Is my girlfriend verbally abusive, or is she right? (TW)

I would like this thread to stay as unbiased as possible. In other words, please tell me if I’m wrong or overreacting, and I’ll be putting my girlfriend in a fair light without overdramatizing what happened.

We’ve been dating for about 4 months now. Last month, I thought I could’ve seen myself marrying her someday. Now, we’ve on the verge of breaking up. The trigger?

She’s naturally very critical of how I dress. Last Saturday, she took it to a whole new level. She asked me if I was depressed. I wasn’t depressed, and I asked her why. She said it looked like I just rolled out of bed. For the record, I was wearing Vans shoes, Adidas sports sweats, a sweatshirt, and a beanie (it was 45 degrees outside). I stood up for myself and verbalized that I disagreed with her. This led her on a rampage of ripping apart the rest of my wardrobe and what I usually wear, with her saying the following:

(Disclaimer: In my opinion there is NOTHING wrong with looking one way or the other, I’m merely passing along what my girlfriend told me yesterday.)


Pea coat: Gay, don’t wear it.
Scarves: Gay, don’t wear them.
Skinny jeans: Gay, don’t wear them.
Styling my hair: Gay, don’t do that.
Vans Shoes: I’m not a 15-year-old skateboarder anymore (I’m 31).
Beard scruff: Depressed and not taking care of myself.
Sweats and sweatshirt (in public): Depressed and not taking care of myself.
Beanie (which causes oily hair): Depressed and not showering.
Acne: Depressed and not washing my skin.

And she continued to tell me she thought I was a closeted homosexual. Not just because of how I dress, but I do admit, I am more charismatic and animated than the average “bro” guy. I’m not gay and don’t have a gay atom in my body (but even if I was gay, who cares?). She said it’s a deeply rooted fear that she’ll marry someone, have kids with them, and then he comes out as gay and divorces her (this happened to one of her family friends when she was young, so I understand her trauma). What I HIGHLY disagree with is her projecting that trauma onto me.

On top of that, I have past family trauma. They all live in different states, but she’s taking the family trauma onto her shoulders, assuming that I’m bottling up feelings and will one day explode. (I won’t; I’ve been through years of counseling and have resolved my past family trauma, but she won’t listen).

That lead to a text to me this morning, reading, “I actually need some time and space this weekend to figure out what I want for our relationship moving forward. Wednesday’s conversation and some major concerns concerning childhood trauma and your possible gay vibes is obviously disturbing for me. I need the weekend for myself to get some clarity.”

What am I supposed to do now?


First, I’m so sorry that she tore you down like this. That can make a person feel bad and second guess themselves. Now, speaking as a queer person the fact that she refers to everything as gay like it’s bad is not just homophobic, that is a pattern of troubling behavior. What she did to you is abuse and clearly you know that’s not okay because you stood up for yourself. Again in her text she dismissed you with her homophobic comment. You need to take time to ask yourself if it’s worth it to you to be with someone who is showing this type of abusive behavior, who from the looks of it isn’t ready to acknowledge their behavior and how it affects you. When a person genuinely loves you, they love you for you; all of you good and bad. They don’t tear you down, they don’t hurt you. It’s up to you to decide what you want and how you want to move forward. It may be for the best to walk away for you because you deserve love simply as you and nothing else.


Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! She’s definitely homophobic, because my little sister is bisexual, and she told me she would never want our kids around my sister or her girlfriend. I don’t know how I feel about that because I love my sister. I wish my girlfriend loved all of me, and I actually believed her when she told me that she loved all of me, so shame on me for believing her lies.


“Your possible gay vibes”.

Well, wow.
If that’s the hill she really wants to die standing on, then what can I say.

People have different styles and it’s okay to not enjoy someone else’s style, but to tear it apart because you think it speaks about their sexuality then, that’s just not okay.

I would understand perhaps if the situation were you had discussed with her questioning sexuality and she engaged in a conversation that her fears would be to having a long term relationship/ having children and then fearing she may lose that, but that wasn’t the case.

I guess it’s coming to her world/moral views vs yours.
I’m getting intolerable of people these days making remarks like this.


Aside from the very definite verbal abuse, it sounds like there is a lot more to consider here. First, saying she wouldn’t want your kids around your little sister is a very disrespectful and hurtful thing to say. Ask yourself if you want to be with someone that could say that about your sister. The other part is she doesn’t love all of you. That’s pretty big.

There are a lot of red flags and I would never tell you what to do, but if I was in your shoes, I would prob keep looking for the person who WILL love all of me. You haven’t met everyone who will love you in your lifetime yet, so remember that. <3


Hi Eric.
I want to say that I’m sorry you had to experience that. I don’t think you were overreacting at all by standing up for yourself. This post really spoke to my heart. I thought I would share a little of my story with you in hopes that it might help. I was married to someone who, a few years after we were married, came out as gay. The reason I wanted to share that with you is because I can see red flags in your situation. I’m still friends with my ex-husband. He’s an incredible person. I had no judgment toward him at all. I’m very proud of him for being true to himself. So, what I see as concerning in your situation is her judgment of others and homophobia. I can also see control issues possibly becoming a thing. Having to stand up for yourself about what clothes you wear is really a red flag. Something as trivial as clothing shouldn’t cause an issue. You’re comfortable and you’re making decisions on what to wear because you’re an adult. I think there is really a lot to consider here. I’m glad that you’re thinking it through and talking about what’s on your mind. I really hope that everything works out for the best. And remember we’re here for you.


Oh, Eric, I’m so sorry that this has been happening. It’s a good thing that you’ve decided to seek different perspectives on this. There are situations that can appear to us as almost “normal” if we get used to be treated or talked to a certain way.

I can only wholeheartedly agree with what our friends said before: these are big red flags, and as much as I hate saying if whether a situation is toxic or not (because I don’t know all the details of your relationship), just based on what you have shared here, the dynamic and way she talks to you seems very unhealthy.

She has her fears, and there are probably reasons why it is there, but that will never justify the way she puts this on you. What she told you was with an intention to humiliate, it was unloving, and definitely not something you deserve to be told. (Not saying I approve her views, by the way, but I see that in her perspective it is meant to be an insult/ to belittle). My partner, for example, did taunt me at times about the way I dress (my teenager heart likes good old hoodies, badges, cute stuff and whatnot), but it was always done in a loving way and as a joke – gently annoying each other is part of the way we interact, because we know we are safe to each other, that there is enough trust for that kind of language. There were never any component of humiliation or making me feel bad about myself, and ultimately both of us are absolutely free to wear whatever we want.

There are indeed controlling behaviors in what you describe-- she is willing to to make you the way she’d like to, or organize your life in a way that makes her feel safe. But since it’s all rooted in her personal fears, it is very unlikely that this behavior would have any limit. It isn’t rational and so even if you tried to resonate her and the situation, that is likely to never be enough, as long as she doesn’t work on her struggles. She interprets who you are and who you could be, how you feel and how you could feel, ignoring what you actually express, which gives almost no room to listen to you and understand you. It is similar to someone who is very jealous and controlling because of it: because they fear being cheated on, they will actually see this happening in any situation, which pushes the partner away… It becomes, somehow, a self-fulfilling prophecy, and their partner is always the problem, not their jealousy.

It’s really hard to communicate with someone who puts all the blame on the others and is absolutely not ready to hear that their struggles are at the core of the current issues. How you feel about this, could be something to express openly to her (if not already), although if she doesn’t listen, there may be energy lost for you there… I’m so sorry that this is happening, friend. You absolutely deserve respect, and it’s very unfortunate that she seems to be, somehow, in denial regarding what’s going on. This is about her ability to understand herself and face her fears, her ability to trust, but it’s absolutely not about you, what you would do, say or even what you would wear.

I actually believed her when she told me that she loved all of me, so shame on me for believing her lies.

This is absolutely not your fault. Not even a bit. We all want and need to be loved. And relationships are meant to evolve as we develop trust – we’re not the same person when we start to date. Little by little, we get to see more of the other person, to understand them more. You couldn’t guess, and you’re not guilty for being invested in a relationship. You know, it is possible that she genuinely believes that she loves you unconditionally – unfortunately, sometimes people don’t even see that they are still adding conditions to their love. They have a different definition of love – their intentions can be genuine, but the result is still damaging.

Again, there is no shame for you to carry. Trying to trust someone is not a fault. The problem lies in the fact that this trust can be betrayed in some situations. <3


Update! She broke up with me :upside_down_face: Ah well, on to bigger and better things. Thank you for the support everyone!


I’m sorry, Eric. This must feel very bittersweet, and I hope you’re okay.

Here if you need to vent or anything. You know where to message me. :hrtlegolove:


I’m so sorry, Eric. It must have been so hurtful for you to have heard the things that were said to you and have to now go through the difficulty of a breakup. I hope this time is a time of healing for you, to looking forward to having that mutual respect in future relationships. For feeling enough in who you are x


I hope this doesnt come across the wrong way, but Im glad she broke up with you.

After reading your original post, I could not believe the things she was saying. She was quite obviously taking her insecurities out on you and from the looks of it, actively pushing you away. I honestly cant think of any other reason someone would so vehemently insult how you dress with the main excuse being, Thats gay, dont wear that.

And for that matter, what she said about your sister. It sounds like your ex was extremely closed-minded and judgemental and I think you dodged a major bullet.

So yea, Im glad she broke up with you. You dont need that negativity in your life. No one does. Id be celebrating personally.

Edit - to answer the question, she wasnt right, she was abusive.


i have a unproven theory that 4-6 months into a relationship, people tend to start pushing boundaries and showing you who they really are, and testing to see what they can get away with.
Sounds like she was more interested in the idea of a relationship but not quite emotionally ready to be in one. Insulting how you dress like that makes it almost seem like she wanted to emotionally manipulate you to make you feel unsure about yourself and therefore dependent on her opinion to determine your value. A truly messy and abusive situation in the the making, if not already there.

You matter, and you are enough. Your way of dressing sounds cozy, comfy and fun. No-one should attack you for that, and NEVER make you feel insecure or “less than” because of it. You can change your clothes in one minute, but her intolerant and homophobic attitude and worldview can’t be changed so easily. It’s not our job to be our partner’s therapist, but we should also not be their offender.

I’m glad you’re free and out of that now. You deserve someone who makes you feel supported and who has your back. I always say, better to be single and happy than coupled and miserable. I know that you may still be feeling some residual feelings from the breakup, please be gentle with yourself. You’ve loved.


I know this has been answered thoroughly, and the relationship issue seems to have resolved itself, but I wanted to add my two cents.

What you’re describing sounds very similar to my first relationship. She criticized my music, my taste in TV and movies, my family, how much I did or didn’t read, my faith, my high school extracurriculars…on and on. We were together for 5 years with that dynamic, and I’m only now acknowledging the lasting effects it had on me.

She said she loved me, was the first to say it in fact. To this day, I believe she did love me, but didn’t love parts of me. The whole was greater than the sum of the parts. I didn’t actively change myself to please her, I resented her criticisms, but over time she wore into me, and there were intervals where I realized that I had gradually changed. I gave a lot of myself away in the name of love. I compromised a lot, because compromise is good in a relationship, right? I had to learn the hard way that compromising myself was not the same as compromising on disagreements.

The difference between you now and me then is you’re 31 and I was 19 when our relationships started. You are much more self assured, and so is she, which is why you were comfortable expressing your concerns and why she broke up with you. As for us, we knew we were toxic, but we became adults together and didn’t have the perspective or foresight to embrace that there were better matches out there for each of us.

I guess this turned into more of a journal entry for me, but TL:DR, you dodged a bullet by not getting further entangled with someone who wanted to cut bits of you away. It may hurt now, but you’ve come away with your dignity and individuality intact.

As an aside, as a fellow straight man, the clothing you described doesn’t sound “gay” to me. It sounds like a style that’s different from button-down shirts and perfectly cut hair. If I passed you in public, nothing about those outfits would scream “gay” to me. Quite the opposite actually. Keep dressing how you want. Haters gonna hate hate hate hate…yeah.


Yeah she is very verbally abusive from what I can tell and the way you live your life is not her concern tell her that you won’t let her push you around anymore my advise is to give her another chance to correct her actions and if she doesn’t then I know it’s painful but break up with her hopefully this advise helps tell me if it doesn’t

1 Like

You are not wrong, to feel the way you feel. I think that in the light of how unfair she treated you, a normal human response would be to be deeply hurt and feel betrayed…
I think you are correct that it seems she is projecting some of her traumas, or insecurities onto you in a way that tried flipping it and makes herself to be the victim, even at the end of what you said about how she texted you saying she needed space cuz of childhood trauma etc. Making herself again, the victim in this situation after she said those really hurtful things.
It sounds from what you explained, that she needs therapy/counseling to help resolve the extreme insecurities she brought up, which will eventually reach the root of what is truly hurt in her, or else it seems this is bound to happen again.
You are not doing anything wrong Bro, and you feeling the way you feel is definitely not wrong at all.
Im not going to give advice, but was merely explaining what I understood unbaised from what you wrote.
I would say to listen to the feelings and decipher if you really want to have a possibility of her doing this again.
Much love,