Dear Anne, I had been dating a man on and off for about 6 mos. He has been divorced for over 4 years now, but his anger and resentment are still very fresh. He is very quick-tempered and the slightest thing will set him off. I believe he really needs therapy and counseling; is there a nice way to approach him about this? I am no longer in an intimate relationship with him, but would like to be his friend and offer any help I can.
- ‘Anne’ is the pseudonym for the individual who writes this relationship advice column.
- ‘Anne’ bases her responses on her personal experiences and not on professional training or study. She does not represent herself to be a psychologist, therapist, counselor or professional helper of any sort. Her responses are offered from the perspective of a friend or mentor only.
- Anne intends her responses to provide general information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
- Questions submitted to this column are not guaranteed to receive responses.
- No correspondence takes place.
- No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by ‘Anne’ to people submitting questions.
- ‘Anne’, Mental Help Net and CenterSite, LLC make no warranties, express or implied, about the information presented in this column. ‘Anne’ and Mental Help Net disclaim any and all merchantability or warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or liability in connection with the use or misuse of this service.
- Always consult with your psychotherapist, physician, or psychiatrist first before changing any aspect of your treatment regimen. Do not stop your medication or change the dose of your medication without first consulting with your physician.
Men often are not taught as children to be sophisticated about their emotions. Also – dealing with emotions (in healthy, non-violent ways) is often seen as a ‘sissy’ activity by many young men who compete to be seen as ‘tough’ by their peers. For these reasons, men often resist therapy. Once they are in therapy and begin to understand that it can be helpful, many men have a change of heart about the process, however. The nice way to suggest counseling to him is to have a face to face talk with him in which you simply, gently, make the suggestion. You might also help him to follow through by providing him with the name and number of a therapist you know is good and who is experienced in this area of work. You could go so far if you wanted to as to make the appointment for him but really it is best if he owns the process himself and does that sort of thing for himself. You’ll want to communicate your concern, but also that therapy is no big deal; it’s what you do when you have difficulty getting past emotional things; that it is a whole lot smarter of a thing to do something productive about emotional ‘stuckness’ and self-defeating anger than to let it smolder inside where it can lead to physical health problems and wasting of irretrievable time. Good luck.