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Hello, I'm new here and in desperate need of some support. This is going to be a really long post, because I have a really long story. No one I know seems to understand what I'm going through. I'm told that everything that is happening is all [B]my[/B] fault because I'm having a really hard time leaving a harmful/hurtful relationship.

I've been with my boyfriend for 2 1/2 years. I'm 19, and he's 20. When we first got together, I loved to go out and party and so did he. We had a great time together, even if it was just us. We fell in love quick, and he moved in with me (I had my own place at 17) almost right away. We were always together and he became my world. But a short while after turning 18, I decided that I was ready to grow up. I stopped partying, stopped hanging out with our "loser" friends, and started trying to build a life for myself. I guess I expected my boyfriend to move right along that road with me. Of course that's not how it happened.

We started fighting really bad when he'd want to go out every night, and when he'd come home all jacked up on cocaine. He'd get violent, especially when he was drunk, and though he never hit me, he'd put me in head locks, choke me, hold me down, lock me in rooms... there were times when I was scared he was really going to hurt me. It got so bad.. I would have panic attacks. But I could never really believe any of it was happening... this wasn't the person I fell in love with. He'd get me back every time because he'd promise to change and that things would get better. He would cry and tell me that he loved me and that he didn't know what came over him when he'd get so mad... and for awhile, we'd be in love again... everything was ok again until the next weekend.

Here's where it gets complicated. He eventually DID change. He hasn't been violent towards me for about a year. He's learned to manage his temper, and isn't so quick to get mad. This has really amazed me... and this is what drives me to stay with him now, thinking eventually EVERYTHING else will work out.

In October of last year, he cheated on me. He says he doesn't know why he did it, and that he "hates himself for it." I figured that he was at least honest about it, and I could see that it did hurt him. Like an idiot, I took him back about a month later, even after he said he'd been with 2 other women while we were broken up. At that point, I didn't know how to live without him. Being with him hurt, knowing what he had done, but being without him seemed worse. As far as I know (but I think about it and accuse him all the time), he hasn't cheated on me since.

He still does coke. He's addicted. There are times when he'll blow me off, lie to me, disrespect me and my house by bringing it here, steal money from his family, sell his possessions, and dissapear for days because he goes on binges. When he comes down four days later, he cries and says he hates the drug and really wants to quit, but he just can't. He even attempted suicide once because he "hated himself for hurting me." Of course every time this happens I break up with him, or tell him that I wont take him back unless he goes to rehab. Everytime he promises he will, but usually about 2 weeks later, he's done nothing and is back to being a jerk.

He doesn't have a job, and has always had a very hard time holding one down. He says he gets depressed and unhappy with himself when he isn't working, and blames that for all our problems. When he does work, and when everything else in life is going ok, then our relationship can be wonderful. He treats me like a queen.. makes me smile and is always there for me. Until, of course, something bad happens and he lets everything get messed up again.

He never keeps promises. I can count dozens of promises he's made that he hasn't kept. He makes me look stupid in front of people, he'd rather go out and drink than support me when I've had a bad day, he never talks about anything anymore, especially not our problems, and he doesn't like hearing about mine. He does nothing to gain any trust from me, and I feel like I have to babysit him all the time just to keep him out of trouble. I hate smothering him, but I feel like there's nothing else I can do. I can't handle sitting up all night, waiting for him to come home, and worrying about what he's done or if he'll end up in jail. Wondering when he'll screw me over next, or if he even really loves me at all.

I realize that I can't do this anymore. I quit my job and quit college for this semester because of all of this. It's like I'm letting this ruin my life, and my whole reason for living is just to help him and try to save our relationship. I find myself in tears at least 3 or 4 times a week, and my social life and health have really suffered too. I see all of this and I wonder why in the hell I keep putting up with it... how I let him do all of this to me.... how I can do this to myself. I know I would be better off without him and all of this pain, and yet I can't bring myself to let go. I'm afraid to be alone, afraid I wont find someone as physically attractive as him (our sex life has never suffered), and I still love the good person inside of him that I know he can be. I keep thinking that he'll change, because he's done it before. I want more than anything for all this effort to amount to something, yet at the same time, I just want to be free from all of this.

Every time I break up with him, I'm strong for a day or two, determined to move on, and then I cave. He says over and over again that he loves me more than anything, and he doesn't know why he hurts me or why he can't just put in the effort to make himself happy, and then try to fix our relationship. Last night he left instead of working out a fight we had the day before. When I talked to him today, he said that he wants a break, but he loves me and wishes we could make things work. He said he doesn't know why this is happening, or why he hurts me. He said he can't handle the stress right now either. I told him that it was over.. that I can't and wont put up with this anymore. This time I'm more determined than ever, but I'm afraid that he'll be back in a day or two, and that I'll give in again.

Can someone please tell me why I keep letting myself go through this? Why he wont make any attempts to make things better? Why he drills it into my head that he loves me and wants to get better? Why it's so hard to let go of someone who is ruining my life? How to move on? I know I have to... I know I have to take care of myself first... I know I don't want this anymore... believe me, I know. But my own heart is betraying me. No one understands, especially not me.

Thanks for your time,

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