Welcome to “Why I Yelled,” Fatherly’s ongoing series in which real dads discuss a time they lost their temper in front of their wife, their kids, their coworker — anyone, really — and why. The goal of this isn’t to examine the deeper meaning of screaming or come to any great conclusions. It’s about yelling and what really triggers it. Here, Lewis*, a 34-year-old in New York City discusses why he lost his cool when his partner brought up finances during a nice evening out.
Who’d you yell at most recently?
Can you define yell? I don’t really yell but I get heated. It’s yelling but not yelling. Yelling indicates volume and a loss of control; heated indicates you’re upset but still in control. At least that’s what I think.
Okay. Who did you get heated with?
Ha, now it sounds ridiculous, I guess. But anyway. I got heated with my husband during an argument.
How did the argument begin?
Well, were out at dinner. Alone. We’d ordered a sitter because we had a reservation at this really nice place and we’d both been looking forward to it for the past couple of months. It was an expensive place but it’s not like we do this every month. Plus, it’s really nice to have something to look forward to, you know?
Anyway, so there we were. And I like to eat, so I’ve been staring at the menu of this place for like a month in advance thinking about the options. And so we order a nice bottle of wine and I order three appetizers instead of two. Because why not? I’m not unhealthy but there were a few that I wanted to try: the beef tartare and this squid ink pasta. My husband ordered a burrata dish — buffalo milk cheese. Delicious. But then he said ‘I don’t think we should go nuts here.’ When I asked him why, he said because we should be saving more.
And that’s what got you mad?
Yeah. Here we are at a nice dinner that we’ve been looking forward to since before Christmas and he brings up saving as the appetizers are ordered. Now, I work my ass off. So does he. I wanted to take us out to a nice meal that we could really enjoy and help us ignore all of life’s bullshit for a minute – job stuff, kid stuff, family stuff – and finances are mentioned not five minutes after we sit down. It ruined the whole meal. The whole meal. I called the waiter back and took back our order. And I said ‘fine let’s go.’ So we got up and left.
So it really aggravated you?
Of course it did! He immediately sucked the air out of our night out. He just has this tendency to not give us a minute to enjoy ourselves in the moment.
How did the rest of the night go?
I was silent in the car on the way home. He tried to apologize, but I just turned on the radio. I was pissed.
So you were more than heated.
[laughs] Yeah I guess I was.
How did it play out?
Well, when we got home, I let him know why I was mad. He didn’t really get it but apologized anyway. It’s just different wiring. I know he didn’t mean it — and I was pissed at myself for my reaction, letting it get that far and for walking out on the restaurant. I wanted that meal and the experience. [laughs]
So you guys are okay?
We talked it out for an hour. Yeah, we’re always okay. We drank some wine and ordered in a pizza. Pretty good. But it wasn’t as good as that meal would’ve been.