My partner of 15 years was initially kind, loving, and supportive, emotionally and financially.
He’s continued this way, but every month or two he gets enraged – yells, swears, and accuses me of not helping him, because he pays for everything.
A week later, he apologizes and we eventually work out a compromise.
When I try to do something for him, he says he doesn’t need help or I don't have to pay for that. I’ve suggested a joint household-expense account with both of us paying, but it never seems to happen.
He’s hurt that I don't do things for him that I’d do for my friends. This is partly because I sometimes feel that I dislike him due to the anger issues.
His daughter, 31, is currently changing her relationship, career, and job, and living with us until she can buy a house nearby.
She and I had major issues when my partner and I first got together, and some are resurfacing. Recently, she exploded at me, and screamed at me for several days. During this time, my partner was alternately yelling, swearing, and trying to negotiate peace.
I’m staying with my parents for a few days to allow everyone to calm down. My stepdaughter is attending counseling, and we both apologized.
My partner says he feels betrayed by me and that it’s best to split. I asked both of them to consider attending a course on healthy relationships with me.
I’m hurt and frightened by the possibility of starting over, and being alone at 56 and recently retired. I can’t put up with this abuse any longer, but have a lot to lose socially and financially by leaving the relationship. Yet I possibly have a lot to gain in terms of mental health.
Do you think there’s any chance of establishing healthy relationships with him and his daughter?
You’ve described a complex mesh of anger/abuse (his), passivity (yours), and meddling (his stepdaughter), that’s created chaos that can’t easily be adjusted into ongoing stability for all.
Your mental health should be the prime determinant of what to do next.
You do not mention love. Or affection. You “suggest” changes like joint finances, but in 15 years haven’t been able to settle this matter that arouses his fury. In return, you withdraw kindnesses you’d offer friends.
His daughter’s presence stirred an already boiling pot of emotions.
A course on healthy relationships would be helpful for all. But I doubt that it’s enough to help you and him – the prime couple here – work out your problems of so many years’ duration. You’d need counselling together and individually, he’d need anger management, and you’d have to change many of the ways you’ve dealt with each other financially, just when you’ve retired.
Stay apart (but see a lawyer about your rights as a common-law partner) and try the course for a start, with no promises about where it’ll lead.
Where can I get free help for a binge-eating disorder? I’m too ashamed to ask my family doctor. I really need help fast. I’ve been denying it for too long.
Binge-eating damages your health of body and mind, and your self-esteem. But with the right program and support, it can be successfully treated.
Free help starts with opening a door – either at a hospital clinic for eating disorders or through a referral from your doctor. Listen to your own pain, and follow it’s urging to get help. There’s no shame, only the positive steps of saving yourself.
FEEDBACK Regarding people living with chronic health issues (Dec. 27):
Reader – “I draw the attention of your readers to a web site that deals specifically with the issues of living with chronic health issues - http://www.healthy-living-now.ca/.
“I live with chronic health issues, and lead an active life as a result of rehabilitation courses and the “Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions” workshop. I am now a co-leader of several workshops and work as a volunteer.
“The workshop was developed at California’s Stanford University, and is now offered in Ontario, Canada.”
Ellie – Even if this workshop isn’t offered in your locale, people interested in its information can encourage their conditions’ health associations and support groups to create a similar model.
According to the web site, the six-week self-management workshop empowers people to live well, while dealing with conditions like diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, lung disease, and other chronic health issues.
Tip of the day:
Leave chaos, take some time, and then assess any chance for stability.