Worry about the intent, not the aim

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Dear Carolyn • My fiance threw a lamp at me. It missed me and hit the wall, leaving a big hole. I don't know if he was aiming for me. He would say he wasn't, and that he was just mad. He told me to "get the (expletive) out!" To be fair, I did call him an expletive before he threw the lamp. I packed up and left the next morning. I really wanted to marry this man, whom I still love. Should I forgive him, should he eventually call me to apologize profusely? Is a first-time violent offense forgivable?

Still Holding My Breath

Dear Holding Breath • When bad aim (or good, for that matter) is the only reason you escaped serious injury, you need to bypass the informal remedies and go straight to professional counseling. It's not just his violent offense, it's that you're aching for him to come back to validate you. This puts you in both a physically and emotionally precarious position. Call 800-799-SAFE (National Domestic Violence Hotline) for immediate counsel and for names of therapists you can see more regularly. Please take care of yourself.

Dear Carolyn • I am a 50-year-old, single gentleman. I am often told I look like a man in his early 40s. I earn a comfortable income. I rarely date, but when I do, I seem to meet and date younger, attractive women. I have had no success with women near my age, and I have found many to be irritable and malcontents. This offends my friends' wives, female co-workers, and my sisters and mother. I am the recipient of unsolicited advice and mean-spirited barbs. I have slowly reduced my social circle to a select few, as I don't need this treatment. What is the best way for a gentleman to handle this behavior?

Older Gentleman

Dear Older Gentleman • Your preferences have offended, apparently, all women in your orbit. You're entitled to indulge your tastes, to offend those who disapprove and to avoid those you offend. However, if you're going to conclude that women are either hotties or hags, then please know those hags are entitled to the opinion that this isn't about them — it's about you.

Carolyn Hax's column runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.