If you suspect that something is just not right in your relationship, your first challenge is to wake yourself up and take an honest look at your situation. Maybe you’ve been on “cruise control” for years in your relationship. Maybe the relationship with your partner has deteriorated over time and you long for the good times you once enjoyed with him or her.

We hear about and talk to so many people who have finally had enough mistreatment from their abusive partners after ten, twenty, even thirty years. What keeps people in these horrible situations so long?

Whatever the details of your circumstances, perhaps you’re ready to acknowledge that your situation has become intolerable. This acknowledgement is the same as the first step in twelve-step programs, like Alcoholics Anonymous, where recovery begins when someone admits they have a problem that has become unmanageable.

Life would be so much easier if abusers announced themselves on the first date. But that’s not how they work. It’s like “the frog in the pot.” If you drop a frog in a boiling pot of water, he’ll leap out. But, if you put him in cool water and slowly turn up the heat, he may just allow himself to be boiled (no, we have not tried this!)

Abusers often seem too good to be true in the