DR. WALLACE: I've been dating a guy for almost two years now. We started dating in high school, and we have continued dating each other exclusively now that we are both attending the same college. We're both usually easygoing people when we are together, and for the most part, we've gotten along fine over the years. I believe he has potential as a future mate, and he's pretty bright, so I expect him to be a good earner when he starts a career. I know how important finances can be since my parents have struggled for decades with their weak financial situation, and that has taken a big toll on their marriage.
When my guy and I have a disagreement, he has a tendency to immediately raise his voice and to even threaten violence. But that's just about the extent of it: harmless threats. He never follows through, ever. He's 20, and I'm 19. He yelps about slapping my loud mouth shut or "teaching me a lesson," but he has never laid a hand on me. But I'll admit I noticed that during our last argument, he actually raised his right hand and made a fist with it, and he was waving it around in the air with his face all red and contorted at the same time. We were in a sparsely populated outdoor cafe in the late afternoon, but one other couple several tables away could hear him, and they sat and stared at us for 15 minutes until we finally left.
But even though he has not been physically aggressive toward me so far, I do get scared when he goes on these ugly tirades. I told two of my closest girlfriends about this, and they both immediately told me I should dump him. But that's easy for them to say; I have two years invested in him.
I'm torn because he's smart and has some other good qualities, too. My parents are kind of neutral on him — they've never really warmed to him — but they don't know anything about the issue I'm disclosing to you here. — Not Sure What To Do, via email
NOT SURE WHAT TO DO: Sadly, I receive too many letters on this very topic. In your case, I believe your girlfriends have your best interests at heart, and I do agree with them. Domestic violence is a very serious problem, and it does not usually manifest itself early on in a relationship; rather, it develops over time.
You've mentioned that you've "invested" two years in him, but you've also spent two years watching his anger grow. He appears, from your letter, to be about to boil over, so I warn you to take close notice of this.
Don't think about how long you've known him or how much money he might earn in the future. Think about his present actions. Think about how much he rattled those other customers in that cafe. You are lucky to be receiving warning signs in advance of any potential physical violence.
I suggest that you move on now from this relationship. Suggest counseling to him in the most diplomatic way possible, and involve others in this discussion. If he's sincere and realizes he may have a deep, brewing problem, he'll take steps to seek help. If he gets angry at your suggestion, your worst fears will be realized, and you'll truly know you've made the correct decision to move on.
TIMES CHANGE FOR THE BETTER
DR. WALLACE: I graduated from high school in 2020. At the beginning of my last semester, our student body celebrated our school district's decision to change our cafeteria menu to include healthy foods.
Why did this take so long? The new menu includes heart-healthy foods, fruits and salads. My little sister is going to be attending high school as a freshman this coming September, and she'll get four full years of healthy grub on campus. She's a lucky kid! Unfortunately, I only had one semester to enjoy healthy food. The stuff I ate on campus back when I was a freshman I wouldn't feed to my dog today. In fact, my dog eats healthy food, too! — I Missed Out, via email
I MISSED OUT: The food selection for public school lunches is mainly provided free of charge by the federal government, so that's why the cost to students and faculty is very low.
When it comes to food taste, the old saying that you can't please everyone all the time rings true. And furthermore, it's true, as you point out, that nutrition awareness has been rising to wonderful levels recently, at long last.
I suggest that you focus now on being happy for your little sister since she stands to benefit from this for her next four years. And my congratulations are in order to you, as you obviously have a great awareness of your own nutritional needs and those of your beloved canine as well!
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.