Musings of a Dinosaur

A Family Doctor in solo private practice; I may be going the way of the dinosaur, but I'm not dead yet.

Wednesday, 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.


At Tue Apr 22, 08:16:00 PM, Blogger Bardiac said...

Absolutely! Sharp analysis.

Too bad you didn't get put on the air.

At Tue Apr 22, 08:17:00 PM, Blogger Devorrah said...

Great post, Doc--I agree. Ten years later she'd have 2 kids, no emotional or financial support apart from the jerk, no job, no self-esteem, no friends and an alienated family. And no dog, of course. Good call.

At Tue Apr 22, 08:28:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I married a man who told me a good six months into our marriage that he hated my pet rabbit (who I got before meeting my husband). He said that he put up with the rabbit because he knew otherwise he wouldn't get to be with me.

Well, we were a threesome that had some issues, needless to say. Hubby was somewhat controlling towards me, and he also mistreated the rabbit physically (I'm just teasing the bunny, he'd say).

At one point, Hubby said I cared more about the rabbit than I did about him. I told him that he was right, the bunny meant more to me. Not long after, Bunny and I moved out.

Once the rabbit realized that Hubby was gone, the little one was ecstatic. I was happy, too.

I agree with the radio callers, the woman should leave the guy. He knew all along about the dog, hid his true feelings, and mislead the woman. Time to go.

At Wed Apr 23, 02:02:00 AM, Blogger Amanda said...

my thoughts exactly. funny how other callers didn't see it that way.

At Wed Apr 23, 05:43:00 AM, Blogger PharMama said...

That so reminds me of a friend. His dad died when he was about 9 years old. Some time later his mother married again. The new husband did not like dogs. One day when he came home from school his dog (which he had for 4 years previously) was gone. His stepdad had brought him to the vet to have him euthanized.He never forgave his stepdad for that - which I can relate to. I also don't understand why his mom did not object. I really think these things should be cleared before you marry!

At Wed Apr 23, 05:44:00 AM, Blogger Evil Transport Lady said...

BINGO! Run lady while you still can!

At Wed Apr 23, 12:29:00 PM, Blogger Midwife with a Knife said...

I agree with you. The guy is an abusive jerk.

At Sat Apr 26, 06:18:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good point.

My Grandmother imparted two bits of wisdom to me when I was a girl - keep your teeth, and don't marry anybody you haven't known for at least two years.

I have to wonder how long this gal had know the fellow before they got married.


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