He drinks and cannot control his anger

-- Question for John --

I have been in a relationship with a man for 6 years. Since I’ve been living with him, I’m finding a side of him that I do not like. He has bouts of uncontrollable anger over trivial things, and he blames me for everything that goes wrong in his life and yells and screams at me about it. He even punched a hole in our bedroom door. Also, he drinks on a daily basis.

I want him to lead a healthy lifestyle like I try to do, but it never lasts. He often doesn’t come home until midnight or later when he’s with his friends. It only adds to our problems. Also, these friends of his are mostly single due to divorces or cheating on their wives, which makes me distrust my boyfriend for befriending these men.

Also, he has a 4 year old son from a 3 month relationship he had years ago, and when things were rough financially a year ago, he was going to leave me to live at the ex-girlfriends house. It was horrible. He put me through an emotional roller coaster, and then at the last minute said he’d stay with me. My family and friends have all suggested I leave him, but the optimistic person in me wants to try and make it work. I suppose I also don’t want to be alone and/or am trying to avoid relationship failure.

What do you think?

-- Answer from John --

I agree with your friends. What you need to look at within yourself is that you are unquestionably in an abusive relationship. Also, if he can punch a hole in a wall, he clearly has moments of being out of control with his anger. Out of control is just that, and this means he could also punch you. I do not think optimism and denial are the same thing.

I suggest you are more leaning towards denial here. Ultimately, the real bottom line that probably is keeping you in this relationship is fear of being alone. I suggest you look at that and embrace that fear.

Most people, when they finally move through that inner fear, get more solid in themselves and never again are vulnerable to falling into an abusive relationship.

If you looked that fear in the eye, and if you did the personal growth to overcome this fear of aloneness (which will include, naturally, spending some time alone), then far from being a “failure”, the end of this relationship would be the start of a true success in your life, and give you a real shot at true success in your love life.

I recommend it. You will ultimately like it, even if it is hard at the beginning.