Dear Amy: I have been with my girlfriend for two years and we plan on moving in together in the next few months. We are both in our late 20s.
She has made it clear to me that she wants to get married and have children. However, I cannot imagine raising children with her, due to a variety of factors, namely her inability to control her anger.
She defines herself as a person who feels emotions very strongly. On the contrary, I am more reserved with my emotions and how I share them.
As per her requests, I have been more forthcoming in expressing my emotions with her. Unfortunately, upon my request, she does not control her own emotions.
She can be very sweet and loving toward me, but then the slightest discomfort or disagreement can cause her mood to change instantly, bursting into tears or screams.
When she is in this volatile state, she unreasonably refuses compromise or discussion. It is akin to a tantrum. My default is discussing the issue like adults, and her behavior puts me in no mood to comfort her. She wants me to hug and coddle her.
There are only so many times I can do this before feeling like it is a temporary fix for a deeper issue. Additionally, it doesn’t prevent future fights, and makes me feel like I am parenting a child.
The worst part is that when I gently tell her that she needs to control her emotions she is defiant and makes excuses for herself. If I suggest that she should seek help if she is unable to control her emotions, she becomes agitated. Already our values differ on a number of subjects, but how can we reach any compromise when I am afraid of how she will react?
Dear Adult: I’m going to sidestep any attempt to diagnose your girlfriend, or even speculate about what her problem is, and turn directly to you.
So, what’s wrong with you?!
You present yourself as the mature and appropriate adult, and so this begs the question: Why are you thinking of moving in with and forming a permanent attachment to someone you don’t even like?
Normally when people complain about their partners, they try very hard to present something of a balanced picture of that person. You don’t have one positive thing to say about your girlfriend. You obviously don’t even like her.
I agree with you that you two shouldn’t have children together. But you probably also shouldn’t have coffee together.
She might in fact be a volatile harridan and you, a saint, but it doesn’t matter, because you are obviously in a mismatched relationship with someone you don’t like or respect. The good news is that you don’t need to fix her, or this relationship, because you shouldn’t be in it.
Dear Amy: Former co-workers contact me multiple times during the year to get together for dinner.
Other than the fact that we worked together, we have nothing in common. We don’t know each other’s families, have nothing to talk about and it’s very uncomfortable.
I liked these people when I worked with them, but don’t want to meet them any longer for dinner. How can I deal with this without offending anyone?
Dear Colleague: You can start by turning down these invitations. You simply say, “I think it’s great that everybody wants to continue to get together, but you should probably take me off the list for future dinners. Other commitments are starting to encroach upon my time.”
After that, if/when you receive these calls or emails, you respond: “This sounds great, but I won’t be able to make it. I hope you all have a good time.”
Dear Amy: “Shamed and Grateful” described letting 11 years go by without thanking people who had given her wedding gifts. I can’t believe I’m admitting this, but I’m in the same boat. Except in my case, unlike Shamed and Grateful, my marriage did not last. And now – the awkwardness continues and is amplified.
I’m inspired now, and am going to try to take care of this, somehow, but do you have any additional suggestions?
Shamed and Divorced
Dear Shamed: Admit your mistake, apologize, throw yourself on people’s mercy and ask for forgiveness.
Promise to treat yourself to something special when you’re done (you’ll need an incentive).
Good for you, by the way. Taking care of this will lift a huge weight from your shoulders.
Email Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org.