DR. WALLACE: I'm a girl of 16, and I really need your help. I live with my mom and her awful boyfriend. My dad remarried years ago and is living now in Europe with his new wife and family. I really don't see him much anymore, but he does call me and text me once in a while.
I love my mother, but living with her is terrible. I can hardly take any more of this situation. My mom's boyfriend is an alcoholic. He doesn't work, so my mom (who works really hard) supplies this loser with all of his alcohol with her hard-earned money. About twice a week, he gets drunk and starts hitting and choking my mom. I get very upset and start crying, and then my mom screams at me to go to my room and lock the door.
When things calm down and we are alone, I sometimes talk to my mom about getting rid of this guy, but she said she can't because she loves him. I ask her about all of his yelling at her and choking her, and she gives me some weak story about how that's his way of showing his love for her. It's gross, if you ask me. It's hard for me to understand how she could love someone who is so cruel and mean to her, but she actually seems to enjoy it sometimes. I am beyond uncomfortable watching them interact, and my stomach always seems to be turning and churning.
I could go live with my grandmother, who lives about 50 miles away from our house. My mom doesn't want me to go there, but my grandmother does, and my Nana is a total sweetheart who truly loves me and dotes on me whenever I see her. What do you think? I will admit that my mom's boyfriend has never laid a single finger on me; he simply ignores me because he is always manhandling my mom, but he's a total jerk. — Disgusted Daughter, via email
DISGUSTED DAUGHTER: Rarely would I suggest a daughter leave her mother, but this is one of the times I would make such a recommendation. It truly sounds as though your mother has a strange, tragic way of being "loved." Let's hope your absence will cause your mother to realize her boyfriend is incompatible in your home and consider sending him packing. If that happens, you would be free to return to Mom.
If not, you are a lucky young lady because you have what sounds like an excellent alternative available to you.
IT'S TIME TO END THE RELATIONSHIP
DR. WALLACE: I have a very serious problem, and I really need your help with it. My boyfriend and I are both 17, and we have been dating now for over a year. Things are wonderful; we really get along great. We're in love and are even planning on getting married after we both finish college in about five years.
But everything changed in our relationship when my boyfriend's cousin moved to our town. My boyfriend and his cousin are now constantly together. My boyfriend, who didn't do drugs before, is now experimenting with many different drugs with his cousin, who supplies them. I feel like his cousin hates me, and he is very rude whenever I'm around him. He makes all kinds of snide and rude comments toward me. It's been a while since my boyfriend and I have even been alone together. I've noticed his behavior has changed, too. He's much more distant and distracted these days, and he gets easily irritated over the smallest of things.
My boyfriend continues to tell me that he loves me and asks for me to "hang in there," but I feel like I'm at the end of my rope. Please tell me what to do because I love him very much and don't want to give up on him when he might need my help now more than ever. — Girlfriend With a Dilemma
GIRLFRIEND WITH A DILEMMA: This obnoxious cousin may eventually lose his hold over your boyfriend, but I urge you not to wait around for it to happen organically. Not only has your boyfriend stumbled into a bad "family friendship," which features unhealthy and perhaps illegal behavior, but he is also willing to tolerate crude remarks his cousin directs at you right in front of him.
I truly feel it's time to end this relationship. Tell your boyfriend to call you when he has severed his ties with his cousin and gotten himself cleaned up. Taking this type of action will absolutely give him a wake-up call, which he may or may not answer right away. Either way, you should get on with your life and consider dating others.
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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