Dear Carolyn: My fiance and I have been together for three years. He is, to put it gently, not a morning person. In fact, the slightest interaction with him before he’s had his coffee can provoke a torrent of hostility, bordering on verbal abuse. Being talked to like this always triggers, in me, feelings of rage and disbelief. I have to restrain the immediate urge to fight back and defend myself, or else an argument ensues, and let me tell you, there is no more draining way to start your day than an early morning fight with Mr. Nasty.
Now, the obvious solution is to just avoid him until he’s had his coffee. He is actually a completely normal and kind person once caffeine has entered his bloodstream. However, he doesn’t drink coffee in the house. His ritual is to stop at Starbucks on his way to work, where he puts in long, long hours as a professional chef. The 45 minutes before he leaves the house can be the only time we have to speak to each other about events unfolding that day, as well as general household business (we live together and have a dog). I need some outside perspective here. – Mr. Nasty’s wife-to-be
OK: Your tiptoeing around him is neither obvious nor a solution.
The obvious solution is just for him to start his day with a trip to the coffee pot at home. If he won’t make even that small adjustment in his routine to stop himself from verbally abusing you, then you move to obvious solution 2: Get out. Don’t even consider entrusting yourself to someone who’s OK with being hostile to you.