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Abusive Relationships/Was my relationship normal?


Hi Ms. Backlund,
I apologize in advance for the long message.  I was in a 2 1/2 relationship with a man who decided to break up with me recently.  When I met him, he told me he had an ex wife and a young child.  He got a divorce because he said she cheated on him several times.

For the first 2 years, he was very sweet, considerate, fun and
compassionate.  Things seemed to be going well; I got along with his son and his family seemed to really like me.  And everyone loved him.  He really fit the description of the kind of man I wanted to marry one day.

I didn't notice his behavior until the last 6 months of the relationship.  Some of the problems that happened:
-Sometimes we would be around friends and he would hardly speak
to me or not introduce me as his girlfriend.  People tell me I'm attractive but he seemed to be ashamed of me in public.
-He was in a dance class and that was more of a priority to him than me.
-There was a time where we went out dancing for his birthday and he spent more time around his woman friends than me.  He left me alone for 40 minutes and hardly talked to me.   
-There were several times where he would not forgive me of past issues. He seemed to be holding his feelings in up to this point.  He expressed everything he didn't like about being in a relationship with me the last month of dating.
-He gave me the silent treatment at different times for not being available.  
-He has embarrassed me in front of his friends and tried to call me out on my opinion about things; he would make me feel bad about them.
-He never seemed to forgive me for the smallest issues like waiting so long to tell him I loved him or wanting to get married--which he wanted to do in the first 5 months of dating.

This was my first serious relationship and we talked about marriage.  I thought he loved me so I don't understand why he acted this way. I never cheated on him or gave him a reason to not trust me.  I treated him like I would want to treat myself.  At the end, I felt like I was walking on eggshells around him, every time I spoke up or had a different opinion about something he gave me the silent treatment or started a disagreement.  

A month after we broke up, I found out that he was dating a woman from his dance class.  That was very hurtful to me. I'm thinking that he is treating her so much better than me and they are happy.  I am working on moving forward but it's hard. My question is, was I in an abusive relationship?  Or were these normal responses to someone who was possibly hurt by me because we weren't on the same page?  I just need to know so I don't repeat this with someone else.  Thank you.

Hi Tamika,

Thank you for writing and getting some ideas of what is going on. Relationships are complex with some just not working out with others being abusive. You have described several “red flags” that fall under as being abusive with the final one of walking on eggshells which keeps you on edge and from being yourself.

It is NOT your fault that he behaved as he did—he had a choice of treating you with respect but chose to be flirtatious and treat you disrespectfully. This is clearly someone who is NOT interested in a loving and mutual relationship.  People as such usually NEVER change and are only interested in themselves and what they want with little regard to what you want and how it affects you. I would suggest reading the below book to help you spot out these type of individuals in future relationships:

Please keep asking questions as you go along and very glad you reached out to find answers to protect yourself in future relationships. And always remember, you deserve the very best in life and to be treated with love and respect--when that doesn't happen, walk away and don't look back!

Coach Cathy,
Cathy Backlund, Life Coach, Specializing in Abusive Relationships and Domestic Violence Education  

Abusive Relationships

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Cathy Backlund, Life Coach in Abuse & Domestic Violence


Are you unsure if you are living in an abusive relationship? Are you feeling confused, angry or hurt and don't know what to do? I can help you determine if you are in an abusive or unhealthy relationship and provide suggestions on how to create a plan for your happiness, health and well-being! Please ask questions to find out answers today! Everyone deserves to live life with happiness and joy, and I am here to help you. Are you ready to find out how you can live a better and happier life? If you are, please ask your questions today!! Asking and finding the answers you are looking for is the first step to improve you joy and happiness!


I am a Certified Life Coach Specializing in Prevention and Education of Domestic Abuse and Violence.

•SPARCC (Safe Place And Rape Crisis Center), Sarasota, FL •CAT (Sarasota Violence Prevention Community Action Team) •Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence •Guardian Ad Litem 12th Judicial Circuit of Florida

Please visit my webpage for more information and articles about abusive relationships and domestic violence at or I am here with you, while you find answers that help you!

•B.S. from Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA •Core Competency Course from the Shelter for Abused Women and Children, Naples, FL •Life Coach Training from Changepoint Coaching & Consulting Association •Advanced Training from The Institute for Relational Harm Reduction & Public Pathology •Sexual Violence Core Training from Florida Council Against Sexual Violence •High Risk Domestic Violence Training by Lundy Bancroft and Sarasota Police Dept, FL •Court Assistance Training from SPARCC (Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center, Sarasota, FL •Principles of Prevention by The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) •Guardian Ad Litem 12th Judicial Circuit of Florida

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