Don’t take the risk that boyfriend has changed

Toronto Star - - LIFE - El­lie

I’m 24, a re­cently di­vorced mother of three, see­ing some­one new for nearly five months. Af­ter a month of dat­ing, I dis­cov­ered he’s been talk­ing dirty to any­one will­ing to lis­ten . . . even his younger brother’s girl­friend, and young to mid­dle-aged women.

All of this hap­pened be­fore we met, with the ex­cep­tion of one woman he called right af­ter.

He apol­o­gized for his past and has since given me ac­cess to his emails, Face­book, texts, etc. He’s stopped com­pletely, as far as I know. Do you be­lieve some­one can change their habits over- night? He has a huge heart other than this. He’s very sen­si­tive and seems very re­morse­ful. On the Fence

Since this im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tion may have a di­rect ef­fect on your three chil­dren, it’s not a mat­ter of “belief,” but of risk.

Should you take a risk on some­one with this very re­cent habit? Can you trust some­one who’s be­haved in­ap­pro­pri­ately with his own brother’s girl­friend and young women? No. And No again. He has a quirky sex-re­lated be­hav­iour pat­tern that you know about. Un­less he gets some pro­fes­sional be­hav­iour mod­i­fi­ca­tion ther­apy, his re­morse does not guar­an­tee longterm change.

I’m 17, from Michigan. My mom took me out of school in sixth grade. I’ve not been in school for more than a few months since then. She’d been hav­ing me and my sib­lings lie and say we’re home­schooled. She hon­estly wished she could teach us, but she was a sin­gle mother work­ing all alone.

Now, she’s with my sis­ter’s fa­ther. He used to beat her, but af­ter nine years apart, they’re back to­gether. He kicked us out of his house twice this last time, in­clud­ing his own daugh­ter. I punched his face and told my mom I couldn’t stay there.

We took her and left for Ohio, wan­dered through more states and re­turned to Michigan within a week. On our way back, she said we have to re­spect her man. I said re­spect is earned. She raised all the times my ex cheated on me and she was cool with him un­til I was done with him.

I’m men­tally tired. I was mo­lested by a close fe­male rel­a­tive from ages 3 to 8. I suf­fer from de­pres­sion. I have no other fam­ily.

I know I need to leave, but I feel bad for my mom. My 20-year-old sis­ter’s go­ing through the same stuff — no ed­u­ca­tion, she’s less ma­ture than me. She leans on sex and par­ties. I need a way out with­out hurt­ing my mom. I can’t do this all alone. End of Road

You can get help and fast, through free 24-hour staffed na­tional help lines. Trained per­son­nel will hear your con­fi­den­tial story with­out judg­ment and re­fer you to places that pro­vide safe ac­com­mo­da­tion, food and cloth­ing, help with job train­ing, med­i­cal and le­gal ser­vices, etc.

Start with the Na­tional Youth Cri­sis Hot­line 800-442-HOPE (4673). This hot­line pro­vides ser­vice for youth who are de­pressed, chem­i­cally de­pen­dent, sui­ci­dal, abused, ru­n­aways (it serves chil­dren too).

You and your sis­ter can con­tact the YWCA in your area and ask for help get­ting to a women’s shel­ter or other tran­si­tional or more per­ma­nent hous­ing, along with ser­vices for your needs.

If you fear your step­fa­ther might look for you, make a plan to leave when he’s not home and a plan to con­tact your mother pri­vately from a phone or place that he can’t trace. Any hot­line, shel­ter, or women’s ser­vices agency will ad­vise you on other safety plans.

Tip of the day Do not risk a re­la­tion­ship with some­one whose sex­u­ally re­lated be­hav­iour could af­fect your chil­dren. Read El­lie Mon­day to Satur­day. Email el­lie@thes­tar.ca or visit her web­site, el­liead­vice.com. El­lie chats at noon Wed­nes­days at thes­tar.com/el­liechat. Fol­low @el­liead­vice

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