Dear Dr. Romance: I'm Struggling With Dismissing Bad Behavior


Dear Dr. Romance: I'm Struggling With Dismissing Bad Behavior
A bad relationship can become like an addiction—a difficult habit to break.

Dear Dr. Romance:
You state in the Yahoo article, Signs You Must Move On, "Women often have a very hard time ending relationships, even if deep down they know they're unhealthy. They fear change, they fear being single, or they think they won't find anyone better. So instead, a woman will remind herself of a guy's good qualities and block out the bad."

Do any of your books or blogs cover this topic? I am struggling with dismissing bad behavior and really could use some guidance from one of your books or blog.


Dear Reader:
Good for you for wanting to change your behavior. The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again has a lot of info about not choosing a jerk to begin with like this:

Once you're bonded with someone, it's very painful to let go. Since most of us like to avoid our feelings, we don't want to do the grieving that's necessary to let go. But, when you've had a loss, there are a certain number of  tears you must cry to let go—getting on with the crying is the fastest way. Even if the dissolution of the relationship was your idea, you may be clinging to a dream—in denial. A bad relationship can become like an addiction—a difficult habit to break because you are emotionally attached and the attached part of you wants to keep trying, while the rational part knows you need to let go.

We also have a lot of cultural mythology about "I'll never stop loving you" and that clinging and martyring to a toxic love means you are truly in love. Clinging to a toxic love is immature, to begin with. A relationship is a partnership and requires work on both lovers' parts in order to succeed. The initial romance stage isn't supposed to last, the relationship is supposed to grow into a real life partnership and  that requires paying attention, learning and growth. It's not a fairy tale, it's a real life love story, and well worth the work required. If you give nothing, you get nothing; but you can’t be the only one giving. Your partner must be acting in ways that make the relationship better, not worse. Sometimes, a toxic partner doesn't really want to be with you, but who either doesn't want to "hurt you" or is still getting benefits (sex without commitment, you do the laundry, you're willing to take the kids more than your share) that he doesn't want to jeopardize. 

Block your ex on the phone, on Facebook and other social media sites. If you keep looking at his Facebook page, or letting him contact you, you are not grieving and letting yourself heal and move on. 

If you gave it your best shot and you know it's over, or if it never really got started, don't waste time in resentment and anger. Learn to let go. If you’re dumping a badly behaved cheater/jerk, be careful. Jerks often throw temper tantrums when they don’t get what they want, so break up from a distance. I often advise clients who need to break up with an abusive or violent partner or a stalker to break up via e-mail, to be safer. Keep Reading...

More breakup advice from YourTango:

Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Dr. Tina Tessina


Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D.
Dr. Romance Blog:!/DrRomanceBlog
Amazon author page

Location: Long Beach, CA
Credentials: LMFT, MFT, PhD
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