Life Advice



Ask Amy: Reader provides ‘update’ on abusive relationship

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Your advice would be greatly appreciated!

– Underperforming in Rhode Island

Dear Underperforming: I wouldn’t describe your boyfriend’s behavior as “childish,” so much as “deeply troubling,” “manipulative,” and “abusive.”

Those are only some words that come to mind. (There are other words, of course, but – they aren’t publishable.)

Couples definitely bargain and negotiate with one another over all sorts of things, including “acts in the bedroom.”

This is not a negotiation. This is … game over.


He is coercing, manipulating, and – I assume – cornering you into doing something you have stated many times that you don’t want to do.

Then, when he is not able to force you to do his “favorite thing,” he punishes you.

This is pretty much the definition of domestic abuse.

Now he is withholding affection. Later, he might punish you in other ways and for other reasons, if you don’t “make him happy.”


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