Dear Miss Emily:

  I have been with my boyfriend for 9 years.  At first things were great, but after his dad passed 5 years ago, he got mean towards not only me, but our children.  He has been diagnosed with bi-polar but does not take meds.  He acts like he doesn't care if I stay with him or go, but yet tells me how to live my life.  Last night, he got so mean towards the kids that I told him to stop or leave, but he said its his house and he is not going anywhere.  I would leave, but I am a college student and I don't have the funds to pick up and go.  We have been through a lot the past years but it seems like he is just not a happy person at all and is always finding some excuse to yell at me and the kids.  I do love him, but I'm not sure if he feels the same and part of me does want out.  What should I do??

------------------Miss Emily's advice------------

First, you have to get rid of any guilt or responsibility you have in this relationship going south.  If he is bi-polar and isn't taking any meds (which is common -- he doesn't think he needs them -- everyone else has the problem), you and your children are the brunt of his unhappiness with himself, his feelings of emptiness and his resultant depression.  I don't know how much time you have left at school, but if you feel your children are suffering as a result of his behavior, they come first.  That said, don't engage him in any confrontations and start thinking about how you are going to plan your life without him when school does end -- unless he begins to show signs of improvement and is capable being a good father to your children and a reasonable partner.  You may love him, but if he's not willing to get help, your hands are tied. You need to think about your future and how you want it to unfold.  You might feel trapped now but, again, if you start putting together a plan, maintain a level head and do your best to disengage from his moods and not internalize them, you will have a better quality of life. You should want this for yourself.  I want that for you, and I don't even know you!  Let me know if I can make any other suggestions by your giving me more information.