Posted by: notdeaddinosaur | April 23, 2008

Warning Sign

The radio station I listen to in the morning has a weekly feature called “Love Court.” People can send in letters about sticky situations, usually some aspect of their relationships, and listeners call in with their opinions. Topics range from, “My husband wants to go on a vacation with the guys; should I let him?” to “My 11-year-old wants a cell phone. I don’t have a problem with it but my wife disagrees.” Last week’s dilemma sounded fairly minor:

“My husband and I have been married for five months and now he’s decided he doesn’t like my dog. I’ve had the dog for nine years, but he wants me to get rid of it. What should I do?”

I don’t know how surprising it is, but most of the comments were along the line of “lose the husband; keep the dog.” I actually called in with my opinion, though I didn’t get on the radio (I was amazed I actually got through in the first place) but the more I thought about it, the more important I think it is to share my take on the situation.

I agree that the letter writer needs to get out of the marriage, but I didn’t hear anyone else articulate the reason that occurred to me:

This man is an abuser.

Trying to get her to get rid of a dog he knew all about during their courtship is just the first step. If she gives in and gets rid of the dog, the next thing he’ll do is start picking on her friends, telling her he doesn’t want her spending time with them. Finally, he’ll isolate her from her family, forbidding her to see them and eventually even talk to them. All along the way, he’ll be telling her that it’s because he loves her so much, and that she’ll do what he wants if she loves him too. Once he has her all alone, isolated from all the people she cares about (and her support systems) there’s no way to tell what he’ll do next. But by then it will be too late.

The key is his lack of respect for things that are important to her, like her dog. That, in my opinion, is a giant red flag that no woman should ignore.

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