I re-connected with a man I'd met in our early 20s, following his separation.
He’s self-employed with a young son.
We spent alternating weekends together, as I lived elsewhere. It was good.
When I was laid off, he insisted I move in with him. The rent would be much lower. I did it and found a job.
After half a year, he started randomly getting very angry.
He’d discovered his ex-wife’s cheating and now just tolerates her for his son's sake.
I noticed a connection between interactions with her every weekend and his “man tantrums,” after which he runs off to his work studio for alone time.
He has huge savings from inheritance, got half the house money upon separation, has good income from his work, yet he doesn’t pay off any debt.
He’s also stopped sharing house chores or errands. Initially, I was on unemployment insurance and did most of that, but now I work full-time.
He refuses to share a grocery budget and complains constantly about life being “expensive.”
I started buying my own wine/beer and fewer groceries – to match his input.
He eats lunch and coffee out almost daily, yet says he’s super broke.
His anger became so bad – connected to his inability to sleep – we sought counselling. I lost my first job partly due to my being tired and cranky after sleepless fight nights.
I do love him. He makes me laugh. I love his son, too.
But he's become more angry at me than happy, always blaming me. One fight lasted till the next day with him insulting me and acting crazy.
His individual therapy seemed helpful, but when it ended he got worse again.
Now I've got another job and need to get up early every day. I'm terrified I'll fail because of my unstable home life.
Our couples’ counselling didn't go well – he got angry on our fourth session.
I’m learning to just walk away when he’s calling me horrible names and deeply insulting me. He then texts horrible things.
I don't want to end the relationship and if I leave, I don't think he’d accept that we could still end up together. He thinks it all goes away every time he apologizes.
I want to believe him every time.
I know you’ll tell me to leave. But, is it possible that he’ll get another therapist (as he's promised), sort himself out, and then we could live happily ever after?
I just want him to be like the person he was when we first met, not this very self-centred, angry man.
Is There Hope?
You’ll never know the answer until you do leave. So far he’s had no reason to change… other than self-interest due to sleep problems.
You’re always there for the next round of outbursts and accusations.
This man needs serious professional help – a doctor to examine his sleep issues, and a therapist who’ll probe his attitude towards money (having plenty and feeling broke), and anger management regarding the triggers and his overreaction.
It won’t happen from a few short sessions.
Meanwhile, you need to feel safe.
And so does his young son – a fact which may provide your best approach to your leaving.
Tell him that his behaviour is frightening, emotionally abusive, and may even become physically harmful to himself and others.
He must stick with therapy for his child’s sake as well as his own.
Then, leave. The future is unknown, but the present is intolerable.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman who fears that her angry, untrusting siblings won’t accept her as the executor of her mother’s will (May 16):
Reader – “Fortunately for me, two of my three siblings - and their spouses - and I came to an agreement about our father’s estate after he died.
“Instead of two executors, the majority asked me, the eldest, to take on the duty alone.
“And I said I’d take the job to the lawyers that wrote up Dad’s will.
“I put the money that I would’ve gotten from the estate as an executrix fee back into the sum of assets to be divided.
“An even four-way split, all above board, no sister to blame for any errors or oversights.
“A family that has a history of troubles can find ways to maintain peace, even during times that bring back bad memories and cause pain.”
Ellie – An excellent, fair, selfless approach.
Tip of the day:
Staying with an emotionally abusive, irrationally angry, and haranguing partner is dangerous to your well-being and risks your safety.