Long Distance Lover
Sent: Saturday, April 17, 1999
Subject: E-Mail Advice
My boyfriend and I have been dating for over a year. We have spent 7 of those months in a
long distance relationship. He moved from home to another state for a great job. I am
planning to move mainly to be with him but also because I wanted to transfer schools
regardless. I have always considered myself a strong woman and many of the people in
my life so too. I have never taken crap from anyone. Five months into our relationship
Stephen started to become verbally abusive. I knew this was wrong but I did not know that
his behavior towards me was that of a typical verbal abuser. He has a lot of anger and
loses his temper often. He and I get into awful fights. I believe I might verbally abuse
him back. He has called me names from whore to bitch. When I don't answer my phone at >
night he thinks it's because I must be out cheating on him. I have endured months of
his behavior because I believed it was simply due to long distance stress. I still think
a lot of it will go away when I move. After reading about verbal abuse on this web
site I realize now he fits the perfect profile of a verbal abuser and I think I fit a few
traits of the abused. I love him very much and I know he loves me. We want to get married
one day. I don't want to quit on him. I want to help him get better. I want us to get
through this. He has sought therapy before and told me that he was "going to make me
look bad to the therapist." I told him before I would leave him if he didn't get
help. Is there anything else I can do?
I am glad you achieved some understanding of the dynamics of your relationship. Assuming
you are on target, that puts you in a position to do something about it. It would be a
good idea to have your position corroborated by a professional.
First, don't ever compromise yourself by being abusive back. Unfortunately, this is common
response, but it is not helpful for various reasons. Not only do you diminish your
self-respect, you draw attention away from him, and also give him excuses to point fingers
- at you!
Second, don't take it. You haven't taken junk before; why take it now? Notice how his
abuse and control took 5 months to develop? Over time it is likely to get worse. Do
not allow abuse and control and leave if he refuses to stop or own that he has an
issue. He may not take you seriously until you show him that you take yourself
seriously. You are the only one who has the power to take care of yourself.