the boundaries he set to control you, you supported his control over you. It took courage and maturity for you to finally say enough and walk away from a potentially damaging relationship. More power to you for realising that you didn’t have to accept bad behaviour to feel loved.

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