I’ve been seeing a man for only four months. We have fantastic chemistry and I totally adore him. But I’ve found out he has a bad temper. I used to be able to tell him everything, but now when I say that something bothers me he just gets upset (mad) and avoids conversation. He’s completely not the man I was led to believe. Also, he seems to not carry through on what he says. This seems to be such a drastic change. Should I dump him? Is it me?
Shocked and Awed
My dear – I’m so sorry! Your prince is merely a squatter at the castle, and not royalty at all. Here’s the thing – in the first four to six months of a romantic relationship, we’re in the “getting to know you” stage. Our bodies are wired to convince us that this is the person we should have babies with, so “mother nature” fools us by releasing all sorts of chemicals in our brains that make us only see the shiny, best parts of the other person. Meanwhile, this blocks our ability to see anything wrong with them. Combine this with the fact that everyone’s on their “best behavior” for a while and you’ve got a recipe for what’s happened to you – hitting the four-month mark and asking yourself, “WHO THE HECK is this guy and what do I do now?”
First, tell him how you feel – plenty of women are successfully married to men with tempers – but come from your heart and don’t make him wrong. Tell him you don’t feel safe and you need him to be more respectful. Hold him to a higher standard and REMOVE YOURSELF whenever he’s unkind. If he can’t clean up his act and keep his word, then YES, you should dump him – quickly! He sounds emotionally immature and wounded, and it’s NOT YOUR FAULT. Seriously, if he so much as breaks one more commitment to you or is cruel, I’d get out of there and be glad you found out the truth as soon as you did.
I‘ve been in a long-term relationship for almost two years. He doesn’t want to get married – he feels it’s just a piece of paper. To me, marriage gives emotional security and a feeling of belonging. He says he doesn’t agree. What do you think I should do about this?
Don’t Wanna Shack Up
Dear Don’t Wanna,
Ah, the old, “it’s just a piece of paper argument…” Come on! Just a piece of paper?! Yeah, a piece of paper that gives you all sorts of legal rights, financial benefits, and protections not available to those without it. (Why do you think gay men and women are clamoring to have the option of getting one of those “mere” pieces of paper, too?!)
Okay, so here’s what you tell him: Tell him how YOU need to be married in order to be happy. Then, tell him that HE makes you happy and that in order to be happily married you want to be married to HIM. Many men fear that a woman’s wish to be married has nothing to do with them – that they’re just fulfilling the role of groom because they happened along when the woman was desperate to marry anybody… Many men who’ve given women the “I’m never getting married” speech DO come around with this strategy (studies show as much as 70% of the time, the marriage was the woman’s idea as the man would’ve happily gone along indefinitely without getting married). The brutal truth is that many men ALSO live with a woman for several years telling her “he’s not the marrying kind” only to turn around and marry the next woman they fall for. You may want different things in life, or he may not be that serious about YOU. Find out – talk to him in the way I suggested and give it a time limit. If he won’t marry you, find someone else who wants what you want and who won’t let you go because “just a piece of paper” was reason enough to.
All the Best,