DEAR AMY: I'm 23 years old, and about a year ago I started my first romantic relationship. I was friends with the boy for eight years, and we always got along well.
However, recently I've discovered that my boyfriend doesn't censor anything he thinks around people he's very close to and can be outright verbally combative. I've seen the same behavior by his parents; they frequently yell at each other over trivialities in a way that makes my boyfriend's behavior look gentlemanly.
He rants about people we know, entertainment and politics and has started to go after me on occasion, singling out an aspect of me that he doesn't agree with.
Is this something we can work through? I don't think he realizes just how offensive and hurtful his verbal combativeness can be. He has lost many friendships over his behavior.
I've never even held hands with anyone other than him, so I'm not sure what amount of heartache is normal in a close sexual and emotional relationship.
— Sad Girlfriend
DEAR SAD: "Heartache" is a state not usually associated with a "close sexual and emotional relationship," unless you're talking about a Tammy Wynette song.
Your rookie relationship status means that you need some firm direction regarding what is normal.
What you have is not normal. It is abusive.
Could you two work it through? Perhaps you could, given a constant commitment, quality therapy and perhaps medication.
Unfortunately, you can't count on working it through.
A great guy who loves you will make you think he hung the moon. Even if you've never had a healthy relationship before, you'll know one when you encounter it, and this isn't it.
DEAR AMY: Our daughter "Barbara" is getting married soon. One of her bridesmaids, "Sandra," is a very good friend. During their school years, we invited Sandra's parents to communion, confirmation and graduation parties, and they have done the same for us.
When Sandra married about three years ago, Barb was one of her bridesmaids.
When she had her bachelorette party, the mothers of the bridesmaids were all invited — except me. My husband and I were not invited to the wedding, either, and this hurt us terribly.
Now it is time for us to make our guest list, and I do not want to invite Sandra's parents. Barb tells me that Sandra's wedding was years ago and that I should just forget about not being invited.
Do you think I should let bygones be bygones?
— MOB from Illinois
DEAR MOB: It seems that you don't have much of a friendship with these people, but if you are inviting all of the other bridesmaids' parents and if your daughter wants to include this couple, then you should include them.
You are under no social obligation to invite all of the attendants' parents, and you are certainly not obligated to include people who seem to have dropped you from their social list.
If including them would ruin the event for you, then don't do it, but weddings are all about new beginnings — and this is an opportunity to rise above your hurt feelings and start over.
A word to the wise: If you invite them, there is a likelihood that they will burn you again and not attend.
DEAR AMY: "John" asked you to reconsider your occasional "situational" advice to keep mum about other people's extramarital affairs, basing his case on the innocent spouse's need to know the true state of the marriage.
I can think of another reason that trumps all others.
In a world where the consequences of STDs can be dire and sometimes fatal, innocent spouses need to know that their personal health has been compromised, so they can get tested and then take steps to protect themselves and/or, God forbid, deal with the disease they've contracted.
— Preston in Hollywood
DEAR PRESTON: Not all affairs are sexual, but the fear of STDs provides a justification for telling about a sexual affair.