Dear Dr. Romance: 

I'm still having a bit of trouble letting go and cutting off communication with a guy who mistreats me. I understand in my head that this is not right, but I can't seem to get it emotionally. Yesterday was his birthday and particularly difficult to not reply despite his angry words or cursing. Is there any advice you can offer or perhaps additional reading? I'm trying to cement that he is a predator as you said but still rationalize the good aspects of him.

Dear Reader:

I'm glad you wrote. So sorry that you're having trouble. The emotional part of your brain is different from the logical part, which is why you feel so conflicted. Here are the signs of emotional blackmail. See if they ring any bells for you.

Know the signs of emotional blackmail:
1) A demand. Your date won't take "no" for an answer, and requests are really demands.
2) Resistance. When every discussion turns into an argument.
3) Pressure. Your date pressures you to go along.
4) Threats. Your date uses threatening or coercing tactics: threatening to end the relationship, tears, rage, badgering.
5) Compliance. If you give in, you're setting a dangerous precedent. Your date now knows you can be pressured into giving in to him or her, and this will increase the intensity of what your date is willing to do to pressure you.
6) Repetition. An obsessive person will go through these previous five steps over and over, wearing you down each time. The easiest thing is to be sure when you say "no", it means no.

Read "How to Keep Yourself Out of a Violent Relationship"  and "What is a Dysfunctional Relationship" and "You Be The Judge"  They will help you get into the right part of your mind and resist your feelings.

There is nothing but pain in that relationship for you. Try to find out what you are really longing for -- it isn't actually him, and what you want is not available from him.  There is someone better for you, if you'll just let go and focus on finding a healthier Relationship.

Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting about the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Relationship  will help you understand how a healthy relationship works.  Dr. Romance's Guide to Finding Love Today will help you find a new, better relationship when you're ready.

Money Sex and Kids k Dr_Romances_Guide_to_Finding_Love_Today

For low-cost phone counseling, email me at

Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.