But I don’t want to break-up…

Published on January 8, 2021

Sara had been unhappy in her relationship for the last six months.  Her boyfriend would stay out until six am in the morning and then come home drunk.  She was often afraid that something terrible had happened to him.  She would tell him her concerns, but he would dismiss her or yell at her.  She was conflict-avoidant and decided not to bring it up anymore.  Eventually, she became more and more anxious.  She decided it was time to try to speak to him one more time.  She tried to talk to him in a non-judgmental way, that was not attacking.

She started by saying, “I am scared when you come home at 6 a.m. because I worry that something has happened to you.”

“I can’t take this interrogation and nagging from you.  You don’t accept me for who I am. I can’t take this anymore.”  He said, and then stormed out of the room.

Sara felt abandoned and empty.  She was exhausted from the anxiety and worry.  She started to think about the give and takes within the relationship, and realized that she had invested more emotionally, financially, and time-wise than he had.  Where had she gone wrong?  Had she given too much?

She started to think about what she was getting out of the relationship.  She didn’t feel heard or seen.  When she tried to talk about how she was feeling, she was told, “you are ruining my day or my mood.”

Sara began to keep everything to herself.  In the meantime, her self-worth was dropping daily.  She started to feel like she wasn’t enough, and she was unlovable.  Her friends tried to convince her that she deserved better.  She didn’t want to be single; she didn’t think she would ever find anyone ever again.  Not to mention, then she would feel guilty for abandoning her boyfriend.  Especially because all of his ex-girlfriends had left him in the past.

Leaving someone you love

How do you leave someone you love, but are feeling hurt by?  Here are some ideas to consider if you are feeling lost and hurt:

1. Are you taking on responsibility that doesn’t belong to you?

In this case Sara was feeling guilty that other women had left her boyfriend in the past, and she did not want to be another woman that hurt him.  The other women and her boyfriend’s break-ups with them were not her responsibility

2. Whose feelings are you feeling?

If you were to separate your pain and hurt from your partner’s feelings, what would you feel?

3. Step back and observe

Try to look at the situation from a third-person point of view. Observe without judging. What do you see about yourself? What do you notice about the situation?

4. Abuse is never ok

People often don’t recognize emotional and verbal abuse. They might tolerate it too long, which can lead to feelings of low self-worth, depression, anxiety and sometimes PTSD.

5. Reach out for help

If you are confused, reach out for help from someone who is not invested in you or the relationship, someone who can be more objective. Couples counselling might also be an option.


If you feel like you need to talk to someone then please do contact me to set up an appointment via email info@doctormonicaborschel.com.  I can offer both an online session via Skype or a face to face session.

Photo by Martin Kníže on Unsplash

Category(s):Adjusting to Change / Life Transitions, Divorce / Divorce Adjustment, Grief, Loss, Bereavement, Self-Care / Self Compassion, Self-Esteem

Written by:

Dr Monica Borschel

Registered Clinical Psychologist (HK)

Dr. Borschel specializes in Attachment, trauma and Loss. She is experienced in helping adults, teens, children, and families adjust to anxiety, trauma, abuse, divorce, separation, loss of a loved one, and loss of finance. This may include deciding what is in the best interest of the children during custody disputes, strengthening the relationship and communication between the parents and the children.

From Nov 2020 Dr. Borschel is only available for online consultations.

Dr. Borschel’s attachment-based therapy along with EMDR and Brainspotting enables her clients to find healing within themselves. In so doing, she can help her clients to overcome anxiety, trauma, neglect, emotional, verbal, physical abuse, and child abuse.

Furthermore, as an attachment specialist, she also helps individuals understand relationship patterns which prevent them from developing or maintaining healthy relationships. She is able to help reduce anxiety, insomnia, depression and promote confidence and self-esteem.

Dr. Borschel is originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A. She graduated with her Masters in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University in New York City. She later moved to Hong Kong to pursue her doctorate at the University of Hong Kong in Social Work and Social Administration.

Registered Clinical Psychologist with The Hong Kong Society of Counseling and Psychology (HKSCP). Member of the American Psychological Association (APA), The British Psychological Society (BPS), and the Hong Kong Family Law Association (HKFLA).

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