Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Boyfriend Won’t Let Me Go on Vacation with My Family”

WTF

I’m 24 and my boyfriend is 25. I’ve known him for over five years, we’ve been together for 1 year and 7 months now, and we have a six-month-old son together. My boyfriend is very caring — he loves me a lot and he’s loved me since we were just friends. We live together and he pays all the bills, so I’m a stay-at-home mom.

We used to constantly fight because he wouldn’t want me to go shopping or anywhere else with my mom and sister, or go anywhere alone. He works all morning, he gets home around 4:30 p.m., and, if he didn’t find me at home when he got there, he would be mad. Also, if he had to work on Saturdays and my family would invite me to go to the beach, he would throw a fit and we would have a fight, so I just wouldn’t go at all. He usually tells me I can go out with my mom or sister while he’s at work, but he says he will want to come home and have me “be home waiting for him.” Sometimes, I would get home a few minutes after he was home from work and he would ignore me and just be mad, so I tried to make him happy and get home before he did–but then he would still be mad, saying I have no business going out “all the time.”

On one occasion in 2013 I was about four months pregnant when my mother and sister were going to Mexico for a week and I had my own money to buy a ticket. But we fought about it for over two weeks before I left because he “was scared something would happen” and I would leave him alone and he would miss me. But I still went. The day I left he came home early from work, he took me out, and we had a great time. But when it was time for me to leave, his mood changed — he didn’t even want to go say bye to me at the bus station, and he didn’t help me carry my luggage to the car.

Now, in May, my parents and sister are going to Mexico again. They said they would pay for my ticket, and I would really like to go for my cousin’s wedding and go to the beach, but last time he told me that, if I went out of the country again, he wouldn’t be here when I came back. The problem is that he can’t travel out of the country…and also I have a son with him. I don’t know what to do. It would only be for a week. Should I go and enjoy my mini-vacation or stay home? — Not Allowed to Have Fun Without Him

You’re wrong about something — the problem isn’t that your boyfriend can’t leave the country; the problem is that is he’s super-controlling and borderline abusive. And if you didn’t have a son together, my advice to you would be to go to Mexico with your parents and praise the high heavens if your boyfriend was gone when you got back because a man like that is bad news, honey. Real bad news. I’d tell you to leave all his crap out in your yard, change the locks, get a job, and find your independence again.

But… you have a son together and that changes things a little. For one thing, you may not be able to take your son to Mexico without his father’s permission. In most cases, you need notarized permission from the other parent or guardian to take a minor out of the country (you should research to see if this applies to travel to Mexico from the US). And if your boyfriend doesn’t want you leaving the country, I can’t imagine he’s going to give you his blessing to take your son. If he does or if you’re able to take your son to Mexico without his father’s written consent, then great! My advice stands — go away, come home, and start a new life without this controlling man. Stay with your family until you get your feet on the ground.

If your boyfriend refuses to give you permission to take your son to Mexico, you can’t very well leave your son alone with your boyfriend if your boyfriend is telling you he won’t be home when you get back. That could be an empty threat, sure, but why risk it when your kid’s welfare is at stake? Who knows where your boyfriend would take your son or what he’d do with him. I mean, beaches and weddings in Mexico are nice and all, but they aren’t worth your son’s well-being. So, in that case, my advice to you is to tell your boyfriend YOU are leaving HIM because the way you think he loves you isn’t what real love looks like. Real love doesn’t keep you home all day waiting for him to get back from work. Real love doesn’t keep you from enjoying a day at the beach with your family while he’s at work. Real love doesn’t manipulate you with a nice dinner out in hopes of keeping you from going on vacation. And real love sure as shit doesn’t expect a woman who’s months pregnant with his baby to carry her own luggage to the bus. Fuck that. That is NOT real love.

Please, for your sake as well as your son’s, get away from this man. Or, at the very, very least, insist on seeing a family therapist together because this isn’t any way to live. Tell him you’re tired of his trying to control you. Find a job and make your own money so that you aren’t so dependent on him. Work when he is home and can watch your son. Or, better yet, leave your son with your mother or sister or another trusted family member or friend. See a family attorney about child custody and child support. If the reason your boyfriend can’t leave the country is because he’s undocumented or is on parole, discuss that with a lawyer. You need to protect yourself and protect your son. You cannot count on your boyfriend to take care of you. He’s only interested in one person here and that’s himself; he doesn’t care whom he hurts trying to get what he wants (or trying to keep people he “loves” from getting what they want).

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

Follow along on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].

113 comments… add one
  • avatar

    MissDre April 16, 2014, 9:09 am

    Wendy is right, this is incredibly abusive behaviour on his part.

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  • Lyra

    Lyra April 16, 2014, 9:12 am

    This is sad. LW, I also advise that you get a job for yourself so you have some of your own income. Should this get to a point where you need leave him, you want to have everything in order. You don’t want to be in a situation where you’re solely relying on him for your income.

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    • Diablo

      Diablo April 16, 2014, 11:01 am

      Sad was my first thought as well. Sad that this is the best the LW cam imagine for herself. You are not an indentured servant. You are not in prison. I suggest you start by coming and going as you please. See your family if you please. Get a life, because you only get one. It could be so much better. My wife won’t be home when I get home tonight. She should be home by seven, but if she isn’t, that’s her business. When she does get home, I’ll be making dinner for us, even though I worked all day too. It’s not crazy for you to imagine being respected.

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    • avatar

      2_J April 16, 2014, 12:02 pm

      “Should this get to a point where you need to leave” The point has long arrived. I used to be that kind of controlling asshole in my teens up until 22 (years ago) I feel for you, and your child because it won’t be easy. Time to go NOW. I’d show your parents or whomever you trust the most this post that you wrote and the response you’re getting.

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      • Lyra

        Lyra April 16, 2014, 2:23 pm

        I agree with you here — I agree it’s time to leave now. Simply put, I honestly doubt she will leave right away. It will likely take her a while to realize how bad this truly is. I’m saying that she should get a job so once that time comes and she realizes that she’s being treated horribly she has her ducks in a row and she can get out fast.

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      • avatar

        2_J April 17, 2014, 11:54 am

        I very much agree! She can do it though, I hope for a good update from this in the not so distant future.

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  • avatar

    SasLinna April 16, 2014, 9:17 am

    OMG this makes me sad on so many levels. First of all, the vacation in Mexico is clearly not the main problem here. It’s just a symptom of a generally bad and abusive situation. I think you should immediately talk to a lawyer about what’s likely to happen regarding custody if you leave your bf. Maybe you can gain sole custody of your son (if you don’t already have it.) Do you have any friends or family in your area who could take you and your son in temporarily while you figure things out? If so, this could be a first step for getting out.

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  • GatorGirl

    GatorGirl April 16, 2014, 9:22 am

    Wendy’s picture is perfect. WTF. LW, this isn’t normal and your boyfriend isn’t “caring”. He’s controlling and manipulative. Please follow Wendy’s advice.

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    • LlamaPajamas

      LlamaPajamas April 16, 2014, 9:26 am

      Exactly. A truly caring boyfriend would want you to spend time with your family, not alienate you from them. He sounds extremely controlling – emotionally punishing you for not staying home all day while he’s at work is a serious red flag.

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  • call-me-hobo

    call-me-hobo April 16, 2014, 9:23 am

    LW, I am so sad for you. That is NOT how a loving boyfriend treats you. Nobody deserves to walk on eggshells for their entire life.

    Definitely do what Wendy says/research your claims to sole custody. I would also look into birth control (If you aren’t already on it). This would be the worst possible time to have a second child and strengthen his hold on you.

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  • Amanda

    Amanda April 16, 2014, 9:30 am

    LW – please talk to a lawyer. Get all your ducks in a row. And then leave. Because I don’t think it’s a matter of “if” it will escalate. It’s just a matter of when.

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  • avatar

    bethany April 16, 2014, 9:33 am

    WWS. He’s controlling and manipulative, and not someone you should want to be around. Also, a he’s a horrible role model for your son.

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    • LlamaPajamas

      LlamaPajamas April 16, 2014, 9:45 am

      Ohhh, that’s a really good point. LW, you wouldn’t want your son doing this to romantic partners when he gets older, correct? Because your boyfriend is going to set an awful example of what “love” looks like.

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  • avatar

    lets_be_honest April 16, 2014, 9:50 am

    Isn’t keeping you from your family one of the top 5 examples of an abusive person?

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    • Amanda

      Amanda April 16, 2014, 9:53 am

      Yes. It’s one of the first things they do – take away your support system.

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    • leeside

      leeside April 16, 2014, 10:25 am

      Do you have references for this? Books to recommend? I think both LW and I could benefit–I have a brother and a brother-in-law who have been cut off from the family and are horribly transformed as people because of their (loving) spouses. It is heartbreaking.

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      • Amanda

        Amanda April 16, 2014, 10:44 am

        I don’t know of any resources, but a quick Google search of “examples of abusive behavior” came up with a bunch of results.
        .
        Which after I looked at quite a few…they seem to describe the LW’s BF perfectly.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest April 16, 2014, 10:47 am

        Hey leeside, I just googled it and found this. Hopefully it’ll be of some help.

        I took a domestic violence course once and I remember repeated references to the “cycle” (which LW’s bf is showing – mean, then nice to win her back (like the dinner), then mean, etc.) and especially remember the part about alienating you from family and friends. I’m sure you can find a ton more stuff online.

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      • avatar

        AmyP April 16, 2014, 12:44 pm

        “Why Does He Do That?” by Lundy Bancroft.

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      • avatar

        iseeshiny April 16, 2014, 4:22 pm

        Seconded.

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      • leeside

        leeside April 17, 2014, 2:05 am

        LW – found a great article specifically about brainwashing a man, but many examples given seem a carbon copy of what you wrote!

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  • mylaray

    mylaray April 16, 2014, 9:54 am

    I wouldn’t go to Mexico. Maybe your parents can help you financially/or let you live with them since they would have paid for your ticket while you move out and get back on your feet, and get a job. Plus I think you should really focus on getting out now and then take a vacation once things are settled. And if you are still thinking of traveling, I would really look up the laws like Wendy said. One of our friends has sole custody of his daughter because his now ex took their child across state lines without permission. And she’s not a bad person. It’s not worth the risk for you, in my opinion.

    You deserve better. I think you realize that but are stuck. Tell someone what’s going on, ask for help, and get out now before he has more control over you.

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  • findingtheearth

    findingtheearth April 16, 2014, 10:02 am

    Meet with an attorney and file a parenting plan. Move in with your family or friends. Do not remain in this relationship.

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  • avatar

    NerdyNikki April 16, 2014, 10:08 am

    So, if I’m doing the math and understanding correctly, the LW and her boyfriend were only “together” about 4 months when she got pregnant. It seems to me that things moved very quickly in their relationship, despite knowing each other for several years before that. Poor decisions and little to no planning have put her in a very bad situation very quickly. LW, you need to figure out your custody options, find a way to support yourself and your child (perhaps your family can help out until you get on your feet), and get away from this toxic man.

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    • avatar

      Caroline April 21, 2014, 9:48 am

      I’ve seen on tv a while ago that abusive partners tended to make their couple move quickly forward to have a better hold on the other person. So, I don’t think this is a coincidence or the result of a certain passion. It was surely sort of planned.

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  • avatar

    quixoticbeatnik April 16, 2014, 10:10 am

    You may have a son together, but at least he is just your boyfriend and not your husband. It will be far easier to leave him that way. Do research, strengthen your family ties, just make a plan and GTFO. It will only get worse. That is not true, real love. He sounds like a real douchebag.

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  • lemongrass

    lemongrass April 16, 2014, 10:12 am

    What the actual fuck. LW, please take Wendy’s advice and leave this man. This is absolutely not the way you want your son to grow up. He will think this is the way to treat women, the way to treat you and his future girlfriends. Also kids need socialization and the freedom to explore their world without fucked up rules about being home before daddy. If not for yourself then please leave for your son.

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  • othy

    othy April 16, 2014, 10:13 am

    The saddest part of this letter to me is she’s just concerned about not going to Mexico. She seems resigned to the rest of the situation (“we used to fight”, leading me to think that she’s given up). Mexico is not the issue here.
    .
    LW – It’s a good thing for you to take your son out into the world. As a stay-at-home mom, you have an awesome opportunity to expose your son to all sorts of wonderful things, including his grandparents and other extended family members. Please don’t let your boyfriend take the term ‘stay-at-home’ literally. It’s not healthy for you or your son to stay home all day. Continue to take him to the beach, take him to the park, expose him to new experiences.
    .
    It’s in your and your son’s best interest to leave this controlling man. However, if you don’t have the courage to leave him, at least have the courage to be assertive and continue to live your lives outside the home.

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  • Kate B.

    Kate B. April 16, 2014, 10:24 am

    Please leave. It is not going to get better unless you do. This man does not love you. He thinks he owns you. Take your son and move in with someone else. Then get a job and learn to support yourself. Then, get a lawyer and make sure your [ex] boyfriend lives up to his obligations with regard to your son. There are legal aid places that will help you for little or no money.

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  • avatar

    ktfran April 16, 2014, 10:26 am

    LW, WWS!

    It sounds like you have a loving, supportive family. This is the time you need to lean on them. Leave your boyfriend. Move in with your parents. Get a job. And make a real life for yourself and your son.

    I would not go to Mexico right now (unless you can take your son). If you can’t, concentrate on getting out of this situation. This really is abuse. Maybe not physical abuse, but it’s sure as hell emotional abuse, which is just as bad, if not worse.

    Your situation sucks. Think of you and your son. And concentrate on you so you don’t find yourself repeating this pattern. I think a counselor would be a good idea.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark April 16, 2014, 10:26 am

    Wow. You not only made your own bed — you had a fucking baby in it. Brilliant. Basically… You are ALL fucked. I have no advice. I really don’t. It’s just… too late. But yeah… Not going to Mexico? Um… that is the LEAST of your worries!!

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  • avatar

    spark April 16, 2014, 10:50 am

    Forget about Mexico for now, and plan your escape. First, meet with a family attorney and set up a plan for your son’s care. Then you need to gather money, important documents, and some personal belongings and hide them at the house of someone trusted. Go to a safe place. This is a clear case of domestic abuse, and if it hasn’t gotten physical yet, it will. It’s well-documented that the most dangerous time for a woman in such a relationship is when she tries to leave. This is why you need to be prepared to leave quickly and without notice. And, for your son’s sake, you need to have already consulted (secretly) with a lawyer so there is a plan for custody proceedings. Just be safe. (I know it might seem hard to imagine that he could hurt you, but he’s been displaying such classic signs that you can’t afford to ignore the possibility.)

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  • avatar

    sarolabelle April 16, 2014, 11:39 am

    she must define the word “caring” very differently than I do….

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  • avatar

    AKchic April 16, 2014, 11:49 am

    LW, you need to leave. This is abusive behavior and it almost always escalates. My 1st husband hated me going anywhere without him, including to work. I had to constantly reassure him that I wasn’t cheating on him while I was at work. We’d get into fights if I wanted to go anywhere with family or friends, to the point that I stopped talking to the majority of my support while we were together. It took me a very long time to get my relationships back in order once I finally left.

    It is going to get worse before it gets better. Mine got physical when I finally had enough and demanded a divorce. You need to realize that your boyfriend is capable of more than he has done so far.
    Forget about Mexico and work on your exit strategy. Where you will live, daycare, prospective jobs, etc. Speak with an attorney as soon as possible so you can be the one to file for custody as soon as you leave. FULL custody. He’s already threatened to “not be there” when you get back from Mexico, which means he would have every intention of taking your son with him. That should be counted as a viable threat.

    Good luck.

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  • avatar

    applescruffs April 16, 2014, 11:55 am

    In all likelihood, a family therapist would not meet with this family because of the abuse factor. LW, seek therapy for yourself, but first find an advocate who will help you leave this man and keep you and your child safe. The national DV hotline is a good place to start: http://www.thehotline.org/

    Be careful and be safe.

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  • avatar

    Tmd260 April 16, 2014, 11:58 am

    I’m not sure why you had a baby with this man or even dated him as long as you did before having said baby. Unfortunately, you made a poor decision that cannot be taken back. All I can say is Get. Out. Now. This guy is an abusive prick. Are you really okay succumbing to his phsycotic demands for the rest of your life? Is that what you want to model for your son? Is this the environment you want to raise a child in? For God’s sake think about your son first!! Put him first. Get out now!!

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    • Kate B.

      Kate B. April 16, 2014, 2:09 pm

      In the LW’s defense, these guys can be very persuasive and even charming. They know exactly what to say and do to get what they want. Someone who is inexperienced may not be able to see through them. Having said that, I do wish people would think a bit more before having children, or before having unprotected sex. The decision to have a child should be more deliberate. “Do I want to have a child with this person?” vs. “I’m pregnant, so now what do I do about this child?”

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      • LlamaPajamas

        LlamaPajamas April 16, 2014, 3:08 pm

        I have no idea if this is the case with the LW, but abusers often tamper with birth control to keep their girlfriend/wife in the relationship. It’s called reproductive coercion:

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  • avatar

    MsMisery April 16, 2014, 12:48 pm

    Dear LW, your boyfriend went to The Drew Peterson School of How To Love Your S/O. Get the hell out as soon as you can, any way you can.

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  • avatar

    Sue Jones April 16, 2014, 12:50 pm

    WWS. And also I think we need to be sensitive to the probability that there could be quite a cultural issue going on here. I am going to hazard a guess that LW and her boyfriend are Mexican/Hispanic, where there is a very strongly entrenched culture of Catholicism, where little to no birth control is used, women have children (and several) very young and are considered a failure if they get divorced or leave their partner (can Catholics even divorce?) There is also a strong machismo culture and a strong division of labor between the sexes. I am not saying this is right, but it may not be a simple thing for her to decide to leave the relationship, if he is not, for instance, hitting her. While I would love to see LW leave her controlling boyfriend and get a job and go to college and become a neurosurgeon, this may not be possible. Especially if they both have not been “Americanized”. It sounds like, if anything, her family is more “Americanized” than she herself is because of her boyfriend’s influence. I strongly agree that anyone who tries to isolate their partner from family is a red flag for abuse.

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    • lemongrass

      lemongrass April 16, 2014, 1:16 pm

      Catholics can divorce. They can’t get married in the church a second time unless their marriage has been annulled by the church (which has different rules than the law). My mother had her first marriage annulled because her husband was an alcoholic. Not only that but if she was so deeply entrenched in a catholic family that she didn’t use birth control for religious reasons then they would definitely not be living together.

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    • avatar

      iseeshiny April 16, 2014, 1:19 pm

      Yeah, I kind of feel like this comment makes a lot of assumptions and relies on a lot of stereotypes. It makes me feel a little icky.

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      • avatar

        bethany April 16, 2014, 1:54 pm

        I dunno. Sue is simply saying this could be the case. I mean, we frequently guess that LWs might be from other countries, so why not say that she could be from a different culture? It’s just another one of a million possibilities.

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      • avatar

        cakemonster April 16, 2014, 2:02 pm

        But what difference would it make in this case?

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      • avatar

        bethany April 16, 2014, 2:09 pm

        Her culture could play into her feeling that this guy’s treatment of her is “caring” or ok. It could play into her not wanting to leave, or seeing it as necessary. I dunno. The cultures we grow up in shape a lot of our beliefs and values and how we live our lives. Personally, I don’t have any feelings one way or another about what sort of culture this LW is from, I simply think that anything is a possibility here.

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      • avatar

        cakemonster April 16, 2014, 3:18 pm

        But a possibility for what? It still doesn’t make a difference in this case on the advice she needs.

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      • avatar

        bethany April 16, 2014, 3:29 pm

        Honestly, I don’t quite know what you’re expecting me to say. You’re obviously taking this really personally, when I am simply stating that there could POSSIBLY be any sort of cultural reasons why this LW makes the decision she does. It’s really not that hard to comprehend. They way people are raised, and the culture in which they are raised affects them. That’s it.

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      • avatar

        cakemonster April 16, 2014, 3:40 pm

        I apologize, I don’t mean to sound like I’m on the offensive, and you’re right that her culture could influence her decisions. I’m guess I’m just not liking this thread that is using a cultural stereotype as a possible reason for her situation, when it has no bearing on the advice she needs. My beef is with that!

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      • avatar

        cakemonster April 16, 2014, 3:30 pm

        I guess what I mean is: we can spew possibilities all day about her culture and her beliefs, but this advice is exactly what any woman in her situation needs, no matter their background.

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      • avatar

        bethany April 16, 2014, 3:38 pm

        Well, duh. Sure, whatever culture she’s from, this behavior is unacceptable. I don’t think anyone questions that. Sue was simply saying there might be reasons why the LW has been accepting of this behavior thus far. To quote Fabelle from below:
        “I actually *don’t* see why it’s bad to speculate about this LW’s cultural origin? I think the speculation (while obviously sometimes ~reading~ as ignorant/insensitive/whatever depending on phrasing) is just meant to serve as a heads-up to commenters to maybe word their advice more sensitively? Or with the possible cultural difference in mind? Because if this unhealthy dynamic is normalized to the LW, all of these warnings of abuse are likely to go right over her head.”

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      • avatar

        cakemonster April 16, 2014, 3:42 pm

        I suppose we must agree to disagree 🙂

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      • avatar

        iseeshiny April 16, 2014, 2:04 pm

        I think there are instances where the culture a person comes from makes a difference in the answer to a question – maybe it explains why a married couple live with the husband’s family, maybe it explains why someone would use the word fortnight or why their health insurance works differently than our mostly-US commentariat is used to. I don’t think this is one of those instances.

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      • Amanda

        Amanda April 16, 2014, 2:11 pm

        While I agree it could be a different culture, my issue is that she relies on so many derogatory stereotypes to get there.

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    • GatorGirl

      GatorGirl April 16, 2014, 1:20 pm

      Yeah, IDK. I have a branch of my family that is born and raised Mexican (and some are hard core Catholic)…there is a difference between “machismo” and division of labor and being controlling. And def no living together pre-marriage for the super religious ones.

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      • Northern Mermaid

        Northern Mermaid April 16, 2014, 1:44 pm

        Yeah. And I’d we are going to be all stereotypical about Mexicans— separating a woman from a her family is not typical at all. Extended family is very important in my culture. Maybe the LW is Mexican, but I would bet her boyfriend is white. I mean, white American society is terrible to women, demands they are subservient, expects stay at home mothers to act as indentured servants, values the nuclear family over the extended, and promotes the idea that she should be at home waiting for him. Sounds like 1950s white people, not Mexicans.

        Stereotypes are fun, aren’t they?!

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    • avatar

      cakemonster April 16, 2014, 1:25 pm

      If they were indeed super Catholic, they would have gotten married after finding out they were pregnant. There is no cultural issue going on here, it’s your typical abusive relationship that occurs everywhere.

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    • avatar

      Sue Jones April 16, 2014, 1:35 pm

      What I was alluding to is that in those cultures, even if a woman leaves an abusive partner, it is seen that she “Can’t keep a man” and there is a stigma, which would encourage her to stay in a bad situation. And like it or not about stereotypes, they often exist for a reason, not that they are always 100% correct. I kind of knew I might get flamed for making the cultural reference, but look at these 3 things: 1) Travelling to a cousin’s wedding in Mexico – i.e. she still has family that lives in Mexico (I don’t think this is a fancy upper middle class destination wedding we are talking about) 2) Boyfriend cannot leave the country – most likely because he is undocumented, and 3) Having a child so quickly into a relationship and at a young age. Fairly common in that culture. And I will add 4) Boyfriend entrenched in division of labor of the sexes, also common in that culture. So like if or not, I could be wrong, but I think this is at play in the situation. And to ignore that and assume she is an upper to middle class college educated and Americanized person like most of the posters responding would be just as culturally myopic as you are assuming that I am being by pointing out that she and her boyfriend are probably of Mexican/Hispanic origin and that the cultural differences contribute to this situation.

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      • avatar

        cakemonster April 16, 2014, 1:46 pm

        Trust me, it’s not at play here. As someone who comes from this culture, I can tell you that it’s not a factor in this, it’s just your classic controlling-and-abusive-asshole of a boyfriend. This does happen to college-educated, upper middle class people, too.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed April 16, 2014, 1:49 pm

        PLENTY of white couples have unprotected sex and have babies early on…Mexico is in another country, close to ours, and has beaches=nice location for a wedding

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest April 16, 2014, 1:50 pm

        Pshhhh, no way!

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed April 16, 2014, 1:50 pm

        crazy isn’t it?

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      • Northern Mermaid

        Northern Mermaid April 16, 2014, 1:50 pm

        Sorry. That is just such a load of bullshit. Maybe they are from Southern California where weddings and trips to Mexico are easy and frequent. her boyfriend probably can’t leave the country because he is on parole, or maybe they are Canadian and he has a had a DUI, and the division of labor you are relying on is just as prevalent in WASP culture as it is in Mexican. Also: southern white people have kids at a young age, and I have never met a group of people so concerned about my ability to “keep a man” after my divorce as the white southern Baptists I met while I lived in Tennessee.

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl April 16, 2014, 1:53 pm

        I have a cousin who got married in Mexico and I’m not Mexican. Also, BF might not have a passport (which based on a google search you need to enter and leave Mexico even by land). I have another cousin who had a baby less than a year after beginning to date. Lets see- traditional division of labor, well my dad has never done laundry and he’s not Mexican. sooooooooo.
        .
        Sue, you’re digging a hole for yourself.

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      • LlamaPajamas

        LlamaPajamas April 16, 2014, 2:01 pm

        Interesting… I didn’t get that at all reading this letter. I live in Philly and in the past two years two of my friends have gotten married in Mexico despite having no family or ties there whatsoever. Mexico has several all-inclusive resorts that are a mecca for couples who want small weddings with a vacation included. And my first thought about him not being able to leave the country was that he’s on parole, not that he’s undocumented. My second thought was that he doesn’t have a passport yet and wouldn’t be able to get one in time for the trip.

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      • avatar

        iseeshiny April 16, 2014, 2:01 pm

        I think Wendy effectively raised the possibility that the LW’s boyfriend might be undocumented. You could be right, nowhere does is say that LW is not Mexican. It’s just, really? How on earth does that change the advice? If you ask me it was pointless speculation that has no bearing on the LW’s question or answer and just relied on a bunch of gross stereotypes. (PS STEREOTYPES OFTEN EXIST FOR A REASON? NOOOOOOO STOP SAYING THIS. THE ONLY REASON THEY EXIST IS SO PEOPLE CAN DO LAZY MENTAL SHORTHAND THAT IS MORE HARMFUL THAN USEFUL.)

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      • avatar

        cakemonster April 16, 2014, 2:06 pm

        THIS!

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson April 16, 2014, 2:59 pm

        Eh I’ve always said stereotypes *sometimes* exist for a reason. You can’t deny that different cultures act differently and have different norms within their cultures. I mean that’s a fact. So you can call it a cultural norm or a stereotype, but it’s the same thing at the end of the day.

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      • avatar

        iseeshiny April 16, 2014, 3:01 pm

        I think you and I have disagreed on this issue in the past and it’s not something I care to argue again.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson April 16, 2014, 3:13 pm

        Huh fascinating. I’ll imagine how the argument would play out and just assume I win. It will save us both a lot of grief 😉

        Also hey guyz! All of the people of DW – it’s normal to buy easter gifts right?

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      • avatar

        bethany April 16, 2014, 3:15 pm

        Not in my world. But then again, Easter is just another day for me.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed April 16, 2014, 3:16 pm

        I mean my friends and I do…but we like holiday themed gifts because fun. And my grandmother does because she likes doing that kind of thing. It’s up to what you want!

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest April 16, 2014, 3:22 pm

        It is NOT up to what you want. Everyone should be giving gifts on Easter. Jesus rose from the dead so that I could get an Easter basket. How dare you!

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed April 16, 2014, 3:25 pm

        That’s true. Do it for Jesus. Give bird, bunny, and other candy treats in a basket with fake grass. I’m sorry LBH. You are right. Jesus needs this.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest April 16, 2014, 3:29 pm

        Thank you!

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      • avatar

        iseeshiny April 16, 2014, 3:16 pm

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl April 16, 2014, 3:18 pm

        We don’t buy gifts, but Easter has always been a work day for my restaurant owning family.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson April 16, 2014, 3:23 pm

        Okay so tell me if this is adorable or ridiculous – I bought my brother and Colin Easter baskets that I’m going to fill with candy and I got Colin a new swimsuit and my brother a new shirt and then I also bought a bunch of plastic eggs that I’m going to fill with Jello shots for our bbq on Sunday.
        .
        Isee – I am both in awe and kind of creeped out that you can remember fights on dw.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed April 16, 2014, 3:26 pm

        That sounds awesome. I kind of want to date you just for that.

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      • avatar

        iseeshiny April 16, 2014, 3:26 pm

        Maybe I keep a DW diary. Don’t judge.

        Well, ok actually I just remember phrases from past debates and am gifted in google-fu.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson April 16, 2014, 3:28 pm

        Haha I’m not judging, and this should make me watch my words more carefully, but it won’t. Unfortunately. It’s like I never learn.

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl April 16, 2014, 3:42 pm

        Adorable.

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      • avatar

        Sue Jones April 16, 2014, 4:50 pm

        What do I know about Easter? I was raised Jewish. Pass the (gluten free! ) matzoh, please!

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    • iwannatalktosampson

      iwannatalktosampson April 16, 2014, 2:43 pm

      I actually agree with Sue here. When I was reading this I immediately thought they were hispanic and that the boyfriend was here illegally and therefore couldn’t leave the U.S. or he wouldn’t be able to get back in.

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle April 16, 2014, 3:23 pm

      So against my better judgment, I’ll wade in here just to say that—while NO—I don’t agree with some of the cringe-y lines being thrown around in this thread about stereotypes being true, etc., I actually *don’t* see why it’s bad to speculate about this LW’s cultural origin? I think the speculation (while obviously sometimes ~reading~ as ignorant/insensitive/whatever depending on phrasing) is just meant to serve as a heads-up to commenters to maybe word their advice more sensitively? Or with the possible cultural difference in mind? Because if this unhealthy dynamic is normalized to the LW, all of these warnings of abuse are likely to go right over her head.

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      • avatar

        iseeshiny April 16, 2014, 3:35 pm

        I know what got my hackles up about Sue’s comment was just implying that if the LW were more Americanized that she would be able to “leave her controlling boyfriend and get a job and go to college and become a neurosurgeon.” That sort of sneery cultural superiority crap just ground on my gears. I agree that speculation in general about a culture is not bad in and of itself, just that Sue’s comment made me feel icky.

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      • Northern Mermaid

        Northern Mermaid April 16, 2014, 3:44 pm

        YES iseeshiny. Yes. Because in addition to being macho, illegal, and abusive, Mexicans are also too stupid to be neurosurgeons…oh wait…http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfredo_Quinones-Hinojosa (p.s. he got his BA in Mexico…)

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      • avatar

        iseeshiny April 16, 2014, 4:11 pm

        That can’t be right. Mexico has universities?

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      • Northern Mermaid

        Northern Mermaid April 16, 2014, 3:41 pm

        Sure. Fab, I agree with you that it CAN be relevant to speculate about the LW’s cultural origin. However, the justifications for why this LW is probably Hispanic are way off base. Isolation from the natal family is not something that’s widely practiced in Mexican culture (in as much as I’ve experienced it in my Mexican family). As far as this behavior being normalized for the LW there are a million other cultures where this applies. While I was mostly being facetious in my “The LW is probably white” response, I think this kind of male dominated behavior is normalized in white American culture.

        The response that the LW is Mexican is just…kind of offensive, I guess because of the reasons that were laid out as to why she is probably Mexican. It’s basically a laundry list of “things white people don’t like about Mexicans” and the jump to him being unable to leave the country because he’s undocumented (which, btw, there are undocumented immigrants from ALL OVER THE WORLD in America) which means they must be Mexican is just….frustrating.

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      • katie

        Katie April 16, 2014, 3:47 pm

        WFS, and I’m glad I wasn’t the one who pointed this out for once! Haha
        .
        Also ps. The only reason my thoughts when to this immediately was because my Mexican friends have told me this is normal for them. It’s not like I’ve ever seen it or whatever, it’s been from “back in Mexico we act like x”, “my dad/brother/uncle does x and that’s how our culture is” ect kind of stories.

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      • Northern Mermaid

        Northern Mermaid April 16, 2014, 3:50 pm

        In what I’ve experienced, there is for sure a strong sexual division of labor—but intentionally isolating a woman from her natal family is absolutely not normal at all. When my parents got divorced after 28 years of marriage, my (Mexican) mom moved back in with her mom. Extended family is life support in Mexican (and definitely Mexican American communities). Sure the “you stay home and take care of the kids” might have a little bit of a Mexican color to it, but the freaking about spending time with mom and sister is not.

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      • Northern Mermaid

        Northern Mermaid April 16, 2014, 3:56 pm

        I mean. I obviously don’t think this, and I’m only venturing it as an example, but you could take ALL of those negative stereotypes and apply them to Chinese immigrant families. Picking out Mexicans probably has more to do with the fact that the LW’s family takes vacations in Mexico, and the assumption that the boyfriend can’t leave the country because he’s an illegal immigrant (which, for some reason ALWAYS means Mexicans).

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      • Northern Mermaid

        Northern Mermaid April 16, 2014, 3:57 pm

        I think the choice of making this LW Mexican says a lot more about Sue Jone’s own biases or experiences than it does about the actual content of the letter.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson April 16, 2014, 3:58 pm

        I mean if you think our assumptions are wrong, sure point them out, but our assumptions are based on a lot of circumstantial evidence, and to claim that our assumptions are racist, when those circumstantial clues are there, is misguided and frankly kind of weird.

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      • Northern Mermaid

        Northern Mermaid April 16, 2014, 4:05 pm

        I did point them out, in like three different places. And yeah. I do think it’s pretty racist to say “This woman is in an abusive relationship, and her family goes to Mexico a lot. She must be Mexican, no wonder she can’t leave her abusive boyfriend” Nothing about her situation, aside from the place that her family vacations, implies that she’s Mexican. All the factors listed: dominant man, sexual division of labor, inability to leave the country, could be hallmarks of so many different cultures.

        She also referred to going to Mexico as “going to the beach” not “going home” not “going to see my family”

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      • Northern Mermaid

        Northern Mermaid April 16, 2014, 4:09 pm

        They are also hallmarks of white american culture.

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      • Northern Mermaid

        Northern Mermaid April 16, 2014, 4:20 pm

        ALSO. She might be Mexican, but none of this was particularly culturally sensitive advice. It was basically just “othering” the LW. It also paints Latinos as horrible men, and Latinas as passive victims, and I have a HUGE problem with that as a Mexican woman. Here’s a Spanish language PSA about domestic violence and help available. One of the lines is “Our cultures have many traditions, violence against women is not one of them”

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      • avatar

        iseeshiny April 16, 2014, 4:10 pm

        OHGOD someone said the “r” word. That’s waaay worse than anything else said by anyone and we must now all apologize for making people uncomfortable.

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      • Northern Mermaid

        Northern Mermaid April 16, 2014, 4:23 pm

        Especially funny, because I didn’t even say it was racist until after iwanna said something. I said “biases and experiences” because Sue Jones, as a person in the world, has had experiences that have informed her biases.

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      • avatar

        iseeshiny April 16, 2014, 4:25 pm

        Haha you’re totally right, I didn’t even notice that.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson April 16, 2014, 4:28 pm

        Congratulations, you didn’t say the word, but it was clearly what you were dancing around. Just say it. You think the assumptions were racist. Fine. I think you’re wrong and just refusing to acknowledge that there were a lot of evidence that led me to the opinion that the LW is probably an immigrant. There appears to some cultural differences. Or maybe I’m wrong. But to imply it’s racist is ridiculous.

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      • Northern Mermaid

        Northern Mermaid April 16, 2014, 4:34 pm

        I pointed out every piece of evidence and offered a different scenario. I “acknowledged” all the “evidence” AND– saying “an immigrant” is different than saying “she’s Mexican” One is pretty xenophobic and one is pretty fucking racist. None of the “evidence” was based on anything except a bunch of negative fucking stereotypes about my people and my culture. And yeah. I take offense to that.

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      • avatar

        iseeshiny April 16, 2014, 4:36 pm

        You’re absolutely entitled to your opinion. I feel like Sue’s comments were dancing around a lot of things that she didn’t come out and say, and yes, I feel like there was some casual racism thrown in there. I don’t think it’s ridiculous to think that. I thought your comments were a lot more innocuous, but if you wanna cosign her comments, then yeah, totes.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson April 16, 2014, 4:37 pm

        Ha well this conversation is really productive. I think you’re wrong. You think I’m wrong. Lets think of how many different ways we can say that. You can continue to get your panties in a wad about it, and the world keeps on turning.

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      • Northern Mermaid

        Northern Mermaid April 16, 2014, 4:42 pm

        Ah yes. Because experiencing casual racism AGAINST MY OWN CULTURE is totally just me getting my panties in a wad. I should just LOL and be like, “Hey, it doesn’t matter! My people are just a bunch of silly immigrants who get their feelings hurt and casually racist attitudes NEVER leads to anything serious.

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      • avatar

        Katie April 16, 2014, 5:23 pm

        Oh yes, I don’t actually think that this LW *has* to be Mexican. And actually what tipped me was the having to be home when the man gets home from work, that was one specific thing my friends have told me.
        .
        I don’t think it matters what race or culture the LW is a part of, but I think the real crime, racist or not, here would be if we just assumed that the LW was of our own race or culture, like a lot of the comments did (I thought). You need to understand where people are coming from to give good advice, and culture is a huge part of a persons point of view. Assuming that this LW is from a culture that sees this behavior as normal will definitely change the advice, or at least how it’s phrased, and so for that reason I think it’s worth talking about. Basically just what fab said, again.

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  • avatar

    Rangerchic April 16, 2014, 1:21 pm

    What everyone else said though I know you won’t take the advice until the light bulb finally goes on in your head. I know, from experience, that you think this is the way relationships are supposed to go and you seemingly have resigned yourself to it a little. But all is not lost. You still have some contact with family. I hope they are still there for you when you do decide this is not the way to live your life.

    I was once in a very similar situation as you find yourself. When I was 19 and 9 months pregnant and IN LABOR, my then boyfriend made me drive myself to the hospital while he was in the passenger seat….did you miss that…I was IN LABOR! I never told anyone because it was humiliating. So this man only ever hit me once but emotionally abused me for a very long time. Just because it isn’t physical doesn’t mean it isn’t abuse!

    I finally got my act together and left him. I have now been married 15 years to the most wonderful man. I hope for your child’s sake you don’t make any more excuses to yourself and/or family about why he is the way he is….I hope for your child you get out soon enough that he isn’t damaged for life. Even small children/babies pick up these kind of emotions so please don’t hesitate.

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  • avatar

    Sunshine Brite April 16, 2014, 1:55 pm

    Get your affairs in order and leave. Forget about mexico for now and send your cousin a card.

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  • peppers87

    peppers87 April 16, 2014, 2:53 pm

    LW, why wasn’t your boyfriend invited on vacation with your family? Why didn’t he want to go? Even if he wasn’t able to go for financial / work reasons, I would have expected that the father of your baby would probably to be invited on a family vacation (even if he’s expected to pay his own way). Was he? If not, do you know why not? have your family members ever talked to you about your boyfriend or given you advice about leaving him? If so, I’d rely on them for help and listen to their advice!! If you haven’t really talked to them about it yet, I might try to open up if you’re especially close with someone in particular! Find an advocate and try to make a plan to leave. You can do it!

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    • GatorGirl

      GatorGirl April 16, 2014, 3:43 pm

      Both trips with her family where to Mexico, and she said he can not leave the country.

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      • peppers87

        peppers87 April 16, 2014, 5:54 pm

        Oops! I blanked on that when writing my response. I still am wondering whether he was invited though and also does your family know he’s not allowed to leave and the reason (like a parole issue?)

        Basically, is she sharing this stuff with her family and if not, I think she should!

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark April 17, 2014, 1:53 am

    God, this thread got fucking absurd. Yeah… Women are treated just swell in Mexico and it is truly a hallmark of gender equality we should all aspire to achieve…

    Some of you are so fucking naive — or wait. No, maybe you’re just plain dumb… Yes, dumb. As your logic truly IS idiotic.

    But to claim that its racist for people to suggest that women in some cultures are more oppressed and thus perhaps more prone to tolorate sexist bullshit… To claim that such an idea is racist is laugh out loud funny…

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    • avatar

      SummerRose April 17, 2014, 8:05 pm

      Yeah, I have to agree with this. I’m half Mexican myself. It’s not racist to say women are more prone to tolerate sexism because the culture generally tends to be more macho. Nobody is bringing up anything about skin color. But honestly? It’s a FACT. There is sexism everywhere, but some cultures tend to be MORE sexist than others. Mexico is one of those cultures.

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      • avatar

        SummerRose April 17, 2014, 8:07 pm

        Anyway,it’s one of the reasons my mom loves that she no longer lives in Mexico.She doesn’t experience NEARLY the amount of sexism in the States that she did in Mexico. Which is not to say the US doesn’t have it’s own problems….

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