Dear Miss Emily:

I know that any mother would agree and say the child comes first, especially in this day and age with abuse going on all around the world. My daughter is 10 my boyfriend is 24.  He does not live with us but sleeps over now and again. The problem I am having is my daughter does not like my boyfriend, as she has witnessed he and I arguing, me cry -- he shouts and curses me. Now Miss Emily, I am not giving myself the right for allowing him to stay in my life, its just that I love both of them. I would prefer them to get along and see how much I love them both.  I do love my daughter more, just for he record, but the love I have for my boyfriend is different. Miss Emily, I need the honest truth, do I need to get out of this relationship, and focus on my daughter? Should we just be friends? I need help!

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

I understand that children can feel threatened when a parent brings in "competition" to the family unit. But you and he argue in front of her, and his verbal abuse is not only damaging to her, but to you, as well. She doesn't like him because she feels she needs to defend you against him. If you think you must be in this relationship, I would keep it separate from your daughter. In other words, see him when you have a babysitter, and keep him from spending nights at your house. Your daughter shouldn't be allowed to prevent you from having a healthy, normal relationship with a man, but he doesn't seem to be the guy who offers that.  If you want her to grow up to be a strong woman who doesn't take abuse from a man, then you have to be a role model for her. What she sees is what she will expect in a male/female relationship when it comes time for her to enter into one. You are an adult, she is not, and that makes it your responsibility to make this right for her sake. In some ways, she's a barometer to knowing what's good for you, even if you don't.