What to do about cutting

lettersdontfade asks: I’m in love (I think I am) with a guy that works outside of my country. He used to work in city I live in, but he’s taking a risk (because it’s his dream job to work outside of my country) and works there. It’s been 4 months since I’ve seen him. I can’t call him my boyfriend, because he’s obviously not. He’s got a girlfriend here, in this country. But before everything we’ve been through, he said that he and his girlfriend haven’t talked since he left. A couple months before, he asked me for a nude picture, which I refused to give him, and he said that he’s proud of me because I didn’t want to gave him the pictures. Later that evening, he asked me one more time and I said no – and he got mad at me. He doesn’t show his disappointment, but I can feel through the text he sent me. Then, I sent him the pictures, and gave his picture (but not nudes) and it lasted for like 1 or two months. Just so you know, we argue a lot, but it only lasts for a couple of hours and then we’re okay with it. And one more thing that you should know, he hates it when I leave him (“leave” meaning when I don’t tell him that I fell asleep, or if I’m doing something and it takes a lot of time to reply his text. Anyway, a few weeks ago, I got into a fight with him because I “left” him. I tried to call him and explain, but he refused it. I was so angry and I said, “oh maybe you had a lot of chicks beside you so you didn’t give a damn about me,” and he’s angry about it too and then we didn’t talk for six days because the wifi didn’t work on my phone. On day six, I fixed my phone so that the wifi could work, and then I received his text saying that he missed me. I talked to my friend about this and asked for her opinions, and she said not to answer it till later. About one hour later, I answered it, and then we’re like getting back together, and I was trying to push all of my feelings down so that I’ll be okay if he leaves. And I think that was the first day I cut myself. Until now, we haven’t argued, and we haven’t sent any nudes to each other. All of my friends say that I should leave him because he’s only taken advantage of me, but I still love him so I couldn’t do that. Yesterday, I got really mad at him because he wasn’t paying any attention to me, just like before. I asked him this afternoon if he want to text or not, and he said “idk,” so I decided to leave him (saying “you might want to be alone for awhile, and we can chat later”). Then about five hours later I hadn’t gotten any text messages from him, so I decided to text him. He didn’t reply for a long time. Once he replied, I asked him why he’d taken so long, and he said “idk.” I don’t know why he’s acting like this. Do you think that he’s taking advantage of me? He said he loved me, but why is he doing this? His best friend told me that he once cheated on his girlfriend, and I instantly burst into tears. I really want to believe in him. I really want to make this work somehow. I’m too in love with him. Do you have any suggestions of how I can stop thinking of him so much? If I could just delete all of my feelings toward him I would!

Hi lettersdontfade –



Okay, I’m going to give you two answers.  The second is in response to about 99% of your letter.  And it’s important, but not nearly as important as the first one.


The first one is about cutting.


I know you’re in a lot of pain, and I know that cutting can help with that, in the short term.  But let me say with every doggy fiber in me – you need to stop doing it.  Now.

Many people – most often teenagers – find that they get a pleasurable sensation from cutting their skin.  Usually it happens because they are depressed and feel numb in their lives, so there’s a good feeling from the pain of the cuts.  It’s like how good it feels to scratch an itch – where you’re actually causing yourself more pain in a sense, but it gives you pleasure –magnified.  And we dogs know how good scratching an itch feels!  We do it all the time!

But, the difference between cutting and scratching an itch is that cutting is extremely dangerous.  Even potentially lethal.

In order to stop cutting, there are much safer techniques one can use to get similar feelings.  Some people put rubber bands on their wrists, and snap them.  Others do the cutting motion, but with the edges of ice cubes, so they get the feel without the actual body damage.

And that is the main point here, lettersdontfade – you are damaging yourself.  You are causing yourself pain, injury, likely scarring, and possible infection… or of course worse.  The most important thing you have to do, as I said before, is to stop it now.

Cutting is not something happy centered people do.  It is a cry for help, a sign of something awful going on inside them.  And you’ve done absolutely the right thing by responding to that cry by contacting me.

The next thing to do, though, is harder.  You have to talk with someone about this – a  counselor at school, a therapist, a doctor.  If asking for one sounds too scary, you could go to someone at your school and tell them that you need to talk to someone confidentially about something a friend of yours is going through, and they should have someone to recommend to you.  If even that doesn’t work, write me back and tell me what area you live in (I won’t post it on the website), and I’ll see if I can find any referrals for you there.

You will, I promise, get over whatever awfulness you’re feeling about this relationship.  I just want to make sure you get over the cutting too.


Okay, now about that relationship.  The important issue here is that you’re thinking all the time about what he wants, what he’s doing, who he’s with, what his character is – all that.  What you’re not thinking about is YOU.  What do you need?  How do you think you should be treated?  I’m sure you know the Golden Rule, of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  Well, imagine this was a different person, and you were looking at them.  Would you think they should stay in this relationship?

I’m guessing you’d say no.  And that doesn’t mean that I’m ignoring how much you’re in love.  In fact, that’s the biggest issue here!  Your being so in love with this guy is what’s making this all so painful!  And right now, I don’t see that you’re getting one single good thing out of this relationship with him!

He’s not taking you out, he’s not supporting you in what you’re doing, he’s not holding your hand, he’s not kissing you, he’s not doing anything but staying in touch with you, and, frankly, kind of keeping control of you.

Now of course, no one’s perfect, and relationships are hard.  But I have to say, lettersdontfade, this guy sounds to me like a big bunch of NOTHING!  You know, no one is more loyal and loving than a dog, but if one of us is with a human who treats them too badly all the time, even we will leave.

The big truth here, lettersdontfade, is that the worst thing that could happen would be if you stayed with this guy, and things actually got worse.  I really think you’d be better off leaving him, and looking for someone else who’d treat you better.

And hey, being alone would be better than this.  You still wouldn’t get his attention, calls, or texts.  But it wouldn’t hurt as much because you weren’t trying for them.  Plus you also wouldn’t get blamed, accused, or (possibly) cheated on!

Now it’s possible, just possible, that he could change.  But right now, you’re not giving him any reason to do so.  If you leave, he may suddenly start to miss you, and realize how much he values you.  I know you tried, but I mean to really do it.  For a long time.  And then he might start to treat you better, to win you back.

If he does, then great, maybe you’ll feel like reconnecting with him.  But it’ll be up to you.  And if he doesn’t, then you’ll know you made the right choice.

I know you really love him and want to make this work.  But I don’t want you to be consigned to a miserable life of being mistreated.  So please at least think about breaking up with him.

The simplest way I can put it is:  if you’re a member of my Pack, I believe you deserve to be treated well.  I just want you to feel as deserving as I think you are!

So that means two things.  Second, to at least think about moving on and getting a better life.  But first – so much more important and urgent – is to stop the cutting and get someone you can talk with about it.  This one, truly, could be a matter of life and death.

And please let me know how things go.  Okay?


All my best,



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