Dear Amy: My boyfriend and I have been together for about four years, and I’m ready to move on.
He doesn’t work and has been dealing with some long-term health issues.
If I asked him to move out, he wouldn’t be able to support himself. He can file for disability, but he doesn’t. He doesn’t do anything to take care of himself.
I’ve tried to leave him several times before and he always flips out. He goes crazy. He destroys my things, slashes the tires on my car, rages at all hours and says horrible, awful things.
All of this would be tolerable if I didn’t have two young children. How do I break this man’s heart and tell him we’re done in a way that will help him accept it and leave peacefully?
Dear It’s Time: None of this abuse and violence should be at all “tolerable” under any circumstances. The fact that you have young children makes it even more important that you leave this relationship. He will not leave – you will have to do that.
The most dangerous moment of life with an abusive partner is when you try to leave. I think it is quite obvious that you will not be able to leave with his assent.
You should develop a safety plan. Document all instances of physical abuse and destruction. Gather all of your important documents, cash and some clothes for you and the kids and keep them somewhere outside the home. Contact a domestic violence shelter. Go to court to swear out an order of protection. Share your plan with a trusted friend or family member.
I’m urging you to take this very seriously and to do everything possible to get you and your children to safety. For support and information, check the National Domestic Violence Hotline (thehotline.org) and/or call (800) 799-7233.
Dear Amy: I have a newly widowed, wealthy friend, “Sharon,” who started dating “Michael,” just two months after her husband died.
Sharon, who is 59, is MADLY in love with 72-year-old Michael, who comes from much more modest circumstances.
Sharon is acting like a teenager. She says that she wants to spend every minute with Michael. She is ignoring her grandchildren (on whom she used to dote), and openly planning a future with Michael, although they only started dating two months ago.
He has been divorced for as long as she was married. At 72, he is still working at a government job, so at least he is employed (but must really need money, if he hasn’t retired).
Sharon was boy-crazy and had a reputation for dating bad boys in high school, but we all assumed she’d outgrown it after 35 years of marriage!
Her friends and family are stunned and worried.
Is there anything we can do to bring her out of her obsession with being in love?
Dear Worried: First of all, “Michael” might still be working because he is good at his job, and loves to work. It isn’t helpful to make assumptions about someone about whom you have no personal knowledge. Please don’t speculate about his motivations.
“Sharon” is an adult and has the right to engage in relationships with anyone she chooses, regardless of what you (and others) think. Remember that she has recently been through the loss of her longtime spouse. She may be bouncing too quickly, but many people respond to loss in this way.
The best way to handle a relationship with a loved-one caught up in a whirlwind is to do your best to stay close. This means that you should make an effort to meet her beau, and maintain an open attitude toward him.
When caught up in the throes of early attraction, many people cling to the love relationship, to the exclusion of others. This should pass.
You should tell her you’re happy for her, express an eagerness to meet her new guy and keep your admonitions gentle and based in friendship.
Dear Amy: Like “Upset,” I, too, have been caught between friends after a breakup. I was given an ultimatum by one of the parties. I simply stated, “Be careful what you are asking, for I will choose the person not making me choose. I will not let anyone selfishly dictate who I am friends with.”
This caused my friend to realize how manipulative she was being. She has since learned to be civil in mixed company.
Been There, Said That
Dear Been There: Brilliant.
Email Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org.