Boyfriend wor­ries par­ents

Los Angeles Times - - COMICS - Send ques­tions to Amy Dickinson by email to askamy@tri­bune.com.

Dear Amy: My 18-year-old daugh­ter was dat­ing a guy for about two years. Although nei­ther her dad nor I ap­proved of the re­la­tion­ship, we kept it to our­selves.

Af­ter dat­ing him for quite some time, my daugh­ter ad­mit­ted to me that he was emo­tion­ally abu­sive to her, call­ing her names and point­ing out ev­ery flaw she had. Noth­ing was ever good enough for him. My daugh­ter had a cou­ple of panic at­tacks and lost over 20 pounds when they went through their rough times.

Through­out this re­la­tion­ship, ev­ery­one thought her boyfriend was gay and had not yet come out. I had talked to her about this and she had agreed with me.

Later she told me that he had been pinch­ing her, squeez­ing her hand re­ally hard and slap­ping her face lightly.

I spent many nights cry­ing about it with her. I tried to get her to talk to a ther­a­pist, which she would not do. She fi­nally de­cided to break up with him.

Now, af­ter about six weeks she has de­cided that she has made a mis­take!

I told her he is not welcome in our house be­cause of ev­ery­thing he has done and all of the agony he has put her through. I can­not con­done this re­la­tion­ship. She is now ly­ing to us to see him.

I told her I am go­ing to make an ap­point­ment with the ther­a­pist again, but she re­fuses to go. Am I wrong in not let­ting him come to our house and for not con­don­ing this re­la­tion­ship?

Wor­ried Mother

Dear Mother: You have ev­ery right to try to limit your ex­po­sure to your daugh­ter’s abu­sive boyfriend. How­ever, you should ac­knowl­edge her choice, tell her this choice wor­ries you, but ask her not to hide her in­volve­ment in this re­la­tion­ship from you. You don’t want to box her into a se­cre­tive re­la­tion­ship with her abuser. Your at­ti­tude will have to be firm, but neu­tral, i.e., “We are wor­ried about you. We don’t like your choice to be with him. But we don’t con­trol you, and we are here for you.”

Def­i­nitely keep your ap­point­ment with a ther­a­pist. You can­not force your daugh­ter into ther­apy, but you should seek it for your­self.

A book your daugh­ter might find help­ful is “In Love and In Dan­ger: A Teen’s Guide to Break­ing Free of Abu­sive Re­la­tion­ships” by Bar­rie Levy (2006, Seal

Press).

Dear Amy: I have been liv­ing with a man for four months. We have had a tu­mul­tuous six-year re­la­tion­ship. I told him I only wanted to do this if he could be ex­clu­sive and I could trust him.

He con­tin­ues to be on an online dat­ing site and tried ar­rang­ing times to meet these ladies. He has met with old girl­friends. We love each other, but I don’t trust him and now I am start­ing to be­lieve trust might be more im­por­tant than love.

When con­fronted, he says he is just keep­ing his op­tions open in case I de­cide to leave him. He has a rep­u­ta­tion of be­ing a player. I re­ally be­lieved he was will­ing to change to be with me, but I’m not sure he’s ca­pa­ble. I am wor­ried about my fu­ture at 54. He is 61.

Trust vs. Love

Dear Trust: You should let this player know that his in­stincts were right to keep his op­tions open, be­cause now he will be com­pletely avail­able. It’s time for you to move out and move on.

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