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I don't feel strong enough to care for my bf again

Community Member

5 months back my boyfriend of nearly 2 years was badly injured at work. It's been a hard time and very straining on what isn't that great of a relationship to begin with.

He has finally been able to do things for himself but his final surgery is soon and after that he will be back to square one. Not able to move much. I'll have to do everything for him for a minimum 6 weeks. And I really don't feel strong enough. I'm getting a knot in my stomach at the mere thought.

None of my friends or family really like this guy and I have been liking him less and less. Not because he's injured. His attitude is really poor. He used to spy on my phone. He is jealous and I'd almost say emotionally abusive.

I've tried leaving once but it didn't stick. I don't know how I'm going to live with myself though if I left him now I'd feel terrible for abandoning him. .

Advice. Help. Please

4 Replies 4

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Dear I Gotta Run

Hello and welcome to Beyond Blue. This is indeed a difficult situation for you. I hope we can help to make a good decision.

Let me say upfront that your health and well-being are of paramount importance. So often people feel they must sacrifice themselves in some way because another person needs help. It seems to me that there are two issues here. Do you want to continue this relationship? This is the most important question. Your answer will determine if you should care for your BF after his surgery.

The other issue is about looking after someone who does not appear to be thankful for your care and repays you with suspicion and emotional abuse. This will impact on your mental health and stop or reduce your ability to make decisions. You are already feeling guilty thinking about leaving at a time when he will need help after his surgery. This is not your problem. He will need to arrange alternative care options before he goes into hospital. It may mean he will remain in hospital or a rehab unit instead of returning home.

Your guilty feelings about this have a lot to do with your desire to leave. What happened the first time you left? Or more to the point, why did you return? If this BF was the love of your life and you wanted nothing more than to spend the rest of your life with him, it would be different. But you do not want to stay at all, from what you have written.

I think it is an unreal expectation that you put yourself through this huge caring process for someone who has demonstrated his lack of respect for you. Did your BF make a comment on how bad you would be if you left?

Look, I know he is probably apprehensive about the surgery and wants to feel cared for during his convalescence. We would all like that but it's not always possible. When I broke my leg at the age of 58, no one looked after me. I spent two weeks in hospital because there was no to look after me. Blue Nurses came everyday and helped me to shower and then less often etc. I had Meals on Wheels. I still needed to do a great deal for myself. OK my injury was not as serious as your BF situation, but the same process can apply to him. Hospitals have rehab units for those who do need lots of nursing care.

The message I want to leave with you is, don't let the BF keep you tied to him when you really want to leave. Make a pros and cons list but do not include guilt as part of the process. You have nothing to be guilty about.


Thanks for your reply.

I think a lot of the guilt of leaving is my own. I try too hard to please everyone at my own detriment.

Also splitting up is scary and costly. I'm scared of being alone and I used to keep telling myself that I'd just save but there's never enough. I've exhausted other money options too 😞

The usual options of staying with family are out too as they all live interstate.

Hello IGottaRun

As Whiterose mentioned you come first. Your health, both mentally and physically are paramount, all other considerations are secondary.

Just a note re Guilt...Yes it hurts but its still a self created emotion...(man made) Even all the money the complications will fade into insignificance down the track if you choose to leave.

There are many people that can never get those years back that they committed to a partner they didnt love.

You have a kind heart and the best intentions too.

You wont get another life...I hope you can make a decision that benefits you.....and only you.

My Best


Community Member

Hi Igottarun,
I can understand that it is hard to leave for 2 reasons - 1. you feel guilty - 2. financial fears

Ok , so lets talk about them … Firstly … Your gut is telling you that something is not right with the relationship, you say its almost “emotional abuse“ and his attitude is poor.. I’m not sure why you have allowed yourself to be treated this way but I think you are beginning to wonder the same thing! Good on you for alerting yourself to something fishy going on!!

It is not uncommon and in fact there is a great book called “ Women Who Love Too Much” by Robin Norwood which tries to explain why seemingly nice woman often bend over backwards to try and please often not such nice guys. It may have to do with unconscious patterns from your childhood such as “ If i’m a good girl, mum (or dad) will love me , or see my worth” . I don’t know your situation, so its hard to be specific to you, but I hope that reading the book might be a good start , especially if therapy is financially difficult to access at the moment.

Prioritising your own needs and really feeling “hey, I am worthy of love, attention, trust, support just because I am not because of what I can do for you" is sometimes a big step. I wonder if you feel the same responsibility to your own needs as you feel to his ? I wonder if you are in a bad habit of putting others needs ahead of your own? Its important that you really confront this .. if necessary with a counsellor, as this pattern can lead to bad relationship habits if not addressed.

2. Financial issues are of course a problem but seem to me a poor reason to stay with an emotionally abusive or uncaring partner. Go visit a trusted family member or friend or visit the moneysmart.gov.au website to help look at budgeting and see if you can really think of a way to move to a different living situation that will allow you to be financially AND emotionally OK. It may be not ideal initially but it might be ok that its a stepping stone along your journey. Sometimes things are a bit worse initially but its ok as its just temporary on the path to your better place.

Finally , one thing I glossed over is that you had left once before but it didn't "stick” . It would serve you well to really think about what happened there . What were the feelings  or thoughts that occurred ? If they happened again, are you better prepared this time to manage the anxiety, sadness or fears that might pop up when you leave? Have a back up plan for yourself so you have options in place if it happens again so that you don’t just run back if things get tough once you leave (as I am sue it will every now and then).