Ask Amy: Partner’s temper tantrums can be triggered by drinking
Dear Amy: I recently reconnected with “Mara” after a love affair that lasted several ups and downs over 20 years.
As travel professionals we have had a scorching global adventure for years. We were both single parents raising children, so we weren’t together consistently. We feel very lucky to have had these experiences.
Our children are now adults and are doing well.
Mara and I recently reunited. We are deeply in love and quite compatible, but I have an unusual problem.
She has periods when she “barks” (as she puts it). She is disagreeable and argumentative to the point where communication stops.
The point is, she seems to be operating from a place of anger. I’m not. She becomes defensive and illogical when I ask her if something is bothering her.
After our “timeout”, she often apologizes, but offers no explanation. I do not really insist on the question.
Due to the pandemic, we are still largely on top 24/7.
A few solo car rides help but given the increasing frequency of “barking” and the subsequent recovery period for her (uncomfortable weather for me), I’m starting to worry.
While that’s not the only trigger, when I have a drink after work or on the weekends, she tends to “bark.”
However, she is a social drinker herself.
I don’t know anything about his drug addiction history and I asked him about this specific point, but I don’t get anything in return. It’s confused. Do you have any theories?
– Barked, not bitten
Dear Barked At: Running away is a natural response to loud “barking”. You choose “flight” over “fight,” and while that may be the wisest choice at the moment, you and “Mara” don’t mind her behavior – or what might be causing it.
Because you mention your drinking as a trigger, you can start there. Do you behave differently after having a drink? Are you getting loud, sarcastic or drowsy? Did she have another partner (or parent) who had a drinking problem? Could his own drinking trigger his anger? You should both talk about your drinking.
Is she postmenopausal? This monumental hormonal change can cause extreme behavioral changes. She should see her doctor. Does she signal her stress before a rash? If so, maybe she – and you not – could take a solo ride to calm down.
I highly recommend the book “10 Lessons to Transform Your Marriage”, by marriage researchers John Gottman and Julie Schwartz Gottman (2007, Harmony). Read it together. Some lessons from this important book: Treat your partner like a friend. (Easy!) Don’t put your problems aside. Talk about your feelings.
Try to look past his anger (for now) and step into his lust. What does she want? What do you want?
Dear Amy: I hate my 21 year old husband. I don’t want to be married to him anymore, but I’m afraid of what the future holds if I leave.
I’m 56, don’t make a lot of money, and I don’t have a lot of retirement savings. My three children are all over 18 (two still live at home).
I’m also afraid that if I don’t go, I will never be able to be my true self and live in peace.
What should I do? Should I stay for financial security or leave with the hope of being happy?
Dear unhappy: If you hate your husband, with no hope of reconciling the relationship, then you should leave.
You don’t seem to have done any research on the effects of divorce on your financial situation. You should research the laws in your state and speak to a lawyer. Dividing up your marital assets can provide you with a little nest egg.
You should also consider the impact of divorce on your other relationships in order to prepare yourself for some emotional instability.
You have at least 10 years of earning capacity left before retirement. Your financial planning should include a realistic budget for living a lean life.
Dear Amy: Thank you very much for promoting the concept of ‘radical acceptance’ in response to the question of ‘Secret Mean Girl’, who had moved to her home during the pandemic and was extremely critical of obesity and unhealthy choices among people. members of his family.
– Radically accepted
Dear Accepted: I gave “Secret Mean Girl” a lot of credit for admitting her own unhealthy thought patterns.
You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068.