Love can blind us to bullying in unforeseen ways. You probably won’t see it until years down the line, and even then you still try and mask it with past memories—“Somewhere inside is that man I fell in love, so I’m going to keep on keeping on.”
Sometimes boyfriends change into bullies right before your very eyes and you’re the only keeping yourself from escaping. The last thing you want to do is waste your time being chiseled away by a beautiful monster. Check out the signs:

#1) He makes you feel guilty for things that aren’t your fault.
No matter what it is, you’re the first person to blame because he feels most comfortable to do it. Maybe it’s tied to invisible tension or bitterness, but the compassion he once had has disappeared into something unfamiliar. You’re always a target.

#2) He blames for broken dreams.
You’re living in an apartment you never thought you’d be living in. Life hasn’t turned out exactly how you expected. The relationship has shifted into something you hadn’t anticipated—and it’s entirely your fault. He says your job sucks, your stamina and drive isn’t up to par, or that you’re holding him back. Instead of being grateful that you have each other, he focuses on artificial things he himself lacks.

#3) Your name has changed to “What’s wrong with you?”
You forget something: “What’s wrong with you?” You misplace his favorite things: “What’s wrong with you?” You didn’t hear something he said an hour ago: “What’s wrong with you?” Everything becomes an excuse to make you feel inadequate in some way.

#4) He makes people choose sides: “Do you agree with him or do you agree with me?”
He unconsciously seeks to drive a wedge by rallying troops. They’re your closest friends and often feel so uncomfortable that a seed of resentment gets planted in their minds. You’re left in a corner not knowing how to react.

#5) He interrupts you constantly.
This is directly tied to cockiness and cynicism. He feels like he’s always right, which limits attention span on others. He doesn’t want to hear it because he wants to be the “right” voice, the loudest and proudest to solve problems.

#6) “Thank you” has left his vocabulary.
Effort matters very little to him. Even if you’ve done an incredible job at something, there is still no validation. It’s hard to tell what’s on his mind because he never expresses acknowledgment in a healthy way (as he should). Without the validation, you’re left feeling like a slave with no real purpose.

#7) You feel pressured to ask permission for every little thing.
Some evil voice inside reminds you that you’re not free to think for yourself. It’s as if your boyfriend has convinced you nothing can be done correctly without him being involved. Without him, you’re always wrong.

#8) Indirect compromise.
Otherwise known as passive aggression. He rarely talks out problems and leaves everything unresolved. The silent treatment seems to be his greatest form of compromise because if he ignores it, eventually you’ll come begging for his forgiveness.

#9) He’s always threatening you.
His favorite thing to do is threaten the relationship or sex: “We’re seriously done if you do this…” or “I am not having sex with you. I’m so pissed off.” It’s a game that should be played maybe a handful of times in an entire length of a relationship, but he loves pulling out the threats any chance he can get.

#10) Your friends feel awkward around you both.
It’s become something out of your control and your friends are starting to notice it, and are growing uncomfortable very quickly. As time goes by you notice less and less invites to parties and more nights of watching Netflix with your man and hearing him complain about everything.

Learning to recognize bullying behavior in your boyfriend is an important skill that every gay man should have. It also can save you a lot of heartache and pain down the road, especially when you spot the bullying early and move on. Remember, it is important to distance yourself from anyone who consistently bullies other people.
Boys who bully others often become abusive in dating relationships. As a result, their partners are often left feeling responsible for the bullying and lose self-esteem. Remember, bullying is not your fault nor is there anything wrong with you. Bullying is a choice made by the bully and he alone is responsible for his behavior. You also cannot change him. He has to want to change.

If you are experiencing any of these abuses, it’s important to recognize that this is bullying (and abusive) and is not part of a normal relationship. Repetitive bullying behavior, even if you are only a bystander, will eventually take a toll on you.
Find outside support and look for options on how to terminate the relationship. Ending an abusive relationship is often best done with the help and guidance of other people. The bullying and abuse often escalates when a relationship is about to end. So be sure to find help for your situation.

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