Can I Expect My Devoted But Angry Boyfriend To Grow Into A Good Husband Over Time?

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I’ve been dating my boyfriend for 10 months. We met online, actually slept together on the first date, and ended up liking each other so much we decided to see it through.

At 2 weeks he finally told me he was a father to a 4 year old. Coming from divorced parents and growing up with a step mom I didn’t get along with, this was the exact situation I never wanted to be in. But I kept going because I liked him so much and later met his daughter and she’s PERFECT. I work with kids and have never met a kid so amazing before.

But soon after finding out the news about her I noticed my boyfriend had a TERRIBLE temper. He’s got a short fuse and he can be aggressive. He would never hurt me but has punched walls and gotten mad at my 3 dogs and even his dog. And has even gone out of his way to show people he means business when they cross him. It got to the point at the beginning I legitimately packed up and left his house in the middle of the night on two separate occasions because he was acting up so badly. Not to mention over the first few months we had so many “are we gonna break up” conversations due to it.

I also wonder how much we have in common. I’m definitely a more introverted, hold things in, care taker, animal lover, chill person. He’s extremely outgoing, if he thinks of something he has to say something (sometimes its things to me that don’t need to be said), can be controlling and selfish (also in bed too), and he doesn’t like my dogs (but has gotten better with them). It’s just hard to find things to do together or be on the same page about at times.

But things have definitely changed and gotten better as time has gone on. We’ve found that we love travelling together, we ride motorcycles together, we love doing every day things together like cleaning, grocery shopping, the dishes, washing the dogs, making playlists, found one TV show we can agree on and watch together, etc. We’ve met each other’s parents. Gone to family events. My parents love him but his parents have just recently started to like me. But the biggest change is that I SEE HIM TRYING. I see him changing. I see him becoming less selfish when he thinks of things for me or us before I even do, I see him becoming less angry when he asks me how to handle things first or he stays calm during rough times, I see him putting his life together because he wants me in it. And so on. He’s grown soooo drastically much all because he loves me. He even told me he loved me and wanted to marry months before I told him anything back.

My boyfriend has made the conscientious decision to be a better human being and boyfriend because he feels that I’m the one.

But where I’m having trouble is the fact that I don’t know if he is. I had trouble saying I love you to him for a long time because of the anger. Once he started to work on it, I saw through it and fell in love. But part of me worries it will never go away. Part of me is afraid that I’m gonna get stuck with someone so upset at the world…. but then again I see how much he’s changed and he never relapses. He gets better every day and is purposely working on it and making an effort.

And then as I said, I adore his daughter but I still have some lingering feelings about my own childhood. When I’m with her I feel like I could be a step mom… but when she’s not around-it’s just not what I want… especially because my boyfriend wants to wait 8-10 years to even have kids with me.

I know I love him. I see the good in him and he has a lot of qualities that I adore and want in my life. I can legitimately say that over time he’s become my best friend. And we know everything about each other. But I worry I love him because of his love for me. I worry that I love just having someone and the fact that he tries so hard for me feels nice. That it’s nice to be loved to the point someone becomes better, not only for me, but for themselves. I worry I’m attracted to the work he puts into us.

It’s just he’s so sure and wants to be husband and wife soon and I keep asking to push it back. I don’t know if the child and the anger are clouding my judgment or if the universe is telling me that it’s not him… and instead it’s just the way he’s there for me. But either way I don’t want to let him go… it’s like I’m stuck in limbo.

So I have a few questions: How do you know if you love someone for the right reasons? And if you found the one? And can the one be a mess at one point and turn into the right man as time goes on? What if loving someone isn’t enough? And do you have any advice or know anything about if your childhood really can screw up your judgment for love (and how to get past it)?

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and I hope to hear from you,
Arianna

I have an adage: you can’t have a relationship dependent upon someone changing for you.

Any time a woman tells me her relationship is pretty good but it’ll be REALLY good once her partner changes, what she’s actually saying is that right now, the relationship is NOT great, so she’s going to keep her fingers crossed that her partner becomes a different person soon.

I printed your whole email without editing, Arianna, to allow you to illustrate – better than I could – the flaws in this thinking.

To your credit, you’re self-aware. You know that you may only be with him because he wants to be with you. You know that someone with anger issues doesn’t just drop them entirely because he’s married. You know that your current situation isn’t sustainable and that waiting 8-10 years to have your own kids is a ridiculous proposition.

But you don’t want to leave him because to leave him would mean to start over, to get back out to dating men who don’t try as hard, to take the risk that you’re not ever going to find a man like this again.

It’s common to think that way but it’s a limiting belief.

If you could cement your relationship EXACTLY the way it is right now and keep it that way for the rest of your life, would you be happy?

So allow me to ask you one question that will determine what you should do next:

If you could cement your relationship EXACTLY the way it is right now and keep it that way for the rest of your life, would you be happy?

Or is your happiness dependent upon him eradicating his anger, stifling his criticism, warming up to your dogs, being a more generous lover, and having more of a connection that doesn’t require you to strain to find things in common?’

Because, at the end of the say, it doesn’t matter what you think “the right reasons” are for getting married, or whether there is “the one” or, in fact, many ones. What matters is that you’re HAPPY and are with a man who organically makes you happy 90+% of the time. You’re right that loving someone isn’t enough; every single divorced couple was once in love.

What determines your fate over the next forty years isn’t him; it’s YOU, Arianna. Choose wisely and you’ll have an amazing life. Stay in a highly flawed relationship because you’re afraid you can’t do any better, and, in fact, you won’t do any better.


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