Category Archives: General Advice

The Advice General’s categorized advice articles.

Is My Boyfriend An Abuser?

Dear Rob,
I am 20 and I am dating a 30 yr old male.

He is very sweet most of the time, but he gets angry about really little things. He has always lived on his own and I just moved in with him so I understand he is going to be a little aggravated.

The degree of which he gets angry and foul towards me is a problem though.

He is very particular about his house. Everything has to be a certain way. Yesterday though I had a handful of chips in my hand and he said “no, do not go in the bedroom!” (which was fine and understandable).

But then it progresses into comments like “I don’t know about you sometimes, you’re like a 12 year old.” I told him to calm down. And then he goes off saying f-you, you don’t understand.

After his comments I end up in tears. His favorite thing to do is apologize a thousand times and then say things like “I question every other day about this. Maybe this wasn’t a good idea. I don’t make you happy.” But then tells me I make him happy but he doesn’t make me happy.”

I try and explain to him it is not saying little things like don’t bring food in the bedroom, it is the comments he makes afterwards. Like I don’t know about you sometimes, you act like a 12 year old. And f- you and things like that.

He doesn’t understand and somehow everything ends up my fault again after he apologizes. HELP! Am I doing something wrong?
Thank you,
Jenni

Hi Jenni,
I have to wonder how much time you spent dating this guy before you moved in with him.

A couple of months?

You don’t have the compatibility to live together. Maybe date, but certainly not sharing a household.

The guy is a control freak with tendencies to be an abuser. From what you told me he has all the hallmarks of being an abuser such as:
Yelling about small things;
Showing distinct disapproval of how you are;
Making undeserved comments and attempting to start fights over them;
Swearing at you;
Apologizing afterwards for what should have never been an issue that he did start a fight over;
Never putting himself in your position to understand things in your relationship.

You didn’t say that he’s cut you off from family and friends nor did you say that you have a job. But I have to wonder how much of himself is getting inserted into your life outside of your residence.

If you can’t sit down with him and come to an agreement about how to live together, basic rules and allowed behaviors that you both be able to live with, then really, move out before life gets worse.

Rules for living together:
Share expenses 50-/50; on a monthly basis put together the receipts from all common expenses (rent/mortgage, utility bills, phone, cable, shopping and common personal items like body soap, dish washer detergent, etc.) and split the cost evenly;
Create a schedule for the tasks needed around the home (such as vacuuming, sweeping, washing dishes, laundry, grocery shopping, yard work, etc.), agree who will do what and when;

Once the things that need to be done are agreed to there is less interference in your being together because there are bow no chores and expenses that are surprises, can be overlooked and may start a fight.

If you can’t agree what to do when, and how to share the expenses with it all being written down and agreed to with signatures, then you aren’t going to have a happy home life.

So, you have two things to do now:
1. Talk with your boyfriend about how he treats you, that you should not, ever, be sworn at, humiliated, treated like a child;
2. Create a “Living Together Contract” putting everything in writing, expenses, chores, etc. Leave nothing out. Remember, everything you do individually affects the other, so it should all be agreed to.
If you can’t do these things, it’s time to put how he treats you under the microscope and decide if this is how you want to be treated for the rest of your life. Because he won’t change unless he agrees to change, you can’t force a man to change.
And if he does say he’ll change, hold him to it.
No idle threats about moving out. If you say it, mean it, have an escape plan ready.
Best wishes,
Rob.

Face Reality When Re-creating A Healthy Relationship

Dear Rob,
I’m not sure how to explain my problem. My fiancé can be very sweet and loving but he has an anger problem that I don’t like. He is very jealous. He does not want me having guy friends and I can’t even hug a guy without him getting mad.

One time I told him I was going off with one of my girlfriends and he got mad at me because he said he didn’t like her and didn’t want me to hang out with her. But while he was telling me this he was off with his guy friends.

It’s like he wants things to go his way all the time and if they don’t he gets mad.

If we get into an argument about something that he did he blames it on me no matter what. It’s always ” Well you must not love me as much as you say you do” and it’s like I don’t even know why that comes up.

One time we were talking about how unfaithful people are and he told me if he ever caught me cheating on him he would kill me. I know he’s just saying that to scare me. He has never so much as laid a finger on me.

Sometimes I don’t even like to confide in him things I’ve done in my past because he is very judgmental. One time he called me a whore and then apologized. But it’s so confusing because most of the time he is very loving. He will take me places and do stuff with me. And he spends all of his spare time with me. We are barely ever apart.

Should I stay with him? I just don’t know what to do. I love him with all of my heart but he can be so heartless sometimes like he doesn’t care at all.
Please help me,
Helen

Hi Helen,
Maybe you think he’s saying tough things like he’d kill you if you cheated on him but I think that he’s really drawing a line in the sand. What happens to you if he seriously suspects something is going on? I bet dollars to donuts that he’d beat you silly. His control over his own self-doubt is shaky at best.

When you become a victim to his hostility (verbal abuse and/or threatened physical abuse), when you allow yourself to be put down so that he can feel better of himself, when you allow a guy to not have to take the responsibility for how he makes you feel when he makes you sad or mad…
It’s time to show him the door.
Really, I only see things in your relationship getting worse.
He judges you, he rejects the fact that you are an independent woman that can think for herself. He is creating a world to hold you in, where you will only be able to do, act and think within his rules, which don’t apply to himself.

Put aside the ‘loving moments’, this guy is set on controlling you for his own benefit, not in a loving relationship based on mutual respect.
He wants to own you so that when he does hurt you, he can blame you for it, since you are only ‘property’ that is not allowed to have any real feelings that he should care about.

It’s time for you to stop being with him all the time. Carve out some time to be with your girlfriends and family, as soon as possible.

Healthy relationships are like trees, they only grow when the branches can spread out. Stop letting him prune you! Lay down the rules for your relationship and if he can’t accept them, dump him.
Best wishes,
Rob.

Dealing With Your Inner Wussy

Dear Rob,
There’s a girl at work that I am kind of dating. We have been talking every night on the phone for about two months but have only gone out once because we are both very busy.

We are always talking about going out on another date. For a week we have been planning to hang out with each other today (Saturday), but last night I found out she was ditching me to hang out with her best friend. I was with her when I found out and she knew I was mad. Later that night we talked on the phone.

She told me she wanted to tell her exactly what I was feeling, even if it was calling her a shallow whore. I told her how I had been looking forward to hanging out with her all week, and now I have nothing to do and won’t be able to do anything with her for another two weeks.

She told me that she wasn’t a crazy psycho girl that needed a boy waiting on her hand and foot, completely missing my point that I wanted to hang out with her. I asked her if we could just forget about it and she said no because I was still mad. I told her it didn’t matter and she said “whatever. I’m going to sleep.”

After that I asked her if I could call her later, and tried to figure out when I should do so, and all of her answers were short and blunt. Then I told her I would talk to her later and goodnight, and I didn’t receive a response (we were texting). I leave to go out of town tomorrow morning and hate leaving with a fight. I want to see her in person to talk about it and make up, and can meet her at school today when her sport gets back from competition, but I don’t know if that would make me weak and I don’t know what I would say.

Can you please help me figure out how I can express my frustration of being ditched while settling this argument with her? Should I even go see her today? What should I say?
Thank you,
Anonymous

Hi Anonymous,
Don’t say anything to her. Stop everything you’re doing right now.

We have some things that need to be changed with your attitude towards her.

You’re a wussy that can’t seem to understand that you’re just not that important in her life right now.
Stop talking to her all the time on the phone and she’ll do one of three things:
1. Stop talking to you altogether
2. Start being the one to call you
3. Actually set up a time to “date” or hang out together because she misses you.

Don’t apologize, she stood you up.

But don’t be a wussy, at her beck and call. She doesn’t like it, she told you so and I’ll tell you the same. Stop being a wussy.

Let her contact you and if she asks you what’s going on just tell her “I shed my inner wussy” and walk away.
Let her feel rejection for a while and for goodness sakes, hang out with other people starting immediately.

Don’t call her. I’ll say it again:
Don’t call her anymore! Let her call/text you first.

Keep conversations short, don’t let her (or yourself) ramble on like a meowing cat with nothing to say other than “play with me!”.
Best wishes,
Rob.

Is It Over?

Hi Rob,
My fiancé and I split about 2 weeks ago, we had been going out for two and a-half years and everything was going great until around 7 weeks ago when her dad died. Unfortunately she found her dad dead in the house, she organized everything funeral etc, and I tried to balance being there for her and giving her the space she needed but despite all of that she seemed to be coping fine.

She had to give up the house and is now staying with her half-sister and her boyfriend and she does not get on with her mum whom had split with dad sometime ago. The fiancé and I had talked about her moving in with me even before her dad died, and after wards she knew she was more than welcome to stay, but about 3-4 weeks after the funeral she seemed to spend less time with me, I’d ask her down for supper etc., but she was always doing something else, especially with her best pal. She called me last week and told me “she didn’t want this right now” and I hadn’t done anything wrong, and finished it.

I’m gutted, IS IT me? Is it due to her Dad’s death? What should I do as she’s told me to stay in touch……. help.
Regards R.

Hi R,
It sounds like you dropped the ball. She didn’t get the support she needed from you at a critical time in her life. By giving her space, you actually let her down, I would think. You didn’t say if her ‘best pal’ was male or female and that can make a difference. I would have hoped that you’d have been picked as her ‘best pal’ to get her through this event in her life (her father’s death) and that’s where you lost her. You weren’t there.

Your goal now is to get back in touch with her. 2 and a half years isn’t something that is easily dismissed.
She needs to feel that you will be there for her and you’ve got to start acting like you will be there.

Start off with sending her some flowers or some other small gift that says you are thinking of her. Invite her out for a quiet dinner and a long talk about what has happened and your future together. If she doesn’t come with some solid answers, you’ll know that it’s time to move on. Don’t just hang around because she wants you to be near her and available. That’s just a weak excuse to drop you for a second time down the road.
Best wishes,
Rob.