Dear Amy: I have been in a relationship for the past eight months with a guy.
Two months in, he lost his job and moved in with me and my daughter.
I took care of him and helped him to get a much better job. I wake up before him, pack his lunches, do his laundry, and cook and clean up after him.
He had a very bad drinking problem that would cause him to black out and act very badly.
I also found out that he was connecting with other women the entire time.
Eventually, he cut out all hard alcohol. We would do well for a little while, but then he’d start drinking again and would verbally abuse me and leave me crying.
Afterward, I would explain how this was not OK!
We broke up about a week ago because he put his hands on me.
I asked him to leave, and he did.
I started to feel so much better, but of course I missed him like crazy.
My girlfriends took me out and I met a lawyer — very respectful, very kind, and he seems like a gentleman.
He asked me out for coffee. Then my ex sent me a long message begging me to take him back.
We talked on the phone for hours about how what he did was wrong and how his life was so much worse without me.
I truly did love him. Although he treated me badly, we had a lot of good times. I don’t know what to do. What would you do?
— Conflicted Heart
Dear Conflicted: Please don’t ask me what I would do, because I can only think of the many things I wouldn’t do — starting with moving an unemployed and angry blackout drinker into my house with a daughter also there.
Your judgment seems to be extremely flawed when it comes to this person, and while you obviously take pride in your martyrdom, another way to see this is to understand that your choice to take the word of a lying abuser over your own experience is extremely risky.
Your desire to rescue this man and patiently teach him how to be a decent human seems to reflect a lack of humility on your part.
It is as if you see yourself as being powerful enough to undo his deep character flaws and many serious problems. And your choice to perhaps take him back reflects your low self-esteem.
You might be able to do some deep therapeutic work in order to figure out why you are drawn to this situation, but in the meantime, you should do only one thing: Decide to protect your daughter from the chaos this man creates in your life.
Dear Amy: I decided to completely cut off my mother immediately after my son was born.
She is an extremely toxic person who doesn’t respect any boundaries, and I decided it was more important to protect my son than try to have a relationship with her.
Her actions afterward only made me more confident about my decision.
My son is now four months old.
My mother recently reached out to my mother-in-law and told her that she would be in her area and would like to meet up.
I feel very uncomfortable with this, but I also don’t want to try to control people the way my mother does.
My MIL came to my husband about this, and he told me.
My husband thinks it’s OK for them to meet up, but I think my MIL might feel as uncomfortable as I do.
I don’t even know if I should get involved, since nobody asked me.
— Estranged and Feeling Strange
Dear Estranged: I suggest reaching out to your mother-in-law. Tell her you’re aware that your mom has contacted her, and let her know that you’re fine with whatever choice she makes. Assure her that if she feels uncomfortable, she should say no to this.
Ask her only to be discreet when it comes to conveying a lot of information about you.
Dear Amy: “Wanting to Get in the Groove” was upset that her son had gotten married in a civil ceremony months ago, with a formal wedding in a few months.
I’ve heard of these second weddings after a civil ceremony called a Blessing Ceremony.
Here’s the best advice for a mom of sons at their weddings: “Wear beige and bite your tongue.”
— Midwest Mom of Three Sons
Dear Mom: Time-tested wisdom for all parents. Thank you.