You’ve been there. I’ve been there. We’ve all been there.
We’re out and about feeling great, doing our thing, happy our other half is there by our side, when suddenly, he does something that completely throws us for a loop.
He could be oversharing with your friends, offering a glimpse into your personal life you’d rather keep behind closed doors.
He could be blatantly hitting on another woman (either IRL or on his phone that he’s been on all night).
He could have invited friends to join you on a night out, not warning you first.
Or perhaps, he – triggered by something unbeknownst to you – acts out in the moment, taking it out on you making you wish you never went out with him in public in the first place. All of these situations are uncomfortable to begin with, let alone when other people are around to witness your partners behaviour and of course, to also witness how you handle his behaviour.
Sure, people can see that he’s the one being a dick, not the other way around. But lets face it, his actions – and how you in turn handle them – have a direct impact on how others view you and on your reputation. No one wants to be perceived as a doormat by others, nor does anyone want to be the girl who lets a guy totally disrespect her and act out. Plus, if your man makes a habit of starting up in front of others, people are going to stop inviting you out or hanging out with you, for fear it will make them look bad too. We may love to watch drama on our TVs (thank you reality-TV) but it has the opposite effect when witnessing it IRL.
So when you’re put in a position you didn’t ask to be put in in the first place, how do you respond?
First, if he’s being a dick and you can roll it off your shoulders, be the bigger person, inhibit your inner grace, and let it go until you guys are in private together at a later time, perhaps even on a later date after a good nights sleep.
The second you bite the bait, the situation will only escalate. This rule applies in most situations, but if he keeps being a dick, then the best thing to do is to inform someone else present. It could be grabbing a friends arm in attempt to clue them in and bring them into your confrontation. The goal is to alert others in hopes that your partner will realize you’re not alone and it will prevent them from acting out.
Although of course, when someone is seeing red, and doesn’t have the ability to contain themselves in front of others, chances are it might not have much of an effect. I say it’s still wise to grab someone and bring them into a convo. In more verbally or emotionally abusive relationships, your partner convinces you that you’re the one who did something wrong in the first place and that it was all your fault and they were just trying to “teach you a lesson.” Having other people there to witness how your partner acts will allow you to see the reality of your situation.
If Things Don’t Wind Down From There,
Remove Yourself From The Situation
You don’t need to leave wherever you are, but you can go to the washroom to do the proverbial “splash your face with cold water,” which to me is taking a few deep breaths. Maybe texting a friend to vent, or calling a bestie to talk it out. Or sometimes, even journaling my feelings in my notes section of my phone (so I can be reminded of this after the fact all while getting it off my chest.) If you reconvene with your partner after that and they aren’t letting things go, safely remove yourself from the situation. Order an Uber. Tell them you’ll talk to them tomorrow and get yourself home or to a friends somewhere safe.
Never Get In A Car With A Partner When You’re Fighting
People under the influence of rage or self-righteousness often take their anger out behind the wheel unbeknownst to them and that can put your life in danger. It also puts you in a position where you’re trapped. Better to meet them after the fact if you do want to talk things out that night.
And Above All, Be Attentive And Honest With Yourself
Is this a pattern? Is he a loving, sensitive, attune partner behind closed doors yet an embarrassment when out in public? And if so, why do you think that is? Is it a power struggle? Is it alcohol infused? Is it nerves? Or is this how he always treats you and you only tend to notice it in public because you’re aware of how other people pick up on how he treats you?
A great thing to do is to chat about concerning patterns with him a few days later, after the anger has cooled off. Express that you want to work things out, but that certain boundaries need to be respected. Chances are, if you have to hide him behind closed doors to make your relationship work, it’s likely not working in the first place.
(Story by Contributing Editor, Jen Kirsch)