Dear Annie, I have been with my child’s father for 10 years. If I skip at least nine years of madness, I’ll fast-forward to today. He has a drug problem and got clean seven months ago. He is doing well in recovery. We were separated for five years because of his behavior but after rehab he came to my son and me to try to make things work.
It was ok. He recently started work and everything had been fine. However, I have some deep-seated trust issues because of his past lies and infidelities. As he was sleeping the other night, I checked his phone and discovered that he is still very much in a relationship with the woman he was with for the five years we were apart. He has told her that he is still in rehab and the lies about his daily activities are pretty elaborate.
It’s been like this for five months. When confronted, he became violent. Of course I have to cancel this, but I don’t know how. Our son is thrilled that his father is home and sober. His father won’t go easy. He has nowhere else to go and has broken into my apartment in the past or hung out outside until let in.
I’m afraid of what this will do to our son. The last time we broke up he was a toddler so he doesn’t remember but it got very, very messy. I’m silent now because I don’t know what to do. I feel like I’m caught in some ridiculous mess and I’m so embarrassed. – Captive
Dear Trapped: Protecting you and your son – from potential violence, possible relapse and continued manipulation by your son’s father – is of the utmost importance. He’s obviously exhausted from his welcome and needs to be removed from the house immediately.
Create the border. Give him a fixed move-out date and stick to it so that he has a week or two at most to secure his own apartment. Having this conversation in a public place or in the presence of a trusted friend or family member can reduce the risk of violence. In addition, the National Domestic Violence Hotline website provides information on local resources, from support groups to counseling to recovery services.
When appeal to reason doesn’t work, appeal to the law will help. Depending on which state you live in, your options may vary, so speak with an attorney to determine the best option for your situation. No matter what comes, stay strong. you are doing the right thing
Dear Annie: I had to respond to the column regarding “A Concerned and Sad Friend” who has moved to a town closer to her best friend but hasn’t seen her much now that she’s in a new relationship. The fact that the guy moved in with her friend BEFORE they officially started dating AND that she doesn’t stop by to see the letter writer when she’s in the area seems to be a red flag of a possible abusive relationship.
Abusers tend to rush into relationships, quickly intruding and isolating their victims from friends and family by monitoring their every move. Even a foray into the corner store or library becomes fodder for the abuser to question and harass activities and timing.
In addition to “meet the new beau” I would suggest having a heart-to-heart talk with her friend. If this “Relationship” is not what her friend really wants, and if at any point she needs to break free, she knows she has support and her friendship. Absolutely no pressure, but knowing that there is someone willing to help can put a woman in motion to plan her safe exit from an abusive relationship. – Was there
Dear Been There: Well said. If this friend is indeed in an abusive relationship, reminding herself that she has a dear friend to lean on to change her situation might be just what she needs.
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“How can I forgive my cheating partner?” is out now! Annie Lane’s second anthology – featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation – is available in paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions to Annie Lane at [email protected]