This story is about a stupid fight and too much to drink
August 6, 2006 8:46 PM   Subscribe

I was physically/emotionally hurt last night. There is A LOT

First: This story invovles alcohol. Neither of us generally drink this much, or drink very often, for that matter. Nevertheless, we have both agreed that drinking is out of our lives for a while, at least. We both acted like fools. We know this. It was wrong, we know this.

So The Boyfriend and I have been dating eachother, very seriously, for a number of years now. We've lately been talking about getting engaged, and are?were? planning on doing it pretty soon. I've never been so satisfied, so happy, and so complete. Now I feel shaken.

This story is about a stupid fight and too much to drink:

Last night, after celebrating with some friends and, you guessed it, consuming more alcohol than we should have, we got into a fight. It started like this: earlier in the night, The Boyfriend admitted someting to our mutual friend about an incident a month ago, something that I didn't know about. Considering how much we pride ourselves about being totally open and totally honest, I got upset. The incident was not a big deal at all, but I was still offended that he didn't tell me about it. I teased him about not telling me several times throughout the evening, and then let it go when he seemed upset about it.

Later, after our friends had gone to bed (we were staying at their place), the subject came back up. The Boyfriend was upset with me, mostly because he claimed to have told me about the incident and wanted me to apologize for saying he lied. I did, but that wasn't good enough by this time. He got irrational, as people do when they drink, and when I dropped a water bottle, he claimed that I aimed it at his head on purpose. I tried apologizing, and dragged a pillow into the hallway, weeped a bit, and then came back to try and apologize more.

At this point, he just started getting angry for what was apparently no reason. He got up and claimed he was leaving, driving home. I wouldn't let that happen, so I made the mistake of physically holding him back. We got to the kitchen, knocked some shit down, and I continued pulling on his shirt, begging him to stop, and holding him back. He kept trying to brush me off, threaten me, yell in my ear. He bit me. I followed him down the hall, begging for him not to go, insisting he couldn't drive like this, when he ran out the door. I followed him for nearly two blocks, (no shoes), and was finally, after lots of degrading comments about how I don't care about him, and how I wasn't allowed to bring this back up again, I convinced him to give me the keys, and come back to sleep.

At this point it was like a light went off in his head, and he gave me his shoes to walk back in. We went inside, he threw up multiple times, I brought him water and cried, not letting him touch me, I was scared. He cried and cried, apologized endlessly about how horrified he was of his actions, and finally, went to sleep. I, on the other hand, couldn't sleep a wink. He woke up and spent the morning apologizing profusly for his actions, insisting nothing like this would ever, ever happen again. Saying that he wouldn't blame me if I never wanted to speak to him again. He wants to do something to learn to control his anger.

This morning: my neck is incredibly sore from where he bit me, I didn't get any sleep, and I don't know what to do. I know the Empowered Female Rulebook, which I thought I subscribed to, says that I should dump anyone on the spot who physically threatened me. Full Disclosure: He's gotten irrationally angry in the past, about three times during the entire time we've been dating, where he would yell or get very, very, angry, sometimes mean. I don't respond to this type of behavior well AT ALL, considering that I've had issue with an abusive parent in the past. I realize that a lot of his way of dealing with anger also comes form his family, and have tried to be patient with him as he HAS been aware of the problem he has and HAS been working to keep it in check. Other than this incident, and these previous smaller-scale bouts, The Boyfriend has been an amazing asset in my life, and the only reason he's not gone already is because of how much we have together. I realize that I'm probably answering my own question here, but this is what I'm thinking: I don't want to throw away an amazing thing, and a great future, on something that happened while we were both stupidly intoxicated. On the other hand, this is behavior I cannot tolerate on any level, and I feel like my trust has been shaken, and my idea of where we were as a couple was compltely wrong. On the other hand, I feel like maybe I am blowing this entire incident out of proportion

So, after all of this, here is the question: How can we deal with what happened? Is this something we should work past, and if so, how? Methods for dealing with anger would be appreciated. As aforementioned, alcohol has already been pushed out of the picture.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (73 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Irrational anger is a dangerous red flag, you have to leave this guy.

As you say, you answered your own question, and I am sorry but you came up with the wrong answer. You can't live with a guy that might fly into a rage like this in future. He bit you?! By forgiving, you let these anger events become a part of your shared intimacy and history. The next event is inevitable.
posted by Meatbomb at 9:10 PM on August 6, 2006

Full Disclosure: He's gotten irrationally angry in the past, about three times during the entire time we've been dating, where he would yell or get very, very, angry, sometimes mean. I don't respond to this type of behavior well AT ALL, considering that I've had issue with an abusive parent in the past.

Considering you left this detail until the very end of your question, I suspect you may need to see a therapist to work through child abuse issues that are making it impossible for you to find a non-abusive partner.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:13 PM on August 6, 2006

Kudos to you for being so balanced in your description of the incident. To me that says you care about him and that is huge. Now, about this total openness thing. Forget it. It is a fool's goal. Yes, it is worthy of the chase, yet we all need a little place of privacy. That can include that some coworker pecked us on the cheek, and we were flattered. It can't include we French kissed her or boned her. Total openness is smothering. Give him some space. Trust is the basis of a relationship. With that it is easy to give someone their little private space and yet trust that they are devoted to you and no one else (although they will look, and so will you so get over that too). True intimacy also comes from defining your space. A few good fights, as long as you make up, can actually help in the end, as long as the overall result, despite some intermediate pain, is to promote discussion of your feelings. I would not draw premature conclusions from this incident. Sit back, have a glass of wine (but not too many) and reflect.
posted by caddis at 9:13 PM on August 6, 2006

The biting seems way over the top, but I'm not so sure the rest of it was out of line considering how drunk you both were.

Everybody gets cranky and mean from time to time, so I don't think it's related.

Where I would get worried about is if you start to make a pattern of getting drunk and physical like that, and you already said that's unusual.

I mean, clearly, it doesn't bode well for your relationship, but I don't think it's quite time to check into a shelter yet either. I'd just keep a look-out that it doesn't happen again.
posted by empath at 9:15 PM on August 6, 2006

I was all set to suggest that you should accept his apology and move on. Then I got to the bit about him being irrationally angry in the past.

Four incidents of irrational anger establish a clear pattern. It undoubtedly will happen again. You could DTMF, as Dan Savage might suggest, or go for some anger management counseling. As it happens, a recent AskMe thread might be helpful in this regard.

Whatever the case, I hope things work out for you. Good luck!
posted by aladfar at 9:17 PM on August 6, 2006

I am finding it difficult to tell you what Meatbomb has told you, but I'm starting to agree with his read. Yes, you were both drinking, and you both physically threatened each other, but it would be a mistake to blame the alcohol for what seems to be an emotional disconnect in times of stress between the two of you. I think only serious work towards couples and individual therapy will help the situation.
posted by muddgirl at 9:18 PM on August 6, 2006

Well, I guess it depends on where the yelling is coming from -- like -- bad day at work -- "YES GODDAMNIT I TOOK THE TRASH OUT" is different from screaming at you because you burned his toast or something.
posted by empath at 9:21 PM on August 6, 2006

There is no way that you can subscribe to the Empowered Female Rulebook and put up with that kind of crap. I agree with Meatbomb about the irrational anger, etc. You should leave... but then again, maybe you should wait and see what happens? You just might become a statistic.

If this has happened before, it will happen again. History always repeats itself. You should get out while you can.
posted by bolognius maximus at 9:24 PM on August 6, 2006

(long-ass response)

Everybody has the capacity for explosive outbursts. Everybody has different levels of control over those sorts of reactions when they feel they are provoked. Knowing that your potential future husband posseses the facilities for such behaviors, and knowing where his personal boundries for losing control lie, can you feel emotionally and physically secure in a seriously commited relationship after this?

You realize that what happened was an overreaction on both of your parts that was undoubtably mitigated by the alcohol you consumed, but alcohol doesn't change someone's personality. It brings out a different dynamic in them, and can often bring out different dynamics based on the situation. Now that you have seen what is (hopefully) the worst of how you and The Boyfriend can react to one another, do you believe that you can continue to be committed to him and feel secure and safe?

The real concern here is the violence. Alcohol may have been "pushed out of the picture" for now but you cannot make the assumption that is has been permanently sidelined. Your boyfriend may well make the mistake of getting stupidly intoxicated again and you just might strike sparks again, and who knows what will come of some future incident of that sort. It sounds like you have all of the love and caring for one another that it requires to forgive and move past such an incident, but do you truly believe that you can move forward and be comfortable and safe with him?

If you really do believe this then I wish you the best of luck, but if this and previous incidents were traumatizing enough to you that you feel like repeated outbursts of this nature will seriously denigrate your wellbeing then your best bet might be to say, "I love you but I cannot expose myself to the side of you that would bite or shout at me or put yourself (and others) in irrational danger because you are angry at me." Regardless of how great you can be for one another, it must be obvious to you that occurances such as these can have a far more severe impact on the affected party (you) than all the love in the world can provide. Or heal.

You obviously feel very insecure about losing the positive force of your boyfriend in your life, but as Meatbomb pointed out, accepting this abuse (which is what this was regardless of the circumstances) is in many ways an invitation to future abuse. While it sounds like the severity of this incident has been to this point a singular occurance, the fact that you admit he has the capactiy for irrational, explosive anger should give you great caution. If you do feel comfortable enough to forgive this, make sure that you are a strong enough person to recognize that if it happens again then you cannot safely say that this person will be able to get his problem under control in the future.

Everybody deals with anger. That's human. But allowing it to control your actions is a dangerous sign. That said, it is not a permanent habit for most people who are prone to it. I once was, but through years of intense personal scrutiny I have been able to overcome those impulses. Perhaps you can encourage your boyfriend to take some anger management therapy to set him in the right direction.
posted by baphomet at 9:25 PM on August 6, 2006

I'm so sorry this happened to you.

First of all, please see a doctor if his bite broke the skin. You could need antibiotics; human bites have a very high infection rate.

Secondly, all of this happened at a friend's house while they were home. That immediately makes me afraid of what could happen to you when the two of you are alone somewhere.

In the same way that people whose parents are alcoholics need to be especially vigilant about their own drinking, people whose parent(s) was/were abusive need to be especially vigilant not to find a significant other who does the same thing. You are absolutely right to say that this is behavior you can't tolerate.

Aladfar is right: this will happen again. I don't believe, given the information you've told us here, that you should remain involved with him.
posted by jesourie at 9:25 PM on August 6, 2006

I don't think drunkenly biting someone who's drunkenly trying to physically restrain you is that much of a crime. Some people really, really, really don't like feeling trapped, and having someone hold you in place to keep you from leaving will certainly bring on that feeling. I suspect I'm in the minority here. In any case, the circumstances sound complicated, messy, and painful, and none of us on MetaFilter were there, so I'd take any advice you get here with a grain of salt and trust your instincts. I do think you should wait a day or two before doing anything irrevocable; it's possible, even likely, that both of you will look at this incident very differently in 48 hours than you do now.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 9:26 PM on August 6, 2006

I should also say in light of my comments above that I was trying to reason out your situation impersonally. My personal feeling is that your boyfriend's volatility is dangerous to you and that you should put the necessary distance between you two to ensure that said volatility will not hurt you again. That said, it is very difficult to give up on a loved one. I completely understand that. However, if you have any hesitation about your safety and security in being close to him you should leave.
posted by baphomet at 9:30 PM on August 6, 2006

perhaps you should be concerned with his irrational anger ... and his biting ... but it doesn't sound as if you were being very rational yourself

most importantly, YOU were the one who got physical first by attempting to physically prevent him from leaving

i strongly suggest you dwell on that for awhile before you accuse him of being physically abusive towards you
posted by pyramid termite at 9:34 PM on August 6, 2006

"... He got up and claimed he was leaving, driving home. I wouldn't let that happen, so I made the mistake of physically holding him back. ..."
posted by anonymous to human relations

Everything from the point quoted above until

"... At this point it was like a light went off in his head, and he gave me his shoes to walk back in. ..."

could be read as you assaulting him, and him trying to get away, and failing that, defending himself.

If you're going to do anything about professional counseling, try to find out why, even when you were three sheets to the wind, this seemed like a good idea. Really, I'm not trying to snark at all, but if someone is leaving the premises to be rid of your company, let them go. Nothing good ever comes of chasing people down the street. Even wildly drunk, it's a method only a drama queen could recommend, and is most often seen on Springer's show.

Unless you're dying to be a Springer girl, figure out why you'd ever do that, and never do it again.
posted by paulsc at 9:35 PM on August 6, 2006

I second the seeing a physician and getting antibiotics. That said, what he did was physical abuse. Listen to your intuition, it's usually right. If we listened to it more often, life would be so much easier.
posted by 6:1 at 9:36 PM on August 6, 2006

First I wrote a somewhat long respone, and then I did the preview. I think what I think still stands - but with a MAJOR caveat. We can have no rational discussion of your situation since we have no confidence that your remembrance of the altercation is factual. In other words, you were drunk. Who knows what happened?

Now that that's out of the way...

Please, don't take offense, or maybe -please do!! - you sound like someone who had a "My Child is an Honor Student" bumper sticker on their mother's car for their entire life.

How can you expect a hypothesis of how to understand the equation when your own perception of the altercation is most likely not accurate since you yourself were drunk (aside from the biting part)? Your rememberance of the entire event is in question.

That being said - about the being bitten part - that needs to be addressed, or - maybe it doesn't. You're were both sloshed, and he acted out, pardon the term, primordialy. Are you surprised what a male (or a female??) will do when not in control of himself? Don't give me any grief about being a human being - you were both drunk and he was irrational. His behavior doesn't exuse it, but it puts it in context.

You type your question like you were the paragon of reason, yet we have nothing to support that assertation. I'd write it off to a drunken binge (for the both of you) and realize that you need to TALK to each other.

The biting thing? Well now, that's different. He needs to talk to someone - and I don't mean you. That is acting out on a level, drunk or not, that has to do with something that you're not experienced (or entitiled) to deal with. As an armchair quarterback, I'd say he learned a long time ago that the best way to deal with adversity is to ahhnilate (sp?) it - at least on a primitive level. He needs to address that. HOWEVER - that's not the summation of your relationship, it's just one aspect of his personality that happened to come out when you were both drunk off your gourds.

Take it for what it's worth.
posted by matty at 9:36 PM on August 6, 2006

While I agree that "irrational anger is a dangerous red flag" there are a few things that must be considered before out right declaring 'dump him'.

I'm assuming that heavy drinking isn't a regular part of this relationship. You stated that he has gotten irrationally angry before, even mean. Did these incidents involve alcohol? Has he ever done anything beyond this biting episode?

Granted that biting is by no means acceptable, in any relationship thats lasted a significant amount of time there are going to be incidents that irrationally anger you or your partner. It happens. However, physical abuse in any manner isn't acceptable. I am in no means condoning his actions but from what I can tell, he was unusally drunk, a rarity, and he acted in a way unbecoming to a gentleman. Alcohol is ugly, it doesn't mean he is.

Also, perhaps there is something else that has been "eating him" that has caused this outburst.

Basically what I'm trying to say is that if this relationship has truly been as fulfilling and great 99% of the time as you claim, and those close to you - family, friends, etc agree that he truly is a good man, perhaps you should give things some thought before taking the simple 'dump him' approach.

Just some food for thought.
posted by ASM at 9:36 PM on August 6, 2006

Your boyfriend has had escalating, irrational and violent outbursts at you.

What was the question again? Seriously, you have to make sure thaqt you never, ever accept any abuse of any kind, especially if you have been a victim in the past.

Run, honey. Run away. I know that he's fabulous in many ways, but in this case the cons outweight the pros. So run.
posted by Lucie at 9:37 PM on August 6, 2006 [4 favorites]

I know the Empowered Female Rulebook, which I thought I subscribed to, says that I should dump anyone on the spot who physically threatened me.

99 times out of 100, I'll be the first guy to jump in with, "Guys can't hit girls" — but your story cracks me up. You threw a water bottle at his head.* Then you grabbed him. Then you followed him around, tugging on his shirt. And when he finally snaps, you pull out the AbusiveParentCard™ and claim he needs anger management.

I'm not saying it's OK that he bit you — in fact, I think it's pretty weird. But what's the first thing we tell people who need anger management? "You need to learn how to walk away." Fine — except he did walk away, and you chased him down the street. How many times does he need to walk away before you accept shared responsibility for whatever happens when he finally snaps?

Both of you got drunk, both of you became physical, and both of you acted like idiots. Domestic abuse is horrible and awful, but what you're describing isn't domestic abuse — and if you think it is, I'd suggest you find time to volunteer at a battered women's shelter so you can learn to distinguish.

* Maybe you didn't mean to — but either because of the circumstances or because he was drunk, you said that's how it seemed to him, so you have to consider that if you're going to judge his actions.
posted by cribcage at 9:41 PM on August 6, 2006

Maybe you both need to seek therapy. It seems like maybe you pushed some buttons of his and he obviously doesn't have the tools to handle it.

Secondly, all of this happened at a friend's house while they were home. That immediately makes me afraid of what could happen to you when the two of you are alone somewhere.

Also makes me wonder what your friends were doing during all this. I would have gotten up and told y'all to pipe down.
posted by SoulOnIce at 9:42 PM on August 6, 2006

What you need to do lies between "leave him forever" and "forgive". Tell him you have thought about what happened and you are afraid and worried. That, after much thought you realize you cannot marry him, or stay with him if he does not get into counselling immediately for his anger and abuse problems. Tell him you undertand he has worked very hard to keep this rage under control, but each time he loses control, it leaves a permanent mark on your soul. And he needs to understand where this rage comes from before he can truly resolve this deep well of simmering anger. Tell him that, right now, the only way you will NOT leave, is if he gets into therapy. If he doesn't, then you won't stay, no matter what.

If he gets angry with you, tell him he has no right to try to bully you out of your feelings, and that if he insists on continuing like that, you will walk out the door and not look back. You are done with being his verbal or physical punching bag. Say, "I grew up with this, and as a grown up I won't allow it to happen to me again."

Be very careful about how you are feeling now. Coming from an abusive family does not make you smarter about abuse. It can make you more susceptible to the manipulations of the abuser/rager. You love him ,yes, but don't be complicit in his bullying by thinking that how much you love him outweighs how much he has hurt you. and deeply damaged your trust.

I don't think he is a bad person. I think he's probably a decent guy who has serious issues that he needs ti understand. I truly have no negative judgment about him. Just, you, as a human being, you have a right to be free of fear in any loving relationship.
posted by generic230 at 9:45 PM on August 6, 2006

I second IshmaelGraves. I would suggest at least one, if not two, periods of sleep before making a decision. You don't feel your life is in danger at the moment, right? So you can take a bit of time to think about it.
posted by Monday at 9:46 PM on August 6, 2006

Get out of the relationship. Your trust has been broken. The rest of your life will be spent waiting for him to go off again.
posted by SpecialK at 9:48 PM on August 6, 2006

Run, honey. Run away.

i've got to say something here ... as justifiable as this might seem to you, i could understand someone advising the boyfriend to do the same thing

i would never bite a girlfriend who acted the way she had ... but physically restraining me? ... trying to force me to stay?

i just might drop her as a girlfriend for that

i'm a little disturbed by those who are advising her that he's abusive and that people of abusive parents tend to attract themselves to abusive partners ... quite true, but people of abusive parents have another habit of becoming abusive themselves and i see her behavior as being abusive

she needs counseling just as much as he does

The rest of your life will be spent waiting for him to go off again.

or getting angry and physically pushing him to the point where he goes off again

again, an argument could be made that he's better off without her
posted by pyramid termite at 9:53 PM on August 6, 2006

I'd like to belay my last statement. I've done the proverbial 'walk away from the computer and think about what you just said' moment.

He bit you. Why would any human bite another?

Do you want him to bite you again?

The great relationship (when not drunk) aside, this needs to be addressed. If he's not willing to address it, you need to run - not walk - away.
posted by matty at 9:54 PM on August 6, 2006

If he had lashed out and hit you I would say that's a huge red flag and you should leave. But biting seems more like a defensive reaction in response to you trying to physically restrain him. If he had really wanted to hurt you, I don't think he would have bitten you.

Hopefully they won't take my Feminist Rulebook away for this but it appears that you're both equally in the wrong here if you've described it accurately. You were angry and pursued the fight even after he tried to let it go, you initiated the physical contact and you seem to seek out drama (you say at the beginning that it was your fault too then you go on to portray yourself as the victim. Maybe you are but you did grab him and "knock stuff down"). He, on the other hand, clearly has a drinking problem. Drinking to the point of being irrational and blacking out is not normal. Nor is getting in drunken rages and biting people. It does however happen and that is a classic episode: getting angry, deciding to go home, insisting you can drive, cursing and swearing and calling people names then biting and gouging at them. I used to work in a bar and that was what ALL the drunks did.

I don't have any advice for you as far as breaking up but you sound young. And it also sounds like you don't have good boundaries or know how to deal with this so don't get married for a while. A long while.
posted by fshgrl at 9:54 PM on August 6, 2006

I've had issue with an abusive parent in the past.

This is the crux of it right here. You need therapy and Without-Boyfriend-Time to get your head screwed on straight.
posted by frogan at 9:56 PM on August 6, 2006

If the roles were reversed and HE was restraining HER in this scenario I think that biting would be/is hailed as a perfectly acceptable way for a woman to escape from the situation.

Why is it not acceptable that HE bit her?
posted by FlamingBore at 10:26 PM on August 6, 2006 [1 favorite]

As I read it, she wasn't restraining him, full stop; she was trying to stop him from driving while hammered. If I were trying to stop my girlfriend from driving while severely intoxicated, and she bit me, I don't think that would be hailed as a perfectly acceptable move on her part.
posted by hades at 10:35 PM on August 6, 2006

I think your framing this as "he hurt me" is going to get in the way of your being fully responsible and accountable for your part in this very unlovely evening.

I suggest you look at this as a problem pattern that you are both participating in -- and focus your efforts on understanding and changing your behavior, not on reacting to his problems.

Good for you for recognizing the part drinking played in the whole mess. Getting sober is a good start.
posted by ottereroticist at 10:36 PM on August 6, 2006

"physically holding him back"
"knocked some shit down, and I continued pulling on his shirt, begging him to stop, and holding him back"
"He kept trying to brush me off"
"I followed him down the hall"
"I followed him for nearly two blocks"

Again, flip the genders... how does it read?
posted by FlamingBore at 10:39 PM on August 6, 2006

He got up and claimed he was leaving, driving home. I wouldn't let that happen, so I made the mistake of physically holding him back. We got to the kitchen, knocked some shit down, and I continued pulling on his shirt, begging him to stop, and holding him back.

So you physically assaulted your boyfriend, and you'd like advice?

Get yourself into therapy.

Message for the boyfriend: She's done this once, she'll do it again. People from abusive households sometimes seek out abusive situations, but more often than not they become abusers themselves. She's already got you apologizing for defending yourself, and she's got the "I'm the victim here" attitude down pat.

Run like the wind, pal. Run like the wind.
posted by tkolar at 10:48 PM on August 6, 2006

It reads the same with the genders flipped or not: it reads as a suboptimal response to an emergency situation. The guy was blitzed out of his mind, and he was threatening to drive a car, for Christ's sake. Calling the drunk a cab would have been a better response; standing back and letting the drunk drive would have been worse.
posted by sculpin at 10:51 PM on August 6, 2006

Yeah, ok. If I guy I know were to start arguing with his girlfriend, then threw a water bottle at her head, and when she tried to leave he physically retrained her (pinned her down, locked her arms, *whatever* form of physical restraint) and in a fevered attempt to escape she bit him on the neck, well, I would call it justified, and I'm pretty damn sure anyone following the "Empowered Female Rulebook" would feel the same.
posted by Jezztek at 11:08 PM on August 6, 2006

Dump him. I've had GalPals in the past that got frustrated about something and either hit me or threw things at me.

Doesn't matter how good were are / were together in the cold light of day either; when I drink I get giggly and happy and it takes a lot to escalate me to violence (as in someone I don't know on the street fucking with me). I don't do that to someone I know / care about and don't expect it in return. They crossed the line, and none of these babes are in my life anymore. No time or stomach for drama.

Dump him and see how you both feel in a year. If it's to be it will be.
posted by Mutant at 11:13 PM on August 6, 2006

Oh, for Pete's sake.

He got up and claimed he was leaving, driving home. I wouldn't let that happen, so I made the mistake of physically holding him back. [...] I followed him down the hall, begging for him not to go, insisting he couldn't drive like this, when he ran out the door. I followed him for nearly two blocks, (no shoes), and was finally, after lots of degrading comments about how I don't care about him, and how I wasn't allowed to bring this back up again, I convinced him to give me the keys, and come back to sleep.

Of course, we have an unreliable narrator. But, as described, the guy bit her in an attempt to drive while drunk. That's not the same thing as biting her because she was stopping him from walking out on an argument. Maybe there's a misprint in my copy of the Empowered Female Rulebook, but I can't seem to find the page that says that's acceptable behavior from anybody, male or female.

On the other hand, from his point of view she probably was just trying to stop him from walking out on an argument.

What worries me most is that at no point in this story do the friends come out and throw a bucket of water over the two participants. What, do they sleep with earplugs in?
posted by hades at 11:23 PM on August 6, 2006

What bothers me most about this story, Anonymous, is not your lousy restraint decisions so much as it is the possibility that you may be a specialist in being victimized. You read to me as somebody who might as well go around with a big sign over her head reading, "I am a good victim! Please bully me! I'll placate like crazy!"

I'll assume that it's true that you merely dropped a water bottle and he, misperceiving, flew into a drunken conniption fit. Your instinct, then, is to plead and sob and beg his forgiveness? That's a great way to bring the drama to a high pitch.

You did not have to do this. You could have sincerely apologized once, refused any more drama about it, and talked about it in the morning. Sleeping in the hallway would not have been a bad idea. But you chose to go right back in there, insisting on playing that tearful-victim role. Why? So he was drunk and angry at you; so what? Why not let him be, and work it out when you're both sober? What's so awful and scary about his being angry that it has to be fixed immediately?

And in the kitchen? You could have taken charge of that situation by calling him a cab. You could have called yourself a cab. You could have called your friends for help in getting him to sit down and not cause harm to himself or others. But instead, you chose to cede the situation to somebody who was apparently even more messed-up than you; you didn't tell him, you clung to his shirt and "begged" him. Again, you chose a way with maximum drama and minimal effectiveness. Why?

I am not generally one to say this, but: you need therapy. You need help learning the skills necessary to gain control of a situation and calm it, even when you are not at your most rational. Growing up with an abusive parent is a very poor way to learn how to deal with an enraged loved one.
posted by sculpin at 11:28 PM on August 6, 2006 [3 favorites]

He got irrational, as people do when they drink, and when I dropped a water bottle, he claimed that I aimed it at his head on purpose.

How do you drop a water bottle, but then it ends up almost hitting him in the head? Was he laying on the ground, and you were walking over him?

It sounds like you got upset because he chose to not tell you something unimportant (or told it to you and you forgot), you kept teasing him about it, you threw a water bottle at his head, you assaulted him and made it a pain in the ass to leave. Leave him if you want, but it sounds like you were picking a fight with him the whole night (consciously or not), and ended it all with an attempt at physical restraint. I've been it that situation, with a woman holding me and trying to get me to stay when I wanted to leave, and it's a lose-lose situation for the guy. You're all over him, and he wants you off of him. If he shoves you off, that's too violent. If he yells at you to get off of him, that's too much too. The only thing that seems to be a politically correct action is to bow to the will of the person who wants you to stay. Forcing people to do things is uncool.

If biting is something up with which you will not put, that's an understandable decision. But if you put your hands on someone else, and they are pissed off at you and drunk, that person is going to try and get your hands off of him, probably in a not very nice way.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:34 PM on August 6, 2006

You need to accept that we are made up of many conflicting parts and what makes us who we are is how we keep all of those in balance.

The ugliness that came out was not completely false or utterly made up, but it was only one part of you, probably the worst part of you. There is no reason to assign it more or less validity than the rest of you.

It's worth considering whether you both had pent-up anger. Sometimes people drink and get lovey-dovey. You guys drank and got angry. Was there something brewing already? If so, you missed the boat on dealing with it like adults, and got bit in the ass. Maybe you should talk about the original issue in a calm frame of mind. I suggest starting the conversation with a discussion about your level of commitment and some expressions of how you feel for one another.

I will also say that your account, while very fair and even-handed in many ways, also has its moments where you are clearly biased toward your own position. This is a big fat ugly blowout on both of your parts and you should tackle it as a couple. Don't walk into it with any presumptions about whose fault it was, yours or his (unless you want to relive the recriminations and shouting).
posted by scarabic at 11:44 PM on August 6, 2006 [1 favorite]

If your recollection is correct (and it's possible/probable that what you remember isn't what happened considering that your were both drunk) then you were both physically/emotionally hurt last night.

Both of you. What you've written about what you both did would make me extremely reluctant to offer advice until I heard both sides. You need to hash out both sides of the story before advice offered here is all that meaningful.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 12:10 AM on August 7, 2006

C'mon, this is not that complicated, regardless of what really happened during the drunken chaos. Your boyfriend has anger/control issues and family issues, you have abuse issues and probably seek out guys who treat you like dad or mom or uncle did. Things like this will happen again, either with this guy or someone else, unless you break the cycle. And alcohol is never an excuse. It doesn't really matter "who hit who first", there are bigger issues at heart here according to what you describe with _both_ of you having abuse and anger issues in your past.

So now you have to:
1) break up and be done with him - you need to worry about you and yourself alone _first_
2) get therapy, get counseling, do what you have to do to get better - there are free services available if you don't have insurance
3) get healthier, get a support system in place with close friends/family you trust, then consider long term relationships again

I'm sorry that this happened, but its better to end the relationship now before you are married and have kids and everything gets way more complicated. Please get help, and dump the guy.
posted by rsanheim at 12:28 AM on August 7, 2006

I feel like I should speak up as a gf who was hurt by her bf and then continued to date him.

During a severe episode of depression, mixing alcohol and anti-depressants (BAD, BAD idea, btw...) he was very distressed and crying and I was trying to calm him down and all of a sudden, he lunged, and pinned me to the wall with his hands around my neck.

Honestly, the thought did cross my mind 'oh crap, he could kill me and nobody could hear me'. It was freaking scary. But I looked him in the eyes and calmly told him "you need to let go of me- you're hurting me" and he did. I ran upstairs and told his mom what was going on (we were 17 at the time) and got the hell out of there.

By the time she got down there, the reality of what had happened sunk in, and he was so upset he threw up and was sobbing hysterically. They hauled him off to his psychiatrist that night.

My family and friends thought I was nuts for continuing to date him. (I told people in the initial panic stage) But for me, I knew that it was not really 'him' that acted that way, and that it was an incident that would never occur again. And it never did. I think that you need to evaluate somebody's personality and really think about whether or not an incident is characteristic of them or a one time freak thing. Everybody screws up sometimes.

For the record, he and I dated for a total of five years. It took me a long time to accept that for probably the first three or four of them it was an emotionally abusive relationship. Just make sure that you aren't sacrificing yourself to keep him happy or avoid his anger. its not worth it. He still says that that incident was one of the worst times in his life, and that he hates that he is a person who at one point was capable of hurting somebody he loved. And thats something we'll both have to live with. You and your bf will both have to learn to live with last nights incident, whether or not its together.
posted by gilsonal at 12:36 AM on August 7, 2006

Agree with Dipsomaniac. You need counseling; that much is clear from your side of the story whether or not you dump the guy (or he dumps you). He may need counseling as well; probably does, but who knows? You're an unreliable narrator, simply because you were drunk.

Get it with him, get it alone, but get it. Only working with him and a professional can you make the determination that you should stay together.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 12:48 AM on August 7, 2006

You tried to be balanced, and that's good. But I think you should look even earlier that night.

Firstly, you picked an argument. You say you were just kidding, but even so, it's just bad judgment. How would anyone react positively to that? If the event wasn't "big deal", why bother?

Relationships always require an intelligent level of minor self-censorship. "Totally honest and open" is a high school level fairy tale.

As for the altercation: Sure, you're the girl. And maybe you were just trying to get the keys. But you started the fight. You can't start assaulting someone who is drunk, (and has some anger issues if you are correct), and act surprised when they strike back. Biting seems more defensive then aggressive to me.

He doesn't come across as a real winner either, but you he didn't abuse you, at least not here.

Anyway, you both displayed poor judgment, and no real sense of how to diffuse tensions. He has a quick temper, you harp on small stuff and you're both drama queens. I think you need to realize and reflect on this if you want to prevent this sort of nonsense from occurring again.

I understand this is both of you at your worst, so you need a few days by yourself to think if this is truly an aberration. If both of you are willing to work on it, maybe there is something worth saving.

I got to say however; you both have reasons to run. Time by yourself is probably the best thing you can do right now.

(And I don't know where people are getting "booze doesn't change your personality" from. Booze isn't some royal road to the unconscious.)
posted by spaltavian at 12:55 AM on August 7, 2006 [1 favorite]

Clearly both of you were emotionally and physically hurt last night. Maybe you need a break from him for a while, but I wouldn't jump to any sort of conclusion. Give it a couple of days, let your head clear and then see how things stand.
posted by liquorice at 1:32 AM on August 7, 2006

Honestly, who's at fault, and who started what, and so on, isn't really relevant. Instead, let's look at the facts.
  • You got defensive/jealous...let's just say scared at some level, when you found out that there was something he hadn't shared with you. You yourself have admitted that the details of this omission were not a big deal, which means that at some level you're having trust/co-dependency issues with your boyfriend. Hallmark of a dysfunctional relationship.
  • You both proceeded to elevate the argument in an irrational fashion, him getting increasingly and irrationally angry, your first reaction being to try to placate him, calm him down, assuage his anger. Hallmark of an abusive/co-dependent relationship.
  • When he finally tried to get away (poor anger management, cannot face increasingly irrational consequences), you grabbed him to try to stop him--a violation of his personal space, itself a form of violence, and at the same time an immediate appeal to assuage his anger, get his approval. Hallmark of an abusive/co-dependent relationship.
  • In the process of trying to get away, he commits violence on you. Irrational fear and anger. Hallmark of a person with anger/violence/abuse/emotional issues.
There's only one thing you need to take away from these points, at this moment. Stop the train. It's time to re-evaluate your relationship. I would recommend therapy for both of you, both individually and together, if you choose to stay together. Working through those kinds of issues takes a lot of work, and from what you describe of your background and his, it may be very difficult to do without help. There are signifcant boundaries that you both are crossing, for yourselves and each other. Until you get to the root of what's causing you both to do that, you can expect repeat performances in some theater down the road.

You don't want to marry into least not right now. Marriage is (supposed to be) forever. I would get a true handle on the issues coming between you, and then decide what forever might look like, through the lens of perspective.

I truly wish you the best of luck.
posted by Brak at 2:10 AM on August 7, 2006

Here's what it sounds like to me: Drunkenness happened, you were both immature, and now it's over. If you love the guy, stick around, but you both need to have a conversation - figure out what went wrong that night, and how you can avoid it.
The biting does not seem like abuse, and I think a lot of people are really overdoing it in this thread.
posted by sluggo at 4:03 AM on August 7, 2006

"First: This story invovles alcohol. Neither of us generally drink this much, or drink very often, for that matter... he threw up multiple times... "

I don't see why most people here are ignoring this. The boyfriend does not have a history of alcohol abuse and he clearly drank way more than he was used to to the point of being very sick. I'm not saying that this excuses his actions, but I think that it does mean that those actions could be extremely out of character for him and don't necessarily point to a pattern of violence. The only thing that it should teach both of you is that you shouldn't binge drink.

There are obviously other problems in your relationship, (like everyone else's relationship), but there is no way of us can help you with that.
posted by afu at 4:09 AM on August 7, 2006

Wow, with all of these people telling you to break up with him immediately, I'm beginning to think that I'm crazy?

- You guys were both extremely drunk and you were both acting irrationally (as a few people have already mentioned.)

- No one is going to have perfect behavior. Part of being in a relationship is working through your "imperfections" together.

- I read your story and you sound like you behaved like an angel, but me thinks that there might have been a higher degree of irrational behavior on your part. Teasing him about something like that, especially in front of your friends, wasn't cool. If you're upset about something, save it for later when you're not so heated up about it or drunk or in public. Especially when you know that he has had a short temper on occasion.

- You guys had a major drunken fight. My boyfriend and I have had those too. It reminds us not to get so drunk. Hopefully you guys will figure out the same thing.

- You've been with him for years and this is the first time that he's been so irrational? Let it go. If it starts happening on a regular basis, start thinking about working on it together. How to work through it?


FIRST figure out what the problem(s) are.
Tell significant other: "I want us to be honest about issues between us... These are problems that I am having in our relationship: A, B, and C (and make sure that you address both of your involvement in the creation/existance of the problem)", be as honest as possible, but choose your words cautiously... I'd recommend rehersing them before you speak with him/her.
Then ask him/her "What are the problems that you see?" AND LISTEN.

Then, TOGETHER, determine the best path for resolving the problems.

This conversation doesn't happen in 10 minutes -- it can take days and weeks.

But then once you determine what to do about the problems, set a realistic timeframe for solving them... "before the end of the summer" and both agree to commit to focus on the problems.

See how it goes. If s/he or you screw up on paying attention to the problems, call the other one out on it in a polite way.

When the time is up, assess where you're at with "fixing" the problems. If you feel like you made progress, keep on with the relationship. If you haven't made any progress, then you have a good reason to break up and both of you, as reasonable human beings should see this.

Think about it this way -- if you screw up at work, your boss shouldn't fire you, rather s/he should discuss what is going on and ways to fix the problem. If you still screw up a few months later, the boss gave you a warning, tried to help you resolve the issue and you didn't. It is fair to fire you then.
posted by k8t at 4:21 AM on August 7, 2006

It's unfair to blame the bf for the bulk of this incident.

He wanted to leave. He could not leave. He was being physically restrained. He didn't hit anybody. Yes, the bf bit the gf and that wasn't nice but she WOULD NOT let him go. It looks to me like he was deliberately trying not to cause her much harm. But he couldn't get her off him.

Both parties need to lay off the drinking. Maybe seek some counseling and work out some issues before you decide to get married. And if that bite broke the skin, go see your doctor for some antibiotics as others suggested.
posted by bim at 5:03 AM on August 7, 2006

Yeah, the "HE'S ABUSIVE, DUMP HIM" people are weirding me out. If somebody grabbed me and tried to physically restrain me I might well punch them in the face when sober, much less drunk. I do not like being restrained. Both parties messed up here!

Anon: you both need help. Maybe individual or couples therapy? But recognize that the guy didn't simply lose hit shit and bite you, he was being physically accosted. Like I said, if someone physically restrained me and refused to stop - whatever the reason - I would almost certainly lash out physically. You just dont do that to me.
posted by Justinian at 5:49 AM on August 7, 2006

You don't provide enough information for us to know if your boyfriend fits the profile of an abuser. quote:
You may be headed for danger if you date someone who:

* Tries to isolate you from friends and family.
* Does not want you to spend time with anybody else.
* Hits, punches, kicks or shoves you. Or, threatens to hurt you in any way.
* Is extremely jealous.
* Gets mad when you talk to other people.
* Is possessive. Treats you like a belonging and does not want you to share your time with other people.
* Is controlling. Insists that you call to "check in" or ask permission to do things.
* Tries to control what you wear, what you do and how you act.
* Scares you. Makes you worry about reactions to things you say or do.
* Behaves violently. Owns weapons and threatens to use them.
* Has a history of fighting, loses temper quickly, has hurt animals or other people.
* Is emotionally abusive. Puts you down, calls you names, tells you you are nothing without him/her.
* Makes all the decisions in the relationship. Does not care about your thoughts and feelings.
* Abuses alcohol or drugs and pressures you to take them.
* Won't accept breaking up. Threatens to hurt you, or him/herself if you break up.
* Stalks you after you've tried to break if off.
Does any of that fit? Have any of your friends every tried to convince you to leave him?

No one here knows enough to give you thorough advice, and based on your story I don't trust your judgement. Go talk to a professional.
posted by bleary at 6:15 AM on August 7, 2006

Anonymous: Regardless of what the "men's rights" wackos are saying here, restraining someone who is shitfaced drunk and about to get in the car and drive somewhere is not assault. You may very well have saved your boyfriend's life and the life of somebody else on the road. It doesn't give him the right to bite you.

This is just inane:

So you physically assaulted your boyfriend, and you'd like advice?

That said, it sounds like you were both acting like assholes that night. You say he's gotten irrationally angry three or four times in the past ... that could mean a lot of things. The way you describe your relationship, it doesn't sound as pathological as a lot of abusive relationships. You need counseling, so that a professional can help you analyze exactly what's going on in this relationship and help you decide whether to stay or not. You just haven't given us enough info.
posted by jayder at 6:26 AM on August 7, 2006

I agree that it's really hard to form a true picture from this. You were also very drunk at the time, which makes your account not exactly 100% trustworthy. You both acted like drunken idiots. Having said that he does seem to have anger issues and you seem to have trust issues, that would make any impartial bystander think that you need to talk about these things and counseling it probably the best environment for that.
posted by ob at 6:32 AM on August 7, 2006

I'm not convinced that the water bottle wasn't aimed at the bf's head either.
posted by bim at 6:46 AM on August 7, 2006

I think you're making way too big a deal about this.

You were drunk. He was drunk. You antagonized him over the course of a night (and that was what the teasing was, especially to a drunk person), he got angry, you started fighting, and things got crazy because you were both drunk and crazy.

I've done shit when I'm drunk that I would never do when I was sober. This doesn't mean I have underlying issues I need to work on; it means like 99% of the human population my self-control and reasoning when intoxicated is absolute shit. The person you are when you're drunk is very different from the person you are when you're sober. This isn't an excuse, because if the person you are when you're drunk is bad you gotta just not drink, but it means doing stupid things while drunk is not an indicator of a need for therapy.

So. I would say your apologies. I would have a few awkward, silent days, and then you guys go out and do something with friends that you both enjoy, something that does not involve getting shitfaced. Then go home and have lots of sex.
posted by schroedinger at 7:05 AM on August 7, 2006 [3 favorites]

First of all, take a deep breath. You had a nasty fight. You're emotional. That makes sense. You will probably be emotional about this for a while.

Trust your instincts on this one. As would be expected, a lot of people commenting here are bringing their own judgments and prejudices to play in their advice to you. If it were me, I would say that this man makes you incredibly happy, and has done so for years. He does have anger management problems, but I would say it is worth seeing if he can learn from this experience. I don't think what he did was that bad. I would not call it abuse. I think biting you was the defensive act of an irrationally drunk person being repeatedly restrained. There may be some latent anger that needs to be explored. The way you seemed to nag at him about the one little thing he didn't tell you makes me think you might act in this overly controlling way on other occasions - that would make me mad, if I were him. So if it were me, I would stay, but I would take the incident very seriously as a couple, and try very hard to address latent problems in the relationship. But that's just me, and you are you, and you have to feel beloved and safe in this relationship in order to continue in it.

And here's an anecdote. My parents have a wonderful, loving marriage of 45+ years. No real anger issues. Of course, they have their frustrations, and their troubles, but they love each other and have fun together and rely on each other. About 5 years ago, my parents got absolutely wasted at a wedding. As far as we can reconstruct, my mom tried to drive home. My dad tried to restrain her. She started hitting him. He hit her back hard. (And he's very strong and she isn't, so she got hurt and he didn't.) She was absolutely hysterical about this for days, felt abused, said she never thought he would make her feel unsafe. I was completely traumatized. He wouldn't talk about it. Sounds like abuse, sounds like the type of incident many people here would tell you you should leave over. But this was about 40 years into a 45 year marriage. It has never happened again, not even slightly. My father adores women of all ages, is known as one of the most loving, kindest people around. In retrospect, I believe it was an extremely ugly incident, but not one that should have ended their marriage. Relationships are complex, and even great relationships inevitably involve some hurt, some betrayal, some horrible mistakes. I don't believe great relationships should be thrown away for a night of madness.

Good luck. I don't think either one of you is abusive - just normal people who had a terrible fight.
posted by Amizu at 7:19 AM on August 7, 2006

How do you drop a water bottle, but then it ends up almost hitting him in the head?

Ditto. That's a pretty weird bit of the story the "Dump him immediately!" folks are overlooking. But the "She assaulted him!" folks are overlooking something obvious, too.

I think bleary's list of warning signs of an abuser is the most helpful thing anonymous is going to get out of this thread. If he's not showing any of those signs (isolating, controlling and "posessing" her), then there may be hope for the relationship yet.
posted by mediareport at 7:39 AM on August 7, 2006

I'm am a big fan of DTMFA, and I wish more people would do it. But I don't think that's the case here. People do stupid shit when they're drunk that they would never do when sober, including irrational angry outbursts. The solution: stop drinking heavily.

Alcohol, god bless it, is capable of turning milquetoasts into monsters. If he's like this sober, fine, sure, dump him. But if the only times you've have crazy hideous fights is when you're both totally hammered, then the best way to solve this is pretty fucking clear.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:41 AM on August 7, 2006

You know, if the OP said this was an isolated incident that happened while drunk, and that she had a healthy upbringing and a healthy bf, I would understand some of the responses of "it was a one time drunken thing, don't worry too much."

However, the OP specifically says:
Full Disclosure: He's gotten irrationally angry in the past, about three times during the entire time we've been dating, where he would yell or get very, very, angry, sometimes mean....I've had issue with an abusive parent in the past.

I realize that a lot of his way of dealing with anger also comes form his family

I mean this is a red flag, blinking light warning that this is not just an isolated drunken incident. This is the cycle of abuse that leads to the victim becoming more susceptible to abuse, and also more prone to abuse others.

I've had ex-gf's and friends who were stuck in the same situation, and it is truly frightening to see how people rationalize the abuse they've suffered ("oh he's never like this. he was just drunk. he apologized and was really sorry") and the continued behavior that enables it, even when its "obvious" to any outsider how dangerous and hurtful it is. Its not obvious to the victim at all, of course, until they get free of abusive relationships and actually get help.

Also, for those of you saying they shouldn't "throw away their relationship". Please, give me a break. This is _exactly_ the time they should call it off and deal with their own issues - seeing as they are still single and don't have kids or marriage to worry about. If they both get some help and meet up in 3 years and are still all about each other? Great, go for it then. But not now. Too many fish in the see, and there are enough abusive family units out there with f-ed up kids already.
posted by rsanheim at 7:49 AM on August 7, 2006

Just to reiterate - I'm not saying the bf is a monster or that the story is 100% accurate. Just that _any_ relationship is a bad idea for anon, and her and her bf need to get help and therapy for their own sakes before worrying about a significant other.
posted by rsanheim at 7:52 AM on August 7, 2006

I just wanted to point you in the direction of this anger management question that someone asked earlier today. Sounds like something you guys might find useful (is your boyfriend a mefite??).

Also, I actually agree with those who say that you both were out of line and abusive towards each other last night.
posted by echo0720 at 8:37 AM on August 7, 2006

Very few relationship problems, in my experience, are made better through continuing close contact with the S.O. Take some time, get some space, let the influence of his presence on your thoughts dissipate a bit, and ask yourself: is this actually the relationship I most want to be in? All things considered, does this let me become a better person? (Note: not not not the same as 'make me a better person.')

I'm with the majority, it looks like: these things reveal aspects of a relationship that have to be dealt with. But if the relationship is objectively good - and you're not just telling yourself that because you're chicken about losing him or some other equally bullshit rationalization for which it's pointless to make excuses - if you two are compatible in a day-to-day way such that you can talk through what's upsetting you and not let stupid little things take root and grow, then grab a couple weeks to yourself and start talking to the guy again.

But if you believe this is something that's going to happen again, just get the hell out. Give him a chance to start over, and give yourself a chance to demand more.
posted by waxbanks at 8:39 AM on August 7, 2006

People are reading far too much into these people's characters than they ought to be. This could be a fight that two well-adjusted people have that is exceptional and reveals little about their pasts, characters, or their relationship; or it could sum-up quite exactly all these things. None of us here is in an position to know. Any good advice needs to take that into consideration. I'm not sure what that advice might be other than drinking to excess should be avoided by both. The questioner seems to think this is serious so that alone indicates that couple's counseling is reasonable advice and they and their counselor would be able to determine the truth of the things people are assuming here.

Almost every single incident described in this question is very darn far from unambiguous to me. I don't really know or understand what the bottle dropping/throwing thing was about, nor do I understand the biting, nor the restraining. A videotape would be nice. Without it, I can imagine wildly divergent guesses about what actually happened on the basis of the questioner's description of events.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:03 AM on August 7, 2006

In wine is truth - Dostoyevsky
posted by any major dude at 9:07 AM on August 7, 2006

Just like every AskMe, especially relationship ones (especially anon ones), there's good advice and bad advice here.
Think about what the rational and mature way is to proceed. At some point, you do have to trust your gut even if your gut is unreliable. You do need to have an open and honest discussion with your boyfriend, and you do need to make your position clear: this isn't acceptable. You need to take responsibility for your actions too— a lot of what he did was understandable.

From my point of view, Cribcage and Scarabic have really smart things to say. I'd listen to them over Meatbomb.
posted by klangklangston at 9:11 AM on August 7, 2006

This is fucking Rashamon.
posted by klangklangston at 9:12 AM on August 7, 2006

I teased him about not telling me several times throughout the evening, and then let it go when he seemed upset about it.

I can remember a time when I thought this was cool or funny or even remotely okay, and that other people really loved being used for my dramatic purposes. I cringe now. I cannot imagine doing it to someone I even vaguely liked.

I wasn't allowed to bring this back up again.

So, issues tend to rise from the dead for you guys a lot?

Along with taking a vacation from alcohol, you guys should take a long hard look at how much drama you're manufacturing in your lives.

Just in this one story, there's so much drama - the nagging (and bonus nagging in front of friends), the repeated rehashing of the fight about the nagging, running through other people's neighborhoods with no shoes, the repeated tearful apologizing (tip: apologize once and mean it, stop rehashing the bad-feelings part and start doing something) and a vaguely-referenced history of what could be domestic abuse or could be two people winding each other up to a high pitch - which is addictive, thanks to the juicy adrenaline and endorphins. You'd be safer taking up an extreme sport and letting your domestic life be peaceful.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:31 AM on August 7, 2006 [2 favorites]

Teabags all look the same - you can't tell what's in 'em until you get 'em in hot water.

From one point of vies, you're sort of lucky you got yourselves into some hot water now, as it won't be the last time. Do you like that kind of tea? Is it safe to drink? Because now you know what's inside, and now you can make an decidedly informed decision.
posted by DandyRandy at 10:06 AM on August 7, 2006

"...I know the Empowered Female Rulebook, which I thought I subscribed to, says that I should dump anyone on the spot who physically threatened me..."

I would leave this particular incident out of your consideration about whether or not to end your relationship. You started the physical confrontation by restraining him. This is always bad. I have a pretty even temper but when someone, anyone, physically restrains me while I am angry the impulse to strike them is instantaneously created within me and it is very strong. If I were very drunk I am not absolutely sure I could control it.

General advice to all women, don't try to physically restrain a drunk man you're arguing with.
posted by 517 at 10:43 AM on August 7, 2006

Full Disclosure: He's gotten irrationally angry in the past, about three times during the entire time we've been dating, where he would yell or get very, very, angry, sometimes mean. I don't respond to this type of behavior well AT ALL, considering that I've had issue with an abusive parent in the past.

Judging by the last little bit about the abusive parent in the past, my two cents about this matter:

When choosing a life partner, or often a partner even much earlier in life (in your teens, for example) people will most often subconciously navigate towards someone who can recreate what they're used to at home. i can understand that you're happy with this guy at the moment, but that can all change after a few years of marriage.

So what i suggest, what i think you need, is to take some time before you decide to devote your life to this guy. I'm not saying break up- i'm saying don't get hitched before you know what's going on.

And, i think you personally need to go see a therapist about this whole abuse issue, because it's going to come up again a lot in your life if you don't.
posted by alon at 11:02 AM on August 7, 2006

jayder wrote...
So you physically assaulted your boyfriend, and you'd like advice?
This is just inane.

That's what I would have said about four years ago. In retrospect, however, everything I needed to know was contained in my-ex's physical escalation of emotional arguments.

Don't kid yourself about the drunk driving business: she could have told him in calm and even tones that she would prefer he went for a long walk instead, she could have offered to fix coffee for him, she could have called a taxi for him, she could have woken up her friends -- she had a lot of non-violent options. She herself recognizes that attempting to physically restrain him was the wrong path to take. And yet, that's the path she took ... and unless she is willing to examine that choice extremely carefully, she will do it again.
posted by tkolar at 12:25 AM on August 8, 2006

I'm not sure what you should do, but I would point out that relationships are hard and take work. The hard part of this incident was not the drama of the drunken fight unfolding, it's the working through the issues that it raised. That's true whether you stay or go, but it starts with how you choose to frame the issues and problems involved, how you start to think about and assign blame, and how you approach resolution.

History is NOT destiny, either in your childhood or in your relationship.
posted by OmieWise at 11:13 AM on August 8, 2006

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