Savage Love

Thank You

Comments

1
"That makes him the bigger jerk, IMO. You both deserve new assholes—but he deserves a slightly bigger one."

The good news is that she had the slightly bigger asshole for nine months!
2
"That makes him the bigger jerk, IMO. You both deserve new assholes—but he deserves a slightly bigger one."

The good news is that she had the slightly bigger asshole for nine months!
3
Dan, love the advice to Sad Eyes ... what did she expect? And even if he did leave his wife for her, what happens if she's away for any length of time? It sounds like he just wants a warm body there, and I feel sorry for his wife!
4
It Gets Better rocks, Dan! Good luck on the book tour.

It totally sucks to be tech unsavvy and not everyone has an iPhone or Android.
5
FF - Dan is right for you to require help for your fiance. If he really is "amazing," he will work to help himself. In therapy, he will set goals for himself, and I suggest you set goals for yourself as well, like, "if my fiance does not embarass me or make me scared with his wild tantrums for, say, 12 straight months, I will then seriously consider marrying him.
6
Dan, I really don't want to call bullshit on you. Your column has been provocative, provoking thoughts and making me question my self and assumptions. But, it's lately become too much marketing for the "it gets better" project (which should also be in quotes, but quotes after quotes - yeesh). I am not denigrating the project, nor am I calling for more poo-eaters. Instead, a mere plea: Take one step back and think, "Is my column becoming a college application essay for all the good things that I have done?" If it is, if you've felt a loss of edge, please be assured. We do not blame you. Who among us mere mortals could work week-in-and-week-out (in-out-in-out) without losing it / blowing a load? Three words (and a spare syllable): Sab Bat i Cal. We'll still love you when you get back, but you deserive some time off. (And not because you need to be gone and then forgotten. No, because we want you ready to go for 2012 to energize our bases, as it were.)
7
Onoes, lazy prof, Dan is busy for very good reasons. We're all seeing the other side of the mountain, the tide is turning, and someone has to carry water.
Amazing things are afoot, Dan's fresh from a vacation, and the haters are just about to have tolerance shoved (yes) down their throats.

Rock on Mr. Savage.
8
I married a guy even though he threw temper tantrums that humiliated me. I finally left him but have been fighting for my sons ever since. Today my 12 year old son - whom I utterly adore - lost his temper over a homework issue, threw something and told me "fuck you". It was like I was looking at his father who has never apologized for terrorizing us, who never stopped to reconsider bringing bad, angry energy into our home.

Please don't marry that guy. Just don't. Abusers have an amazing, almost magical ability to make you feel sorry for them. It's uncanny. But you cannot fix this guy and if he doesn't see anything wrong with his behavior, nothing you can do - not bearing his children, not loving him completely, not forgiving him, not hiding his outbursts from your friends and family, not threatening to leave him - nothing will change him.

I still feel sorry for my ex-husband and I still wish that my love could have fixed him, but now I have to argue with him in court about why our children need and deserve therapy. It's been absolutely awful. Please don't let this happen to you.
9
I married a guy even though he threw temper tantrums that humiliated me. I finally left him but have been fighting for my sons ever since. Today my 12 year old son - whom I utterly adore - lost his temper over a homework issue, threw something and told me "fuck you". It was like I was looking at his father who has never apologized for terrorizing us, who never stopped to reconsider bringing bad, angry energy into our home.

Please don't marry that guy. Just don't. Abusers have an amazing, almost magical ability to make you feel sorry for them. It's uncanny. But you cannot fix this guy and if he doesn't see anything wrong with his behavior, nothing you can do - not bearing his children, not loving him completely, not forgiving him, not hiding his outbursts from your friends and family, not threatening to leave him - nothing will change him.

I still feel sorry for my ex-husband and I still wish that my love could have fixed him, but now I have to argue with him in court about why our children need and deserve therapy. It's been absolutely awful. Please don't let this happen to you.
10
@6 -- Get a life.
11
re: tempers I think a critical piece of information is missing. Has he ever harmed a person or animal, physically or verbally? Its one thing to lose your cool and throw your keys, another to take it out on a person. If he's done the latter then stay the hell away. Its only a matter of time. It sounds like he hasn't, but if he's punching things that's a pretty bad sign.
12
Frustrated Fiancée needs to DTMA!!!

No ifs, ands or buts. DTMA!!! Run, do not walk. DTMA. Your LIFE may depend on it.

"Therapy" is not going to cure this. Years and years of therapy, maybe. But mental illness, which is what this is, can also get WORSE over time. Marrying him is signing your own death warrant.
13
Aw, you're a sweetheart, Dan. You've provided an amazing platform for people to share ideas and discuss all the different topics on which you post. I think it's good to remember, too (@6), that SL, and Slog are free for all of us. We come here and enjoy it, no charge, and it's really cool to see people band together to change things. It's a unique sort of give and take that I've never seen anywhere else.

Hope your local book signing went well, and that your faithful Seattle Sloggers brought you some stale cake. Good luck for the rest of the week, too.
14
Frustrated Fiancee: I've been there. My father had a horrible, hair-trigger temper that I grew up in terror of, and while quite a few of my friendships and relationships have involved nasty tempers, none of them has ever ended well. I always end up cringing and flashing back to a bad place whenever someone I'm close to gets irrationally angry and it's not pleasant. He doesn't have to hit you to make your life painful, so if he doesn't seriously commit to change, you need to DTMA yesterday. It's not worth the misery.
15
#6, if this column is evolving away from what you love, please don't assume you speak for all (or even many) of us. I love Dan's dirty wit (which you do a poor imitation of) but the entertainment value of the column makes it a fantastic vehicle for such a great cause that the call for more fisting jokes and less saving lives is a bit obscene.
16
I think that all the dire warnings about FF taking her life into her hands if she marries this guy are completely overblown. To be clear: there's a very obvious, very good reason that she should think twice about marrying him, and that's that the tantrums are humiliating and triggering. But the notion that this guy is going to morph into an abuser is just garbage pop psych. People with anger issues can have specific sort of triggers which don't generalize to people in their lives, and if he hasn't ever had a tantrum directed at her in the past, there is no particular reason to believe he is suddenly going to switch his aggressions to her.

People with anger issues deserve to be stigmatized to some extent--social stigma is a spur to dealing with the problem by consulting a professional. But they don't deserve to be labeled as abusers if they don't have any history of violence (emotional or physical) directed at people in their lives.
17
Frustrated Fiancée needs to Google "Cycle of Abuse"
Sweetheart, you are smack dab in the middle of it. Abusers don't change until it's a good idea for them, and it requires so much more than the fiancée asking nicely.
#6-Dear Abby is dead and gone, but Ann Landers still has a column that would be perfect for you.
18
First time commenter, long-time reader.

Abuse stories like that first letter scare me. Even if your sweetheart doesn't actually hit you, there are plenty of ways you (or any potential children) could be physically harmed by him--especially if he throws things when he has those outbursts! Anger issues are NOT something you can just quietly sweep under the rug and hope they go away. Even if he, himself, is trying to get over this, you do not move in with him until the tantrums have STOPPED. Period.

Even if he never attacks you directly (and that's a HUGE "if"), are the property damage, emotional harm, and psychological effects on your children really worth it? No. No, they're not.
19
@13

Well said, Canuck.
20
@12 and 14: When did DTMFA lose the 'F'? Is this the slow progression to a G-rated column?
And @6, Dan's always been a shameless self promoter, but we love him anyway, for his caustic wit, hard work and (as this column shows) generosity.
21
@8/@9

1) Why do you need to argue about why your kids need therapy? Just take them. Kids going through a divorce are nearly always recommended to therapy anyway. I and my sister had to go to family therapy with mom when mine divorced. You can address the anger issues at the same time.

2) People are born with a personality. The anger your son exhibits is very unlikely to be purely learned behavior. It's also got a genetic component. Not that he doesn't need therapy; it sounds like he does. But consider that the angry outbursts may not just be something he learned from watching his dad. There are plenty of kids who watch their dads break shit and cuss out their moms who don't do the same things themselves (hi there), because they realize it's hurtful behavior and they don't externalize their own anger issues.

I'm not a therapist but maybe you could try teaching your son to externalize his anger in a more healthy way. Encourage him to run around the block if he gets frustrated with his homework. Or designate a punching pillow/bag that he hits in private. Or listening to really loud music on his headphones for a half hour.
22
"You both deserve new assholes—but he deserves a slightly bigger one."

Why should gay kids get all the attention? How about we show a little love for all the jerks out there and start an "It gets biggger" campaign?
23
My ex-boyfriend was similar to FF's fiance. He never hit me, and I'm not entirely sure he would've (maybe he would have, if we had stayed together long enough, who's to say), but he got upset at VERY tiny things--things as little as buying something at one price and then later finding that it was cheaper elsewhere. "Goddamnit" was his favorite word. He was very obsessed with life going the precisely right way and when it didn't--boom. He would throw things, punch walls, say horrifically hurtful things (including blaming me for getting laid off from a job). I absolutely walked on eggshells around him. I would keep things from him to avoid his getting upset. He never hit me and I never felt the threat of such, but who knows where it could've gone?

Even if FF's fiance never hits her and never will, she should get out of this relationship, because that's a crappy way to live. When being routinely humiliated by your husband is the best case scenario, GTFO.
24
@21 She may not have enough money herself to pay for her children's therapy, thus the need to argue in court. Or she may not have a convenient enough schedule with the children to fit in therapy sessions.

Besides, being a victim of marital abuse destroys one's ability to take decisions, even if you know in your heart that they are needed and just - so #8-hrchick may still need his validation, or the judge's validation, to feel able to get the children into therapy.
25
I agree with #6. For a while Savage Love and the podcast were the "Sex at Dawn" weekly show and now it's all "It Gets Better" all the time.

It's excessive and it gets annoying. I think that more emphasis needs to be placed on the "advice column" parts of the column / podcast / blog. I'm not saying that all promos or opinions need to be removed, but I think that 50% of what is currently offered would be a better amount.
26
"We wound up having sex. I moved in a few days after that." Did I just read that right? Did you just say that you moved in with a guy, a guy who's wife was deployed over seas and would be coming back in nine months, a few days after you had sex with him for the first time?

Either that means that you are a poor young lady who doesn't make enough money to pay your own rent so you routinely move in with what ever man you happen to be fucking at the time, or you were deluded enough to believe you had a future with this man after a couple days of fucking him while his wife was on deployment.
27
"We wound up having sex. I moved in a few days after that." Did I just read that right? Did you just say that you moved in with a guy, a guy who's wife was deployed over seas and would be coming back in nine months, a few days after you had sex with him for the first time?

Either that means that you are a poor young lady who doesn't make enough money to pay your own rent so you routinely move in with what ever man you happen to be fucking at the time, or you were deluded enough to believe you had a future with this man after a couple days of fucking him while his wife was on deployment.
28
Right on, #27.
29
@ It Gets Better haters above,

Dan Savage can say anything he damn well pleases.

The well-being of young men and women is more important than you being entertained. (For free, every day,without fail)

Thanks Dan, we love you!
30
Sorry about the double post, I didn't know if it had gone through.
31
@8 : I feel for you. My eldest son is also 12 and he's had periods of angry or violent behavior since his pervert father's departure 3 years ago. I think he had none before, because he was too afraid of how his father would react.

The father wasn't physically violent though he had tantrums, and he was very controlling. Any little mistake, like a child starting to speak to me while he was already speaking, and me acknowledging the demand of the child, made him furious.

#21 gives good advice about what to do. I wouldn't do the loud music though, hearing loss is no fun. The following is how I'm dealing :

My son has yelled at me, he's insulted me, he's slammed doors, he's hurt his siblings in anger. It's getting better though, less episodes, less violence. He's had therapy for 1 year, and the therapist told me that "better be angry than depressive & suicidal".

So I try to acklowledge his anger as a normal feeling under the circumstance, not as an earth-shattering event - though it felt like it the first times - but I ask him to control his behaviour : don't hurt anyone, don't destroy anything, don't insult anyone. The message is "it's ok to feel angry, it's not ok to disrespect us or the house". I consider it as a work in progress : he's seen bad things, he hurts inside, but he has to learn how to express his anger in a way that doesen't hurt us.

Of course I isolate him while he's mad and he's grounded for a week when he comes back to his senses, and he has to make amends to the injured or insulted party. He accepts it quite well. And whenever I feel that the pressure is building up, I let him space & time to quiet down, or I ask him to run around the house - and I always tell him who proud I am when he succeeds in nixing a coming outburst.
32
@21 - When there is joint custody, both parents are supposed to be involved in making decisions in regards to health care and education. The kids may be covered under his health insurance, too.
33
I can throw temper tantrums over the most petty things. I know it is childish and feel badly afterward, but in the moment I can't seem to help it. However, I will NEVER hit or abuse my wife. My last physical confrontation with another human was before I was a teenager, I'm 40 now. Temper tantrums and physical violence do not necessarily go hand in hand. Don't just DTMFA?
34
Frustrated Fiancée should leave now.

His behaviour brings back memory of your childhood abuse ? That's a redflag. It's most of your mind and your body alerting you to the fact that you're gonna get hit soon. It means : run.

Forget the wedding, it's not love he feels for you. He's already abusing you. Love doesn't frighten. Love doesn't humiliate. Love doesn't hurt inside.

And all your love for him will not make him change one bit. He'll hit harder, that's all.

Get info about redflags at
http://drirene.com/redflag.htm
This site will show you how your life with him will be, in the best case - the case where he doesn't chrisbrown you.
35
I'm married to a former tantrumer and Dan is absolutely right about his advice. You need to address this, directly, repeatedly, until something changes, BEFORE you get married. My then bf would throw fits over ridiculous things; he had zero ability to control and manage frustration. His temper went from 0-60, instantly.

While he never hit me or made me feel physically threatened it any way, his behavior disturbed and embarassed me. And I did worry that over time it might escalate. Before issuing a "therapy or else" ultimatum, I talked to him several times about how his tantrums affected me, made me feel, etc. No beating around the bush, no tenative suggestions. The only trick is that I didn't phrase it as an attack on him - you do blah blah blah; you need to blah blah blah, you are such a blah blah blah. I simply told him how I felt, how I was affected and made the conversation about me.

It terrorized him that he made me feel unsafe. It embarassed him when he found out he embarassed me. He was ashamed of himself. And slowly he began working it out on his own.

He still not the most mellow guy when he's angry, but it's been years since he's acted like such an ass that I've felt embarassed or freaked out by him. When he does overreact, he recognizes the behavior almost immediately and simmers down. Then apologizes directly.

Your fiancee might not be able to work it out on his own to that level, but he better start learning to work it out somehow. Or seriously, the negative quality will eventually outweigh every positive quality he brings to the table.
36
@6 - Speak for yourself. I do not have a problem with Dan promoting the hell out of It Gets Better. Promote it for all it's worth. I have friends who have videos, and if it saves my kid or one of her friends one day, it's worth it.

Go read something from the archives to tide you over.
37
That last letter is a wind-up. It sounds like the lyrics for a Country & Western song. Dude crying at the end of the bar and some other sap of a victim shows up to hear his woes and then they get together and they live in silence until the wounded sap gets thrown out on her ear. If this letter isn't crimmed from a C&W song, then I'm going to get to writing it today! Also, booze is featured so the whole thing follows the C&W "formula." Someone is a genius, indeed. On a critical note, they missed a trick by not including a dog which they'd bought together and now things are "complicated" because she has to leave and wants to take the dog with her but he wants to keep it. Otherwise, it's perfect. I'm wondering was anyone actually awake during that 9 months? AND.... 9 months?! There SHOULD have, at least, been a baby involved - from that drunken night to the day that she's asked to leave! Come on!
If the letter is "real" then this woman learned a valuable lesson. This guy, obviously had it planned before his wife left and was just looking for a sucker.
38
To FF:

I too am partnered with a former tantrum-thrower, and it did escalate to violence. The proper diagnosis of Bipolar disorder, and treatment with both medication and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has saved both of our lives.

If he refuses therapy, or if therapy does not produce concrete changes, then absolutely leave. But do not be tentative, do not be flexible about therapy, and do not marry him until he has demonstrated that he will share a safe life with you.

To everyone urging her to DTMFA:

This is not what she looking for. She plans to marry this man. She is in love, and is planning her life with him in it.... DTMFAing would require a massive change in her self-concept, and she is not prepared to do that.

I agree that an ultimatum is necessary, and he absolutely has to work on this, but he does not sound beyond help. My heart goes out to her, and I hope she never, ever has to make the decisions she'll have to make if he does become violent.
39
What is the relative number of email readers of Savage Love compared to print readers of Savage Love? I'm just curious which has the majority, and how big a majority that is.
40
It is a song - from the 70s - called "Sad Eyes" Look up the lyrics - they're all in her letter. Dan - I LOVE YOU - but, didn't you catch that?
41
Letter #1: Fake. Fake fake fake.

Letter #3: Lame, Landersesque choice.

DS's eye is off the ball.

Er, balls.
42
Depending on the guy's behaviour around the temper tantrums, it sounds like he is on the autistic spectrum. She needs to look up the symptoms and see if he matches those found on The National Autistic Society (in the UK) or another office body in the US. If he does match the criteria then, unfortunately, she will either have to "learn to live with" his behaviour or she can move on. Therapy helps in children diagnosed as autistic spectrum but for adults therapy can only touch slightly. She needs to find out and really understand that there is no cure for it and no amount of therapy will change that. I am on the autistic spectrum myself and YEARS of meditation has helped tremendously but I live a solitary life and I have to be careful around people. I also worked for 6 years with moderate to severe autistic young adults so that is why I am suggesting that this guy might be on the spectrum and not know it. There is help out there but this woman needs to be realistic on what can happen as far as her relationship goes.
43
That should be "official" and not "office."
44
@13, Canuck, there was delicious chocolate cake at the pre-event reception, and i hope dan took some home to leave out for two or three days. and the reading was great! Liz Jones interviewed Dan and Terry, and three contributors read their essays. lots of love, tears and hope.
45
April Fools, people.

Looks like it's over, you knew I couldn't stay
She's comin' home today
We had a good thing, I'll miss your sweet love
Why must you look at me that way
It's over

Sad eyes, turn the other way
I don't wanna see you cry
Sad eyes, you knew there'd come a day
When we would have to say 'goodbye'

Try to remember the magic that we shared
In time your broken heart will mend
I never used you, you knew I really cared
I hate to see it have to end
But it's over

Sad eyes, turn the other way
I don't wanna see you cry
Sad eyes, you knew there'd come a day
When we would have to say 'goodbye'

Sad eyes, you knew there'd come a day
When we would have to say 'goodbye'
Sad eyes, turn the other way (turn the other way)
I don't wanna see you cry (cry, cry, cry)
Sad eyes, you knew there'd come a day (he-e-e-ey)
When we would have to say 'goodbye'
Sad eyes

Good one, Dan!
46
Oops, italicized the kudo. Here:

Good one, Dan!
47
Damn it!
48
I was wondering how old Sad Eyes was, thinking if maybe she was 20 or so, I would cut her a bit of a break. But I went up and re-read. Man, she is almost 30. Old enough to know better. I have a touch of sympathy though, having had the experience of falling in love with someone when I didn't want to, but I will DEFINITELY agree with Dan....HE is a major douchenozzle. He invited another chick to MOVE IN knowing full well he was just going to dump her ass when his wife got back? Man, that just seems really low. I can understand his wanting some poon while she was gone (I really feel so empathetic for military folks, it has gotta be soooo lonely on both ends!) and don't even fault him too much for that....but a live-in lover? Wow...hasn't this guy seen Fatal Attraction?!?!?!
49
I'm kind of doubting the veracity of "Sad Eyes" myself. He threw her out the same day his wife was returning from overseas? Seems like the dude should have needed a little more lead time to cover his tracks after a 9-month-long stint of living with this woman.
50
Lol! Is it an April fools? I wonder! I am so suprememly gullible, I always fall for them *grin*. But, the reason country music is so popular, is sometimes it rings so true ;)
51
Scroll up. Full lyrics. Dan's tweaking our collective nipples. And I thought I had an italic virus. Crazy, crazy world.
52
In the back of my mind, I knew it was that song, "Sad Eyes" but I just didn't let it in and went for the possibility of a made up country tune. LOL that the letter got through!
53
Now it's in my head. Fucking earworm. And Ms. B, pretty sure Dan done did it on purpose.
54
I think Sad Eyes is the bigger douche. The guy TOLD her he was married. He never told her he would stay with her. Getting tossed out when the wife comes home is the natural conclusion, and even if you deluded yourself into thinking it wasn't the natural conclusion, it's only because you expect the guy to tell his wife, when she comes back from 9 months overseas, that SHE'S out on her ass.

So I totally disagree with Dan here. The girl who expected the guy to toss his wife out of their house is the bigger jerk.
55
What a great suggestion! I have ordered a copy of It Gets Better and plan to donate it to my old middle school in Wisconsin. I already called the public library in Missoula, MT, where I live, to see if they were planning to carry it, and they are! Thanks for all the good work, and making it easier for all of us to help it get better.
56
Looks like it's over, you knew I couldn't stay
She's comin' home today
We had a good thing, I'll miss your sweet love
Why must you look at me that way
It's over
Sad eyes, turn the other way
I don't wanna see you cry
Sad eyes, you knew there'd come a day
When we would have to say 'goodbye'
Try to remember the magic that we shared
In time your broken heart will mend
I never used you, you knew I really cared
I hate to see it have to end
But it's over
Sad eyes, turn the other way
I don't wanna see you cry
Sad eyes, you knew there'd come a day
When we would have to say 'goodbye'

[Instrumental Interlude]

Sad eyes, you knew there'd come a day
When we would have to say 'goodbye'
Sad eyes, turn the other way (turn the other way)
I don't wanna see you cry (cry, cry, cry)
Sad eyes, you knew there'd come a day (he-e-e-ey)
When we would have to say 'goodbye'
Sad eyes
57
About your advice to Sad Eyes, maybe you should have skipped the words and given her a link to this song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kzeCjluv…
58
Dan maybe i missed it, but what is your book signing tour's itinerary? In particular will you be visiting S. Cal? And if so, when and where?
59
@FF - Honey, walk - don't run - away from this guy now. Drama, emotional dysregulation and the threat of violence (throwing keys, etc.) are all abuse. BTDT. It never ends, until you're a broken down lump of blah or you leave. The entire MO of abusers is to wear you out/down. Sleep deprivation, isolation (I'm embarrassed to be around people/in public!!!WTF!!!), consuming 100% of your time and attention (no space for your own interests, etc), etc. are all various methods which are more or less designed to break you down. I'm not saying their conscious plans - gaslighting - but either way, this is how these behaviors work on you.

I've been through this (with a woman) and although she didn't really 'hurt' me physically, I have to tell you, I was sooo shocked when she did hit me, that I didn't really recognize it for what it was: abuse. But it had the desired affect on me...I flinched after that, and I was even more subdued in later discussions and avoided topics that might 'set things off'...because I wanted peace.

A divorce lawyer friend of mine pointed out, that 9/10 times, the crazier spouse wins (assuming the money doesn't all run out first, and there is anything to "win" left), because they're willing to go the extra mile, oblivious to what effect they're having on themselves, their soon-to-be-ex and any offspring.

I forget sometimes what that was like...I remember deliberately 'fixing' a few 'snapshots' in my mind - now I can't pull up the snapshot, but I can pull up the memory of trying to take one - because I did care very deeply for her and because we all sanitize things - sentimental hygiene. Do not do that, or at least, don't do it until you are free and clear of him - disentangled in every way. Someone up-comments noted that you're in the middle of it - believe me, as a fellow traveller - you will not believe just how twisted it was when you're six months clear of it.

Do not believe that 'forcing' him to seek out therapy will work - even if he consents to going, it will do no good at all unless he wants to be there - in other words, it will do no good if he's doing it under duress. Even if he turns on the sweet and charming and 'volunteers' to go into therapy when you call off the wedding, it's the same thing: under duress.

Please spare yourself the additional heartache, and do not stop using BC so long as you are with him. He might be a great guy, and have a ton of redeeming values, and very good reasons (growing up in an abusive environment being #1) for "being" that way, but those are not excuses and marriage is not a suicide pact. Good luck!

@Sad Eyes - karma's a bitch, ain't it?
60
In addition to Dan's excellent advice to Frustrated Fiancee not to marry the guy, I'd like to suggest that she talk to a social worker at a women's shelter, show her the letter that she wrote Dan, and ask for her opinion as to whether that man is a wife beater in the making. It might mean more coming from her. There will likely be more detail, more insight, more weight. In particular, the question is under what circumstances therapy might help or whether it could help at all. I'm inclined to say not to bother; the jerk is a lost cause, but a social worker's opinion is worth more.
61
Oh scary tyler moore, I am so jealous! I'm glad you had a great evening out...plus cake! Dan and Terry deserve all the accolades they are getting, this will be a legacy.
62
Doh...Sad Eyes Oh well...fooled me!
63
Emergency rooms, divorce courts, and graveyards are filled with women who once said, "My fiancé would never in a million years hit me."

I was one of them, and every time I look in the mirror I am reminded of being my ex's punching bag. A twice broken nose, permant broken blood vessels and chipped teeth are what I see everytime I look in the mirror. Yes I left him, yes that's when it got worse, yes he went to prison for it and yes I fucking helped put him away. But his prison time is a small drop in the bucket compared to the ten years of nightmares and trust issues I still deal with. If you are in an abusive relationship FUCKING GET OUT! Run and never look back.
64
To those who think FF shouldn't DTMFA because temper tantrums are not necessarily a prelude to physical abuse ...

Okay, you have a point, but not a relevant one for this situation. You're right that he may never lay a hand on her. But even if he's not a future batterer, even if his behavior never gets any worse, I don't think FF can expect to have a good marriage with him. She's already unhappy and will continue to be so unless he changes. Maybe another woman might be okay with a non-abusive tantrum-thrower, but FF clearly is not. This couple is not a match.

To have a good relationship with a tantrum-thrower, their partner should feel safe and assertive enough to say "knock it off," or they should be the kind of rare person who's unfazed by tantrums. FF obviously doesn't fit either of those descriptions. His tantrums give her flashbacks and make her feel humiliated - cowed. She says she's only "tentatively" addressed the problem, which indicates she doesn't feel safe enough (emotionally, if not physically) with her fiance to express how nervewracking and embarrassing his outbursts are for her.

Whether it's her history of being abused or just her personality, she's not a person who can be comfortable and happy in a relationship with this man. That's not her fault. There's nothing wrong with her, so the onus to change (her mindset, her feelings about his behavior) should not be on her. I'm assuming he knows about her history, but even if he doesn't, she's told him his tantrums disturb her. That should be enough motivation to try to change. If he's unwilling to try for the sake of his future wife's peace of mind, then he's a jerk who likes having the power over women (hello, emotional abuser). If he tries to change and can't, then he's not a jerk, but he's still not a good partner for her.
65
Regarding Frustrated Fiance:

1) Being embarrassed/humiliated by your lover's behavior is, by itself, a legitimate reason not to marry that person. If he won't change, she has grounds to dump him based on current conduct alone, regardless of potential future conduct.

2) There is nothing in her offered facts to suggest that she is currently a "victim" or an "abuser" (@8). She is "humiliated" by his tantrums. Humiliation can be victimization (like if he were publicly verbally debasing her), but it is not in this case. Here, it's just very embarrassing; as in "I am not comfortable being associated with a person who has so little self control." Treating women like FF as victims is an insult to actual victims and also infantilizes women in general.

3) The fact that her fiance's non-hitting conduct reminds FF of her dad's abusive behavior is NOT a red flag that her fiance will be abusive in the future (@34) - it is simply one of many examples of how past trauma can make people over-sensitive to things which may not be actual threats.

4) "a man who goes apeshit when he misses the subway is likely to go apeshit on his wife sooner or later." (@Dan S.) It's probably true that guys who have less self control are more likely to hit their wives than those with more self control, but it's not clear what the odds are. Some guys are actually so sick that they are fully in control of their actions when they hit their wives. Also, there are plenty of guys out there who have physical manifestations of anger but who do not hit loved ones. I am one of these guys (I think I got it from my mom- she used to throw plates against the wall when she got frustrated). I think it's a character flaw, but I'm still a better dad and husband than plenty of guys out there who never blow a gasket. And speculating that a guy who goes a little overboard when he gets pissed off might be autistic (@42)? Wow. Then autism must be much more prevalent among poor men and men from Italian descent.
66
Just for a different perspective, my father had temper tantrums just like frustrated fiance described. He was NOT an abuser and did eventually learn to control his temper, and I love him dearly, so don't assume that this guy is going to become abusive.

But I also am still dealing with anxiety issues stemming from getting yelled at/witnessing property destruction after fairly minor provocations when I was a child.

I really wish my mom had known about my dad's temper and forced him to deal with it BEFORE they got married and I was born.
67
I kind of want Wallflower at the Orgy to go just so she could report back to us on what sort of small talk, exactly, she ended up making while the fisting was going on. "How do you know the host"...? "Have you tried the salmon"...? "Wow, that's one big fist"...?
jill
http://inbedwithmarriedwomen.blogspot.co…
68
@ 59:

"Drama, emotional dysregulation and the threat of violence (throwing keys, etc.) are all abuse."

Throwing keys is not a threat of violence, and "drama" is not abuse. Abuse is when you get hit, are threatened with being hit, or are told verbally that you are bad and or/not deserving of love. Defining abuse in a very broad way does not facilitate sensitivity to abuse- it just waters it down.





69
Both my Dad and Grandpa were men like the first letter writer describes. They'd get mad, break things, curse, but they never hit you...until they hit you. I was taught to humor them in their anger, and consequently that this was normal adult male behavior, but as an adult man now myself, I know it's not normal. It's the privileged child's response to being told "No," only the "privileged child" in this case is a grown man who can't understand why he can't have his way and why all the world and his whole entire family won't cater to his whims and make his life easier.
70
Dan, I have an obvious problem with an obvious solution. But I can't get everything I want with it! Can I continue not to make a decision instead of getting my shit together?
71
@42

No, he doesn't. He sounds like an ass with serious anger issues. It's possible he's autistic, sure, but the letter doesn't really offer anything to suggest that. Tantrums are not only associated with autism.

The problem with this dude is not that he's guaranteed to start hitting her one day--that's the sort of thing that can never be clear. The problem is that this guy has a serious problem and has refused to get therapy. Even if his behavior doesn't fit your definition of abuse, like @68, the relationship is dysfunctional and probably won't improve. If the guy's too much of an ass to get some help, DTMFA.
72
I dunno, I've had a few successful relationships and have been with my wife for over ten years and the only incidents of abuse in my relationships have been women hitting me.

And yet I often rage angrily at terrible drivers, terrible politicians and video games that are truly frustrating. I find it much more therapeutic to vent such anger though loud swearing than to try to can it up and let the pressure build.

I think there is a real genetic predisposition to anger in men because women like men who stand up for themselves and fight other men for dominance. But now it is a sickness to be treated? I dunno. A gentleman is not someone who is never angry, he is someone who channels his anger appropriately, and the occasional 'tantrum' can fit that description.
73
@68: it is abuse. There is more to abuse than just physical violence directed against yourself.

I was raised with the idea that if he didn't hit you, it wasn't abuse. I got stuck in several consecutive, and one particularly bad, emotionally abusive relationships. Verbal and emotional abuse are still abusive. Things like key-throwing can play a large role in it.

The idea that he has to hit her for it to count as abuse is pernicious and really hurts people like me, who couldn't see that behavior for what it was until it had been going on for a long time.
74
Thank you #35 for offering up the option of talking about how the husband's actions make her feel. At least that's a start before you "run and DTMFA" as so many folks are quick to suggest.

My old man is a loving husband/father, though growing up, his tantrums were pretty obnoxious (like white-knuckled/ vein-throbbing-in-his-neck angry). He never did lay a hand on anyone in the family. My mother finally told him that he needed to go to some anger management classes. He finally did, took them seriously, wrote down the things that set him off and slowly chipped away at his anger issues. He's a helluva lot mellower.

He also hated being angry. And unless one is a sick fuck who ENJOYS getting pissed and making people feel uncomfortable, people don't particularly enjoy getting angry. right?!
75
Throwing keys is not a threat of violence,

Horsehockey. Throwing anything is an outburst of anger is a violent response, and is no less a threat of violence (attention getting) than punching a wall. It's a very deliberate way of saying "I'm so angry I could hit you or throw something at you."

and "drama" is not abuse.

Constant drama and histrionic behavior - emotional dysregulation - is most certainly abuse. It is a way of manipulating and controlling behavior in a partner by threatening out-of-bounds behavior in response to minimal stimuli of any sort that is "unacceptable".

What else is the object of this behavior? Why else is he throwing keys or "tantrums" about minor issues?

I'm not talking about indicting the guy on criminal charges. I'm talking about this gal getting the heck away from this person. Take your legalistic hip-contrarianism and go visit a Save the Males rally.
76
"FF - Dan is right for you to require help for your fiance. If he really is "amazing," he will work to help himself. In therapy, he will set goals for himself, and I suggest you set goals for yourself as well, like, "if my fiance does not embarass me or make me scared with his wild tantrums for, say, 12 straight months, I will then seriously consider marrying him."

I think that is about the lowest standard I can imagine for a happy marriage.
77
@drjones -

While I agree with this...

I think there is a real genetic predisposition to anger in men

...this makes no sense to me at all:

because women like men who stand up for themselves and fight other men for dominance.

I think the difference is called "testosterone" and yes, there is much more of it in men than women, particularly younger men, where violence tends to predominate.

But now it is a sickness to be treated?

We're talking about abusive behavior not anger in general. Anger is a completely normal and healthy emotion.

A gentleman is not someone who is never angry, he is someone who channels his anger appropriately,

That's absolutely correct. I'd prefer the word "manages", but whatever. And tantrums are not an appropriate expression, at least not after about age five. Grow up.
78
@42 stop making excuses! Autistic people can learn not to behave like scary assholes just as they can learn to not shit in public, which is essentially what tantrum throwing is. Yes Autistic people have limitations but I'm amazed how many self dx'd people are online who just happen to more accurately be a bunch of selfish anti social assholes. Being autistic might be why one does something; it has precisely zero to do with stopping violent tantrumming. Anyone socially adept enough to score a fiancee should be also able to stop violent tantrums. My own son is autistic and he knows damned good and well not to behave like that. Autistic doesn't = stupid asshole. I really wish supposedly autistic people would stop spreading that myth. If someone is a stupid asshole it's because they refuse to be otherwise, whether or not they're autistic.

Letter 3... He's a jerk but only to his wife. He never said he wanted a serious relationship. She was in one relationship in her head and he was in quite another. He wasn't a jerk to her at all. This is what happens when you have sex with a married man while his wife is away. He doesn't suddenly turn into an upright ethical fellow. If you want a man to treat you well, the married man shop, particularly the drunk married man shop, is not where to go looking.
79
FF, take an unannounced vacation, go somewhere you've never even dreamed of going (a great vacation spot or a run down motel in East Bunfuque, it doesn't matter,) and once you're there, call the fiance and tell him you're ending it.

Under normal circumstances I'd never say you should dump someone by phone, but for this I will. Let him have his temper tantrum when you're not within reach.
80
Oh and for the record I only read Dan here. I don't read his blog and I don't listen to the podcast. I don't need that much Dan (or anyone) in my life. So I don't really care if he posts his letters of the day.
81
I'm trying to figure out how a fiance who won't even consider counselling when he's been told his partner has an issue, throws massive violent tantrums (not just swearing and yelling to vent and blow off steam but throwing objects and breaking shit) falls under "amazing." FF needs to get her ass into personal therapy because she's marrying Daddy Lite if she realizes it or not. Maybe he won't ever hit her, but living to where you're in tears hoping the subway is just a wee bit late because he might break his hand hitting the bricks is not a good way to live.
82
To FF: i used to get very angry also, though i never hit anyone. then one day i was diagnosed with ADD and started taking medication for it.. the next time a situation came up which would normally make me angry i could feel it building in me then it was like someone threw water on the fire. That was the last time (and it was about 8 years ago) when i was mad. I'm not a doctor and there's no way I'm going to say that's his problem, but it's worth looking into. Look into ADHD/ADD and see if anything else fits.ADHD/ADD is a spectrum of symptoms that only a doctor can figure out. Despite the bad situation of parents dosing their kids when they don't have a problem, ADHD/ADD exists and proper medcation can change your life. BTW- I passed this on to my daughter and she's two different kids when she goes a day or two without. She takes her medication willingly because she's also recognized that it helps her. .
83
@68:

Oh, puh-lease. Get educated.
84
@ sad eyes the 2 of you were beyond wrong.. but like you he should face the consequences.. I don't know but where I live all tenants including livin pussy on a temp basis has th right to a 30 day notice.. even if you're not paying rent\bills check what the law is where your at and sue his ass and make sure you do it while his wife is here..

I believe in this case his wife has a right to know..because he took you to their home\bed used their sed on a daily basis..

For you or any that choses to mess around w\ a married should know your place..and stay in that place.. and don't give it up for nothing get something out of it.. no ands if or bu
85
Letter #1, DTMFA. I realized that my relationship was doomed when he got so mad on an airplane that the stewardess had to come threaten him with an air marshal. And no, he never hit me. He never hit anyone that I know of. But he was (and is) dangerously angry.
86
@75 (referring to me @68 referring to you @59):

[me @68] "Throwing keys is not a threat of violence"

[you]"Horsehockey. Throwing anything i[n] an outburst of anger is a violent response"

We agree that it is a violent act. Where we disagree is the extent to which a minor act of violence should be cause for concern in the context of a long-term intimate relationship in which the key-thrower has never hit the other partner. in other words, not all acts of violence constitute threats of violence to others. (Side note- if you read my post @65, you will see that I think she has grounds to dump him even if he is not a threat of future violence against her.)

[you]"and is no less a threat of violence (attention getting) than punching a wall. It's a very deliberate way of saying 'I'm so angry I could hit you or throw something at you.'"

What do you base this on? We agree that violent acts other than actual hitting CAN be implied threats of actual hitting, but this is certainly not always the case, as is evidenced by my personal anecdotal experience (both as an occasional violent actor who has does not hit loved ones and as a witness of violent acts by loved ones who did not hit me) and by the context of this woman's relationship with her fiance. Also, there is rarely anything "deliberate" about such acts- which is, admittedly, part of why they should be discouraged.

[me @68] "and 'drama' is not abuse."

[you]"Constant drama and histrionic behavior - emotional dysregulation - is most certainly abuse."

Nice try. Your post @59 did not include the word "constant" before the word "drama", and nothing in FFs post leads to the conclusion that her fiance's drama is "constant." However, we agree that "constant drama" is a form of abuse.

"What else is the object of this behavior? Why else is he throwing keys or "tantrums" about minor issues?"

Sometimes, the object is sometimes to vent. Sometimes, there is no object. Do I think it's the best way to deal with frustration? Nope. I think it's lame that he is acting like this and I am embarrassed to say that I sometimes do things like that, too. I just don't think it's always a red flag to dump someone. Some people, like my mom (as referenced @65), have acted out like this while also being great spouses and parents.

"I'm not talking about indicting the guy on criminal charges. I'm talking about this gal getting the heck away from this person."

Again, if you read my post @65, you'd see that you and I agree on this, although for slightly different reasons.

"Take your legalistic hip-contrarianism ... "

OK, I'll give you "legalistic"; which I consider to be a compliment in the context of a debate. I'm not so sure about "contrarian", since I'm agreeing with your basic premise that this marriage may not be a good idea. And as for "hip"; I don't think it's very hip for me to say that people who throw tantrums aren't necessarily abusive partners/parents. I think it's actually more hip to take your position here.

"go visit a Save the Males rally."

OK, but only if it's taking place right next to a Dykes on Bikes rally. I like to have a little eye candy when I'm protesting.
87
****@ sad eyes the 2 of you were beyond wrong.. but like you he should face the consequences.. I don't know but where I live all tenants including livin pussy on a temp basis has th right to a 30 day notice.. even if you're not paying rent\bills check what the law is where your at and sue his ass and make sure you do it while his wife is here..

I believe in this case his wife has a right to know..because he took you to their home\bed used their sed on a daily basis..

For you or any that choses to mess around w\ a married should know your place..and stay in that place.. and don't give it up for nothing get something out of it.. no ands if or bu
88
@83:

"@68: Oh, puh-lease. Get educated."

Exactly. It's not possible for an educated person to disagree with you. Well then, puh-lease educate me.
89
Well I guess this is the time when I just disagree with Dan. The Frustrated Fiancee dude sounds like an immature jerk who just may not be ready for marriage yet. But...he certainly doesn't sound like an abuser or a likely future abuser. He jumped the gun with the standard therapy bullcrap. I used to hit the arcade games when I was a kid and got kicked out more than once. It is simple immaturity and this shall pass.

I would sure like to know some of Wallflower's friends.

As for the pathetic Sad Eyes, it is also clear SHE is the bigger jerk.
-SHE moved in very, very hard at the precise time when he was most vulnerable.
-SHE wormed her way into his life (fucked her way actually but it is the same thing)
-SHE moved in with him within days of his wife leaving
-SHE did not even discuss the future, living day to day
-SHE actively planned to break up a family.

Meanwhile the cheating cad
-obviously had a rational plan from the beginning
-never lied to this cheating enabling aggressor wench
-preserved his family

So she is the bigger jerk.
90
FF - He doesn't have to actually hit you to make your life miserable. Living around that kind of anger is toxic. You ought to know. Don't let history repeat itself.
91
Frustrated Fiancée...I dated the guy you're about to marry for 5 years. He was sweet and thoughtful and gave me little just-because gifts. He also punched holes through walls, ripped screen doors off their hinges, and threw and broke things in his little rages.

It was great for a while, but it only got worse, and as it got worse I found myself making the same excuses to myself as you are doing now. He'd never hit me, he's really a gentle person when he's not throwing a tantrum, he's just angry because of x and y and I'll just wait for him to calm down and he'll be fine again. In the end, I was just feeding myself a bunch of bullshit to rationalize his behavior so that I could pretend he wasn't abusive. I finally found the courage to leave him when I was two states away, over the phone, so I was sure he wouldn't show up pounding at my door, angry enough that he'd finally hit me for the first time.

A person't doesn't HAVE to hit you to be abusive, you know. Some of the worst abuse comes from those who never lay a finger on you. And many abusers only get worse after marriage because they feel like they finally have you where you can't run away.

Tell him that therapy is not an option. DO NOT marry this man unless he makes this right and acknowledges his problem. If he flies off the handle when you make the ultimatum, do not let him put it all on you and make you the problem. Stand up for yourself and get the hell out of that relationship before you find out how bad it can get.
92
Frustrated Fiancée...I dated the guy you're about to marry for 5 years. He was sweet and thoughtful and gave me little just-because gifts. He also punched holes through walls, ripped screen doors off their hinges, and threw things around and broke them -- and left them for me to clean up.

It was great for a while, but it only got worse, and as it got worse I found myself making the same excuses to myself as you are doing now. He'd never hit me, he's really a gentle person when he's not throwing a tantrum, etc. In the end, I was just feeding myself a bunch of bullshit to rationalize his behavior so that I could pretend he wasn't abusive. I had to break up with him over the phone, two states away, so I was sure he wouldn't show up pounding at my door, angry enough that he'd finally hit me for the first time.

A person't doesn't HAVE to hit you to be abusive, you know. Some of the worst abuse comes from those who never lay a finger on you. And many abusers only get worse after marriage because they feel like they finally have you where you can't run away.

Tell him that therapy is not an option. DO NOT marry this man unless he makes this right and acknowledges his problem. If he flies off the handle when you make the ultimatum, do not allow him to make you the bad guy. Stand up for yourself and get the hell out of that relationship before you find out how bad it can get.
93
Dan, thank YOU again for another great spot on column!

You and It Gets Better both ROCK THE HOUSE!!

Will you be doing any more book signings in Bellingham again soon?
95
to FF: maybe he won't ever hit you. But will you ever be fully comfortable around him, on a daily basis?
I've known fathers with anger issues... if you've never seen a child trying to learn how to react to his father's tantrums... it's absolutely heart-breaking.

and @6 yes, it gets old. but we're bombarded by advertising everywhere, all the time. Complain about the insanity you see on TV, not the small block of text you can choose whether or not to read.
96
DUMP THE MOTHERLOVER ALREADY
97
"Some of the worst abuse comes from those who never lay a finger on you."

Yeah, because mean words are worse than a cracked eye orbital and dislocated jaw.

People sniveling about how "the worst abuse comes from those who never lay a finger on you" have never been really beat.

Lady, leave the guy because he is an ass. But don't listen to the spotlight seekers on this board who want to pretend mean words are scarier or more traumatic than when you are watching your own blood flow. They are fucking clueless, and you should not put those two experiences on the same plane, let along elevate mean words above real physical violence.
98
does dan just sit back and read the comments, all "hee hee heeeeee haw" to himself. son of a bitch cost me 10 minutes of private internet time at work to get the sad eyes lyrics. and some smart ass mf'ers printed them for nothing.

also, shut up haters from me as well, it's dans ball, he'll pick it up and run home if you guys keep pestering him like this.
99
On the It Gets Better....I have to say, Dan, you may have left the church some time ago but the church did not completely leave you. I think Jesus would approve- remember, your neighbor is the one who showed mercy.

I had a student approach me after class last week following my lecture on the history of same sex relationships. The conversation in the class had got a bit heated but I managed to calm it all down and defend the gay rights issue against what was really a room full of haters.

Anyhow, the student had not said a word during the class and was visibly upset when he approached me after. He started crying when he told me he thought he was gay and he didn't know what he was going to do.

I pointed him to It Gets Better and this week he was happy and confident. He participated in the class discussion and made some good points, forcing a couple of the louder students to back down. After class he thanked me which was one of the most rewarding things that have happened in all my years teaching undergraduates.

Keep spreading the Gospel, Dan! It gets better.
100
To frustrated feancee
You fiancee sound just like my father and I will say I agree with dans advice.
If your soon to be hubby is any thing like my father who would smash the toaster because it, not him, burnt his toast, he is a genuenly nice guy how has no people skils and an anger problem. That is no excuse for being an ass and when my mother broght home divorce papers my dad made the apointment with the therapist. And thing got better (not perfect) in a hurry
And after thirty years of marige my father has never hit me my brothers or my mother while in a rage.
101
@6 Don't see your point. Sure, Dan's preaching to the choir when he writes about "It Gets Better" here. The thank you above was lovely and he didn't have to say it.

I'm someone who could've used IGB when I was younger. I watch these videos and recognize the looks in the eyes of the speakers, the way voices break as they tell their stories & the way they purse their lips trying not to cry as they speak. Anyone who's been where they are will tell you this is real emotion from people who are survivors.

It may not be entertaining enough for you but it's helping thousands of people. Dan's to be commended for this not berated for not being funny enough.

I'm relatively new around here compared to a lot of people. I went back when I first discovered Slog & read thru archives from the beginning. Dan's compassion is not new. I don't know where people get the idea that it is.