February 21, 2018

Am I in a Toxic Relationship?

Hey, Bonita…

I’ve been dating this person for half a year now. I dated them once a year ago and broke up with them, and then we started dating again. But I feel almost no love for them anymore. I just don’t feel anything towards them; in fact, I find things that I once found charming utterly irritating. But I don’t want to break up with them. I’m stuck.

I’m worried how they’ll react emotionally, as they are borderline suicidal because of issues at home—their family is pretty abusive. Plus, they are the only one who has stuck by me for being trans, so I feel obligated to be loyal to them, even though I share no feelings of love whatsoever. So I stay trapped just to make them happy—to please them. They are super dumb sometimes—so much so that I feel more like their babysitter than their boyfriend. I live every day in constant fear that they’ll kill themselves one of these days, and there’s nothing that I can do about it. I feel suffocated.

I feel guilty for feeling this way, because they love me and support me, and I’m mad at myself for not loving them. They are also a very sexual person, and I’m not, and it kinda creeps me out a lot! I don’t see myself having penetrative sex, and the fact they want it so badly is a frightening thought. They have pretty much accepted that we’ll do it in the glorious “future,” and that scares me. But I don’t want to ruin their dreams or hurt them emotionally by telling them I don’t really want it/see myself ever doing it.

I know this sounds horrible. But I just don’t love them, and I’m starting to question if I ever did. Interacting with them every day has just become a chore for me, as selfish as that sounds. It’s just not there; my heart’s not in it.

Am I the horrible one? Is my relationship toxic? What should I do?

The fact that they haven’t accepted your “no” to penetrative sex is a blaring klaxon warning you of things to come. Knowing that literally makes my face hot. What’s loving or supportive about finding a “work-around” for one’s partner’s requests? This person is taking advantage of your kind nature in a very dangerous way. Does this person really support you? Because you haven’t presented a shred of evidence of that. Cooking dinner or affirming your attractiveness isn’t the same as loving you the way you are and supporting your growth as a person—remember that forever.

Step back and widen your view for a moment. Is this person really the only one who ever loved or stuck by you, or is that something they tell you when they notice you pulling away? Threats of self-harm suck, and I resent that this person talks that way around you knowing it terrifies the crap out of you. Your partner needs to work on mindfulness and realize the ways they are hurting you.

You are not horrible. I think you are being manipulated and abused. Frankly, this is the most parasitic shit I have laid my eyes on in a while, and what’s worse is I bet your partner doesn’t realize how toxic and abusive their behavior really is. You’ve split up with them before, and I see that as a sign. Y’all aren’t meant to be together if it’s causing one of you this much stress and pain, and you also need someone who is on your level emotionally. You don’t need a perfect person, but you do need someone who is trying to grow and become a better person.

I missed my deadline, so I’m actually writing this on Valentine’s Day. I don’t like advising a couple to break up on this deliciously bullshit corporate holiday, but this relationship is diminishing and damaging you in ways you could carry for the rest of your life. You sound young, and I don’t want you making a mistake like this so early in life. You are obligated to love no one but yourself. Dump ’em.

Need advice? Email, use the anonymous form at, or find Bonita on Twitter: @flagpolebonita.