I'm heading into marriage with my high school sweet-heart. I felt we were growing together, and evolved for the better.
However, one thing consistent in my fiancé is his rudeness and shortness with others.
I’d initially felt an attraction to his bad-boy image. He was stand-offish and rude towards others, but to me he was loving.
As we got older and established our careers, I find him more hostile and disrespectful towards other people.
If we need a service completed, he treats workers rudely because he feels he’s paying them and can treat them however he wants.
He never accepts responsibility for his part in conflicts, constantly blaming others for bringing out negative and hostile reactions in him.
When people tell me that he’s been rude to them, I feel so embarrassed. When I ask him about his behaviour, he accuses me of taking their side.
If someone has a differing opinion from his, he'll disrespect them and tell them their ideas are stupid. When he tried therapy, he became very defensive and stormed out stating that the therapist knows nothing about him or his life.
He said this is the way he is, and that he’ll never change. I love him and feel like we could have a great life together, but his behaviour is embarrassing. What should I do?
Love or Let Go
There’s a saying that, “we are our own therapists,” which means that, internally, we sometimes know the obvious answer even before we ask the question… we just don’t want to be responsible for the decision.
Here it is in your own choice of words: “Let Go.” Now. Despite whatever you love about this man, his attitudes and actions will eventually drive you away.
Unless he accepts that his behaviour must change for you two to share a healthy marital relationship, you’ll still be asking this same question years from now.
He’s loving now, while still wooing you. But his rude, dismissive, blaming nature will take over in time.
You’ll be constantly embarrassed and fighting over his dealing with in-laws, children, neighbours, etc.
You need to physically and emotionally withdraw from this too-long commitment to a bad-boy who’s not showing much likelihood of becoming a fine, respectful man of whom to be proud.
I often feel lonely. Our society’s geared to work, people live in small nuclear families or by themselves. And the goal to achieve reduces the time people can be together to just talk.
I've asked acquaintances to go out for coffee, but they don't get back to me or we meet only once.
I go to Meetup groups sometimes but it's hard to go regularly.
At the gym, people don't typically chat to each other. At art or other classes, people are there for the subject matter, not to make new friends. Sports teams require a weekly commitment. I don't go to bars or feel comfortable at churches.
I've done enough therapy and have been told that I know everything I need to know.
Try for positives, not negatives (which most people want to avoid). Seeing an acquaintance even once, is a start. Look for common interests. Invite two people over to watch a movie and serve snacks.
Attend Meetup.com groups based on a real interest of yours.
Join a choir if you can sing at all.… it’ll be full of people and music. Volunteer where there are children, they’ll make you feel needed.
Readers: Send your ideas, please.
FEEDBACK Regarding the necessity of forgiving someone close but contrary at the family’s Christmas dinner, during a difficult time of illness (January 21):
Reader – “My sister-in-law read your column early that morning and called me. She, my brother, my husband and I all talked on speaker phone.
“The couple apologized, and we had a long heart-to-heart. I then texted everyone involved, sending a link to your column and informing them that we’d spoken and forgiven my brother and sister-in-law. They then called everyone and apologized.
“Those calls wouldn’t have been easy, but showed a great deal of character and integrity.
“Recently, all who’d attended that Christmas dinner, and all our children gathered for a wonderful afternoon and dinner. We told stories, laughed, and yes, cried.
“My very ill husband looked across the room at me with a smile that told me he found peace in this forgiveness, and so did I.”
Tip of the day:
Marrying someone committed to a hostile defensive approach, is a set-up for years of fighting and unhappiness.