Life Advice



Ask Amy: ‘Barking’ episodes make partner flee

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: I recently reconnected with "Mara" after an on-again/off-again love affair than spans many ups and a few downs over 20 years.

As traveling professionals, we had a worldwide torrid affair for years. We were both single parents raising children, so we were not together consistently. We feel very lucky to have had these experiences.

Our kids are now adults and doing well.

Mara and I recently reunited. We are deeply in love and quite compatible, but I am having an unusual problem.

She has periods where she is "barking" (as she puts it). She is disagreeable and argumentative to the point where communication shuts down.

The thing is, she seems to be operating from a place of anger. I am not. She becomes defensive and illogical when I ask if something is bothering her.


After our "timeout," she often apologizes, but offers no explanation. I don't really press the matter.

Because of the pandemic, we are still largely on top of each other 24/7.

A few solo car rides do help but given the increasing frequency of the "barking" and subsequent recovery period for her (uncomfortable time for me), I am starting to get concerned.

Though not the only trigger, when I have a drink after work or on the weekend, she tends to "bark.”


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