Dear Barb

Dear Barb:

I am 22 years old and have been married for two years.  I met my husband when I was fifteen and we dated five years before marrying.  He was the most wonderful boyfriend.  We got along great, and I always knew I would marry him and have a family.  But now I am not sure that I want to have children with him. 

We have been arguing a lot recently, and on three occasions he assaulted me.  Afterward, he apologized profusely, and I believe he means it at the time, but he did it again.  I love him and I want us to find a way to work this out.  Do you have any advice on what we can do to or should I just end it and move on? I have heard of support groups, but my husband is not interested.  I am devastated! Thanks, Cara. 

Hello Cara:

Thank you for your email.  Abuse is a difficult topic to define and has many psychological components.  As you can see he says he is sorry, but he continues the same behaviour.  There are several myths about why men abuse their partners.  For example, men abuse their partners because they love them so much,-  people don’t generally hurt someone they love; he has an aggressive personality, – these men are generally social, high functioning, and do not have an aggressive personality with friends and family;  they are unable to control their anger – not true, everyone gets angry from time to time, but everyone doesn’t abuse their partner; he has a mental illness,- studies have shown that most men who abuse their partners are psychologically normal; men abuse because they hate women – most men who abuse disrespect women, but the origins may come from growing up in a home where their father abused their mother and they are following the same pattern.  As you can see abuse is a convoluted issue.  An abuser can change, but they must want to.  The abuser must be able to see the pain they are causing to their partner and face the fact that their relationship will likely end if they do not control this behaviour and they will end up alone.

The website Can Abusive Men Change? Top 17 Myths About Abusive Men That Make Women Stay With Abusers ( has a quote that seems relevant to the situation, “Abusers have a contemptuous personality that’s reserved for their intimate partners.  It is not that abusers are unable to change, they are unwilling to change and give up their power and control.”

It is essential that you get some support from family and friends and most importantly talk to a marriage counselor.  You can check online or visit your family doctor for a list of counselors in your area.  Thank you for writing and stay safe Cara.

Email your questions to Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality; your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.
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