Dear Miss Emily:

There’s this guy John.  Everyone knows him. I guess you could say he’s the hard-ass of the school, and everyone thinks he’s this major ass****, who just doesn’t care. But he has a whole other side that only I’ve seen, and the people who are closest to him.  He’s almost 3 years older than me. Two years ago, he took my virginity, and we’ve been dating on and off ever since.  It’s so hard to explain our relationship. Put it this way, my whole world can be crashing down, but if I’m with him, nothing else matters. But at the same time, when I lose him, nothing, and I mean nothing, can keep my world from crashing.  We start dating but, then, after about two weeks we get in stupid fights and say the meanest things to each other.  Things that I would never even think of saying!  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, "I’m done" and, at the time, truly mean it.  But less then a week later, we’re back together.  I don’t know why, except for the fact that I love him.  I feel like there’s something missing without him.  We’ve been through so much together. I had a really bad home life. My stepfather was a drunk, and whenever I needed him, John was just a phone call away.  He’d drop anything to come get me, or just sit with me until  I calmed down.  I also have two little sisters 5 and 8, and they absolutely adore him.  My youngest sister painted a picture at school of her family, and John was in it under the name “brother John.” On top of everything, I got pregnant a year ago and had a miscarriage. It was such an intense feeling knowing that a part of him was inside of me and actual life was created by me and him.  And I know that is a huge part of the reason I can’t let go – but I need to.  He isn’t going anywhere in life, and he’s into drugs and gangs. He just doesn’t treat me the was he should and, honestly, I don’t think he cares nearly as much as I do. Lately, I’ve spent more time crying and being upset than happy.  I don’t know what to do? I don’t want  to let him go, but I know I have to – I just don’t know how.  Please advise.
Ready to Cross The Bridge          

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

Dear Ready:

There is a deep connection that the two of you share and it comes from an emotional core that is the very essence of your world and his.  I’m guessing that John’s background is not all that great either and, with dysfunctional backgrounds, the hurt the two of you have experienced, brought you together.  There is this "mutual understanding" and an ability to comfort each other based on these shared experiences.  Everything else, the sex, the resulting pregnancy, is a product of your desperate need to love and be loved, no matter how destructive it is in the long run.  You've known for a long time that this is a no-win situation.  Think of what your life would be like if you had not had the miscarriage.  If you'd decided to have the baby, you probably wouldn’t have ever written to me, because your future would have already been written out for you. Conception is, no question, one of nature’s awesome wonders, but it can be a real pain-in-the-ass when reality hits, and you have a child to raise with little money and no help.  Even in the best of circumstances, it isn’t easy!  In my opinion, you dodged a bullet, so to speak and, now, are looking at what life would be like if you were in a healthy relationship with someone who brings out the best in you – rather than tap into what probably brought you and John together in the first place:  a mutual desire to temporarily run away from your problems and find some semblance of peace in those rare consoling, quiet moments.  I wouldn’t go cold-turkey on this guy.  I don’t think you can do that.  But you can gradually move in a direction that has something to do with what will make your future brighter.  What would that be?  A career?  What are you interests?  Start a journal and explore some of these avenues.  Use your computer and make sure no one has access to your work.  Don’t continually talk about what you need to do, just do it!  Show others the change that’s taking place in your life.  Finally, you must face the fact that you have a choice.  Do you want to keep heading toward a dead-end, or gradually take baby steps to setting positive goals that you can realistically achieve?  No one needs to travel the low road if they’re smart, and you sound like you are wise beyond your years.  It’s your life.  What do you want to do with it?  Where do you see yourself in ten years?  Once you have the answers, only you can prevent yourself from setting attainable goals, and achieving them.  My money’s on you.