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Lori Gephart
Lori Gephart, Licensed Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 259
Experience:  Licensed Psychologist and Hypnotherapist 20 years of experience helping clients of all ages.
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I've been dating a guy for 7 years. We were about to get

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I've been dating a guy for 7 years. We were about to get married and then I cancelled the wedding a few weeks before becuase he was calling me namesmore frequently and arguing frequently about things we should be enjoying each other's company about. We have gone to couseling but he just called me a 'stupid b***ch. I think I should leave. I just today moved out of his place but I already feel my lonliness. We were so close to having a family. I just don't wnat him to disrespect me for the rest of my life.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Lori Gephart replied 6 years ago.

Thank you for contacting JustAnswer.

I am sorry to hear about the problems you are experiencing in your relationship. It sounds as if there is part of you that is hesitant to move forward with your relationship due to the treatment you have received. This is certainly understandable. It seems from your description that you realize that this man has treated you poorly. His behaviors sound as if they may fall into the category of emotional and verbal abuse. You may find this site helpful to determine for yourself whether you feel he has been abusive to you:

Remember that love and respect are verbs. Simply telling someone you love them is not love; it requires acting in a consistently loving way. Simply saying that you respect someone is not respect; it requires that you treat them respectfully. You may want to ask yourself whether this man is acting in a loving and respectful way on a consistent basis to you - not just when it is convenient for him to have you in his life. If not, then remind yourself that you deserve to be loved and treated with respect. Start by treating yourself this way. Remember that past behavior typically predicts future behavior and therefore we might expect him to continue with the patterns that he has shown you, unless you see him having insight into what he has done and taking serious steps to change.

While you can't change his behavior, you can begin to be clear with him that you will no longer accept these behaviors. You can set boundaries where you can in not listening and walking away when he becomes critical of you. You can decide to end the relationship if you don't see him taking responsibility for his actions and taking serious steps to show you he is changing. Unless you see him acting in a way that shows you he has seen the light and wants to truly change then his behavior is likely to get worse rather than better.

I would encourage you to consider individual therapy so that you can have some support in making your decisions and setting limits to protect yourself emotionally. In the meantime, be sure to take care of yourself through healthy eating, exercise, rest and reaching out to supportive people in your life. I hope this is helpful. Please let me know if I can clarify further.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

I have let him know before that I will no longer tolerate the name calling. He got better for a time but now seems to be relapsing. I feel that if I stay with him, he will just know that I have not set a firm boundary and will continue. How do I let him know that I'm serious and still give him a chance to improve? Any ideas on that? or what will show me that he has improved? Should I say, if you haven't called me a bad name in 6 months, then I'll marry you? It sounds crazy.

Expert:  Lori Gephart replied 6 years ago.

Thank you for the additional information. Saying you will not tolerate the name calling is one thing and acting on it is another. You acted on this by moving out, and rightly so. One way to let him know that you are serious is to limit the time that you spend with him and immediately end your conversation or date if he is anything but respectful to you. The moment you notice him being disrespectful is the time to distance yourself from him immediately (rather than arguing or fighting about it).

I would suggest setting a limit in your own mind of the behavior that you need to see from him on a consistent basis, and accepting nothing less, rather than giving him a specific time frame. One thing I would add is that it seems that you have been doing quite a bit of emotional work about this relationship. In order for this to be a healthy relationship, we would expect your partner to do a relatively equal amount of emotional work (if you balance it out over time). This may be one way to evaluate if someone is committed to a relationship and to changing in order to make the relationship work. You deserve someone who will put the work into the relationship as well, since it takes two people to make it work. Also, I definitely believe in trusting your gut. It is often a very good indicator of red flags that should not be ignored. Feelings of love tend to be very irrational, while the gut is a good barometer of danger, both physical and emotional. I hope this is helpful and I wish you the best.

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