Dear Abby: Man who won’t fight fair turns arguments into battles
Dear Abby: I am in a nearly two-year relationship with a man I love. In so many ways, this is the relationship I’ve always hoped for and, being in my early 30s, I’m feeling ready to settle down. The problem? He doesn’t fight fair.
I have put an exorbitant amount of effort into remaining calm and loving during arguments to prevent our relationship from deteriorating, but he seems incapable of meeting me halfway. His unfair fighting comes in the form of aggressive tones, obscene faces, looking at his phone while I’m talking and sometimes ignoring me entirely.
These arguments are usually over minor issues that are nowhere near warranting a full-blown fight (for example, dishes not being done when he came home from work because I work from home and put it off to do during nonwork hours).
Our relationship is otherwise great, but if I’m going to commit to someone for life, I want them to be capable of having calm and healthy conversations. He thinks I’m controlling when I ask him not to use aggressive tones or make faces. What do I do?
—Fighting Fair in Oregon
Dear Fighting: I will assume that the man you are in love with is around the same age as you. By the time someone reaches their 30s, their personalities are usually set. This man behaves the way he does because it works for him. It enables HIM to control YOU.
If he values your relationship, he should be willing to discuss this in couples counseling so these conversations are constructive rather than adversarial. If he isn’t, however, keep looking for a more suitable mate because this Mister ain’t Wonderful.
Dear Abby: I’d like to alert your readers to something that happened to me so it may keep it from happening to them. In her later years, my dear mother was afflicted with dementia. When it became clear she could no longer live alone, I went to live with her.
One day, I went looking for the albums of photos from when my brothers and I were kids, family vacations, etc. After searching high and low and not finding them, I asked Mom what had happened to them. Turns out, she threw them out because she didn’t remember any of the people in the pictures! To say I was devastated would be an understatement.
I couldn’t be angry with Mom. It wasn’t her fault. But Abby, your readers need to know that it can happen to them. My mother has been gone for 10 years, and I still wish I had those photos.
— Missing Memories in Massachusetts
Dear Missing: I’m glad you wrote. Your letter is a reminder that when family members begin to age, it’s important to make the time to sit down with them and go through family pictures. My own dear mother urged her readers to not only review those photos, but also to write on the backs the date they were taken and the names of who is in them. This is a precious gift because memories do start to fade. It can stimulate wonderful conversations if people are willing to make the effort.
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