DEAR ABBY: Last Friday was my birthday. My co-workers threw me a surprise party, complete with cake, singing, a card signed by everyone in the office, and a beautiful bouquet of roses and orchids.
That night, when I told my boyfriend, "Rodney," about it, he blew up and talked nonstop about how no one ever does "nice stuff" for him. Then he said he had completely forgotten my birthday -- and even worse, he tried to pick a fight.
When I shared this with my mother, she told me that Rod's behavior could be considered emotional and verbal abuse. He has always gotten angry over little things, and is quick to complain about what he "doesn't have and never will." I've heard all the stories about how rough he had it growing up. I, on the other hand, have pleasant childhood memories and a positive outlook on life.
The next day Rod apologized. He said his outburst was because he was mad at himself for forgetting my birthday and embarrassed that other people did things for me that he should have done. Should I accept his apology and move on -- or am I seeing signs of a relationship doomed to fail? We've been together for three years, and I'm growing tired of his outbursts. -- DISSATISFIED WITH MY GUY IN EAST LOS ANGELES
DEAR DISSATISFIED: If your birthday was yet another example of Rodney's volatility and negativity, it's time to accept the fact that he doesn't make you happy -- and probably never will. Your signature says it all. Consider this: The best belated birthday present you can give yourself is your freedom and the chance to move on.