“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. 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.


  1. 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.

      1. Married to a narcissist so I know one says:

        He is a narcissist !!!! I cannot tell you enough he is not good for you. He can’t control his rage which is why he has no answer to your last question. Once the rage is gone it’s over for him so he goes back to being sweet like nothing happened. Narcissists can be VERY charming but that is only one half of who they are. They care nothing for anybody’s else suffering, and so the fact that you has to experience his anger the way you did, well he doesn’t care. Walk away now. This is a deep seated personality disorder. It can’t be easily fixed.

    1. I agree- I’m seeing a trauma reaction from your description. This is classic PTSD stuff. He definitely needs to be in therapy and you need to protect yourself because he does not sound like he’s completely in control of himself.

  2. 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?)

    1. Totally agree. I have been with an angry man and it gets uglier and uglier. Get out now before it is harder to leave e.g if you start living together/have kids l. Just reading this triggers me… run

  3. GertietheDino says:

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

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

  5. silver_dragon_girl says:

    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.

    1. 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.

  6. 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.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      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.

      1. demoiselle says:

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

      2. 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.

  7. artsygirl says:

    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.

    1. That’s pretty offensive to toddlers … 🙂

  8. ReginaRey says:

    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.

    1. Fully, fully, fully agree.

    2. 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….

    3. lets_be_honest says:

      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.

    4. 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.

      1. ReginaRey says:

        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.

      2. demoiselle says:

        Truer words have never been posted!

      3. 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.

      4. Skyblossom says:

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

    5. ReginaRey says:

      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.”

      1. Skyblossom says:

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

    6. cookiesandcream says:

      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.”

  9. lets_be_honest says:

    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.

    1. 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.

  10. lexington says:

    “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.

    1. demoiselle says:

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

      1. lexington says:

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

      2. demoiselle says:

        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.

  11. LW-

    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.

  12. 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.

    1. 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.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      is this real?

      1. lets_be_honest says:
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      6. AnitaBath says:


      7. demoiselle says:


      1. demoiselle says:
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      4. 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.

      5. AnitaBath says:


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      7. lets_be_honest says:

        (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.

      8. theattack says:

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

      9. lets_be_honest says:

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

      10. theattack says:

        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.

      11. theattack says:

        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.

      12. lets_be_honest says:

        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.

      13. theattack says:

        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.

      14. 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.

      15. lets_be_honest says:

        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?

      16. 6napkinburger says:

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

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

      18. theattack says:

        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.

      19. lets_be_honest says:

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

      20. Landygirl says:

        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.

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

      22. 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!!

      23. 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…

      24. 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!

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

      26. Hope he feels better soon!

      27. Miles almost died?!

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

      28. 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.

      29. lets_be_honest says:

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

      30. 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.

      31. 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.

      32. EscapeHatches says:

        Thinking good thoughts for Miles.

      33. demoiselle says:
      34. demoiselle says:
      35. ReginaRey says:

        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!

      36. theattack says:

        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.

      37. 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.

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

      39. 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.

      40. lets_be_honest says:

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

      41. theattack says:

        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.

      42. lets_be_honest says:

        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.

      43. theattack says:

        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.

      44. lets_be_honest says:

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

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

      46. rob ottapocalypse says:

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

      1. demoiselle says:
  13. Skyblossom says:

    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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

    1. cookiesandcream says:

      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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. AnitaBath says:

    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?

    1. 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.

  19. LW, are you sure he is not a terrorist or in a sleeper cell or something?

    Come on guys! Look, you’re not going to get any argument from me that this guy is a prick who resorts to 3rd grade tactics on handling his emotions, but abusive? Anger management issues?

    From the sound of it, something obviously bothered this guy at the art thing. Doesn’t really matter what it was, it just matters that he didn’t like it. The LW pointed out no one heard his rude comments, which must suggest he was mostly saying them to himself and she just heard them because she was next to him. It seems someone with “anger issues” would probably be a little more vocal and a little less concerned over making his point well heard. From there he basically shut down. Didn’t speak, didn’t do anything. Yes, this is childish and rude to his girlfriend who was in his company, but most of these actions suggest a very passive display of expressing his emotions. Remained silent, went straight to bed, ignored his surroundings. Maybe that is how he processes his emotions. And I’m sorry, but opening a door with haste or having it bounce back off the wall a little too fast in the LW’s path is hardly indicative that this guy is an abuser waiting to strike. If *this* behavior suggests he could one day beat another person or intentionally inflict harm on someone, then we can apply this to pretty much anyone. People get upset and they deal with their problems in a variety of ways. Getting upset about something does not equal “ready to beat his girlfriend up.”

    Look, LW, I’m sorry to say, but your bf appears to be pretty immature and dramatic. He is making no effort to hide this since you’ve only been dating for four months. If you have issues with that, move on. I would, but that’s just a personal preference in personality and a lack of patience for unnecessary drama. You likely *will* be walking on eggshells with this guy just so you don’t see this sophomoric behavior again, so in that regard you may want to re-think things. But let’s hold off on the melodrama that this guy is an “abuser.”

    1. You said exactly what I was thinking. He sounds like he handles things passive aggressively, but it doesn’t sound like he has an anger management problem, yet.

    2. I’m a total under-my-breath mutterer. And I’ve been known to throw an inanimate object or two while angry (though I don’t ever recall stomping out of the Art Institute of Chicago in a total hissy because of that DAMN PICASSO). But the fact that he held onto this anger all night long and took it out on his girlfriend is the issue. The fact that he admitted he can’t predict how he’ll react the next time some random act of nothing pisses him off is an issue. Whether he’s a future abuser remains to be seen (though hopefully the LW will leave him before she has to see it), though YES he obviously does have issues managing his anger. We all get angry but this dude is totally inappropriate.

    3. I agree with you, Mainer.

      It sounds to me like if the lw were a personality to not put up with bull shit she could nip this in the butt. Judging by her letter though I don’t think she is a personality that will keep him watching his behavior so if he doesn’t make a mental effort on his own after she has a discussion with him that that behavior is childish, overdramatic, selfish, and out of line then she should end this relationship.

    4. Theenemyofmyenemyisagrilledcheesesandwich says:

      I have to agree with you that his behavior doesn’t need to be lumped into the abusive category, especially if this is a first and only case. However, by the colloquial “anger management” I do think he has issues… because dealing with your anger at being INCONVENIENCED for a couple of hours like a terrible two-year-old is just….lame.

      Seriously, he needs to grow the fuck up. So, I guess I’m actually in perfect agreement with you. Why would you want to walk on egg-shells wondering how you are going to manage your boyfriend’s anger? That’s really why this situation is shitty isn’t it? When he blows up and acts leotarded, his anger is no longer an internal that only he can act on, SHE is affected by it, and must act on it as well if she is to maintain emotional equanimity. So he can use her emotional intelligence to make up for where his is lacking. Instead of growing the fuck up.

      I think she should toss him a pack of pampers on her way out the door.

  20. I could say what everyone else has- that behavior like your boyfriend’s is often an early indication of an abuser- and I would be speaking from my own experience. But, since that has been covered, I won’t- other than to say that they are right-on.

    What I will add is that this is another version of “is this behavior bad enough to end the relationship?” instead of what we should be asking- “is this relationship good enough to stay in?”

    ESPECIALLY 4 months in, a relationship shouldn’t be a struggle like this. It should add to your life, not make it harder. I don’t know what it is about our society, but way too many people (myself included for many years) stay in relationships until there is a big flashing red warning light telling them to get out. It’s ok to say “this isn’t it” way before that point, and I think you’re there. Maybe he is an abuser just waiting for the point that he can fully indulge that side of him. Maybe not. But he definitely doesn’t have the coping skills of an adult. He’s definitely not showing that he is able to be an equal life partner, and I imagine those are things that the vast majority of people are looking for in a relationship. Give yourself permission to go find that.

      1. lets_be_honest says:
  21. I have a boyfriend who can sometimes be less-than-sensitive when we get into touchy issues. In fights I usually end up crying because I’m feeling misunderstood and angry (very girly thing to do, I know), and he will sometimes get angry and start yelling. He never puts me down or calls me names or anything, he just raises his voice because he’s frustrated.

    We always, ALWAYS talk things out. There have been times where I’ve hung up on him or stomped out of the room because I want the argument to just disappear. (And by putting this in writing, apparently I attempt to channel my inner teenage angst at times when dealing with issues. Oh boy.) He will always either call back or come to me to finish the discussion. We never leave it hanging, even if it means going back and forth for hours.

    I’ve been with my man for over 2 years. We’ve had plenty of fights. Every couple goes through rough patches, but dear LW, you’re just in the beginning. 4 months is still the “honeymoon stage”. Sit down and think to yourself: is this worth it? Is it worth walking on eggshells with the man who you should be able to put all your trust in? Is it a dealbreaker for you (I know for many it would be)? You then need to have a good solid conversation voicing your concerns to your man. And remember, YOU are ultimately the only one who can make the decision if you need to MOA from this relationship.

    1. 6napkinburger says:

      Thumbs down only because you said “usually end up crying because I’m feeling misunderstood and angry (very girly thing to do, I know)” as if it was a bad thing. Own it! People respond to troubling stimuli differently and (on the average) women (can) respond to such stimuli with an “emotional reaction”, where as (on the average) men do not (as often) cry. As if there’s something wrong with the justifiable and non-hurtful-to-others way that (on the average) (approximately) half of the population handles stress or something to apologize for? Screw that! You could be punching walls or slamming doors or shooting up strip malls — those you should apologize for! Crying? I say good for you, get it out so you can move on!

      I once went to a seminar hosted by my company as part of their Women’s Initiative speaker series. I have been to a lot of these, and they are always about how to compete with the men, etc. This one was different. This one ACKNOWLEDGED that Women Cry as a response to upsetting stress. And the presenter didn’t hedge like I have been doing, except at the beginning to say, obviously not everything is true for all people. Women Cry. The point was what do DO about the fact that Women Cry. women in the workplace get labelled “emotional” and thus unstable, and her point was to counteract the negativity with crying. She taught ways to respectfully and professionally remove yourself from situations where you do cry/start to (like an especially bad progress-interview or a formal criticism of your work), how to address what happened, explain what happened (“Sometimes my response to negative feedback is to cry. I apologize for interrupting. I value what you are saying. Please continue.”), and to show that it does not make you “unstable” — all it means is that you cried. I thought this presentation was awesome and I have never forgotten it.

      So I thumbs down your assessment of this part of yourself as negative. You cry! You rock!

      1. silver_dragon_girl says:

        Agreed, and so true. I never used to cry- like, maybe 5-6 times in my entire life- and then when I was 22 and went on the pill, it was like the floodgates opened. Now I cry when I’m upset, or frustrated, or really really sad. It’s been hard to deal with, because since I wasn’t used to it I felt like I was doing something wrong, and it made me feel like I wasn’t in control of myself.

        So thanks for your post!

      2. That was my response to the pill too. My poor boyfriend gets all anxious because he thinks I’m angry/he’s done something wrong, and it’s usually just some minor issue or I’ve been having a crappy day and something otherwise innocuous set me off. I’ve had to get used to saying “don’t worry, it’s nothing, I’m just gonna go sit in the bathroom for a while. No, I’m not mad. Be right back.” And I do *not* cry pretty.

      3. 6napkinburger says:

        Dude, get out of the bathroom! (Unless you actually want to be alone and live in new york so there are no other rooms.) But if you’re hiding because you’re embarrassed, in your own home, that will make me cry!

        Its now almost a joke between me and my boyfriend, that I cry at the drop of a hat. (can you say that iphone commercial with no words at the super bowl going through the whole relationship and literally every episode of Grey’s Anatomy? ) When its silly (like a commercial), he kind of laughs. If I’m crying on the couch when he comes in, he’ll ask, “TV show?” so he knows how supportive to be (real life problems get instant hugs, tv shows, he’ll change from work first). Believe me, I’m not bragging about my BF (we’re actually in the midst of breaking up) but my point is that eventually, they get used to it but not if you hide in the bathroom! Let him support you!


      4. I just do it to calm myself down 😛 if there really is something wrong, I tell him, but usually I just need a few minutes to rinse my face and make all the unfortunate sniffling noises in private. I suck at explaining myself when I’m crying, and sounding like an idiot with my voice all choked up only makes it worse. I’ve always been like that, even with my parents (my mom is the same way). I’m getting a little better though, since my boyfriend is a pretty persistent person and will usually keep asking until I tell him what’s going on 🙂

      5. That’s a really good point–I’ve truly never thought of it that way. I’m one who highly dislikes crying. I hate the waterworks, I hate the snot, I hate the blubbering, and I really hate feeling super vulnerable. And when the waterworks start for me, it’s like the floodgates EXPLODED. It’s awesome to have support that that’s totally normal. 🙂

        Thanks, fellow readers for helping me see that!

      6. lets_be_honest says:

        Same as the rest. Thanks for sharing this!!

  22. lets_be_honest says:

    I’m trying to post, but nothing is happening. Anyone else having that issue?

    1. theattack says:

      Yeah, I’m having issues with it too.

    2. You should be good to go now.

      1. lets_be_honest says:


  23. Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com says:

    Yeah, I want to jump in and say “NOT GOOD.” Not good at all.

    When I was much younger, I dated men like this. None of them were violent in any way, but they were moody and selfish –and I felt like I was on the rollercoaster with them. He’s in a bad mood –he shuts me out. I try to appease, make things better, but he brudes. The night is ruined. Then he swings back into a good mood (before I have time to process the bad stuff) and I want to ride that wave out because I have to take the good when it’s available.

    But, thank god, I got off that crazy merry-go-round.

    I know now that this is a form of mental illness –be it depression, bipolar, or whatever you like to call it. I know now that any man who cannot treat my friends with courtesy is NOT GOOD. I know now that any man who punishes me when he is depressed is NOT GOOD. I know now that if I find myself tip-toeing around a guy or trying to appease him to avoid a bad mood, that is NOT GOOD.


  24. 6napkinburger says:

    The thing I find weirdest about this is that we don’t know why he was upset. As this entire letter is thoughtful and articulate, I can only assume that the LW asked her fumming BF “Honey, why are you so upset?” in between apologizing and sleeping in her clothes.
    Did he ignore her, as in, totally not respond? Did he say “nothing” and roll over and go to sleep? I find this so curious. I wish she had elaborated on that, because I think its incredibly important. Maybe his reason was:
    – “I can’t belive you made me sit through an hour of modern art when you know my mother was run over by a band of roving dadists”
    – “I can’t believe you made me waste my night on that crap when i could have been watching reruns of sports center”
    – “I can’t believe you shushed me in front of all your friends. That was so humiliating, all I said was “wow, this is bright.” I cannot believe you would do that. and then you didn’t even apologize for doing that! like I’d be mad at you for bringing me to bad art show”

    I think without knowing his answer to that question, I find it impossible to say whether or not the dude is a complete and totally asshole. (Personally, I think using “abusive” here – emotionally, mentally, or physically, is a pretty freaking large leap. All we know is that he slammed a door OPEN and ignored her until he slept off his anger. Not cool, but not abusive if that word is going to retain any real meaning beyond “not appropriate”.)

    Or maybe she didn’t ask him? LW, if you asked him, can you tell us the answer?

    1. artsygirl says:

      “I can’t belive you made me sit through an hour of modern art when you know my mother was run over by a band of roving dadists”

  25. 6napkinburger says:

    deleted per commenter’s request

    1. 6napkinburger says:

      Wendy, please delete the second, didn’t mean to post twice, browswer blipped.

  26. theattack says:

    This is just a test comment because my comments aren’t working.

    1. theattack says:

      Okay, apparently only comments about the controversy upstairs in the comments aren’t showing up.

  27. Just be wary, LW…keep your eyes open

  28. Boyfriend may have some unusual sensory issues. Some people on the autistic spectrum have unexpected reactions to sensory input (touch, sight, sound, etc.). The art presentation may have been overwhelming and traumatic for him.

    If that’s the case, he isn’t necessarily a bad, evil person. On the other hand, even if he isn’t actually evil, it may turn out that he’s a lot more work than you need in a relationship. There’s a very good (and short) book entitled “Alone Together” by Katrin Bentley that deals with the difficulties of a mixed marriage between a typical woman and her undiagnosed Aspie husband. You may recognize yourself in that book.

    1. Almost everyone in my immediate family besides my father has sensory integration issues, which means we process some touches, sounds and physical environments differently than most people. Examples of this are an inability to wear socks or jewelry for more than short periods of time, needing heavy blankets not for the heat but for the weight, an aversion to fireworks and loud music/movies and the ability to swim in the ocean in the winter months. When we do find ourselves in situations that are irritable we try to change it or simply leave. I’ve never lashed out at someone else for my own discomfort nor would I call anything I’ve experienced traumatic since I was a child, when I was unable to recognize what was wrong and fix it. If the LW’s boyfriend is in fact dealing with these types of issues, its not something that is just being developed and as a grown man he should have lot of coping mechanism to deal with these times. (they will come up, you can’t really safeguard yourself against all of them) If his mechanism is to just sit there and let himself be overwhelmed and then lash out as his GF, its therapy he needs the most, not a relationship.

    2. ReginaRey says:

      Forgive me, but even if he WAS an undiagnosed “Apsie,” as you say, his treatment of her later that night was still inexcusable, immature and dramatic. I’d say there’s about a 1% chance he actually has some sort of mental condition that led to his behavior, and about a 99% chance that’s just an asshole.

      1. ReginaRey says:

        And I don’t mean to be nasty or deragatory toward people who DO have that condition, but I think it’s risky to throw out these kind of suggestions because it gives the LW false hope. Instead of accepting the overwhelming probability that her boyfriend is immature, disrespectful and possibly abusive, she’ll cling to the VERY small chance that he has some sort of condition that makes him act this way, because it’s easier than walking away.

      2. If my guess is right about sensory issues, it’s actually a good reason to run hard in the opposite direction, because this stuff won’t go away. A guy can be neither crazy nor evil while at the same time being very difficult to live with.

        I know an older guy who seems to have sensory issues/be an undiagnosed Aspie/OCD. When you visit his house, the doors have to be closed just so to prevent any unnecessary noise. He is extraordinarily sensitive to sound. Any speck of dirt has to be immediately wiped up. Any item from the store has to be 100% perfect or it is immediately returned. He is totally inflexible and his whole family tiptoes around him.

        Having a serious relationship with someone like this is potentially a life sentence.

    3. Amy:

      I was thinking that he might have had a migrane. It happens to me at action movies sometimes and they are awful. I can’t talk can;t breathe and just need to get in a dark room as fast as possible. That was the first thing that I thought of when I read this and not immediately that he was a jerk.

      But more importantly, this is one event and not a pattern (yet). See if this happens again and you will know for sure. I agree with Wendy. Proceed but proceed with caution.

  29. I think the LW has good instincts and I appreciate her internal conflict when balancing her fears about his behavior with a need to invest in her relationship. I think many of us get caught up in keeping conflict away in the moment as a way to make the future better — here the LW held her tongue in the “hopes” that the boyfriend would settle down. I would assert that, as Regina Ray said, if she’d stepped into the conflict by setting a boundary of how she expected the man she loved to behave it would have been the most honest expression of herself and her needs. And then he’d know the consequences for behaving that way with no question. It doesn’t remove his choice, but it will inform future choices if he cares enough to maintain the relationship.
    Mr. J and I have an agreement, a boundary set in stone, that if he ever hits me he’ll never see me again AND If I ever hit him he’ll never see me again. It’s helpful to be that clear about consequences, and the greater the fear or sensitivity, the more important that clarity is.
    Four months into a relationship seems to me to be a reasonable place to stand your ground and set expectations for the future; both of them have a sense of what’s in the relationship for them and it’s time to invest or cut ties. LW indicates a desire to invest and I hope she’ll convey her expectations through word and deed and keep following those instincts.

  30. 6napkinburger says:

    I’m not sure that I notice that there is a different reaction to female v. male anger — personally, I feel that sometimes some posters on this cite overreact to any expressions of anger.

    It used to be that if you were angry, you were told to punch a pillow. I can imagine someone writing in that “My boyfriend/girlfried got really mad at me for something I don’t consider a big deal and went into a different room and slammed the door. I peaked in without him/her knowing, and he/her was beating the crap out of pillow. Should I MOA?” Response — “If he/she beats up a pillow, what might he/she beat up next? Do you want to wait around and find out if its your face?” I think that is usually an overreaction and tosses a whole lot of generally-ok babies with that not-so-awesome bathwater.

    Originally (in the good ole days of my childhood), it seems the main issue was how someone handled their anger; now it seems people aren’t allowed to get angry (and I mean actually truly, heart pumping, angry) in the first place. Which I think is unfair. Domestic violence is a real problem , but everyone who gets angry isn’t necessarily an abuser. It depends what they do with their anger and their personalities overall.

    Of course, a healthy relationship depends on whether you are cool with the way your partner gets angry. But just because your partner’s way of dealing with anger is not cool with you (some people can’t stand yelling, I think its totally fine) does not make it ABUSE. It makes it unhealthy. It makes it a lousy fit. It means you should MOA. But it doesn’t always make it honest-to-goodness abuse, or at least, not how I define it, which is much much higher than merely “inappropriate.” Now, I’m not going to tell someone who leaves a relationship like that that they weren’t “abused”, that is for everyone to decide for themselves. But the flip-side of that is that the person who they left gets labelled an “abuser” and I don’t think that’s always fair.

    Some people have quick fuses, some people hold grudges, some people holler to the mountains when someone moves their cheese, some people slam open doors and ignore the person they’re with until they cool down because they don’t want to say something they can’t take back. These are not awesome personality traits. But they are, nor “should” they be in some absolute sense, dealbreakers for EVERYONE, and a person isn’t crazy/unhealthy/low self-esteemy for deciding that they are ok enough with this trait, weighed against the person’s assets, to stay in the relationship. No one should HAVE to stay, but no one HAS to leave these either, unless it is wrong/unhealthy for them.

    Ok, rant over.

    1. I get it. I know that I’m hyper-senstitive to any possible indicators of abuse, and it’s for personal reasons. There’s no guarantee that the LW’s boyfriend will (or won’t) abuse her, but regardless, he was disrespectful and handled himself in a way that she considers unacceptable. Like you said, couples need to have compatible conflict styles in order for a relationship to work, and I don’t think it exists in the LW’s relationship.

      But what he did IS a warning sign that he could be abusive (a possibility, not a guarantee) – and some people come to that conclusion because of personal experiences (like me – see below).

      1. 6napkinburger says:

        Of course. I am so sorry for what you went through and escalation is a certainly pattern with abusers. And it is what makes it stink so much because you can’t just say – Hey , he did X, he must be an abuser, because at the beginning, X could be justifiably rationalized away (like you, justifiably, did), because (and here’s the rub) perfectly normal (imperfect, but safe) people do X. But I guess my argument (?) is that if a person never escalates, but stays at the X stage, “tantrum” stage, or an equivalent “yelling” stage and never gets worse — then that person is not an “abuser.”

        And of course, someone like you should never have to put up with X because its not healthy for you, and really no one should or does have to and they don’t need a good reason for why not beyond “I don’t want to”. But if someone, like LW, isn’t sure if they SHOULD put up with X, because they are wondering if there is something ABSOLUTE about X or someone who does that is inherently dangerous — that is where my discomfort with the level of conviction expressed in some of these responses.

        I guess its a “better safe than sorry” mentality that I (strangely) begrudge when evaluating people’s faults. (I am incredibly Risk averse in most aspects of my life, hence the “strangely”). And I worry that such definitive – “drop him, he’s clearly an abuser” sentiments prematurely end possibly lovely relationships, which all have negative components. I’m not sure I agree with advice to throw away the relationship over one night of him being an asshole, if he ISN’T an asshole, because the behavior is indicative of something worse than occurred. I don’t disagree that its possible or that it is a warning sign, but I just … lament that people can’t have one uncharacteristic crappy night of selfish and inconsiderate douchery without getting labelled a true “abuser”.

      2. Yeah, like I said, I agree with you – and I realize that I am one who jumps to the “abuser” conclusion a lot. I think probably in the LW’s case, if his one night of asshole-ish behavior is something she can get over, she should be on the lookout for other potential indicators of abuse. If he acts jealous or possessive in any way, if he makes derogatory comments about LW or women in general, if he tries to isolate the LW or prevent her from hanging out with her friends/family, If he does things to shame or embarrass the LW, etc…. Again, none of these things alone can predict whether or not he will abuse the LW, if the warning signs start to add up then she should probably cut her losses and MOA.

  31. LW, my advice is to MOA, and I will readily admit that my advice is biased because I was once in a similar situation and I wish wish WISH that someone had warned me to get away ASAP.

    My ex behaved similarly. I had known him since high school and never noticed anything about him that would seem red-flaggish, and we dated for a period of time before I started to see this side of him. He would get angry over small things and throw tantrums. It started out like what you described – with what could be brushed off as an immature response, or just poor anger management. Then it got to be where he would slam doors, punch holes through walls, break objects, etc. – and I stupidly brushed it off because he wasn’t hurting ME and I didn’t believe that he could or would. Once he killed one of our pets (a pet rat)in a fit of rage “on accident” – by slamming our sliding glass door and crushing her skull. He also kicked my cat once. Once he got mad at ME and threw water on me. I thought that I could just remove myself from the situation – like, once I saw him starting to get mad, I would try to leave for a period of time so he could “cool off” – but he would physically block me from leaving. I tried to lock myself in the bedroom and he broke the door down. He would scream and cry and tell me how much he loved me even DURING these tantrums. Sometimes he would hint that he would hurt himself if I left. Once, he threw a glass in anger and it hit me in the face – HARD. (But he wasn’t aiming it at me, he didn’t intend to hit me, he was just so MAD that he had to throw something). Finally, one night in a fit of rage, he decided to break the headboard on our bed – while I was in it – and it came crashing down on my face, giving me 2 black eyes, a swollen nose, and a deep gash on my eyebrow.

    Before it got to that point, I had brushed it off as an anger problem. We had talked about it, he promised to change. He WOULD change for periods of time – everything would be hunky-dory for MONTHS, and we’d be happy…. until something set him off again (usually something extremely petty).

    **side note** I always thought that I “knew better” and could avoid this type of situation, or that I would see it coming and get out before it escalated – but I didn’t. It was so much different for me being IN the situation – I couldn’t see it for what it was, even though I’m sure it was clear as day to everyone else around me (although I didn’t tell anyone). And there was certainly an element of denial.

    My story is kind of a worst-case scenario….

    BUT I don’t think it’s overreaching to say that the LW’s boyfriend’s behavior is indicative of abuse. He behaved in a way to manipulate the LW – and he acted like a bully. Most abusers start out very sweet, they can be super-charming, and their friends all love them – they don’t start to show their abusive side (usually) until something happens to indicate a stronger commitment – in LW’s case, it might have been moving from friendship to a relationship. In my case, it was moving across the country together – the isolation allowed him to have better control over me and made it harder for me to leave/get help.

    Like I said, I would advise you to MOA – You don’t want to wait around for it to escalate. And, like Wendy and the other commenters have said, the way he treated you was disrespectful anyway – and to top it off, he didn’t really discuss it in a meaningful way with you. He might not even think he did anything wrong. You’re not overanalyzing… his behavior was unacceptable.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      Excellent advice CatsMeow. I’m sorry you had to go through that, but it is a perfect example of how things spiral and the beginning of your story sounds just like LWs. Thank you for touching on the point of thinking you knew better, but how different it can be when YOU are in the situation.

      1. Thanks. I’m OK now, though. 🙂

        It just really struck me, reading this letter, how gradual the escalation in my situation really was. And instead of just LEAVING, I would try to work it out by telling him his behavior was unacceptable and begging him to change, and letting him know that if it happened again I was OUT. Like I said, he WOULD change for a while. Abuse really is a cycle, I guess. I still get angry with myself for not getting out sooner.

  32. Landygirl says:

    I fully agree with what many others have said regarding this man’s issues. One thing that did pop in my head while reading the letter is that maybe this guy was reacting to the intensity and volume of the art piece. Sometimes outside circumstances such as quickly flashing pictures and intensely loud music can agitate people.

    Of course, once he got home he was still a doosh and that is totally unacceptable. I also strongly agree with Regina Ray that the LW’s response to this was rather doormat-ish and could set the wrong precedent.

    While I’m not totally convinced that he is a future abuser, I think he is extremely immature and 4 months is too soon to be having such issues. Think LW should think twice about not only his actions, but her own reactions.

  33. This is your site, so you’re within your rights to do whatever you want with your intellectual property. A few of my comments that were posted were deleted, even though they didn’t contain any offensive material at all; they just disagreed. I was even afraid to post them for fear of them being deleted which ended up being exactly what happened. I don’t think I was being disruptive, or that my comments are ever sexist, racist or snarky. (I honestly think I’m a pretty boring commenter.) It’s not like a wish you ill; I just disagree on a point and think it’s an overreaction but you do what you gotta do. Anyhow, I hope your health is fine and Miles gets better.

  34. Geez, I get stuck doing work for a day, and I miss all sorts of shenanigans! I hope Miles gets better soon, his advice if very valuable, and a nice relief from the norm!

  35. It seems the LW has a hard time sticking up for herself. She mentions a list of behaviors that indicated that her boyfriend was upset, but she doesn’t mention responding to any of these behaviors (aside from apologizing to him).The LW didn’t indicate that she let her boyfriend know verbally or otherwise that she didn’t appreciate and wouldn’t tolerate his behavior. My husband has gotten huffy like this, too (albeit, probably for more cause and, no, he’s not an abuser), and each time I immediately let him know that this kind of behavior is not okay. Did the LW tell her boyfriend that he almost hit her with the door? Did she ask him to turn the TV down and talk about what was upsetting him? Did she ask for bed clothes? Did she insist that he make room for her in bed or she was going home? My guess is that she didn’t do any of these things. You have to respect yourself before other people will respect you. By suffering silently, the LW has given her boyfriend the impression that she will tolerate this sort of treatment. Both the LW and her boyfriend need to work on their communication skills. If the boyfriend won’t acknowledge this is a problem, she should definitely MOA and let him know why.

  36. Looks like whatever changes were put in placed caused the comments to not go in order (replies don’t go under replies anymore)…

  37. I agree, red flags are up. Another perspective too, that sounded very familiar. My ex husband was like that at times, he’d blow up and be extremely angry over what i didnt think was anything, and not necessarily at me, but then later it was like it never happened. As a couple, we did not fight – looking back, this was also unhealthy. over the years i can look back and realize he did not know how to express himself properly and would hold things in. It can be draining on the partner.

    Your bf may have been sensory overloaded as well, that’s a lot to take in if you’re not expecting it, and it can be quite irritating as well.

    just keep your eyes and mind open to what’s going on. dont let your heart sway you when you’ve had an instinctive feeling that something was wrong.

  38. absurdfiction says:

    I haven’t commented on here in a while, but I just wanted to throw my support behind Wendy today. She clearly is OK with us disagreeing with her; it’s a matter of doing so in a respectful way. If she feels she has been disrespected, it is absolutely her prerogative to moderate the comments or ban users who have a history of saying inflammatory things. I do agree that a list of “house rules” would be helpful, as I think a lot of the concern from the regular readers is that they don’t know what the parameters are for banishment.

    Wendy, I hope you’re feeling better soon, and Miles too. Anybody who stops reading your site because you’re trying to keep the tone here friendly is not anybody you should miss! 🙂

    1. Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com says:

      I concur. I think house rules would be a great idea.

  39. YouGoGirl says:

    I grew up with a verbally abusive stepfather who would fly into a rage in the same way as the letter writer’s boyfriend. My response was to never express any emotions because of my intense dislike of my stepfather’s behavior, but I still thought that explosive rage was the normal way for expressing anger. I overlooked my fiance’s tendency to be irritable over small issues because after all, he was not screaming and yelling. But over the years, his irritibility evolved into acute rages and unconsciously I acted like the letter writer: apologizing for things that were not my fault, trying to soothe him and working very hard to eliminate as many triggers in the environment.

    After my husband died, I visited my brother and we went to a party with his two young children. At the party he watched them carefully for signs of stimuli overload and impending temper tantrums so we could leave before the meltdown occurred. I suddenly realized that I used to watch my husband for signs of impending meltdown just like my brother was with his young children. Toddlers are expected to have meltdowns but a grown man is capable of controlling his temper.

    The boyfriend was having a temper tantrum like a toddler, but a grown man having a tantrum can be very dangerous. After only four months, the boyfriend slammed the door in her face. I am very afraid of his potential for greater violence in the future. I would advise the letter writer to MOA now before he injures her severely. Yes I know she loves him and when he is not abusive they have a good time together. She has seen a side of her boyfriend that he hid from her until now. She is now seeing the situation clearly and is asking herself the right questions. I wish her the best of luck.

  40. So anyway, maybe the LW should have another talk with the guy. Maybe he was just having a bad day?

  41. Hey, where’s my comment?

  42. Seattle _lili says:

    I hope Miles is doing ok and that you all have a good weekend!

  43. LW- Even if your boyfriend is not abusive (altough he kind of sounds like it) would you really want to be around someone like that all the time? My first thought was picturing my husband and I at a place like that laughing like mad afterwards at how “lame” we thought the show was………then I kept reading the letter and was alarmed. Even if his anger was due to immaturity or a bad day, he doesn’t sound like fun at all. And as many others have pointed out 4 months should be all lovey dovey.
    I did date a guy like that and at first I wanted to “help” him. After a year or so I realized I wasn’t helping at all, I was making it worse by giving into him. I also noticed he was bringing me down. My Husband now is completly the oppiste and we laugh about/at everything. Life is so much sweeter when you have a buddy who can laugh at life with you rather than a immature brat who is always in a snit.

  44. LW, i think that it is a good thing you see this as a red flag. it looks to me that at its worst, this guy could end up hurting you in the future, and at its best this guy is like a toddler who hasn’t been taught how to vocalize WHY they are angry- they just stop breathing and turn all red and flail around and scream and kick and cry. they haven’t yet been taught to say i’m mad because of x reason, and deal with their anger in the right way.

    i think that if you do want to still date this guy, you are going to somehow either teach him yourself, or get him somewhere that will teach him how to act when he is angry and how to deal with it better. being angry is ok, its a human emotion, the kicker is how people deal with it.

    bottom line is though, what he did to you was totally NOT ok. my boyfriend once was trying to teach me how to park my car in our new garage (big car, little garage, i suck at parking), and he got so frustrated and angry at me that he slapped my hand as i was reaching to put it in reverse again. i literally stopped, looked at him very seriously and told him if he ever did anything like that again i will leave him on the spot- no questions asked. and then i left the situation, leaving him with an empty running car. you gotta stand up for yourself! he needs to know that what he did was NOT ok!! dont be afraid of him, and dont be afraid to stand up for yourself.

  45. demoiselle says:

    Lest anyone get the wrong idea from my re-deleted posts above, Wendy removed them by *my request* after we communicated by email and recognized that in our original exchange, we’d had a mere miscommunication. Since there was no way to restore what I originally posted, I asked that the exchange be removed so that it would look to everyone (for posterity) like I’d been cussing her out or something. 🙂

    To the original LW: good luck. You’ve gotten a lot of excellent advice here, and I hope you find it helpful.

  46. SpaceySteph says:

    I know I am late to this posting, but the LW’s story really hit home for me so I want to throw out an “I’ve been there too!” like some other posters above.

    When my ex and I had been together for about 9 months (4 in an LDR) I went back to my college town on the weekend of my birthday. We met up with my best friend, my sister and her gf, and some other friends of mine that he had never met. After dinner, we went back to a friend’s place to hang out. Things ended up in a weird place- watching gay You Porn (seriously). My boyfriend, who I had not realized was quietly homophobic, flipped a shit on all of us. Stormed out angrily, demanded I come with him.
    I did, and have regretted it ever since. I should have stayed with my friends and sister, let him leave and blow off steam. But I was more afraid of “leaving things in a bad place” with him so I chose to follow him out. Once we got back to his apartment, I had to beg him to let me call my sister to tell her that I got back ok. Beg him to let me call my own sister. He did finally agree I could, although he sat next to me and listened and pouted through the whole conversation. Then, like your bf, he stormed off to bed, apologized in the morning, and things went back to normal. Until the next blow-up, of which there were many.
    Each time I blamed the stress of school for him, the hardship of an LDR. Never thinking that he could have a problem. My friends who were there that night gave up begging me to leave him after awhile, but I know they were overjoyed when it didn’t work out.
    LW, recognize a controlling jerk for exactly what he is. Do what I did not have the courage to do and walk away. Maybe he’s abusive, maybe he’s controlling, maybe he has anger management issues… whatever the problem, you have a chance now to walk away, to find a loving man who will never treat you like this. Take it!

  47. I was in an abusive relationship several years back and the abuse started shortly after my ex started exhibiting this sort of behavior. Look into “borderline personality disorder” …I bet you’ll find some interesting parallels to his current behavior. Get out as soon as possible, he’s not going to change. Guys like this can be very manipulative and you may end up in a bad situation. Good luck, stay strong, peace.

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