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Can he refuse to let me break up with him?

I'm 16 and I've been with my boyfriend for over a year now and things have taken a turn for the bad and i really feel like a can't be with him anymore. When it's good it's good but when it's bad it's angry and violent. He has genuine anger issues, lies so often i can hardly ttrust him anymore and he is VERY possessive and jealous; although I have caught him texting other girls in 'that way' before. He constantly talks about how much he loves me and how he can really see a future with me but i dont want this kind of relationship in my life anymore as i feel its really taking it's toll on me emotionally.

I've tried breaking up with him before for the same reasons but he talked me out of it and stopped me from doing it, and now everytime i try to bring up the subject he tells me that a relationship is a "two way thing", which i do agree with (in terms of decition making during the relationship e.c.t) but i dont understand how i can break up with him when he will never let me.

can he do this? Am I being unfair by thinking breaking up doesnt have to be a mutual decision?

P.S. We are both doing exams so everything is feulled by stress and arguments but I feel like this needs to happen.

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thank you for your letter and well done for writing in to get some support.

It sounds like you find things really difficult with your boyfriend at times and it must be quite scary for you when he is angry and violent. It’s not okay for him to be this way towards you. Some of the things you have mentioned that he does can be classed as relationship abuse. This happens when someone you are in a relationship with makes you feel scared, humiliated, isolated or forced into doing things you don’t want to.

You say that you feel like the relationship is taking its toll on you emotionally and that you can’t be with him anymore. That sounds like it must be really upsetting and a difficult decision that you have come to over time. It sounds like exam stress might be adding to the pressure on your relationship. It also seems like there are other things that have been getting you down about his behaviour that aren’t linked to exams.

Healthy relationships should involve trust and feel supportive, with those involved feeling cared for and good about themselves. You may want to look at our page on relationships.

You ask about whether he can stop you from breaking up with him and the answer is no, he can’t stop you. You have a right to decide whether or not you want to be in a relationship with someone or not. You’ve said that he says that a relationship is a two-way thing. That’s right in that you both have a choice about how things are in the relationship and if you both want to continue being in that relationship. If either of you are unhappy you have the right to walk away.

I can hear that you’re worried about how you’re going to be able to break up with him when he doesn’t seem to let you. If you decide that you don’t want to be with him and he keeps wanting to do relationship type things with you, or even want to spend time with you and you don’t want to, then you can say no. It is your right to do so. You can also tell him you don’t want to see or hear from him and he should respect that.

If he becomes angry or violent towards you or tries to put pressure on you to stay with him when you don’t want to, you have a right to speak to an adult about that. If you feel in danger you can call 999 for the police.

If you’d like to talk through some more about how you’re feeling about the relationship, the options that you have and how you could break up with him then you’re always welcome to speak to a ChildLine Counsellor. You can do this by calling 0800 1111 (all calls are free and don’t show up on the bill), by sending an email or by having a 1-2-1 chat.

Take care,

Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

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