Originally published Sunday, April 15, 2018 at 05:53a.m.
Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,
My fiancé just kicked our little dog in front of my two children. I walked in and saw him. My kids came crying to me.
I couldn’t believe what I saw, four rapid-fire kicks to our dog. He’s a good dog and he didn’t deserve that.
My fiancé was watching my young kids, while I was traveling for my work.
We’ve been engaged for almost a year. We’re supposed to get married in two months. I’ve never seen him do anything like this, but it’s no secret that he doesn’t love our dog.
He’s been watching my kids for about a year and they seem to love him.
My ex-husband was a violent nightmare to me, my kids, and our dog. I once caught my son pulling on our dog’s tail, but that stopped once I left my ex.
My fiancé said he was under stress from our upcoming wedding and apologized over and over. I told him to leave immediately when I witnessed this. The kids both said he’s never hurt the dog before and never touched them, either.
Do you think this was a one-time thing? He’s perfect for us in every other way.
No one is perfect.
We highly suggest you make a list of pros and cons. Writing things down will cause you to be more honest.
If you have one descriptor saying he’s controlling, that’s a red flag.
Controlling, in terms of domestic violence, means physical; sexual; psychological; intimidation; and emotional abuse, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Just like bullying, it’s insecure people who exercise power over vulnerable people and their pets.
Numerous studies find a close correlation between pet violence and domestic violence. In fact, pet abuse was identified as one of the four significant predictors for intimate partner violence in a seven-year study conducted by Dr. Jacquelyn Campbell at Johns Hopkins University.
New studies show that between 50 and 70 percent of battered women report that their pets had been threatened, harmed, or killed by their partners. And 85 percent of domestic violence shelters reported women coming to their facilities telling of pet abuse.
Real reasons to divorce a spouse, or not marry one, are the triple AAA’s: Adultery, Addiction, and Abuse. Adultery and addiction can sometimes be turned around.
However, abusiveness is the one characteristic that is unlikely to change. Studies show up to 90 percent of abusers won’t change.
Ask yourself, if your fiancé is so stressed out over your impending wedding, is there a deeper problem that needs to be addressed before you make him part of your family?
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri
Rhonda Orr is the president of Rhonda’s STOP BULLYING Foundation and host of a podcast at BullyingLifeAndStuff.com. Dr. Cheri L. McDonald, PhD, LMFT, is a crime-victim specialist. Write them at Rhonda@rhondastopbullying.org.