Girlfriend Walked Out Even After I Apologized for My Vulgar Outburst

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Reader’s Question

Q. Half a year ago, I lost my temper and told my live-in girlfriend of five years to leave (move out of) my home. I also told her that she was a miserable “c-word.”

We slept apart that night and the next morning I apologized and asked her not to move out. She did anyway.

Now it’s my contention that she left me, and it is her contention that I threw her out. What do you think?

Psychologist’s Reply

Regardless of the circumstances prompting it, you admit you were verbally abusive to your girlfriend. And you seem to be much more concerned about who bears primary responsibility for leaving the house than with how inappropriately you allowed yourself to behave.

While you’re not responsible for your ex’s decision to leave, you’re certainly responsible for the behavior that invited it. And if your girlfriend is hesitant to be comfortable with her choice to take herself out of such a situation, she places herself at risk for subjecting herself to abusive behavior in the future.

Actions have consequences. And some behaviors are serious enough that the damage that can be done is hard, if not impossible, to repair. Merely apologizing is not the same as making amends and making the determination to be a better person. If your girlfriend is healthy, she’ll make you prove your worthiness. If you’re healthy, you’ll care less about who left whom and focus more on what you need to do to gain better self-control.

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