Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“He’s in Jail. Should I Wait For Him?”

My boyfriend and I have been together for a little over five years now, and we have a beautiful four-year-old son. I am 24 and he is 27. Over the last five years we have been through a lot together. He has two other boys from a previous girlfriend whom we have had full time almost the whole five years we’ve been together. Their mother wasn’t involved very much, but recent illegal activities have gotten them taken away and given back to her. My boyfriend and our son and I stayed together.

A couple months ago my boyfriend got into some more trouble and is now being held in jail until court. I was aware that he had some involvement in illegal activities, but he didn’t want me to know much so I wouldn’t get in trouble. It looks like he’s going to be in jail for a couple years if convicted, and I don’t know if I should wait for him. He says he loves me, and I am sure that I love him. We were even talking about getting engaged. A lot of what he did was because he has a drug addiction that he finally admitted to. He says he wants to go to rehab and get help and that he wants to change so we can be a happy family again. I want to believe him, but I don’t know if that would be false hope. And I want to be there to help support him become clean because I’ve heard that if you don’t have a good support team, you likely fail and I don’t want to be the reason he would fail.

We talk on the phone throughout the week and I get to have two 25-minute visits each week (which isn’t in person — it’s on camera). Do I wait for him and let him go to rehab to try to prove himself since it was a drug that was getting him to do what he was doing? Or do I just let everything go because of a few mistakes he made? I love him and want to be with him, but how do you know if a drug addict is telling the truth when he says he wants help or if he’s just saying what he knows I want to hear? And what do I tell my parents who don’t want me to be with him because he has drug trouble? Please help me!! — Waiting for Him

Woman, you have a four-year-old son whose father is a drug addicted criminal and who just lost the two siblings he’s lived with his whole life and you’re worried about whether your boyfriend is telling the truth about wanting to get clean? Worry less about him and focus on providing the best home possible for your kid. That means staying away from your boyfriend until he’s been clean for at least six months (outside of jail). You’re worried about him failing without your undying support? Tough. He doesn’t want it enough then if he can’t do it without your support. And he has to want it. He has to want a clean and sober life and to be a positive influence on his son bad enough to make some sacrifices for once. And if he can’t do that without your day-to-day support, he doesn’t want it enough. End of story.

And don’t fool yourself with this idea that “it was a drug” that made him commit his crimes. It wasn’t a drug. It was HIM. We are all responsible for our actions. He made the decision to take drugs and he made the decision to commit crimes. You made the decision to turn a blind eye and continue living with your son in a house with a drug addicted criminal. You need to own that. And then you need to change it. Your son deserves better than that. Step up and start making better decisions on his behalf. He needs a safe and nurturing home, so do whatever you can to provide that for him. Worry less about the grown man child sitting in jail who has screwed up his life, and worry more about not screwing up the life of your own son forever.

P.S. Be sure to read “My Life as a Prison Wife” for a detailed, realistic account of what life is like waiting for a man behind bars.

***************

You can follow me on Facebook here an Twitter here.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

128 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Christy September 17, 2012, 9:03 am

    Oh, where is honeybeenicki when you need her?

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    • JK

      JK September 17, 2012, 9:08 am

      You beat me to it! LW should go read Honeybee´s essay on “Life as a Prison WIfe” if she hasn´t already.

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      • JK

        JK September 17, 2012, 9:21 am

        Oops, I missed Wendy´s p.s.

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  • avatar

    MellaJade September 17, 2012, 9:13 am

    Good. Lord. It’s a Monday people. You know its a Monday when you want to hit your head into the desk after reading this letter. I’m gonna need a bigger coffee.

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    • avatar

      cporoski September 17, 2012, 9:55 am

      Totally agree. Did he run an illegal gambling ring? sell pot? armed robbery where he killed someone? these are very different.

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      • avatar

        cporoski September 17, 2012, 9:56 am

        wierd, my comment showed up in two places.

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      • becboo84

        BecBoo84 September 17, 2012, 4:50 pm

        Well… I think we can assume it wasn’t something as serious as armed robbery where someone was killed, but was probably more serious than dealing pot (or it wasn’t his first offense), since the LW indicates that if convicted he’ll be spending about 2 years in prison. I agree though that more clarification would be extremely useful!

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle September 17, 2012, 9:15 am

    WWS.

    As a side note, I love how vague everybody always is about their S/O’s “illegal activities.” It would actually help us give more tailored advice if LWs were a little more specific than “My boyfriend has a felony conviction” or “My boyfrend did…something…& now he’s on the sex offender registry.”

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    • avatar

      cporoski September 17, 2012, 9:55 am

      Totally agree. Did he run an illegal gambling ring? sell pot? armed robbery where he killed someone? these are very different

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      • avatar

        Sasa September 17, 2012, 10:54 am

        And if the LW doesn’t want to mention what it was exactly, it should be considered an automatic MOA situation.

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  • katie

    katie September 17, 2012, 9:25 am

    WWS, and i would also add to get your life together not just for your son but for youself, too! you dont deserve to be waiting around for a drug addict who is in jail- no one does.

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    • katie

      katie September 17, 2012, 9:33 am

      oh- and another thing.

      you KNEW about this? i mean, not literally, but you knew something was going on and you… didnt care? was he just like, oh dont worry about it. its illegal i dont want you know… and you just said, ok??

      that is an issue.

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      • avatar

        cporoski September 17, 2012, 10:01 am

        You are right, but i think it depends on the crime. but if he was being held without bail it is probably pretty serious. I am guessing she liked the illegal cash flow.

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      • avatar

        Brigitte September 17, 2012, 10:09 am

        Indeed, totally agree. No wonder your parents aren’t a fan of him- he obviously doesn’t bring out the best in you if you were ok being in denial about both his drug habit and his criminal activity. He doesn’t get points for keeping you in the dark so you don’t get too implicated- and you certainly lose points for sticking your head so far in the sand that you think any of this is a good situation for a child or for you.

        I know you love him, and people often talk about “unconditional love”- but that crap. The only person that might ever deserve unconditional love from you is your son. Everyone else should have conditions you self-impose for them to continue being deserving of your love. For example, I refuse to love someone who’s abusive to me, I refuse to love someone who cheats on me, or calls me names. I refuse to love someone who lies to me, even if it’s because they have a drug addiction. I refuse to love someone who puts my life in any kind of danger because of their actions.

        I don’t think his drug addiction is the deal breaker; every one has their demons, and everyone deserves support fighting them. But how he reacted to the addiction is a concern, no? Addicts hit rock bottom in different ways, and this arrest might be his wake up call. I just don’t think standing by him as his girls friend through it all sets the right example to your son or to yourself. This man has done you wrong, and you deserve better. You deserve that he picks himself up by the bootstraps and gets clean and pays his dues to society by serving his time in jail. You can still support him as a friend, or as a co-parent to your son, but I would suggest that you call “break” on this relationship while he concentrates on getting clean and law-abiding. You’ll have enough work with just being a single parent.

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      • avatar

        MMcG September 17, 2012, 11:32 am

        “The only person that might ever deserve unconditional love from you is your son.”

        Amen. Halleluiah. Love this x 1 million.
        Shame more people don’t get this, and put their partner’s needs (or their own sad need to not be alone) in front of the needs of their dependent child.

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      • avatar

        Eljay September 17, 2012, 5:28 pm

        BRAVO.

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  • JK

    JK September 17, 2012, 9:28 am

    WWS.
    And I love the “We were even talking about getting engaged”! You have a kid together, that´s what´s binding you to this guy for life, whether you stick with him or not (personally I wouldn´t).
    It´s time to put your son first, then you can figure the rest of it out.

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    • avatar

      Brigitte September 17, 2012, 9:57 am

      Ya, I twitched at “We were talking about getting engaged!” Not “We were talking about getting married!”- just engaged, just kind of committed, even at this point, raising 3 kids together, 2 of which aren’t even hers. I think it’s commendable, especially at the young age she was when she got pregnant from a boyfriend she’d just started dating at the time if the timeline is correct.

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  • avatar

    j2 September 17, 2012, 9:32 am

    WWS

    (with facepalm!)

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  • avatar

    MiMi September 17, 2012, 9:33 am

    And what about the poor brothers who have been shunted from their home for the past 5 years back to a mother who hasn’t bothered to care for them most of that time?!
    An addict is an addict for life and this man has a long way to go to get out of jail, get clean, and to make amends for royally screwing up the lives of four people, three of whom are his innocent children. Since you are now the only caring adult in the picture for all these boys, you can’t afford to live in dreamland about how great it’s going to be if/when. Reality starts now so don’t revolve your life around supporting a jailbird – you’ve got much more important work to do. Carry on earning a living, being a mom, and try to see and include your son’s brothers in your lives as much as you can.

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  • avatar

    katiebird September 17, 2012, 9:35 am

    Answer to the Headline: No.
    Answer to the Letter: You are a mother. Start acting like one and protect your baby.

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  • avatar

    cporoski September 17, 2012, 9:52 am

    LW – Wendy is right. It is time to focus on your son and how you are going to support him alone. Even if you stay with this guy, he won’;t be able to contribute to your household from Prision. Now, here is the bright side. You don’t have to make any major decisions right now. Prision will give you years to decide. I do not believe that illegal activities immediately make you a bad person. But, this is a long, lonely process. So live your life and see where it takes you.

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    • avatar

      Oldie September 17, 2012, 10:32 am

      No, illegal activities as the only way of aiding others doesn’t make you a bad person. If he stole to get food for their son or keep a roof over the kid’s head, I cut him some slack. Crime to support his drug habit? I’m afraid that does make him a bad person. Bad people can sometimes be reformed, but it doesn’t commonly happen to guys like this. As you say, it is a very long and lonely process. It has to be lonely, because an enabler like LW will derail the reform in an instant. I don’t see how the years of prison will help LW decide. She’ll keep on visiting and buying his lies. This is a guy who hid his drug addiction for years. He is certainly a very practiced liar and she is extremely gullible. The only way she’ll be able to decide and think rationally about what is best for her son and herself is to get some distance from this guy.

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      • avatar

        Lindsay September 17, 2012, 10:53 am

        And there are very few victimless crimes, as they call them. Intentionally doing something that hurts others, whether indirectly or directly, is a problem.

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      • avatar

        cporoski September 17, 2012, 11:13 am

        I know what you are saying but you can argue that about ANYTHING. Like you buy organic to save the environment but it is shipped from across the world in huge tankers which hurts the environment. Or if you try to save money at Walmart you are hurting wages for workers. However, if he was a small time drug dealer and this is his second offense. I don’t know if that is bad. Armed robbery is bad. I am just saying that she is looking at this long term commitment rather than the real short term issues. I am saying focus on the short term and deal with the long term later.

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      • avatar

        lemongrass September 17, 2012, 11:31 am

        Drug dealing is bad. Supporting yourself while actively causing addicts to sink deeper into their addiction? Living off the avails of others suffering? That’s bad.

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      • avatar

        cporoski September 17, 2012, 11:43 am

        we will have to agree to disagree on that one. I don’t see the difference between drugs sold by poor people and drugs sold by major pharma companies. Big Pharma is feeding way more habits than some guy on a corner. But I know that is not popular and moral relativism.

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      • avatar

        lemongrass September 17, 2012, 11:58 am

        I agree with pharma being bad- I think there should be no public advertising for drugs and that they do a lot of harm. But that doesn’t make street dealers good in comparison. They are bad, too.

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      • theattack

        theattack September 17, 2012, 2:09 pm

        I don’t know. Addicts are going to get it from somewhere. He doesn’t make the choice for them to do drugs. Even ignoring that though, selling drugs doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with addiction. Not all drugs have addictive qualities at all, and they’re just recreational. If he’s selling weed or acid, for example, no one is addicted to his product, and most of his customers are only looking for a good time. Some of them are looking for relief from anxiety, a way to numb themselves, or a big existential experience. Most people who have sold drugs know that you don’t sell something that you yourself like to do because you’ll consume all of your profit, so if he’s addicted to something it doesn’t mean that his customers are.

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      • avatar

        lemongrass September 17, 2012, 2:23 pm

        He’s certainly not selling drugs to make anyone’s life better.

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      • theattack

        theattack September 17, 2012, 2:30 pm

        I don’t think he’s selling drugs to do anything with other people’s lives. He’s doing it to make money, which is why most people do the jobs that they do.

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      • avatar

        lemongrass September 17, 2012, 3:07 pm

        He’s just trying to make a living, so it’s okay then? I’m not talking about pot dealers- because I’m Canadian and it’s pretty much not a crime here. But we should be okay with dealers taking mentally handicapped people’s welfare cheques in exchange for heroine? Or taking some teen’s allowance for e? Or taking the money some poor prostitute that’s been abused into it has earned so she can get her meth fix? All because- he’s just trying to earn a living. Well so are hitmen and people selling child pornography but I’m not okay with that, even though they’re just in it for the money.

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      • theattack

        theattack September 17, 2012, 3:18 pm

        I don’t believe that it’s a seller’s responsibility to protect consumers from bad decisions. The consumer knows the risk they’re taking when buying drugs, and they know that they’re exchanging their money for it. It’s their decision. If a prostitute wants to spend her money on drugs then that’s her prerogative. The huge difference between selling drugs to a person and killing someone for money or selling child porn is that adults consent to buying drugs. They actively seek them out. They’re not pressured to buy them, but they choose to anyway. People don’t typically seek out a hitman to kill themselves, and no child wants to be photographed for pornography. They consent to buy drugs, they do not consent to those violent acts. Those are COMPLETELY different things.

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      • avatar

        lemongrass September 17, 2012, 4:19 pm

        I can’t reply to your comment, don’t know why…
        @ theattack
        Except that dealer’s aren’t always selling to consenting adults. They sell to teenagers and yes, sometimes children. They sell to mentally handicapped people. They sell it to people who slip it in non-consenting women’s drinks.

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      • theattack

        theattack September 17, 2012, 4:30 pm

        Not all of them do that, though. Many drug dealers have rules about who they sell to. But either way, it’s not a seller’s responsibility to keep up with what the buyer is doing with it. The company I bought my axe from didn’t ask whether I was chopping wood or chopping necks, but it could have easily been either. The liquor store doesn’t ask if I’m trying to get someone drunk and take advantage of them. As long as there’s nothing wrong with the product, and it’s not clearly obvious that someone’s doing something wrong with it, then I just don’t think those things have anything to do with the dealer. Drugs like roofies are an exception because their only purpose is to drug other people. I would say that selling roofies is immoral because you know someone else is going to be harmed because of it. Drugs like ecstasy – well, you could be drugging someone with it, but it’s more likely that you’re just taking it yourself. It’s not the dealer’s job to police what’s happening with a drug that will most likely be taken by a consenting adult.

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      • avatar

        lemongrass September 17, 2012, 4:58 pm

        Drug dealers don’t care about whether there is something wrong with the product! If they did people wouldn’t be dying from taking 1 ecstasy pill or taking laced products. Ever had a bad acid trip? Think the dealer cares? I was “recruited” at 16 by a drug dealer- funnily enough, walking past a schoolyard. I saw a woman knocking on the door holding her side saying “I just need a hit before I go to the hospital- I’ve been stabbed” I watched as he gave E to teen girls so that they would sleep with him. I even (stupidly) “guinea-pigged” drugs- testing them for free so he could tell buyers what kind of trip it was. So yeah, I do think drug dealers are bad.

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      • theattack

        theattack September 17, 2012, 5:09 pm

        Dying from doing drugs has to do with who produced them first. Someone has to take it to find out if it’s bad or not. I don’t know any dealers who would continue to sell a bad drug knowing it wasn’t any good because if something happens, their ass is on the line too. They’re more likely to get caught when there’s suddenly police attention on that activity, and they’re more likely to get beat up or killed by someone seeking revenge. Most drug dealers are very smart, and they’re discerning. But yes, you’re right, some dealers do act like the one you’re talking about. But you CHOSE to test out those drugs for him. He didn’t force you to do it. And while he was obviously being a manipulative jerk to teenage girls, unless he was forcing them to take it they did have some control over the situation. Those type of dealers aren’t very common in my experience though. Most of them want to keep their customers loyal to them so they’re good to them. They establish real relationships with their customers because they know that they’re vulnerable at their hands and that the customers are a source of income. Without treating them well they don’t have loyalty, and they miss out on the referrals that their loyal customers would give to their friends.

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      • avatar

        lemongrass September 17, 2012, 6:07 pm

        You right, I did choose to do those drugs. Would I have if they weren’t offered to me by the drug dealer? No. I did not seek out a drug dealer at 16. Drive by Hastings St. in Vancouver, BC and you’ll see the other side of drug dealers. Perhaps you, at 18, sold drugs to the people in your life. What about now, or in 10 years? What about those people that don’t stop doing coke after the party has quit it and moved on? A drug dealer should just wipe his hands clean of any wrong-doing because the junkie who broke into someone’s car to get the money and is now overdosing in front of him, but the junkie made a choice. He should just step over the body and keep on truckin’ because he played no role in that.

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      • theattack

        theattack September 17, 2012, 6:21 pm

        Yes, if the drug user chooses to do something wrong, that’s on the drug user. The person who sold it to him has nothing to do with it.

        I can stab someone with the dagger I bought at Bass Pro Shop, and Bass Pro Shop isn’t even remotely responsible for it. I see no difference.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Wendy September 17, 2012, 7:07 pm

        Woah, everyone needs to step away now and take a breather. Too much name-calling and judgment-flying.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray September 17, 2012, 7:10 pm

        Who wants to hear about my new boyfriend?

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson September 17, 2012, 5:30 pm

        “They’re more likely to get caught when there’s suddenly police attention on that activity, and they’re more likely to get beat up or killed by someone seeking revenge.”

        And this is why drug dealers are bad. Their activities lead to other crimes. It is an industry that profits off of other people’s addictions. It ruins lives. Both due to death from overdose and because it puts people in jail. Going to jail ruins lives. I can’t believe we are even debating whether or not drug dealers are bad people.

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      • theattack

        theattack September 17, 2012, 5:33 pm

        People who choose to do drugs are the ones who are taking these risks. The dealers are just one way out of many that those people get them. There are countless activities that lead to crimes, and there are other industries that profit off of other people’s misfortunes. It’s not great, no, but drug dealers are not monsters that are out to ruin other people’s lives. They make it available and people either choose to take a big risk and purchase it or they don’t.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson September 17, 2012, 5:48 pm

        They actually do ruin other people’s lives. Like their parents’ when they go to jail. Like their spouses/girlfriends when they die in an overdose. Like their child’s when they abandon them by spending their childhood in jail. Drug dealers do ruin lives.

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      • theattack

        theattack September 17, 2012, 5:55 pm

        And what about drug dealers who are adults with no spouses, girlfriends, or children? Yes, those things are horrible to the people you mentioned, but that’s also true of committing other crimes or doing something risky like race car driving. What about adults who sell drugs (or their bodies) to feed their children? Are they horrible people? The examples you gave are horrible, yes, but they’re specific to certain situations and how they relate to their own personal lives. The act of dealing drugs itself, without considering whether or not it’s a good decision in the dealer’s life, does not make them a bad person.

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      • theattack

        theattack September 17, 2012, 5:58 pm

        And I guess I’m sensitive to this because I’ve sold drugs before, specifically to pay for an abortion that prevented me from being a terrible parent at 18 years old. I guess that means you think I’m a bad person.

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      • theattack

        theattack September 17, 2012, 6:05 pm

        My cousin sells weed to pay his bills because his job bagging groceries doesn’t pay him enough, and he had to drop out of school because he couldn’t afford to keep going. He saves some of his money from weed so he can go back to school. He doesn’t have a wife, girlfriend, or kids, and he doesn’t live with his parents. His friends buy weed from him freely because they want to smoke it, and they would be buying it from someone regardless. Does that make him a bad person to take advantage of a demand in the community so that he can make ends meet? It’s not harming anyone in his family, and no one has ever been harmed by his weed. Does the act of selling it mean that he’s a bad person? He spends a lot of time volunteering, and he always feeds homeless people when he sees them, and he goes to church and pays his tithes, and he cares about people, and he helps his friends and family anytime they need anything in the world. But I guess when someone deals drugs, none of the other aspects of their character count. A dealer must be a complete monster. A flat character with only three aspects: immorality, deception, and lack of consideration.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson September 17, 2012, 6:07 pm

        I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this issue. No one lives in a glass bubble where their actions won’t affect someone they love. In my opinion selling drugs always makes someone a bad person because they are committing a serious crime. There are consequences for actions – and all the consequences associated with selling drugs are negative. I know many people don’t get caught – so maybe not everyone will have any consequences – but that doesn’t make the act any more legal.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson September 17, 2012, 6:11 pm

        I should rephrase – it doesn’t make them a bad person for ever and ever and ever. But yes the entire time they’re doing it they are making bad life decisions. There are no excuses for it in my book. You cousin should get a second legal job if bagging groceries doesn’t pay his bills. He should not be paying his tithes if he can’t afford to be doing that. There are other ways. I refuse to believe someone has no other options than to sell drugs.

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      • theattack

        theattack September 17, 2012, 6:16 pm

        Okay, so you do think I’m a bad person. That’s good to know.

        I also just take issue with calling someone a bad person for one part of their lives. Almost everyone has something in their lives that would qualify them to be a “bad person” if that was the only thing we looked at. It’s much more fair to say that someone’s actions are bad than to say that they’re a bad person.

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      • theattack

        theattack September 17, 2012, 6:17 pm

        Okay, you changed what you said before I posted that last comment.

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      • theattack

        theattack September 17, 2012, 6:25 pm

        And by the way, it’s hilarious to say that someone should just get another job. Do you know how ridiculously hard that is right now? I’ve applied for about thirty jobs recently and haven’t even been called in for an interview despite having my resume looked over by my alma mater’s career center and several people who make hiring decisions at their businesses. When you’re competing with hundreds of other more-qualified people for jobs, even menial labor, you’re kind of SOL. I think I remember you saying that you were underemployed recently, so surely you understand that.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson September 17, 2012, 6:39 pm

        I do understand that – and you don’t see me selling drugs now do you. And I’m sorry to say you sold drugs to pay for an abortion is ridiculous. You were also on drugs at the time so you couldn’t have spent your own drug money on it? And that was when you were 18 – so what 5 years ago? The economy wasn’t shitty back then so what’s your excuse for doing it back then?

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      • theattack

        theattack September 17, 2012, 6:46 pm

        My EXCUSE? I’m sorry, but I can’t even believe you would say something to me like that. My “excuse” was that I lived in a rural area with little job prospects even before the economy dropped and especially after it did, plus a need for fast money before I was too far along to have the abortion. I did have a job, and I was applying for more jobs like crazy. I did stop doing drugs when I found out I was pregnant. In fact, I stopped doing most everything, even eating except for free meals at my parents’ house. I’m so furious at your comment I can barely even think straight. How dare you attack me like that.

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      • theattack

        theattack September 17, 2012, 6:52 pm

        $5.25 an hour doesn’t add up very fast when you work part time and can’t get more hours, and you only have a few weeks to save up several hundred dollars before your life drains away before your eyes. It’s the best fucking decision I’ve ever made.

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      • katie

        katie September 17, 2012, 6:56 pm

        WOW.

        i cant believe this is even a discussion.

        no one cares why you sell drugs, you are a bad person for it.

        something BGM said really applies here- you are only as good as the worst thing you have done. so, i guess, in your spot, theattack, you are only as good as a drug dealer. and thats not good. so yea, sorry. i cant even believe you are openly defending drug dealers and saying it is all the junkies faults… i am in complete disbelief. it doesnt matter if people have free will and they make their own decisions- the drug trade effects so many people and it effects them all the way through the chain- being a dealer effects it, being a junkie effects it, being a smuggler effects it, EVERYTHING ASSOCIATED WITH DRUGS FURTHERS DRUGS AND GIVES EVERYONE ELSE NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES IN SOME WAY.

        good god. i never thought i’d have to debate the morality of selling illegal drugs.

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      • theattack

        theattack September 17, 2012, 7:02 pm

        Katie – You don’t want to know what I think you are then. Your comment is one of the meanest things anyone has ever said to me. You think you’re better than me because your struggles have been different? You don’t know what you would do in a situation until you’re in it. Would you have preferred that I stabbed my fucking stomach to get the fetus out then? I would rather have the stigma of my past than be a stuck up, judgmental bitch.

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      • katie

        katie September 17, 2012, 7:09 pm

        it has nothing to do with what you did, it has everything to do with how you think it apparently was a perfectly acceptable means to make money, and more importantly, that your illegal antics didnt directly negatively effect other peoples lives.

        we would be having a very different conversation if you thought what you did was even remotely wrong- if you knew what you were doing at the time was wrong, really if you cared at all about what you did… but you see it as a part time job, a perfectly acceptable hobby for a church-goer, and that is wrong. very, very wrong. you can debate the morality of the fact that certain drugs are illegal, but the fact of the matter is that right now, they are illegal, making anything regarding them WRONG.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray September 17, 2012, 7:12 pm

        @theattack, do you want to hear about my new boyfriend? it’s so cute – we both say “oh shit balls”. if that’s not the cutest thing, i don’t know what else. i can tell you more. what else would you like to know?

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      • theattack

        theattack September 17, 2012, 7:13 pm

        You think I’m proud of what I’ve done? I’m not. I just refuse to think that I’m a bad person because of it. I never said it was perfectly acceptable at all. It’s obviously not a good choice, but it’s not the end of the world. It doesn’t make someone a monster, and it doesn’t force people to buy the drugs and do stupid or dangerous things.

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      • katie

        katie September 17, 2012, 7:17 pm

        and yet you have wrote all these words defending all drug dealers everwhere and saying that it is a perfectly acceptable form of making money, especially for your cousin….

        ok.

        and i really hope you think long and hard about whether drug dealers are really innocent bystanders in the whole drug economy, which results in people dying and throwing their lives away every day…. because, ill just let you know, they make things WORSE. they are in no way passive participants. they are active members, really the only ones profiting in any way from the drugs that ruin peoples lives. you can go on and on about how people choose to do drugs- but if there werent drug dealers, people wouldnt have anywhere to get the drugs from.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray September 17, 2012, 7:19 pm

        @theattack, speaking of “monster”, did you know that my boyfriend’s favorite maki roll is this “monster” maki roll that is to die for? confession: my boyfriend sucks at chopsticks but this is me not judging him. ok, ask me another question!

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      • katie

        katie September 17, 2012, 7:36 pm

        “While the US drug user may not intend to invest in this international drug economy, every dollar spent purchasing those weekend escapes is ultimately fueling a mammoth and destructive system that depends on our drug dollars to survive. “That population of users generates the funds,” says former IRS agent Mike McDonald. “They generate the dollars that go back to Mexico and go back to Colombia. They generate those dollars that in Colombia and in Mexico are turned into power, turned into extortion, turned into homicides, turned into corrupting foreign governments, arms dealing, and expanding criminal enterprises around the world.” –PBS Frontline Special Report

        just sayin. being a part of the drug business is NOT a victimless crime.

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      • theattack

        theattack September 17, 2012, 8:45 pm

        Katie, I have thought about it. You and I just have differing opinions, and it’s not worth attacking someone so personally over.

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      • katie

        katie September 17, 2012, 9:00 pm

        i feel very sad to live in a world where people can have “differing opinons” about something so black and white as dealing illegal drugs.

        you either do illegal stuff or you dont, you either support illegal drugs or you dont, you either help the global drug trade or you dont. you either drain your own local economy or you dont. you either give your money to people who will murder, steal, rape, kidnap, sell people, pay off politicians, perform acts of terrorism, and deal arms or you dont.

        there isnt a grey area when you talk about drug trade.

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      • theattack

        theattack September 18, 2012, 1:14 pm

        Re: “i feel very sad to live in a world where people can have “differing opinons” about something so black and white as dealing illegal drugs.”

        Fine. You can be sad that people have opinions that are different from yours. Most people do wish everyone thought the way they did because people believe they’re right. But you’re going to have to live with people disagreeing with you for the rest of your life and in many different scenarios, and you’re not going to make any friends by being so rude to people about it. You and I have disagreed on countless things, and you continue to personally attack me over areas where we’re different. Why can’t you just debate something without making it so personal and mean? This time you’ve attacked me over the most vulnerable part of my life. The time that I’m most ashamed of, and the time that was the hardest for me. The time that seemed so impossibly difficult I was seriously considering suicide, but I managed to pull through. My plan was that if I couldn’t get the money for an abortion I would kill myself, because that’s the sort of backwards thinking that happens when you combine severe mental illness with desperation in a major crisis. It’s beyond low to attack someone over the decisions they made in desperate situations when you have no idea what it’s like. I truly hope you learn how to be tolerant and at least decent to other people. This sort of an attitude won’t get you very far, and it only serves to make people feel like shit and alienate you from potential friends.

        Wendy, I’m sorry this got so ridiculous. I said a couple of things that I’m sure you didn’t appreciate, and I’m sorry for that. But believe it or not, I typed and deleted a lot of stuff to whittle my comments down to being nicer and more controlled. I really did try.

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      • avatar

        Oldie September 17, 2012, 4:41 pm

        Actually drug dealers do recruit customers. They even give free samples to school kids to get them hooked. How do you think customers are developed?

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      • theattack

        theattack September 17, 2012, 4:47 pm

        Haha, That type of drug dealer is few and far between. Trust me. I’ve spent a lot of time in the center of a pretty active drug community both as a consumer and partially as a umm… more active participant. The type of dealer you’re describing does exist, but they’re not common, and most people know that they’re absolute monsters. Drug consumers and drug dealers are all more discerning than the general public might realize. Usually customers are developed through social networking. One customer will have a friend who does one type of drug or is curious about them, and they hang out. That friend tries the drugs that the customer bought from the dealer because friends share drugs with each other. (This is the primary way that people try things. Not from being coaxed into it by a creep on the playground). The friend wants to keep doing it but they realize they can’t mooch off of the customer forever, so the customer takes them along on the next deal, and a new customer relationship is formed.

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      • avatar

        cporoski September 17, 2012, 11:16 am

        I am of the opinion that illegal does not mean immoral. We don’t know the crime here. And that makes all the difference. If he is running a small time gambling ring, I don’t think that is that bad. If he beat up a guy for not paying his debts, then he is a bad guy. ya know. But that morality aside, prision will give her distance. I was more trying to say that instead of focusing on this life altering long term decisions, focus on the short term ones like her son. I think people get so bogged down with these huge issues that they can’t move past them.

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      • avatar

        Lindsay September 17, 2012, 2:21 pm

        Yeah, I’m not even really saying morally, though that’s sort of what my comment sounded like. Some crimes are about morals. Others are about the fact that you know you could get in a heap of trouble (aka, lose your kids and your family, etc.) and still do it anyway.

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      • avatar

        cporoski September 17, 2012, 3:24 pm

        You are right. I am not saying that these acts are responsible. But many people are forced out of the mainstream and the underground economy is the only way to go. Like, if you dropped out of high school and are illiterate, or you have terrible communication skills, you can’t even get a minimum wage job. So a guy has three kids, and has to support them. What can he do?

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  • avatar

    Alecia September 17, 2012, 9:57 am

    For me personally, jail and drugs are dealbreakers. I’ve seen up close what drug addiction does to a person and no matter how lovable they are sober- it’s still not worth putting yourself and most importantly your son at risk. He needs help not coddling and as much as he says he’ll clean up he’s only as good as his intentions.So you’re going to have to make a choice and as a hard as it is- you need to think of your son before your boyfriend.

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  • avatar

    cporoski September 17, 2012, 10:03 am

    Wendy – Do you ever go back to the LWs and ask for more details? Like what did he do?

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom September 17, 2012, 10:12 am

    As Wendy said, think of your son and his needs. Think about the man he needs as a role model in his life. Your son needs a man who sets a good example, a man who can be there for him in a positive way. Think about what you can do so that your son doesn’t follow the example of his father so that your son doesn’t end up as a drug addict in jail. At this point in time your primary responsibility is to your son.

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  • avatar

    SuzyQ September 17, 2012, 10:19 am

    Soooo… was it the one arrest that caused his other kids to be taken away? Or was it something else? That part is not clear. If it was something else – before the arrest, then he lost custody of his kids. That is significant. It means that a court was convinced that he is so unfit that his absent ex is a better parent. Do you really want him raising your son?

    In any case, you can create the kind of stable and loving environment your son needs by not letting your lives revolve around your boyfriend. Instead, focus on your son. Provide a very stable and predictable home life. Be loving. Surround him with people he can count on and who will love him. His father can be part of his life when he’s able, but if he isn’t – your son’s life won’t be full of devastation and disappointment.

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  • avatar

    Flake September 17, 2012, 10:21 am

    ”Or do I just let everything go because of a few mistakes he made? ”

    That is just pathetic… These are not a few mistakes he’s made… Every single day he exposed you and your son to an illegal and dangerous lifestyle. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Why you chose to ignore it, only you know.
    I can only imagine how bad it must have been at one point so that someone had decided that the other two kids are better off with a mother that hasn’t seen them in years than with you and your BF.

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle September 17, 2012, 10:45 am

      Yeah, that line jumped out at me as well. She’s clearly minimizing things in her head, which is an understandable reaction, but she needs to snap out of it.

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  • avatar

    Oldie September 17, 2012, 10:27 am

    The same sad old excuse for a mother risking her son’s welfare: “but we love each other.” So much! And he needs me! And I so want to be a nurturer. The answer to both statements is a flat no. No you don’t love each other and no you have not been nurturing him.

    Love involves deep trust and accepting and loving the other person as who they really are. Two people in love are in many ways like one. But you didn’t know he was doing drugs or financing his addiction through crime. Either there was no deep sharing at all between you or you enabled his drug use the whole time. Either way, you are not the person to help him get clean and stay clean. Either you have never known the clean version of him or he turned to drugs while he was with you and your life together was part of the unhappiness that made a drugged out life seem preferable. You are living a dream of the guy you imagine him to be, while tightly shutting out any evidence of the guy he really is.

    He was confronted with a shock when he lost his two children from his prior relationship. At that point he knew if he continued on his current path, he would lose you and your son. He chose what was most important to him, his drugs. Of course he talks about wanting to get clean of the addiction now. He’s in prison. It’s lonely and he’ll say whatever keeps you visiting. If he gets out and has really rehabbed and is determined to stay drug-free, the first thing he’ll lose is you, you were a key part of his drug addicted self.

    It’s time for you to grow up and be a good Mom. Stop chasing the bad boys.

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  • othy

    Othy September 17, 2012, 10:36 am

    ‘And I want to be there to help support him become clean because I’ve heard that if you don’t have a good support team, you likely fail and I don’t want to be the reason he would fail.’

    Don’t let him guilt you into being there for him – if he fails, it’s on him. It has nothing to do with you. Yes, support systems can be helpful when trying to get clean. However, you have a small child to worry about. You need to get your priorities in order. He can get clean without your help. He can also fail with your help. Don’t enable him. Let him get clean on his own before you let him back in your life.

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  • avatar

    MarkD September 17, 2012, 10:36 am

    He’s a criminal, and you are an enabler. You can’t control his behavior, but you can control your own. Start by stopping making excuses for him and yourself.

    I’ve seen this tragedy before. Nice girl, wrong guy. Two lives ruined, instead of one. Sad? More like stupid. You’ve got a son. Do the right thing, for him.

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  • avatar

    Lindsay September 17, 2012, 10:45 am

    No, you should not wait for him. I don’t know what he did, but as we discussed when the woman wanted to be with a sex offender, there are a lot of practicalities you need to think about. Life with a convict and addict is not fun. Watch what it’s like for him trying to get a job. At least very least, he’ll be expected to explain where he was the past few years, and employers don’t like hiring addicts because they assume they’ll relapse and/or steal money for drugs. I assume you’d be supporting him financially when he got out, which means less money for you and your children’s needs. Now, this is MY BIGGEST, MOST IMPORTANT REASON: What if he couldn’t convince the cops or whoever that you didn’t know what was going on with his illegal activities? It wouldn’t be the first time someone ended up in jail who didn’t really partake in the crime. What would happen to your children?

    Finally, think about the message you’d be sending to your kids. One, it’s OK to commit crimes. But more than that, (especially if you ever have a girl), you’re teaching that you guys don’t deserve better than drug-addicted criminals. Please raise your standards for what makes an acceptable partner.

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  • avatar

    TECH September 17, 2012, 11:08 am

    “And I want to be there to help support him become clean because I’ve heard that if you don’t have a good support team, you likely fail and I don’t want to be the reason he would fail.”
    This is an extremely unhealthy statement. You are putting too much responsibility on yourself. If he fails, it’s his responsibility, not yours. You know what I’ve also read? Addicts shouldn’t be in a relationship until they’ve been clean at least a year.
    I suggest you read “Women Who Love Too Much” by Robin Norwood. I think it would help you immensely.
    “I love him and want to be with him, but how do you know if a drug addict is telling the truth when he says he wants help or if he’s just saying what he knows I want to hear?”
    To answer your question, you will never know if a drug addict is telling you the truth. And if you can’t trust someone, you have no relationship at all. I have been where you are, having ended a relationship with an addict over 3 years ago. In the months after the breakup, I shed so many tears and thought I would never stop loving him. Now, when I hear his name or think of him, that raw emotion is no longer there. I just feel sorry for him, and am so glad I moved on.
    I know you are going through a lot of pain and it must feel incredibly isolating. But the minute your boyfriend chose to use drugs and commit crimes, he demonstrated a complete lack of respect for you and your child. The strongest decision you can make is to respectfully break off all contact with him. It will hurt like hell now, but in the long run you will be stronger for it.

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  • lurkerliz

    Medie September 17, 2012, 11:08 am

    You cant fix stupid. It can’t be done. This applies to LW and the boyfriend

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    • avatar

      TECH September 17, 2012, 12:26 pm

      I would counter that the letter writer is probably not stupid. We shouldn’t be insulting her intelligence because she is in an unhealthy, codependent relationship. Even people with the highest IQ’s have been in devastating relationships that are completely wrong for them. The same goes for addicts and law breakers. They may have a flawed character, but that doesn’t mean they are dumb.

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  • niki

    niki September 17, 2012, 11:22 am

    LW, you don’t mention what your boyfriend did, but if he’s facing a couple years in jail, then it must have been substantial. Either he’s facing a felony charge or many misdemeaners. The fact that he isn’t getting out on bond leads to me to believe it’s a felony. LW, you need to open your eyes. You knew he was involved in some bad stuff. You have spent pretty much your entire adult life with this guy. It’s time to grow up and make a better life for yourself and your son. Is this the type of example you want him growing up with? If you boyfriend gets out of jail, goes through rehab, shows true remorse for the type of life he has been leading AND does it for himself and his son (not for the court) then maybe you can consider letting him back into your life.

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  • avatar

    lemongrass September 17, 2012, 11:26 am

    There were 3 things that stuck out to me from your letter:
    1. “he didn’t want me to know much so I wouldn’t get in trouble.” That is bullshit. He didn’t tell you because he didn’t want you to give him trouble. He is trying to come across as loving to you when really he was lying so that you couldn’t make an informed decision on whether to remain with him. He was afraid you would leave him.

    2. “And I want to be there to help support him become clean because I’ve heard that if you don’t have a good support team, you likely fail and I don’t want to be the reason he would fail.” It is not your responsibility or fault whether he gets clean or not. That is entirely up to him. Your responsibility is to provide a safe and loving home for your kid. Those homes do not include drugs.

    3. “And what do I tell my parents who don’t want me to be with him because he has drug trouble?” Usually when a LW writes in that their parents don’t like what they are doing I think ‘grow up.’ Not here, because I side with your parents. I think that you are feeling stressed about talking to them because they are acting as a vocal conscience and that can be hard to face. LISTEN to what they have to say because (if they are not batshit crazy) they love you and want what is best for you.

    I think you need to leave this guy. Mourn for a short period (as in 1 week, maybe 2) because he is no longer the man you fell in love with. You can’t change that. You can change the outcome of your & your kids life though. Focus on picking up the pieces and spend a lot of time just you and the kid.

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  • avatar

    MMcG September 17, 2012, 11:29 am

    “Do I wait for him and let him go to rehab to try to prove himself since it was a drug that was getting him to do what he was doing? Or do I just let everything go because of a few mistakes he made? I love him and want to be with him, but how do you know if a drug addict is telling the truth when he says he wants help or if he’s just saying what he knows I want to hear? And what do I tell my parents who don’t want me to be with him because he has drug trouble? Please help me!!”

    Haven’t read Wendy’s response yet, or comments, but I just can’t let this go — Not one mention of your son in this entire whiny paragraph asking people to basically tell you what you want to hear. Disgusting. Please recognize you are not the one who needs help, and direct your attention to your son whose world is probably crumbling. And don’t have children with men who can’t care for the children they already have, and are drug addicted criminals. Being kept in the dark about the true nature of your SO so “you wouldn’t get in trouble” isn’t admirable… it’s the dumbest and really most irresponsible thing you as a woman. X 1000 since you are a parent.

    I’ll let BGM put the proper “WTF another letter about parents who should never have procreated” spin on this, and second in advance whatever he has to say.

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    • avatar

      MMcG September 17, 2012, 11:43 am

      * it’s the dumbest and really most irresponsible thing you CAN DO as a woman.

      So hard to type properly when my forehead keeps smacking the keyboard.

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    • avatar

      kf September 17, 2012, 12:10 pm

      “I’ll let BGM put the proper “WTF another letter about parents who should never have procreated” spin on this, and second in advance whatever he has to say.”

      Here’s what BGM would probably say (and I’ll third it in advance).

      Contrary to what everyone else is saying, she probably *should* wait for him. Given her propensity to minimize, “a couple years” is probably more like 10-20. She’s much better off as a (in practical terms) single mom for the next 10-20 years than she is using her keen sense of judgment to hook up with another loser/succession of losers and spit out a few more kids. By the time this guy gets out, hopefully the kid will be grown and gone, and she’ll be past her peak fertility years.

      “how do you know if a drug addict is telling the truth when he says he wants help or if he’s just saying what he knows I want to hear? ”

      If a drug addict’s lips are moving, it’s the second one.

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      • JK

        JK September 17, 2012, 12:15 pm

        Ahahaha I think you channeled BGM perfectly.

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        MMcG September 17, 2012, 12:51 pm

        HA HA! Right on kf 🙂

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson September 17, 2012, 3:47 pm

        Haha this is my favorite comment of the day.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle September 17, 2012, 4:15 pm

        Oh my god, hahaha, I am DYING. So spot-on!

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark September 18, 2012, 12:04 am

        Yeah, this is actually pretty much what I would have said. The whole minimize aspect was worded in a way that somehow doesn’t sound like me, but the ideas behind it? SO BGM! Seriously — I’m not even going to bother thesaurusing your post, KF.

        PS — I was off today painting a friend’s apartment to pay some bills. So I missed all the drama of today — it seems…

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  • avatar

    rangerchic September 17, 2012, 11:33 am

    I agree with everyone else so far. I can tell you from experience that your “boyfriend” is probably a master manipulator as well. Don’t let him manipulate you into believing him for one minute. Look, he might not have been a bad guy when you first got together but he put you and your Child (children) in danger. He did that to you…on purpose. I would leave him for a while. Let him get clean on his own and wait for him to come to you when he has been clean for a good long while. it can be done. My sister’s SO is living proof. But he has to want it more than anything else in his life – if not he will relapse.
    I wish you good luck. It is/will not be an easy road for you nor him.

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  • Miss MJ

    Miss MJ September 17, 2012, 11:46 am

    I can’t even with this letter. Let me rephrase it for a minute:

    I met this guy 5 years ago when I was 19 and he was 22. He already had two kids when we met with someone else, but the didn’t live with her, they lived with us. I got pregnant almost as soon as we met and we also have a 4 year old son. For the last 5 years, I have been raising my son and his two kids. During that time (i.e., the time where we had 3 young children in the house), I knew he did drugs and suspected he had a drug addiction and I also knew he was into illegal stuff. I didn’t want to know the details, so I didn’t ask, and he didn’t tell me. That’s okay, right? It means he loves me!

    “Some illegal activity” happened recently, so his two kids by a previous relationship were removed from his custody and now presumably live with their mother, for now. My kid still lives with us. Now his daddy is about to go to jail for a couple of years, and he wants me to wait for him. I’m actually torn as to whether I should continue to expose my young son to a life of a crime, addiction and jail because I am apparently terrified of ever finding another man – or at least one better than the drug addicted criminal who fathered my child/ a.k.a. “But, I looooove him” – or moving on and providing a stable, crime and drug-free life for my child and hopefully setting a better example for him so that he doesn’t run the risk of following in his daddy’s footsteps.

    Seriously? Is this really a question? Goddamn, maybe I’m just in a pissy mood this morning, but once you have a child, the issue of “But I looooove him” is irrelevant. Think about your son, LW. Think about the drugs, crime and turmoil he has already been exposed to – having his dad arrested and his siblings taken away – and think about how completely and utterly selfish of you it is to even think about continuing that pattern in his life. MOA. MOA immediately. Tell your boyfriend to get himself straight. Tell him to get clean. And wish him well and get on with your life without him. Support yourself. Have higher standards for the men you let in your son’s life in the future. Focus on your son, his life, his needs and his wants and make sure that he knows he is more important to his mother than some dude who doesn’t respect her enough to keep his illegal activity from tearing their lives apart.

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    • avatar

      sailorbabe September 17, 2012, 2:04 pm

      LIKE X 1000

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  • LM

    LM September 17, 2012, 11:54 am

    LW, WWS and get on with your life! You’ve been together for 5 years and have a 4 year old son and you’re just NOW talking about engagement and not marriage? Really? You honestly think THAT is a promise to wait for? And maybe rehab? Are you serious? Please tell me you’re just looking for the validation you want to leave him.

    On a more important note, this man is incarcerated for DRUGS. He has LIED to you. Do you honestly want to be with a man that, if convicted, is a LYING DRUG ADDICTED FELON? That limits you on SO MANY levels – personally, professionally, morally…

    Do yourself and more importantly, YOUR SON, a favor and MOVE ON.

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  • avatar

    Guy Friday September 17, 2012, 1:07 pm

    First of all, speaking as someone who regularly handles Child In Need of Protection and Services (CHIPS) cases where I am, I think people are reading MUCH more into the “children being taken away” part. Specifically, they’re looking at it as two separate things: (1) he got his kids taken away, and (2) he’s in custody for his hearing. The odds are highly against that; it’s far more likely that he got his kids taken away BECAUSE he got taken into custody. And even “taken away” is probably a misstatement, since chances are Child Services found that while dad > mom with some issues, mom with some issues > incarcerated dad, and thus they moved them while he was in custody; if he got out, even with whatever charges he’s facing, chances are they’d go back to him (unless he ends up being gone a while and the kids get used to living with mom, in which case it’d be much tougher.) They wouldn’t leave them with the dad’s girlfriend over a biological family member, and they’d most likely put them back with the mother before moving them to a third-party family member.

    Second, I can understand people suggesting that the LW shouldn’t wait around, but to suggest that she is somehow wrong or bad for considering it is absolutely ridiculous. It is easy and convenient to simply walk away and never look back, but:
    (a) this guy is the father of her child, meaning that he WILL be involved in her life
    (b) this guy claims to want to recover, a long and difficult path that requires a lot of support.
    Yes, I get that people often claim they want to recover and lie about it. Drugs, infidelity, paranoia, mental issues . . . it happens frequently. But as someone who works with/counsels/represents addicts every single day, I have found one thing to be unquestionably true: if you give an addict nothing worth staying clean for besides purely staying clean, he won’t stay clean. The ones that have succeeded and thrived and beaten their addictions (as best as one can, of course, since no one ever truly beats an addiction completely) are the ones that have that immediate and direct reminder next to them of what they have to live for.

    Drug laws in this country are like taxes: everyone agrees that they’re flawed, but no one can agree as to why they’re flawed. But whether you think it’s too lenient or too strict, the truth is that with any semi-competent lawyer representing them throughout the processes it often takes at least 3 — and often 4 or 5 — drug convictions before someone is sentenced to any kind of prison time. Truthfully, jail is a joke to an addict; often times, jails are better housing for them than what they were living in on the street, and they rarely have any substantive programs to help recovery from addiction besides AA and NA. I can honestly say that the clients I’ve seen make real changes are the clients who have gone to prison, not jail, because it’s a whole different world in prison.

    So, should she stay? She can go if she wants, and I don’t think she should stay without protections for herself and her child, and with some honesty to their child when he’s a bit older, and definitely without a substantial show of good faith from this guy (ex: showing her proof of program completion in prison, an inpatient stay in an AODA program, permitting her to be present for at least the start of his treatment at her request, etc.). But if he’s willing to do that, then I don’t think there’s anything wrong with her staying, because while addiction is a terrible disease, it’s a disease, not a choice. It doesn’t justify actions taken while in the grip of addiction, but it is also, in my mind, no different than someone who is diagnosed with lung cancer because he smoked for 20 years, and I don’t think everyone would be so quick to demand this LW walk away in the latter situation. I mean, if you still would, so be it, but I’m skeptical.

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    • avatar

      TECH September 17, 2012, 1:34 pm

      I really like this response. So many commenters have been very blunt, and maybe that’s what the letter writer needs. “Be a better mother!” or “Of course you have to move on, it’s not even a question!” The undertone is scorn for this young woman, not support.
      When you’re in a codependent relationship, it’s hard to see outside of it. When you’re in love, and especially when you share a child, you want to believe the best in someone.
      When I was with my ex, who also had a drug problem, I agreed to stay with him on the condition that he was seeking support for his problem. It’s easy to rationalize. As long as he’s getting clean, it’s okay to stay. But for me, it wasn’t okay to stay. Things got worse.
      Life with a drug addict is a roller coaster. This young woman has been with him for 5 years, which is a long time and I’m sure feels like a long time. She has a child with him and she desperately wants things to work. The odds are not good.
      I agree with most everyone she should move on. But I understand why she is hesitant to.
      You can’t judge until you walk a mile in someone’s shoes.

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    • avatar

      cporoski September 17, 2012, 1:36 pm

      Amazing answer. I couldn’t explain it in my comment but this is exactly what I was trying to say.

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    • CatsMeow

      CatsMeow September 17, 2012, 2:25 pm

      I agree. I think LW deserved a more nuanced answer. She has a LOT to think about.

      I personally think she should MOA and see where she’s at and how she’s doing once he’s released. And I think that him seeing his kid(s) should be contingent on him staying clean. His kids should be enough motivation for him to get his shit together – she doesn’t need to be the one to hold his hand through everything to get his life on track.

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      Lindsay September 17, 2012, 2:27 pm

      Good points. I was thinking that also, that likely the kids were taken away because he was in jail. Obviously, children who have another parent aren’t going to be given to the father’s girlfriend because she’s not the legal guardian.

      I agree that addicts do need support to get better. But it’s not her responsibility to give it to him. It’s not wrong of her to want to. However, if her love for her boyfriend is getting in the way of the well-being of her child, then that’s a problem (whether it’s regarding an addict, criminal or even just a guy who lies or acts like a jerk).

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      MMcG September 17, 2012, 2:46 pm

      @ Guy Friday – I agree with you somewhat, and if the LW’s question was about how to best make a home and family for her young child moving forward given all of the problems I would agree 100% – but that’s not what she asked. Plus, you and others have lept to the conclusion that the criminal activity that’s gotten him incarcerated was related to drugs when it doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. He could be a rapist or involved in a conspiracy to commit murder for all we know… we don’t know and the fact it wasn’t stated does make the average reader assume the worst.

      She seemingly disregarded all of the red flags in her (and his) behavior that led them to this point and just wants reassurance that it’s ok to stand by her man. That’s why I gave the response I gave above.

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        cporoski September 17, 2012, 3:41 pm

        You make a good point. I do assume that this was some sort of drug crime. If this was a violent crime, then she should absolutely MOA

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        Guy Friday September 17, 2012, 4:15 pm

        Well, it’s a fair point that I concluded it was a drug crime. The way it was phrased made me feel like (at least when I read it) that that’s what she meant by her references, though I may be wrong. I think my overall point is probably the same regardless of the crime, though, which is that there isn’t anything WRONG with the LW staying to support him provided guidelines are set and he takes action to change instead of simply saying he will. The problem is that for every sleazeball who lies and manipulates and refuses to accept responsibility, there’s one who is struggling and clawing to get back into a world that, frankly, is a little hypocritical as to how it deals with convicted criminals (we demand that people show effort and work and prove they don’t want to commit crimes, but then we largely refuse to employ them, educate them, or give them any reasonable path out of the criminal lifestyle.) I’m of the belief that we vastly overstate the number of people who can’t change, but then again I also believe there have been very few people in existence who are “evil.” It’s why I oppose the death penalty.

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        temperance September 17, 2012, 8:09 pm

        I actually assumed from reading between the lines that it was some sort of robbery or something beyond just selling or buying in drugs. He’s going away for a few years, it’s not his first time around the block.

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      Oldie September 17, 2012, 2:54 pm

      I think you look at this with the slanted view of what is potentially best for the criminal, rather than what is best for his son. The comparison to lung cancer is obscene. The lung cancer sufferer certainly may have been addicted to nicotine, but he did not engage in multiple episodes of crime to support his habit. Yes, that is partly due to the difference in how the laws treat tobacco vs other drugs. You are wrong to say that using drugs is not a choice, at least at the start. To engage in criminal behavior is certainly a choice. To re-engage in criminal behavior after he had just lost his two children, because of his first crime is most definitely a choice. He could have sought treatment at this point, but he chose not to. He could have admitted to LW along the course of their 5 years together that he was an addict and sought help. Again, he chose not to. Is his enabler really the person who is going to help him kick drugs for sure? This sounds very unlikely. Far more likely that LW gets further sucked into his world of drugs and crime, to the extreme detriment of her son.

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        Guy Friday September 17, 2012, 4:19 pm

        I think that it’s a bit disrespectful that you dismiss my entire position simply because of the work that I do. Based on the perspective you espouse here, one’s choices are static definitions of the person one is; no one can ever grow or change. Are you really the same person you were 5 years ago?

        (And, by the way, have you ever committed a crime in your life? Not even a parking ticket? Should we assume you’re incapable of being a positive member of society because you can’t follow the laws of your state, whether it happened once or multiple times?)

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        Oldie September 17, 2012, 5:02 pm

        I wasn’t dismissing you strictly because of your job, but just wow, your second analogy is worse than your first. Parking tickets are equivalent to crimes that get you jailed and to drug addiction. Not in this or any other rational world. Yes, I am pretty much the same person I was 5 years ago. So is this guy. People can grow, but this guy has lied repeatedly, been on drugs for years, and committed multiple crimes. You keep trying to equate him to people who he definitely is not. Sorry, I would not trust a kid around a criminal drug addict who lied to his partner. Yes, recidivism is high, but only partly because of the difficulties reintegrating into society. This guy has had and blown chances, the child’s life is ahead of him and it is not worth betting the kid’s life on his rehab. You say all is fine if the LW does a, b, c, d — but as long as she is under the sway of this manipulator, she will do none of the above. She loves him. He will always have a good story or excuse. If she waits she will have even more of her life invested into him and that will make leaving even tougher. Waiting for this guy and visiting him twice a week also really puts this woman’s life on hold, severely divides her attention from her son, and makes it fairly impossible for her to hold to down a full-time job or go back to school, whatever she needs to make a life for her and her son.

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        Oldie September 17, 2012, 7:19 pm

        And I didn’t disrespect you because of your job. I said what I said because you equated a girlfriend or wife walking away from a drug addict who lied to her and committed multiple crimes to support his habit to a girlfriend or wife walking away from a guy with lung cancer. I would have thought from my comment concerning the obscenity of your analogy that you would have discerned the reason for my scorn, but perhaps you really do see the two as morally equivalent, and you really do see committing crimes to support a drug habit as morally equivalent to getting a parking ticket. If that is the case, you really need to step back from your work and restore your perspective on life. You don’t comment on it, but the cure rate for addicts who don’t voluntarily seek treatment and go back to living with their enabler sucks. Btw, it is not a voluntary seeking of help, once you have been jailed for crimes committed in support of your habit. It is your lawyer telling you that you’ll do better in court if you show some remorse and seek treatment. This is seeking treatment under duress, not voluntarily. It’s also not giving up anything, since unless he has access to a lot of $, he is not going to be able to get drugs in prison, anyway.

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    Kath September 17, 2012, 1:13 pm

    Honey,

    Drugs don’t ‘make people’ do anything. Adults make choices. He chose to start taking the drugs. When he became addicted, he chose to commit crimes to support his habit instead of getting help. He chose to lie to you, I’m sure, repeatedly about the drugs.

    He can say “I love you” all day long, but his definition of love is very, very different from what mine would be, and he’s no kind of man I’d want in my life. He knew perfectly well that his ‘illegal activity’, whatever it was, was going to land him in trouble with the law, he knew how that would affect you and his children, and he didn’t care about you enough to stop.

    Real men stand up and take care of their children, and their partners, and the mothers of their children. I’m so sorry that you think so little of yourself that you think this is the best guy for you. Truly, I’m sorry. Just let him go, and take care of your child.

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    AndreaMarie September 17, 2012, 1:37 pm

    Your biggest concern should be your child! You stated that he lost custody of his 2 children that were living in your house. That means that the court ruled that your BF was an unfit parents and could not provide a decent home/living conditions for the children. Umm hello, do you not think if you continue down this road that that could very well happen with your child? If you continue to turn a blind eye to his drug addiction and illegal behaviors you are just as liable. Let’s say that your BF comes out of jail and relapses? Starts hiding drugs in your home and continues with his other illegal activities. Then lets say this all leads to the police being called to your home, and they discover a house full of drugs and other items to support illegal behaviors. Guess what could happen? Your child being taken from the home!!!

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  • theattack

    theattack September 17, 2012, 2:39 pm

    Love is very real, and it’s sometimes a hard decision to weigh love against negative aspects of reality. I wish you luck in doing that, LW. This situation is very complicated. You want to support him because you love him, but yet you shouldn’t feel responsible for his success or failures. He alone is responsible for that. You want to stay with him because you love him, yet he’s been dishonest with you about the dangers he has exposed you to. I sympathize with you because clearly your feelings for him are very strong for you to even consider staying in this situation. I can’t tell you what to do. You’ve gotten a lot of tough love here, which was definitely needed, and GuyFriday gave a very well thought out answer that has a lot of truth to it.

    I don’t think we know enough information to give you an answer as thorough as what you need, but I urge you to make a list. Make a list of the difficulties and hardships you and your son will face if you stay with him versus the benefits you’ll have. Read the Prison Wife article. Join online support communities and read articles about the hardships that go along with his offenses. Really think about this, and remember that while love is very important and you want to be there for him, you will love again in the future and he will find support and love as well. This love that you have is not the end all be all to the love that you will have in the future. Love requires work, yes, but there are certain boundaries (ie: putting you and your son in danger, dishonesty) that are difficult for most people to overcome, and there are certain scenarios (ie: jail/prison, addictions and inevitably relapses, stigmas, child custody issues) that are just too much to handle for what it’s worth, and that’s okay.

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      cporoski September 17, 2012, 4:15 pm

      such a thoughtful and wonderful answer.

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      • theattack

        theattack September 17, 2012, 4:32 pm

        Thanks 🙂

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    Sue Jones September 17, 2012, 3:00 pm

    Facepalm! Headdesk! Oy! DTMFA!

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    Addie Pray September 17, 2012, 4:30 pm

    LW, ignore all these haters. You know what they are? They are murderers of love! I say follow your heart. Reason, logic, common sense, and responsibility can all go take a hike! LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED.

    sigh.

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    • call-me-hobo

      call-me-hobo September 17, 2012, 5:30 pm

      Sir Text-A-Lot has made you into a dangerous woman.

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        Addie Pray September 17, 2012, 6:02 pm

        His new name is Sir-Doesn’t-Text-Enough because no matter how many texts I get, I want more and more and more and more and more. And then some more. And like maybe one itsy bitsy text more. It’s agony having to go to work, call family members to see what’s new, and maintain other friendships. A G O N Y. Does anyone remember life pre-Texty? I don’t.

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      • Budj

        Budj September 18, 2012, 8:24 am

        Nope, however… I do remember you spouting off about hating texting!

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    Caris September 17, 2012, 10:37 pm

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark September 18, 2012, 12:06 am

    I am all for legalizing all drugs. The war on drugs is a waste of time, money, and resources…

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  • Emily

    Emily September 18, 2012, 12:47 am

    LW, I understand that you have a child with this guy and love him. Addictions do not just spring up over night though. I have no idea how much you must be hurting at this point after 5 years with him but as someone who was very much in love with a man who turned out to be an alcoholic, it’s very hard to love someone addicted to a substance.

    Your boyfriend needs to work on his addiction issues on his own. You can still love him, but as Wendy said, take a break from him until he’s been sober for a period of time. Often the families of addicts suffer wounds of their own which is why I encourage you to seek out some sort of <a href="http://www.projectknow.com/research/support-groups-for-families-of-addicts-and-alcoholics/&quot; title="support group". That way you can find a supportive circle of people who have lived through similar circumstances to yours.

    I came to realize that no matter how much I loved my alcoholic boyfriend, his drug of choice was a bigger priority for him than me, I could not live like that, and he could love me in his addicted state. After a while I started to feel like anything time or energy I put into him was going to be like feeding my treasures into a black hole. To this day I feel sorry for him but I had to do what was best for me. You have a child with this man which makes things a little different, have you talked a family law attorney about how his incarceration could affect you and your child? What are his realistic job possibilities if he is able to become successfully sober post-prison? Stop making excuses for him. Seek therapy and support. Imagine how much richer your life could without the drain of your boyfriend’s addiction and ensuing behaviors. I’m sorry you’re having to deal with this but I believe that the lives of you and your child can get better. Good luck!

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    Jubietta September 18, 2012, 1:14 am

    LW, I feel very strongly about the fact that the authorities have already decided that the home you shared with your BF is not fit for his sons to live in. My limited experience says that taking two boys from their home to live with a family member (even a mother they don’t know) is not a snap decision and there must be enough evidence to convince an experienced judge that it’s necessary. Please do your best to see the situation through their point-of-view, maybe speak to a child advocate or parent who has successfully regained custody after a Dependency, and see if that doesn’t give you new perspective on what’s best for your family.

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  • Tracey

    Tracey September 18, 2012, 2:52 pm

    Dear LW,

    What happens when his drug makes him harm you? Or gets you put in jail? Or puts your son’s life at risk? Or causes you to lose custody of your son?

    Don’t wait around to find out the answers to these questions. Please move on. If not for your self worth, then for the sake of your child.

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    • Tracey

      Tracey September 18, 2012, 2:55 pm

      Think about it. This isn’t the first time he’s been in legal trouble serious enough to land him behind bars. And he’s had two children taken from his custody already. You can’t afford to worry about whether he’s going to get better. You have to worry about how to make your own situation, and the living situation for your son, safer and more stable. You have to take care of yourself now, and you have to separate yourself from him.

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    femme November 11, 2012, 1:58 am

    how does selling drugs make you a bad person, my fiance is in prison for selling drugs his bestfriend set him uphe understands what he was doing was wrong but face it the economy is messed. up he didn’t do cause he wanted to he witness first hand what drug do to ppl his mom and dad use to do drugs but who was going to feed his children I’ve seen my boyfriend give away his clothes and sneakers. to kids and adults who didn’t have clothes I’ve seen my boyfriend clean up a neighborhood. picking up trash and sweeping does that make him a bad person some ppl my bf had to raise his self growing up so for ppl to say that oh ur a bad person for selling drugs i don’t think so listen to a lot of these drug dealers story alot of them had it bad growing up knowing only the streets.. idgaf what anyone says about my man cause im gonna continue to write, visit, talk to over the phone cause he didn’t kill anyone and he’s not a sex offender so h

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