He cusses every other word!

Dear Suzie,

I am recently got engaged and have a boyfriend who cusses just about everyother word. I was not raised like this and however use it here and there, but never in every sentence and everyother word. I have repeatly expressed to him that this is wrong and that it bothers me specially since we are going to one day have little ones. He is short tempered and as he gets anger he increases the use of word. He has expressed to me that the word B…. has various meaning and the way that I preceive it is incorrect.. He has told me FY many times and this hurts me so bad and make me cry because I never cuss at him. He then apolizes and promises to change. However he then goes back to his old way and cont’ thinking I am just a goodie 2 shoes and that cussing with the word A–, b—–, FY, S— is fine. Please advice me am I beening to picky if I feel strongly about this? I fear that this short tempt will turn into hurting me later and being a family problem. How should I go about helping him cease this behavior if he thinks there is nothing wrong other than my over reaction?

Swearing worries me because it shows a lack of control, particularly over anger. And when you can’t control your anger first you use words and then you use fists.
But what worries me most is that this man you say you’re planning to marry has so little respect and love for you that when you clearly say “This thing you do hurts me. Please don’t do it” he argues with and belittles you.

We all use language differently. Some people don’t feel certain words are as offensive as other people consider them to be. For everyone who says bloody this and bloody that there is someone who would sew up their lips rather than let such a sentiment pass them. And to a certain extent, there are times and places when such words are appropriate. You wouldn’t get far in the forces if objected to such language.

But there are limits and when two people decide to combine their lives, what you bring to the table is a willingness to gather up family traditions and ways of doing things and put them together in a way that suits both of you. You feel strongly about this. You have every right to feel strongly and to ask him to change. If he had a good reason to want to defend his behaviour – if you were talking about family styles of when and how to eat tea, for instance – he may have a case to say “This is how I do it and this is how I feel comfortable”. But swearing is something else.

As I said, it is allied to violent action and if he can’t stop the words I’d worry that he also couldn’t stop the hitting once you and he were married. And while swearing may be something so-called ‘manly men’ think is normal in the workplace, it is also a serious barrier to advancement in education and work. It will hurt his job prospects if he won’t rein it in. And if he can rein it in at work, he can do so at home.

And we haven’t even touched on the effect on children, which is to both frighten then worry and confuse them but eventually desensitise them. If he sends his kids to school swearing like that he may think it funny, they pretty soon will not.

His refusal to listen to your point of view is the thing that worries me most. This isn’t the act of a loving man ready for marriage. If you want to give him a chance, ask him to go with you to Relate to have a few sessions with a counsellor as preparation for a good and happy marriage and bring it up there. Because if it isn’t addressed I fear you are right – this short temper will turn into hurting you later and will become a family problem.

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