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Family's Tolerance of Verbal Abuse Is Red Flag for Girlfriend

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend and I have been together for almost a year and a half. In the beginning, he kept his family and me apart. I thought it was because they were extremely close, but turns out he was doing me a favor given their inappropriate and cruel treatment of one another.

At my boyfriend's birthday lunch, his father called his mother the worst possible word anyone could call a female. My boyfriend and his sisters didn't seem fazed by his verbal abuse. I worry his parents' toxic and unloving relationship is something he will eventually settle for in life. Is it possible for children not to emulate their parents' example, or should I move on? -- NOT IN THE FAMILY

DEAR NOT IN THE FAMILY: Children do not automatically follow the abysmal patterns set by their parents. However, if you and this man are serious and you are contemplating a future with him, I strongly recommend that before formalizing your relationship, you seek premarital counseling together to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

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