Our past isn’t pretty at all — he emotionally abused me, and only one time, it got physical between us. Because of all our fighting, his parents stopped allowing me to visit him at their place. But we worked hard and now we’re MUCH closer and have come a long way, and our goal is to move in together. He needs to get a job first, and find affordable housing (I wouldn’t pay rent since I wouldn’t actually live there). He will soon get into a court-ordered program that I hope will give him the help he needs, and since he was in the Navy, the VA can help him with therapy and maybe finding a job. In the meantime, we hang out in public places and he’s been sneaking me into his parents’ house. Yesterday we got caught, and now he feels like we have nowhere to go until we get a place of our own.
I want us to be living together by next year, so we can have his daughter with us, and keep moving our relationship forward. Do you see that happening? We have a strong connection, and we love each other very deeply. We have our issues, but we definitely are working on them. What do you think will happen to us? — We’ve Come a Long Way
You’re 23 years old and in love with an unemployed guy who has two kids he can’t support and a history of abusing you, and possibly a criminal past (I’m assuming, if he’s entering a “court-ordered program”) and you honestly think it’s a good idea to “move things forward” with him? No, it’s actually a terrible idea. You may think you’ve done a lot of work on your relationship and have come a long way — and maybe you have — but neither of you is anywhere near ready to play house and act as parent figures to at least one child. (And is this the child who lost her mother? If so, her emotional needs will be even greater than the average young child.)
Your boyfriend may be the love of your life (though at 23, you certainly have a lot of life left to aim a little higher…), but he comes with super heavy baggage he hasn’t even begun to unpack. And he’s abusing you on top of that? Oh, honey, no. This is not where you want to be at your age. This is not what you want your life to look like. And, frankly, he has much bigger things he should be working on than your relationship. Like, you know, finding a way to support himself and the two children he’s fathered. Once he’s able to do that, and he has his own place, and he’s held down a job for a year, and he’s finished all his court-ordered programs, and he has gotten some therapy (including addressing his anger management issues), THEN you can talk about building a future together. But… something tells me your boyfriend doesn’t even want those things. Has he shown any motivation AT ALL in taking responsibility for himself? Does he show any interest, beyond having a private place for the two of you to have sex, in actually being an adult? Nowhere in your letter do you indicate that he has.
If I were you, I’d MOA. I’d have moved on so fucking fast that I’d be seeing a chiropractor for my whiplash. This guy’s waving enough red flags that I can see them from my little block here in Brooklyn. He is not currently relationship material. He’s not father material either, for that matter. But the advantage you have that his poor kids don’t is that you can find better. I hope you will.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.