Plus ça change … Aw, heck

31 Jul

Letterbalm Changes SignDear LetterBalm: I’m dating a great guy, and we’re about to get engaged. He’s wonderful in every way – handsome, smart and funny. But there are a couple things about him I don’t like. He doesn’t take criticism (even mild suggestions) very well. He sulks and won’t talk to me or anybody for days until I can coax him out of his mood. He also gets annoyed and defensive if another guy – even a boyfriend of a friend – says something nice to me. He brings it up later, and we have some words. He’s gotten better at keeping his moods under control; he’s really trying. I think marriage will stabilize him and change him for the better. What can I say to help him along?

–Engaged To Be Engaged

One of the Ten Commandments of Relationships is this: Don’t expect marriage to change a partner’s bad points. Your boyfriend is showing signs of an incipient abuser and a controller. Moodiness, jealousy and insecurity are difficult enough to handle; in the everyday give-and-take of marriage, they can loom large and wreck the boat. Ms. L.B. is going to do you a big favor by giving you the short-and-sweet words to break off your relationship and run for the hills. Here they are:

Darren, before any more time passes, I must tell you something. This is painful to say. I’ve been giving a lot of thought to us. I don’t think I want to be in this relationship anymore. I don’t think we’re right for each other, and I won’t change my mind. You need to find a woman with whom you can be happy – that woman isn’t me. I wish you all the happiness in the world, and I hope you find someone wonderful.

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