Dear Gems from Jen,
I have been with my boyfriend for almost a year and a half and the relationship is great, until we have a disagreement. Arguments result in him screaming, cursing, talking nasty, etc. There is nothing that I can say or do to make him stop once it starts. It’s like he turns into a different person. I have recently noticed that he feels attacked and shuts down every time I bring something up that hurt my feelings and he says things like, “I am always wrong, everything is my fault, you are perfect.” It does not help that I am pretty sensitive and honestly believe that if you love me and you know this hurts me, why would you continue to do it? I have never put up with this in the past, but since the relationship is great otherwise and he apologizes eventually and even began reading an anger management book, I decided to stick it out. He even said he would talk to someone about it. I also noticed that anytime I bring something up, he brings things up from the past (things that have been resolved) to justify his actions, as to say…”Since you did this back in June, I don’t want to hear this mess.” He once made plans without me and it hurt my feelings, so I told him this very calmly and it snowballed into a war. Initially I was a little upset, but after I talked to him and he blew up, I was more hurt than anything because of the way he talks to me when he is upset. He does not have a sensitive, considerate, compassionate bone in his body when I am trying to communicate to him about things he could have done better; but he is the greatest guy to his family and friends and to me when we are not arguing. We have talked about marriage, even went to look at rings. We are both ready to start a family but I refuse to move forward if things don’t change. When is enough, enough? Should I stay or should I go?
Dear Should I Stay Or Should I Go,
I am going to say this as compassionately as possible, but nonetheless I am going to say it. What would make you feel as if you deserve this kind of treatment? No one deserves to have his/her feelings turned against them. No one deserves to be screamed at, cursed at, or spoken to in a nasty manner. Your feelings do matter. What you have to say does matter. This boyfriend of yours sounds like an explosion waiting to happen. It seems apparent to me that you need to go talk with someone so that you can find your inner strength. I understand that he has promised to talk with someone, but you are the one who needs the empowerment. This relationship sounds emotionally abusive and you and only you can make the decision if you should stay or go.
Think about this; do you want to spend the rest of your life walking on eggshells? Do you want to continue to make excuses for his behavior? I get your point that when he is not angry, he is great, but this guy has shown you a side of himself which has you questioning your entire relationship with him. Do you want to spend the rest of your life comparing his appropriate behavior to his inappropriate behavior? Do you want to have a family with someone who could potentially do this to your children as well?
I cannot make this decision for you. You will have to find a resolve inside of yourself to make this monumental decision. Please keep in mind that you have the power to change only you. No amount of work can change anyone else. People only change when they want to, and on their own terms.
Gems from Jen