Connie could tell something was wrong. Her boyfriend of 5 years seemed more distant but denied anything was going on. When she asked what was wrong, he said everything was fine. Then one day she found a stack of papers he had left out on the counter. The papers were a new rental agreement he had just signed for an apartment in another city. He had not mentioned he was planning to move out and he wasn’t moving to their dream city, Chicago. Why would he rent an apartment, especially without telling her?
When Connie confronted him, he said he rented the apartment to be closer to work. But as Connie told me more details of their recent interactions and his behaviors it became clear to both of us that he was leaving the relationship. At one point during my conversation with Connie she looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “I just wish he’d tell me the truth.”
The truth. What is the truth of the situation? It...
I hear this question a lot from clients and on social media and my answer is not what you’d expect. Here’s how I think about it.
The questioner is in a relationship with someone who repeatedly violates boundaries and treats her in highly disrespectful ways. Treatment could be anything from name-calling to hitting, blaming to criticizing, threatening to trivializing. Whatever the behavior, it is repeated and it hurts the questioner.
Invariably the questioner has told the partner that the behavior is hurtful and not okay.
The question, “Does he know he’s hurting me” is a reasonable question if one assumes that people who love each other don’t intentionally hurt each other.
So, what is going on?
Reasoning through this we will see something like this:
People who love each other don’t intentionally hurt each other.
He tells me he loves me.
I love him.
He’s hurting me.