Written by our resident advice columnist
Dear One Love,
I’m not sure if I should break up with my S.O. We’ve been together for almost a year and I can’t seem to figure him out. Anytime I go to him with a problem it feels like it always turns into a conversation about what’s wrong with me. To be honest, I get defensive too but I really try to think of the best way to approach him about whatever the issue is but it doesn’t seem to matter.
We got into a huge fight because I stayed out late without answering his texts. I wasn’t ignoring him on purpose! I answered when I could and he still was angry with me. Then he went out the next night and didn’t respond to any of my calls. I found out later that he hooked up with someone else. When I brought it up the next day, he said I was crazy. What should I do? I went out without him first. Did I start this?
You’re not crazy. I can assure you of that. And while I don’t know what’s motivating your S.O. to act the way that he is, I can tell you that it’s definitely not ok.
Your S.O. is doing classic toxic relationship behaviors like turning your conversations into something that’s wrong with you when you bring up concerns to deflect responsibility. On top of this, they’re punishing you for going out and not answering their calls when they wanted you too. It sounds like your S.O. has an unhealthy investment in controlling your behavior and that’s definitely not OK. In healthy relationships, couples are comfortable embracing their independence by going out with friends without worrying about their S.O. retaliating against them. That said, you shouldn’t be treated badly for having a good time with your friends and you definitely aren’t crazy for bringing up your S.O.’s inappropriate behavior.
As for your defensive behavior, everyone is guilty of unhealthy behaviors sometimes. That’s not an excuse for your defensive behaviors, it’s an acknowledgment of your humanness. What’s important is that you’re able to recognize your unhealthy behavior (either in the moment or later) and that you’re willing to speak with someone you trust to figure out how to move past it.
That doesn’t sound like what’s happening with your S.O. It sounds like they’re not in a place where they’re ready to hear you and work on it. And as much as this might suck to hear: there’s really nothing you can do to get them to that place.
I know that’s hard to accept. In fact, you’re probably reading this saying “He’s not all bad!”. You’re right! He’s not. And I’m sure that you care about him a lot. But you know what? There is a lot to love about you too!
So what should you do? You deserve a healthy relationship. And right now, you’re not in one. Unless your S.O. is able to take responsibility for their actions, acknowledge the pain they’ve caused you and they are willing to work to get healthier (whew, that’s a list!), the door is right over there and it is calling their name. As Queen Bey once said, “Boy Bye.”
Ask One Love
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