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Ask Kristin Your Own Question
Kristin, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 454
Experience:  Psychotherapist and Relationships Expert with 11+ years exp. Dating, Relationships, Marriage.
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I have a highly complex situation with a very common problem.

Resolved Question:

I have a highly complex situation with a very common problem. My fiancee/girlfriend refuses to accept responsibility whenever she initiates a fight or for her role in fights. Everything is always my fault and her focus jumps around the chronology of an event to suit that goal. Often things I didn't say, which she later admits I didn't say, are used to justify her feeling a certain way and doing/saying things that are inappropriate.

We are an interracial relationship (I'm white she's Indian) which started out as a long distance relationship. We are both previously divorced from our only marriages. She was in NY and I'm in Bermuda. We got serious and she moved here. We got engaged. She didn't like living here and we began preparations to move back to NY. With very little notice (3 days) she got a job offer and left. We have been having a distance relationship again while I make preparations (i.e. give notice, job interviews) to move there. We've also been planning the wedding, honeymoon, and to buy an apt.

I was in NY this past weekend. We went out with one of her friends from California who was visiting. We had a good time. We missed our train because she had had too much to drink, got confused, and didn't listen to me telling her we needed to get on the that particular train. As a result we were waiting for 20 minutes at 2am. I was annoyed and made a few comments about asking her to let me get us home because we would have been there by now. I didn't intend for these to be hurtful but they were.

I asked her what was wrong when I noticed her frowning and she told me "nothing". We got on the train and got out at our stop. She started to head in one direction and I thought it was the wrong one. So I asked again if she could just let me get us home. She rolled her eyes and said ok. We left and I took us in the wrong direction by one block. As soon as we turned around she started in on me in a very smarmy tone saying "Oooh I thought we were supposed to go in the other direction." Irritated, I reminded her that we were walking 2 minutes out of the way, not 20.

She continued on and we bickered back and forth. I realized where this was going and asked her if she could just stop. "Why should I stop, you need to stop." was her reply and then it was back in on me. Finally i lost my cool and said "if you don't shut up this isn't going to go well." "Why don't you shut up?" she said. "I'm happy to shut up also." But she kept on. After a few more minutes I finally said "I'm so f-ing sick of this." (We've been having too many fights like this lately) and she replied "why don't you leave then.: Fine I will, I said.

Finally she did stop talking and we walked upstairs in silence. I went to the bathroom as soon as we got in and started to cool off. I thought we'd sort things out when I came out of there. Instead she was throwing some of my clothes on the living room floor and dragging my suitcase there as well. What are you doing, I asked. Get out, she said. REally, I said. Is this really what you are doing? Yes, she said. Really? I asked again. Get out, she said. Ok, can I at least use your computer to find a place to stay? (it was 3am by this time on a friday in NYC). No, she said. At this point I'd had all I could take. "Well, f-you then. Give me back the ring." She tore it off her finger and I packed and went to the bottom of the stairs.

She came out and said she was mad and I could stay. I was like "now you say this?" and she cut me off saying she didn't want to hear it. I waved goodbye and went outside. I called several hotels but had none that were empty that time of night. I went back in and said I had nowhere to go. She let me in and I slept on the couch.

The next morning we made some gentle stabs at being civil and possibly making up. But when I approached her to talk she was unapologetic and informed me that everything was my fault. I told her that I thought she initiated the fight and kept it going. I also said that if she would have told me my train comments bothered her I could have apologized and we would have avoided the whole thing. She said I'd "never" do that but I immediately raised an example of me doing just that from earlier in our evening. It was clear that she believed everything was my fault and actually said several things leading me to believe she thought her behavior justified. As that was her attitude I left, changed my FB to"single" (mistake--but I fully thought I was done) and spent the day alone.

when I came back later for my bags, having found a place to stay, we began talking. I still have yet to hear her properly apologize or admit her role, although she does now say she shouldn't have kicked me out, but we are trying to reconcile. My problem is that I don't know how I can marry this woman (whom I love very, very much) when she can't even recognize her contribution to an argument. I independently apologized to her for my train comments but pointed out that, even if I was wrong there, it did not mean we had to have such a gigantic fight. She grudgingly admitted that but went right back into the knee jerk reaction of "well I only did X /c you did Y." She also said that if she "backed down" when I asked her to stop attacking me it would mean more fights. I'm at the end of my rope.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Kristin replied 6 years ago.

Hello and thank you for this question.


You have provided great detail about the situation and it's clear that a minor incident does escalate into a much bigger argument as your girlfriend has trouble expressing her emotions in the moment. Holds it in and lets it build. Traveling and moving, finding new jobs, getting engaged etc. can be stressful as well. However I agree that it's crucial for a successful relationship that you BOTH are able to have insight into your own issues and take accountability as needed. You are wise to wait to get married until this issue is resolved. Taking the ring back and saying you are single on FB is also destructive as it's not a constructive way to handle this problem. The solution here is obvious. You need to get back into relationship counseling. Now that the two of you are in the same location, you can do that again. That is what is needed as your gf needs an objective 3rd party to mirror her and show her that there are two sides here, and some of this is about her as well. So you know the answer. I would give her back the ring, as really a ring should only be taken away if you two are broken up for good. Give her the ring, but tell her that you want to get these issues resolved in counseling, before setting a wedding date or getting married. So that the two of you can start your marriage with these communication tools and skills in place, and have a good start to your marriage.

In summary, get back into couples counseling soon. Please click ACCEPT, otherwise I'm not paid for my answer. Or, feel free to ask for more info. from me if needed. Thank you. Kristin

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Thank you for the feedback. I was hoping that you would also have some insight on what I can do in the immediate future (i.e. while looking for an appropriate counselor) to help the situation and get her to recognize her role in creating situations.

Expert:  Kristin replied 6 years ago.

Hi again,


In the immediate future, you can let her know that you are more than willing to take accountability for the mistakes you have made, and to address them. That they only way to learn from mistakes is to first be able to admit when you have made one. That you are not trying to blame her, win an argument, or point a finger. But that you are simply concerned that if she isn't willing to ever look at herself and her own actions, behaviors that you are concerned you two won't be able to grow together as a couple.

That what works best is when solutions from mistakes can be reached, so that the situation doesn't reoccur and you can move forward together. Write down 2-3 examples in which you felt you had something to learn from what you had done. Then ask her if she can do the same about her.... if she can, that is good. If she cannot even come up with 2 examples, then you have a very very big issue to overcome.

You cannot change her, only set your own limits. LEt her know that in a marriage, problems will arise and the two of you need to have a way of communicating and working through things together, in order to have a good marriage, so you really want to get some counseling together now. Frame it positively. This is also a pattern in her, that again may be longstanding, and is best worked through with a counselor. Please click ACCEPT, otherwise I'm not paid for my assistance. Thank you.

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