“Ask a Priest: How Can I Appease a Boyfriend Who Is Always Angry?”

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Q: I’ve been in a two-year relationship, and we were so in love for most of it. He always was angry when I came over, and now he’s saying he’s not in love with me and doesn’t know what he wants. I feel like I’ll never be enough. I pray for him so often and have helped and supported him through everything. I don’t know how to be enough for him. What am I doing wrong for no one to want to love me or be in love with me? – F.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: If your boyfriend is always angry, that might be a sign of deep-seated problems.

Without knowing much about him, I would suggest that in addition to your prayers, you might try to encourage him to seek counseling. He might have psychological issues that require professional help.

If he doesn’t want to go to counseling, you might want to step back and rethink your relationship.

If he shows anger now, there is no guarantee that he would change after the wedding day. Could you live with an angry man the rest of your life? Would you want children to grow up in a home where anger is common?

Another issue is your own sadness at not being loved. We all need to love and to be loved, of course.

But you want to be careful not to attach to just anyone who comes along. Romantic feelings and marriage aren’t solutions for partners who are on shaky ground of one sort or another. Feelings fade fast. And they are certainly no sure sign of love.

What you have experienced for most of two years probably wasn’t love but rather an emotional high. Real love is something deeper and longer-lasting than emotions. If your friend says he isn’t in love now, there probably never was any real love.

People anxious to find love can project too many hopes into another person – and end up fooling themselves.

“This is love … I can feel it.”

“I know he has problems, but I can change him.”

“If I just try harder, I’ll make him love me.”

Hopes can become unrealistic because we are so committed to finding a perfect love. Or at least something that fills a gap that possibly wasn’t filled as we were growing up.

For now, it might be good to intensify your prayer life and sacramental life and see if you can find a solid, regular confessor or some kind of spiritual director to help you.

The prayer and sacraments will help keep you close to the only Man who will ever give you perfect love: Jesus. The confessor or spiritual director could help you put things in perspective and navigate through the relationship.

For more reading, check out Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married. To understand the roots of anger and other intense emotions, you might want to check out The Seven Desires of Every Heart.

It would be good to cultivate your devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. As one who stood by a cross, she knows what real love can require.

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