When I’m Upset, He Gets Nasty. Is it a Bad Sign?

Dr. Wendy Walsh

Written by: Dr. Wendy Walsh

Dr. Wendy Walsh

Known as America's Relationship Expert, Dr. Wendy Walsh is an award-winning television journalist, radio host & podcaster, and the author of three books on relationships and thousands of print and digital articles. More than 1.5 million people follow her sage advice on social media. She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and teaches in the Psychology Department at California State University Channel Islands and has been the host of "The Dr. Wendy Walsh Show" on iHeart Radio's KFI AM 640 since 2015. Walsh is also a former Emmy-nominated co-host of "The Doctors," as well as former host of the nationally syndicated show "EXTRA." She was named a Time Magazine Person of the Year in 2017 after speaking out about harassment at a major news network.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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Reader Question:

I am a young 69-year-old who two years ago ended a 46-year marriage. Ten months ago, I started a relationship with a 74-year-old man. When he feels any slight indication I may be upset about something he says or does, he bolts and gets a little nasty. He writes notes that we need to apart but he still would like to see me once in a while or maybe we could be friends.

Is it a bad sign?

-Judith (Florida)

Dr. Wendy Walsh’s Answer:

Dear Judith,

Bad sign? This is a neon sign that reads, “I’m too insecure to have a healthy relationship!”

As you know, having lived through a 46-year relationship, having good conflict resolution skills is crucial to love. And to be really close and intimate, we have to be able to tolerate that our partner can see the flaws in us.

I suspect he can’t tolerate seeing his own flaws and when he fears you might see them first, he deals with it through abandonment and then defensive anger.

I’m not sure this guy can give the care you need at this juncture of your life. He may abandon you at a critical moment of need because you said the wrong thing.

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