Your Call: I Was Bitchy, Now He Won’t See Me

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We get a lot of advice questions coming in at EMandLO.com, but sadly, we just can’t answer them all. Which is why, once a week, we turn to you to decide how best to advise a reader. Make your call on the letter below by leaving your advice in the comments section.

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Dear Em and Lo,

Dear Em & Lo,

I’ve been seeing this guy for more than a year. We used to get along perfectly, share laughs, get crazy. Of course I had my down moments here and there: I was a little bit depressed and I have a tendency to wallow. Anyway, now my hyper-sensitivity has turned into anger and irritation. If he’s late for our date, I ruin the date by pointing out how not nice it is to be late. I love the guy, I think he’s nice, but now the fact that I’m a yeller creeps him out and turns him off completely. And then he started not being nice to me.  Now he’s refusing to see me, saying I’m stressing out. I don’t know what to do. Should I continue to try to see him? Or is it too late and I’ve already lost him? If he ends up sticking around, will it only be because he hasn’t found anyone else worth leaving me for?  I’m desperate …

— Untamed Shrew

What should U.S. do? Leave your advice in the comments section below.




  1. I’m seriously late to the party, but I could relate to your letter. I’m a chronic depressive, and one of the things you’d learn in therapy is that depression and anger are very closely related. You don’t say how you respond after an incident where you become unnecessarily angry. Whenever I display some irritability, I feel that it’s very helpful to offer an apology at some point. If he feels like he always being blamed, that’s not good, and if you think the yelling grows out of your personal issues, unrelated to any transgressions on his part, he needs to know that. There’s usually no need to yell; you can express your concerns in another way, right? Best of luck.

  2. In addition to Tony’s excellent advice, don’t bring up what he did to upset you at the same time as your apology – or it will seem like a fake apology. Do the contrite apologising, ask if there’s still a chance for you two, start the therapy or self investigation, and only some time later, if you’re still together, address the things that annoy you. Lots of luck. Whatever happens with this guy, the work that you do on yourself will make things go much more smoothly with the next.

  3. Kudos to you for being willing to look at your own behavior. That’s a good start.

    First, if he doesn’t want to see you anymore due to you being angry and yelling at him, the best you can do at this point is to apologize. I don’t mean simply saying “I’m sorry”. I mean saying that you are sorry (sincerely), explaining why you did what you did, and commit to not doing it again. If you demonstrate your willingness to take responsibility for your actions and then listen to his response/asking him if there is anything you can do to patch up the relationship, that’s probably your best shot at fixing things up for now.

    Second, find a therapist. Bringing this up to your partner would be another sign that you’re taking responsibility for your actions and that you want to change. Both are positive things. Do the work you need to do in order to change how you speak and act in order to have a better relationship. Chances are, this will not be a quick or easy process. It may, however, turn out to be one of the best things you’ve ever done provided that you are willing to actually do what needs to be done. You also need to find a good therapist that you trust and whose style matches you.

    Lastly, I don’t know what he has done on his part. If chronic lateness is something that he does that irritates you, that’s not appropriate either. That doesn’t justify your yelling at him, but it makes it more understandable and is “food for thought” to bring up, both to see if he is willing to take responsibility for HIS issues. It’s also probably an excellent example for you to bring up with your own therapist to pick apart.

    During this process, if you can honestly and compassionately look at yourself, you’ll almost certainly be happier in the long run with or without him.

    He may stay with you. He may not. I was in an abusive relationship where my now ex-wife verbally, emotionally, and (once) physically abused me. If I were dating someone now and they started yelling at me in public, I might well never want to date them again. But had my ex sincerely apologized for her behavior (saying she was sorry, explaining why she did what she did, committing to never doing it again, and going into therapy to sort her issues out), I might well have stayed with her.

    Sometimes a wholehearted attempt to heal a relationship is all we need to hear to stay, even for a little while longer. And that may give you the time you need to heal yourself.

    Best wishes to both of you, no matter what happens.

  4. Learn from this and move on. If he changes his mind and contacts you, maybe you can mend the situation and pick up the pieces. I wouldn’t count on it.

  5. He is probably right when he says you are stressing out. Maybe you’ve reached a point in your life where your personal issues collide with your social life/dating in a way that causes you to finally freak out. It happens. Later on, you will be thankful for the moment you turned into a yeller – You’ve realized your problem in practice, now get to exploring the theory behind it. What is the shit you are projecting onto this guy? Obviously, it takes two to tango so it may be a classic personality clash but since you mention your own issues first, start there.

  6. Good for him for steering clear of you! It certainly sounds like you need time alone to work on your issues. You say you “love the guy”, but your way of showing love is pretty dysfunctional. No one likes being treated the way you treated him. If this is your normal way of behaving in a relationship, I’d suggest you stay single and maybe talk to a therapist.

  7. Sent him a contrite text. Tell him you’re sorry you yelled, and you know you shouldn’t have done that. Hopefully he’ll accept it.

    Then make sure you don’t do it again. You said you yelled. Was this in public? If it was, you reeeeaaally need to quit doing that. I’ll fight about whatever my lady wants to behind closed doors, but I’d react the same way your guy did if she tried it in public.

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