Dear Miss Emily:

I have been with my current boyfriend for 3 ½ years now.  We have a son together (18 months old), and a house (which we are currently in the process of short selling). When I met my boyfriend, he painted a picture of how he wanted to live his life and we both had many of the same objectives in common.  Short and sweet, he has not lived up to any of his "goals" he has set for himself.  He is very lazy, wanting to play video games all the time.  He refuses to look for a better job and it is making things very hard for our family, financially, and for him physically.  He does labor-like work and his doctor has advised him not to. I care deeply for my son, and him, and so I am carrying our family, working 2 jobs now, doing almost all of the cleaning, etc.  My boyfriend has been addicted to marijuana for years now and is bipolar.  He stopped taking his medication many months ago, and is always saying very hurtful things to me.  I feel stressed out and totally unappreciated.  He has literally pushed me as far away (emotionally) as I feel is possible.  I recently worked my butt off to get an awesome job, and I met someone at my work that I am drawn to in a way that I have never been drawn to anyone.  It has been very innocent, and he understands my situation and just wants the best for me.  My boyfriend has recently admitted himself to a behavioral health center.  He is still there (it's been about 1 week now).  I talk to him on the phone and he says how sorry he is, how this has all been a wake up call for him.  He is back on his meds, he is "supposedly" going to stop smoking weed and he will do anything to save his family.  My father was not in my life and never will be b/c he killed himself 2 years ago.  I love my current boyfriend, but I am not in love with him anymore.  I have gone through some very tough relationships in the past and gave far too many chances to those men in my life.  This is probably why I am so hesitant to do so now.  However, because our son is involved, I feel it’s more complicated.  I really want to walk away from my current relationship.  It is mostly because I am afraid of my boyfriend not changing, and I deserve much better treatment than what he has given.  Is this selfish?  I want to do what's best for our son, but I don't know how "healthy" it is to continue in a relationship that I don't want to be in.  If I do end things with him, I definitely don't want to rush into another relationship. My son and I would get a place with a girlfriend and her son, and we would see how things work out with the amazing guy that I am working with – but I would want to take this very slowly.  Please tell me what your feelings are on this.  I really need a non-biased opinion.
In A Spot

-----------------------------Miss Emily’s advice-------------------------

Dear In:

I don’t think you can figure out what you really want unless you distance yourself from your present circumstance.  I understand that when someone tells you that things are going to be different this time, it’s precarious because failure looms large.  Being bipolar can be awful for the person who has it, and even worse for those who are subjected to it.  There are many facets to this disorder and it’s hard to cope with the fallout.  But playing the role of victim is useless and, hopefully, you are smart enough to know that.  Your plan sounds reasonable, if you can stick to it.  It’s easy to say that you don’t want another relationship, now, but the temptation is too great to ignore, and you have a lousy track record.  Caution is your best friend.  My best advice to you is to decide what you want to do and stick to it.  It would be best to keep your emotions in check, and watch what you say and do.  Your guy in rehab thinks you’ll be there for him when he gets out, and he will lay a guilt trip on you if you aren’t.  He will blame you for any relapse.  Be there for him as a support system (within reason), but be firm in your commitment to seek a better life for you and your son, because it’s your life and no one else can live it for you.  Your dad may have been an inadequate male role-model, but don't let him rule from the grave.