My fiancé is extremely affectionate, but expresses his love for me physically - through hugging, kissing and play-fighting.
Play-fighting involves tickling until I lash out uncontrollably. He’ll jab his fingers into my armpits aggressively, grab my wrists and joke about violence against women, slap my thigh really hard.
Last night he playfully "slapped" me and I rushed away, fearing I’d burst into tears. He’s since apologized and promised to never do it again, but it triggered something.
Ten years ago, at 18, two men raped me. I believe that I was given a rape-drug at a club, because the events that followed (my getting in a car with them, not protesting loudly enough when they raped me) were completely out of character. I didn't report it to police.
Last night's incident has me reliving that horrific experience and I don't want to tell my fiancé about it because it's too painful. Please don't advise me to tell him - I won't.
How do I deal with his aggressive playfulness? We're funny, outgoing people; he says I'm too "sensitive," that he's just playing around. We've talked about this before, he says he’ll respect my wishes, but he never does.
He’s also playfully aggressive with his sisters, nieces and nephews, and they’re all good sports about it.
- Not a Good Sport
Here’s what you’ve described: physical aggression (also known as abuse), bullying, disrespect. Here’s your response: Hiding your tears, secrecy about past trauma that still frightens you, de facto acceptance.
Not only is everything wrong with this picture, it’s a predictor of worse to come. Play-fighting is a euphemism for aggression.
Between two people of equal strength who agree to participate, it’s one thing. But your guy does it with women and children … not so “funny.” And NOT acceptable.
Not only do I think you should speak up, I believe you should call off the whole engagement unless he stops this behaviour completely. Now.
And, you should strongly consider post-rape counselling, or those painful images may be triggered to haunt you from these and other circumstances.
My boyfriend of 10 years and I see each other on weekends only, when he mostly sleeps. We both moved back with our parents five years ago, to save money.
I’ve since bought a house, but he’s stayed at his mother’s, where he takes care of her large property, many animals, cooks, cleans, etc. When he doesn’t help out, she gets angry and irrational.
There are numerous crises with his mom - she did something rash that caused termination from her new job. And they might lose the house. My boyfriend puts off starting his own life to help her keep running hers.
I’ve offered to move closer so we can live together, or to sell the house and pool our resources to buy a suitable property were we all can live (despite my better judgment.)
I won’t move in with them - I don’t think living under her roof would be a good idea.
I’m almost mid-30s; want a real partner and children, which wouldn’t be wise currently. Should I stick around a little longer, or cut my losses and move on?
- Building Resentment
You’ve stuck around long enough. Mom runs the show, and your guy is too weak or too enmeshed with her emotionally to take charge of his life. It’d be a disaster for you to live together with her, in any house.
End this relationship that for five years hasn’t provided companionship, partnership, or a plan for the future.
FEEDBACK Here’s a balanced opinion regarding the man whose female co-workers were male-bashers when they chatted together (March 3 column):
Reader – “While I do agree with you about women bonding in groups to be supportive to each other, their generalizations about men all being killers, lousy mates, etc, could be construed as a form of gender discrimination which that particular man is being subjected to.
“And that employer could be sued for fostering a hostile work environment for allowing male-bashing to continue, if there’s a complaint.
“As long as that particular man isn’t thoroughly offended or his work performance isn’t ill-affected, your response is spot on.
“However, in the event that another male co-worker might be negatively affected, this man might want to have a talk with human resources, if this is an ongoing occurrence in his workplace.
“Nobody should be forced to hear people disparaging their gender.”
Tip of the day:
Play-fighting is only “play” when both parties agree.