Big To Do
About Us

“Saving Love Lives The World Over!” e-mail e-mail to a friend in need

August 5, 2008

Now at MSN.com: “Can you love two people?”

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 5:21 am

Here, your weekly installment of Ask Lynn, the advice column penned by BG’s alter ego at MSN.com (powered by Match.com). This week, we meet Torn-Up Tanya, who presents us with still another age-old dilemma: “Steve — or Mark?”

Steve: Emotionally abusive but penitent and up-for-counseling ex. Wants her back.

Mark: “Sweet,” “awesome” new guy she met, sorta by mistake, very soon after the breakup.

Whom should Tanya choose? (Hint: Maybe … Ed?) See what Lynn has to say, and then come back here to comment!


  1. More great advice BG you Rock, I think if she really loves Steve like she says; she should give him that chance and ride it out or she will be plagued with “what if” and that is such a hard thing to live with. Also sometimes it does take something drastic to get someone to change and then you live happily ever after. It sounds like she really loves him more then Mark, since she has these doubts. On Steves end if he really loves her and wants her back and knows he needs counseling then he should be getting that for him not just to get her back. Otherwise that just seems like a ploy on his part, because he should want to be healthy for a relationship with her or someone else.

    Comment by Tonya — August 5, 2008 @ 6:48 am

  2. In February I attended a conference on domestic violence. One statement that kept being repeated was how sorry and apologetic the abusers claimed to be after their outbursts. But it never took long for them to revert to old habits.

    Even though Tanya seems to have a relatively healthy perspective on Steve’s behavior, that kind of abuse tends to take a heavy toll on a person’s self esteem. That low self esteem makes it harder for a person to leave her/his abuser.

    If Tanya was a friend of mine, I would encourage her to avoid Steve until after he had spent considerable time in counseling. Let him show the improvement first, then consider giving him a second chance.

    Comment by Karl R — August 5, 2008 @ 10:29 am

  3. After spending 20+ years with an emotionally abusive man, I can give you one piece of advise. NEVER go back. Never. He will promise anything, give you flowers, plead, beg, tell you he’ll change…….but they never, ever do. As soon as they think you’ve forgiven them, and decided to try the relationship again (ie: committed yourself), you’re in for another bout of emotional abuse. I don’t think there is any reason whatsoever to continue to expose yourself to a person who thinks he is above the rules. If you go back, it only lets him know that he got away with it (again), and can continue to do so. And, let’s not forget that the abuse will quite likely turn physical at some point (statistics don’t lie about this one). Abusive men think the rules don’t apply to them, and they always think their outbursts are someone else’s fault……the abuser sees himself as a perpetual victim and justifies his outrageous behaviour to himself by saying “she MADE me do it, it’s all HER fault”.
    RUN, don’t walk, away from the jerk! Hopefully, you won’t have to get a restraining order to get him out of your life.

    Comment by Been There — August 5, 2008 @ 8:01 pm

  4. I find it hard to believe that the letter writer just broke up with up Steve out of the blue after 3 1/2 years. She must have complained about his behavior multiple times, and I’ll bet he promised to change then, too. So it’s not really about giving Steve a “second” chance; he’s had multiple chances already. Now, after three months, he says he’s “willing” to try counseling?

    I don’t think counseling is the great cure-all that advice columnists often pretend, but I might have begrudgingly agreed with Lynn if at least Steve had gone to counselling already of his own accord. But simply saying that he’ll give it a try in order to get the letter writer back? If the break-up was such a wake-up call that Steve realized he had a problem, he’d be getting help on his own so as to improve his future relationships, whether with his ex or the next girlfriend. The fact that he hasn’t suggests that he doesn’t really believe there’s a problem; he’s just trying to bargain with her.

    Is Steve going to respect someone who he can treat like crap for 3 1/2 years, and then get back with just a simple promise to try harder? I really doubt it. He probably thinks he’s bought himself another couple of years with these promises. Then you’ll be writing BG and asking “how can I break up with someone who I’ve spent 7 years of my life with?”

    Comment by Dunstan — August 5, 2008 @ 11:28 pm

  5. I won’t say that abusers never change, but it’s pretty damn rare in my experience. When the girl who treated me like crap called wanting to get back together, I was glad to have had the sense to say, “I sincerely hope that you’re right, and you have learned your lesson and changed, and I wish you all the luck in the world applying those lessons to your next relationship. But it’s not going to be with me.”

    Comment by MikeT — August 6, 2008 @ 5:13 pm

  6. This is the exact situation I was in 3 years ago. And I had dated Brad for 3-1/2 years before deciding to break up with him for lack of emotional intimacy. I did whatever it took to please him, and I was infatuated with him. But at some point a girl can only take so much. Then I met Jack. There was an unexplainable draw to him the 1st time I met him, and I started to see him. Brad was so crushed and started to jump through hoops to get me back. Now I was confused. I spent 4 months in a back and forth battle within myself as to what was the best choice. Deep down, I was afraid Jack might not love me in time, and I felt like Brad was the better bet because I was comfortable with him. But I just couldn’t get Jack out of my mind. Brad was a “safe” choice I felt, and I’m not much of a risk taker. My heart was so drawn to Jack though that in the end, I decided it was better to give my heart the chance it wanted to take, rather than do what my head told me was safe. And I’m happy to say that I married Jack 2 years later and we’re nearing our 1st anniversary!

    Not to say that Tanya should choose the same path, but listen to her heart. Our heads think too much sometimes, trying to weigh all the pros & cons. If your heart is telling you something, listen to it because it knows what it needs. And if things don’t work out, it just means neither were right. I stongly believe there is more than one person you can love & spend your life with, so missing out on one doesn’t mean you won’t find another.

    Comment by MorganB — August 13, 2008 @ 8:27 am

  7. I am so glad that I read this article. To an extent at least. I too am facing 2 guys. On one hand I have my ex (I finally broke it off with him relationship wise but I”m still living with him because of rent) – its an abusive relationship. Literately, its not only emotional, but its also physical. I guess I’m reluctant to leave it because I know it only happens when he’s angry, and of course its my actions that make him so angry. And I hit back so he is not the only guilty party! Here’s the WORST part of it for me – I still care for him. I still love him and I still love the man I met 4 years ago. On the other hand, I have a great friend that I’ve known since high school – who’ve I’ve crushed on time and time again – and love – and he loves me back! We grew up together and I know a lot about him and he knows a lot about me and he’s sweet. Yes that’s given as the article said – but I feel like he matches me more than my current ex ever could. But I can’t get away from my ex. Not only because he’s paying half of the rent, but because I still care for him no matter how many times I’ve been bruised or heartbroken. Everyone tells me that I”m too young to settle (I’m 24) and that if I’m not happy – then to get out. But its NOT that EASY! I want to be with my “high school sweetheart” for a lack of a better term. He technically isn’t that. I just can’t get away from ex. Thank you for writing the article. Its something more I can think about in my own decision. And to the girl that wrote in – I have wondered for years what it would be like to be with the other guy. It’s eaten at me for a while. And its possibly the reason why I officially broke it off with my ex. I really want to know if I’d be happier with the other one. Now if only I could get that other part to change…. ….

    Comment by Becky — August 13, 2008 @ 8:48 am

  8. MorganB: I bet what you wrote about the “safe” choice is why I’m in what I’m in. I’ve known this relationship I’m in for 4 years – I live here – everything is somewhat comfortable – I know what to expect. But with the other guy – it requires 100% risk. A move (his type of business isn’t EVERYWHERE like my degree is). It requires opening my heart to another relationship – and all of that is a risk in itself. Let alone finding a new job, a new place to live. Can I live on my own? My school loans are expensive! At least my ex is reliable enough to pay the rent to help me out. But alas – I can’t get the other guy out of my mind and out of my heart. And he wants me too which means that I”m going to be crushing at least 1 of them and I don’t want to break anyones heart. I think I’ll go ahead and move to Egypt – buy that camel and name him Bob.

    Comment by Becky — August 13, 2008 @ 8:56 am

  9. She is not healthy enough to make a proper decision she wont regret. Men don’t change. Men don’t change. Men don’t change. A man with anger issues will always have them. Period. Its in the wiring – And a “sweet guy” wont be better than “Mr.abusive”. She has to get her head on straight before any partner is fulfilling.

    Comment by Beach Potato — August 13, 2008 @ 10:09 am

  10. I agree with Morgan B. I loved and begged a man to love me for 2 years and it wasn’t until I left him for the “last time” that I met Jamey and Gary came running, proclaiming his love! I was so tortured and torn! I knew that what I’d wanted with Gary for years had finally came true; but I felt this connection with Jamey like I’d never felt with anyone. It was stability vs. love. I’m a divorced single mother of two, so stability looked pretty darn good at that point but I’d settled for the relatinship we’d made, kind of like a “buddy system”. Gary claimed to be “emotionally unavailable” due to previous relationships so I went with that forever. I went back and forth for about 6 weeks and finally closed my eyes and “jumped” and ever since then, I’m so elated with joy and fulfillment….true love, from a man who isn’t afraid to show and tell the whole world! I was scared and thought that I’d thrown away a good thing, thinking that “true love” didn’t exist. (I’m a realist) but it does!!!! I can definately see myself sitting on the porch with Jamey when the kids are grown, talking about all the memories we’ve made together, and being just as much in love with him as I am now, if not more!

    Comment by Sheri — August 13, 2008 @ 10:54 am

  11. Torn-up Tanya,

    From a male point of view, and one who was in Mark’s position and lost a love to this same situation; A man that is abusive will always be abusive. He may seem to change his ways, but that is only to regain control of you, then it will start all over again. Forget about Steve and have no contact what so ever as he knows what strings to pull. My love, even after admitting to the verbal and physical abuse was drawn back by promises of change. After moving back with him she became dependant on him and things got worse than before because he had control over her. See the past, and don’t listen to the emotions Steve tries to stir up. You deserve to be happy, treated with love and kindness all of the time.

    Comment by Paul — August 13, 2008 @ 12:06 pm

  12. Ok, I have to jump in on this one. I love you BG and have loved you for many years, but you are WAY off the mark on this advice.

    I was in an emotionally abusive relationship for just over two years. I lost my virginity to this guy, I was planning on marrying him, I was IN DEEP. It was a toxic relationship that f*cked me up emotionally and, sadly, still rears its ugly head from time to time – you can never prepare for when remnants of emotional damage surface. Yes, I got out. I finally told him that NO I wasn’t interested in working it out and NO I wasn’t interested in talking about it. I literally hid for two months – when I left work he was in the parking lot waiting for me, my parents reported that he would go to their house and wait for hours thinking I might come by, I started going straight from work to a (large, male) coworker’s house and staying there late because I knew if I went home he would be there waiting for me, and my large, male coworker had a few large, male roommates who would play Tekken and talk philosophy with me and tell my ex to bugger off if he followed me there.
    Now, at this point I must emphasize, he was never physically violent. This was JUST an emotionally abusive relationship.

    I dated after him, yes, but it was two years before I had another boyfriend. Let’s just say I was skittish. The time was invaluable for me and the next guy I dated ended up being upgraded and we have been happily married for four years and have a beautiful daughter. My husband is the most amazing guy, but I don’t think that I would have been a very good girlfriend/wife without the emotional distance that I had from this prior relationship. It wouldn’t have been fair to date anyone so soon after leaving that kind of situation because I would have been inflicting my trainwrecked psyche on them. Oh yes, I THOUGHT I was ready to move on after two, six, eight months; but I realized afterwards that it was really a year before I was in a place to handle another person.

    Armed with that background, here’s the advice: LEAVE STEVE. RUN, DO NOT WALK. And learn that the MOST important thing you can take away from all that time with Steve (which will feel wasted for a while) is that even though you UNDERSTAND why he acts the way he does THAT DOES NOT MEAN YOU HAVE TO ACCEPT IT. Comprende? My ex got the counseling, oh yes he did, and being the publicly charming guy who he was, the counselor told him LOT’S of things that I already knew and he already knew… but it didn’t change him ONE BIT. The best manipulative tool in his toolbox when it came to me was telling me something about why he was the way he was and promising to work harder on it.
    In the end I told him the same thing that MikeT told his gal and the letter writer should be telling Steve: congrats on getting counseling – may it help you not make the same mistakes in your next relationship.

    Oh, and as for new guy, Mark, maybe one shouldn’t burden a BRAND new relationship involving an emotionally vulnerable person with the pressure of having to work out foreverandever RIGHT NOW or else you’re leaving.

    Comment by stillanon — August 13, 2008 @ 12:11 pm

  13. My advice:
    “Good for you for breaking up with Steve, the emotional abuser…run far far away from him and never return. This advice applies whether you stay with Mark or leave Mark. I think the smartest thing to do right now is take a break – with option to date for fun – nothing serious. Give yourself to reflect why you put up with this emotional abuse. What you don’t want to do is end up with another Steve. Have fun being single and give yourself time to find the right guy, when you are ready. IN case you missed it….do not ever, ever, ever contact Steve again… because he will continue to abuse you…because he knows that he can and that you will always return.
    A former Emotionally Abused woman”

    Comment by Dana D — August 13, 2008 @ 4:48 pm

  14. Many of you are saying that once abusive – always abusive. Is there really no hope of someone changing? My ex/roommate is abusive when angry. He never was before but one day the fist just swung. And as time continues I’m seeing it get worse. Why wasn’t he abusive before, but is now – and can he not be abusive in his next relationship? I seriously want out of this relationship but I fear that he’s only going to do it to the next one. Is there hope that he won’t? I guess I feel that I’m the one that makes him so angry -so I “hope” that the next person won’t and the next person won’t get hit. Am I wrong?

    Comment by Becky — August 14, 2008 @ 8:53 am

  15. It’s weird. I’ve been with a guy off and on for about three years. I guess I thought I was rid of him the first time we broke up, coz we hadn’t broken up before that and it seemed so FINAL. He moved out and my best friend moved in for about a year. In that time I saw another man from across the country. I was relatively happy. but that man had to go back to his home after awhile then I was alone again. I did some travelling and had fun with some guys. But then I felt a sense of not wanting to deal with men anymore. I was tired. I always gave more than I got. So I just decided to stay home. At that time my friend moved out. Then teh old abusive ex came abck to me. He started spending a lot of time at my place. I didn’t really think too much about it. His company was pleasant. But then I met this other man. He seems perfect and amazing. I’ve never met a guy like this. I know you should give it about a year between relationships, but I never do. I don’t know if this guy likes me, but I think he does. ANyway, I told my boyfriend (the abuser) about this other guy because I like to be honest. He said he didn’t mind at all. Which was strange. But then I told him I was gonna hang out with the guy as friends and my boyfriend physically abused me to the point where I couldn’t get out of bed today. So we are broken up now. But I’ll have to call the police if he tries to come near me. I had no idea the abuser still had the abuse in him. I was telling all my friends he had changed! Luckily my life is not linked with him and he has just started a job out of town. So I don’t anticipate trouble. I’m just glad to be rid of the abuser. If soemthing happens with the new guy, great. But I’m not banking on it. I just feel relief. I guess the biggest thing I learned from all this is that they DON’T change. Last nite he revealed his true self. random emotions played across his face. It was like he was looking for a green lite from me that everything would be OK. Coz he knew he crossed teh line. I didn’t give him that green lite. THen he refused to move from teh carpet until I married him. That is bogus. the guy’s nutz. Trust me, they dont’ change. They may just keep revealing deeper and uglier parts of their souls the longer you stay with them and enable them to do so. So forget em I say! Go for the hot guys. Never tie yourself to a loser. A woman should be boss and don’t you forget it! Act like the boss and everythign in life will come to you. As for men. Don’t trust them unless they give you reason to. Don’t give them everything just because they ask for it. Have them do thigns for you. And then see how you feel. There is no pressure to be with a man in today’s modern society.

    Comment by Fayralei — January 13, 2009 @ 6:29 pm

  16. Go on back to the gemini.

    Comment by Aries Risen — February 18, 2009 @ 1:25 am

  17. The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read, but I actually thought youd have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could fix if you werent too busy looking for attention.

    Comment by in this — June 12, 2016 @ 4:10 am

  18. finasteride 5 mg tetracyclin buy lipitor cheap buy medrol cephalexin 500 mg capsule

    Comment by ashombvbuql — June 21, 2016 @ 7:46 am

  19. tretinoin cream motrin 400mg albuterol diclofenac-natrium

    Comment by ashomhopjyv — July 7, 2016 @ 7:10 am

  20. lipitor 40 mg clindamycin hcl albuterol explained here

    Comment by ashombkfq6f — July 23, 2016 @ 12:49 am

  21. buy cleocin gel proair albuterol sulfate online buy cephalexin buy retin a online

    Comment by ashomkzgkbo — July 26, 2016 @ 9:30 pm

  22. http://trazodone-hcl.science/ – desyrel 50 mg http://genericcelebrex.bid/ – celebrex http://buy-viagra-online.top/ – buy viagra from mexico http://buyviagraonline.cricket/ – safe buy viagra online http://generic-for-lipitor.top/ – lipitor generic

    Comment by ashomo503a5 — July 31, 2016 @ 4:56 pm

  23. where can i buy sildenafil albuterol viagra price

    Comment by ashombgkpq4 — August 4, 2016 @ 9:14 pm

  24. buy elimite advair tenormin beta blocker

    Comment by ashompi3q48 — August 26, 2016 @ 4:23 pm

  25. clomid online helpful hints Propranolol 40mg

    Comment by ashompi3wcz — September 15, 2016 @ 4:05 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

**Mean or otherwise out-of-line comments will be deleted. That’s just how we roll.


blog | advice | comics | animation | goodies | to do | archive | about us

Breakup Girl created by Lynn Harris & Chris Kalb
© 2008 Just Friends Productions, Inc.
| privacy policy
Cool Aid!

Important Breakup Girl Maxim:
Breakup Girl Sez


Powered by WordPress