Life Advice


Health & Spirit

It's a red flag if your boyfriend never admits fault

Carolyn Hax on

Dear Carolyn:

I've been seeing a lovely man for a year. We eased slowly into the relationship -- friends for months first -- as we were both still hurting after recent divorces.

We are perfectly suited in so many ways -- identical interests, shared friends, same-age children, parallel life experiences -- and we enjoy one another very much, despite the time restrictions that running separate households and raising children entail. There's a lot of laughter and a sense of relief and sanctuary.

So what's the problem? I'm having a hard time trusting him. His longtime marriage ended because of an infidelity on his part. He takes full responsibility.

But he often doesn't take responsibility for admittedly minor things between us -- saying something hurtful, for example, or forgetting plans we've made, or other mild but annoying, inconsiderate actions. There is always an excuse -- a reason I don't understand or somehow misinterpreted.

When I raise my concerns, he says he certainly understands but that's just the way he is -- spacy, no filter. And, well, he is charmingly socially awkward and absent-minded-professorish. Which is all fine if he would accept the impact of his actions on me.

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On the other hand, I was married to an occasionally verbally and physically violent drug addict for 16 years with all the passion, intensity, gaslighting and insanity that sort of relationship entails. The two men could not be more different. I never gave up hope until the bitter end and nearly died from grief. My current relationship is a welcome, healing relief.

Am I oversensitive or seeing real red flags?

-- Red Flags?

People who can't or won't admit fault are always a red flag.


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