How do I forgive him?

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    So this is going to be a little bit of a ramble, but I hope the contexts provides enough (without it being too personal in case he or someone he knows stumbles across it).

    I moved far away from my family for college and that’s where I met my boyfriend.  He seemed perfect.  Like too perfect once I developed feelings for him.  When I say perfect I mean incredibly intelligent and aware (and of course his looks are to die for..not to sound vain.)  It’s kind of ironic because when we first met, we didn’t particularly like the other person.  But overtime, we became friends, helped each other through some drastic periods, and began dating.

    You could say we moved really fast.  “I love you” at three months.  Moved in together at six months.  I really felt like he was *the one*.  He told me he felt the same.  Even though we’d only been dating briefly it was as if I’d known him for years on end.  We became inseparable.  Any time I wasn’t at work or in class I was with him.

    Fast forward to 10 months into our relationship and to say things are rocky is an understatement.  I began working full-time on top of school in an attempt to reduce arguments about finances.  It obviously caused a lot of stress.  University and working full-time stressed us both out.  And he went through a major family tragedy and was struggling with how to grieve.  I was doing my absolute best to be there for him.  I tried to be the ideal “home-maker” by keeping everything spotless.  He loved to cook and would always prepare huge things while I was away.  I took care of everything else as far as cleaning, caring for the dog, etc.  I let him know if he ever needed to talk, I was there.  He would go through crazy mood swings which would always result in saying he was going to kick me out on the street, how much he despised me.  I was past being understanding and on multiple occasions I viewed alternative properties to move to.  He’d always come a few days later and say he didn’t mean what he said.

    So about a month later, I get some time off from work and I’m talking about going up north to visit my parents.  We are both excited about a little get away from life.  But a week prior he stumbled across messages I’d been having with my mom asking for advice on how to deal with the crazy behavior he’s having.  (He wasn’t snooping but on new windows the messages automatically appear on the computer screen from FB.)  It really upset him and he said he didn’t want to go anymore upon remembering the messages saying my family will judge him and he’d be uncomfortable.  He said I was more than welcome to go by myself since I’d been talking about how much I miss my family.

    So I arrange to go to my family and the day I am supposed to be leaving he loses it.  He said when you’re packing your stuff, go ahead and pack ALL your stuff and don’t come back.  I start freaking out, naturally, asking if he’s serious or if he “doesn’t mean it” again.  He says he means it.  I’m a shitty girlfriend and I’ve wasted almost a year of his life.

    I call my parents freaking out.  I don’t know what to do.  I’m being broken up with and becoming homeless at the same time.  They surprisingly remained calm and told me to pack as much as I could and begin the drive back.  While I am packing a few hours later, and crying still, he’s in the other room and tells me, “I’m going to tell your parents they are pieces of shit.”  to which I retort, “The only piece of shit here is you.”  Then he snaps.  I’ve never seen such anger in his face before and he charges at me screaming at me to repeat what I’ve said again.  It ends with me begging/ screaming to be let go, him threatening to kill us/telling me to fight him since he knows I’ve got training (don’t ask me why I didn’t defend myself.  I am pissed at myself for not and instead letting this happen.)  He ends up biting my face hard enough it leaves a bruise that takes two weeks to go away.  A hour later he tries to hug me, say he’s sorry, is begging me not to leave for my trip, says he didn’t mean what he said about kicking me out.  I’m over it.  I leave that day and don’t look back.  I’m disgusted with him and startled, my face is throbbing.

    I end up staying with my parents for a month, messaging him on and off talking about what has happened and fighting.  Before you guys say why am I talking to him, I felt really alone.  Ridiculously alone.  I tried reaching out to friends for support and I felt ignored and unimportant.  I felt like a disappointment to my parents.  Anytime they tried to talk about it with me in more detail, I’d start crying because I felt like such a failure.  I still feel like I’ve let them down.  Their approval has always been very important to me.

    Regardless, after talking with him, he said he’s going to therapy, realized what has happened is horrendous and an ultimate betrayal.  I agree to move back with him so long as he continues therapy.  Parents don’t like it and show me stats of abused women, how often they return to their abuser, so on and so forth.  Long story short, I broke their heart and moved back.

    I’ve been back for a while now.  Time seems to have flown really.  When we have a disagreement, we talk it out now like adults.  He’s very supportive.  I work part-time instead of full-time and do college online.  He kept all the promises he’s told me he would and life has been a complete 180 and we are both happier.  But I can’t forgive him for what he did.  I sometimes have bad dreams.  I have anxiety now.  The first few weeks being back I couldn’t sleep.  My heart will pound like I finished running a 5k.  I thought the anxiety was from letting down my parents, but now I know it’s because I can’t forget that horrible image of him charging at me.  I love him a lot.  But sometimes I go from looking at him thinking about how he’s the most important person in the world to wanting to hate him.  Like right now I am writing this and I want to hate him for what he’s done.  But he’s in the next room and I care deeply about him and as soon as I see him he’ll make me smile and laugh.  It’s only 10% of the time I feel this anger arise and I can normally shut it down easily be remembering how great everything is now.

    I don’t know how to forgive him.  I want to see a therapist/ get professional help but that costs money and this forum is free.  Any suggestions or advice are greatly appreciated.  I want to forgive him…I want to forgive myself too, but I can’t seem to.  Please help.


    Hi E,

    Even if he never abused you, I would say this:

    1. You put major stressors in your life by being a student, working full time AND living together all at once. Someone was eventually going to snap.

    2. I do not agree with living with a guy AT ALL. It never really works out. What’s the end game? Cheap rent? Marriage? Anyway, after years on the forum now, I have not seen living together ever end that happily.

    Now on to the abuse:

    You have seen his Dark Side. You know his full raw negative potential. Your parents sent you statistics because (sorry) you have officially Become a Statistic. So of course the woman (in general) tries to Prove Everyone Wrong. Their relationship Is Special. The more time goes on, “You’ll See! It will be like Nothing Ever Happened Fifteen Years Ago!”

    Is that what you’re going for?

    If it were me? Ideally SECRETLY Move Out, Ghost, and go to a Real Life University in 3D.



    • This reply was modified 6 years, 5 months ago by Inky.

    P.S. To your parents he will always be The Guy who Bit their Daughter in the Face. If that helps give you any clarity.


    Hi E.

    I have been in a situation very similar to yours. Many times. Now, I will never live with a man before marriage again. It always starts off amazing. Romantic. Exciting. Intense. For the first three months..we fall very much in love..I am taken on these very romantic weekend trips, “surprise getaways” flowers or roses are sent to me when I was working. Gifts were given to me. We would make candlelit bubblebaths and dinners for each other, it was a fairytale romance. I was in heaven. Then in six months, they would ask me to move in. It went blissful for awhile, then..it all went chaos. The person I thought I knew and loved, was no longer that person.

    We became what seemed like “roommates” rather than boyfriend/girlfriend. The bickering, arguing started, it would soon turn very ugly, with him calling him names or he would say “I have everything, you have nothing” and other putdowns. I would be miserable and start sleeping in motels, or he would sleep on the couch, me on the bed, needless to say, it was a miserable experience, it interfered with my job, my friendships, it pretty much took over my life. I kept trying to change, to go to therapy, to be the “perfect” girlfriend. But my last had an ego..a superiority complex, very controlling, a workaholic. He worked as a lead software engineer at Microsoft. He made alot of money, worked 70 hour weeks, and then he also had started his own home based internet business. He was exhausted. He would come home, exhausted and agitated, would not talk to me, turn his back to me, immediately get on his computer, on his own home internet business. When I tried to help him with his business, once I did not do something right, and again, the putdowns started, calling me “stupid” and all sorts of other names.

    By this time, I had lost my job, and I could not take anymore. I was going to a community college part time. Which he also criticized, I tried to look for another place to live, and found a nice person, and they said they would accept my two cats. It was a 3 bedroom house, one guy, one girl, and the best situation for me at the time, I just wanted out..out of the tension, fighting and emotional abuse..out of fear of him.

    What this all boils down too, is even if you were too “forgive him” you will always fear him. We are wired that way. He charged at you and bit your face. I would, and anyone would be afraid of someone losing control like that again. You will always associate that memory with that of him, it does not go away unfortunately, making a future with him very uncertain. If you were to have children with him, again you would be fearful..fearful he would physically lose control, hurting them. You can forgive, but you can’t forget. I have been there, it has never worked. Best to never live with someone unless you have known them for at least two years or better yet, married first. Statistics show that couple’s who live together before marriage, have a higher rate of divorces versus couple’s who wait. Please take care of yourself and put yourself first. x


    Did not submit correctly..


    Dear E:

    How long has it been since you returned to him and is he still attending therapy?

    I was wondering: when you first returned to him and experienced anxiety, you thought it was because you let down your parents,  not because of your boyfriend’s past rage explosions culminating in him biting your face. This means to me that your fear of your parents’ disapproval has been intense for many years, correct? I hope you can elaborate on this fear.

    Also, what did your boyfriend share with you about his therapy and what he learned there about his rage explosions?



    Hi, Anita (and also thanks to everyone for their replies.  I really appreciate them.)

    I’m not really sure how to elaborate more on the fear of disapproval from my parents.  It’s always been there.  There’s never been a time in my life where I wasn’t trying to seek their praise.  I guess it evolved into a somewhat unhealthy obsession, perhaps?  I always took the hardest classes I could in primary school (AP, Dual Enrollment, Honors, etc.) and killed myself with 3-4 hours of sleep regularly to ensure I got the highest marks in all my classes.  It was this in combination with volunteering as often as I could and playing sports so I’d look “ideal” to universities and get scholarships.  I’m trying to develop much healthier habits now.  I stick to a routine; I exercise for stress relief.

    As far as his therapy, he hasn’t shared anything with me and I don’t ask him to.  I assumed if he wants to share, he’ll tell me.  I’ve only been back here for five months, which isn’t a crazy amount of time.  But it certainly doesn’t feel like five months, either.  Maybe two months maximum is what it feels like.

    I have speculations about why he exploded, but I’m not willing to be intrusive with what happens between his therapist and him.

    Thanks again to everyone for their responses!


    And I do really appreciate everyone saying not to move in with your partner until many years have passed or you become married.  I wish I could go back in time and change that and I didn’t so eagerly agree to live with him.

    If this relationship doesn’t continue, then I will certainly make this a stead-fast rule that I will follow.  And perhaps if it does continue, later on I’d like to have my own place for at least a year just to get the experience of truly being independent from him.


    Dear E:

    I read your recent posts and then re-read your original post. You are back with him for five months, no abusive behavior on his part. About 10% of the time you feel angry at him for violently attacking you before. The title of your thread, “How do I forgive him?” suggests your goal is to stop feeling angry at him.

    You described a combination of fear, love and anger in these five months living with him again. And you would like there to be only love.

    For my better understanding of your state of mind and situation, I am bringing up two topics, and you are welcome to respond (or not) to any one of these:

    1. You are very concerned with your boyfriend’s privacy, from the beginning of your original post “(without it being too personal in case he…”) and in your recent post, not wanting to ask him what he is learning in therapy. What is your experience with privacy growing up with your parents: what did they teach you about privacy, did they respect your privacy..?

    2. You are very motivated to win your parents’ approval, yet when they were against you going back to your boyfriend (were they not?) you went back to him anyway. If fearing your parents’ disapproval is so strong, how is it that you go back to him?



    Dear E.

    I’m glad he is in therapy, but I still fear for your safety. I feel that some type of distance and separation should be involved while he is undergoing treatment. He did not learn this behavior overnight, and it will take a long time for his recovery. This includes conflict resolution skills, anger management in addition to therapy. I am also curious as to why domestic violence charges and “no contact” were not given..or were the police called when this happened.

    I see a very long process in his recovery and treatment, and I don’t think you both should be living together until he is fully recovered and healed, and this will take a long time. I have never heard of a human being charging at someone biting them in the face. It gives me the shakes, like he is some wild animal. This should not be tolerated, until he has completed anger management, and many other treatment programs. x


    Parents have an instinct which cannot be denied, if I were you I would put myself first since you do not have kids think about if this is what you want for life.

    What he did to you is called ABUSE. Do you know or have an idea about his childhood or background as to how his parents lived? Happy, Unhappy, broken?

    Please do not try to work part time just to fit his needs or desire you need start working full time and start having a life of your own. You rushed into moving in and saying things like I love you too soon. You wont know a person even if you have lived with them for years and three months is nothing, we cannot go back but you should never ever have moved back in with him.

    Its good he is showing you signs of improvements but please for your sake think about your self first. You need to make sure you know what to do if this out break happens again. ( If it does pack your bags and run the 5K away from him and never return).

    maggie mac

    Just run. Biting your face is all I had to hear. He won’t stop and it won’t get better.



    It seems like you are staying with him and living a reduced life in order to keep him happy.  What about your life?

    I believe that loneliness is one of the worst excuses to stay in a bad relationship.  Make friends with yourself.  Go out and make friends.  Find activities that give you pleasure.  Join clubs, church.  Sit with yourself and meditate on your loneliness (this is a Buddhist-flavored website after all).

    You may have PTSD from how your body is reacting (anxiety, sleep disorder, heart pounding, etc.).  Go to therapy for yourself.  There are sliding scale therapists especially around schools who have counseling programs.  You are not doing yourself any favors by living with someone who abused you and keeping yourself from the rest of the world.

    With your parents, it seems if you want support, you need to take charge of your own life first and take steps toward a healthy life.

    Good luck,

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