Relationship Advice

Adolescence

mother and son

I was in a destructive relationship for three years with a charismatic man. We had two boys. Drugs, infidelity, and verbal abuse were involved. It took me a year of planning to leave, and when I did I moved from Latin America to be as far away from him as possible.

Of course, he followed. Things got complicated when he got a young girl pregnant and I forgave him. We tried to make it work again, and I got pregnant with my third child. He left me to be with her. It is three years since I separated from him, and I have tried everything to move on.

While pregnant I couldn't sleep and cried every day. It was like part of me was dead. I had my baby and this was an incredible source of joy. Little by little things changed and I am so much better. I am happy most of the time and live in peace.

I'm raising my three boys in a small, quiet town. I enjoy their company and their love; they are so wonderful. I've read many self-help books, learned to set boundaries, and know I can make it alone. I guess I'm growing up now that I'm about to turn 40.

The problem is I keep slipping in and out of obsessive thoughts that I might get back with my ex, or perhaps he'll realize what a jerk he was and change. He called recently to tell me he broke up with this girl. He told me so many details I feel I went back a few steps just by listening!

Of course, they are back together again, but he wants to buy some land with me and build a house. I don't want this anymore. I'm willing to do anything to be free of this relationship, but we have three boys and my oldest one calls him every day. It's almost impossible to dislodge myself from this bond.

Mara


Mara, boy-crazy teenage girls willingly give up their self-respect for a charismatic teenage boy. But when they outgrow that phase, they cut off any male who disrespects them. You haven't grown up yet. Until you stop chasing the cute boy who used you, this cycle will continue.

There are three things you can do. First, ruthlessly curtail your interactions with him. Limit conversations to matters essential to your sons. Second, when you find yourself obsessing about him, label it for what it is. It is not you, an adult woman, talking; it is a boy-crazy teenage girl. Third, redirect your energy into other areas.

Lovey-dovey talk is cheap, empty promises are worthless, and actions reveal character. In a relationship with a male, there is only one standard for woman: his every action proves he loves me. An immature girl may nourish a fantasy about a man who abuses her, but an adult woman sees him for who he is--someone who will use her as long as she lets him.

Wayne & Tamara