Dear Amy: I am in a relationship with a man my age. We share many interests and values. The problem, I believe, is his lack of respect for me.
I want to be communicated with in a way that shows love and kindness.
He says he respects me, but his behavior does not demonstrate it. He yells, is critical, and is very impatient with me.
I’m confused. He says he wants to be in this relationship (we’ve lived together for over a year), but acts poorly, and while I am not perfect and do often yell back (and feel terrible about it), I also believe I am protecting myself, albeit not in the best way.
If you know anything about battered wife syndrome, do you think that I have it?
Is it me, or is he an abuser?
— Oregon Woman
Dear Oregon: Battered wife syndrome is classified as a serious condition triggered by psychological and/or physical intimate partner violence.
Based on what you say, you are in an unfulfilling and chronically upsetting intimate relationship with someone who treats you badly and who — according to you — compels you to defend/retaliate, followed by periods of you feeling “terrible” about your own behavior.
The way I see it, part of the time you are being treated badly, and part of the time you are treating yourself badly.
That’s a lot. It is also a symptom of abuse.
You’ve asked for an objective opinion about who is at fault.
You don’t cause your boyfriend’s behavior. His behavior is his responsibility.
You also can’t change his behavior. He can, and if he wanted to (or felt it was in his best interest to change), he would!
In my opinion, neither of you seems to love you enough.
You can’t force him to love you more or to love you differently.
You can love and respect yourself more — and one way to do that would be to exit from this unhealthy cycle and unhappy household.
It might help if you asked yourself: “At the end of my life, would I feel proud of and fulfilled by this particular relationship?”
Dear Amy: My younger brother is in the Navy. We have always been very close.
I worry that he is spending his money in ways that are not always in his best interest.
I regret not investing more of my own income when I was his age, and I’ve tried to talk to him about the importance of holding some money back for your future, but he still exhibits a specific behavior which concerns me.
For instance, his girlfriend’s dad needed a new phone, so my brother went out and bought new phones for him and his girlfriend, and then gave her father his old one (which was only a few months old).
He has given away a gaming system not once, but three times (each costs upwards of $1,500).
This behavior concerns me because I know he doesn’t make a ton of money.
I understand the idea of helping a friend out when they are in need, but these are not emergency needs.
Do you have any suggestions for how to talk to him about this without seeming too “parental”?
I know that at the end of the day it is his money to use as he chooses, but I worry this habit will cost him in the long run.
— Concerned Brother
Dear Brother: You should attempt to discuss your brother’s financial future without harshly judging his current choices.
What you can do is reflect on some of your own choices, especially sharing some of the mistakes you made earlier on.
Servicemembers sometimes face unique financial challenges. For instance, they can be targets for scammers and financial fraudsters. Your brother should be made aware of that.
Militaryonesource.mil is a website maintained by the U.S. Department of Defense. It is “rich” with content regarding personal finance as it applies to servicemembers (do a search for “personal finance”).
Read through some of the articles and recommendations, designed specifically for members of the military, and pass this information along to your brother.