Dear Miss Emily: I'm 24 years old and a mother of a 3 year old, my current boyfriend is 37. We have been together for 6 months, not long at all. We moved kinda fast at the beginning of the relationship, we had a marriage liscence within 2 weeks. I found out he was using drugs, and I was supporting his habbit I know not good. Within 2 months I had given him over $600 dollars and I only recieve welfare. He has also beat me up 4 times, although he hasnt done this in almost 3 months, I'm always afraid it will happen again, We had a miscarriage a couple months ago. Things just seem to have fallen apart. Sometimes I really feel like I'm going crazy and want to admit myself in a nut house, not a joke. He has told me if I want to break up just say so, but I can't just walk away. Its so hard. He still asks me to marry him but we both know that we would never make it living together. He always says he's going to pay me back for all the money I gave him, I mean I can't even make car payments anymore since i gave him all that money. Everytime he gives me money, even if its only $5, he ends up taking it back. I just dont know what to do any more. I realize he gave up his cheating ways for me, I really do believe that but sometimes I feel love isnt enough to keep a relationship. I'm lost as to what to do. Please any advise is appreciated. --------------------------Miss Emily's advice-------------------------- You know what you have to do, and that's get out of this relationship. Any one of the things you mentioned is grounds, but his beating you is beyond negotiating or forgiveness. You have a child, and your obligtion is to this child. The longer you stay in this relationship, the greater the chance of you giving away all of your power and he will control your every move. It's almost like a hostage situation, and you will find leaving him will be next to impossilble once the invisable prison doors shut and you cannot escape. It stuns me, in a way, that women your age are not aware of the signs of abuse, and what happens with women stay in these relationships. Please do some research on abusive relationship on the Internet. If this troubled relationship persists, and your child is emotionally damaged by it (and already may be) you will be solely responsible. As well, if the welfare department gets word of it, your child can be taken from you and put in foster care. Get out now. Your life may depend on it. Please keep in touch. I care.