By Sarah Bennett
By Adam Lovinus
By Jena Ardell
By Nate Jackson
By Gustavo Arellano
By Nick Keppler
By Nate Jackson
By Alex Distefano
DEAR EXENE: At a certain point in any relationship, I'm used to fielding questions from women that feel more like subtle tests of my loyalty than a regular question about life or my career—nothing new. I've come to view it as the natural process of finding a partner, etc. But in my previous two relationships (including the one I'm in the process of leaving), I feel as though both women knew how to ask questions simply to get a rise out of me, to test my threshold of anger or frustration or something. For example, a conversation with my current girlfriend about having kids will turn into "Well, what if I had a baby, and then say it doesn't work out between us—would you ever take your frustration with our relationship out on our children or be abusive since that's what you learned growing up?" (For the record, my dad was a drunken asshole who left my family when I was 7 years old; I'm now 28.) I told her no, but this line of questioning persisted until I almost lost my cool. When this happens, I just storm off or kill the conversation. But just hearing a line of questioning that assumes those kind of things about me, it's like these women were doing it on purpose to test my patience. As we were getting more serious, I found these questions started popping up and were almost like direct attacks on me. I feel as though there's a point at which driving at a person's potential flaws makes them snap and become the kind of person their partner ultimately is afraid of ending up with. Is this kind of a test normal for women, or do I just pick crappy ones?
DEAR JOSE: If you want to have a healthy relationship with a woman, you need to have an understanding of yourself. What you went through as a child is very traumatic, and I don't know if you have dealt with the sadness, betrayal and possible resentment toward your parents. Resentment does not usually go away on its own.
Maybe these women are questioning your future abuse potential because:
1. The cycle of abuse is hard to break in families.
2. They may have experienced it as well.
3. Even though they are badgering you about it, when you get angry and storm off, they get scared and run away.
I just feel as though you are still stuck in some pain, and you need to grieve a little for that boy you were and still are and forgive. Let go of any resentments you have. It isn't easy to do that, but don't you want to be free?