I love my long-term live-in boyfriend dearly, and I know he loves me.
However, he regularly comes home from work in a foul mood and takes it out on me.
He criticizes my cleaning skills, or insists on knowing what I've "done" in order to know what I haven't done, and say that I’m being lazy.
This leaves me feeling anxious about his homecoming.
He’s incredibly hardworking for long hours and even weekends.
He frequently tells me he loves me, he’s affectionate, but not often enough.
I've told him how I feel when he comes home, how it affects me, and he says he'll try not to talk to me in that way.
But he rarely follows through.
It's causing me to have a shorter fuse, too. I'm putting my back up a lot quicker than I used to.
I want a partner who comes home and vents with me, not against me.
I’m unsure if I should grow thicker skin or continue to push the point that I don't like how he talks to me.
I call it the “bad day face-off” and unfortunately, it’s pretty common.
Instead of being a comfort for each other, couples meet head-on at the end of their day and hang their frustrations, stresses, fatigue, etc. on their partners’ shoulders.
It’s unfair, but until you two come up with solutions, it can get worse by making you equally upset from anxiety.
Instead of fighting back, find a later moment together to offer some suggestions:
1) He re-sets his mood on arrival by doing something relaxing instead of checking up on you. Example: he takes a shower to un-wind, he plays with the kids (if there are any), he listens to music he likes, etc.
And/or, 2) You stay out of his way for a half-hour or so, not asking about his day until you’re both ready to talk – maybe through dinner together or after.
If these approaches don’t help the situation, there may be other issues you need to air. Is he unhappy with some aspect of the relationship?
Is he having financial problems he hasn’t told you about? Is whether or not you’re working, an issue between you? Does he fear losing his job?
Obviously, you can’t just accept his regular harangues and criticisms.
Couples’ counselling may be needed to vent together, as you suggest.
If he refuses, then you’d benefit from going yourself to discuss the situation with professional help.
I'm lost and confused with my "dating scene." I’ve recently developed feelings for a friend and I think the feeling is mutual.
But it gets complicated, because he's already been romantically involved with a friend when we were much younger.
Should I let this go?
Complicated, yes, because you could lose a friend over this.
Yet… it depends – on how long ago, how they parted, what her situation is now, and whether she still carries a torch for him.
Meanwhile, you both need to open up about whether there’s truly mutual attraction and serious interest in each other towards starting a relationship.
But if you’re just turning to him because you’re fed up with dating others, it’s not worth the friendship if you believe she’ll feel that you crossed the line.
If you do start seeing him romantically, you have to tell your friend, as soon as possible. It would be a slap in the face if she heard it from others and felt you were hiding it from her.
FEEDBACK Regarding the man whose wife wants their marriage to become polyamorous, including several partners (April 18):
Reader – “You haven't forgiven her for a past affair. From all you said, a polyamorous lifestyle isn’t for you.
“I understand wanting to hold the marriage together for the sake of the children, but if you're miserable in this other arrangement, that’ll affect the kids.
“However, if your wife’s unhappy, that’ll also affect them.
“If she can't be talked out of taking this action, you're in a no-win situation and... unfortunately, I see divorce as the only path to happiness available.
“You both took a vow on your wedding day to give yourselves only to each other... a promise she’s already broken at least once.
“Be honest with her: If she violates that vow again, you're through.
“You have to think about not just your own emotional well-being, but how these choices will affect your children.”
Tip of the day:
Daily harangues are unacceptable. Get talking about solutions, or get help.