Dear Amy:

A few months ago I moved in with my boyfriend of 51/2 months, and we have been arguing ever since. Our arguments are over silly things, and what really bothers me is his yelling and anger. He has a quick temper and cannot have an adult conversation when we are discussing issues.

He gets very upset and will say things that are very insulting and belittling. I have tried to take the higher ground by not saying anything back to him and even ignoring him, but he likes to push my buttons. I see myself starting to say things back to him -- we even resort to name-calling. In general, I feel that he does not respect me.

The problem is compounded by his binge drinking. He rarely drinks, but when he does it is to an extreme and usually after an argument. He blames his drinking on me. I go to Al-Anon meetings and do not drink myself, but I still have difficulty dealing with his drinking.

Most of my friends say he is not worth the headache.

When times are good, they are great. However, when times are bad, they are really horrendous. We don't have any medium ground.

Should I end it?


It doesn't matter what relationship you're in -- whether it's a love relationship, a friendship or a familial relationship. No matter what, the good times are always good. That's pretty much the definition of good times. But most relationships are defined not by the good times, but by the bad ones. If your bad times are "really horrendous," then you two shouldn't be making a life together.

It's one thing if you are in a long-standing, committed relationship or married, but one of the advantages of living with someone without being married is that you can learn whether you should commit to being together, right? If this brief relationship has sent you to a support group, you should rethink your situation. And can I just mention that you really barely knew this person when you moved in with him?

Well -- lesson learned. Get out.

Dear Amy:

I live with a 7-year-old girl, a 1-year-old boy, a 37-year-old man and his cat.

The cat has scratched our son on the face on two occasions. We have been unable to find another home for the cat.

I am not a huge fan of this cat, but I don't have the heart to take him to the pound. I don't have the few hundred dollars to get him declawed.

What can I do? I don't want my son to continue being scratched and potentially lose an eye. Everyone else in the family, including my scratched son, really likes this cat.

I'd like to find a way to live peacefully with this feline foe.

J in Dallas

I sense a blended family taking shape, and this cat should be considered a family member -- and part of the blend.

Do not even consider having the cat declawed. Declawing is cruel and many vets refuse to do it. You can research purchasing rubber sheaths to place over the cat's claws so that they won't be so sharp -- the cat's claws also can be clipped with a nail clipper.

A cat won't scratch unless he is cornered. Your best bet is to watch your son very carefully, make sure that he learns how to "love" the cat safely by keeping his distance, sitting very still and letting the cat approach him. Once the cat approaches him, help your son put out his hand and let the cat rub its chin on his hand.

Do not leave him on his own with the cat -- it isn't safe for either of them.

Make sure the cat always has an "escape route" so he can get away from your curious little son.

Ask the 7-year-old to "teach" you and your son how to safely love this cat -- she will love helping you in this way.

Write to Amy Dickinson at or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

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