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Young Couple in Jeopardy


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I am twenty years old, have been dating my boyfriend for two and a half years and we have been good friends since 2002. I'm not exactly sure when our troubles began, but they've grown so bad, I'm afraid our relationship won't be able to pull through. We both plan to spend the rest of our lives with each other, so I'm really attempting to make an effort to fix what's wrong with our relationship (or maybe just me?).

The main problem is this: My boyfriend and I will start to fight, and it will begin about little things. It's usually not even something to fight about, but either one of us is tired or in a bad mood and we'll just start bickering. I know every couple and even best friends go through this all the time, but our fights always escalate to out-of-control proportions. Neither one of us has enough sense to step in and interfere, but I'm afraid there is something wrong with me because when we fight I get so angry. I don't want to cause him any physical harm, but I yell and throw fits and even while I'm doing it I'm aware of my behavior and ashamed of myself. Most of the time, I'll actually tell him to break up with me or I try to break up with him because I'm such a terrible person. Afterwards, I'll cry and be so devastated I've acted that way, but he accepts me and takes me back.

It has just gotten to the point that every little fight goes through these steps:

1. Me being unnecessarily angry

2. Me trying to break up with my boyfriend because I love him and I'm tired of getting so angry

3. Me crying and apologizing for trying to break up with him

We have wondered if we take a break from each other if this might help, but neither of us want to, and we're both in this relationship for the long run. I care about him very much and I'm trying to do all I can to fix this problem.

I recently went to see a counselor, but my session proved less than productive, and neither one of us could really figure anything out. I've been researching websites, and reading up on conflict resolutions and even depression, but I eventually thought an online community may help. Any help is appreciated and apologies for the long rant!

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Several things come to mind when I read your post. First, if you want to work on the relationship together, then you should see a couple's therapist rather than an individual one. Having you come by yourself and try to work through issues on your own may be difficult- it may be better for the therapist to help you as a unit.

There are some things that you can do individually that can help the relationship. Work on anger management, as that seems like it might be a problem. Identify your anger triggers, and try to find different ways of releasing your anger (rather than venting on you boyfriend). Exercising, listening to music, writing, etc are all different ways to deal with anger. You many also need to address the triggers, if they can be changed. For instance, if the triggers are repetitive issues that are bothering you about the relationship, you also need to sit down with your boyfriend (when neither person is actively angry) and figure out how to address those issues.

I would also examine the function of your behavior by asking these questions... what is the purpose or what do I get from acting this way? Is the angry fighting a way to get reassurance that your boyfriend cares for you? Is it to get attention? Is it a stress release? Try to pin it down and then brainstorm with your boyfriend about alternative more healthy ways to meet accomplish the same goals. For instance, if you want more attention, tell him and try to schedule more uninterrupted time together.

I am also wondering why you might think that you have depression?

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I have a question about your anger, for I am trying to understand mine as well. Did your parent(s) fight like that? I know that with me, I was pretty cool and calm, and don't remember getting really angry with anyone,but when I got with my boyfriend nine years ago, alot of anger came out when we argued. Same kind of things like you were stating, feeling the anger soar until it seems to get uncontrollable, and I am unable to calm down unless he is physically out of my sight. I say many hurtful things, and sometimes I feel like wacking him in the head. The things that he has done to me,through his behaviour and actions, make me feel like he deserves it because I am hurt. At the same time though, I know what I am doing is wrong, and guilt comes. Why can't we get control of our feelings? I truly believe that it is apart of what Natalie said, that it is a stress release. For I find if I am stressed or tired, or both, I have a harder time bringing my anger down. And when it does and I am done crying or whatever, I feel unusually calm,.a feeling that I don't feel very often.Now a days, I tend to take myself away, no matter how hard that is and my body is asking for more and my brain won't let it go... I try to sleep it off for fifteen minutes or so. I use to kick him out everytime, but that just caused more drama than neccessary. It might take all night sometimes. Just keep trying because the love is there and getting into a cycle like that is damaging. I believe my reaction to anger comes from my mom who fought with every boyfriend she had and when drunk, she would fight with my sister, and she would say very mean things to all of us...things that a child does not forget,it might get surpressed, but comes out later to haunt you.

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I am sorry to hear that the relationship didn't work. This must be a very painful time for you. I wonder, after you get some distance from the relationship, and some time has passed, whether you could still work on your anger. This may prevent you from repeating a similar pattern in a future relationship.

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To reply to Jennifer, I have no history of anger or violence in my family and I was raised in a loving home that I am still part of.

Thank you Natalie, for your help and concern.

In response to fear&loathing, he finally decided to break it off. He did not think that I was trying hard enough. He still wants to be with me and is willing to try again after we finish school, but he thinks time apart will give us both some perspective on the situation. I think he may try to give me another chance, but I'm really not sure right now. Our fights always started about small things, but I think Natalie was correct in thinking that I escalate these fights to prove that my boyfriend cares about me.

I've been really depressed the past few days, but I'm attempting to change that. I'm just trying to be optimistic now although I think I'm a little late. I think I was a bit dramatic in saying things didn't work out, because although it seemed that way at the time, I'm starting to get back a little hope.

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Thank you for responding back, I was really wondering what happened.

I know what you mean about testing your bf. I did that in most every relationship I was in. I would push and push and push to see if I could push him away, to see if he really wanted to be with me and if he really thought we should be together. Sometimes it would back fire and he would try to go and then I would grab on like hell to get him from leaving once I realized I pushed to hard and convinced them to go. It was a balancing act of me not pushing to hard, but still get the satisfaction of knowing if they wanted to be with me. It was a childish game I would play but I couldn't stop from playing it. I had to know how he felt.

I think it is a good idea you take a break. It will give you that time to center yourself and reevaluate how you really felt in the relationship, if it is something you want to work to get back or if it wasn't all you thought it was. During the time you are "in" the relationship it always seems like you just can't be without it. That is why as outsiders we can look at so many people and say it just isn't going to work while the ones in it are holding on for dear life. Once you finally let go and have that time apart that is when you can really see if it is worth having or not. If you both decide to give it another shot, hopefully your time apart will have taught you both a few things about yourself and the other person.

It is also great you are trying to be optimistic, that will prove beneficial for you in the end. Isn't it funny how when you are having an argument no matter how big or small and the person is telling you, you are being dramatic or ridiculous and you just can't understand why they would say that and no you are not. Then afterwords you feel ashamed of how you have behaved and start to realize maybe you went to far and made a big ass out of yourself. I hate that part, and hate realizing how dramatic you make the whole thing when in reality it is so minor. That part of yourself is a good thing to work on when you are not in relationship. To identify things that are a big deal and things that in the past you made a big deal but now you need to see them for what they are and not over react. This is harder said then done and I think it is something you always are working on.

I hope it works out for you and you let us know what happens.

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  • 2 months later...

I know it's been a couple of months since I've been here, but I'm having a hard time finding people to talk to and fear&loathing has very insightful and seems to understand what's going on here.

Well, after the last time I posted here, my boyfriend and I ended up getting back together. What I didn't know was that he was very unhappy. I would ask him often if he was okay, and he always assured me he was, so I never knew that something was brewing. About a month ago, he confided in me and told me he was unhappy with the relationship. He promised he loved me and cared about me, but that our fighting and arguing was just making him unhappy and he couldn't do it anymore. He promised to give me to the end of our summer vacation to see if things would work out.

The thing about the arguments we've had in the past, is we both see them completely differently. I always see the argument as no big deal, and when it does escalate to a more heated fight, I'm upset for a while, but then I forgive him, he forgives me and I get over it. It's not the same for him. He has an excellent memory, so he can remember everything I've ever done and he keeps it inside. He says that he's forgiven me, but he remember the bad forever. So, when I make the same mistake over and over (and I can never remember it), he can remember it and he gets sick of it. And now he's tired of the entire relationship.

Well, I went out of town for a while and decided to give him some breathing room. We weren't seeing each other obviously, and I tried not to talk to him much at all. I thought it would be good for both of us. When I returned, he told me how much he had missed me and how hard it had been for him and I thought things were going to be all right. We had a fight that night, and then the next day and he broke up with me. I begged him not to, but I have been begging him since he told me I had till the end of summer. It didn't work.

It has now been just slightly over and week, and I'm not sure what to do. Not a lot of people have time for me right now, so I'm trying to conquer this on my own. I have been doing really well, but the couple of times I've spoken with him I've begged him to come back, which obviously upsets him. I'm completely torn. He keeps telling me it's over and that it's what is best for both of us. I know that if this makes him happy, it's good, but I want to be happy too, and I still believe in my heart that we had a wonderful relationship so I can't let go the way he expects me to.

We've been friends for so long, and I've talked to him at least four hours a day for over three years. It's hard to go from talking to someone you share everything in your life with to being without that completely, and I'm having a really hard time adjusting.

I'm not sure what else to say. I've ranted long enough. One of the things I'm trying is writing to him. I've got this huge word document telling him about my day and everything I would normally say to him, but then he's not actually reading it. I think it helps sometimes, and other times it makes things worse. I'm just not sure what to do.

Any advice or observations are definitely appreciated. Thank you.

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Guest ASchwartz


Your boyfriend does not want what sounds like constant arguments.

1. What do the two of you argue about?

2. Why do you want to keep a relationship with someone with whom there are constant arguments?

You know that it is difficult to break up for everyone because of the tendency to remember the beginning of a relationship when things were good. There is also a tendency to remember the good times and not the bad. It sounds to me as if this relationship has not been good for either of you and for a very long time.

Like my grandmother said many years ago, "There are plenty of fish in the sea." Perhaps its time you went "fishing" for a new boyfriend?

What do others think?


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One of the biggest differences we have right now are the fact that he believes we argue all the time, and I can never recognize it. For instance, I'll be thinking we're simply having a heated debate (which I can enjoy because I like our differences) and I don't even know that it's upsetting him until he gets angry. He never used to get angry and that's one of the reasons he just doesn't feel like he's a good boyfriend anymore.

I think he is a pessimist and I am an optimist. I have an easy time forgetting bad things (while respecting that we've had hard times) and I can remember many of the good things. He can't remember the good, only the bad. When I brought this up in one of our conversations, he admitted he just couldn't overlook the bad.

I'm not sure where you got the idea that our arguments were constant, ASchwartz, but sometimes my boyfriend seems to feel that way, which is what's important. Up until the last day we saw each other, we were laughing and talking just like we did when we first became friends. Our relationship never lacked passion, I still got butterflies in my stomach every time he kissed me. There is no way I can guess how he is feeling, and there's no one who can tell me that but him, and I realize this.

I'm not sure if I can describe what we fight about. The fight we had before he left was about me wanting to come along to see his family. They had just had a death in the family, and I really wanted to be there for him, but he needed to be alone, and he had to start yelling before it finally clicked. It seems like I'm not quite understanding my limits in our conversations before they go bad, because it wasn't like this for two and a half years and then it changed.

I hope I'm explaining this well enough. I hate to make either one of us the bad guy. I'm just trying to help myself learn what I need to work on and hoping he can work things out himself.

I am absolutely not ready for another relationship and I don't expect myself to be for a while.

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