He Forgave But Didn't Forget

Q: Why is my boyfriend still angry about something he said he got over? I don't understand why he would say that and throw it back in my face. Help me understand the male mind! -- Katherine, 44

Dr. Susan: Male mind, female mind, human mind: they're all the same when it comes to the possibility of forgetting something that's made a deep emotional impact. Sometimes a person thinks he's ready to put a hurtful episode behind him, but he hasn't really gotten that far. Truly letting go of a negative event takes a lot of processing time. So let me ask you something: does your boyfriend often use unkind methods when the two of you argue? Does he bring up past fights, comment on your flaws, compare you to your mother, that sort of thing? Or does he stick to the topic at hand and hash things out with you without making personal attacks and hitting at your weak points? Because if the two of you haven't developed healthy ways to disagree and work out conflicts, he's going to pull out anything he can to "win." In which case, of course, neither of you really wins, and the relationship is probably doomed (not that I'm pessimistic about these thing...). Ask him if he realizes that it seems he's deep down still angry about whatever you did,. If so, how can you help him really get over it?

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