Advice from the Trenches: My Everything

Dear C and Dr. B;

Scott is the best thing that ever happened to me. He’s thoughtful, polite, he opens the door for me and helps me with my coat. I’ve never had a guy make me feel so special. I dated a lot of men who dished out the compliments in the beginning – but after they managed to flatter me into bed, they immediately cooled off – stopped calling, texting. One guy even pretended he didn’t know me when he saw me again in the bar where we met. Scott and I have been together for six months and he’s more into me than ever. He even acts jealous if I talk with other guys, which is a great change from being treated like, “Who’s she?” I found him looking through the contact numbers in my phone, and when I asked why, he said, “I wanted to make sure I’ve got you all to myself.” It made me feel loved and protected.

I’ve had some little doubts. He pissed off my best friend Carol. He answered the phone while I was in the bathroom and told her I wasn’t home. I only found out he’d lied about it when Carol asked me the next day why I didn’t return her call. Then, another time, when we were out and Scott had gone to get me a drink, some guy I’d never met came up and said, “Watch out for that one.” Later, I went online and did a background check. Scott had been jailed twice for assault and had a restraining order from a previous girlfriend! But when I asked him about it the next day, he was honest and open then said, “This is why you are so important – I’m a better man when I’m with you. You keep me in line, babe.” 

I really feel he’s sincere. He’s never been anything but sweet. I think I balance him out and we bring out the best in each other. Carol tells me I’m an idiot. Please tell me she’s wrong. I want this to work.

Beth

Dear Beth,

Carol’s right – you’re being an idiot. You can’t make someone into something they aren’t. Redemptive love is a cultural myth. A person can only change their behaviors if they consciously and deliberately choose better behaviors in every situation that comes. Scott’s behavior with you is too good to be true, so it probably isn’t. He is an abusive male — narcissistic, possessive and territorial. You might be the focus of his attention, but that is not a good thing. Well-balanced people have more than one thing in their lives at a time. “You are my everything” is a line from romance novels. No one should be anyone’s everything. It’s an incredible emotional drain. 

Scott is the kind of guy women take out restraining orders on. If you want a possessive child as a mate go for it but my advice is: If you have to mother someone, you shouldn’t sleep with them — that is incest. Join a women’s group and get therapy so you can learn some relationship common sense. Remember – in real life the Beast does not become a prince, but instead eats Beauty.

Good luck,

Dr B

C – ordinarily I’d be ripping Scott a new one, but since Dr. B has done that already, I’ll play devil’s advocate and give Scott the benefit of the doubt. Let’s say he really does want to change. Let’s say YOU are the woman who has inspired him to realize that he needs anger management and that a restraining order might be a sign he has some emotional issues. You bring out the best in him, so as long as you are together, he’ll be okay.

The question is: What about when you aren’t with him? You can’t go to work with him. Unless the two of you are glued at the hip 24/7, there are going to be times that Scott’s resolve is tested. If you are the only thing keeping him in line, what happens to that line if you are not keeping him? And what if you want to leave? Talk to Scott’s ex and find out why she took out the restraining order. Ask her if she felt, in the beginning, like the most special girl in the world. Ask her if he opened doors for her and why one day she walked out one of those doors and never came back.

Even a person who is really motivated to change can’t do it without help. If you really believe Scott means what he says, ask when the two of you can schedule a couple’s appointment. If he won’t do it, or promises to then constantly cancels, wake up. Scott is going to be the sweetest guy in the world … until you cross him. Then don’t say we didn’t warn you.

You can visit Dr. B’s blog at drbrilliantcliche.wordpress.com

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