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Dear Abby: My boyfriend is overly controlling and curses at me in front of my kids

Dear Abby: I have been in a relationship for more than a year. We met at the gym. We have similar interests and are both normally caring and loving to each other. We also have similar senses of humor.

We moved in together too quickly, after only six months. Our attempt at blending our kids and families has hit a lot of hard bumps. He is a very assertive and aggressive parent, while I’m the opposite. He has helped me with pointers and advice on taming my two boys’ “attitudes,” and both have changed the attitudes they had before and are doing good.

The problem is, my boyfriend has become controlling to the point that when anyone seems a little disrespectful or doesn’t do what they were supposed to or told to do, he gets in the middle of it. When we have an argument, if we disagree on something, he curses at me or calls me names. This has become a dealbreaker for me. He says I spoil and coddle my kids, which is a dealbreaker for him. He always apologizes afterward, but then he does it again. This may seem obvious, but is this as clear as I’m thinking that we should break up?

— Somewhat Hopeless

Dear Somewhat Hopeless: Because your “gentleman” (I use the term advisedly) friend becomes verbally abusive when you have a disagreement, recognize that he continues to do it because it works for him. The example his behavior has set for your boys is atrocious. I’m pleased that you are thinking as clearly as you have been. Offer him the option of couples counseling. If he refuses, for your kids’ sakes, if not for your own, move out and move on. The person you’re involved with isn’t just “aggressive” as much as he is a bully.


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Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069. Copyright 2024, Andrews McMeel Syndication.

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