Updates: “Hoping for Happiness” Responds

It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing today. After the jump, we hear from “Hoping for Happiness,” a 20-year-old college student who was contemplating breaking up with her boyfriend despite his being super sweet. Her situation was further complicated by the fact that she’d been kicked out of her mother’s home and was living with her boyfriend’s family. Keep reading to see whether they’re still together and where she’s living now.

First of all, I’d really like to thank everyone for their advice. I ended up breaking up with my boyfriend at the beginning of February, and he did not handle it well. We were living together, and he would frequently storm into my bedroom (we had separate bedrooms) at all hours of the night and scream at me for being an “emotionless zombie bitch” and other things. His mother blew it off to it being his first break-up and suggested that I stay somewhere else if I expected to be able to sleep through the night. My mother, who had previously kicked me out, offered to let me stay with her in her new condo for a few weeks while I was training for a new job and trying to get back on my feet.

This Friday, she physically attacked me. She has done this before, and I’ve always threatened to go to the police but never did. On Friday I finally stuck to my guns and went to the police. They took pictures of the giant scratch across my chest and several cuts on my hands, and then they took her to jail for the night. Last I heard from the police, the prosecutor was deciding whether or not to press charges. I am probably going to file a Personal Protection Order because, like I said, this isn’t the first time she has done this. My now ex-boyfriend actually had the nerve to text me and inform me that I “should have known better than to put myself in this situation.” And while he might be right, I really didn’t think it was his place to say that to me. She called me on Saturday morning to let me know that she “loves me very much and she’s sorry, and she doesn’t know what happened last night.” I didn’t respond. I don’t plan on responding.

To answer a few questions/misconceptions: The boyfriend in question and I had been together for almost two years, not nine months. I suppose I should have made that clearer. I agree with several people who said that I didn’t want to give up feeling like I had a sort of family and support. I hadn’t even thought about it before, but that really is something I’ve never had. I do have a job; I teach preschool at a private school while studying elementary education at university. I’m in the process of getting ready to substitute teach, now that I have enough college credits, and that should pay between 85-100 dollars a day, which is significantly more than I make right now. I’m staying with a friend and her parents until I get back on my feet.

I’ve been talking with my therapist about my abusive relationship and about how certain issues I have probably started with my unstable mother and my physically and emotionally distant father. We’ve been making some good progress, and I’m really proud of myself for being brave enough to call the police. I have some great friends and people in my life who are willing to help me out, and that makes me feel really great and supported during this troubling time. Thank you for taking the time to answer my letter and encouraging me to work through my issues. I’m finally getting to a point where I understand that it isn’t okay for anyone to hurt me, whether I love them or not.

Thank you for your update. I’m sorry to hear about your troubled home life, but so happy you are in counseling and have a good support system of friends and their families. Best of luck to you.

If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at wendy@dearwendy.com with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.


  1. kerrycontrary says:

    This makes me so sad! No one deserves abuse or being treated poorly. This LW really seems like a great woman who has found herself surrounded by people who make poor choices. I hope she can find a great support group to start a new life with more positive people!

  2. Good for you LW! It sounds like you have your stuff together, and it’s great that you’re going to counseling!!

  3. bittergaymark says:

    I’ll catch hell for this, but seriously — this LW needs to stop putting herself in bad situations. I actually remember the original letter very clearly. Sure, the boyfriend was a bit cold to say that to her, but you know what? He WAS right. She was not thinking clearly to move back in with Mommy Dearest. Moreover, backing up, she was pretty dang cold to dump a guy and yet still expect to be able to stay there without any drama simply because she had nowhere else to go…

    All this sounds harsh, I suppose, and yeah, whatever, I’m harsh — filmed at eleven. But come on, everyone, think about all of your breakups. Now thing of your worst break ups, or your very first break up and then imagine that the guy still lived in your house or apartment with you because it was oh-so-convenient for them. Admit it, how many of you would eventually start bursting in in the middle of the night shouting the likes of “you emotionless zombie bitch?” Hey, I know I probably would. And I’ve always been remarkably civil in break ups, too. But then I’ve never been dumped by anybody who has then somehow duped my mother into letting them live in my house in the next bedroom either. That’s all that saying.

    I feel for the LW. But at some point she should stop creating drama. I’m sorry, moving back in with a crazy mother who is prone to physically attacking you? There is only one way to call that and that’s — creating drama. I’m glad to hear that your therapy is helping you work through your issues. Now start picking better living situations… I only hope we don’t get an update next about “these awful friends I crashed with…”

    1. Or, you know, she could really have no other place to go on the short term but her mother’s and/or may have been operating on the hope that her mother wouldn’t act that way again (common feeling in those who have been abused.) Additionally, I think it wouldn’t have been excessive for the ex-boyfriend to ask the girl to move out, or to have talked to his mom about how he can’t heal with her in the home so to convince her to change her mind. It is excessive, however, to scream at someone like that – no matter how much it hurts to be dumped. I’ve been dumped by people I declared the love of my life, as well as my first love, and I would’ve been pissed they were around but I would’ve done something more productive about it than just screaming at them. Just saying, I don’t think bashing her is the way to go on this one.

      1. bittergaymark says:

        If she can stay with her friends now, she probably could have stayed with these same friends then. That’s all I’m saying.

      2. I too wondered why she did not move in with a friend to begin with, or look for some resources or roommates through school. Where I went to school there were often houses where you split the rent in a big place several ways, and have living costs be fairly low. Or even rent a room somewhere. I am not sure where the LW lives, though. It just seems awful to feel you only can choose between an abusive mother or a boyfriend you don’t love anymore.

  4. fast eddie says:

    NOBODY “deserves” to be abused. That unkind remark is bull hockey. Desperation lends us to make some bad decisions that are often regretted. Now the LW must stick to her guns and keep the hell away from her mother who WILL NOT CHANGE her behavior.

    1. bittergaymark says:

      Whoa, I never said she deserved to be abused. That said, I don’t think you can realistically stomp all over somebody’s heart and then expect to stay indefinitely in the next room without them calling you some rather choice names… And frankly, I don’t consider name-calling in the midst of a bad break up to be emotional abuse because if it is, well, then we’ve pretty ALL done it.

      As far as her mother, she certainly didn’t deserve that abuse either. But it couldn’t have been that a surprise… If I knowingly place my hand on a hot stove, I may not deserve the burn, but I can’t exactly feign surprise that I am now all blistered either.

      1. I think perhaps fast eddie might have been referring to the “should have known better than to put myself in this situation.” remark from the LW’s ex-boyfriend and not your comment. could be wrong.

      2. bittergaymark says:

        Ohhhhhhhh. You know, I think you are probably right.

  5. I’m going with Mark on this one; while I feel horrible for her and I know how difficult it is to feel trapped in a certain situation, the LW should have moved out as soon as she broke up with the boyfriend. I’ve been in the situation before, a relationship is going down in flames but I don’t really have anywhere else to go but we shared the apartment we lived in, I didn’t live with her family. The boyfriend was definitely wrong but she was also incredibly inconsiderate and borderline heartless to think it’s ok to stay at his house, in the next room, after she broke his heart.
    That being said, please don’t let your mother worm her way back in your life. I understand moving back in with her in spite of your history but take this as the final lesson that she won’t change, especially if you enable her. Good luck, it does sound like the LW is on the right track to stabilizing her life and relationships.

  6. I didn’t plan on staying there indefinitely, I was already looking at apartments/rooms for rent and signed up to train for the substitute teaching job, and was going through all the CPR/First aid training/fingerprinting/etc. that is required for it. I was hoping to be out as quickly as possible. And while I was there, which wasn’t often because I was busy preparing for all these changes, I stayed in my room (which was on the second floor, his was in the basement) and did my best to completely avoid him because I thought it would be better for him and might make it easier for him to move on. The break-up wasn’t premeditated, we had a fight that just exploded into a break-up. I wasn’t trying to be insensitive or heartless, but I needed more than a day to find a new place to live.

    1. AnotherWendy says:

      When you have limited financial resources, no housing that is your own and little time to make a plan, you make the best choice of the far from perfect choices in front of you. Sounds like you are headed in the right direction in many areas of your life LW, and I wish you the best!

    2. YouGoGirl says:

      It can take time to move into a new room or apartment. The LW was doing everything she could to find another place to live and a job. It is very difficult for a young person to become independent without adult assistance, which is why many foster children do not do well when they turn 18 and age out of the system. I greatly admire the LW for her persistence and ingenuity in the face of great adversity.

  7. LW –

    I think you’re doing great for the hand you were dealt and you’re obviously trying to make the best decisions for you. I’m happy you are in therapy and working through your really tough relationships and hopefully buiding yourself up.

    I honestly don’t think some people get it. How hard it can be for a young person to get started on their own without help from the adults in their lives. Two of my best friends growing up had less than great home lives. I think that’s why we were friends, because I grew up in a leave it to beaver kind of household. Anyway, in high school, they got in less than great relationships too, with boys who I think preyed on girls with low self esteem. Anyway, finding a place to live wasn’t always easy for them. Home sucked. They didn’t have the financial means to live on their own. There was no close family. One of them lived with the boyfriend, but something similar to your situation happened. My mom offered a room, but it was hard because they had a difficult time admitting they needed help.

    What I guess I’m trying to say is through some of my close friends, I understand what you went through and I’m sorry it happened. Don’t listen to people on here. I think you’re doing awesome for your situation and I’m proud of you.

  8. caffeinatrix says:

    LW, it sounds like you’re doing great. Never forget that you do not deserve abuse of any kind and you have no obligation to your ex-boyfriend or your mother. Move on from the drama, do not allow people who have a history of hurting you in your life. It took me a while to learn that.

  9. moonflowers says:

    As an adult survivor of child abuse myself who had a pretty volatile mom, I also sympathize with the LW. Moving on from that kind of scarring requires a lot of courage, strength, insight, and wisdom, and LW seems to be doing a great job getting herself out of the bad situation she was in. Yes, her choices may look self-destructive to people who had healthy childhoods, but for someone who is living in defiance of a past that taught her she was worthless or deserved nothing, they are a healthy sign.

    LW, best wishes to you in your career, therapy, and future relationships.

  10. Morecoffeeplease says:

    The LW sounds like she is now doing really well and making great choices. I also grew up with messed up adults in my life…it took me a lot longer to get my act together, so I commend her for her progress. In my 20s I shared a house with 4 other friends for a while. Don’t people do this anymore? It’s a way to spend less on rent and bills. It was near a university where many young undergrads, graduate students and postdocs lived, so many people shared living quarters in order to save money. That is just an idea for this young woman.

  11. A lot of people, who never appeared here before and will never appear again, find OLD threads via an internet search and feel compelled to comment. You have been a fairly regular commenter here. I’m just wondering why you think the LW would need the advice you just posted on a thread which has been dead for 5-1/2 YEARS.

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