The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:
I’m a woman in my 20s and I plan to marry this year. I’ve gone out with my boyfriend for a year and now live with him, but I’m not certain he is really the right choice for me.
He is usually very kind to me, but always gets angry when things don’t go as he wants. Every time, regardless of whether it is his or my fault, he doesn’t stop criticizing me to try to make me admit it is my fault.
He also says things to me, such as: “Women should support men and shouldn’t let their men lose face. But you can’t do that.”
He is very suspicious of me, too. He doesn’t want me to attend dining events or participate in volunteer activities in the presence of other men. I can’t do what I used to do freely.
He works sincerely, does some household chores and likes children. So at first I thought he could be a good marriage partner for me.
Recently, however, I came to suspect that he just wants to have a girlfriend or marry, rather than loving me.
I get along well with his parents, and he frequently talks with my parents, too. I think everything will go well if I just endure the current situation. But on the other hand, I also think I may be able to find a better man. I feel gloomy over this matter.
O, Ibaraki Prefecture
Dear Ms. O:
You don’t feel cheerful, although you plan to marry this year. Let me imagine how he is from your letter. He is egocentric and thinks you are one of his belongings. He is probably a male chauvinist, too.
You are right in living with him before marrying, as you found some new aspects about him that you wouldn’t have found otherwise.
People have their own sense of value about marriage. For me, it’s best for each couple to respect each other and double their happiness. In your married life, I hope you can be yourself more than now.
To do so, you should be more assertive to him before marrying. Tell him, “Dining events and volunteer activities are important for me.” Don’t give in to him regarding the core of your life.
If he still complains, it means you will be forced to continue suppressing yourself after marrying him.
Married people need to withstand more than single people who have a lot of freedom. However, the situation is compensated for by the feeling that “I like this element of my partner.” This feeling is the crucial thing about married life. So, ask yourself once more what you like about him.
Akemi Masuda, sports commentator