Ask Amy: She clobbered me in the back with a yogurt, and I’m thinking that’s the last straw

Ask Amy: She clobbered me in the back with a yogurt, and I’m thinking that’s the last straw

Dear Amy: I’ve been with my girlfriend for five years (we’re both in our mid-20s). We moved in together about a year ago and both have good jobs.

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Her job is either more stressful than mine or maybe she just feels the stress more, but frequently when she comes home after work, she is in a foul mood. She always says she’s “hangry,” and that she feels better after she eats something.

In my opinion, this makes her pretty hard to live with.

The other night it was my turn to make dinner, and she didn’t believe I was paying enough attention to what I was doing. She followed me around the kitchen, criticizing what I was doing. She went to the refrigerator and got a tub of yogurt to eat.

I was doing a crossword on my phone while the rice was cooking but nothing was progressing fast enough, and – long story short – she ended up throwing the yogurt at me (spoon and all).

My back was turned and the yogurt hit my back, splattered all over me, and fell to the floor.

I wasn’t hurt, but I’m thinking this is the last straw. She did sincerely apologize. She blamed this outburst on her hunger, but I’m thinking of moving out. I’m not sure what to do.

– Man On the Fence

Dear On the Fence: Your girlfriend could easily control her “hangry” outbursts by grabbing a snack on the way home from work.

Her violence is unacceptable.

Men sometimes discount partner violence if they’re not injured. I hope you won’t make this mistake.

It’s time for you to get out. Move in with a friend, make a clean break, and don’t look back.

Dear Amy: Forty years ago, my wife was pregnant for one trimester. I’ve never forgiven myself for how I acted during those few months.

The pregnancy was planned, but instead of being pleased, I was assailed by doubts and fears. Rather than being supportive and optimistic with my wife, I was bad-tempered and unsympathetic. I felt trapped and resentful.

Then it all ended with a sad miscarriage and a consuming feeling of guilt over the way I’d acted.

Wanting to atone, I was supportive through five years of humiliating infertility treatments before I finally said I couldn’t take it anymore. She agreed. We gave up trying.

Was my behavior during that brief pregnancy as unforgivable as I think it was, or do other people have similar feelings in such situations?

If I found they did, maybe I could forgive myself.

– Guilt-Ridden Man

Dear Guilt: Yes, anxiety, doubts and fears during pregnancy are common, for pregnant women and their partners.

Do I know of men who have been unsupportive and bad-tempered during their partner’s pregnancy and the early days of parenthood? Of course. And pregnant women can exhibit similar behaviors. (I can’t possibly be the only one.)

Pregnancy can be an extremely stressful experience, and people who don’t take the time and effort to decode their internal feelings and seek ways to behave well tend to behave poorly, lashing out instead of coping with their own vulnerability.

The difference between your story and that of other prospective parents is that a lot of these negative feelings do migrate and dissipate as the pregnancy advances. The extremely sad series of losses you and your wife experienced robbed you of many things, including any opportunity of redemption through enthusiastic and loving parenting.

Atonement is an external way of behaving in order to try to repair a wrong.

Your ongoing guilt might be a sign that you still need to accept your actions and take responsibility for the impact of your long-ago behavior on your family.

We all make mistakes. We all behave badly. But the way to move forward is to admit your faults and frailties, and to seek to be forgiven.

Have you sincerely admitted and taken responsibility for your behavior – and asked your wife to forgive you? If not, what are you waiting for?!

You will only learn if your behavior is “unforgivable” once you are brave enough to ask for forgiveness.

Dear Amy: Your answer to “Depressing (but not depressed!) Daughter” was wonderful.

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I watched my two parents die and was in DD’s position often, and didn’t know what to say.

Your suggestions were simple and very helpful.

– Barry, in Indiana

Dear Barry: A person telling the truth about a dying relative is not a “downer,” as long as they accept “I’m sorry” as a sincere and adequate response.

You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.