I Feel Horrible That I Hit My Boyfriend... How To Move Forward After, "I Hit My Boyfriend."

By: Robert Porter

Updated November 11, 2021

Medically Reviewed By: Wendy Galyen, LCSW, BC-TMH

Content/Trigger Warning: Please be advised that the article below mentions trauma-related topics that include sexual assault & violence, which could potentially trigger survivors of abuse.

If you are coming to this article thinking, "I feel horrible that I hit my boyfriend," you are in the right place. Using physical violence or engaging in domestic violence against your partner is never okay and should be put to a stop as soon as it's recognized. Domestic violence refers to relationship abuse marked by coercion, force, or attempting to gain control over one's partner. It can be physical, sexual, emotional, verbal, economic, or psychological and involves threats or specific actions taken against another person.

If you realize your mistake in hitting your boyfriend, you're not someone who can't be helped, and you are not a lost cause. Having these feelings means you recognize that this behavior was not the right way to treat your significant other. Maybe this is the first time this has happened, and you're ashamed of your behavior; the good news is that you can change your actions so that they never happen again in the future. Sometimes people act without thinking and end up hitting their boyfriend in a lapse of judgment and reason. Still, remember that there is never any excuse for violence against an innocent person. Several things could happen moving forward after the incident. Your boyfriend might forgive you after talking it out and want to keep the relationship going. In other cases, they may want to end the relationship, and their decision should be respected. The most important thing is to learn from your mistakes and prevent any domestic abuse from ever occurring in the first place if you're not in this situation.

It is much better never to have to cope with domestic abuse than to learn how to recover from it once it's already happened. Whether you hit your boyfriend and feel bad or have questions about domestic abuse, this information is for you. 

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Why Did I Hit My Boyfriend?

1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced domestic violence by a partner during their lifetime. Although domestic violence is commonly associated with men hitting women, these statistics show that it affects everyone. No matter your class, race, or gender, domestic violence can affect you, whether directly or indirectly.

Part of dealing with the issue of hitting your boyfriend is assessing your behavior to be better in the future. You need to figure out what caused you to hit them and why you thought your best choice was to resort to domestic violence.

Although there aren't excuses for domestic violence, you should still analyze your actions and mental state. Did you feel scared? Were you upset? Do you struggle with anger management? Ask yourself these questions and think thoughtfully about your answers. Of course, there's no way to justify domestic violence, but if you find yourself making excuses for your behavior, you should also try to analyze why that is.

Domestic violence is a serious issue, and if you can't recognize why you decided to abuse someone physically, it'll be harder to improve your behavior. From anger management classes to possible therapy, there are many ways to improve (so long as you recognize why you're having problems in the first place).

It still counts as physical abuse or domestic violence when you slap your boyfriend when you're angry. Although it can seem small, even a little slap can create legal and emotional issues in any relationship. Consider also that slapping someone instead of talking things out is a sign of communication issues in the partnership. Once that is affected, it can spill over into all other areas of the relationship. Communication is key; violence should never be a substitute for expressing your feelings and working things out calmly and rationally.

Violence should never be part of a relationship because of the degree of toxicity that it brings to the table. It can also be a slippery slope; one act of violence in your relationship may lead to more cases and acts of violence, with both partners possibly engaging in the behavior in increasing amounts. The more violence is normalized and used instead of talking; the more likely couples are to turn to it whenever there's a conflict or fight. Getting to the root cause of the issue and dealing with that primarily is important.

I Hit My Boyfriend, Now What Do I Do?

"I hit my boyfriend. What do I do now?"

First, you recognize the issue. You have already taken the right step by recognizing your error because this is the only way to make a change in your life. You cannot fix a problem that you don't know exists or that you won't acknowledge is there. You might even be considering signing up for anger management courses or reaching out to online couples' counselors.

Now you need to discuss things with your boyfriend to show him that you know what you did was wrong, and the biggest regret of what you did was hitting him in the process. Domestic violence is never okay, even if you say to yourself, "I hit my boyfriend, I want to change." If you're not making the change, then you'll continue to hurt them. The steps listed below are not guaranteed to make your boyfriend forgive you or stay with you, but they provide the best chance for continuing a healthy relationship.

Apologize

You want to try and make things right with your boyfriend by apologizing to them as soon as you can. Domestic violence can be very hurtful, so apologize right away. You need to make sure that the apology comes from your heart. Giving a sincere apology is the number one priority after hitting your boyfriend. Since you know your boyfriend well, you should know the best way to tender an apology.

Saying "I hit my boyfriend" to yourself is a good way to recognize the problem, but if you're not telling him directly, you won't fix it. He needs to hear the words and know that you don't think violence against him was the right thing to do. Expressing how sorry you are is the first step toward healing.

If you have trouble making an apology, you may need to take some time out to consider the effect and impact of your actions. Doing this may require you to put yourself in their shoes so that you can see the situation from a more empathetic perspective.

Forgive Yourself

After recognizing that you have done something bad or hurtful, try forgiving yourself. Please note that this doesn't mean that you will not be remorseful; it simply means that you're not going to let it bring you down. Shame can be a result of not forgiving yourself and can be very harmful to a person. You must know how to move past your own mistakes, big or small, and commit to getting on a better path. Those who cannot forgive themselves can end up struggling with things like substance use disorder, eating disorders, and even suicide attempts. We all make mistakes; it's part of being human. Those mistakes do not have to define you as long as you own up to your problems, make amends, and are determined to change your behaviors so that no one else gets harmed in the future (including yourself)

If you or a loved one are experiencing suicidal thoughts, reach out for help immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255 and is available to assist 24/7.

Commit to Not Being Violent Ever Again

You can promise your boyfriend that you won't hit him again if that promise feels right for you and him. But even more important than stating a promise is to commit to yourself that you will not hit him again. Promises can be broken if the one making them hasn't made the goal a personal mission. Doing this may require that you carefully draw out a plan. Also, you may need to consult a therapist or mentor to support you and hold you accountable for your new goals.


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Be Aware of Emotions and Violent Urges

Being aware of your emotional state and feelings will be helpful as you navigate what brought you to engage in domestic violence. What emotions did you feel when you were about to hit your boyfriend? What physical sensations did you feel in your body?  How did you feel after? Do you think you'd recognize it if you got to that point again? If you can figure out the mindset that got you to a violent point in the first place, you'll be more equipped to keep yourself from getting to that point again in the future. The next time you get angry or upset with your boyfriend, pay attention to whether your feelings are going back to that place and remove yourself from the situation before you lose control.

Something that could be helpful is learning tools for anger management and emotional regulation. These could include things such as:

  • Structured deep-breathing practices
  • Meditation
  • Listening to music
  • Journaling
  • Seeing a therapist
  • Making a phone call to a friend or family member
  • Getting out into nature
  • Doing yoga
  • Exercising

Each person in a relationship is responsible for their own emotions. The better you recognize and control them, the more harmonious your relationship is likely to be. 

Preventing Further Violence

Once domestic violence occurs once, there's a good chance it will keep happening if you don't take steps to curb it. Stress can be a major cause of violence in a relationship. It's a good idea to find ways to relax and alleviate stress. Domestic violence sometimes has at the core of it a lack of communication or an inability to relax and get rid of that stress that's built up.

We often take out anger and violent urges on the people close to us when the real issues are other stressors in our lives. Taking care of yourself is the first step in a healthy relationship. It's also important to explore whether you are personally at a place to be in a serious relationship.

If the relationship can continue, work on communication skills with your partner. Acknowledging your error is a good sign that you are self-aware. Physical abuse of any kind is unacceptable, whether intentional or unintentional, whether perpetrated by a female or a male, whether it causes visible marks and psychological wounds. Even saying sorry is not enough to make up for an incident like this.

Usually, violence is not just a one-time occurrence. Domestic violence is a continuous stream of events where you hurt someone close to you over and over again. Everyone needs to recognize abuse when it happens and take steps to protect themselves and others from its harmful effects. This may require removing yourself from the situation or discontinuing contact with the abuser. If you need to do this, you should confide in someone to help you make a plan. Your safety and the safety of those around you are what matters most. Many people pretend the abuse isn't happening or keep the knowledge of the abuse to themselves. They might think they deserve the abuse or may make excuses for the abusive person's behavior. Sadly, abuse only escalates. Here are some examples of abuse that you should not tolerate:

  • Being threatened with bodily harm.
  • Being threatened with a weapon.
  • Being grabbed, pushed, dragged, tripped.
  • Having something being thrown at you.
  • Having your hair pulled.
  • Being scratched, slapped, punched, kicked, bitten, or pinched.
  • Being forced to have sex.
  • Being grabbed to prevent you from escaping.

Remember that anyone can be a survivor of domestic violence and that it's never okay under any circumstances. Although it can feel daunting to make an escape plan or experience the change of separating from an abuser, it will be worth it in the end. Everyone deserves a life free from violence. If you are the abuser in the relationship, you should distance yourself from the person you're abusing. If you cannot control your violence or angry tendencies, creating space between you and others is in everyone's best interest. Make sure to seek help for your behavior to transition into being a person who isn't a threat to other people.

A survey of high school students called the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey concluded that 1 in 8 girls and 1 in 13 boys reported physical violence when dating the year before the survey. In 2010, an adult (over 18 years of age) survey called the 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey found 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced rape, violence, and stalking by their intimate partner. Domestic violence affects all genders, classes, and races. 

Domestic violence against men is possible, and if you say "I hit my boyfriend" more than once, perhaps you should look at your toxic traits and see if you can get help for your domestic violence tendencies. Remember, you don't have to be male to be an abuser, and more and more domestic violence cases where the man is the one who is getting hurt are on the rise, which is both a problematic aspect but also good to hear about because many people don't realize that toxic behaviors aren't based in one gender.

Parents' lessons are fundamental to how children view themselves and others, how they demand to be treated, and how they treat others. The most important lessons are taught by example. If one parent abuses the other or engages in domestic violence, they teach their children that it is acceptable. Parents need to show compassion and empathy as children learn more from what they do than what they say. Parents need to be available to listen and take their children's comments seriously. This does not start when children are already in their teens and are dating; it begins when they are toddlers. Physical violence on the part of the parent or the child cannot be tolerated.

There have been many studies trying to find the correlation between abused children who become abusers in adulthood. In two studies done by Cathy Widom in 1992 and 1998, she found that 38% of abused or neglected children were later arrested as juveniles, and 53% of children who suffered physical abuse were more likely to be arrested as adults for violent crimes. Other studies have determined that there is a link between physical abuse in childhood and aggression in adulthood.

The first thing a person, male or female, should do when they want to act on their aggression or anger is get help. This should be done before they decide to act on their impulses. Talk to a teacher, a parent, or an adult whom you trust. Recognizing anger and how to control anger is discussed with students in elementary, junior high, and high school. Counseling is advised if you find that you have difficulty controlling your anger, harming yourself, or harming others.

Ways to Help Anger Issues

There are some positive things that you can do to help alleviate anger issues at home. You should consider meditation to calm yourself so that you won't feel the urge to act out violently moving forward. Exercising regularly and keeping a journal can also help to calm you down. These methods will work very well with therapy to maintain a calm demeanor, and you'll be a better girlfriend for your partner. Ultimately, this will also help you improve your relationship and communication overall.

Violence Is Never The Answer To Issues In Your Relationships
Learn to Effectively Manage Anger in Online Therapy Today
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Online Therapy

An increasing number of people are turning to online therapy to help them understand and control their anger issues, among other problems. Dedicated online therapists at BetterHelp will work with you whether you are experiencing domestic violence or are the perpetrator of violence in your relationship. If you're hitting your boyfriend and want to stop, therapy provides a nonjudgmental environment in which to grow. Therapy will be most effective when you genuinely want to change and stop abusing another person; you have to want it for yourself.

You can also rely on these professionals to assist you with other issues in your relationship, such as communication problems or intimacy issues. A study by the American Psychological Association shows that online therapy is a powerful tool in strengthening both individuals and couples alike. You can read the full study here: Marriage: A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Web-Based OurRelationship Program: Effects on Relationship and Individual Functioning.


You may read the full study here: Marriage: A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Web-Based OurRelationship Program: Effects on Relationship and Individual Functioning.

Online therapy is incredibly convenient, especially for those with busy day-to-day lives. You'll be able to get therapy without ever having to leave your home, and you can reach out at any time. You don't even have to worry about normal office hours. Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp counselors from people experiencing similar issues.

Counselor Reviews

"I've worked with Jamie for several months, and he's helped me with everything that life has thrown my way. Difficulty in work, my relationship, and other stresses that I've struggled to navigate by myself. He listens, and he helps. I always feel validated and supported. He gives me tools and perspectives that have made a big difference in my overall happiness."

"Alisha is great; she's helped me through this tough time in my life and with my anger issues. She understands me and knows how to make me feel better. She's great!"

Conclusion

It's a natural response to feel bad about hitting your boyfriend, but you can commit to becoming a better person. Domestic violence harms everyone involved and even has negative societal effects as well. Getting on a better path will benefit you and everyone around you. Working on any personal problems you're experiencing in life should also help keep you from being violent in the future. With the right tools, you will be able to enjoy a happier relationship moving forward. Take the first step today.

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