It seems like your partner is two completely different people. Your partner finds faults with your friends or makes you feel bad or uncomfortable about any time you spend with other people. You want to believe that this is possible, but the cycle keeps repeating and each time your self-esteem is chipped away at, bit by bit. He might hit or kick your dog whenever he comes over. Each time he hurts you, he apologizes and promises that it will never happen again or that he will change. Your partner knows your weaknesses and he goes after your most vulnerable parts, hurting you where he knows it will do the most damage. You feel ashamed, lost, alone, confused, numb, afraid, crazy, stupid, ugly, fat, worthless, embarrassed, unloveable, wrong. Your partner tortures animals, is mean to children, or nasty to waitresses. My name is Jack, and my mission is to help as many people as possible deal with the terrible thing that is marital infidelity.
One day, he is caring and loving and wonderful, and the next he is hateful and raging and mean. You are afraid to talk, or when you do talk you feel like you are never heard, your words are taken out of context, misunderstood, or blatantly ignored. In the beginning of a relationship they might seem like everything you ever wanted….usually this is because they are trying to act like everything you ever wanted. You have no support group and therefore your partner gains more power. He or she might be mean to people they think are “below them” or people who are defenseless, like babies or children.
Like flipping a switch, he can change drastically from one extreme to the next. He or she acts one way when they are around you, but completely different around your parents, and completely different around their friends. Slowly, you lose your friends until you feel like your partner is the only person you have left. Your partner cycles from mean and vicious to sweet and loving, then back again. He might set traps for squirrels or rabbits and then torture them.
If you’re not in the same immediate vicinity, he reaches out to you.
Finding an excuse to talk to you doesn’t require much creativity.
We asked the Your Tango Experts to clue us into the signs, attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that reveal someone loves himself or herself enough to sustain a relationship.
The point is not that you need to fulfill all the points on this list (no one is perfect!
If you are a peaceful person, you might find yourself constantly fighting. You feel like there is something seriously wrong with you. You might say that you aren’t comfortable staying overnight together–your partner does so anyway. He or she might get upset–especially if you try to break up with them or say that you are leaving–however, there is no underlying remorse for hurting you. He or she might say that they are sorry if they hurt you (hit you, scream at you, cheat on you…etc.) and promise that it will never happen again, but their apology is more manipulative than sincere. They might speak badly about a previous partner, claiming that their previous partner was crazy, or a bitch, or an asshole.
They will make you feel like you are the one that is going crazy instead of them. You might worry about what you wear and what you say and freak out if someone changes your plans or something unexpected happens that you will have to explain later. You’re not quite sure what will set them off, but you are afraid that something you do is going to make them lose their temper… You might think that the Bears are the best football team–your partner will convince you that you are stupid for thinking so because they suck. They might talk about cheating on an old partner, or be proud of their reputation.
When he points out that you and your brother hug too long to be appropriate, or that your gynecologist is a lesbian and obviously has the hots for you, it's time to give him his walking papers.