by Dan Savage
on Mon, Mar 7, 2011 at 5:35 PM
My fiancé is awesome. We have awesome sex, he treats me like someone treats someone they are in love with. We act as partners in life and every night thank god or the universe or whatever that we found each other. It's extremely corny and hot and warm and squishy. I'm very happy we are getting married. We are in our early 30's.
BUT... since I've known him he has had moments of very bad behavior. He has tantrums. When he gets upset he literally throws things, punches things (never me) and yells obscenities at the top of his lungs. And what makes him upset like this? Losing his keys, forgetting his wallet, accidentally getting charged double at the supermarket as if he cashier had it out for him, and a big one is just missing the subway. These moments are humiliating for me and on top of that I had an angry abusive father who hit me and though my fiancé would never in a million years hit or abuse me, his tantrums remind me of those childhood experiences.
Anyway, I have tentatively broached the subject of his getting therapy (he is prescribed clonopin, smokes weed everyday, etc) but he is not interested. I am beginning to think I might have to insist on therapy. I cannot be around that behavior. It has exhausted my patience. I don't know what to do. He is very special to me and I think it's worth trying to find a solution.
My response after the jump...
He hasn't punched you... yet.
I'm not saying he'll definitely get around to punching you at some point, FF, but trusting a man who goes apeshit when he misses the subway or when a cashier makes an honest mistake not to go apeshit on you sooner or later is foolish in the extreme. Long-term relationships are a lot more stressful than commutes or exact change. And, I'm sorry, but it's a very disturbing sign that you're already tiptoeing around this guy ("I have tentatively broached the subject") and making excuses for him ("my fiancé would never in a million years hit or abuse me").
The time for "tentative broaching" has passed, FF, and now it's time for a little confrontational confronting. You need to issue an ultimatum: he gets his ass into therapy and gets a grip on his anger issues—and his possible substance-abuse issues—or the wedding is off. Period.
For your own sake, FF, you have to use the only leverage you have—your presence in his life—to get him into the therapy before you marry him—long before you marry him. This isn't about seeing a therapist once or twice to mollify you. He has to go and solve this problem before you marry him. And if he won't do it—if he won't go, if he won't solve this—don't marry him. And remember: divorce court, emergency rooms, and graveyards are filled with women who once said "my fiancé would never in a million years hit or abuse me."