Columns Mar 30, 2011 at 4:00 am

Thank You


Dear Frustrated Fiancée,

He hasn't hit you yet. He'll save that till you're knocked up and "stuck" with him. If you try to leave he'll 1.) stalk you 2.) kill you 3.) kill your kids 4) all of the above. You won't leave him though. You, like many fools in love, will make excuses for his behavior, cover for him, and refuse to believe your love won't heal gag his pain and cure him of his bad behavior.

Dear Sad Eyes,

You. Aren't. A. Victim! The wife is! You are a selfish pig. You are as much as selfish pig as the husband. Quit whining and feeling sorry for yourself! Jeez!
Hello frustraded fiancee
Your soon to be hubby sounds just like my father who would smash the toaster when it, not him, burnt his toast. And have a tantrum every other night because he could not find his keys wallet or he had no clean underwaer.
Having grown up with it and have first hand exsipence with it I agree with dans advice. My dad is a nice guy with no people skills and a problem dealing with his anger. And he needs to know that there is no excuse for being an ass. And my father was the one who made the apointment with the therapist the day after my mother came home with divorce papers even though he openly did not want to go. Things have been better not perfect. My father is still a caring ass but dose not rage over petty stuff.
My folks are still married after thirty years and my father has never hit anyone while in a rage but be causis of stray flying shoes
And sad eye quityourbichen what did you exspet you are a home wrecker you have no reasony cry be glad you got laid a few times and feel lucky if a bunch of angery army men/wemen don't come and maul both you and your whatever he is exlover, scumy boy friend...
FF, I'm with the majority here--don't marry him. Or, if you're dead set on that, then put off the marriage until you see long-term change. But if you don't want to follow that advice, then whatever you do, do NOT bring children into your home unless you've seen long term change. You may decide that you can live with that sort of anger. As an adult, that's certainly your choice to make. But children should not have to. Not to mention, if he acts crazy over late subways, he'll go ballistic over the daily stresses children add.
My guess is, the guy needs medication, not just therapy, Tantrums like that are often a sign of something out of wack in the brain. This is not to say he has no control, but oversimplify hugely if we expect people to just "grow up" like that.

Also, as someone who can be prone to tantrums over little things when I get really stressed (definitely a brain chemistry issue due to ADHD, I'm working on it with success), I really resent the notion that taking out anger on inanimate objects = will probably/definitely take out anger on human beings. I've broken a lot of stuff in my life but I do NOT hit people. Not ever. Not once in my adult life.

He's a douche if he doesn't want to work on it, but I hate the notion that displays of temper are a definite sign of impending violence. I've seen so many good people get crucified for that bullshit.

It's great that you are having success dealing with your anger issue.

Many people who get divorced find new love. Given that the LW is not even married yet there is an opportunity to move on and find someone else who is not a potential threat. Notice I said "potential" and not "definite." It's up to her to decide whether the potential payoff is worth the unnecessary risk.

As a person with bipolar I recognize that disclosing my illness may be a dealbreaker for many people. It's just something to accept about reality. At least anger issues can be cured. Her fiance can fix his problem and start anew, with a clean slate.
@Frustrated Fiancée;

The thing about "angry people" is that sooner or later they are going to get around to being angry at you. You don't want to be around them.
I had a temper tantrum boyfriend in graduate school. I never could predict what would set him off, mostly because he was predisposed to take things personally, even things that were offered as compliments to him or things that had nothing whatsoever to do with him.

One night when we were cooking together (lesson: cooking with someone teaches you a lot about them) and he was getting all bent out of shape, I deliberately went to the other side of the kitchen and started doing dishes. In other words, cowering. And, while cowering, thinking to myself, "Holy shit, I'm my mom, I'm doing exactly what my mom did, holy shit, holy shit..." While I was standing there marveling at the power of childhood conditioning, he whipped his cooking spoon across the room because something else went wrong.

After he calmed down, I tried talking to him, doing (as a commenter above mentioned) the I statements thing. I made the mistake, however, of using the word "cower" when I tried to talk about my reaction and he exploded. I mean exploded.

That was the cycle. He'd explode, I'd try talking to him about it, and then he'd explode because I tried talking with him about it. I joked with friends that he owed me two apologies for each incident.

To the point. I was astounded by how readily I played the victim even while being both conscious of and distant from the dynamic as it unfolded. I joked with friends when they asked me how things were going--"Not much longer" was my refrain--because I knew that I was reaching a patience limit. I knew it would end when the irritation/exhaustion of the outbursts would outweigh all the consistent sex I was having.

So, this is the kicker: my casual reaction to the whole thing made me realize that I was free to protect myself emotionally and then to leave eventually because I didn't love him. I felt no need to save him, to change him, to rationalize his behavior or to selectively focus on the calms between outbursts--all the games the victimized play to cope with the abuse.

So, what I learned from this was that it's really easy to sit on the sidelines and say DTMFA because you don't have emotional stakes in the situation. Feeling love? That's the hard thing to walk away from.
While he may never turn abusive - you have some issues yourself. You've picked a man just like your father. You need to deal with that - you deserve better than that - even if he never hits you - you will still be emotional abused. Take it from one who knows
To FF: My story is that although my tantrum-thrower never did hit me, he did: drive the car through the garage door in anger; ball up his fist at my face many times in order to make me flinch/back down from my very valid issue; punch holes in walls, doors, and the car dashboard; swing a hammer at my head (I ducked); and drive drunk at 120 mph on a freeway, then stop short in the middle of the road, causing me to bonk my forehead on the windshield, while terrified of a collision. Now, my oldest son, while not like my husband in very many ways, punches and breaks things when he is angry too, like his dad, and holds things in out of fear of a reaction, when they should be expressed, like me. Worst of both examples. Please get out while you can.
@6--My oh my, how your need to be entertained has blinded you. Perhaps you are the one in need of a sabbatical.
Dan is the Martin Luther King of the gay rights movement. IGBP may really be the difference between choosing life over death for so many in need. That he's packed his bags and is hauling his ass all over the country to further the cause is too be celebrated.
Until you top his accomplishments, you need to STFU.
Dan I usually dig just about everything you say but I have to kindly disagree this time. In your response to the lady whose fiance throws tantrums you seemed pretty sure that eventually those tantrums would lead to physical abuse. I hate to admit it but from my own life experience I can assure you that's not always the case at all. I have struggled with an anger problem for most of my life. I've since calmed down quite a bit and don't suffer from major tantrums anymore but I sure used to. I have broken many pieces of furniture in my life as well as put countless holes in walls and doors. Even to this day from time to time I am liable to gently punch a wall if I know it won't break either the wall or my hand. I have never lifted a finger to hurt any woman I was with nor have I ever acted in a threatening manner to them. I have always accepted that at times the only way I cold see to release my anger was to hurt an inanimate object. Now of course I've gotten older and gained a great deal of control over my anger but even at my worst I never hurt anyone or even caused them to fear I may escalate. It's simply not a hard and fast rule. I didn't like the person I was but I had definite limits. Hurting someone I loved or even hurting a stranger for that matter was never even a remote option. All tantrum throwers aren't the same and there isn't a guaranteed continuum of violence.
Does FF's fiance scream obscenities at his boss? Does he throw things across the room at his workplace? I bet he doesn't, because he knows he wouldn't get away with it. He can control himself - he chooses not to.

I used to have temper tantrums, to shout, scream, and throw things. I knew this behaviour hurt other people, even as I said it wasn't my fault because I just had a bad temper. Fortunately for me my parents did not indulge this ludicrous behaviour, and I stopped aged about nine. These days I can still get angry about things, but I deal with it in a civilized way. I don't shout. I don't scream. I don't throw things. I remember I'm a grown-up and I behave like one. The sort of behaviour FF's fiance is indulging in is just that - an indulgence. No one who has the social competence to have a fiance doesn't also have the social competence not to scream obscenities in supermarkets (and is he screaming at shop assistants - that really is a violent act). He just likes to scream obscenities more than he cares about other people, including FF.
@114 right on spot !
I realize that Sad Eyes is a song, but let's take the question as a hypothetical. Who's the bigger jerk? Assuming the marriage was the sort where 2 people stand up in front of a congregation and promise monogamy to one another, he is. He's the one who went back on his word, his promise to himself, his wife and their whole community. All the writer did was delude herself. When will people get over the idea that other people are supposed to keep their marriage vows for them, that they wouldn't be unfaithful if they weren't tempted?

For the guys who answered Frustrated Fiancee with renditions of how they used to have tempers but never went on to become abusers, could we hear from your exes or current partners, please? I don't want to hear from you what she said. I want to hear from a woman who's still with a guy with such a violent temper and how he got over it with therapy and never hit her. I'm willing to believe it can happen; I'd like to hear it from her side.
FF - read the book below and share it with your soon-to-be spouse. It saved me and my marriage. I grew up in an extremely violent home, and never knew how to live with that part of me. I never hit my spouse, but the verbal abuse was always flowing from my mouth. I am not making excuses, but it's hard to know that your anger needs love and caring just like your sexuality.

Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames, by Thich Nhat Hanh
@68 - throwing keys during a temper tantrum *could* be a sign of uglier things to come. How did he throw his keys? Did he throw them on the floor, or did he throw them at something? If it is the latter, then i would be concerned.

My ex had anger issues, though i didn't recognize the problem until well after we were married. It started subtly, and infrequently, with name-calling and belittling. Then i noticed that he had isolated me from my friends, and was trying to control who in my family had contact with me, meanwhile, we spent great amounts of time with his family. He took away my self-esteem by making sure that no matter what i did, it just wasn't good enough. In joint counselling, he had me believing that i was the wind beneath his wings, but he would return to the house and it would be no time at all before he would continue his name-calling, belittling, and verbal assaults on me.

One day, we were having a disagreement over a not-so-huge issue, and he physically assaulted me. We never discussed it, mainly because i was afraid to broach the topic. Within a 6 month period thereafter, he physically assaulted me three more times, all incidents were (in my mind) minor disagreements or issues that, when it resulted in him punching me or shoving me so hard that i wound up on the floor, completely shocked me.

In counselling, he tried to make the therapist believe that i dreamt up the assaults. For the longest time, he wouldn't admit to any of the physical assaults. That was when i knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he would re-offend, and that i needed to get away from him and stay away forever. Which is what i did.

So, FF, if you don't know what to do NOW, then just try to picture yourself after years and years of this abusive behaviour from your b/f, you being embarrassed over and over again and again by his public temper tantrums and private rages. Multiply that by 20 years, and do you think you will be lovingly laying in his arms at night?

I think you know the answer already, as you would never have written to Dan, had you not had a clue. Now you have to act on your gut instinct and leave this man. He is not your match. Save yourself the pain and humiliation of what is to come if you do marry him, wish him all the best in his life, turn, and walk away. Tell him you are not his match. Tell him this, because it is the truth, but please do not tell him behind closed doors. Tell him in a very public place, such as a busy coffee shop, or at the crowded beach, or in the shopping mall, where other people are around you and you have the safety of the crowd around you, and, if need be, possible witnesses. This way, you will be assured of your safety, as long as you do walk away, get in your own car, and drive away to your own home without him. Do not tell him that you are leaving him unless you already have your exit plan worked out and you are ready to leave immediately, if you sense that he could "go off" on you with this bit of bad news.

If you think you (still) love him and wither from breaking away from him, do it for the safety of any future children you have, so that they and you may live in peace and contentment in a home full of love. A home cannot be full of love when it has within it a person who flies off the handle at a whim.

Finally, Good Luck!
@16 - That is so clueless! He is ALREADY abusing her by continuing to engage in behavior that he knows is frightening to her. And no abusive person starts out by slugging the one they love in the face - if they did, there would be no such thing as abusive relationships because they'd be too easy to avoid. No, they start out with little things and then gradually escalate. Besides, why take the chance when there are so many other fish in the sea?
@116, I'm not the woman (wife) but I am the daughter. My father had an anger control problem, and finally he gave my mother a black eye she called the cops and got a PINS petition on him. That meant he was forced to stay away from the house for 10 days or agree to anger management counseling. He agreed after a couple of days and hasn't hit anyone since. However, he's still a control freak and my parents still have a dysfunctional relationship in which they scream at each other and call each other ugly names.

I am SO glad I married a man who knows how to chill and be mellow!
Didn't Lily Tomlin once say that the problem with being the slightly lesser jerk is that you are still a jerk?
No? I may have paraphrased wrongly.
@119 Diagoras, you've made an interesting point there about abusive relationships not starting out that way. Never thought of it before but so many people make the excuse that the abuser 'can't help themselves'. And yet, as you say, if abusive relationships started out with a punch in the face they would be easier to avoid. Which means to me that the abusers have enough awareness to control their behaviour enough to lure people in. Thanks for the new perspective! I shall be putting that to use when I make excuses for a couple of people in my life.
To everyone talking about the tantrum-throwers ability to control his behavior....

We all hide things we don't like about ourselves from people, and only share those things with those we feel closest. For abuse that's not rooted in misogyny and control, but rather a genuine mental illness or disorder, one's uncontrollable temper likely falls into this category. So he can control himself at work or around casual friends, but to his partner and in his home, or in situations where the opinions of anonymous bystanders don't matter to him, he lets down this guard. If this is the case, he absolutely needs help, but blaming him for being an opportunistic and/or misogynist asshole doesn't help.

For abuse that is rooted in misogyny and control, the violence and anger are strategic. For abuse rooted in mental illness, a lack of control over it is a defining characteristic.

I don't want to come across as an apologist for abusers, just highlight that it's not that simple.
123: He may turn out not to be abusive, and to just be a tantrum-thrower, but nobody owes it to anyone to take that chance. It's better to be safe than sorry.
@122 are you making excuses for the victims of abuse or the abusers? Either way, it seems as if you could probably find a better use of your time & energy.

I didn't say anything about the line between abuse and tantrum-throwing. Or about whether or not she should leave. Who are you responding to?
I broke off my relationship with the most kind, intelligent, witty, and handsome man on the planet because he became verbally abusive. His tirades were out of proportion to my "offences", which were simply things that were not at the top of my list, and which he could easily have done himself. He never apologized, never admitted that his behavior was inappropriate, and tried to control my life by his disdain and disapproval of anything I wanted to do.

I had never been in an abusive relationship, and was slow to see the potential outcome. It took a year, but when I finally made the connection I didn't need to write to Dan to see what he would say. DTMFA. So I did. It wasn't that hard to do, and no regrets. Thanks, Dan!
Dan Savage is a boring old lady. Suicidal gay teens make great music.

Frustrated Fiancee: Marry this guy, he'll keep your crazy ass in line and probably won't tolerate a pocket dog or a Prius.

Wallflower: Where is this orgy, exactly?

Sad Eyes: My wife just left for an extended deployment to her mother's house for the wknd. Hit me up.
hi I guess I don't know what I am doing. I need some advice for my sons
I have nine kids whom I love more than I am able to describe. Two of my boys have confided in me that they are gay. These are popular boys who attend a private school are scholar/athletes and are set to go to University. They have explained their situation to their brothers and their sisters and to their mother. I am the last to hear of this. I love my sons. I love them more than anything. How can I counsel them? How can I make their lives more safe and happy? How do I greet a teenaged boyfriend at Easter?

Okay, I'll bite. I'm currently engaged to someone who could have been the man in FF's letter. A year ago, his tantrums were occurring weekly (yelling, stomping, crying, breaking his own things)... he's already down to monthly or less and they're *much* shorter and milder (starts yelling, stops himself, takes a walk or a shower, comes back calm). I think there is a huge difference between someone who has trouble controlling their emotions, but is willing to work on it, and someone who either refuses to admit they have a problem, or consciously does it as a form of control and abuse. I can't tell which the fiance is from the letter alone, but I agree with Dan's advice to solve the problem before getting married, or don't get married at all.

I think we had several things working in our favor though:
1) The very first tantrum in my presence, I waited until he finished, sat him down, and told him this is a dealbreaker unless he learns to control himself. And if he were to ever hit me, damage my property, or verbally abuse me, he will get no second chance, full stop.
2) He's embarrassed of his own behavior and wants to change, including practicing anger management techniques when he's *not* having a tantrum, so he can become skilled at avoiding them.
3) He has no other abuse red flags; he's respectful, never name-calls or demeans, never controlling, etc. The tantrums stem purely from anxiety issues that spiral out of control.
4) I'm very difficult to anger or personally offend, so I'm the "rare kind" of person Skipper Jo mentioned in #64, and I do not get sucked into the drama of the tantrums myself. As long as he continues improving, and stays tantrum-free for many months, I feel safe and confident marrying this man.

Now, clearly, FF does not have 1, 2, or 4 to help in her situation. I won't make any statement on what she should do, what anyone should do, or whether my kind of situation is common. But yes, some people are capable of controlling their anger - if they actively work on it. If they refuse or the behavior worsens, definitely DTMFA and run.
@ Mike in Phoenix, first of all, you do know what you're doing - you outright said that you love all your nine kids more than you can say. That is the #1 requirement of parenthood, so you're well into doing things right.

Your 2 boys confided in you. This means they trust you... right again. We're on a roll. They are gay, but not fully "out", but that is up to them, not you. Whatever, whenever they choose, it's their call, not yours, and there's nothing you can do but sit on the sidelines and help them in the aftermath. Hopefully, there will be little aftermath of negative value.

Don't place much value on being the last to hear of their sexuality; it may not mean that you are last in their eyes, rather, they worked the vocab till they got it just right so they said it how they wanted to say it to you. Revel in the fact that they trust you enough to tell you.

Tell your lovely sons to read Dan Savage. Tell them to log on and go to and read, read, read. You have contributed all you have, already, to make their lives safe and happy... sounds like they are well on their way to go it on their own at university.

Greet the b/f's at easter in the same way you would greet all your children's friends. Do not put on false airs; people of all ages, young and old, see right through that. Be yourself. You sound like an upstanding Dad. Just be the Dad and enjoy easter.

Good luck.
Bluejean Baby @132...that was perfect. I'd only add that I think sons often feel they need to live up to their dad's expectations, and knowing that Mike in Phoenix supports and loves them, regardless of their orientation, will be huge for them. He will be their springboard.
Just to add (not that Bluejean didn't cover this all pretty well), that high school aged kids coming out to their parents is HUGE, and it means they really do trust you. I think it's quite common for boys to worry about their dads; it sounds like you might be a religious family and this might give them a moment's pause--I don't mean to suggest that religious people are bigots on this point, but those that are make an awful lot of noise. However, Bluejean is dead on. They may have been a little nervous and felt it was easier to tell their mother first, but the fact that they came out *before* college suggests, to me anyway, that they got nervous but then remembered, "oh, shit, this is DAD we're talking about, he loves us like crazy and nothing's going to change that." There can be no better indication that you're a wonderful parent.
I love your show but jesus you have to put a time limit on the phone messages. Holy christ by the time they finish I'm ready to slit my wrists.
My girlfriend and I got our autographed copy of the It Gets Better book when Dan and Terry were here in NYC. It was a great night--very moving and also very funny. I also got to present Dan with one of my paintings about gay bullying!
Hey, guys, are the podcasts audio only , or are they video, too? Sometimes it's not about the technology, but the fact that I can't hear, or I'd be checking the podcasts, too :)

Not worried about the preponderance of IGBP -- everything has its time & place, everything evolves. If this column was always the same since 1998, it'd be pretty boring, eh?

I use the facebook button at the top to find the speaking tours w/locations and dates. Nothing near me yet but someday I'm sure.

Mike in Phoenix -- nine kids -- WOW! I agree with the others - letting you know while they still live at home, and the questions you're asking yourself -- great dad. Sounds like not only are you proud of them, they are proud of you.
what's with the guys advising FF to stay with the asshole because he hasn't hit her yet? are they part of an international conspiracy to increase the chances of women being sucked into abusive relationships? if you want to marry someone who's physically violent, go ahead. don't wish it on others, though.
@138 BEG

I think they are audio only. How do you normally get around that? How would video help?
@140: I would imagine that video would allow some degree of lip reading. I speak as someone with only slightly poor hearing, though. (I generally watch lips to clarify things. I can talk on the phone, but people have to repeat things a lot for me. This is actually a big part of why I don't listen to the podcast, either.)

@138: I wish I could help you out. Maybe someone would be willing to transcribe it for you?

@130: The last family member that I came out to was my dad. I wish he'd reacted the way you seem to be; instead, things got bad enough that my mom went behind my back and lied to him, saying that he'd misunderstood me.

The most important thing to know, I think, is this: being gay doesn't man they'll be attracted to every boy in the world. A lot of straight people forget that, in my experience. (My dad didn't want me to have friends over, because he thought we'd get up to stuff, even though my female friends were often straight and almost always uninterested in me romantically, even if they weren't.)

I think you'll do fine.

Also, send them to It's an amazing website.

Good luck!
Hilarious Sad Eyes Prank. But was this played by Dan or on Dan?

I was so flummoxed by the "she's coming home today" thing. How can she get her stuff packed up? How can he remove any trace of the other woman? I was thinking, "He's so busted." HA!

my fears of HIV were momentarily rekindled just from how much I feel like back in 1991 after visiting the page. Would a blogspot be so terrible?

my firefox even crashed from posting the first few times -_-;;

it gets better rocks dan!

Gee I gues 123 was just saying that most of you are talking about some thing you really have no clue about and that there is maybe a difernce between someone who has tantrumes and some who is abusive or violent. And by most of yalls logic you are saying that an abuser throws tantrums. Why don't you all go back in to the all the old savage love letters and see how many folks that have said their significant other is abusive and throws tantrums. Hummm not many. So why would any one assume that tantrums and abuse go hand in hand
Oh and just to reiderait what I said earlyer my father throws tantrums punches walls and after thirty yaers 30 trips around the sun three decades, my father has yet to actully hit some one or throw some thing at some one or hurt some one. And that is only thirty years he has been my father and my mother would not have married the guy if he had a histoyr of hurting others. Tantums can be embarasing this I know first hand but abuse is not in the definition of tantrums
I think a lot of the on FF here are making an unfair conflation between tantrums and raging at a loved one. If that anger is ever unleashed at something the letter writer does, especially in her presence, he should be flagged as a potential abuser and treated accordingly. Until then, it would be far more fair to treat him as merely childish and embarrassing (which is, of course, a perfectly valid reason to break off an engagement).
I used to be very angry and throw my keys, curse loudly at video games, punch walls, etc. I would never hit anyone, but it was more self-abuse than anything. I got so worked up over every little thing that didn't go my way. It really hurt my relationships (both friend, and romantic) and looking back it was genuinely embarrassing behavior.

Then at 25 I started smoking cigarettes. 7 years later, in a completely new city, people I'm friends with now say I'm the most mellow and even-tempered person they know. And when they tell me I should quit and all I can say is "yeah, maybe. but it would be pretty unpleasant."

So yeah, there is probably some less-cancer-causing medication out there I should be taking. But the point is, no amount of therapy would have "cured" my behavior. I've come to the conclusion it's purely chemical.

Next time he flies off the handle, put a pack in front of him on the table and say "either you start smoking, or I'm leaving."
I think I'm a little late to the party, but here's my 0.02c:
to FF - I was married to the sweetest guy ever. No tantrums, no red flags, always calm and joyful. He hit me after 6 years of marriage. It had NEVER crossed my mind that he would ever hit me. Remember, no warning signs. And yet, he did. And I was out.

I agree with Dan here - the abuse has already started. It's emotional, not physical - yet. But when you're afraid to discuss something with your future husband because you're scared of his potential reaction, that's when the relationship starts to go south. It will only get worse. DTFMA

And another thing - I recently read Alain de Botton's book - "On Love" or "Essays on Love" (can't remember which one is the American Edition - if you see them both, they are the same thing). In that book, Alain makes a pretty good point. I suggest you read it, and you will understand what I mean. It instantly came to mind when you mentioned your dad.
Now wait a second here 150 dan said get counsaling and if he dose not go then dtmf and ff never said her S.O, focuse his rage on her she so it is not emotinal abuse never said she was afraid to discuse it she said she had discused it and that he was was unacsepting of the idea that he needed counseling. Your attention to detail is worse than my spelling.
It has been a horrid overcast day today, and tonight the wind is whipping around like mad... does that mean it will rain? No one knows.

150's post just goes to show that there is no set formulae for spotting an abusive person.

Most others (me included) have posted thoughts about how abusers might be spotted early on by their slow and escalating bad behaviour. FF's partner threw keys and tantrums, but hasn't hit her (yet).

My point is, there is no way to know. You have to follow your gut. But certainly, we all have varying levels of what we deem acceptable and what we are willing to live with.

Most would agree that when a person "goes off" over issues that can and should be handled with a level head, there is something amiss. If that person then physically strikes out and assaults someone, it's criminal behaviour.
FF's fiancé might have undiagnosed bipolar disorder. How do I know that? Well, my husband used to do the same thing constantly. He always seemed to be punching or crushing something... holes in the walls, (I've gotten really good at patching drywall over the years.) broken cell phones, eye glasses, video game controllers, and don't even get me started on putting together furniture from IKEA.

Having a bipolar partner can be scary. The constant mood swings, anxiety, paranoia, panic attacks at all hours of the day/night, and occasional road rage are difficult to deal with at best and can be dangerous for all parties involved. Sometimes I wonder to myself if he was worth it. I guess, ultimately, I decided that he is... but it hasn't always been an easy road.

Once diagnosed by a professional the person has to accept the fact that they will mostly likely need to go on medication. Once on the medications they need to realize that just because the manic episodes have stopped doesn't mean they can stop taking the medication.

I know it sounds ridiculous… but I can’t tell you to stay with him or DTMFA… because in my opinion it would be irresponsible for me to tell you to stay or go because I’ve never met your fiancé. However, if he loves you he’ll be open to listening to you about going to see a psychologist/psychiatrist at the very least. Take it from there. If he’s willing to take responsibility for his actions and own up to his behavior then I think you’ve got a chance.
FF-- just one more person chiming in to say Dan's right, he'll hit you, it happened to me. He will ruin your life. Leave. now.
@34 chrisbrown as a verb - love it!

@130 Um... Hi, it's nice to meet you? Treat your son's teenage boyfriend the same way you would treat your daughter's teenage boyfriend. They're just people, not aliens or anything. Have a happy Easter!
I was in a relationship for 2 yrs to a guy that was controlling, emotionally & physically abusive. The physical abuse did not occur until later towards the end of the relationship. He blamed everything on everyone else, but himself. He had such tantrums about every little thing that did not go his way... he even went through 4 Xbox controllers in 6 months because he would literally throw them across the room when he would lose. I would sit there in silence, pack up the cats & dog and sit in the bedroom because I was afraid for not only myself but for my pets too.

He would yell at me in public and I would literally cry...I was embarrassed of being around him. He would argue about how stupid I was that I couldn't read his hand-writing, I didn't get the right kind of juice or pick up his clothes from the cleaners. I was a working student with 2 jobs, and he was at home living off of workers comp. The tantrums never stopped even when we went to see a therapist. And in the end, I ended up going to therapy alone...because he said I had issues that needed to be worked out.

These chrisbrown tantrums do not go away, even with therapy. You deserve someone better! I now have a PFA for 3 years to keep him from harassing/hurting me. I have a new man in my life, and I am happier than I have ever been...
Just walk away and never look back!
I was in a relationship for 2 yrs to a guy that was controlling, emotionally & physically abusive. The physical abuse did not occur until later towards the end of the relationship. He blamed everything on everyone else, but himself. He had such tantrums about every little thing that did not go his way... he even went through 4 Xbox controllers in 6 months because he would literally throw them across the room when he would lose. I would sit there in silence, pack up the cats & dog and sit in the bedroom because I was afraid for not only myself but for my pets too.

He would yell at me in public and I would literally cry...I was embarrassed of being around him. He would argue about how stupid I was that I couldn't read his hand-writing, I didn't get the right kind of juice or pick up his clothes from the cleaners. I was a working student with 2 jobs, and he was at home living off of workers comp. The tantrums never stopped even when we went to see a therapist. And in the end, I ended up going to therapy alone...because he said I had issues that needed to be worked out.

These chrisbrown tantrums do not go away, even with therapy. You deserve someone better! I now have a PFA for 3 years to keep him from harassing/hurting me. I have a new man in my life, and I am happier than I have ever been...
Just walk away and never look back!
"For abuse that is rooted in misogyny and control, the violence and anger are strategic. For abuse rooted in mental illness, a lack of control over it is a defining characteristic."

Sure. At the end of the day it doesn't matter, however. The LW felt afraid around this guy, and no matter what their intent/strategy is (if there is one), you are walking on eggshells and afraid to bring anything up to them. You are in for a lifetime of humiliation and fear because your partner acts like a three year old.

No one should have to put up with that. If this is a mental health issue, then it's on HIM to get treatment. It's not on her to stick around.
What's this "chrisbrown" stuff?

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