QUESTION: I dated this man off and on for a year-we've had 3 break ups within that time. The first time was because I wasn't ready to commit to moving in together and he left in a rage. We were apart about a week. The 2nd time was because he got mad at me at a friends party because I was asking his co-worker questions. He felt that I didn't trust him and was trying to snoop on his behavior when he was away from me. We got into it and he picked a fight with the friend that was answering my questions. I basically broke it off because I saw more rage. This scared me. We were apart for a month.
The 3rd break up was centered around him feeling as though I had disrespected him. He was angry. His ego was bruised over some things I said. I'm certain I could have chosen my words a bit more carefully but I was being honest...I guess a bit too honest. I compared his drinking and anger to my step dad and a previous ex. That same night that I said this-I walked out on him in the middle of the argument because I no longer wanted to argue...well he went the EFF off...threatened to kill himself -threatened to bash his head with a beer bottle-he got a knife and began to cut up his clothing with it. Now he never came near me-has never hit me or anything- he was just in another rage--hollering and fussing. He eventually apologized but I made him move out and he had NO WHERE TO GO. It hurt me to do that but I was hurt-couldnt believe he went that far with it. He left in peace. That was April 08-around July 08 we had brief contact. He tried to work his way back in. I declined. From July to November we had no contact. He'd call I didn't answer- he'd email- I'd delete.I even moved to a new place.
At the end of Nov 08 we started talking again on the phone. This was because he really wasn't pressuring me to get back together. He seemed to just want to be friends and have general conversations every now and then. This eventually led to us meeting up and talking. Since we've been talking again a lot has changed with him or so it appears.Aside from his anger issues this man would be MY perfect man. That includes compromising-loving and affectionate- provider-protector-giving-extremely respectful of women- not just me BUT all women- treats me like a queen-leaves me wanting for nothing- and I'm not talking about sex. God fearing-reads bible attends church...again his only issue is when he gets mad he tends to get ANGRY.
So here's the point-since he's returned he has assured me he now sees where he went wrong in our relationship. He's never been with a good woman and therefore dealt with me the way he dealt with the other women who dogged him -cheated on him-and argued about everything. He said something as simple as asking her to pass the salt was an argument. He says having all those months apart from me has made him realize that being without me is not worth all the fussing. He has actually"studied" ways to help him keep his temper under control when he's mad. One would be mediation. He's a martial artist-therefore familiar with meditation. He has assured me that if I take him back things will NEVER be like they were. He told me that in relationships when someone does wrong you have to show them theyve done wrong for them to learn. He said especially with men that women have to show them that they will take no nonsense if that man really wants to be with her. He says I showed him no mercy and that I will not put up with his temper and therefore he now knows he cannot act this way in our relationship the way he acted with the other women he had bad experiences with. He said he'll keep his temper under control.
So far things seem to be different. There have been a few occurrences where he could have gotten really angry but didn't. He was clearly upset but didn't go into a rage Should I trust this man and try to give him another chance? Can a person control their temper or is that just them and they'll never change? I honestly feel that if I let him go that I'll be losing out on who I want to be my husband---(minus the temper of course)
GARLAND: INteresting question. Thank you for sending it in.
I guess I want to say upfront that I'm not going to say, "Oh, yeah. Trust him, he's a gem. He's changed his stripes, he's a saint now." I'm not going to say that because you might just believe me and he might just murder you next weekend in a fit of rage. Let me just put that out there.
Before you sign over your heart to this guy, visit some domestic abuse websites like: Abused Woman.com and Woman Abuse Prevention. Now, please don't brush this off like I'm being dramatic here - I can almost imagine you saying, "Oh, he'll NEVER hit ME!" But, I promise you that there are tens of thousands of women who have said that and have been subsequently beaten and/or murdered by these same guys who only have 'temper' problems. Make sure you save YOUR life.
Now, could this guy have changed. Maybe. I guess. Anything is possible. But I have to tell you that the whole "if a person is doing wrong, the person in the relationship has to tell them they're wrong so they can do right... " sounds a little fuzzy to me. Maybe he's legit, for your sake I hope he is, but I'm worried that he may have watched a few episodes of "Kung Fu" featuring David Carradine - that tends to make all guys get a little philosophical. I think he may need a little professional help, maybe a counselor for a few sessions. Since he's already beaten up his co-worker and he's got a bit of Martial Arts in his background - I think you need to make doubley-sure he won't physically harm you.
One last thing, you mentioned that he is God-fearing and reads the bible and goes to church - (Chuck might touch on this too) But, don't let those actions blind you. I think a lot of guys use that behavior as a smoke screen for some women. Some guys flip through a few pages of Deuteronomy and sit up in the front of the church for a few weeks and women start thinking that they have a TD Jakes on their hands. Just look at everything with a critical eye. Angry, bad tempered dudes can be very dangerous, me and Chuck's primary concerns rest with YOU.
Make sure that you put YOUR well being ahead of HIS and you'll be okay. Best wishes and best of luck!
CHUCK: This is one situation that is really hard to call, and I don't want to be flip, because there's a lot a stake here. Maybe your life. A lot of women let men with these same issues into their lives, let them BACK into their lives after they screw up, and then suffer the consequences when these destructive impulses lead to their inevitable result. Jennifer Hudson's family tragedy is only one of the more recent tragedies resulting from women allowing bad, angry men into their lives.
By the same token, I do think that it is possible for people to change if they have the will to. Recognizing that you have a problem is key. Following up on that recognition is important, as well. I have to say, though, that the steps this man is claiming to have taken to get himself right sound a little dubious to me. Meditation? Martial arts discipline? How about a formal anger management class? Some actual counseling? That would make me feel more comfortable.
What gives me the most pause is his behavior during your third breakup. Threatening to kill himself or bash himself in the head with a beer bottle, grabbing a knife and cutting at his clothes, these are unhealthy actions even for the angriest angry man. And with behavior this violent, if he were to just briefly think to turn that rage on you... It wouldn't be good.
Should you trust him and give him another chance? In the interest of your continued personal safety, I'd say no. But if you should decide to give him another chance, STRONGLY suggest that he seek counseling or anger management, and reduce, if not eliminate, his drinking. If you mean that much to him, it shouldn't be asking to much that he should try to make you feel secure.