I started up a relationship with an ex who has been sexually and emotionally abusive to me in the past. He convinced me that he's changed but the sexual violence is starting to show up again. I'm scared it's going to get worse, but I love him and didn't handle our last break up well. I don't know what to do.

Hi anon, thanks so much for reaching out. That sounds like a difficult and alarming situation. You are not alone; people often get back into relationships with abusive partners because their partner promises to have changed. However, change is not easy. Change takes more than apologizing. For an abusive partner to change, it is essential for them to take responsibility for their actions, understand how their actions affect their partner, and take concrete steps towards changing. Some examples of taking the necessary steps towards change include utilizing a control log or attending a Batterer’s Intervention Program. You could also check out this resources on our website called “Is My Abusive Partner Changing?”

It’s definitely not uncommon for people to still have feelings for someone that is abusive. It sounds like you cared about him and wanted to believe him. However, partners that are abusive often say they will change as a way to keep you in the relationship. It can be a technique to maintain power and control in the relationship.

From what you told me, it sounds like he is still choosing to hurt you and I’m very concerned about the signs of sexual violence you mentioned. You deserve to be in a safe relationship based on respect, and it’s never ok for someone to disrespect your boundaries or use violence against you. It’s common for abuse to escalate over time — especially if there is a previous history of abuse. Ultimately, your safety is a priority. If you don’t feel that leaving the relationship is an option right now, there may be ways to plan for your safety while together. If possible, trying to avoid being alone together could be one strategy for protecting your wellbeing as you decide what you’d like to do next. 

For more information about safety planning and dating abuse, check out our website, where you can read articles, take quizzes, and talk with one of our peer advocates. We are available 24/7 via phone, call, chat, and text and our services are anonymous and confidential.

Building Trust After Cheating

A terrible thing has happened. You found out your partner cheated on you. What happens now?

For some people, cheating means an automatic break-up. But others may still have feelings for their partner, and depending on the circumstances they may want to try and keep the relationship going. A lot of people who contact loveisrespect ask: how do I build trust again after my partner cheats?

As hard as this might be to hear, it’s important to remember that there is no way to 100% guarantee that your partner will never cheat again. Your partner has to make the choice not to cheat, and you can’t control other people’s decisions. However, you can choose whether or not to trust your partner again. Rebuilding trust is possible. It does take a lot of work, and BOTH partners have to be committed to healing the relationship. 

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Communication should be open
  2. Be on the same team
  3. Stay “present-oriented”
  4. Trust yourself

If you’re the one who cheated:

  1. Take responsibility
  2. Keep promises
  3. Give your partner space
  4. Communicate openly

For the full details on each of these tips, read the whole blog post here.

6cheater, he cheated, trust, mind games, break ups, communication, dating advice, love, info, hearts, healing, blog,

  • where r u?
  • who u with?
  • y havent u txtd me back??

Do those texts sound familiar? When you’re in a relationship with someone, it’s natural to want to spend as much time with them as possible. Checking in with your partner – whether it’s to see how their day went, or to confirm that date for Friday night – can be one way to let them know you’re thinking of them. But checking in becomes checking up if it’s driven by insecurity or jealousy. Attempting to control a person by checking up on them is unhealthy behavior that can quickly become abusive.

How can you be sure that your partner is checking in and not checking up? Head over to the loveisrespect.org blog to read more…

6jealous, communication, tw abuse, texting, checking in, technology, tw domestic violence, tw dating abuse, boundaries, trust, health, love, blog,

I had a talk about boundaries with my girlfriend, I'm a girl, and she's been in an abusive relationship so we promised not to touch each other until she was ready. She slapped me lightly across the face and hit my ankle with a book. What do I do?

Hey anon, thanks for reaching out! It’s great that you had a talk about boundaries with your girlfriend, and I’m really sorry to hear that she isn’t respecting those boundaries. A healthy relationship is built on mutual trust and respect. It’s definitely not okay for your partner to hit you or to push you to do something you’re uncomfortable with. Those behaviors are red flags for an unhealthy or abusive relationship.

If you feel that you would be physically and emotionally safe during the conversation and your girlfriend would be receptive to talking, you could bring up what happened and how it made you feel. Reminding her of the boundaries you agreed upon and making sure you’re on the same page might be helpful.

However, if you don’t feel safe talking to her about it, you should trust your instincts. You deserve to feel happy, safe, and respected in your relationship and when you don’t feel that way, it is important to ask yourself why and what you need. Sometimes, there are changes you and your partner can make to get to that place. Other times, the answer is moving on from the relationship.

For more information about healthy relationships and dating abuse, check out our website, where you can read articles, take quizzes, and talk with one of our peer advocates. We are available 24/7 via phone call, chat, and text and our services are anonymous and confidential.

You’re welcome! It’s always nice to hear when we’ve helped someone feel strong and confident about their decisions.

If anyone else out there feels like there’s something kind of off about their relationship, but isn’t sure how to really feel or what the problem might be, you can always talk it through with a loveisrespect advocate. We know that ever relationship is different, and we know that you’re the expert on your own situation. We’ll never tell you what you have to do; instead we talk about all your options and help you pick what feels right for you and your relationship.

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Sometimes people in abusive relationships are told by their partner that they aren’t good enough.  This koala is right though — you belong in this world!

If you are or have been in a relationship where your partner made you feel unworthy, talk to us!

(via pleasestopbeingsad)

Source: pleasestopbeingsad

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"be there for others but don’t leave yourself behind" requested by darnittheresaholeinmysock

Absolutely! At loveisrespect we talk a lot about self-care. We talk about when you need it (always), who should do it (everyone), and why it matters (because your emotional/mental well-being is SO important), but we haven’t really talked a lot about what it actually is, so head over to the blog to read more about everyday self-care!

Source: pleasestopbeingsad

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I was raped by a co-worker (ex-coworker now). The only people that know are my parents and my boyfriend. The co-worker left our job because I told him he had to (I just couldn't deal with seeing him) and he's out of my life now. I'm not healed yet but I'm doing better. I feel like he got off easy and I don't want anyone else to go through what I went through. I was considering writing his parents a letter to tell them what he's done because he still loves with them. Is this a bad idea? Thanks!

I’m so sorry that happened to you, there’s nothing you could have done to deserve that, and I am relieved to know that you no longer work with this person. I think it’s great you have talked about it and want to continue talking about it; talking it out can be really helpful during a healing process, and I’m so glad to know you’re doing better now. Everyone heals differently and there’s no set amount of time in which you should heal from something like this. I support you doing anything that helps you through this process.

It must be frustrating to feel like he got off easy. Some people in this situation have made reports to the police, but only you know if that’s a good option for you. Ultimately, no one deserves to be raped or abused, and I think it can be helpful to know what resources are available to you. I would like you to have the information for RAINN, the rape, abuse and incest national network. They provide support 24/7. And our blog post on everyday self care could also be helpful for you!

And as for contacting his parents, I think we could better answer that question with a little more assessment, so if you have a chance to call, chat or text with us or with RAINN, an advocate would be happy to explore that further with you, and any other options that you may be considering - we’re available 24/7! Hope this helps! Good luck with everything, and take care.

[Text reads: Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.]

Did you know the National Domestic Violence Hotline now has a pinterest? Go check it out and get inspired!

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Hey. I was in a short but emotionally tumultuous relationship with a close friend this past winter. We loved each other deeply but his bipolar disorder made him really hard to be with, and I was severely depressed. After a long and drawn out break up, we didn't speak for several months. We began talking again recently and he seems much improved, and he understands and admits to his mistakes. The love is still there. Is bad to consider exploring the relationship one more time?

It can be really hard to decide whether to give a tumultuous relationship a second chance; there was so much love there, but also so much pain. The first step is to determine what was at the root of the problem and then ask yourself “has this problem truly been fixed in a lasting and healthy way?” Here’s a really good checklist to go over before you make your decision: Should We Get Back Together?

If the trouble was stemming from your partner’s bipolar disorder, then it’s important that he take responsibility for that and create a solid plan for how he’s going to keep that from negatively affecting the relationship in the future. For example, is he seeing a therapist or taking mediation now?

It’s also possible that there were other factors besides his bipolar disorder that contributed to the problem as well. If there were, it’s important that you both know what they were so you can act accordingly. Abusive behavior can often go unrecognized in a relationship, masked as another issue such as anger management or mental illness. While they sometimes go hand-in-hand, they aren’t the same, and they should always be approached and treated differently.

We encourage you to keep an eye out for these red flags for unhealthy and abusive behavior. You can also use this quiz to see where your relationship falls on the relationship spectrum. Any red flags that you’re concerned about? Chat, text, or talk with a peer advocate today. We’re available 24/7 and would love to talk with you!   

I have an amazing girlfriend, and I love and trust her, but I don't like it when she sleeps over with other people (we're not allowed to b/c we're both girls and dating) and I feel like she'll replace me with them and stuff. I know it's wrong and I try my best to not get annoyed or mad or sad when she does sleep over or hang out with someone else. I was raped which makes me nervous around people and less trusting and that contributes too, and I just don't know what to do about my jealousy

Hi anon! Thanks for reaching out! First of all, I want to say that I’m so sorry you were raped and that I’m honored that you trusted us enough to share that. It totally makes sense that you would have difficulty trusting people after going through that.

At the same time, it’s important to note that there is nothing someone else can do to prove that they are trustworthy or to gain or earn our trust. Healthy relationships are built on trust and trust is a choice both partners have to make. If we choose to trust someone, we trust them no matter where they are, who they are spending time with, or what has happened in either of our pasts.

In a healthy relationship, both partners spend time with friends aside from  their significant other. It is natural to feel jealous sometimes, but what matters is how we act on those feelings. If you’re worried that your partner is cheating or you’re struggling with vulnerability because of your past, it is okay to be honest with your girlfriend about those things. Setting clear boundaries and making sure you and your girlfriend are on the same page about what constitutes cheating in your relationship may relieve some of those worries.

Ultimately, both you and your girlfriend deserve to feel trusted and respected in your relationship. If you feel that you can’t trust your girlfriend because of your past, that is okay, but it might mean you aren’t ready to be in a serious relationship right now.

If you have more questions about jealousy, trust, or healthy relationships,  please contact us via chat, send us a text, or give us a call at 1-866-331-9474. Live advocates are available 24/7 and our services are free and completely confidential.

hey. already broke up with my boyfriend about 3 months now. i can't move on :( he seems just fine without me. i want to prove to him and everyone that i can face all this. that i can get through this. i'm not that strong enough, sometimes it hurts. it hurts a lot :( i still do love him. but i know things would never be the same anymore, and it's my first time in relationship. and idk why i keep blaming myself for what happened. hmph. Really really need your advice. What should i do ? :'(

Hey, Anon!

Thanks so much for reaching out. Leaving a relationship can be really difficult, and really painful. It’s okay to not be okay. Healing is a complicated process. Unfortunately, our feelings for someone don’t just automatically go away, even if they’ve hurt us and the relationship is over. It sounds cliche, but it really takes time—sometimes a lot of it.

Your well-being is the priority. It’s important to take care of yourself and surround yourself with people who love and support you. It’s not a total cure, but it can help to keep yourself busy, pick up a new hobby, or keep a journal.

Here is a really great page from our friends at Scarleteen that has a ton of tips for self-care. Sometimes it takes trial and error to find one, or a few, that work for you. Get creative! If you feel like you need additional support, don’t be afraid to reach out to a local counselor. They can give you a safe place to process some of your conflicted feelings. Here are two more blog posts that talk about staying strong and moving on after abuse or a break up. You are also always welcome to chat with us at loveisrespect.org!

Take care!

- A loveisrespect advocate

Ive been in a relationship with who I thought I loved for about a year and a half. After our 3rd month of being in a relationship, things went down hill. We argued almost EVERY SINGLE DAY. And he'd "guilt trip" me into having sex with him. Broke up & got back together. Now it's just sex tomebut for him satisfaction & "love" I guess. We tried everyday to work things out but he'd do the same thing we talked about the next day. I now think it's official we are broken up. Should we stay separate?

Hey anon! Thanks for contacting us! I’m really sorry to hear about your boyfriend pressuring you to have sex. It’s never okay for a partner to try to manipulate or guilt you into doing something you’re uncomfortable with sexually. Sex should always be consensual; each partner has the right to say no at any time and the obligation to respect the other person’s boundaries.

It sounds like you did not feel respected in your relationship and don’t think your ex has changed. It’s totally normal to have doubts about whether you should have broken up with someone, but unless the problems that caused the relationship to end have been fixed, getting back together will probably lead to the same frustration and heartache. And if the relationship was unhealthy before, it will most likely continue to be that way.

Regardless of whether you’re considering getting back with an ex or dating a new person for the first time, it’s important to decide whether you feel your potential partner is supportive of you and shares your values. Healthy relationships are based on equality and trust and every person deserves to be with someone who treats them with respect.

If you have more questions about consent, break ups, or healthy relationships, please chat with us at loveisrespect.org, call 1-866-331-9174, or text ‘LOVEIS’ to 22522. Live advocates are available to talk 24/7 and our services are completely confidential.