DEAR HARRIETTE: I’ve been keeping up with a high-profile celebrity trial that deals with domestic violence between a man and a woman. My boyfriend and I were discussing the trial the other day over the phone. He was adamant about defending the male celebrity, even though he had been physically violent toward the female celebrity. He made a comment about how the woman “probably deserved it.” I was shocked and appalled that he would say something like that. After hearing my reaction, my boyfriend insisted that he would never hit a woman himself. I am not sure how safe I feel around him anymore. If he would condone that type of behavior from a man he doesn’t even know, does it mean that he could potentially become violent with me? -- Feeling Unsafe
DEAR FEELING UNSAFE: Don’t read too much into this. It is a national pastime to argue about what celebrities do or don’t do and why. Sometimes people take sides and jump to conclusions in the moment, being spurred on by bravado.
Instead of getting overly worried, use this as a time for deeper communication with your boyfriend. Tell him straight up that you are nervous about his reaction to this situation. Point out that whether or not he was caught up in the moment, it sounded like he was defending what you consider to be indefensible behavior. Ask him to talk about that with you. Try not to be accusatory. Create space to talk. When, if ever, does he believe it would be OK for a man to hit a woman, or vice versa? What might precipitate a violent interaction between a couple? Under what circumstances would a physical altercation be acceptable? Talk it out and see where your boyfriend stands. Then decide if he is still the one for you.