Sometimes she’s violent!

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My fiance and I met at college 5 years ago and had a brief, wonderful, relationship at the time before she left college and spent two years travelling around the world. We stayed friends during this time and often emailed each other, sometimes speaking over the phone, also. We both led separate lives, her travelling and me entering into a relationship with my ex-partner which lasted four years.

We always joked that we would get married someday. My relationship with my ex was not working, so my fiance and I met about eighteen months after she returned from travelling and as a result, I split from my partner and we embarked on our current relationship. Our relationship has surpassed my expectations in many ways, and we have been very happy, but some issues have risen to the surface.

The most serious issue is that she has been violent to me on two separate occasions, the first time was 6 months ago, just before we became engaged. She was angry that we had lost each other during the night at a concert and she could not contact me, although she was with friends. She punched me in the face while I was asleep then proceeded to punch me twice after I woke. We were actually in another country at the time and it was far easier for me to play it down the next day so that we could stay together and she was also extremely upset that the incident had occurred in the first place. I had visible wounds for weeks after.

The second incident occurred just a couple of weeks ago. My fiance became very jealous that I had mentioned my ex-partner to a neighbour in casual conversation. When the neighbour left, we argued and my partner pushed me at the top of the stairs. I tripped and fell backwards down the stairs, but was not injured. I believe that this was a genuine mistake and again, she expressed deep regret the next day.

My fiance is also very jealous of my last relationship as she has concluded that we could have been together beforehand and that I decided to be with my ex-partner instead of her for some time. This has become a ‘no-go’ area of conversation for us and has been difficult to deal with practically as many of my friends are still friends with my ex-partner. I often feel that I am treading on eggshells in regards to this problem.

I love my fiance very much and she makes me very happy in many ways, but I have serious reservations about marrying her now and bringing up children.
How can I unravel these issues?

A: It seems that your fiance is more interested in controlling you than in controlling herself. This is indeed very worrisome. I’m deeply concerned that she would hit you while you were asleep and entirely defenseless. If you had a female friend who had been been treated this way by her male partner, my guess is that you would tell her to take a big step back until he got into some kind of anger management counseling and did some serious, serious working on himself. To me, the rules around violence are the same for women as for men. No one has the right to hurt their partner. Further, you can’t be expected to completely forget about a 4 year relationship that was important at the time. You each made your own journey on your way to finding each other. You can’t be expected to abandon other friendships or throw away experiences you had during your personal travels. Please don’t consider marriage until the jealousy is resolved and you have confidence she won’t ever use violence against you.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 16 Jan 2008

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2008). Sometimes she’s violent!. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/01/16/sometimes-shes-violent/

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