I met him 18 months ago, and soon started a committed relationship.
He mentioned his previous history of gambling, saying it "isn't a part of his life anymore."
I was shocked but believed him. Months later, he’d started gambling online as his way out of crippling debt.
He said it’d be our ticket to start our lives together, buy a house, get married, and have a family.
I knew in my heart it was detrimental to our relationship and my life. However, I remained by him.
Months passed, he was binge-drinking on weekends with his friends. It embarrassed me and made me ashamed of him.
His gambling and drinking remained a secret from his loving family, whom I adored.
He broke up with me, but we re-connected a month later with nothing resolved.
Several months later - with me so neglected by his gambling and drinking - I broke up with him. We’ve communicated since, but aren’t together.
He’s informed me that he met with a financial advisor to sort out his debt, and put an action plan into place so that he can be married, buy a house, and have a family.
He’s also receiving counselling and is on a path to self-improvement and wellness. He’s more motivated and wants me to be a part of his life.
How can I trust him with my heart and my life, if we get back together?
Been So Hurt
It’s very revealing that you didn’t once use the word “addiction.” Until you’ve both acknowledged that specific reality – that he’s addicted to gambling, and alcohol – you cannot trust him.
He needs to deal specifically with addiction – i.e. get counselling, with a specialist in behaviour modification, who helps him find healthy strategies for responding to whatever sets off the addictive binges.
Joining support groups with Alcoholics Anonymous and Gambler’s Anonymous would also help him acknowledge the behaviour for what it is. And spousal support groups such as Alanon would be helpful to you.
But concepts like “self-improvement” don’t cut it. He has a deep-rooted background to these addictions and you both need to understand it a lot better before planning a life together.
I’ve had anger issues since childhood. I grew up in a family without healthy communication - anger was the go-to emotion. Now, I’m transferring this trait to my romantic relationship.
In serious, major arguments, anger becomes like a "drug" which I don't know how to control. I’ve been in counselling twice for this. But I later "relapse" into these patterns.
My current boyfriend’s compassionate, strong, very intelligent. We love each other.
However, he’s at a loss regarding this. I’m embarrassed and disgusted with myself, regarding my behaviour sometimes.
I don't want to be this angry person anymore and want to be happy, calm, and at ease.
You’ve got clear understanding of the history of your anger, and strong motivation for changing your patterns.
Get back to therapy, to an anger management specialist. Ask your boyfriend to come to some sessions with you, so you can both learn how to avoid repeating past responses to conflict.
There are also anger management groups, which might help you, as you share how others react to triggers in arguments, such as fear and insecurity, and how detrimental the anger is to their goal of resolving their disagreements.
Dear Readers – If you’ve experienced successful methods, or read helpful books about anger management, send me the information to share in a future column.
My boyfriend’s 19, I’m 20. This is his first serious relationship. Whenever we’re in a group, or talking on Skype with friends while playing video games, he makes comments that usually put me down.
I feel like I may be overreacting, but it seems he makes these comments only to me. It became a heated issue in one of our spats, but he didn't take it seriously.
How do I make him understand that he’s hurtful to me? How can I get him to respect my feelings?
Speak up. Don’t hold back until a big blow-up. Say firmly that his putdown comments are insulting, not funny, and you won’t accept that treatment.
If he turns it on you as overreacting, repeat, firmly, that it’s not the way couples treat each other. And you won’t accept it. Excuse yourself from the group when it happens, and leave.
He’ll either get it… or not.
Tip of the day:
Addiction has to be acknowledged before the addict and those closest can attempt to handle it.