Make us your home page

This 'wonderful man' bears watching

Sure, he's a great guy, but some aspects are quite troubling

Q: I am soon to move in with and then marry a wonderful man. He is warm and devoted and my best friend. He's known as a bit of a hothead among his friends, but sometimes his willingness to cuss someone out over a relatively minor infraction really bothers me. It is not just that his behavior embarrasses me, but it has a real potential to affect my career.

He does not care what other people think about him but certainly cares what people think of me, so he has apologized and says he will refrain — but I don't believe it, because changing someone's temper is not that easy.

He is seeking help with the anxiety and the quickness with which he reacts. And I applaud him for that. It sure isn't easy. How can I better deal with the fleeting moments where he is quick to tell someone off? Or do I just ignore it as his business?


A: Please don't ignore this potentially destructive element of your fiance's character. Face it, try to understand it, anticipate its consequences — but don't ignore it.

You are at a stage of life where no knots have been tied, and you're waxing "wonderful" about someone who pops off at bystanders. I would not move in with him unless his "seeking help," admirable though it is, produces results.

Certainly a lot of passionate, even moody people make wonderful spouses. But I believe that happens only when they're mature enough to be able to anticipate, work around and manage those spiky emotions — and to put a sock in it around "idiots."

Otherwise they end up inflicting those untamed emotions on the people nearest them, the spouses.

You're right that a declaration of good intent is not enough to change his hotheadedness — especially not if he's doing it just for you. But maturity is enough; please wait for that.

Flexibility is the key to a lasting relationship

Q: Neither my girlfriend nor I drink, so this question is hypothetical. She said a guy once wouldn't go out with her because she doesn't drink, and she thought that wasn't a valid reason to not date someone. I think it's a perfectly valid reason, along the lines of "The ways you and I have fun are just too different." What say you?


A: I think it's valid, with an asterisk — certainly you can pick out any little thing as a reason not to date someone, since it's everyone's prerogative to say no to anyone. Your girlfriend, just for example, might have seen this guy's refusal to date nondrinkers as a valid reason to rule him out.

The asterisk: People don't always stay exactly the way they were when you first met them. AA or medication or allergies or whatever can make a nondrinker out of the most dedicated beer-swiller; or the drinker himself could land in rehab.

So inflexibility in the mate-selection process, while nobody else's business but your own, can backfire. Better just to find someone you really really like.

This 'wonderful man' bears watching

06/23/08 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 5:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Washington Post.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours