DR. WALLACE: I'm 19 and dating a guy who is 22. We have been together for two years. The first six months were wonderful. It didn't take me long to realize I loved him.
After I graduated high school, I decided to move in with him. My parents didn't like him because he became controlling. My guy had told me he didn't want me to get a job or be out of the house for long stretches of time, so I didn't. He also didn't want me to talk to any of my girlfriends so I didn't.
About two months ago, I'm ashamed to report, he started to physically abuse me. If our house wasn't clean enough when he came home from work, he would scream at me, call me names and push or slap me. If he didn't like the dinner I prepared, he would dump it out right in the middle of our dinner table and then, in a stern voice, tell me to clean it up.
The last straw was when he briefly choked me because he found out I called my mother. So, as soon as he took off to the liquor store, I quickly packed up a few of my clothes and went home. Once there, I told my parents everything.
Every night since I left, he now calls and tells me how sorry he is and that things will be different when I return. I know it doesn't make sense, and I know that I shouldn't trust him, but for some reason, I have a strong desire to return to him. Why is this? I don't plan to return, but I am really shaken that I am even entertaining these thoughts. — Don't Want To Be a Boomerang, via email
DON'T WANT TO BE A BOOMERANG: I'm not a psychiatrist and honestly don't know why many abused females continued to have strong attachments to their abuser, but sadly, many do. Unfortunately, for those who do return, they often continue being abused until they eventually find that emotional strength to end the relationship once and for all. Let's just put it this way: In decades of writing this column, I have never received a letter from a woman who returned to an abusive relationship and then found herself to be happy with the "new promised behavior."
In your situation, by leaving him, you have taken the first and most important step. No matter how much you may think you want to return to him, do not do it! His actions toward you are criminal. He is likely emotionally disturbed and would greatly benefit from treatment. He's a long way from being in a position to guarantee he wouldn't assault another woman. If you return to him, the only way things would be different is if they get worse.
Get involved in family activities. Contact friends, and renew old ties. If your boyfriend stalks you, notify the authorities immediately. I care very much for your safety, and I'm sure your relatives and friends do, too.
MOVE ON, AND LEAVE THE GOSSIP BEHIND
DR. WALLACE: I'm 17 and a half and dating a 19-year-old guy who lives alone with his widowed mother. To my face, this woman is very sweet, but I've since learned that behind my back, she says things that make me think she despises me! Much of the stuff she says about me gets back to me because she is a good friend of my best friend's mom, so I have a pipeline into what she truly thinks about me!
What can I do to get her to keep her big mouth shut about me? She's making me look bad all over our town, and truth be told, her son is really not that great of a catch, anyway. He's actually lazy and pretty boring. It's just that I've been on the rebound since I broke up with my previous boyfriend of two years. — Victim of Gossip, via email
VICTIM OF GOSSIP: The solution to your situation is simple: Stop dating her son!
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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