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“Does My Boyfriend Have an Anger Management Problem?”

I have been seeing “Ben” for 4 months. We were friends for about a year prior to starting a relationship and we really took the time to get to know each other and decide whether we wanted to make the jump to being more than friends. Typically, we get along great. Early on, I was surprised at how easy and comfortable it was to spend long periods of time together. We are very different people (backgrounds, interests, religion), but we both feel it’s a positive and that we have a lot to learn from each other.

However, I’m finding that I’m a bit concerned with how he handles his anger. I’ll admit that I’m a sensitive person, as well as overly analytical at times, so in short, I’d love an objective opinion. Recently, I invited him to a close friend’s boyfriend’s party, at which the boyfriend was showing some of his film/art work. I really had no idea what to expect as I’d only met him a handful of times since they’ve been together, and never had seen any of his work. Turns out that this presentation went on for an hour, and was really out there – loud music, flashing images, etc. I didn’t understand it, but I appreciated the hard work that was put into it and was happy to be there to support my friend’s boyfriend and their relationship. Unfortunately, I could see Ben progressively getting irritated throughout the presentation and at the end was fully in a rage. He was saying really rude things about the work (that I feel is fine to think, but keep in until after we left), that fortunately my friends (sitting around us) did not overhear. I politely asked him to save it until after we left. He then walked out of the party without saying goodbye to anyone (this was the first time he met these friends), and he didn’t speak to me on the way back to his place.

I apologized for putting him in the situation, sharing that I didn’t know what to expect. He swung open the doors at his place, with one almost hitting me in the face. He proceeded to take up most of the bed, not offer me clothes to sleep in and turned on the TV incredibly loud and passed out. I stayed because I hate leaving things in a bad place, and hoped that he would mellow out once he was at home. The next morning, he acted like nothing happened and went back to his normal affectionate self. I took the opportunity then to share that even if he is angry or exhausted, I’d like him to remember that I’m there (even if it’s just saying ‘good night’ in this type of situation), especially when I didn’t do anything to intentionally hurt him. He apologized and things have since been fine. But I’m concerned about how he’ll behave/treat me when there is something substantial (in my opinion) to be angry about. I mentioned this to him and he said that he doesn’t know how to answer that.

I care about him a lot and don’t want to write him off, however I want to conscious of the things I am looking for in a partner. Am I being overly concerned about this? — Rager’s Girlfriend

Playing devil’s advocate for a minute, I’m imagining a scenario where I might feel similarly uncomfortable at a friend of a friend’s party or performance or art exhibit. Say, if Drew brought me to a co-worker’s art show and it was filled with sexist, racist, or homophobic works, I’d definitely want to leave as soon as possible. I’d probably even leave without saying good-bye to the host. But would I treat Drew the way your boyfriend treated you? Hell, no. I’d give him the benefit of the doubt. I’d assume he had no idea what the content of the exhibit would be because if he had, he never would have dragged me to it. I’d feel sympathetic for him that he had to work with such an apparent bigot and I’d let him decide what kind of excuse to give the bigot for our quick departure. And then I’d let it be known I didn’t want to socialize or be friends with that bigot — a declaration I’d think would be expected — and drop it.

What I wouldn’t do is become inappropriately enraged and take out my anger on Drew. I wouldn’t try to make a scene at the exhibit or in any way embarrass Drew or myself. I wouldn’t act like a complete asshole back at home or “punish” Drew for something that was out of his control. And if I did do any of those things, I sure as shit wouldn’t wake up the next morning acting as if everything were honky-dory, as your boyfriend did.

But it isn’t even your boyfriend’s peculiar behavior that’s the most alarming here. It’s what he said when you expressed your concern about how he might treat you in the future if he had something substantial to be angry at you with. The correct answer to such a question would be to calm your fears and assure you that although he can’t promise to never be angry at you, he can promise to always treat you with respect and talk to you about what’s bothering him in a rational way. Instead he said, “I don’t know how to answer that.” What the hell kind of BS response that? It makes me think that he knows exactly what his answer is and he knows if he were to tell you the truth that he’d scare you away.

This man has definitely waved some bright red flags in your face. Proceed with caution. Don’t let this subject die. Talk to him again about the night of the party and how unsettling his behavior was. Tell him you saw a side of him you weren’t previously aware of and that it deeply concerned you. Let him know that you weren’t satisfied with his answer about how he may potentially handle his anger toward you in the future, and ask him to be honest about whether he has experienced an issue in the past with managing his anger. Pay attention to his answer and his reaction. If he replies with anger, that’s obviously a bad sign. If he opens up about issues he might have exhibited in the past or in previous relationships, then at least he’s aware he has a problem and that’s positive sign. If he’s aware of the problem, then maybe he’ll be open to seeking help for it (in the form of therapy). If he isn’t, then I would highly encourage you to reconsider this relationship and decide whether you really want to risk essentially being with a ticking time bomb. He came close to swinging a door in your face the last time he was pissed. What might he do the next time?

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter.


Comments on this entry are closed.

avatar Amanda September 9, 2011, 7:50 am

LW, this guy sounds a tad unstable from your description. As Wendy said, what might he do the next time he gets angry? What if he gets violent? After all, you haven’t been dating that long, so how well can you really know this guy? Even with the additional year of being friends, he could have hidden the darker parts of his personality from you. If he isn’t willing to address his anger problem, then I would recommend to MOA. No relationship is worth the constant fear of setting the other person off over something trivial and then dealing with their rage.

Dear Wendy Wendy September 9, 2011, 3:27 pm


avatar lk September 9, 2011, 8:18 am

LW, I dated someone similar… Trust me, you do not want to be around this person if he has been drinking or doing drugs or **actually has a reason to be angry** — if he can’t understand where you’re coming from & make a commitment to get help, MOA.

(& I get that he is wonderful the rest of the time. I get that you guys were friends. I get that you can’t imagine him ever hurting you on purpose. I get that you trust him………This person I dated was my best friend for 6 months before we dated. HE HURT ME. Accidentally, on purpose, whatever. Does it matter? It happened multiple times & it was *escalating*. I broke up with him over the phone & told him that there was no way I could ever feel comfortable having my hypothetical children around him. Do you need it to get to that point?)

avatar ReginaRey September 9, 2011, 8:24 am

I think what concerns me most about this was how YOU handled it, and the precedent you seem to be setting in this relationship. You said that: “I apologized for putting him in the situation, sharing that I didn’t know what to expect. He swung open the doors at his place, with one almost hitting me in the face. He proceeded to take up most of the bed, not offer me clothes to sleep in and turned on the TV incredibly loud and passed out. I stayed because I hate leaving things in a bad place.”

So you apologized for something that was out of your control, which was a kind thing to do, and he responded by swinging a door in your face? You then got in bed with him, after he didn’t offer your clothes or give you any room, and stayed there even though he proceeded to pretend you didn’t exist for the rest of the evening until he passed out?

If I were you, I would have been gone after I apologized. You’re setting a very bad precedent here – by staying, you’re telling him “It’s OK that you treat me like this, because I’m not going to go anywhere even if I don’t like how you treat me.” You’re setting yourself up for him to be the one with all the power, and for you to be the one who constantly apologizes whenever HE’S upset about ANYTHING, regardless of whether you had anything to do with it or not.

I’m not sure if you’ve ever been witness to any verbally abusive relationships, but they often go just like you described – the victim meekly apologizes for things outside of her control to “keep him calm” and to “not stir things up” and not “leave things in a bad place.” You don’t need to start down that road! You should have said, “I’m sorry you had a bad time and that I didn’t know what to expect, but I won’t tolerate your disrespect of me and my friends.” And then you should have left. You’ve shown him that you’re someone who can be walked on and who won’t stand up for herself and demand respect.

In the end, though, this is probably a red flag that won’t just disappear. If he exhibited his lack of respect and temper once, it probably wasn’t a fluke. I urge you to MOA the INSTANT you confirm that this is, in fact, a pattern of behavior. It’s not something you can change, and it’s not something you should try to “deal with.” You deserve respect and consideration like any human being.

avatar lk September 9, 2011, 8:29 am

Fully, fully, fully agree.

avatar Kerrycontrary September 9, 2011, 9:02 am

Right on ReginaRay. My college boyfriend was verbally/emotionally abusive and it was hid very well from our friends (so I was the crazy one!!). I had to go through stuff like this all the time. Ignoring as a form of punishment, getting blamed for things I had no cOntrol of, etc….

avatar ReginaRey September 9, 2011, 9:10 am

I’d also like to point out that she’s only been in this relationship for 4 months…I don’t think she’s invested enough AT ALL to try to stick around while he “works through his problems.” If you’re getting treated this way at 4 months, you really don’t have any reason to stay. And I PRAY she doesn’t try to “fix this.”

Skyblossom Skyblossom September 9, 2011, 10:04 am

At four months you should be in the blissfull everything is perfect stage.

avatar lets_be_honest September 9, 2011, 9:26 am

Regina, you raised so many good points. I hope LW sees your reply.
Also, Wendy’s devil’s advocate scenario is spot on.
LW, this will continue to happen. He has demonstrated a total lack of respect for you and you accepted it by doing what so many people in an abusive relationship do–allow it to happen, apologize, stay quiet and hope everything blows over. Realize how bad that actually was in hindsight and get away from this guy. I would say with 99% surety, it will only get worse.

avatar PFG-SCR September 9, 2011, 9:58 am

Yes, this is exactly what my thoughts were when I read the letter, as well. Honestly, if he’s the type of person that anger is so easily brought out like the situation with the birthday party, it’s likely to surface again soon, especially now that he’s seen how she caters to him when he’s mad.

While it’s hard to change someone’s temperment, he might benefit from techniques to manage his anger and frustrations, if he’d consider that. The question is whether she brings it up now (after this incident) or later (after another incident) – the problem with the latter approach is that if he crosses a line (physically aggressive directly _at_ her), any trust that she’s built up in the relationship will be gone.

avatar ReginaRey September 9, 2011, 10:06 am

My issue is that, at 4 months, you shouldn’t have to be working with your boyfriend on techniques to deal with his anger. As Skyblossom said, 4 months is supposed to still be the height of “blissful.” If you’re already “working” on your relationship after 4 months, it’s probably a big sign that it’s not the right relationship for you.

avatar demoiselle September 9, 2011, 10:11 am

Truer words have never been posted!

avatar PFG-SCR September 9, 2011, 10:42 am

I don’t think it’s _her_ responsibility to help him with his anger – that’s all on him. My point was about making the suggestion to him.

The more I think about this, I’m a bit torn on this whole thing because this behavior might just be his immaturity, not some red flag that he’s going to abuse her. She doesn’t say how old he is, but I know that it’s not uncommon for some people to “stomp around” when they are extremely frustrated. I can’t imagine this scenario alone would cause that, but since she knew him pretty well for a year prior to that, I’d think she’d have seen signs of this before now.

She needs to look at the big picture and see if there’s more to his personality to suggest that it’s a potential volatile situation that could result in him being emotionally and/or physically abusive to her, or if it’s his immaturity and self-centeredness.

Skyblossom Skyblossom September 9, 2011, 11:03 am

She shouldn’t have to tolerate this whether it’s abuse or immaturity or some mix of both. It’s unhealthy for her.

avatar cookiesandcream September 9, 2011, 11:11 am

I wish I could thumbs up this more. I think it’s very worrisome how she’s concerned about bringing up her boyfriend’s anger issues because she doesn’t know how he’ll respond. If you’re ever worried about that the other person will become abusive, it’s a sign that they will be abusive. Also, I think it’s weird how they knew each other for over a year now, and now the boyfriend is starting to act like this. It really makes me wonder how he’s behaved in previous situations and how he’s handled his anger issues in the past. I don’t think the boyfriend thinks he has a problem because he just brushed off all of the LW’s concerns with a “I don’t know how to answer that.” That just basically means, “If I answer honestly, you’re not going to like the answer and it’s going to make me look bad.”

avatar GertietheDino September 9, 2011, 8:49 am

Get out now honey. It’s only going to get worse.

avatar Maracuya September 9, 2011, 8:53 am

What–no, of course that’s not normal. It’s just an art exhibit!

avatar Kerrycontrary September 9, 2011, 8:59 am

Yeh…your boyfriend is a dick.

avatar silver_dragon_girl September 9, 2011, 9:01 am

Even setting aside the possibility of this behavior escalating to physical violence, this guy showed an amazing lack of maturity. He acted like a little kid- stormed off and hid in his room and gave you the silent treatment all night. Frankly, I can’t believe you hung around and let yourself be treated like that.

I think you should cut this guy loose. First, for the anger problem (he was mad way above and beyond what the situation called for). Second, for the horribly childish way he chose to handle it, and last because he doesn’t seem to think he did anything wrong. I’m going to take a wild guess and say his apology wasn’t genuine.

The last guy I dated was somewhat like this, and I let it go. He would get ridiculously angry over little disagreements, and though I never felt physically threatened, he often made me cry with yelling and childish behavior. I should have said goodbye after the first time; it would have saved me a lot of heartache in the end. People don’t often change that kind of behavior pattern without actual professional help.

avatar Angie September 10, 2011, 6:37 am

Oh yeah, I can relate to this, especially the last part of your comment. I had a relationship a couple years ago that I would call (to say the least) “emotionally destructive”, maybe borderline verbally/emotionally abusive. I say borderline because I would yell at him back (or cry), and I think we just brought out the worst in each other. Now that I look back, I feel like I was usually on the defensive. I remember fights in which he would be angry about something trivial and would act like a heinous ass, and somehow *I* would end up apologizing and trying to make things right. We fought so many times I can’t remember what all of it was about. I still feel dumb, because I should have seen the red flags WAAAY sooner, because from day 1, I was helping him through his issues, even before we dated (I could be a certified psychologist right NOW from all the BS I waded through with him). A few examples, if you’ll indulge me:

Red Flag 1: First, he convinced himself (when he was younger) that he had multiple personality disorder. I actually had a chat with this so-called “alter-ego”, but later on, when he let it slip that he remembered the conversation (people with the real disorder don’t remember when they “black out” and “become” someone else), I confronted him about it and he admitted it was just something he came up with to deal with earlier issues (um, crazy!). He left it behind, and we moved on.

Red Flag 2: He didn’t get along that great with his parents, and he shared with me (before or after a fight, I don’t remember) that the way his family got a point across was by yelling, so that was just “how he was raised”. Um… RED FLAG. Not to mention he was adopted, and an only child. Not that only children are horrible, but there are things that can be different than if you have siblings (social skills, for example), and being adopted (and not knowing your real parents) can come with some issues.

And… he was always really touchy when I would “cut him off” while he was talking. He would shut down or blow up. I wouldn’t do it intentionally or spitefully—sometimes I think of things and I have to blurt them out before I forget. Yes it’s not nice to cut someone off and I could focus more on my listening skills, but the reaction was WAY out of proportion. We would stay up till all hours of the night having an emotional fight about it, and he would do the exact same thing to me and cut ME off! Then we would say, “See, you just did it to me!” and the whole thing would go round in circles until we were dizzy and miserable. I screwed up my grades because I would be so exhausted from staying up late and fighting that I would be too tired and depressed to get up and go to class. I started taking anti-depressants after that whole relationship mess because of all the emotional scars it left, and dropped out of school for a semester to get my crap together. Now I’m going to school again, trying to raise my GPA and make things better… and enjoy my life again!

Red Flag 3: Most, if not all, of my friends and family never really liked him. My brother is usually good with first impressions, and he said that he got a “dark vibe” from him. My best guy friend M. thought (correctly) that he was a “douche”. My mom saw how miserable I was during our fights, when I would come home from college for the weekends (to do laundry mostly) and be confused, angry, and in tears. My friend K. warned me that he was still just a “baby” (as in, immature and self-centered).

Big red flag 3: He “confessed” to me that he had killed someone when he was younger. What?? I told my mom about this and we were both freaking out, wondering what we should do legally. Eventually, he couldn’t take it anymore and confessed to me that he LIED. About killing someone. Why would you even make up a story like that? To make your life seem more interesting? And this was early on… why in the heck did I stay with him?

Now that I think about it, I don’t think there ever was a “blissful” time with him. Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of good moments. Looking back though, none of it ever felt quite right deep down.

One time, we were fighting about something in front of my dorm building late at night… I was sitting on the stairs, already sobbing, yet here he was, standing up, pointing his finger in my face and yelling, “You don’t know a GODDAMN thing about [whatever]!!!” My RA actually came out and said, “Sir, you need to leave”. He said, “FINE!” and stomped off (his dorm building was right next to mine so we spent WAY too much time together… never a good sign when you spend all your time with him and hardly any with your friends).

OH, another good one (sorry this comment is so long, just wanted to illustrate). We were in the mall together one time, browsing around, and we were looking at candles (those heavy Yankee candles). A saleslady walked by as he was holding a heavy glass candle and greeted us, and I innocuously said to him, “Oh, don’t drop it..” After she left, he got all mad at me, saying some crap about how I don’t “trust him” or whatever. It escalated into this big, emotional, ridiculous thing, and he blew up.. I think a little while later he actually stomped back to campus by himself. Oy…

Another one (I swear it’s the last): One time, he lost his wallet, and he started freaking out, worrying someone could have stolen it and all that. His glasses were also broken leaving him unable to drive, so I drove him to the bank to see what we could do to protect his accounts. We sat in the parking lot, and I tried to give him some constructive ideas/advice on what we could do, and tried to help him remember where he had left it (he would get rudely insistent that he DIDN’T leave it at this place). For some reason, he blew up at me and said stuff like “You don’t know everything! You’re not God!!” or some jibberish, we yelled at each other, he got out of the car, slammed the door, and started walking back to campus. Normally, I would run after him like an idiot and try to finish talking things through because I hated leaving things unresolved. We often made ‘scenes’ on campus because he’d be yelling and I’d be crying, running after him trying to talk to him, and he’d be pushing me away. I didn’t have enough sense to just walk away and let things cool down (or walk away altogether!). But this time, I drove off, and just rode around for a while, trying to blow off some steam. For some reason, I decided to drive out to his workplace and see if his wallet was there. His coworkers said they’d keep an eye out for it. I drove around a little more, and stopped at the mall. Now he was sending me nasty, hurtful text messages. I was pissed. I texted him back and said something like, “If you have something to say to me, say it to my face. I was trying to HELP you, I don’t deserve to be treated like this!” For some other dumb reason, I stopped by the Dollar Tree and bought him a cheap glasses repair kit (why am I buying stuff for this jackass??). I returned to campus. Later, he finally came back to meet me with his tail between his legs. Guess where his wallet was? That’s right, at work, where he insisted it couldn’t be. He apologized, and we talked for a while. I later told my brother about that, and he said, “It better have been a DAMN good apology”.

LW, I say all of that to say this: If you stay with this immature, explosive guy who blows up at the stupidest, most trivial things, then he will blow up about the more important stuff… and you will be dealing with things similar to what I described above. Despite what I described, it wasn’t completely hellish from the beginning. We liked talking to each other, I thought I had found someone interesting and similar to myself. He was supportive and held me when I cried, he taught me a lot of practical things, he bought me thoughtful gifts, helped me through school. Then bad things just started to slowly rear their ugly heads. He hit objects when he was angry (and he made me so angry that I hit things; as comedian Christopher Titus says, “Crazy makes you crazy”. By the way, you should check out his “Love is Evol” special). There were warning signs in the beginning, I just didn’t let myself see them as such. Learn from someone else’s year-and-a-half mistake. Save yourself the misery and the needless drama. Find someone that can be a mature, respectful man and treat you like a woman.

avatar PondLily September 9, 2011, 9:02 am

You say that you want to be conscious of the things you are looking for in a relationship. And a relationship consists of all of its parts, not just the good ones. Is being afraid your boyfriend might someday snap because of an unforeseen reason something you can deal with? Do you really want to?

I understand Wendy’s point about being offended by potentially racist or sexist artwork, but you don’t mention anything about your friend’s boyfriend’s work being anything besides “out there,” i.e. not your taste. In a situation like that, most people can, as you politely did, suck it up for an hour and then appreciate the effort if not the end result. To me, that doesn’t warrant becoming increasingly enraged to the point of rudeness and aggression. I would be concerned that if your boyfriend is not able to handle himself in public situations with grace and maturity, how is he going to handle actual stressful situations when it is just the two of you? He has already demonstrated a lack of respect and awareness for your well-being just because he was put in a situation he didn’t like. It wasn’t your fault, you did absolutely nothing wrong. Don’t give him the opportunity to act out his displeasure if you ever do make a mistake (we all do). I can guarantee it won’t end well. And there is nothing worse than walking on eggshells around someone, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

avatar lets_be_honest September 9, 2011, 9:30 am

How humiliating for the LW. First time she introduces her new bf to friends this is how he behaves. I hope she MOAs and this doesn’t become a cycle.

avatar demoiselle September 9, 2011, 10:06 am

I’m sure that humiliating the LW in front of her friends was part of the reason for his behavior.

avatar TMSC September 9, 2011, 10:33 am

Yes, it can be very humiliating. I was dating someone years ago and the first time we all went out with my friends he got angry and verbally abusive. I was mortified and embarrassed…luckily my friends thought HE was the jerk, and were pleased as punch when things didn’t work out between us. LW-please pay attention to this incident, and don’t let it get to a point where you are the one constantly making exceptions and apologies for HIS behavior. A good partner would never have made you feel this way in the first place.

avatar artsygirl September 9, 2011, 9:08 am

Your BF pulled a toddler. He had a temper tantrum and then sulked afterward when he didn’t get his way. All that was missing from his performance was to throw himself kicking and screaming on the ground. His whole demeanor was manipulative – he was intentionally saying rude things in the hopes that you would get uncomfortable and want to leave. When you didn’t give in he stomped out and gave you the silent treatment until the next morning. Are you sure you want to be with this person? He sounds like he has a lot of growing up to do.

avatar Flake September 9, 2011, 9:34 am

That’s pretty offensive to toddlers … :)

avatar lets_be_honest September 9, 2011, 9:32 am

PondLily mentioned this and thought it should be reiterated…
There is nothing worse than walking on eggshells around someone, waiting for the other shoe to drop.
LW, you already did this once, in your short 4 months together. Won’t you be worried every time you invite him to something? Every time anything annoys him? You don’t want that.

avatar amber September 9, 2011, 9:49 am

I completely agree, it’s never fun to be so worried about how someone is going to react that you tiptoe through life. I did’t have a boyfriend like that but I did have a roommate who I had to act that way around. I was so relieved when I got to move out. I can’t imagine that person being my significant other.

Definitely time to MOA. And like Wendy said his answer to your question is most alarming. He’s not sure what his reaction will be? Not good.

avatar lexington September 9, 2011, 9:49 am

“Does My Boyfriend Have an Anger Management Problem?

No. He has a selfish, immature asshole problem. One you can easily be rid of by MOAing.

avatar demoiselle September 9, 2011, 10:07 am

No, he’s got an abuser-testing-his-new-victim problem. And it will only get worse.

avatar lexington September 9, 2011, 11:16 am

This is very possible, but it doesn’t negate my opinion either. Unless abusers are nice and mature people, in which case, my bad.

avatar demoiselle September 9, 2011, 11:24 am

You’re right, both can be true at once. :-)

I perceive that I’ll have to phrase myself carefully right now. I tend to be attracted by pretty sounding phrases (responding to “No. He has a selfish . . .” with “No, he’s got a . . .” because of its parallel structure which sounds nice to me, without realizing that it sounds disagreeable on my part). Things like that don’t always translate well over the internet, where tone of voice is lost.

avatar ktfran September 9, 2011, 9:56 am


I too can be very sensitive. In this situation, you are not acting sensitive in the least.

He is manipulating you. He knows what kind of person you are – I think it sounds kind and caring and maybe more of a giver than a taker – and he’s taking that and using it against you.

Even if he isn’t physically hurting you or yelling at you, what he’s doing is mentally abusive. Believe me. I know what it looks like. It took me over a year to figure it out, but I did.

Maybe after one time it’s too soon to tell and mabye I’m projecting my past experience a little bit . . . but I honestly believe that kind of treatment is a red flag. Know or learn what is ok with you and move on if you’re not getting it. Always wondering when the next ball will drop sucks.

avatar CraigTim September 9, 2011, 10:01 am

Here’s my alternative of an interpretation on this one. Perhaps he doesn’t really have an anger problem. Perhaps this is just his way of showing he doesn’t care about their relationship any more but he’s not man enough to say he wants break up. He’s acting like an ass and waiting for her to break up with him. Part of my basis for saying this is because she’s known him for 16 months and hasn’t seen any anger problems before despite being such a sensitive and analytical person. So basically now that he’s feeling done with the relationship his his actions are reflecting his lack of desire to be with her. He’s not willing to put on a smiley face to be polite for a unexciting night out, he’s not showing an interest in befriending her friends, and he doesn’t want to take the time to have a serious talk with her about his behavior. His saying that he doesn’t know how to answer her sounds like he’s practically saying, “be afraid of me, run away”. It’s all because he’s emotionally/mentally checked out on this relationship.

avatar PondLily September 9, 2011, 11:27 am

I agree that it doesn’t sound like he’s very invested in the relationship or anxious to acknowledge let alone work on what are obvious problems. It almost sounds like he’s fine when everything is going his way, but he’s not interested in putting up with “couple duties,” like going to an unfun event, just for the sake of his girlfriend.

avatar demoiselle September 9, 2011, 10:03 am
avatar demoiselle September 9, 2011, 10:26 am
avatar demoiselle September 9, 2011, 10:28 am
avatar lets_be_honest September 9, 2011, 10:29 am

is this real?

avatar lets_be_honest September 9, 2011, 10:32 am
avatar demoiselle September 9, 2011, 10:35 am
avatar demoiselle September 9, 2011, 10:36 am
avatar lets_be_honest September 9, 2011, 10:39 am
avatar demoiselle September 9, 2011, 10:40 am
Dear Wendy Wendy September 9, 2011, 10:52 am
avatar AnitaBath September 9, 2011, 10:57 am


avatar demoiselle September 9, 2011, 11:02 am


avatar AnitaBath September 9, 2011, 10:45 am
avatar demoiselle September 9, 2011, 10:49 am
avatar AnitaBath September 9, 2011, 10:53 am


avatar AnitaBath September 9, 2011, 10:58 am


Dear Wendy Wendy September 9, 2011, 11:00 am

Just FYI, I have reached my limit with your attacking comments against me. I have dealt with them since I wrote for the Frisky and you wrote some pretty nasty things about me and to me there. I’m sick of it and I’m not going to deal with it anymore. I’m working on a way to block your IP address from commenting on this site, but until I figure that out, all of your comments will be deleted from here on out.

avatar AnitaBath September 9, 2011, 11:02 am


avatar AnitaBath September 9, 2011, 11:04 am


avatar lets_be_honest September 9, 2011, 12:34 pm

(trying to recreate my post that didn’t work earlier) Curious about the thumbs down…anyone want to share their reasoning? I think people on here need to remember that the site is dearWENDY. If not for her, this venue would not exist. People are welcomed to share differing opinions and you hope that as adults, even though hidden behind their keyboards, people would appreciate differences of opinions and engage in debates. I’ve tried to on here and been attacked for it, whether I preface my comment with ‘this is MY opinion only, please share yours.’ It ruins it for everyone.

theattack theattack September 9, 2011, 12:38 pm

I tried to share mine several times, but it didn’t work. I don’t think Wendy’s allowing it.

avatar lets_be_honest September 9, 2011, 12:43 pm

It worked for me. I think it was just internet connection issues that have since been sorted out.

theattack theattack September 9, 2011, 12:47 pm

Well I tried just a moment ago, and it didn’t work. Whenever I’ve posted other things, they’ve worked. But if I try to post something about this, it doesn’t. I figured Wendy blocked the ability to reply to this comment, but apparently not.

theattack theattack September 9, 2011, 12:50 pm

My comment was also not rude at all, but it was in gentle opposition of what Wendy said here. I’m really hoping that we’re not banned from disagreeing with Wendy now, because that’s sort of what it feels like.

avatar lets_be_honest September 9, 2011, 12:51 pm

I doubt that!! I had also tried posting at the bottom “Anyone having problems with posting?” and even that didn’t post the first 3 or so times I tried.

theattack theattack September 9, 2011, 12:56 pm

Well, I’ve tried it probably ten times now over the past half hour or so. I even tried it at the bottom of the page. I can post any other comment except the one I’ve been trying to post in response to this issue. I don’t know what the deal is.

Dear Wendy Wendy September 9, 2011, 1:09 pm

I saw all your comments and appreciated them. However, there are certain names included in your comments that are now on my block list, so those comments will go straight to the spam folder. It’s the best way I have found to protect myself. This isn’t about banning comments or readers who disagree with me; it’s about blocking readers who have consistently disrespected me and made offensive, snarky or disparaging remarks against me. I have posted thousands and thousands of comments that disagree with my advice or my viewpoint and I’m not going to stop doing that now. What I am going to do — and what I have started to do today — is block readers whose contributions I personally do not appreciate. Yes, for personal reasons.

I’m genuinely sorry if this offends people. That’s not my intention. And perhaps I am coming across overly sensitive. I don’t deny that I am sensitive. But I have been under an extraordinary amount of stress lately and will continue to be for many months to come. If I have a work environment — which is what I consider this site to be — that creates more stress for myself and I have the control to actually limit that stress, I have to utilize that ability.

For people who suggest that if I can’t stand the heat then maybe I should get out of the kitchen — essentially quit writing this website or take a break from it if I’m finding some of the comments offensive — I say this: how about, since I really enjoy the kitchen for the most part, I do what I can to simmer the heat since I have the control to do that? That way, I still get to do my thing in the kitchen, the people who enjoy what I cook up get to enjoy it, and those who don’t are free to eat elsewhere.

I understand that this is going to drive some readers away. I know this decision may make me less popular with some of you. I’m OK with that. But I have to take care of myself during what has been an especially vulnerable period for me (on top of being 8 months pregnant, I’ve battled serious illnesses for the last couple of months, and my cat almost died this week, among other things). This is the best way I know how to do that.

avatar lets_be_honest September 9, 2011, 1:15 pm

Thanks for clarifying. I’m sure there will be a ton of replies to this, both positive and negative, but I’d just like to say Good For You! Any hints as to no-no words?

Dear Wendy Wendy September 9, 2011, 1:15 pm

P.S. I have also added to the block list commenters who have been routinely sexist and offensive to OTHER commenters (and just in general). I’m hoping that, while still encouraging healthy debate, that will limit some of the hostility and negativity here.

avatar lets_be_honest September 9, 2011, 1:23 pm

Would it be rude to make a list of who I’m guessing has been or should be banned ;)

Dear Wendy Wendy September 9, 2011, 1:29 pm

You know, let’s not go there. Let’s all MOA. I don’t want to stir up controversy. I just want to move on.

avatar Slamy September 12, 2011, 4:56 pm

I know that I sometimes am sarcastic in my comments… and I can sometimes be argumentative. But I love DW and I am going to make an effort not to be too snarky from here on out.

avatar 6napkinburger September 9, 2011, 1:21 pm

Please feel free to cry. It’s ok! Really! (not snarky, jokey, referring to my earlier post :-) )

avatar MissDre September 9, 2011, 1:24 pm

Good for you Wendy :) I got your back! Ps. I hope Miles is doing better!

theattack theattack September 9, 2011, 1:25 pm

It’s certainly your choice to limit things the way you want. I’m glad that you are taking care of yourself and your baby. However, this still does nothing to calm down your readers who are now concerned about when something they say will be deleted or they’ll be blocked. If you are going to change the rules, I suggest that you publish what the new ones are in a separate post so that everyone sees them. I still believe it’s unfortunate that some of the commenters were blocked, seemingly without warning. We all deserve to know what is okay and not okay to say now. And I believe if you’re going to be blocking commenters, you should warn them and give them another chance before you do so. I’m sorry to hear about your cat, and I hope he’s doing well now. I also hope the best for you in starting your family and staying healthy.

avatar lets_be_honest September 9, 2011, 1:28 pm

>>>We all deserve to know what is okay and not okay to say now.<<<
I think she just did?

landygirl Landygirl September 9, 2011, 3:55 pm

There is a huge difference between giving your opinion and being disrespectful to the owner of the site. Wendy has every right to ban those who make this site less enjoyable to use. While I wasn’t here for the negative interactions, I’m sure that the decision to ban the people that she did wasn’t done in haste. I have the utmost respect for Wendy and what she does here.

avatar amber September 9, 2011, 1:31 pm

Did Miles have further complications with his diabetes? :( I hope he’s feeling like his normal self soon!

Dear Wendy Wendy September 9, 2011, 1:46 pm

Yes. He took a very sudden and dramatic turn for the worse on Sunday night/Monday morning. By Wednesday night our vet said there was a very good possibility he would not make it through the week and suggested we put him down. Instead, we decided to take him home, start him on insulin right away and do our best to get him to eat and drink. I’m happy to report that today, while not out of the woods at all, he is much better. But man, what a stressful and emotional experience this has been!!

Dear Wendy Wendy September 9, 2011, 1:48 pm

Miles’ columns yesterday were written and scheduled before all this went down, btw!

avatar TMSC September 9, 2011, 1:56 pm

Oh Wendy! I am so sorry to hear about Miles. My goodness you’ve had a lot to deal with lately. As a fellow cat lover, and someone who has had a very very ill kitty in the past, my good wishes go out to Miles for a speedy recovery…

avatar MissDre September 9, 2011, 2:12 pm

Oh Wendy! I am so sorry to hear that Miles has been so sick! I will be praying for a swift recovery! XoXoXo sending Miles all my love!

avatar soandso September 9, 2011, 2:49 pm

Hope he feels better soon!

avatar ReginaRey September 9, 2011, 1:35 pm

Wendy, I personally do NOT condemn you for this choice. I understand what working in a stressful work environment is like – it absolutely wears down your energy, your positive outlook, your motivation, and can eat at your soul. DW is your livelihood, your creation, and you have the right to make this work environment manageable for you. I find it interesting, really, that someone said “I hope we don’t get attacked for disagreeing with Wendy now,” when I’ve certainly been attacked by many readers at times for having an opinion that differed from the majority. You’ve never attacked anyone, to my knowledge. Keep doing what you’re doing!

theattack theattack September 9, 2011, 2:04 pm

Yes. Readers are different from Wendy. I did not say “I hope we dont’ get attacked for disagreeing with Wendy.” I said that I hoped it wasn’t against the rules to disagree with her now. She can vocally disagree with me all she wants. I would just prefer to not be blocked and to still be allowed to voice my opinion, no matter how disagreeable it is in the eyes of Wendy.

avatar Melanie September 9, 2011, 3:29 pm

I really feel like this whole thing is taking away from the advice the LW needs to hear. Let’s drop it, please. It’s Wendy’s site, she can remove things as she pleases. You’re more than welcome to create your own site where you make the rules if you wish.

avatar Morgan September 9, 2011, 1:43 pm

Miles almost died?!

I’m so sorry to hear that and I very much hope he’s okay now.

EscapeHatches EscapeHatches September 9, 2011, 2:19 pm

Thinking good thoughts for Miles.

avatar demoiselle September 9, 2011, 2:28 pm
Dear Wendy Wendy September 9, 2011, 3:44 pm
avatar demoiselle September 9, 2011, 3:59 pm
katie katie September 9, 2011, 8:27 pm

wendy, its your site and that means its your rules. rule on, girl!!

avatar Vivster September 9, 2011, 1:02 pm

What theattack said. When a longtime commenter, both on here and TF, who has a history of well-considered and thoughtful responses that are generally in support of or in addition to Wendy’s advice, gets told off for making “attacking comments” and being “nasty” both here and on TF (where, btw, I regularly would read both Wendy’s columns and all the comments, especially AB’s, so I can safely say “nasty” is not a word I would EVER use to describe them)…well, it makes a person feel like it’s not safe to say what we think on this site. And so the only “safe” way for us to communicate to Wendy that we disagree is now the “thumbs down” button.

avatar lets_be_honest September 9, 2011, 1:05 pm

You haven’t seen AB’s comments as much as you think, then.

theattack theattack September 9, 2011, 1:12 pm

I’ve been following AB for years, and I’m very familiar with her comments. She and I have both been on The Frisky for years, and now we’re both on DearWendy. I have seen maaany of her comments. While she doesn’t always agree with Wendy or the other writers of TF, she’s never intentionally rude. It should be okay to disagree on the internet. And really, this is one of the friendliest places that exists on the internet probably.

avatar lets_be_honest September 9, 2011, 1:17 pm

Maybe you just weren’t on her radar as far as disagreeing. I was in the past month. Not nice. Also, I’ve been following TF and DW for years as well, just a new commenter. I agree, it should be okay to disagree, just no reason for being a jerk about it.

theattack theattack September 9, 2011, 1:06 pm

I really wish my comment would come through… I think it really needs to be said. Ugh. But I completely agree with you, Vivster. And I think if the site is policed in this sort of way, she’s going to lose a lot of long time readers. People who gave up TF entirely when she left and stayed dedicated to Wendy the whole time.

avatar lets_be_honest September 9, 2011, 1:03 pm

Well, once again, thumbs down rather than replying. Ughhh, guess people don’t think they should act like adults and have friendly debates.

avatar Maracuya September 9, 2011, 1:45 pm

A lot of comments just aren’t posted or deleted, so if I could have a friendly debate, I would.

avatar rob ottapocalypse September 9, 2011, 12:42 pm

yay Wendy! Thank you for doing us all a service.

avatar TMSC September 9, 2011, 10:48 am
avatar Maracuya September 9, 2011, 11:06 am
avatar demoiselle September 9, 2011, 11:16 am
Skyblossom Skyblossom September 9, 2011, 10:15 am

The thing I find totally out of place was the anger over a situation that didn’t warrant anger. Even if the film/artwork was out there, not to his taste, boring, stupid, etc. it shouldn’t have been any cause for anger. He could have done like you and tried to see the amount of work that went into it. He could have entertained himself with his phone and you both could have gone home joking about what a horrid show it was but he didn’t choose to do any of that. He chose to get angry and it really was a choice. If this is how he chooses to handle a situation he doesn’t care for but is in no way dangerous, rude, racist, insulting, etc. to him, then how will he handle routine things that come up in life. How does he handle being stuck in traffic or how would he handle a cranky, tantruming toddler? His threshold for anger is remarkably low. So remarkably low that it’s really at the toddler level and at least the toddler doesn’t usually know better and is usually tired and/or hungry. You deserve an adult. A man doesn’t behave like this.

avatar SGMcG September 9, 2011, 10:24 am

He doesn’t know how to answer your concerns about his disturbing behavior? How about saying, “I don’t know what to say other than I’m sorry, but can I give some real thinking about what you said and discuss it later?” Maybe he honestly doesn’t know how to answer your concerns, because maybe he’s never had it approached by anyone before. Yet considering his behavior from the night before and the apathetic reaction to the events the next morning, this is a BIG red flag for me and I would MOA from him.

If you can’t communicate with the person you’re in an intimate relationship with, you don’t have a relationship.

Amanda Amanda September 9, 2011, 10:26 am

Oh, honey. Get out now.

This is what abusers do. They get mad, get abusive (be it verbal, physical, or both), get you to apologize and then act affectionate the next day and swear it will never happen again. Until it does. It’s a vicious cycle. Most women don’t notice it until it’s too late and they’ve been sucked in too deep.

But you? You got a precious gift. He responded with “I don’t know how to answer that.” He’s, for all intents and purposes, admitting he’s abusive.

Maya Angelou said one of my favorite quotes: “The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

He showed you what he is – believe what you saw with everything you’ve got. And then walk away.

avatar cookiesandcream September 9, 2011, 11:21 am

I’m definitely with you on this… Abusers are extremely manipulative and know exactly what to do in order to keep their victims within the cycle. The way she stayed with him after he was extremely rude to her seems to be setting up a precedent for future behavior. If she doesn’t do anything, then he’s going to get angry over something, overreact, and then she’s going to wait for him to calm down. Then they might talk about it a little bit before the whole thing starts all over again.

avatar jena September 9, 2011, 10:43 am

I honestly don’t think his rage has anything to do with the performance, but something else and the performance was an easy outlet for him to use to express his anger.

That said, he’s pretty unstable with the way he handled it, and you apologizing and being overly sympathetic to his anger isn’t so great either. I’d move on, especially since he seemed to be dismissive over the situation.

avatar Melanie September 9, 2011, 10:46 am

I dated a guy that became rude and condescending with me because we went to see a movie together – I liked the movie and he didn’t. I was belittled for the next 24 hours because my taste differed from him. I realized it was more of an issue with himself than it was with me.

Find someone that treats you better than this. Putting up with it only sets the tone for the rest of the relationship.

avatar AnitaBath September 9, 2011, 10:49 am

I once dated a guy with similar problems. He had anger problems and (as Lex mentioned above) also had the problem of being a selfish, immature asshole. He actually got mad at me one time for blinking too loud (yes, you read that right. BLINKING TOO LOUD). This guy was a teenager in high school, and I was a stupid fifteen year old who didn’t know when to say enough was enough. What is your guys’ excuse?

avatar NOLAGirl September 9, 2011, 11:18 am

can one really even blink loudly at all? I didn’t notice my blinking making noise. Of course, now i’m blinking like crazy to see if I can hear it. lol.