I’ve been a bully

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I ruined the best relationship I ever had. I am 47 years old and I've been divorced twice. When we got together, he was the most emotionally mature, kind, intelligent, patient man I've ever known. It was like we were made for each other; we seldom argue. But after two years, he broke up with me out of nowhere. He said it was because early in the relationship, I picked on him in front of my family. This is something my family has always done. We are sarcastic; he claims he has tried to get past it, but that as a child he was victim of bullying, and he cannot get past resentment toward me even though even though he tried throughout the relationship to work on it.

We are still seeing each other and having sex; he claims he still loves me and can't stay away, but also cannot get past this. I have been working on my toxic personality and trying to change what ruined the relationship. I was also bullied relentlessly as a child, and my way of dealing was to become a bully myself. I cannot let him go. I also can't go on this way. He says I'm selfish because I want what I want for me. I don't know what to do.

– Bully

Continue to learn how to be better. Get the help you need (I assume you're seeking out some kind of therapy).

Do the work without a significant other by your side, at least for now. Stop trying to fix what's broken in this particular relationship.

Also – and you knew I was going to say this – stop seeing him. He's told you he can't move past your behavior. His whole "but I can't stay away ... and also let's have sex!" routine isn't helping you. It's not fair, and it's not healthy. You can let him go, even if you don't want to. It will be painful, but there might be some relief in moving on.

This is the best relationship you've had … so far. Imagine what you could do if you had better tools for communication, and a better understanding of how to leave the bullying and some of the sarcasm behind. In general, I do believe people can work on themselves while in a relationship, but this one is already over. It would be selfish of him to stick around.

– Meredith

Readers? How do you detoxify yourself? Is it time to let go?